A “new” National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran’s nuclear program(s) has been released, and it is easy to understand why the Bush Administration has been holding it up for almost a year. They don’t like what it says.
This latest NIE, which represents the consensus opinion of the sixteen intelligence agencies of the U.S. Government, says that Iran stopped its nuclear weapon program back in 2003 and has not restarted it. This contradicts everything the Bush Administration and its scribes in the media have been telling us about Iran, and conjures up memories of their push for war with Iraq.
On Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume (4/3/06), Roll Call executive editor Mort Kondracke cited anonymous experts to claim that Iran “will be able to have enough fissile material of their own making for a bomb some time next summer, summer 2007.” Before the Iraq War, Kondracke called the Iraqi foreign minister a liar for claiming that Iraq had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
MSNBC political analyst Monica Crowley claimed that Iran “may already have” nuclear weapons (Scarborough Country, 4/17/07). Before the Iraq War, she claimed, “[W]e do know that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction [including a ‘nascent nuclear capability’].”
Fox News’ John Gibson distorted a statement from a Russian military officer to suggest that Iran will “have the bomb literally any minute.” (Fox News’ The Big Story, 4/5/07) Before the Iraq War, Gibson scoffed at Iraq’s claim that they did not have any WMDs.
· This NIE was apparently finished a year ago, and its basic parameters were almost certainly common knowledge in the White House well before that. This means that all the leaks, all the World War III stuff, all the blustering about the IAEA — all of it was approved for public consumption after Cheney/Bush/Rice/etc. knew perfectly well it was mostly baseless.-- Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly, 12/3/07
· “… Iran has not stepped back from trying to pursue a nuclear weapon, and--or reprocessing and enriching uranium, which would lead to a nuclear weapon.”--White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, 10/26/07
· “We’re in a position now, clearly, especially when we look at Iran, where it’s very, very important we succeed in our efforts, our national security efforts, to discourage the Iranians from enriching uranium and producing nuclear weapons.”--Vice President Dick Cheney, 11/9/07
· “We are convinced that they are developing nuclear weapons.” [Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, 11/13/07]
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell knew that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee (2/27/07) that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon by early next decade. McConnell didn’t bother to mention that the intelligence agencies of the U.S. Government believed that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program four years earlier. It might have distracted from his central message: “We assess that Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Now that the Bush Administration’s justification for bombing Iran has been refuted by its own intelligence agencies, the President held one of his rare press conferences (12/4/07) to explain how the cessation of Iran’s nuclear weapon program just proves that he’s been right all along and shows how dangerous Iran really is:
· “…I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program. They halted the program. And the reason why it’s a warning signal is that they could restart it.” (and if pigs had wings, they could fly)
· “Look, Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous. And Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
· “I think the NIE makes it clear that Iran needs to be taken seriously as a threat to peace. My opinion hasn’t changed.”