Wednesday, December 12, 2007
CIA delivers the truth to Cheney
A Miracle: Honest Intel on Iran Nukes
by Ray McGovern
December 4, 2007
For those who have doubts about miracles, a double one occurred today. An honest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear program has been issued, and its "Key Judgments" were made public.
With redraft after redraft, it was what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt – a difficult birth, 10 months in gestation.
I do not know how often Vice President Dick Cheney visited CIA headquarters during the gestation period, but I am told he voiced his displeasure as soon as he saw the first sonogram/draft very early this year and is so displeased with what issued that he has refused to be the godfather.
This time Cheney and his neocon colleagues were unable to abort the process. And after delivery to the press, this child is going to be very hard to explain – the more so since it is legitimate.
The main points of the NIE:
"We judge that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program…
"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007.
"We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely…
"We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.
"We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015."
Having reached these conclusions, it is not surprising that the NIE's authors make a point of saying up front (in bold type), "This NIE does not [italics in original] assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons."