NYT: Bush nixed weapons for Israeli raid on Iran, chose covert ops instead

posted at 9:23 pm on January 10, 2009 by Allahpundit

I wonder how long the Times has been sitting on this one.

There’s a lot to digest — too much for a thoughtful post tonight, I think — but let me gently suggest that they buried the lede. Quote:

The “key judgments” of the National Intelligence Estimate, which were publicly released [in December 2007], emphasized the suspension of the weapons work.

The public version made only glancing reference to evidence described at great length in the 140-page classified version of the assessment: the suspicion that Iran had 10 or 15 other nuclear-related facilities, never opened to international inspectors, where enrichment activity, weapons work or the manufacturing of centrifuges might be taking place.

The Israelis responded angrily and rebutted the American report, providing American intelligence officials and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with evidence that they said indicated that the Iranians were still working on a weapon.

Israel wasn’t our only ally who knew the NIE was garbage, first and foremost because enrichment, not weaponization, is the hard part in building a nuke and Iran’s been merrily improving its enrichment capabilities for years. Like I said when the report first came out, “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.” And so it is.

The Times omitted details about the covert ops for obvious reasons, but evidently they involve sabotaging Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure. Old-school HA readers may remember these posts about the atomic black market; such is the sophistication needed for enrichment that even a nation as technologically advanced as Iran is forced to buy some necessary parts instead of producing them itself. Presumably the CIA’s interrupted the supply chain. But it may not do any good:

While declining to be specific, one American official dismissed the latest covert operations against Iran as “science experiments.” One senior intelligence official argued that as Mr. Bush prepared to leave office, the Iranians were already so close to achieving a weapons capacity that they were unlikely to be stopped…

One official … said, “It was not until the last year that they got really imaginative about what one could do to screw up the system.”

Then, he cautioned, “none of these are game-changers,” meaning that the efforts would not necessarily cripple the Iranian program. Others in the administration strongly disagree.

I can’t believe Israel would sit idly by while Iran builds a bomb if they thought the sabotage has no chance of succeeding. On the other hand, and as the story makes clear, their own assessments suggest that a bombing run would set Iran’s program back by only two or three years, or of course might not work at all — the chance of which, apparently, convinced Bush an attack wasn’t worth the risk. Exit question: Why’d the Times publish this now? My gut reaction after reading it was that they’ve made life much harder for The One, but upon reflection they might have simplified things for him considerably. Iran will have a field day with propaganda about this vis-a-vis the Great Satan trying to wreck its glorious national nuclear program; if Obama’s serious about “repairing our image abroad,” he has no choice now but to repudiate Bush’s policy and meet with them.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Iran to NYT: Thanks for the heads up.

- The Cat

MirCat on January 10, 2009 at 9:36 PM

he has no choice now but to repudiate Bush’s policy and meet with them.

He was going to do this anyways; therefore, this “bombshell” makes it much easier for That One. Good call as usual, Mr. Pundit.

SouthernGent on January 10, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Israel wasn’t our only ally who knew the NIE was garbage,

Everyone with a brain knew that that NIE was garbage.

I can’t believe Israel would sit idly by while Iran builds a bomb if they thought the sabotage has no chance of succeeding.

Believe it. Just look at how constrained Israel has been in fighting in Lebanon and now in Gaza – to the point of guranteeing a poor outcome. And no matter how tough Israel might seem to be with Gaza, now, they are not fighting this the way they should. Hands are still tied behind the back.

Israel’s fear in attacking Iran was that oil prices would rise further, with Israel getting the blame for bringing down the world economy (though no one has really blamed OPEC for its acts of war against the West in trying to keep oil prices high) and Israel would also be blamed for the chaos that would break out in Iraq (though that country will eventually descend into chaos when US pressure is eventually relieved).

Take a look at the insanity we see in reaction to the Gaza operations (which are far too nice to be really effective) and imagine what would happen to Israel if they attackd Iran. Europe has been waiting for any chance to destroy Israel and the Israelis know it.

But, so long as the West values the lives of citizens of enemy states more than the lives of our own citizens, this is how it goes. Very ugly stuff, and stupid to the nth degree.

progressoverpeace on January 10, 2009 at 9:40 PM

I just cannot wait until the NYT goes the way of the dodo, and becomes a one paragraph entry in the history books, and hopefully an actual indicted co-conspirator in treason to the U.S.

