British intel source on new NIE: You got suckered, Yanks; Update: NIE was a “quasi-putsch,” says Bolton

posted at 3:40 pm on December 9, 2007 by Allahpundit

I’m woozy at the idea of Europeans having to scold the United States for being naive about a threat.

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…

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.

They’re not the only U.S. ally who thinks we got taken, of course. Adm. Mullen is in Israel today huddling with their intelligence team, an occasion Olmert marked by vowing to expose the Iranian weapons program which, he says, will be bomb-ready by 2010. According to the Times, the money intel that convinced U.S. analysts Iran had suspended its weapons programs was, er, some notes they got hold of from a supposed meeting of Iranian military brass which were corroborated by other intel, including some of those oh-so-reliable intercepts the British spook complained of. Fade in…

[T]he Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies had organized a “red team” to determine if the new information might have been part of an elaborate disinformation campaign mounted by Iran to derail the effort to impose sanctions against it.

In the end, American intelligence officials rejected that theory, though they were challenged to defend that conclusion in a meeting two weeks ago in the White House situation room, in which the notes and deliberations were described to the most senior members of President Bush’s national security team, including Vice President Dick Cheney.

“It was a pretty vivid exchange,” said one participant in the conversation.

Any other sources? Yeah, actually: defectors. Check out this LAT mini-bombshell about the CIA having lured away a handful of mid- to high-level Iranian nuclear officials over the past two years. They claim the defections helped slow the program down but none of the defectors were essential and “none has been in a position to provide comprehensive information on Tehran’s nuclear program.”

Exit question: Does the NIE matter? Obama was promising to strike a grand bargain with Iran a month ago, when the judgment of U.S. intelligence was still that they did have a weapons program. All this does is recast the left’s strategy from not dealing with the problem to not having any problem, officially, to deal with. The rest of the script writes itself.

Update: Mustache fee-vah!

Der Spiegel magazine quoted Bolton on Saturday as alleging that the aim of the National Intelligence Estimate, which contradicts his and President Bush’s position, was not to provide the latest intelligence on Iran.

“This is politics disguised as intelligence,” Bolton was quoted as saying in an article appearing in this week’s edition.

Bolton described the report, released Monday, as a “quasi-putsch” by the intelligence agencies, Der Spiegel said.


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We got taken , but not by Iran, it was by the traitors within our own walls.

bbz123 on December 9, 2007 at 3:45 PM

First, how anyone can have faith in any of this is beyond me. These people cant just say “I dont know”.

Second, let’s see the Brits do something about it. Or are they and I’m being ignorant?

Dash on December 9, 2007 at 3:52 PM

It’s tough when you are trying to develop intel and trying to read such a complicated and deadly situation, and when the very people that are supposed to be depended upon to defend this country want to have their Commander in Chief look bad.

Time to clean house.

Hening on December 9, 2007 at 3:53 PM

Staying above the fray meant the oft-repeated lies of the “BushLiedaboutWMDs” become the narrative. The (D)emocrats, their Leftist extremists and the MainStreamMedia that enables them, will be guilty of mass murder when Iran uses it’s first nuclear weapon.

DANEgerus on December 9, 2007 at 3:55 PM

DANEgerous, they have the blood already on their hands from Stalin, Cambodia, and more . It does not phase those who feel no shame for being party to murder.

bbz123 on December 9, 2007 at 3:58 PM

Maybe a little bit O’ Miss Direction by Dubya to get the “Coalition of the UNwilling” to step up to the plate? Hey, if he’s smart enough to pull off 911, right?

Tony737 on December 9, 2007 at 3:59 PM

So, can we just say the CIA is crap now?

Nethicus on December 9, 2007 at 4:03 PM

the ideology of the left on this can be found in the writings of Chomsky, they think we will be better off if Iran and North Korea have the bomb…along with everyone else. I don’t believe for a second that the clinton/albright/Carter deal with North Korea was as naive as it appeared, but rather the desired results happened just as planned.

jp on December 9, 2007 at 4:05 PM

along with everyone else.

That sums it up very well. The left believes the world needs multiple superpowers to keep the US in check – as if the US is the problem in the world.

lorien1973 on December 9, 2007 at 4:11 PM

This is such an obvious ploy by the anti-Bush, totally left wing part of the intelligence community that it is hard to understand why it is getting any play at all. It is hard to totally analyze it without access to the classified portion of the NIE but “Executive Summaries” not supported by the facts presented in the base document are not unusual when the authors have an specific goal in mind.

duff65 on December 9, 2007 at 4:14 PM

All this does is recast the left’s strategy from not dealing with the problem to not having any problem, officially, to deal with.

