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Friday, September 25, 2009

Iran's Nukes (the ones they aren't making anymore)

In November of 2007, the U.S. National Intelligence Community judged with "high confidence" both that "Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program (in 2003)" and "that the halt lasted at least several years." Now it turns out that during the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations (in late 2008) the incoming president was briefed about Iran's covert nuclear facility that is causing all the fuss today.

The 2007 NIE report essentially made it politically impossible for the Bush administration to aggressively confront Iran. After all, our own intelligence community was stating Iran had stopped developing nukes. But one year after issuing such a dramatic, policy-impacting report, the same intelligence community briefs the new administration that it possesses knowledge of Iranian covert nuclear facilities.

Is it just me or is there something very wrong with this picture? Just like in the Valarie Plame "scandal" it seems to me that instead of believing the Bush administration was "politicizing" intelligence, there is reason to wonder whether anti-administration actors within the intelligence community were themselves issuing politically-minded intelligence reports?

You can read the 2007 NIE here.

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