Intelligence Report Reveals Bush and Cheney’s Iran Warnings as Fraudulent

Consortium News, December 4, 2007

Intelligence Report Reveals Bush and Cheney’s Iran Warnings as Fraudulent

By Ray McGovern,

A new intelligence assessment that Iran’s nuclear weapons program halted in 2003 utterly contradicts the dire claims made by the war-mongering White House.

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, ten 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 neo-con 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.”

This, of course, pulls out the rug from under Cheney’s claim of a “fairly robust new nuclear program” in Iran, and President Bush’s inaccurate assertion that Iranian leaders have even admitted they are developing nuclear weapons.

Apparently, intelligence community analysts are no longer required to produce the faith-based intelligence that brought us the Oct. 1, 2002, NIE “Iraq’s Continuing Program for Weapons of Mass Destruction” — the worst in the history of U.S. intelligence.

Truth be told, one of the Iran NIE’s findings was written into its first draft, from which Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell drew in telling the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 27 that Iran could possibly develop a nuclear weapon by early-to-mid-next decade.

McConnell said not a word, though, about Iran’s having halted its nuclear weapons program in fall 2003. And in February, he was still adhering to the faith-based approach, saying, “We assess that Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon.”

At which point, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, tried to sum up the proceedings with the disingenuous comment, “We all agree, then, that the Iranians are trying to get nuclear weapons.”

Curiously, McConnell indicated recently that the key findings of NIEs would no longer be made public.

My guess is that the Pentagon, and especially Adm. William Fallon, commander of our forces in the Middle East, succeeded in persuading McConnell to go public. Several months ago, Fallon was reliably reported to have said, “We are not going to do Iran on my watch.”

And it is an open secret that he and other senior military officers, except those of the Air Force, are strongly opposed to getting into a war with Iran for which the U.S. is so ill prepared.

Will President George W. Bush and our domesticated media succeed in dismissing this latest NIE as “guesswork,” as he has in the past? It is going to be highly interesting to see how the White House will try to spin this one.

See more stories tagged with: white house, cheney, bush, nuclear program, 2003, iran

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and produced/briefed the President’s Daily Brief. He is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

7 Responses to “Intelligence Report Reveals Bush and Cheney’s Iran Warnings as Fraudulent”

  1. 1 loopyloo350 December 6, 2007 at 9:26 am

    It is not going to stop Bush and Cheney. They have said over and over that they do not want Iran to have the “knowledge”. This report does nothing more than say “yes, they have the knowledge, but they are not actively pursuing a program. The only thing that Bush will say is “they can’t be allowed to have the knowledge”. We probably won’t have a policy change until they are out of office. This report was probably released so people would at least be aware they are being lied to. But I don’t think some people even care.

  2. 2 mlyon01 December 6, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    I think there’s a genuine fight going on within the US ruling class over what to do about Iran, and there’s just been a big shift in strategy. This doesn’t happen too often, so it’s not surprising that it gets a lot of attention.

    Nevertheless, it’s important we not be distracted from the central point:


    One way or another, the US goal is to control Iran’s oil, and the argument within the ruling class is whether to do it by

    * US military occupation (costly and currently impossible for an over-committed under-staffed, and under-resourced military),

    * US military obliteration (and rebuilding with a clean US-dominated slate, unlikely to gain support from Chinese, Russian, and European capitalists who also want access to Iran’s oil), or

    * Co-operative economic sanctions (US, Europe, Russia, and China cut off foreign investment to force Iran to adapt an Iraq-style hydrocarbon law allowing foreign oil companies to a much bigger share of profits than current OPEC countries allow. The US would have to share its oil profits with other capitalist countries, but they could all come out ahead, except for the Iranian working class, who would be ruined by cuts in wages and services demanded by draining Iran’s economy.

    I think what we’re seeing is a shift in the US ruling class strategy from Plans A and B, to Plan C, because there’s a realization that the US doesn’t have the military strength for Plan A or the global hegemony for Plan B.

    To put this in Democrat vs Republican terms, the fairy-tale terms in which politics is presented to us, the Democrats and Democratic Leadership Council want a longer-range view; building up a much bigger military for larger wars and occupations in the future, whereas the Republicans and Neo-Cons favor a shorter-term get-rich-quick do-it-on-the-cheap strategy of small Rumsfield-style armies and unilateral actions.

    Iraq has made it clear to the ruling class that the Neo-Con experiment didn’t work, and it’s time to try a new strategy. We have to be clear: neither branch of the ruling class is our friend, both are our enemy.

    As for Israel’s leaders, they’re afraid of losing the US support that makes them top dog in the Mid-East. Part of the US strategy to bring Iran to its knees is to isolate it from the other corrupt Arab regimes in the vicinity (who fear Iran’s ability to stir up Islam-based rebellion in their own countries), and to deter economic co-operation between Iran and the surrounding Arab regimes. To do this, the US has to offer the surrounding regimes something, and Israel is afraid weakening US support will be part of the deal.

  3. 3 bilboclarke December 7, 2007 at 2:49 am

    When I saw this on the news, I had a glimmer of hope (the first for a long time), but then like clockwork the next day Bush makes a speech saying nothing has changed… ah! There’s no hope!

  4. 4 Sam December 7, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    My sense is that your anti-Bush feelings have made you blind to what happenes in Iran and the threat it poses to its own people and the world. Just this year 290 people were executed in public in Iran. How can you defend a country like that?

    Iran has not dismatled the “Atomic Bomb” facilties. Just has halted it. Iran is working on enriching Uranium and has manufactured missiles that can now reach Europe.

    It is like letting the Jews die in a concentration camp just because you hate Stalin. Dob’t let your hatred for Bush cloud your judgement about the fascist Mullahs and their crimes towards their own people. Don’t advocate negotiations with the Mullahs and don’t strenghten their positions. Iranians want to live free just as you people do.

  5. 5 mlyon01 December 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Why should Israel have nuclear weapons and not Iran? Why is it OK for the US to let India have nuclear weapons? And what right does the US have to say who can have nuclear weapons? The only country to actually use nuclear weapons is the US, and it was against civilian targets in a country that was trying to surrender. And who overthrew a secular elected government in Iran and substituted a police state that so suppressed the left that only the mullahs were left to overthrow the police state? Who brought in the mullahs into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets? You’re right about one thing: It’s not about Bush, it’s about imperialism.

  6. 6 bilboclarke December 8, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Was that post directed at me Sam? If so mlyon01’s basically answered: Why should Israel have nuclear weapons and not Iran? As for Iran I don’t know a whole lot but I do know that alot of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments have been totally misrepresented, he didn’t say ‘Israel should be wiped off the map’, he said something like ‘The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time’, which to me is quite different. I’d suggest reading some of his interviews to get a clearer pictur, here’s one,9171,1570714,00.html
    I’m pretty sure that Iran has no ambitions of getting a nuclear weapon. I’m also sure that the U.S. isn’t in a position to say that they can create a better system than already exists in Iran, look at Iraq!

    And I’m not going to apologize for being too ‘anti-Bush’, I’m definitely anti a person who reads an intelligence report compiled by loads of experts and decides to ignore everything in it!

  1. 1 Israeli officials reject U.S. findings on Iran « SF Gray Panthers Trackback on December 6, 2007 at 1:27 pm

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