The Senate and the Iran NIE

Ph2007120602488 "Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.

The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago. It reflects how quickly the NIE has become politicized, with critics even going after the analysts who wrote it, and shows a split among Republicans."  Wright and Kessler in the WaPo


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.

It is no wonder that the AEI crowd and their congressional helpmates are running around with their hair on fire over this estimate.  In sharp contrast to the ease with which the neocon Jacobins were able to control the content of the October 2002 NIE on Iraq, this time they failed utterly to use a national intelligence estimate as a propaganda tool.

Hearings? Good!  Let there be hearings!  Let there be many hearings!  The more the better and let them be public hearings.  Bring them on!.  pl

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55 Responses to The Senate and the Iran NIE

  1. Walrus says:

    If this Neocon witch hunt succeeds in cowing public servants, then you have lost your Republic.
    But then bullies like Cheney and his ilk are cowards at heart (remember all those deferments?). My guess is that the Neocons will fail.

  2. jonst says:

    and let all who testify do so under oath.

  3. lina says:

    The Senate Republicans want to investigate the new NIE? Sure they do. Their 2008 fear-fear-fear campaign slogan just got taken away from them. What else can they do?
    I am heartened to hear there are still career people on the inside of this government willing to accept the consequences of doing the right thing.

  4. Mad Dogs says:

    Hearings – yayyyyyy!
    I’ll bring the popcorn.
    Roasting neocons slowly over a campfire under a full moon of howling Republicans. Sometimes the gods bless us.

  5. psd says:

    This has been the best news since November 1999. The idea that “‘intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary’ if the document’s gist were not given to the public” has given me new faith in our republic….
    As for hearings, yes, yes, yes! Long overdue. Let the fun begin……..

  6. Michael says:

    I find it very interesting that the analysts are taking a stand and getting this information out to the public. Thank goodness someone is standing up and saying, “no more”.

  7. rjj says:

    “backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment…”
    God damn it! They consistently debase the term conservative. I believe it is deliberate.
    The backlash from conservatives is against the “effing crazies” of the rogue regime.

  8. Binh says:

    Saw your reply in the other thread on this. This is my take:
    I agree with you that an attack over the nuclear issue is much more politically difficult now. The question is: what about the “terrorist” Revolutionary Guards that are supposedly sending EFPs (or teaching Iraqis how to make them) that are killing our troops? Won’t the admin now lean towards that as the pre-text for war? If Iran retaliates to a strike on the Guards’ HQ, won’t they be able to take out the nuclear targets in the second round?

  9. arbogast says:

    I have changed my mind about why Bush released the report.
    Yes, I agree that both the professional intelligence community and the armed forces have had enough. And I believe that is real, honest to God, man bites dog news.
    But I think that the real reason this has blown up now (recall that Bush has written a personal letter to the North Korean dictator asking him politely for cooperation) is the coming intersection between the financial world and the military world.
    The financial world is melting down. For a decade, debt has been wealth in the US. Now, suddenly, it is debt.
    George knows this. He is scared silly, and he’s trying to find a piece of dry land to stand on.

  10. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Instead of a so-called “Congressional Commission” why don’t the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence just do their job of oversight? There should have been a lot of serious, not faux, hearings since the summer of 2002 and there should be many more now.
    Raimundo seems to have some of the politics nailed:
    “Israel’s lobby in the US is “scrambling,” as Ron Kampeas puts it in the Jewish Exponent, to defend the draconian sanctions imposed on Iran for its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. With a war-weary America unlikely to respond favorably to the news that President Bush has ordered an attack on Iran, the War Party has had to content itself with preparing the ground for a future conflict, including a campaign to isolate Tehran economically, diplomatically, and politically. Now, however, as Kampeas reports,
    “The NIE is being held up by Congress, the presidential candidates and the media as an argument for tamping down isolation of the Islamic Republic rather than a vindication of earlier warnings that Iran indeed was pursuing a bomb. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations organized an emergency conference call of members on Tuesday to address how the news could threaten its recent campaign to isolate Iran.”
    The “Jewish Exponent” says:
    “The release of a U.S. intelligence report stating that Iran abandoned its nuclear-weapons program in 2003 has American Jewish groups scrambling to head off efforts to end the international isolation of the Islamic Republic. …”
    So perhaps these investigations and hearings should broaden out to include the pro-Israel lobby of Jewish and Christian Zionist groups. The Judiciary Committee might wish to hold a hearing on whether these organizations should be registered as “foreign agents” with the Department of Justice.
    And what about that AIPAC espionage/counterintelligence case relating to Iran. The Franklin case and offshoots. Shouldn’t we have a hearings on it for good measure?
    Hearings should be conducted on an “open” rather than “closed” Executive Session basis, where possible, so the public and press have full access. Sensitive sources and methods issues can be dealt with appropriately in Executive Session as needed.

