Monday, December 03, 2007

US Intelligence Counters NeoCon Propaganda That Iran Is Building Nuclear Weapons

National Intelligence Estimate Concludes Iran Has Had No Viable Nuclear Weapons Program Since 2003

Cheney Stifled Release Of Report For More Than A Year

Four years ago, the cream of the United States intelligence agencies came to an understanding that Iran was, in fact, not working on nuclear weapons, and that it's nuclear energy program was, most certainly, peaceful.

More than a year ago, US Vice President, Dick Cheney, a key cheerleader in the "We Must Bomb Iran Now" NeoCon warpig pack, got his hands on the National Intelligence Assessment that declared Iran was nuclear weapons free, and would remain so for years to come, and he buried the report, while still going on TV and talking up the supposed threat posed by Iran's nuclear energy programs.

When President Bush talked about Iran and World War 3 in October, he already knew that his own intelligence community had found proof that Iran had built nuclear weapons, or was even getting close to beginning construction of nuclear weapons. All the same, he told the world :
"...I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon…"
Former US ambassador, John Bolton, has literally become a full-time spokesman for the 'Bomb Iran Now' crowd, along with Fox News and most of the Murdoch newspaper empire. The presumption that Iran is, right now, working on nuclear weapons falls from the mouths of news show hosts across American, British and Australian TV network not because this is what their own sources are telling them, but because this is what they see other media saying is going on in Iran.

In the light of the revelations from US intelligence, the opposition by Russia and China to further, harsher sanctions against Iran makes a lot more sense.

From the New York Times :
A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.

The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to reshape the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

Iran is continuing to produce enriched uranium, a program that the Tehran government has said is designed for civilian purposes. The new estimate says that enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade, a timetable essentially unchanged from previous estimates.

But the new estimate declares with “high confidence” that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003, and also says with high confidence that the halt “was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.”

Rather than painting Iran as a rogue, irrational nation determined to join the club of nations with the bomb, the estimate states Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”

The administration called new attention to the threat posed by Iran earlier this year when President Bush had suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III” and Vice President Dick Cheney promised “serious consequences” if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.

Yet at the same time officials were airing these dire warnings about the Iranian threat, analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency were secretly concluding that Iran’s nuclear weapons work halted years ago and that international pressure on the Islamic regime in Tehran was working.

The new report comes out just over five years after a deeply flawed N.I.E. concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program — an estimate that led to congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, although most of the report’s conclusions turned out to be wrong.

Intelligence officials said that the specter of the botched 2002 N.I.E. hung over their deliberations over the Iran assessment, leading them to treat the document with particular caution.

“We felt that we needed to scrub all the assessments and sources to make sure we weren’t misleading ourselves,” said one senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity."

Think Progress reported on November 8 that Vice President Dick Cheney had, successfully up until then, kept the National Intelligence Estimate under wraps because it did not present a vivid and active case for military action on Iran, and points out that the dispute around the NIE echoes the build up to the War On Iraq in 2002, with the White House stiffling dissent and putting pressure on intelligence analysts.

And this from Think Progress in November 2006 when the Iran NIE was first leaked :

On CNN, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh reported that a new CIA assessment concludes that “there’s no evidence Iran is doing anything that puts them close to a bomb.” Despite the intelligence agency’s conclusion, Hersh reports that the White House is still aggressively moving ahead with preparations for a military conflict with Iran.

As part of the White House’s preparations for Iran, Hersh says President Bush and Vice President Cheney are “stovepiping” intelligence and keeping information provided by the Israelis hidden from the CIA.

The Israelis are telling the White House, according to Hersh’s new article “The Next Act,” that they have a reliable agent inside Iran who reports that the nation is working on a trigger for a bomb. “Of course the people in the CIA want to know who [the agent] is, obviously,” Hersh said. “They certainly want to know what other evidence he has of actual making of a warhead. This is the internecine fight that’s going on — the same fight, by the way, that we had before Iraq.”

Seymour Hersh's New Yorker Story On How BushCo. Tried To Build The Case For War On Iran In 2006

UN Nuclear Watchdog Says Yes To Russia's Plan To Supply Iran With Nuclear Fuel

Iran's Navy Now Has Stealth-Capable Subs, Military Unveils Ballistic Missiles That Can Reach Israel, US Bases In Middle East

Bush Warned Of World War 3 Over Iranian Nukes That He Knew Did Not Exist