Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

YET MORE NIE STUFF....Again, just FYI, here are David Sanger and Steven Lee Myers in the New York Times providing a few more details about what the new intel was that led the intelligence community to conclude that Iran had halted its nuclear bomb program:

American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said on Wednesday.

The notes included conversations and deliberations in which some of the military officials complained bitterly about what they termed a decision by their superiors in late 2003 to shut down a complex engineering effort to design nuclear weapons, including a warhead that could fit atop Iranian missiles.

....Ultimately, the notes and deliberations were corroborated by other intelligence, the officials said, including intercepted conversations among Iranian officials, collected in recent months. It is not clear if those conversations involved the same officers and others whose deliberations were recounted in the notes, or if they included their superiors.

There's a bit more later in the story about how this all fits in with the infamous laptop that we captured in 2004.

Kevin Drum 1:38 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Traitors! Send the entire NYT staff to Gitmo for revealing sources and methods. Don't they know that these people are trying to kill my family?

Posted by: skeptic on December 6, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Traitors! Send the entire NYT staff to Gitmo for revealing sources and methods. Don't they know that these people are trying to kill my family?

Oh please, Osama was Saudi born and the main reason behind the attacks was to get US troops out of Saudi.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on December 6, 2007 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

(via Larry Johnson at No Quarter)

"The news that Iran ended its nuclear program in 2003 was briefed to George Bush in the Presidential Daily Brief. He has known about this, I am told, for at least one year. George Bush is lying when he insists he had no inkling, until last week, that the intelligence community believed Iran halted its nuke program in 2003."

Larry Johnson went through CIA training with Valerie Plame Wilson about 20 years ago. His blog has been a valuable resource in keeping track of the traitors in the Bush administration who disclosed the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, so I believe his statement that someone in U.S. intelligence told him that Bush has known for about a year that Iran suspended their nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Plus, this information also coincides with all the reports that the Bush/Cheney administration has been sitting on this NIE for a year, especially with this NIEs "high confidence" finding that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

And what was the corrupt Bush/Cheney administration doing during this year that they sat on this revelatory NIE? They shifted military assets of ours into the Persian Gulf, ramping up war preparations against Iran, while at the same time on the homefront, they ramped up their war rhetoric, claiming what a serious nuclear threat Iran represented to the United States. (Following the same propaganda and war preparations pattern that Bush/Cheney used against Iraq prior to March 2003).

Luckily, some courageous intelligence analysts this time around stood up to the lameduck chickenhawk war fanatics in the Bush administration and stuck to their guns, and their integrity, because the last thing we need (and our nation's children need) is another crazed war started by neo-con nuts in the Bush administration.

Posted by: The Oracle on December 6, 2007 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

still not convinced that Iran doesn't have enough counterintel to fake it with shadow meetings.

Posted by: James on December 6, 2007 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, James. And the preznits declared biggest threat -- "developing nuke-yulr weapons", "WWIII" -- hasn't been under the tightest, most complete surveyance and intelligence gathering and interpretation these last 3 years.

1) I don't think the whole intel community put their collective head on the block just to spite the preznit. There's no reason to assume they are any less of a patriot than any neocon, or that they don't have pride in their professional product. 2) I don't think the intel community is sitting around saying "Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. It fool me. We can't get fooled again. Heh, heh, heh."

And it doesn't matter so much. It's probably better for all of us if it stops psychochenee starting another war.

Posted by: notthere on December 6, 2007 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

[OT]: A recent topic revisited, reviewing the finer points of functional democracies:

Venezuala Is Not Florida
By Mark Weisbrot

Last Monday, with less than 90 percent of the vote counted and the opposition leading by just 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, President Chavez congratulated his opponents on their victory. They had defeated his proposed constitutional reforms, including the abolition of term limits for the presidency.

No one should have been surprised by Chavez's immediate concession: Venezuela is a constitutional democracy, and its government has stuck to the democratic rules of the game since he was first elected in 1998. Despite the non-renewal of the broadcast license for a major TV station in May - one that wouldn't have gotten a license in any democratic country - Venezuela still has the most oppositional media in the hemisphere.

But the US media has managed to convey the impression to most Americans Venezuela is some sort of dictatorship or near-dictatorship. ...

One reason Chavez could be confident of the vote count is Venezuela has a very secure voting system. This is very different from the United States, where millions of citizens cast electronic votes with no paper record. Venezuelan voters mark their choice on a touch-screen machine, which then records the vote and prints out a paper receipt for the voter. The voter then deposits the vote in a ballot box. An extremely large random sample - about 54 percent - of the paper ballots are counted and compared with the electronic tally. ...

Posted by: Poilu on December 6, 2007 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

The neocons question the new NIE, which threatens their dreams of realizing both Armageddon and profit before they die and go to Hell. Those of us who questioned previous "intelligence" products that served the neocon conspiracy must be excused for observing that the shoe is now on the other foot, and that foot is in the mouth--it's time for them to shut up.

Here's why. If they support this country's security interests and its troops, they should recognize that their whining and threats constitute pressure to reveal how the intelligence underpinning the NIE consensus was gathered and analyzed. The NIE places our intelligence community within the reality described by the UN and our allies.

If the PNAC crew and the neocon sect continue to object to the NIE, they are essentially demanding that the intelligence community produce evidence that would be better left concealed or that it simply return to being wrong.

Posted by: Boolaboola on December 6, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

No doubt Valeria Plame would of, could of & should of had some input on the NIE
She was Working on nuclear proliferation in Iran.


Posted by: apeman on December 6, 2007 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

For the tinfoil hat group: we have to remember that Iran got us to depose Hussein for them, place the Shiite's in charge of their neighbor, and make Iran that much more of the real authority in the region.

They are either very smart, or we have been very dumb, or both!

Who knows, maybe they are playing us once again.

Also, truly, consider how few people know the wondrous dish known as fesenjan. If the Iranians were as dumb as is claimed, would fesenjan even exist? Or would it be a common every day dish, thus raising the costs of pomegranates beyond thought?

We are dealing with a wiley enemy.

Posted by: jerry on December 6, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Once paranoia became policy the only logical course became genocide because as James points out, the Iranians could have been lying. The whole world could be faking it. The French, Chinese, Germans, Mexicans, Senegalese, Pitcairn Islanders ... Ohioans ... everyone could be building nukes.

Exterminate the brutes.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on December 6, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Wake up. Iran was intended to distract the country's attention from the Iraq mess. It was never real.

Posted by: steve on December 6, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Mitch McConnell released the NIE because he was tired of saying NIE, and from now on, prefers to say "ecky ecky ecky z'baang zooboing". And also because he has grown tired of Shrubbery.

Posted by: joel hanes on December 6, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Honestly, the mention of "notes" bothered me, too. Who knows, maybe it's a misdirection. Let's hope so.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on December 6, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK


Then again, maybe "notes" was put in there as a cover. Maybe there were no notes.

If the Intelligence community is working properly and providing actual intelligence, instead of the answers Cheney wants, then I'm willing to trust them on what they want to leak.

Posted by: tomeck on December 6, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Cheney concluded we were too involved in Iraq and a deteriorating Afghan situation to open a third front at this time, so changed the intelligence around to make Bush appear more moderate and diplomatic. We can always reverse the intelligence when it is time to attack Iran.

Posted by: Luther on December 6, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

>"Wake up. Iran was intended to distract the country's attention from the Iraq mess. It was never real."

Not so. Iraq had already been rendered impotent as a military threat ot Israeli interests by Gulf War I.

Iran was the #1 target of Israel/PNAC... but Bush wanted Iraq first, I believe mostly because it was a 'easier' target (politically and militarily)... and the Israelis let him proceed.

Iran, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia was the original sequence.

Posted by: Buford on December 6, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, the MSM propaganda is flying fast and furious here of late.

Iran had an actual "nuclear bomb program"?? Do tell, Kevin:

Iran Intelligence Report: More Psychological Warfare?
By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Under the current administration, it is increasingly difficult to know who the enemy is, but what is certain is that the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is a brilliantly executed psychological warfare by way of misinformation. This dastardly plan is so devious that even the anti-war groups are jubilant at its release, and they are naively sharing its contents. ...

The NIE claims that "Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003". This report now in circulation, and being repeated by every media outlet, and as importantly, by way of word of mouth, is giving credibility to the warmongers that Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, with the idea that "repetition begets belief". Drumming home a false message, the White House will get the justification it needs to impose further sanctions, with the idea of escalating into a war. ...

[I'm particularly piqued by the incidental pun in the above, "Drumming home a false message", which so fits Kevin's repeated spin on these intelligence report "findings".]

Posted by: Poilu on December 6, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK
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