  11. Grumpy says:

    Sir, Just a short and simple thought. I hope these hearings will only accept THE TRUTH. A TRUE statement is NOT THE TRUTH!

  12. Smedley Valet says:

    So, are we going to have a witch hunt of the sane people still left in the Pentagon with this proposed “review”? There is time to do this but not enough time to impeach Cheney? Give me a break! The ones that need to be purged are the ‘crazies’.

  13. joe abbott says:

    It is so refreshing to hear someone with impecable military/intel credentials tell it like it is. As an attorney who loves human history and freedom I hope to live long enough to read some definitive works on how our present administration bungled the response to a new form of warfare and misled our country into a misguided war. Today, even liberals and opponents of the administration are constantly heard to say, “everybody thought he had WMD”. I did not think that.
    I believed Scott Ritter and others who said there were no weapons, at least no useful ones and no programs to make such weapons. I told friends and anyone who would listen that they must have a mole high-up who is telling them where the WMD is. As it turned out the mole was telling the CIA there were no such weapons. Ah well, I could go on and on. The big shock to me is that there appears to be no stomach for impeachment.

  14. StephanieB says:

    Let’s not forget who among presidential contenders repeatedly insisted Iran served no threat to our security and we had no business in launching a preemptive strike against Iran. Congressman Ron Paul is the voice of reason in the GOP debates as well as in Congress.

  15. John Forde says:

    What patriots they are!
    (you too, Colonel Lang)

  16. Jose says:

    Just hope the hearing also cover the Iraqi NIE.
    I mean we should know why so many mistakes were made, why Powell had to look like an idiot and most importantly who forged the Italian documents.
    Can’t wait to see them under oath.

  17. Jim Faith says:

    George knows this. He is scared silly, and he’s trying to find a piece of dry land to stand on.
    arbogast – that’s why he bought 98K acres in Paraguay in 2006 …

  18. rakesh wahi md says:

    I dont see any purpose served by the CIA. The abuses started by Angelton are continuing. The agency has not been right about a single major issue that I can remember. Any one who can read the international press and is familiar with the NPT could have predicted this NIE. The country does not need to spend billions to figure out that a country like Iran , with its current state of development is not a threat to Israel certainly not to us(US). The information provided by CIA can be just as well gleaned by reading the local press and meeting people. The covert operations have only brought ignominy to the country.

  19. J says:

    now that the cat, er ‘no nuclear weapons’ is out of the bag — the next item to be brought to the table — the bushies missile shield that they purport will protect us from the big bad nuclear weaponed iranians. snarf.

  20. JohnH says:

    The neoconderthals’ call for hearings brought back images of the the McCarthy hearings/witch hunt, which occurred in very similar circumstances.
    Thank goodness the War Party no longer controls Congress.
    Let’s hope that spineless Democrats will at least drag the demands for a witch hunt out until after the next elections. AIPAC will not make their lives easy.

  21. FMJ says:

    If I read the WaPo article correctly, it looks like the Republicans are getting ready to ‘Team B’ the Iran NIE. They’ll cherry-pick, assume deception and ‘fill in the unknowns’ (as Rumsfeld would say) until the intelligence fits their preconceived conclusion: Iran is a gathering nuclear threat. Depending on how effictive the Team B propaganda is (six months from now, if I read the article right), the Bush/Cheney plan for Iran may still be in the cards.