You said it, bro.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 9, 2007 at 4:24 PM

Even our beloved Kirsten Powers isn’t convinced. The only people people convinced are those tha wrote it and those that hate the U.S….pretty much most of the democrat party and all liberals.

SouthernGent on December 9, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Of course we all have real faith in the CIA’s ability to cross the street, much less think. Incompetent partisans.

pat on December 9, 2007 at 4:29 PM

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.

That last line should read “they deliberately got it wrong” to tie Bush’s hands. Not apparently caring that going as far as they did ensures the world will be headed to nuclear armed mullahs undeterred by M.A.D.

clghitis on December 9, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Maybe it’s time we faced the truth. We’ve lost the country. Nov.08 will be the final chapter. I suggest arming yourself.

Griz on December 9, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Karl Rove did this on purpose, so the intel, the warnings, and the reasoning behind possible U.S. actions on Iran aren’t later claimed to be driven by the Bush Administration.

Now, if we do anything, we won’t be claimed to be working “in opposition to” our allies in Europe, as it is those allies who provided the information.

I tell you, if that guy wanted 36 hours of night, the sun just wouldn’t come up one day… he’s that good.

gekkobear on December 9, 2007 at 4:42 PM

If the NIE is off base, then let the foreign intelligence agencies do the heavy lifting this time. I think there will many benefits to this.

moc23 on December 9, 2007 at 4:48 PM

Second, let’s see the Brits do something about it. Or are they and I’m being ignorant?

Suez Crisis:

Part of the pressure that the United States used against Britain was financial, as President Eisenhower threatened to sell the United States reserves of the British pound and thereby precipitate a collapse of the British currency. After Saudi Arabia started an oil embargo against Britain and France, the U.S. refused to fill the gap, until Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal.

aengus on December 9, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Maybe it’s time we faced the truth. We’ve lost the country. Nov.08 will be the final chapter. I suggest arming yourself.

Griz on December 9, 2007 at 4:39 PM

I was slapped in the face by the 2006 election results. I have also discovered that my own parents are now kool-aid drinkers. We may be at the end of the grand experiment…Daniel Webster warned of it early in the 1800′s…

“I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe…. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing.”

JustTruth101 on December 9, 2007 at 4:56 PM

If the NIE is off base, then let the foreign intelligence agencies do the heavy lifting this time. I think there will many benefits to this.

It was MI5 intelligence that Bush referenced in relation to Iraqi WMDs in 2003 along with French, Italian services.

aengus on December 9, 2007 at 4:59 PM

I would like to know

Without the details that are classified, does the data back up the conclusion?

Does the classified summary match the unclassified summary?

And these are the same guys that missed that little do it yourself project in Syria ABOVE GROUND that Israel had to take to parking lot level.

Lots of stuff not meeting the smell test and waiting on developing info.

CommentGuy on December 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM

I would like to know

Without the details that are classified, does the data back up the conclusion?

I would assume so. But realize the conclusions were qualified conclusions. Some where they were “confident” some where they were only “moderately confident”, and other qualifications.

Does the classified summary match the unclassified summary?

The unclassified report is much longer

Lots of stuff not meeting the smell test and waiting on developing info.

CommentGuy on December 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM

IMHO, it is the headline of the report that is misleading.

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 5:14 PM

There is a coyote in the hen house.

infidel on December 9, 2007 at 5:15 PM

So the US goobermint can pull of the 9/11 epic yet they can figure out conclusively that Iran’s got the bomb?

This NIE report must be a small part of a greater conspiracy.

mylegsareswollen on December 9, 2007 at 5:31 PM

This is what happens when politics take over intel. This became hugely aparrent with slick Willy.

oakpack on December 9, 2007 at 6:03 PM

Any other sources? Yeah, actually: defectors. Check out this LAT mini-bombshell about the CIA having lured away a handful of mid- to high-level Iranian nuclear officials over the past two years. They claim the defections helped slow the program down but none of the defectors were essential and “none has been in a position to provide comprehensive information on Tehran’s nuclear program.”

Defections or double agents?

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Defections or double agents?

