The Great Decline of 2011

BY Glen Tschirgi
3 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.

  • Josh

    Although I agree the notion of Iran shutting down their nuke program is ludicrous, these assessments you’ve quoted aren’t being driven from the bottom up. The current President is just as blind to Iran as the last. Obama has fiscally driven the car off the cliff, but the last two administrations built the car.

    The problem, quite succinctly, are politicians on both sides of the isle, bought and paid for by special interests in every way imaginable.

    If anyone believes the current (or imagined) GOP field is an answer to our problems, well, they’re part of the problem too.

  • Bill

    Sigh.

    Another nail in our coffin. It’s too much to hope we’ll shake off this malaise and come roaring back with another Reagan at the helm.

    Ours is a death of a thousand cuts.

  • TS Alfabet

    Sadly, Josh, I may have to agree with you on your assessment of the current GOP leadership when it comes to spending. On the other hand, you must admit that the 2010 elections wrought a decisive change in entire tone and debate in D.C. over spending. Prior to 2010, *no one* was giving any serious consideration when it came time to raise the debt ceiling. It was rubber stamp time all around with convenient posturing by some politicians (such as Senator Obama in 2008). It appears as the freshmen congressmen are serious about spending reform, but there are still too many old-timers that refuse to change their ways.

    As to Iran, yes, it is true that W. Bush punted the ball on Iran in many, unforgivable ways. He talked a much better game than Obama, but in the end he did nothing. But we have to remember that his options were extremely limited by 2006 due to the absolutely hysterical charges being flung around by Democrats and the Left. With a Dem-controlled House and Senate after 2006, Bush had no real option to go after Iran. (Of course, lack of support or legality didn’t stop Obama when it came to Libya, but Dem presidents are not held to any kind of standard so all is fine).

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the Left all charged that Bush/Cheney were fixing the intelligence reports to suit their policy preferences but the 2007 N.I.E. ran directly contrary to Bush’s stand against Iran (as cited by Fleitz). But along comes Obama and we get a new N.I.E. that seems to be little better than a White House memo with different letterhead. Don’t hear a peep about manipulated intel from the press.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Iran and was published July 25th, 2011 by Glen Tschirgi.

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