  22. Charles I says:

    Here we are burbling away that the koolaid seems to be wearing off, alarums in various Quarters the measure of how fecund current conditions are.
    My first thought was Jonst’s: Under oath, please. The only fellow who got jailed in Iran contra, and who is on station in the Fog of War today, is -+Elliot Abrahams, who went for perjury – for lying about the crimes he wasn’t prosecuted for. Half a loaf.
    Clifford pretty well sketched out the rest; comprehensive compulsory hearings in public by the Congress. I must say though, my conception of that is redolent of latent impeachment.
    You gotta say, enough with the handoff to some commissioner, what a dodge, or if you get them there, (Will that be Sworn or Unsworn seating?) “I really don’t recall” . Wtf is that!?
    Its gotta be We the Elected, if we ever want to be elected again, Command you to get the fuck over here right now with all your records and computer codes, and, we’ll take custody of your records while you appeal to the Supremes, that’s what those Marshals there are for, because you have proven you can’t even keep a few million emails.
    (Here in Canada we have scandal involving cash to a former PM where the big Committee witness has just been sprung from immigration detention pending deportation for a criminal trial – by an actual Warrant, calligraphy and all, issued by the Speaker of the Parliament of Canada. And the Speaker, acted on the command of our relevant, well, sort of relevant, it is politics, of a Committee chaired by a member of the opposition in a minority government. Until this point, the Federal Justice Minister claimed himself powerless to defer deportation of a a prisoner – a Canadian citizen – in federal custody. Our Hero is now out on bail, deportation off, back at home with his wife and his archives. Better yet, villain of the piece former PM Brian Mulroney is on for next week – under oath.)
    For nine million reason’s not all those things will be addressed. You’re in the middle of the war, financial house of cards, institutional and infrastructural decay endemic, and the really big electoral dough and noise have yet to fully work their corrosive effects. .
    Election + War + Fox + banana peels = anything could happen. A huge thing has to be done – it has to be. But it won’t be done until a whole societal tipping point had been reached, an admission that we gotta do this, and a confidence that it can be done, because these buggers are pros. It has to become safe, and then required, to finally say, not “the King is naked . . . ” but rather “That naked man is not the king. Marshal, take him away while we sort this mess out. And Marshal, now is the time we must cleave to our Laws, our Oaths and our Duties. . .

  23. Steve J. says:

    I’d like to congratulate the intelligence professsionals fortheir willingness to put America first instead of their careers.

  24. Arun says:

    May the backbone displayed by intelligence career seniors percolate into Congress!

  25. condfusedponderer says:

    After a lot of relief and glee I am getting second thoughts.
    The Whitehouse and VP crowd managed to delay the NIE for at least 10 months it is said. I don’t buy the ‘intelligence went rogue on Bush’ nonsense you get to hear from Pod-man and Bolton. Had they done that, there would heads be rolling, after all Bush’s is the message control administration. I think the administration chose to release the NIE, despite their well known dislike and resistance to it’s content.
    Now that can’t be all of it then. The NIE hurts the Bush policy towards Iran, and indeed, kudos to the intelligence folks to get that far. I am unconvinced that the pressure from the intelligence community was so great they had to concede. The Bushies wouldn’t willingly hurt themselves, unless if it were to pre-empt something worse. What said Condi? This is a moment of crisis, but crisis bears within it opportunity.
    There will be the IAEA report on Iran coming out soon. It will most certainly say much less than the NIE. They will probably say they can’t find any evidence for a nuclear weapons program.
    Interesting to compare the NIE and what Hadley said in his presser. First the NIE:

    We use phrases such as we judge, we assess, and we estimate—and probabilistic terms such as probably and likely—to convey analytical assessments and judgments. Such statements are not facts, proof, or knowledge. These assessments and judgments generally are based on collected information, which often is incomplete or fragmentary. Some assessments are built on previous judgments. In all cases, assessments and judgments are not intended to imply that we have “proof” that shows something to be a fact or that definitively links two items or issues.

    High confidence generally indicates that our judgments are based on high-quality information, and/or that the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A “high confidence” judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and such judgments still carry a risk of being wrong.

    We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.
    For the purposes of this Estimate, by “nuclear weapons program” we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work

    and now ‘Uranium from Niger’-Hadley

    The National Intelligence Estimate released today reveals that there was a covert nuclear weapons program. It also reveals that, unknown to us, that program was halted in the fall of 2003. So the covert nuclear weapons program was unknown to us, suspected, unknown; now confirmed.

    That is quite a leap. The likely possibility for the spooks is the factual certainty for the kooks.
    The kooks will probably react on the IAEA report by pointing to the NIE, and say that the NIE ‘proves there was one’ and say the IAEA report is wrong, and they the IAEA is an apologist for Iran or some other nonsense.
    I think they published the NIE now to be the first one on message on this. They might just be pulling a fast one here.

