Video: Israeli ambassador Dan Gillerman on the NIE

posted at 11:25 am on December 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

It’s Gillermania, back from a long hiatus. A simple question: Why would Iran, which floats on an ocean of oil, choose to invest in a nuclear energy program instead of upgrading its refining capacity so that it doesn’t have to import gasoline? He fears there’s only one answer. So does Israeli intelligence: “If one looks at the investment, if one looks at the nature of the project, if you look at the cost to the Iranian economy, there is no logical explanation other than that the Iranian program is not benign.” Even the Times acknowledges that mastering enrichment, which will Iran will now certainly be allowed to do, is the hard part of building a weapon; ElBaradei himself estimated just a few weeks ago that if they’ve worked out the kinks in their 3,000-centrifuge cascade, they could have a bomb in a year. The cause for celebration, especially on the left, isn’t that Iran is no longer a threat, it’s that it’s a threat that Bush has no grounds for confronting militarily and is unlikely to be able to pressure diplomatically. It’s the next president’s problem now.

WaPo has an interesting look at how the new intel on Iran came out of Bush, fresh from the Iraq intel fiasco, demanding better information on the program in 2005, but here’s the takeaway just to show you how slender a thread our new “comfort” hangs by: “While Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to make nuclear weapons, including knowledge of how to enrich uranium to a level usable in bombs, the new intelligence collected through intercepted communications raised doubts about Iran’s intended use of the technology.” It’s not a question of capability, in other words, it’s a question of simple will. And now that they know we’re not confident enough in their intentions to press them, they’re leveraging that knowledge.

Read this WaPo story too about what the new intel consists of. The key appears to be an intercepted communication from a senior Iranian military figure complaining about the bomb program having been “shuttered” years ago. Ehud Barak says it’s true, the program was dropped — and then, according to Israeli intel’s best guess, restarted again.


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Something fishy is going on here. If Iran supposedly ended their nuke program years ago, then why are they enriching uranium? Why did they create 3,000 centrifuges? Does anybody honestly think that Iran is doing all of this because of some kind of Al Gore save the Earth nuke energy plan?

SoulGlo on December 5, 2007 at 11:32 AM

No, this time our intelligence has it 100% correct!

Iran is no threat.

Neither is Islam.

There are no threats!

Sleep… sleep… sleep….

(Sugarplums dancing in their heads.)

profitsbeard on December 5, 2007 at 11:35 AM

Iran supposedly ended its quest for the bomb in 2003. Gee, what has been happening in the region from about March 2003 that might have dissuaded Iran? UN resolutions- nah. Diplomatic talks with Europeans- nah. Oh yeah! Armed forces in Iraq exercising the military instrument of international affairs.

Do the fools at the WP and Foggy Bottom really think that this is a cooincidence?

highhopes on December 5, 2007 at 11:36 AM

This from the community that produced and promoted Valerie Plame. IMO it is just another insider hit piece on GWB. Plus, anyone trusting anything about Iran’s intentions and capabilities w/o having any actual proof is just insane speculation intended to make us fight with one or both hands tied behind our backs.

bbz123 on December 5, 2007 at 11:38 AM

If Israel can prove their case, they need to share it with our IC. Right now they are sitting pretty much all by themselves.

bnelson44 on December 5, 2007 at 11:42 AM

Something fishy is going on here. If Iran supposedly ended their nuke program years ago, then why are they enriching uranium? Why did they create 3,000 centrifuges? Does anybody honestly think that Iran is doing all of this because of some kind of Al Gore save the Earth nuke energy plan?

SoulGlo on December 5, 2007 at 11:32 AM

From the WP article:

The estimate noted that Iran continues to enrich uranium for a civil nuclear energy program. But the intelligence experts said they did not consider this a weapons program because it is being done at openly declared facilities under international supervision.

If Iran were to proceed with a weapons effort, it would not be carried out at known facilities, the officials said, adding that they do not believe Iran is enriching uranium at an undeclared facility.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120300846_pf.html

bnelson44 on December 5, 2007 at 11:46 AM

Why would Iran, which floats on an ocean of oil, choose to invest in a nuclear energy program instead of upgrading its refining capacity so that it doesn’t have to import gasoline?

For the same reasons anyone else might? Diversifying their energy sources is not a bad idea. Cheap, efficient nuclear energy combined with blooming oil exports would do wonders for their economy…if it wasn’t all being horded by corrupt theocratic fascists and their sycophantic monkeys.

Ochlan on December 5, 2007 at 11:47 AM

For the same reasons anyone else might?