RIP!

docjohn52 on January 10, 2009 at 9:43 PM

but let me gently suggest that they buried the lede.

They didn’t bury the lede; they entombed it in 20 feet of reinforced concrete.

The lede that the Times misses is: The US government acknowledges that Iran, contrary to previous US intelligence conclusions, has continued its work on its nuclear program and cannot be stopped, barring military action, from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Full stop.

SteveMG on January 10, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Obama will be disabling our nuclear arsenal at the same time Iran is building theirs. Are we supposed to wait for God to intervene in this?

Buddahpundit on January 10, 2009 at 9:46 PM

Are we going to get NYTimes stories on the secrets of the Obama administration? I wait with baited breath, but you know the stories will never come, while the crimes and lies will be legendary.

tarpon on January 10, 2009 at 9:46 PM

Allahpundit, I have a different take on Obama’s course of action. If these now revealed covert ops are unsuccessful, then to repair the so-called damage to our image abroad, the new POTUS now has political cover for military engagements from blockades to insurgent support to conventional warfare. All of these choices can be deemed necessary due to the failure of the Bush Administration’s sabotage efforts.

chsw

chsw on January 10, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Seriously, what is with the MSM and their obsession with revealing national security secrets and covert ops? Every time that I start to feel like they’re not entirely bad, they do something like this. When do those loans for the NYT come due again? May? It can’t get here soon enough.

meltenn on January 10, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Let’s watch the Obama administration VERY closely during 2009 to see specifically which Bush programs immediately get reversed – other than tax cuts. There was a lot of campaign rhetoric about “everything being done the wrong way,” but keep in mind that once you get on the Democrats’ (The NY TIMES) hit list, every decision you make is the wrong one. So what will Obama actually change?

perroviejo on January 10, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Dearest Pinchie,

Thanks again to your NYT investigative reporters. They are very helpful as always.

Love,

Ahmidinejad (whatever)

AZfederalist on January 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM

the 2007 NIE was one of the greatest disgraces in the history of government, the media and the Democratic party.
By the way this was a really good post, if a person forgets the implications of Iran with the A-Bomb that is.

rob verdi on January 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM

If these now revealed covert ops are unsuccessful, then to repair the so-called damage to our image abroad, the new POTUS now has political cover for military engagements from blockades to insurgent support to conventional warfare

.

In order to get our allies onboard with this approach will take several years.

Years we don’t have.

This will just give those who want to talk more ammunition (so to speak). E.g., “Look, Iran’s a nuclear power, we need to talk with them now.”

I can’t see Israel allowing this. But without US support, they can’t pull it off.

Biden said that Obama would be tested. This is it.

Putin et al. are watching very closely.

SteveMG on January 10, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Here’s more evidence of the information processing skills of our fearless leaders:

Reply-all e-mail storm hits State

pedestrian on January 10, 2009 at 9:58 PM

SteveMG on January 10, 2009 at 9:45 PM

What MG said.

Topsecretk9 on January 10, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Every time that I start to feel like they’re not entirely bad, they do something like this.

meltenn on January 10, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Hit yourself in the head with a hammer if this feeling ever overcomes you again :-)

fogw on January 10, 2009 at 10:03 PM

Wow, Bush. Thanks a lot. Might as well have signed Israel’s death warrant while you’re at it.

Between amnesty, the bailouts, and now this, I have lost all respect for the man.

I feel as if I didn’t leave the Republican party, the party left me. Too bad there’s nothing else good to register as in NY.

Seven Seas on January 10, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Meet the Press, Jan. 4, 2009:

MR. SANGER: David, we’re beyond the point of saying that Barack Obama inherits a lot of messes around the world. He also inherits a lot of activities that President Bush began, and he’s going to have to make some very difficult decisions about whether to continue them. One of his intelligence chiefs said to me that President Bush wrote a lot of checks that Barack Obama is going to have to cash.

MR. GREGORY: Hm.