  26. b says:

    The main new thing the NIE introduces is its conclusion that Iran had a nuclear weapon program.
    This is based on some “intelligence” mostly related to the famous Laptop which to me looks as real as the Niger papers.
    The IAEA has found NO evidence for an Iranian nuclear weapon program. This was emphazised again by an IAEA top guy after the NIE went public.
    All open issues the IAEA discussed and is discussing with Iran can be explained by Iran’s work on a civil nuclear program.
    The Russians have said they have no knowledge of any Iranian nuclear weapon program.
    Iran has said and said again after the NIE went public that it had and has no nuclear weapon program.
    This new “fact” that the NIE introduced and that got swallowed hock line and sinker by the U.S. media is the real issue.
    -start speculation-
    Could there have been a deal where the White House finally agreed to publish “Iran has no current nuke program” only when the NIE included “Iran had a nuke program”?
    -end speculation-

  27. Bobo says:

    Hearings, yes and bring the Neocons on.
    Now was this Video Tape Trashing by Rodriquez story,a hero among the CIA crowd, a little payback for those trying to get out of line??

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think US and Iran have made some progress on Iraq; about how to divide the spoils- so to speak.
    Both sides are preparing their populations for further announcements.
    Mr. Ahmadinejad, after his election, broke the internal Iranian taboo of openly communicating with US.
    Mr. Bush, having achieved a phyrric victory by taking Iran to UNSC, started to back pedal; just like the North Korean case. For in both cases the policy was too costly to US since it ceded power to other states with little discernible benefits (in my opinion).
    Simultaneously, Mr. Putin, determining that he was not going to have his concerns addressed by US & NATO on space weapons, anti-missile systems, etc. played his Iran card and made a strategic deal with Iran. The parameters of this strategic deal between Iran & Russia are at the present time unknown to me.
    In the meanttime, Iran and US came to an agreement that enabled US to start withdrawing her troops from Iraq.
    The NIE gave Mr. Bush a fig-leaf to cover his policy changes on Iran.
    Likewise Mr. Ahmadinejad, can claim a victory against the Great Satan and thus publicly negogiate further with US.
    Mr. Putin also can feel that he has purchased a strategic alliance on the cheap.
    And the Chinese are content that they have to do nothing to remain in good graces with US, Iran, Russia, EU or anyone else. All the time calculating how much oil they can get from Iran for how long and how much they can entrench themselves there.
    The loosers are EU states (and they had been warned repeatedly of this possibility by various Iranian officials since 2003) and India.
    The biggest loosers of all was India, Mr. Singh, and the Congress Party. For they severly damged their strategic understanding with Iran on the basis of US promisory notes. And they have nothing to show for their political expenditures. In fact, I venture to say that the US-Iranian relationship will be improved faster than Iran-India relationship – in my opinion. We have to wait for a non-Congress government in India before the process can resume.
    I think the Arab states of the Persian Gulf have come out well. They managed their relationship with Iran and US quite admirably. Clearly the leadership of these states is not the same as the “fuck-parties” of 1970s.

  29. J. Rega says:

    I doubt anything will come of this, even though I fervently hope the opposite. Fortuitous positioning of Aipac fifth columnists like Waxman, Ackerman, Lieberman, Schumer, and “I am a Zionist” Biden preclude anything other than coordinated harrumphing, foot dragging misdirection. As proof I offer the fact that as of now the NIE news is already being eclipsed by bipartisan furor over the CIA videotape matter.

  30. DeLudendwarf says:

    Speaking of Kool-Aid, General Batiste trots out “The Long War” Power Point, the “Greatest Generation”, and the Iran threat in an op-ed in Pravda on the Potomac today.
    Batiste might have been a strategic whiz at West Point, but he must have slept through introductory economics. Guns have got to be paid for in money at some point. Just like butter.
    With respect to the Long War and the Greatest Generation, at this time in their Long War, the Greatest Generation was safe back home, making babies.

  31. Ardie says:

    We can also speculate that Condi, whose foreign policy views seem to be opposed to those of Cheney’s, may have been behind this. This, of course, presupposes a divided Bush Administration. It can’t be ruled out.

  32. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Bolton wants to begin a fight?
    No better place than a congressional hearing — it’s like a dream come true. I say pull out the constitutional knife. No reason for hesitation. Annuit Coeptis! “He approves the things that have begun!”