If their refineries were working at peak or near-peak condition so that they didn’t have to import gasoline that might be plausible. As is? Not really.

Allahpundit on December 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM

For the same reasons anyone else might? Diversifying their energy sources is not a bad idea. Cheap, efficient nuclear energy combined with blooming oil exports would do wonders for their economy…if it wasn’t all being horded by corrupt theocratic fascists and their sycophantic monkeys.

Ochlan on December 5, 2007 at 11:47 AM

Cheap? From what I hear, this program has been very expensive for Iran.

bnelson44 on December 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM

If their refineries were working at peak or near-peak condition so that they didn’t have to import gasoline that might be plausible. As is? Not really.

Allahpundit on December 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM

My understanding is they don’t have enough refineries. But I thought I read they were going to build more of them.

bnelson44 on December 5, 2007 at 11:51 AM

We should be building nuclear power plants as fast as we possibly can, too, in order to reduce our dependence on oil. Should have been doing it for decades. It’s positively idiotic at this point NOT to use nuclear energy. Damn environmentalist wackos.

That said, I don’t believe for a moment that Iran has stopped its quest for a nuclear bomb, nor that their intentions are benign in the slightest.

aero on December 5, 2007 at 11:52 AM

Allahpundit on December 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM

I understand that AP. And I do not trust the current Iranian regime for one picosecond…but there is only so much gas that they need internally, the rest of the oil should be exported as-is. Nuclear electricity could lessen the burden from oil-powered electricity generation, and free up resources for profitable export.

S’all I’m sayin’ Economically it’s a smart move.

Ochlan on December 5, 2007 at 12:01 PM

A simple question: Why would Iran, which floats on an ocean of oil, choose to invest in a nuclear energy program instead of upgrading its refining capacity so that it doesn’t have to import gasoline? He fears there’s only one answer.

A really good question. And, the simplest answer seems to be that one.

I love how Gillerman said – Don’t trust us, don’t trust the President (Bush), listen to Ahmadinajad, and take him at face value.

nailinmyeye on December 5, 2007 at 12:02 PM

I trust Gillerman’s opinions more than I trust the NIE.

infidel4life on December 5, 2007 at 12:05 PM

nailinmyeye on December 5, 2007 at 12:02 PM

Quite so. Everything the Iranian regime says and does is crushing evidence to support absolute distrust in them.

Ochlan on December 5, 2007 at 12:09 PM

The Path to Weaponization [Jonah Goldberg]

bnelson44 on December 5, 2007 at 12:10 PM

Hmmm… the video won’t play for more than a few seconds on this page or even on YouTube … Where’s Rosie O’Donnell?

corona on December 5, 2007 at 12:15 PM

How are you going to do sanctions when Germany alone has over 500 companies [sic!] in Iran?

Tzetzes on December 5, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Well, I believe it. Yup, nothing to see here. Why yes, I would live to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Slightly off topic, but I would like to thank the cameraman for pulling back for the “leg shot”.

ej_pez on December 5, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Katie Couric was gleeful in her report on the NIE. Her report stated that now it was up to the next administration to deal with Iran. GWB can bloody well keep out of it. Her joy and stupidity were amazing. I thought that the MSM had no use for failed NIE reports.

Cinematicfilm on December 5, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Well, if we launch an attack and completely destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity, there are two possibilities:

1) The NIE is right, and we (arguably) wasted a few bombs.

2) The NIE is wrong, and we saved ourselves from having to face a nuclear-armed nation headed by a messianic Islamic lunatic.

Alternately, if we don’t launch the attack, there are still two possibilities:

1) The NIE is right, and we’re OK for a while.

2) The NIE is wrong, and we’re going to face a nuclear-armed nation headed by a messianic Islamic lunatic.

Anybody having any serious trouble doing the math here?

morganfrost on December 5, 2007 at 12:55 PM

Author Ken Timmerman (Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender) wrote a newsmax column that demystifies where this NIE came from.

The National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, “a State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience who briefly headed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research,” ….

…Fingar was a key partner of Senate Democrats in their successful effort to derail the confirmation of John Bolton in the spring of 2005 to become the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.

As the head of the NIC, Fingar has gone out of his way to fire analysts “who asked the wrong questions,” and who challenged the politically-correct views held by Fingar and his former State Department colleagues, as revealed in “Shadow Warriors.”

In March 2007, Fingar fired his top Cuba and Venezuela analyst, Norman Bailey, after he warned of the growing alliance between Castro and Chavez….

