Monday, December 03, 2007

NIE: Iran shelved nuke arms program in 2003

This certainly is good news. I do have a couple of comments on it.

  1. Even this report admits that Iran is "keeping its options open," to use the New York Times' words.
  2. The 16 agencies behind the NIE "do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons." That's disturbing and to a certain extent negates the significance of their assessment that Iran shelved the program in 2003.
  3. Something else happened in the region in 2003 that just happened to lead to the dismantling of Libya's WMD programs. Hmmm.
  4. The report states that Iran could still produce a nuclear weapon as early as 2009-a not too distant date.
  5. If early in, say, an Obama or Clinton presidency, Iran were to announce that they have a nuclear weapon, the first inclination of the political left will be to blame Bush. If that were to occur, this report needs to be brought back into the light because it handcuffs the administration unless something else happens.
  6. I'll be curious to see if this report will be trumpeted by all of those who have brutalized U.S. intelligence agencies for much of the past 6 years. If so, what makes this intelligence so much more believable, other than it confirms their own beliefs?
  7. I hope it is just the cynic in me that wonders if this is a CYA job by the agencies behind the NIE. This isn't really a good time for them to be wrong as this report all but ensures that Iran will have the upper hand in diplomacy at least until a new president is sworn in because it effectively removes the use of force as a legitimate threat.
The Weekly Standard asks 5 very relevant questions.

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