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December 9 , 2007

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December 17, 2007

The Political Dynamics of the
National Intelligence Estimate Report on Iran:

Is it intel or is it politics?


Challenges to the NIE Assessment

The Flaws in the Iran Report
By John R. Bolton Washington Post December 6, 2007; Page A29
The article below provides critical information to factor into the NIE assessment.

Too much of the intelligence community is engaging in policy formulation rather than "intelligence" analysis, and too many in Congress and the media are happy about it. President Bush may not be able to repair his Iran policy (which was not rigorous enough to begin with) in his last year, but he would leave a lasting legacy by returning the intelligence world to its proper function.

Consider these flaws in the NIE's "key judgments," which were made public even though approximately 140 pages of analysis, and reams of underlying intelligence, remain classified. … When the IAEA is tougher than our analysts, you can bet the farm that someone is pursuing a policy agenda.

Misestimating Iran's Nuclear Strategies
By Walid Phares December 7, 2007

Every word now used by this writer will be put to the task of demonstrating to my readers that, if anything, this NIE Report has revealed a major systemic problem with United States national security analysis; and that further, America’s ability to understand and detect threats against itself has been compromised.

Here are talking points to demonstrate why the message of the report is flawed; how it is being used against US national security interests; and what the consequences will be of this derailment in threat analysis.

Iran 'hoodwinked' CIA over nuclear plans
By Tim Shipman in Washington, Philip Sherwell and Carolynne Wheeler
U.K. Telegraph 09/12/2007

British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.

The timing of the CIA report has also provoked fury in the British Government, where officials believe it has undermined efforts to impose tough new sanctions on Iran and made an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities more likely.

The security services in London want concrete evidence to allay concerns that the Islamic state has fed disinformation to the CIA.

Don't Be Misled by NIE on Iran's Nuclear Efforts
By James Phillips The Heritage Foundation December 7, 2007

The Bush Administration should establish a bipartisan fast-track commission to investigate the classified evidence and review the judgments of the NIE.

Unfortunately, the political impact of the NIE could eventually reduce external pressure on Iran by undermining the Bush Administration's efforts to mobilize an international coalition to impose stronger sanctions.

Bolton calls report on Iran 'quasi-putsch'
From Reuters LA Times December 9, 2007

Der Spiegel magazine quoted Bolton on Saturday as alleging that the aim of the National Intelligence Estimate, which contradicts his and President Bush's position, was not to provide the latest intelligence on Iran.

"This is politics disguised as intelligence," Bolton was quoted as saying in an article appearing in this week's edition.

Behind The NIE
By Kevin Drum CBS News 12-9-07

Via Matt Yglesias, former spook Pat Lang provides his take: The "jungle telegraph" in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that "intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary" if the document's gist were not given to the public. Translation' Someone in that group would have gone to the media "on the record" to disclose its contents.

Views from
Israel and Our Other Allies

A political reversalWe assess that Teheran is determined to develop nuclear weapons - despite its international obligations and international pressure. It is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations than reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution.

This is a grave concern to the other countries in the region whose security would be threatened by Iranian nuclear weapons. Any such development could prompt dangerous and destabilizing countermoves in a volatile region that is, because of its energy reserves, critical to the global economy.... - Annual Threat Assessment of the US Director of National Intelligence, January 11, 2007

We assess with moderate confidence Teheran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. - National Intelligence Estimate, dated November 2007 (released December 3)

If one were looking for a new definition of chutzpa, it would be hard to do better than the latest US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

Editor's Notes: By David Horowitz Jerusalem Post Dec 6, 2007

The fallout has been immense: delight in Iran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been strengthened, his fiery defiance apparently vindicated; the immediate raising of new reservations against intensified sanctions on Iran from some of the already reluctant international players; an eruption of American criticism of Bush's perceived exaggerated talk of the need to stop Iran or face World War III; a flood of expert analyses concluding that the report kills off any prospect of the Bush administration resorting to military intervention against Teheran in its final months; and open skepticism from Israel, where Defense Minister Ehud Barak has all but dismissed the best efforts of America's intelligence agencies as plain wrong.

IDF to show US nuclear data on Iran

Disappointed after failing to make their case on Iran and influence the outcome of the United States's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week, Military Intelligence will present its hard core evidence on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program on Sunday to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during a rare visit he will be making to Israel.

Intelligence expert who rewrote book on Iran
Report has torpedoed plans for military action
Ewen MacAskill in Washington The U.K. Guardian December 8, 2007

The intelligence came from an exotic variety of sources: there was the so-called Laptop of Death; there was the Iranian commander who mysteriously disappeared in Turkey. Also in the mix was video footage of a nuclear plant in central Iran and intercepts of Iranian telephone calls by the British listening station GCHQ. But pivotal to the US investigation into Iran's suspect nuclear weapons programme was the work of a little-known intelligence specialist, Thomas Fingar.

Despite US intelligence finding, France
still pushes for tightened sanctions on Iran

Associated Press International Herald Tribune Dec 7, 2007

PARIS: France pushed for continued negotiations to tighten international sanctions against Iran, saying Friday that its concerns about Tehran's nuclear program were not allayed by new U.S. intelligence...."We cannot at all conclude that the threat has decreased," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's spokesman, David Martinon.

German and French Leaders Say Iran is Still a Threat
by Nick Thompson  December 9, 2007

Despite a U.S. intelligence report released Monday stating that Iran dismantled its nuclear weapons program in 2003, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say that Iran is still a threat to build a nuclear bomb. The statements by the leaders of two of Washington's major European allies came at a joint news conference in Paris.