  33. Chris says:

    The big lies were disarmed, but the underlying sanctions are still in place.
    The sanctions did nothing, but the NIE can now be used to claim they did.
    Sanctions are not in place for any reason other than trying to channel business back to Western interests from our perspective, or steer all money China’s way from that of our benefactor.
    Bush needs budget money he doesn’t have, giving tax breaks to billionaires.
    So he borrows from China and takes their orders re:Persia and the Mid East.
    China says no bomb Iran. We listen dutifully.
    The extent to which we would lift sanctions depends on the amount of business Iran secures with the Halliburton portfolio’s subsidiary umbrella.
    Otherwise, stay the course so China has market entry ahead of the West. Ideally, Cheney gets both. Iran oil flows East, Western markets spike energy costs for the domestic donors to profit the most in Houston’s oil belt.
    China is happy and gets its boom fuel, old money interests in the West retain their top dog status on the oil spigot profit margins, and Halliburton channels illegal transactions through the Dubai doorway.
    Win-win-win for Cheney. Unless China recognizes that nuclear development in Iran means they can garner greater shares of oil to accelerate their own macroeconomic development. Past long term deals for oil they’ll open the door for Iran.
    That gets in the way of our overall aims within Persia. We want China’s money but other actors in the region want to rid Iran its development. Israel fears a military match in the region, Arabia fears losing influence over OPEC in post peak energy years. Both countries work closely with the US to shape various ends in policy worldwide.
    Sanctions are being used for regime change.
    Sy Hersh interviewing Ritter:

    “They drafted a Chapter 7 resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for the disarmament of Iraq and saying in Paragraph 14 that if Iraq complies, sanctions will be lifted. Within months of this resolution being passed–and the United States drafted and voted in favor of this resolution–within months, the President, George Herbert Walker Bush, and his Secretary of State, James Baker, are saying publicly, not privately, publicly that even if Iraq complies with its obligation to disarm, economic sanctions will be maintained until which time Saddam Hussein is removed from power.
    That is proof positive that disarmament was only useful insofar as it contained through the maintenance of sanctions and facilitated regime change. It was never about disarmament, it was never about getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. It started with George Herbert Walker Bush, and it was a policy continued through eight years of the Clinton presidency, and then brought us to this current disastrous course of action under the current Bush Administration.”

  34. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The plot thickens:
    1.The New Republic dutifully prints,
    “The sense of betrayal within the Israeli security system is deep. After all, Israel’s great achievement in its struggle against Iran was in convincing the international community that the nuclear threat was real; now that victory has been undone–not by Russia or the European Union, but by Israel’s closest ally….”
    Yossi Klein Halevi is a contributing editor of The New Republic and a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.
    Per Shalem Center:
    “2006 Natan Sharansky leaves political life to establish the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, where he is joined by former IDF chief-of-staff Moshe Ya’alon and by Prof. Martin Kramer. Their aim is to develop the strategies needed by Israel and the West.”
    Shalem Board includes US Neocons like William Kristol and etc
    2.”Faced with the inconvenient assessment that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program, GOP Senators are running an old game plan: create a commission that will treat the truth and a lie as equal possibilities. However, Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, is unequivocally standing by the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran…”
    The politics are such that we are not confronting a merry little band of weirdo Neocon intellectuals on this. The full weight of the Zionist lobby is apparently being mobilized. The same organizations who called for the Iraq War are at it again per Iran, for example the very powerful “Conference of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations”. (see their website).

  35. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You misunderstand the signficance of the NIE. Such documents establish the official truth of the US government. pl

  36. SAC Brat says:

    What is the sticking point with normalizing relations with Iran? Is it as basic as needing a bad guy for the US administration to point to after running out of Native Americans, Spaniards, Nazis and Communists?
    I see a lot of parallels between Iran and the People’s Republic of China. Both ran the US backed group out of the country, both supported the opposing groups in several conflicts, both have nuclear programs. Is Washington afraid the Iranians will be better lobbyists than the current influencers running around the capital?

  37. b says:

    You misunderstand the signficance of the NIE. Such documents establish the official truth of the US government. pl
    Pat, I understand the NIE is the “official truth” for the U.S. government.
    But the “official truth” has only a slight relationship with the Truth.
    Saddam’s non existing WMDs were “official truth” too.
    “We don’t torture” is “offical truth” too. That’s why co-conspirator Pelosi took impeachment “off the table”.
    Just because something is in an NIE, which was a political football for over a year, doesn’t make it Truth at all.

