The U-turn on Iranian nukes


The release of the most recent NIE on Iranian nuclear activity has left many of us wondering about the reliability of intelligence assessments in general. The Times (UK) reveals some of the background on this story…

l-nuclear385_220650a.jpg American intelligence agencies based this week’s surprise assessment that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 on notes obtained from Iranian military officials.

These included vehement complaints about a decision to shut down what had been an active programme to build a nuclear warhead.

The notes were corroborated by other intelligence, US officials say, including intercepted conversations among Iranian officials, collated in recent months.

The CIA was so concerned that the notes might be part of an elaborate disinformation effort by Tehran that it organised a “red team” to check their veracity.

Once US intelligence officials decided that they were genuine, the notes and other evidence were presented two weeks ago in a White House meeting to the most senior members of President Bush’s national security team, including Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, according to the New York Times.

In the meeting — described by one official as a “vivid exchange” — the intelligence officials were challenged to defend their new assessment that Iran’s nuclear programme had been suspended.

Mr Bush and Mr Cheney have both sounded ominous warnings in recent months about Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As recently as October Mr Bush warned that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to a third world war.

The spy operation caused a dramatic reversal of a 2005 US intelligence assessment that stated with “high confidence” that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon. The latest estimate, released on Monday, states with “high confidence” that Iran halted the programme in 2003 and has not restarted it. It also says, however, that Tehran continues its efforts to enrich uranium.

One of the great questions left unanswered by the US intelligence agencies is why Iran decided to suspend the programme in 2003. Monday’s National Intelligecne Assessment said that it was “primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure”, but no firm conclusions about Tehran’s motives appear to have been reached. Source

Dramatic reversal, indeed.

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31 Responses

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  2. Tora, Tora, Tora is on the History channel at 11am pst.

  3. Ebola spreading in Uganda
    Link

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  5. now THAT’S funny!

  6. If they make any U-turns in Iran, as public policy, it is only to come back and run over you again, with a deuce and a half, wearing snow tires, while carrying a max load.
    The Iranian authorities made a U-turn in their justice system on Wednesday, and here’s the result.

  7. Friday’s Open Trackback Alliance and Linkfest

    Today I am just going to post some of the articles I have already written, because I do not think I shall be posting anymore about the NIE. That is, of course, unless something is said about it that is wrong, Wrong, WRONG! Here we go

  8. Firefox Hack Worth A Second Mention

    Speed up your Firefox browser.
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  10. CHICAGO — Former police officer Drew Peterson says he isn’t getting a fair shake in the media or from people who were his friends before his 23-year-old wife disappeared.

    Peterson’s face recently appeared on a piñata at a prayer vigil held for Stacy Peterson, who was reported missing Oct. 29 after she failed to show up at a friend’s house.

    “It’s like they had this vigil for Stacy, and the next thing you know there’s a piñata with my face on it,” Peterson told the Chicago Tribune. “All these policemen who were my friends, and I would have jumped in front of a bullet for, don’t even talk to me.”

    Could it be they know he’s guilty of the two murders, and usuig his position as a cop to cover them up? I think the noose is tightening.
    The Rest

  11. Baltimore Bus Beating Being Probed as Hate Crime

    YA THINK!!! I know it’s not politics, but maybe someone may be interested.

    BALTIMORE — A white woman beaten by a group of black students on a bus has prompted a hate-crime investigation, attempts by transit officials to reassure riders of the safety of the system, and radio talk-show chatter over comparisons with the Jena Six case.

    The Rest if ya care. I’ll check in later.

  12. I saw that a little while ago.
    Everytime something like this happens, they always throw out the hate crime aspect. There was a case here in Dallas, about ten years ago. I white guy and his five year old son were playing in their front yard, in a nice neighborhood. A car with two black guys and a black woman were driving by, stopped, and started beating the father and the son. A witness heard one of the assailants say “I hate white people.” They were caught and tried, and they threw the hate crime aspect out, because it was too difficult to prove.
    Said what?

  13. History channel…Dog fights.

  14. Now why would a lone MIG go after the Midway?
    Suicidal tendencies?

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  19. Gennifer Flowers is Considering Supporting Hillary

    Remember Gennifer Flowers? Shes the woman that was one of the scandals that almost sidetracked Bill Clintons second bid for the presidency in 1992. She claimed shed had a long term affair with President Clinton and had tapes and audio tapes that b…

  20. Filipinos Ask the United Nations to Send Angelina

    The Philippine army has been fighting twin insurgencies since the late 1960s. They have had to deal with communist insurgents and muslim separatists that have killed 160,000 people and displaced over 2 million people. They have stunted economic growt…

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