NATO Envoys Back Rice In Urging Iran Sanctions
By Matthew Lee Associated Press Washington Post December 7, 2007; Page A34

At a working dinner in Brussels, the alliance's headquarters, the ministers accepted the Bush administration argument that Iran remains a threat and needs to be treated as such, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht told reporters.

"I think we are in a process and that Iran continues to pose a danger," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Paris at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, responding to the American findings released Monday.

Israeli Parliamentarian Calls US Intelligence
Report on Iran 'Flawed'

Voice of America 08 December 2007

Israeli parliamentarian and former general Ephraim Sneh …. told Israel Radio that the report does not give sufficient weight to Iran's program to enrich uranium. He said even if Iran suspended its pursuit of nuclear weapons, enriched uranium would enable it to restart the program at any time.

Cowering America May Cause Double Jeopardy for Israel
By Daniel Diker, Director ICA, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Dec 8, 2007
As reported on GatewayPunditBlogspot and PowerlineBlog

The scene last Monday of Iranian President Mahmaoud Ahmadinejad walking "hand in hand" with Saudi leader King Abdullah at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s annual Summit in Doah, Qatar is worth a "thousand words".... the latest signal of how terrified the Sunni Arab establishment- particularly the Gulf states- are of Iran's rising power. It is also seems a graphic indication of Saudi and "Gulfie" nervousness over their perception of America's growing weakness and loss of political will opposite Tehran.

It was little coincidence that the Abdullah /Ahmadinjad photo op took place virtually in tandem with the release of the US National Intelligence Estimate that partially whitewashed Iran's Nuclear Weapons' program.

Analysts Weighing In

'High Confidence' Games
Wall Street Journal December 5, 2007; Page A24 

Our own "confidence" is not heightened by the fact that the NIE's main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials," according to an intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Over the course of a decade, our intelligence services badly underestimated Saddam's nuclear ambitions, then overestimated them. Now they have done a 180-degree turn on Iran, and in such a way that will contribute to a complacency that will make it easier for Iran to build a weapon. Our intelligence services are supposed to inform the policies of elected officials, but increasingly their judgments seem to be setting policy. This is dangerous.

The suspect provenance of the NIE report
Ed Lasky American Thinker 12-5-07

The three main authors of this report are former State Department officials with previous reputations that should lead one to doubt their conclusions. ... They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Tom Fingar was a State Department employee who was an expert on China and Germany-he has no notable experience, according to his bio in the Middle East and its geopolitics.

Vann Van Diepen is also a career State Department bureacrat who, according to the New York Sun…. has spent the last five years trying to get America to accept Iran's right to enrich uranium.

Kenneth Brill served as the US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA). This is an agency that has served to enable Iranian's quest for nuclear weapons.

Iran Curveball
Wall Street Journal December 8, 2007; Page A10

In sum, Mr. Bush and his staff have allowed the intelligence bureaucracy to frame a new judgment in a way that has undermined four years of U.S. effort to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In this regard, it's hilarious to see the left and some in the media accuse Mr. Bush once again of distorting intelligence. The truth is the opposite. The White House was presented with this new estimate only weeks ago, and no doubt concluded it had little choice but to accept and release it however much its policy makers disagreed. Had it done otherwise, the finding would have been leaked and the Administration would have been assailed for "politicizing" intelligence.

Behind the Iran Intelligence Reversal
By Nick Timiraos Wall Street Journal December 8, 2007; Page A9

Could Iran still develop nuclear weapons? Yes. The estimate didn't revise earlier predictions that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by around 2015 and concluded with only "moderate confidence" that Iran hasn't restarted its program.

NIE: An Abrupt About-Face
by Thomas Joscelyn The Weekly Standard December 5, 2007

As many recognize, the latest NIE on Iran's nuclear weapons program directly contradicts what the U.S. Intelligence Community was saying just two years previously. And it appears that this about-face was very recent. How recent?

.... Consider that on July 11, 2007
This paragraph appeared under the subheading: "Iran Assessed As Determined to Develop Nuclear Weapons." And the entirety of Fingar's 22-page testimony was labeled "Information as of July 11, 2007." No part of it is consistent with the latest NIE.

Bush: Iran Remains Dangerous
Despite Halt to Nuke Weapons Program

Fox News December 04, 2007

"I think it is very important for the international community to recognize the fact that if Iran were to develop the knowledge that they could transfer to a clandestine program, it would create a danger for the world," Bush said. "And so I view this report as a warning signal. ... It's a warning signal because they could restart it."

Dark Suspicions about the NIE
Norman Podhoretz Commentary Magazine. com December 03, 2007

I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view....But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. 

Enemy Aided

Iran accuses US of nuclear espionage

Iran has sent a formal protest note to Washington for "spying" on Iran's nuclear activities, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday in the wake of the latest US report on the alleged Iranian weapons program.


Israel Prayer News Briefs:
Be informed and pray accordingly.

We seek to deal in the facts, not the propaganda and
to spit out as much rhetoric, bias and prejudice as possible;
to shine a light on the under-reported aspects; and to
then position ourselves before God to pray as He leads.

Praying in the Spirit with understanding of the times.
This will produce much more effective
Issachar prayer warriors for Israel.

–Donna Diorio

These collections of news stories are not just for the sake of information,
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