Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Is this the same intelligence community that didn't know who or what was at the site in Syria that the Israelis destroyed? My word, I'm so filled with confidence!

Iran halted work toward a nuclear weapon under international scrutiny in 2003 and is unlikely to be able to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb until 2010 to 2015, a U.S. intelligence report says.

It also contradicts another of their own reports-

The estimate is less severe than a 2005 report that judged the Iranian leadership was "determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure."

And then it basically states that they don't really know at all-

"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely," the report says. A more likely time frame for that production is between 2010 and 2015, it concludes.

So which is it- 2009 or 2010? When talking about a state like Iran I'd like a little more than "likely" or "unlikely"- wouldn't you? Note too that "moderate confidence" is all they're willing to stake on the earliest possible date- that seems to me to imply that there is a real possibility that Iran is much closer than they think they are. Otherwise they'd be willing to say that they are highly confident that Iran won't be able to develop a weapon before then. It seems very telling to me. Think too that 2007 is all but done- the NIE's time-frame basically means that after next year Iran could be a nuclear power; not exactly a lot of time in which to act, is it?

Then there's this titbit of information-

Iran is continuing to develop ballistic missiles.

And the IAEA itself really has no clue either-

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has reported that Iran is cooperating with inspectors by providing access to declared nuclear material, documents and facilities. However, the agency also said Iran is withholding information in other areas, and as a result, the IAEA's knowledge about the status of the program is "diminishing."

So, the NIE isn't highly confident that Iran won't be able to produce a nuke within the year and the IAEA knows less and less about the regime's program as time goes on.

Is this an intelligence report or a bunch of guys trying not to commit one way or the other to anything solid?

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