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Washington Think-Tank Cultivating 'Last Resort' Against Iran and Priming Next President

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That CIA analyst may have been Michael Leiter, Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center who paid WINEP a visit in February 2008 to discuss the "looming challenges in the war on terror." Ray believes that this level of interaction by the agency with WINEP is "Very irregular."

On May 29, 2008, Donald Kerr, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence delivered a remarkable presentation to WINEP.

Speaking at a program entitled Emerging Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Middle East, Kerr explained that the Presidents Daily Brief (PDB) was one of their most privileged documents read by only a handful of people and delivered to the president by either the Director of National Intelligence or himself. He added "They are based on some of our best collection capabilities, coupled with our most exacting analysis."

Then Donald Kerr announced "This evening, I’m going to give you a notional view of some of the issues that will be raised in the Oval Office PDB on January 21, 2009."

"We’ll give you a snapshot of where things stand now and some of the overarching thoughts as to potential future developments...Iran, for example, continues to provide weapons, funding, and training support to certain Iraqi Shi’a militants designed to increase Tehran’s influence over Iraq and ensure the United States suffers setbacks."

He offered a taste of the intelligence analysis on the state of Iran when the next president takes office. The level of authenticity or sincerity is not clear.  Was what he provided his own personal conclusion or based on combined intelligence and analysis? Certainly, it would be improper for someone in his capacity to fabricate information about such a sensitive matter. No heavily guarded secrets were shared it seems, but the presentation did appear to be tailored to his audience. With Congress fighting for more access to intelligence information it does seem "very irregular" that a think tank with a clearly pro-Israel viewpoint that regularly discusses a military attack on Iran would be hand-fed information of any level directly from the ODNI.

What follows are highlights, including a jab at the NIE, from Kerr’s prepared speech on his mock PDB on Iran:

"The regime has become more authoritarian …Despite rising oil income, Iran’s economy is plagued by high inflation and unemployment…Iran’s foreign activities constitute a direct and immediate threat to American interests.

Iran is pursuing a range of efforts to undermine U.S. influence…The U.S. military continues to find caches of Iranian-made weapons in Iraq, including rockets, small arms, and explosively formed penetrator devices, including some manufactured in the past year.

We must also talk about the nuclear issue. Over the past year, we have gained important new insights into Iran’s activities related to nuclear weapons, and in November 2007, the Intelligence Community published a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iranian intentions and capabilities...we also judged that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities…But given that the halted activities were part of an unannounced secret program that Iran attempted to hide, we do not know whether it has been restarted since our last assessment…A number of countries in the region have recently expressed renewed interest in nuclear power."

These remarks fit like a glove to WINEP’s Last Resort hand.

A Q&A followed with at least one member of WINEP pretending he was the president, pushing the envelope in his questions to Donald Kerr to the great amusement of the audience. But, there was no joke about the information he was trying to elicit – target intelligence on Iran.

Michael Stein asked "Do you know exactly where those production facilities are and how we can target them or what kind of weaponry will produce the result we want? I would hope also that you have some boots on the ground and you’ve done some mapping for us and can give us precise directions of where to go and what to do. And, finally, at what point would you suggest to me that the Iranians have gone too far in this development and that I better do something about it before we pass the point of no return?" [Laughter, applause.]

You can read Donald Kerr’s response to those questions here as well as questions posed by R. James Woolsey, Martin Gross and others.

Priming the Incoming President

Mentioned earlier was WINEP’s Presidential Study Group that "drafts a blueprint for the next administration’s Middle East policy." One of the task forces is the "Future of the U.S.-Israeli Relations." This group convened several times throughout 2007 and 2008 including a retreat with ten Israeli counterparts.

Their final product is a Statement on "How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge." It states that Iran’s nuclear weapons capability "hovers above all other items on the U.S.-Israel agenda."

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Cheryl Biren is a Philadelphia-based researcher, writer, editor and photographer with a focus on social justice. From 2007-2011, she served on the editorial board of

Cheryl has also consulted for the Rob Kall Radio Show with (more...)

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Thanks, Cheryl, for pulling together several diffe... by Rady Ananda on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 6:52:50 AM
thanks rady. i keep hoping america will snap out o... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 1:40:07 PM
Another crooked AIPAC stunt that will put our nati... by John Hanks on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 9:13:35 AM
Thank you Cheryl. Excellent, informative piece of ... by Jennifer Hathaway on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 2:02:58 PM
Maybe they'll need another "Pearl Harbor&... by Larry McCombs on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 2:36:46 PM
But of course, I already knew they would never, EV... by Syndi Yellowbird on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 4:05:45 PM
of fascist's Goon's and Thug's in control during t... by Stanimal on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 5:04:12 PM
Dumbya is suddenly aware of his soon to be hideous... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 5:56:25 PM
to agree with you about bush right now. however, i... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 6:31:14 PM
Regarding Kenneth R. Timmerman who is mentioned in... by Munich on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 7:27:41 PM
what pattern? just kidding. yea, of course it'... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 7:39:06 PM
Billiant analogy Cheryl.We gotta keep em sepa... by Munich on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 8:21:00 PM
An odd thing happened last month. I looked at my y... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 11:26:18 PM
Thanks for mentioning UANI. Actually started ... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 at 11:48:50 PM
This effort has a healthy budget behind it, becaus... by Peter Duveen on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:58:27 AM
They want to use "scholarship" to foment... by Sandy Sand on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:23:14 AM
hadn't even occurred to me, but now that you p... by Cheryl Biren on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 7:34:00 AM
Thanks so much for this Cheryl.  I have alrea... by Jim Harris on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:59:42 PM
As I and many others have outliined in other comme... by Ishmael1 on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008 at 3:15:39 PM
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over a... by jeff prager on Monday, Oct 27, 2008 at 1:58:59 PM
Think tank faculties look like a way of paying-off... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 5:02:25 PM
Looks so good I'd like to try it myself. What ... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 5:18:21 PM
think tanks, the good, the bad and the ugly would ... by Cheryl Biren on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 6:08:34 PM
   foundations and institutes are highbr... by vthom on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008 at 9:37:36 PM
While you're at the thank tink project maybe y... by vthom on Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 at 4:15:51 AM