What's Up with this New NIE on Iran?


I've just read Rick Moran's superb piece about the leaked National Intelligence Estimate, which concludes that Iran is nowhere near having nuclear weapons, and also the various newspaper articles on which Rick's piece is based.

It turns out that the leaked conclusions come from a finished NIE — not a draft — which means this is the first major NIE produced since John Negroponte took over as our country's Director of National Intelligence.  The question is: What on earth is going on here?

The first possibility is that the new NIE is accurate, which means that Iran really isn't close to having nukes and, thus, really isn't a threat to anyone.  I find this hard to believe — that's putting it very politely — but purely in the interests of honest speculation we must at least consider the possibility.

The second possibility is that DNI Negroponte signed off on the NIE without actually troubling himself to read it — in which case he's done more damage to the President's credibility than his hapless predecessor, George Tenet, ever did.

The third possibility is that the Administration wanted this NIE to leak because it provides 'cover' for the Administration's unsettling new approach to the mullahs in Teheran — namely, to negotiate with them rather than to confront them and perhaps even overthrow them.

I've no idea which explanation is correct, but these are the possibilities.  Take your pick.......

Herb Meyer   8 02 05