In case you thought that Bonkers
Bolton was finally right about something – that the U.S. Intelligence Community
had finally staged a "quasi-putsch,"
had finally stood up to the Likudniks and assorted neo-crazies hell-bent on
launching a "pre-emptive" attack on Iran, had properly assessed the
voluminous information the Iranians have made available (voluntarily or upon
special request) to the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran's nuclear
programs, and had finally produced a thoroughly professional National
Intelligence Estimate [.pdf] on Iran – think again.
First, there is this "assessment";
"We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military
entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons."
Followed by this "judgment";
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear
Well, many of them are the same folks from the dozen or so "intelligence"
gathering and analysis groups scattered throughout the Federal government who
produced the October
2002 NIE on Iraq for George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet. (Or was it for
That 2002 NIE
totally ignored the best intelligence available on Iraq's nuclear programs,
the publicly available IAEA reports, covering the years 1992-2002, documenting
the destruction of Iraqi nascent capabilities to produce not-nearly-pure Uranium-235
and crude high-explosive implosion systems with which to compress the U-235
– if and when they ever managed to produce it – to super-criticality.
What that 2002 NIE on Iraq ought to have "assessed" was that until
the fall of 1991, Iraqis were working under government direction to develop
Then, what that 2002 NIE on Iraq ought to have "judged" was that
the first Gulf War and its immediate aftermath put an end to all Iraq's
nuclear programs – peaceful and otherwise – and that in succeeding years no
effort had been made to resurrect them.
And, finally, in the weeks and months immediately preceding the launch of President
George W. Bush's war of aggression, to effect regime change in Iraq, when IAEA
Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei and MOVIC Chairman Hans Blix, were regularly
testifying before the UN Security Council that Iraq's Full and Final Declaration
of its Weapons of Mass Destruction programs appeared to be full, final and accurate,
"Slam-Dunk" Tenet just sat there on his hands, when he should have
been trying to alert Congress that the 2002 NIE was fatally flawed.
But, this time, for the 2007 NIE on Iran – according to Scott Ritter, former
Marine intelligence officer, UN inspector in Iraq, and author of Target
Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change – our
intelligence community has been working closely with the IAEA inspectors in
After thousands of man-hours of go-anywhere see-anything inspections, at sites
"declared" by the Iranians and at others, some military, suggested
by our intelligence community, ElBaradei has declared there is "no indication"
that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.
year or so ago our intelligence community sought to revise its 2005 NIE
on Iran to reflect what the IAEA was not finding.
So, what's a member of the Cheney Cabal, hell-bent on bombing Iran – with
nukes, if necessary – to do?
Well, after holding up its release for more than 10 months, allow our intelligence
community to make public its 2007 revision, wherein they make no mention of
the IAEA but "assess with high confidence that until fall 2003"
( when ElBaradei began his intrusive inspection campaign) "Iranian
military entities were working under government direction to develop
[For the purposes of this Estimate, by "nuclear weapons program"
we mean Iran's nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium
conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran's
declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.]
Like, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps?
The 125,000-strong elite military entity Bush recently sanctioned under Executive
Order 13224 as a "specially
designated global terrorist"?
Yep, that's the entity.
But, nuclear weapon design? Covert uranium-conversion? Covert uranium-enrichment?
Well, of course. As everyone knows; "Many of the front companies engaged
in procuring nuclear technology are owned and run by the Revolutionary Guards."
How does everyone know that?
Surely you've heard about the "smoking
laptop" and the Green Salt project.
According to the Washington
Post, the only chronicled activity on that allegedly stolen Iranian
laptop – which apparently is the principal basis of the 2007 NIE – that was
clearly nuclear-related was the Green Salt Project.
"In the spring of 2001, a small design firm opened shop on the outskirts of
Tehran to begin work for what appears to have been its only client – the Iranian
Republican Guard. Over the next two years, the staff at Kimeya Madon completed
a set of technical drawings for a small uranium-conversion facility, according
to four officials who reviewed the documents.
"Several sources with firsthand knowledge of the original documents said
the facility, if constructed, would give Iran additional capabilities to produce
a substance known as UF4, or 'green salt,' an intermediate product in the conversion
of uranium to a gas."
Well, if you want to know what a real intelligence professional thinks about
the smoking laptop and the 2007 NIE on Iran, please – please –
listen to Scott
Ritter's December 6, 2007 interview on Antiwar Radio.
After listening to Ritter, you probably won't care much what Henry
Kissinger or James
Schlesinger or Bonkers Bolton think about it.
They're all extremely upset that the 2007 NIE excludes from Iran's alleged
nuclear weapons program Iran's IAEA Safeguarded programs.
And you can see why.
the IAEA can tell, there is nothing nuclear in Iran that isn't IAEA Safeguarded,
as the 2007 NIE now implicitly acknowledges. There's nothing covert – if there
ever was – to bomb.
Hence, Kissinger's lament at the "extraordinary spectacle" of the
President's National Security Advisor having to defend Bush's ongoing threats
to "take-out" Iran's "nuclear weapons program" in the face
of the 2007 NIE that judged there isn't one to "take out."
For Kissinger, Schlesinger and the Likudniks, the possible production of almost-pure
Uranium-235 in Iran's Safeguarded facilities, for use in nuclear weapons, has
been, by far, the greatest danger. Never mind that Iran could not possibly produce,
unannounced and undetected, such almost-pure Uranium-235 in an IAEA Safeguarded
In any case, Kissinger, Schlesinger and the Likudniks argue that the principal
reason the Iranians "halted" their alleged nuclear weapons program
in the fall of 2003 – if they, indeed, did – was that Bush launched his war
of aggression on Iraq and they were afraid they would be next.
In other words, the 2007 NIE on Iran justifies Bush's war of aggression against
Of course, if Scott Ritter is right, the Iranians never had a nuclear weapons
program to halt. And, the Likudniks and the neocrazies have known that all along.