  38. veracity says:

    COWARDLY, AIPAC-infested Democrats FORCE CAREER Intel pros to RISK PRISON to inform America of Bush’s “IRAN nuclear program” LIES…
    ONCE AGAIN, the COWARDLY Democrats ALLOW the Bush administration and neo-con media hawks who infest (and control) America’s “major media” to CONTROL the American media NARRATIVE….
    …. thereby FORCING career intelligence agency professionals to RISK PRISON, to inform Americans that the neo-con/White House push to BOMB IRAN, based on Iran’s alleged nuclear bomb, HAS BEEN AN ONGOING LIE.
    NANCY PELOSI IS A DISGRACE, for pretending that she and the Democrats have NO, ZERO, NONE obligation to CONFRONT and COUNTER that LYING neo-con, Bush White House narrative.
    The Democrats, following the example of uber-war hawk Joe Lieberman, keep pretending that the administration has every right to produce any fanciful, imaginary facts they want to justify their next war, as the legitimate products of America’s multi-trillion dollar defense/intel/counter-terror/national security establishement.
    IF NOT FOR the courageous Intel pros behind the release of the December 2007 NIE, GEORGE BUSH WOULD STILL be talking about “IRAN’s Nuclear Weapons program” – and NANCY PELOSI WOULD STILL be writing BLANK CHECKS to the corrupt, war-mongering president.
    (Which, even WITH the NIE report documenting that the president is a Liar, the White House and Nancy Pelosi’s Congress are STILL doing.)
    NANCY, JUST FOR THE HISTORICAL RECORD, would you please publish or pod-cast that OATH OF OFFICE you apparently GAVE TO AIPAC for us, the oath that is clearly more important to you than that other oath you took to “preserve and defend the Constitution of the United Staes”?

  39. Behind the NIE

    BEHIND THE NIE….I don’t know if you’d call this backlash or irony or something completely different, but can you guess at the ultimate source of last week’s NIE concluding that Iran halted work on its nuclear bomb program in 2003?…

  40. ed says:

    I’m getting sick of Israel pulling our strings and trying to get us to fight their battles for them. Whenever anyone points this out they’re labeled anti-semitic by the lap dogs under their control. We shouldn’t let them influence our foreign policy any more than some other country. By the way, how come no one ever mentions their nuclear weapons?

  41. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The significance of an NIE in this situation lies not in whether or not it is “true,” but in the fact that Bush can not attack Iran withut the sanction of such a document. pl

  42. Walrus says:

    rakesh wahi md:
    Your criticism of the CIA is unwarranted and misinformed.
    The best reputation an intelligence service can have is that it is a collection of bumbling fools.
    There is absolutely no way of knowing what the operational success record of the CIA really is. All we hear about is their occasional failures.
    As an old and very senior former spook was fond of saying to me : “Those that know don’t talk, and those that talk don’t know.”

  43. Ghost Commander says:

    I salute the “SPOOKS” for coming to the aid of their country. They should not rest on their laurels over this–there is more to reveal about the Bush/Cheney Fascist, Criminal Enterprise. Good men and women should always put their Country first. Cheers !

  44. Marcos says:

    W. Patrick is mostly correct. The greatest import is that there will be no first strike against Iran under Bush. There are other quite significant threads however, not the least of which is that Iran really does pose a nuclear threat to the world.
    That being said, it is a relief that the military option has been taken out of the neocons’ hands. It is a grave misfortune that diplomacy and sanctions will be much more difficult because of how the NIE has given away Bush and Cheney’s lies, but nevertheless that is the way forward.
    Bolton is complaining that the NIE represents a quasi-putsch, and in a sense he is right. I tend to see it more as institutional push back from Americans that put the well being of the country above loyalty to an administration that has done great damage to us as a nation. The pay back factor, if any, is just frosting on the cake.
    Some of you might know that I am a Republican. Given that Ron Paul has very little chance, I’ve been thinking about what sort of Democratic dream team could best handle these international challenges. I’m thinking Clinton/Obama with Richardson as Secretary of State, and Gates staying on as SecDef.
    As much as I might loathe Hillary on domestic issues, I think she would be strong on the international stage. I hate that she is a liberal, but I respect her mettle.