…Collaborating with Fingar on the Iran estimate, released on Monday, were Kenneth Brill, the director of the National Counterproliferation Center, and Vann H. Van Diepen, the National Intelligence officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.

“Van Diepen was an enormous problem,” a former colleague of his from the State Department told me when I was fact gathering for “Shadow Warriors.”

“He was insubordinate, hated WMD sanctions, and strived not to implement them,” even though it was his specific responsibility at State to do so, the former colleague told me.

Kenneth Brill, also a career foreign service officer, had been the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in 2003-2004 before he was forced into retirement.

“Shadow Warrior” reports, “While in Vienna, Brill consistently failed to confront Iran once its clandestine nuclear weapons program was exposed in February 2003, and had to be woken up with the bureaucratic equivalent of a cattle prod to deliver a single speech condemning Iran’s eighteen year history of nuclear cheating.”

We have been ILL SERVED by people whose agenda to bring down Bush outweighs their sworn duty to protect the United States of America.

They have committed treason, if Timmerman is right. And if this allows Iran to continue to build nukes, Americans will die because of this treason.

georgej on December 5, 2007 at 1:01 PM

georgej on December 5, 2007 at 1:01 PM

It’s interesting to learn that the State Department was so influential in this NIE report. I haven’t read much about the NIE yet but have been suspicious of the fact that only a few days after Rice likened Palestinian terrorists with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe that Iran is no longer a threat despite all of the threatening words of Iran itself.

If it’s true that the State department is largely responsible for the NIE report then I can’t help but suspect it’s findings. I don’t remember there ever being a time when I trusted the State Department with issues of national security; just the opposite.

Maybe Bush has determined it’s too late in his administration to attack Iran and this provides some cover for that decision in the event that it turns out that waiting was a mistake. Perhaps the release of the NIE report is punishment against Israel because they didn’t bow to the expectations of the State Department at Annapolis. Whatever the case, if this NIE report turns out to have been a product of ulterior motives, it may someday become known as a modern variation of, “Peace for our time”.

Let’s just hope that we all survive so we’ll be able to appreciate the irony.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 2:02 PM

What doesn’t sit right with me is that Iran was offered light water reactors by the EU with Bush administration approval and support, yet they refused and insisted on pursuing Heavy Water reactors which produce plutonium as a by product. Plutonium waste can be utilized in weapons whereas light water waste not so much.

Not only that but the LWR is inherently safe and one would think in the most earthquake prone areas of the world one would be overly cautious with the possibility of having an accidental meltdown. If the LWR suffers catastrophic damage the released coolant actually acts to shut down the reactor.

Having LWR built for them at the expense of the EU would make nuclear power not only economically feasible but realistic; one can only conclude they are pursuing fuel for weapons.

kiakjones on December 5, 2007 at 2:08 PM

I can’t wait to see the CIA’s “estimate” when there’s a Donk in office…The Grab-Ass & Scrambling should be fun to watch.

franksalterego on December 5, 2007 at 2:38 PM

kiakjones on December 5, 2007 at 2:08 PM

Good summary.

Why these ‘Intelligence Experts’ can’t see and report on the most obvious facts that even some dummy like me can easily discern, can’t be ascribed merely to Bush Derangement Syndrome….. They must want to bring Armageddon just as much as Ahmadinejad does.

Whatever the reason for their idiocy though, It is taking all my effort not to type a whole bunch of profanities directed at them and their willing media dupes right now.

LegendHasIt on December 5, 2007 at 2:56 PM

I just like looking at Dan Gillerman.

Connie on December 5, 2007 at 3:52 PM

“Israel will disappear from the pages of time.” – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

From a jihadist point of view why not? The Crusader kingdom lasted 400 years, Israel has only been around for the better part of a century.

aengus on December 5, 2007 at 5:00 PM

georgej on December 5, 2007 at 1:01 PM

I couldn’t agree with you more, in fact I’d say America has now sanctioned for itself the steepest decline in its strong history. Going forward you have little intelligence, zero unity, now a castrated Administration, a stressed military, and an entire 5th column that preys on your media, preys in your critical insitutions, even brings your legislature to a crawl, and now the prospect of a weak Dem govt coming in.. All at the most dangerous of times.

If not for the fact that I’m in Israel I’d boldly state you guys are pretty screwed, only we’re screwed even worse.

saus on December 5, 2007 at 5:05 PM

I mean as a modern Jewish state. I know Jews have always lived there.

aengus on December 5, 2007 at 5:08 PM