MR. SANGER: And I think what he means by that is there are covert actions that have begun that Obama’s going to have to look at even before he fully understands them. Another one of Obama’s aides said to me, “You know, in many ways we have a Bay of Pigs problem,” which is the action that President Kennedy inherited from Dwight Eisenhower, and he didn’t fully understand it. Pakistan’s a great example of this. President Bush last summer authorized a series of ground actions that included going after non-al-Qaeda members, and Barack Obama’s going to have to decide, do you do that or not?

sdferr on January 10, 2009 at 10:16 PM

“their own assessments suggest that a bombing run would set Iran’s program back by only two or three years, or of course might not work at all”

Exactly. Particularly if a lot of that program is in Venezuela or Syria. If, however, you are able to somehow poison the program in some systemic way, it doesn’t matter where the program is located.

Sucks that the Times printed this, though. Maybe the NYT decided to do Hezbollah a favor and take their own “retaliation” shot at Israel and the US for the Gaza operation. The NYT is *not* an asset to this country. In fact, they are a national liability. They should be allowed to go under as quickly as possible.

crosspatch on January 10, 2009 at 10:19 PM

When is the NY Times going to be put on trial for treason?

MrLynn on January 10, 2009 at 10:23 PM

The NYSlimes never misses a chance to betray America.

doriangrey on January 10, 2009 at 10:30 PM

One can only hope that this is a disinformation campaign. Certainly The Times is the ideal vehicle for a campaign since it has very high credibility as a purveyor of accurate highly classified information.

burt on January 10, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Well, guess we will have to wait. Isn’t easy second guessing The One. We know nothing about that man. Nothing that is real. So, this sucks. Let Iran build nukes and kill our nukes. Something isn’t right about this picture.

sheebe on January 10, 2009 at 10:34 PM

upon reflection they might have simplified things for him considerably… if Obama’s serious about “repairing our image abroad,” he has no choice now but to repudiate Bush’s policy and meet with them.

You mean, the NYT takes a huge gamble with this and tries to affect steer U.S. foreign policy with a potentially nuclear rogue nation?

Too Ballsy. Unless of course Team-O was in on it.

Free Constitution on January 10, 2009 at 10:38 PM

Regardless of journalistic ethics, it just shows how the Prez cares more about his “legacy” than our country. What an a*^hole.

I’m almost glad Liberty is dead

klickink.wordpress.com on January 10, 2009 at 10:54 PM

To me the obvious weak link in Iran’s atomic weapon program is the electrical grid and/or dedicated power plants which power the centrifuges. Processing uranium takes a great deal of electrical power. There is a reason that processing plants are where they are, near large power sources. For a couple of years I have advocated, including at HotAir, that the power sources be taken out either by air raids or covert operations.

burt on January 10, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Regardless of journalistic ethics, it just shows how the Prez cares more about his “legacy” than our country. What an a*^hole.

what they hell?

wise_man on January 10, 2009 at 10:58 PM

In my view, the NYT is low grade toilet paper and every one who works there is party to un-American activities.

Zorro on January 10, 2009 at 10:59 PM

I will never understand how or why the moonbat leftards continually side with those that would kill them first. Like Reese told Connor in the first Terminator, ” they cannot be reasoned with, they will kill you” or something like that. WTF is the NYT thinking by printing this? Has their BDS so deranged them that they are willing to damage other nations as well? The mad mullahs of Iran deserve only a pine box buried under a pig sty.

goat on January 10, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Regardless of journalistic ethics, it just shows how the Prez cares more about his “legacy” than our country. What an a*^hole.

what they hell?

wise_man on January 10, 2009 at 10:58 PM

I’m sorry, does the truth hurt a bit? Bush failed to support not only Israel, but our own country by not just disallowing a strike for the nuke program, but for not striking Iran ourselves because of the weapons sent to the terrorists in Iraq.

And don’t get me starter on Sadr.