  45. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The plot thickens more, AFP wire story:
    ….”But Admiral William Fallon, the head of the US Central Command, complained in a newspaper interview that incessant press speculation about military action was harming efforts to bring Iran onto a more positive path.
    “It’s a fundamental reversal of civil-military relations, and intelligence and political relationships, that were obvious in 2002,” said Ray Takeyh, an expert on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations.
    He said the new intelligence assessment was “part of a larger narrative, namely how the formal institutions of government are now determined to resist the White House, which wasn’t the case in 2002.”
    Having spent over a decade on staff of the Senate of the United States, my take is what we are seeing is the institutions of our government (the intelligence community, military, etc.) challenging the Zionist Power and the politicians allied to it whether in the White House or in the Congress.
    The Zionist Power has as its cutting edge two main organizations: the “Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations” which traditionally targets the White House and AIPAC which targets Congress. To monitor their activities and personnel simply see their websites. One might say, as H.G. Wells did, it is something of an “open conspiracy.”
    Two other organizations exert undue influence in Washington, particularly on Captitol Hill: the “Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs” (JINSA) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). To monitor their activities and personnel see their websites.
    On the Christian Zionist front, the Southern Baptist Convention is probably the leading power. And there is Hagee and all the rest.
    The Senate committees with jurisdiction in the Iraq-Iran etc. matter are: Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Intelligence, and Judiciary. It is their Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over the Executive Branch. In case folks have forgotten, we have a Republic in which there is a “separation of powers” between three co-equal branches: Congress, Executive, Judicial. Contrary to the fascists lurking inside the Beltway, the founding fathers did not intend a Prsidential dictatorship, which is why we have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    Seems to me we are watching the mobilization of a political lobby composed of Jewish and Christian Zionists linked to a foreign power against the institutions of our government.
    One institutional response is certainly in the counterintelligence area…

  46. david says:

    And Iran signs a 2b deal with Sinopec to develop Yadavaran. Small potatoes, but sanctions are in jeopardy as well, especially if the European biggies get serious about following suit.
    Anyone got a better weather vein?

  47. Trent says:

    Walrus, he was quoting the Lao-tzu. Are you confident their success rate was high? Just curious, not begging the question.

  48. Tyler says:

    I find its somewhat telling that America’s democracy hangs in the balance, the outcome hinging on who wins this shadow war that’s apparently being fought.
    Honestly, I don’t think American democracy can survive another war on the scale of Iraq, which Iran promises to be at least a double dose of.
    There’s also the fact that America is rapidly and openly breaking its promises to take care of returning veterans, and feeding into the negative stereotype of the “crazy vet” no one wants to hire.
    When people point out that America is following the same path Hitler’s Germany did, I’d like to think we haven’t quite hit that stage yet. Right now, it seems more like we’re at the Freikorps level. Wait in five years and let’s see if you have former soldiers battling the government in the street.

  49. Martin K says:

    Clifford Kiracofe: While I agree with you in principle on the problems of AIPAC, could we agree on some other term than “jewish” to describe the AIPAC-lobby? Over here in Europe, the use of that term has some hardcore connotations when used in political discussion. Israeli? Hasidic? Etc. Thanx 😉

  50. Rumblings in the Intelligence Community

  51. Just Me says:

    Doesn’t this article tend to support the Norman Podhoretz contention, which Mr. Yglesias commented on a day or two ago, that the release of this report was a plot by intelligence operatives to undermine the Bush administrations’ Iran policy? Mr. Yglesias and many of the commentors called Mr. Podhoretz a nutcase at that time. Apparently, in the Yglesias world, Mr. Podhoretz is a nutcase but Mr. Lang is a reputable commentator.
    Posted by SLC | December 9, 2007 11:33 AM

    Uh, no. It substantiates the idea that there was a “plot” to tell the truth about the regime’s Iran policy. Unlike the chickenhawk neocon draft-dodging armchair warriors like Podhoretz, Cheney and Bush, these people were apparently willing to sacrifice their careers, their freedom, and possibly their lives to get the truth out. In other words, they were patriots. But you don’t really understand the meaning of that term, do you?

