Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Brits to CIA -- "You guys got hoodwinked"

Following up Israel's condemnation of the NIE, and coupled with France's and Germany's less-than-pleased assessments, Great Britain now piles on and gives a candid assessment of the NIE. Succinctly, they aren't all that impressed:

British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.

The timing of the CIA report has also provoked fury in the British Government, where officials believe it has undermined efforts to impose tough new sanctions on Iran and made an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities more likely.

The security services in London want concrete evidence to allay concerns that the Islamic state has fed disinformation to the CIA.

The report used new evidence - including human sources, wireless intercepts and evidence from an Iranian defector - to conclude that Teheran suspended the bomb-making side of its nuclear programme in 2003. But British intelligence is concerned that US spy chiefs were so determined to avoid giving President Bush a reason to go to war - as their reports on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes did in Iraq - that they got it wrong this time.

A senior British official delivered a withering assessment of US intelligence-gathering abilities in the Middle East and revealed that British spies shared the concerns of Israeli defence chiefs that Iran was still pursuing nuclear weapons.

The source said British analysts believed that Iranian nuclear staff, knowing their phones were tapped, deliberately gave misinformation. "We are sceptical. We want to know what the basis of it is, where did it come from? Was it on the basis of the defector? Was it on the basis of the intercept material? They say things on the phone because they know we are up on the phones. They say black is white. They will say anything to throw us off.

"It's not as if the American intelligence agencies are regarded as brilliant performers in that region. They got badly burned over Iraq."

A US intelligence source has revealed that some American spies share the concerns of the British and the Israelis. "Many middle- ranking CIA veterans believe Iran is still committed to producing nuclear weapons and are concerned that the agency lost a number of its best sources in Iran in 2004," the official said.

The Foreign Office is studying a new text of a third United Nations Security Council resolution that would impose tough travel bans on regime figures and penalise banks that do business with Iran.

But diplomats say the chances of winning Chinese and Russian support for the move are in freefall. A Western diplomat said: "It's created a lot of difficulties because of the timing, just as we were about to go for a third resolution."

Bruce Reidel, who spent 25 years on the Middle East desks at the CIA and the National Security Council, said: "By going public they have embarrassed our friends, particularly the British and the Israelis. They have given our foes insights into our most secret intelligence and taken most of the options off the table."

The NIE authors have shown their colors, and have created a report that has badly damaged our ability to deal diplomatically with the Iranian regime. As the Telegraph report notes, and as John Bolton has explained in two brilliant op-ed pieces, this report has made it so that Russia and China as less likely to go along with these new sanctions. They weren't all that thrilled about them in the first place, but now getting them on board for tougher sanctions will be as hard as getting a Democrat to admit that tax hikes don't work.

Furthermore, the NIE has exposed those in the CIA and the State Department that are thoroughly and completely against anything this administration is doing with regard to regimes like Iran. One of the authors in the report has stood up for Iran, and demanded we recognize their right to a nuclear program.

For years the Bush Administration has had to deal with these buffoons, and they deserve a great deal of criticism by not getting rid of those that were known to cause problems. After all, we need only look at State itself, and we know there are a lot of problems there. Colin Powell and his team actively worked against the administration, and only after Powell protested the intelligence on Iraq did her grudgingly make the case for the administration before the UN. Only after it was done, Tenet informed him there was a "problem" with the intel.

The problems we have is that State and CIA are filled with career paper-pushing bureaucrats that want America to follow their lead, not the president's. If anyone has read Tim Weiner's book, Legacy of Ashes, then you know what I'm talking about. In his book, he recounts how the CIA has led a rather rogue existence from the beginning, and even worked to keep information from many presidents that they were supposed to be serving.

This puts a bad light on CIA, and on State. It's obvious to the nation, and to the world, that neither of them can be trusted to handle extremely delicate intelligence, and the proper analysis. It should be noted that with France, Germany, Israel, and now the Brits telling us that we don't know what we're talking about, the NIE is also not believed by almost 70% of American citizens. When there is this much questioning regarding the report, one has to ask the authors if they really think they did the job they were supposed to, or if they did the job that their personal biases would be proud of.

Publius II

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very skeptical. Iran is a Muslim nation. And the such the Qur'an teaches it's okay to deceive your enemy. We are the enemy. Iran believes it is the chosen to rule the world....Rawriter.

December 10, 2007 at 11:04 PM  

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