Liberty is dead – and this is why.

klickink.wordpress.com on January 10, 2009 at 11:13 PM

burt on January 10, 2009 at 10:55 PM

I agree with that and had not thought of it. Something I have thought of though is an EMP attack by Israel which would give them plenty of time to rain havock on all needed Iranian targets.

goat on January 10, 2009 at 11:14 PM

For a couple of years I have advocated, including at HotAir, that the power sources be taken out either by air raids or covert operations.

burt on January 10, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Oh no but you see that would just hurt all the poor itty bitty citizens by damaging their electrical infrastructure…

…you know…

…like their terrorists buddies kept doing in Iraq.

klickink.wordpress.com on January 10, 2009 at 11:14 PM

I came across this on Iran’s nuclear program:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Threats_to_Israel/Iran.html

If the world clucks their tongues like this at Israel taking a stand against Qassam rockets, imagine the outrage if they went after Iran’s nukes. Maybe it’s better left to covert ops.

chunderroad on January 10, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Anybody want to bet that it was the Messiah’s transition team that leaked this?

Jdripper on January 10, 2009 at 11:27 PM

I have two words for the islamists and their sympathizers in the west F U. Like I said I will never understand how our supposedly enlightened leftards couls ever side with the islamists when their ideologies are polar opposites.

goat on January 10, 2009 at 11:32 PM

Jdripper on January 10, 2009 at 11:27 PM

It would make more sense if they were involved with this story’s release. Especially so per Allah’s view.

Free Constitution on January 10, 2009 at 11:33 PM

I’m beginning to think that Israel is not going to do anything about Iran’s bomb program. The messiah is 9 days from taking office, and still no attack. If they didn’t attack with Bush in office, I don’t see them attacking with obama. Iran is home free.

keep the change on January 10, 2009 at 11:52 PM

Like I said I will never understand how our supposedly enlightened leftards couls ever side with the islamists when their ideologies are polar opposites.

goat on January 10, 2009 at 11:32 PM

Because the western left are children who are consumed by an illusory guilt that makes them self-haters who want everything that looks like them, or reminds them of themselves, to be destroyed. They side with the barbarians because they think that they are practicing the ultimate atonement. The hope of the left, in the end, is that they will die, but they have an urgent need to take the rest of us with them, as the ultimate atonement (in their pea-brains) for their forefathers having been more successful than anyone else and making others feel inadequate in the comparison.

These self-haters are the price that a society must pay for indivdualism – as guilt is the main control mechanism used by individualistic societies and not everyone can handle that mechanism, just as many children can’t watch horror movies without losing control of their imaginations and having nightmares for weeks. It is a cost that is well worth it, though, as individualistic societies are so much more dynamic/creative/productive than any other. But when the adults let the kids out of their sandboxes, as we have done, mayhem ensues.

progressoverpeace on January 10, 2009 at 11:57 PM

progressoverpeace on January 10, 2009 at 11:57 PM

That really is the core of the problem the west now suffer.

What’s the solution.

the_nile on January 11, 2009 at 12:03 AM

progressoverpeace on January 10, 2009 at 11:57 PM

Interesting though I prefer to think they are just brain dead idiots that hate America and Israel for selfish reasons they don’t even understand. They act like children because they were never tought otherwise.

goat on January 11, 2009 at 12:07 AM

There was story similar to this in the Guardian last September.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/25/iran.israelandthepalestinians1

It doesn’t have the part about the covert special ops though.

juliesa on January 11, 2009 at 12:08 AM

I’m beginning to think that Israel is not going to do anything about Iran’s bomb program. The messiah is 9 days from taking office, and still no attack. If they didn’t attack with Bush in office, I don’t see them attacking with obama. Iran is home free.

keep the change on January 10, 2009 at 11:52 PM

The NYT article is probably accurate in reporting that Israel has held back because the logistics are too difficult, especially without permission to overfly Iraq, and the odds against any long-term success are long.

Do we or the Israelis even know where all the nuclear facilities are?

Israel has one option, of course, and that is a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran. It may come to that, but I doubt the Israelis would do it, unless pushed to the very edge.

Sabotage by covert means is, I would think, a viable tactic, despite the apparent lack of success so far. Let us hope that the traitorous bastards at the NYT have not undermined this program by spilling the beans. They should be prosecuted. But if the Bush administration feared to do so, you can be sure the Obambi one will not want to.

Note: Sabotage does not have to be subtle. A bomb smuggled into a uranium enrichment facility in a shipping container could be quite devastating.