  52. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    In light of the new NIE, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should hold hearings on Iran and US energy requirements. A policy review should be included that takes into account the policies of the GHW Bush and Clinton Administrations.
    Seems US companies are missing out on some substantial business. Hence, American jobs and energy security are impacted. The price of an “ideological” foreign policy…or narcissistic geopolitics…or or both. The policy is most emphatically NOT solely that of the present demented Decider.
    The “dual containment” of Iraq and Iran was set into place during the CLINTON Administration which kept the illegal GHW Bush “no fly zones” imposed on Iraq (by the US, Brits, and French) and dropped some ordnance in operations like Desert Fox (1998). Under Zionist Lobby pressure, Congress and the Administration forbade American companies to become involved in hydrocarbon development in those countries and US businesses lost substantial contracts.
    For example, take the billion dollar Conoco-Iran deal of 1994. “WASHINGTON (AP) _ Intervening in a politically charged business deal, President Clinton killed an American oil company’s $1 billion oil contract with Iran, accusing Tehran of terrorism and undermining Mideast peace.
    Clinton’s action delivered the death blow Tuesday to a Conoco deal that already was crumbling under pressure from powerful stockholders and sharp criticism from the administration and Capitol Hill.
    The White House said Clinton would issue an executive order in a matter of days to block the agreement, which had called for Conoco to develop a huge offshore oil field in the Persian Gulf.Senate Banking Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., a leading critic of the deal, praised Clinton’s action but said it did not go far enough. He called for a total and permanent trade ban, which he has proposed in a bill that will be considered by his committee Thursday.”
    So what? For starters in today’s press:
    “SHANGHAI: China’s biggest refiner, Sinopec, and Iran have signed a $2 billion agreement on developing the Yadavaran oil field, strengthening Beijing’s links with Tehran despite U.S. calls for sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.
    The long-awaited agreement signed Sunday in Tehran completes a 2004 memorandum of understanding for Sinopec, which is state-owned, to help develop the huge oil field.
    Iran’s oil minister, Gholam Hossein Nozari, praised the deal as a vindication of his country’s efforts to counter pressures to isolate the country over its nuclear program….”
    One can reasonably argue that it is not just the Decider/Cheney Regency who are incompetent, it is the overall US foreign policy establishment itself operating within BOTH political parties.

  53. Andy says:

    The significance of an NIE in this situation lies not in whether or not it is “true,” but in the fact that Bush can not attack Iran withut the sanction of such a document.

    I would also add that that “truth” is not an inherent purpose of an NIE. A primer from the NIE itself that too many seem to skip right past:

    We use phrases such as we judge, we assess, and we estimate—and probabilistic terms such as
    probably and likely—to convey analytical assessments and judgments. Such statements are not
    facts, proof, or knowledge. These assessments and judgments generally are based on collected
    information, which often is incomplete or fragmentary. Some assessments are built on previous
    judgments. In all cases, assessments and judgments are not intended to imply that we have
    “proof” that shows something to be a fact or that definitively links two items or issues.

    Additionally, one must realize these unclassified key judgments are NOT the NIE – they are the unclassified key judgments based on the NIE.

  54. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    <"some other term than "jewish" to describe the AIPAC-lobby?">
    Martin K,
    Over here we have what are known as “lobbies,” a 19th century term stemming from persons actually standing in the lobby outside either the House or Senate chamber promoting legislation and their interests. Some lobbies are “ethnic” lobbies such as the prominent Greek, Turkish, Armenian, and Jewish lobbies. So this is how it is politically on our side of the water.
    AIPAC is one of a number of powerful groups within the Jewish “ethnic lobby”/political influence group spectrum. Others are, for example, the influential and old American Jewish Committee, the very powerful Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League (of the B’nai B’rith), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. And of course you have the old European based Jewish Agency and the Jewish Telegraph Agency. All these have websites. Some organizations do use the term Jewish and some do not in their titles.
    Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have published their book “The Israel Lobby” which gives extensive background. I understand it will be published in a number of languages in Europe so Europeans should have a better idea of what the situation is over here.
    More specifically on AIPAC, a new book by Grant F. Smith entitled “Foreign Agents. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”(Washington DC: Institute for Reasearch Middle East Policy, 2007)clarifies some issues. For example, Smith shows that the origins of AIPAC go back to a previous “American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs” founded by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenon, who was a duly registered agent for the state of Israel. (Here foreign agents must register with the Department of Justice under the terms of the Foreign Agents Registration Act before lobbying Congress.)
    Kenon, the founder of AIPAC, was a registered foreign agent in 1947 with our Department of Justice as an agent of the American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel. From 1948 through 1951 he was registered as a foreign agent for Israel working with the “Israel Information Services.” He changed the name of his American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to AIPAC in 1959.
    Earlier books on the Jewish Lobby are also useful in understanding the political situation in the US. JJ Goldberg, “Jewish Power. Inside the American Jewish Establishment” (Reading MA:Addison Wesley,1996) and Edward Tivnan, “The Lobby. Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy” (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1987). These earlier books got rave reviews in the general press here….so how is it that the Mearsheimer and Walt book is supposedly SOOOO “controversial” a decade later when it rehashes considerable preexisting published data and intepretations?

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