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Yup, we’ll get a lot of info from their janitors, cooks and copy boys.

oakpack on December 9, 2007 at 6:14 PM

It is an effort to shun responsibility in expectation of a Democrat Tri-fecta. This is real real bad stuff…a grand scale of treason never Known since the revolutionary war.

tomas on December 9, 2007 at 6:16 PM

What if the NIE is a Bush gambit?

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Those who will have the final say as it relates to Iran will be the Israelis who have made it plain that Iran will not be allowed to produce a nuclear device that is meant to eliminate them.

I doubt the Israeli’s even trust the information coming from the US intelligence community as it is rife with political agendas, much of which is against the state of Israel, and where the security of the US is a second thought.

The NIE report, whose authors are known political partisans, is more a political document than an intelligence one.

Even the Brits could see through it.

pocomoco on December 9, 2007 at 6:37 PM

I am not buying into the gambit thing to push solving the Palestine issue, that is risking a whole lot of cookies just for one batch in the oven.

The peace negotiations could proceed without any NIE at all.

CommentGuy on December 9, 2007 at 6:43 PM

Did anyone else see those planes flying over head? The ones dropping the “Bush lied. Iran is Americans’ friend” fliers?

Connie on December 9, 2007 at 6:52 PM

If the NIE is off base, then let the foreign intelligence agencies do the heavy lifting this time. I think there will many benefits to this.

It was MI5 intelligence that Bush referenced in relation to Iraqi WMDs in 2003 along with French, Italian services.

aengus on December 9, 2007 at 4:59 PM

…which is truly sad considering the multi-billion dollar budgets for our “intelligence” agencies.

They are just too busy trying to undermine Bush in any way to focus on a real threat.

91Veteran on December 9, 2007 at 6:56 PM

No Intelligence Evident

Estimates are not actuals.

Kini on December 9, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Imagine how absolutely flummoxed the Iranians are now. Our moles are safe and we can go in and take out their capabilities with complete deniability. Why would we go in and take out some a-bomb plant that didn’t exist? And the Iranian can’t say it was because they don’t have any.

Brilliant. Look for an “industrial accident” somewhere in the remote deserts of Iran in the next 12 months.

DeJa Vu Syrian Desert

Rod on December 9, 2007 at 7:11 PM

What if the NIE is a Bush gambit?

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 6:32 PM

from the link:

Before the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law defected to the American side, and proved to be of limited value. He was eventually blackmailed into returning by threatening his family, only to be killed by Saddam’s thugs in Baghdad.

His whole premise might be more believable if he would have left this out.

The UNSCOM inspectors had a good deal of information pointing to Saddam’s biological weapons program, but no hard evidence, until Kamel defected. His defection caused Saddam to finally admit to such a program, and turn over vast amounts of information on it.

Saddam even tried to claim Kamel was a rogue who did his own thing in the bio WMD area.

91Veteran on December 9, 2007 at 7:12 PM

Suckered, yes. But more probably by our own than by any foreigners.

This administration has shown itself to be an easy mark for suckering.

petefrt on December 9, 2007 at 7:15 PM

Rod on December 9, 2007 at 7:11 PM

Like that. Let’s hope you’re right.

JiangxiDad on December 9, 2007 at 7:20 PM

This administration has shown itself to be an easy mark for suckering.

I’m not sure that this admin has been suckered by anything … including the Iraq wmd.

Considering how they mucked up the war, though, I may be giving them to much credit after having my mind numbed by watching too many convoluted episodes of 24.

Rod on December 9, 2007 at 7:28 PM

With all the outsourcing this country does, why don’t we just pink slip the CIA, and let Israel provide intel?

Hening on December 9, 2007 at 7:28 PM

Bolton described the report, released Monday, as a “quasi-putsch” by the intelligence agencies, Der Spiegel said.

Putsch: A sudden attempt by a group to overthrow a government.

(I had to look it up.)

FloatingRock on December 9, 2007 at 7:36 PM

This morning Joe Biden was on one of the chat shows and said that the key finding that Iran had stopped their nuclear program was the unanimous finding of the 16 agencies involved in putting this document together.

Has anything been reported that even remotely makes that a true statement?

RW_theoriginal on December 9, 2007 at 7:40 PM

Putsch: A sudden attempt by a group to overthrow a government.

(I had to look it up.)

FloatingRock on December 9, 2007 at 7:36 PM

A German word. Used to describe Hitler’s activities which landed him in jail for 3 mos.– the Beer Hall Putsch.

