5 years ago
After tracking the news swirling around the debt ceiling debate, it has been a challenge to remain upbeat about the prospects for America’s future. But when I saw the Powerline blog write-up on a Wall Street Journal Online opinion piece (subscribers only) by Fred Fleitz about the CIA’s latest thinking about Iranian nuclear ambitions, the camel’s back officially broke.
If Fleitz is to be believed, the CIA and other intelligence agencies are prepared to issue another National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that, essentially, reaffirms the ridiculous (and politically motivated) finding that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons activities in 2003.
According to Fleitz, who has read the estimate, the American intelligence community stands by its collective assessment, first made in 2007, that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it since:
In February, the 17 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community issued a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate updating their 2007 assessment. That estimate had been politicized by several officials who feared how President George W. Bush might respond to a true account of the Iranian threat. It also was affected by the wave of risk aversion that has afflicted U.S. intelligence analysis since the 2003 Iraq War. Intelligence managers since then have discouraged provocative analytic conclusions, and any analysis that could be used to justify military action against rogue states like Iran.
I read the February 2011 Iran NIE while on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee. I believe it was poorly written and little improvement over the 2007 version.
Fleitz baldly states that, in pre-publication review of his column, the intelligence agencies censored his criticisms of the NIE analysis, including his serious concern that it manipulated intelligence evidence.
It is so patently ludicrous to conclude that Iran halted its nuclear weapons work in 2003 and has not resumed that work that I can only wonder whether Tehran is making deposits in the bank accounts of the intelligence officers. No one who has paid any attention to the progress of the Iranian nuclear program can have any doubts about their intentions and substantial efforts to have a working nuclear weapon in short order.
Surveying the American landscape in 2011, we are a nation beset by “enemies without, enemies within.” And we render ourselves defenseless to both.
We have a political party that refuses to stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars that we do not have regardless of the certain fiscal collapse approaching. And we have an intelligence community that has completely lost its sense of direction, seeking to manipulate policy choices by elected leaders rather than giving an honest assessment of the threats facing our nation.
This cannot continue. And it won’t for much longer.