JiangxiDad on December 9, 2007 at 7:45 PM

Hening

You may not realize it but right now the domestic contracted intel jobs right now exceed the size of the CIA , the yellow badgers out number the green badgers.

The number just for that in this budget is over 4 Billion for that section of the industry.

CommentGuy on December 9, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Once again, the Left’s political moves to shame/harm President Bush is only going to speed up war.

What the NIE has done is a classic “Fade Away” move. The Bush Administration is not savvy enough to have planned this, but they have lucked into it.

Due to the NIE making the USA back off all the other nations in the world that KNOW Iran is going forward with WMD research and construction they HAVE to step up. They cannot sit back and think “the USA will spear-head this and take the burden, we can hang back and just let them deal with it”.

So a political attack on Bush is actually going to have the end result of making other countries push harder for sanctions & action on Iran. Iran will of course fight anything these nations want & continue on their programs. Eventually it will come to a head and either we will invade Iran or some major event internal to Iran will happen to change things.

Voidseeker on December 9, 2007 at 7:56 PM

Voidseeker on December 9, 2007 at 7:56 PM

You may be right.

bnelson44 on December 9, 2007 at 8:00 PM

No worries. The country will get serious again by the light of a DayGlo NYC.
Almost all the important data is backed up elsewhere.

Stephen M on December 9, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Once again, the Left’s political moves to shame/harm President Bush is only going to speed up war.

What the NIE has done is a classic “Fade Away” move. The Bush Administration is not savvy enough to have planned this, but they have lucked into it.– Voidseeker on December 9, 2007 at 7:56 PM

As best I can see it, your scenario is likely. Others will push harder, but I doubt hard enough. The West has been so crippled by political correctness that it will wait for Israel to catalyze decisive action. I only hope that we have remaining then enough strength of will to support Israel.

petefrt on December 9, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Hmmmmm….wasn’t it the NIE that also told us back in 2002 that Saddam had bio/chem weapons and was reconstituting its nuclear program.

How can we believe anything the NIE says?

.

GT on December 9, 2007 at 8:48 PM

NIE=Nobel Peace prize.

Well intentioned…and politicized to the extent that a toilet brush and harsh cleanser doesn’t make a scratch.

RushBaby on December 9, 2007 at 9:35 PM

Voidseeker on December 9, 2007 at 7:56 PM
You may be right.

Kind of what I was getting at in my original post.

moc23 on December 9, 2007 at 9:40 PM

Ummm,nuclear weapons and research,
inspect and verify,and in all of
dinnerjackets drama at the UN and
elsewhere,Russian technicians,and
Syria-Nork,sounds like a ruse,I’ll
still go with that their making a
bomb,if not in Iran maybe the Baaka
Valley!

canopfor on December 9, 2007 at 9:44 PM

Maybe it’s time we faced the truth. We’ve lost the country. Nov.08 will be the final chapter. I suggest arming yourself.

Griz on December 9, 2007 at 4:39 PM

-
I can’t argue with that.

Herikutsu on December 9, 2007 at 9:51 PM

I think this is some sort of gambit as mentioned above.This is a good way to put the pressure on the rest of the world. As we pull back the big ol security blanket that is the United States, it will get very cold over in Europe and the Middle East. Remember, nobody thought the surge would work either, quit underestimating Pres. Bush.

gator70 on December 9, 2007 at 10:04 PM

Reference the NIE:

“This is politics disguised as intelligence,” Bolton was quoted as saying

My sentiments, exactly.

Zorro on December 9, 2007 at 10:16 PM

I think this is some sort of gambit as mentioned above.

gator70 on December 9, 2007 at 10:04 PM

If this is really a gambit we should start hedging our rhetoric about providing a missile defense to protect Europe from Iranian nukes. Once Europe realizes that they’re on their own both in regard to preventing Iran from obtaining nukes AND their defense from those nukes once obtained, it might just light such a fire under them that they’ll finally get off their @sses and take responsibility for their own safety for once.

FloatingRock on December 9, 2007 at 11:02 PM

I’m inclined to believe Bolton, however, and I doubt that this is a gambit.

FloatingRock on December 9, 2007 at 11:03 PM

91Veteran on December 9, 2007 at 7:12 PM

Agreed. If the info Kamel shared wasn’t worth all that much, why did Saddam make the effort to lure him and his family back to Iraq to kill him?

Wanderlust on December 9, 2007 at 11:08 PM

Agreed. If the info Kamel shared wasn’t worth all that much, why did Saddam make the effort to lure him and his family back to Iraq to kill him?

Wanderlust on December 9, 2007 at 11:08 PM

I could never figure that out. He was out and safe. I agree there was probably significant pressure put on his family. I can’t think of any other reason he would have gone back.
It’s possible Saddam wanted him back so he would stop giving up secrets.
There are so many parallels between that issue and this current one.
Over time, the intelligence and hard data from the UNSCOM inspectors was ignored in favor of the “Bush Lied” crap, essentially making the US intelligence credibility a laughingstock. After the whole Bush Lied clamor, any other report was met with claims by surrendercrats as Bush cooking the books on intelligence.
It is made worse by the kind of games being played by those in the intelligence agencies who care more about their hatred for Bush than they do about the security of this country.

…yet they want us to believe this one.

91Veteran on December 9, 2007 at 11:52 PM

Fire everyone in the CIA who has celebrated their 10 year anniversary.

Jaibones on December 10, 2007 at 2:47 AM

Contrarian opinion:

When you plan to attack a country, in many instances it is advantageous to lead the “attackee” to believe there is no imminent threat.

Bake your noodle with this one. What if all of this is unfolding due to a well-thought out strategy?

astuddis on December 10, 2007 at 3:04 AM

Joseph McCarthy was right.

The foot soldiers of the enemy are alreay in the U.S. State Department and the U.S. intelligence agencies.

slp on December 10, 2007 at 4:11 AM

Joseph McCarthy was right.

The foot soldiers of the enemy are already in the U.S. State Department and the U.S. intelligence agencies

slp on December 10, 2007 at 4:12 AM

Whatever the NIE worms thought they were accomplishing, they’ve actually made war more likely. It is now the official position of the US that there is no problem, which is equivalent to letting Israel know that it’s their problem. Israel may go and solve it.

Thanks to dirty little beltway politics, to the games of tenured mediocrities, and not to any cleverness at all, the US has made a good move. It has given Israel a green light to do the job and yet at the same time has distanced itself from any prior knowledge or involvement. Since numerous nuclear powers live near the neighborhood, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, it’s best that our fingerprints not be found anywhere near the scene.

And we have the best defense of all. Innocence by reason of sheer incompetence.

dhimwit on December 10, 2007 at 8:19 AM

The Brits are not Europeans.

Tzetzes on December 10, 2007 at 8:30 AM

I am Jack’s gut-wrenching shock & horror.

The NIE is a POS? Whodathunkit?

I am seriously going to have to reevaluate my concrete faith in our intelligence industry. Seriously.

What planes? Flying where?

Ochlan on December 10, 2007 at 10:16 AM

Please keep in mind that the CIA is actually TWO separate agencies. There are the spooks and operatives on one side, and the “analysts” on the other. They don’t interact.

These analysts are college graduates from the last 30 years of Leftist indocrination, and not smart enough to land cushy jobs in academia nor in the State department.

The democrats are more than willing to believe the Iranians suspended their program in 2003, but no one has asked the analysts why they didn’t know this in 2005, when the previous assessment was done.

Any educated (by 1940s and 1950s standards) person can see the problems with the latest assessment, and recognize how it is inconsistent with the Iranian braggery about centrifuges and promises to destroy Israel.

We need to face facts. Joe McCarthy may have brought awareness to the communist infiltration of our federal government, but he sure as heck didn’t stop it. Our State dept and CIA analysts are sabotaging the efforts of our elected leaders, and the dumbass Democrats are their prime supporters and principal beneficiaries. What will it take to expose this and bring these people to justice?

Mustafa Hemmroid on December 10, 2007 at 12:54 PM

What will it take to expose this and bring these people to justice?

Probably a whole sh!tload more dead Americans…seems to be the way of things.

Never a barn door closed with horses unbolted – the American way

Ochlan on December 10, 2007 at 1:22 PM

The term Intelligence should be removed from the Central Intelligence Agency. Then everyone who has served under Clinton and/or involved with either the weapons of mass destruction fiasco or this piece of garbage should be removed.

volsense on December 10, 2007 at 1:56 PM

We will be woiling our collective drawers when Iran test its first functional nuclear weapon. It’s not a matter of if. It’s only a matter of when.

gryphon202 on December 10, 2007 at 5:11 PM