MrLynn on January 11, 2009 at 12:10 AM

The best thing about reports such as these is that upon publication everyone on the internet becomes war scenario aficionados to rival Tom Clancy.

e-pirate on January 11, 2009 at 12:18 AM

Don’t worry, the NIEs of the future, signed off by Leon Panetta no less – will be filled out and “investigated” by like minded party loyalists to the democratic party similar to what Clinton did during his administration.
And the next time we need real intelligence that protects the U.S. instead of selling it out – someone will have to go elsewhere like Rummy tried to do with the DIA at the Pentagon and once again ignore the CIA for the laughing stock that it is. But don’t worry, Barry and Leon gots it covered.
Sleep well everyone.

JeffinOrlando on January 11, 2009 at 12:21 AM

the_nile on January 11, 2009 at 12:03 AM

I don’t know. Universal suffrage without any requirements of competency or having a stake in the nation (paying taxes) is what let the children out to begin with. You know, people rarely respect anything they didn’t have to work for. The destruction of the nuclear family seems to be another important contributor, but I don’t see any way of putting that back together.

Getting the kids back in their sandboxes, where they can’t hurt anyone, is much more difficult than letting them out was. It’s as difficult as killing an government entitlement program. Unfortunately, it will probably take some very big, very bad event, which the left are guaranteeing, anyway. We had a chance to change the environment after 9/11, but Bush chose to stick with the post-WWII concept of war (though he took care of just enough to let everyone feel safe again) and so we are back at 9/10. Hopefully, the big, bad event takes place somewhere else, though it will shock the American public back to reality. But … we’ll just have to see.

progressoverpeace on January 11, 2009 at 12:28 AM

Interesting though I prefer to think they are just brain dead idiots that hate America and Israel for selfish reasons they don’t even understand. They act like children because they were never tought otherwise.

goat on January 11, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Yes. That is true for many, but I am a big believer in the guilt mechanism as the main driver. This is why, IMO, we see a little higher percentage of self-hating Jews than Christians (as guilt is used more in Jewish upbringing – though Catholics are pretty darn good at it, too) and why we see almost no self-hating people from tribalistic cultures. For the tribalistic cultures, which use shame instead of guilt as their main control mechanism, they generate homicidal maniacs (even if they resort to suicide as a weapon against their enemies!) instead of suicidal self-haters. I like to frame the large-scale difference between the West and the arab/persian/muslim world as: Individualism/Guilt/Atonement versus Tribalism/Shame/Revenge. To me, that is the dynamic, in a nutshell.

progressoverpeace on January 11, 2009 at 12:41 AM

WTF? .. what do I care. Let Iran develop nukes just like Israel and let them turn the Middle East into a glowing pool of goo. At least there would be peace there for once.

Seriously, the US is bankrupt and we’re wringing our hands over how to protect a tiny patch of useless desert? wtf? Let the towel heads blow each other up all they want. We’ve got our own Trillion dollar problems to deal with.

popularpeoplesfront on January 11, 2009 at 12:48 AM

popularpeoplesfront on January 11, 2009 at 12:48 AM

lol ron paul troll

Seven Seas on January 11, 2009 at 12:57 AM

Is this cover operation still going on? If so why in the world is The New York Times reporting on it?

terryannonline on January 11, 2009 at 1:00 AM

When 40% of the country is trying to stab you in the back, it severely limits what a President can do.

RBMN on January 11, 2009 at 1:28 AM

When 40% of the country is trying to stab you in the back, it severely limits what a President can do.

RBMN on January 11, 2009 at 1:28 AM

Uh, just forty percent? I would put that number much higher.
You are right. If Bush would have allowed the Israelis to do this through Iraqi air space, oy, I can just hear the screaming from the left and some on the right also!

terryannonline on January 11, 2009 at 1:34 AM

I question the timing.

—- sigh —-

hillbillyjim on January 11, 2009 at 1:53 AM

Obama is just going to tell them to stop…and Iran will listen to him and obey …just like the liberal media does, right?

wildweasel on January 11, 2009 at 1:55 AM

I still say Iran would make a great nuclear test site. Show them up-close how a nuke works.

izoneguy on January 11, 2009 at 1:58 AM

I think The Gray Whore’s reasoning is thus:

Obama’s foreign policy and national security measures, guided by his total lack of a clue on how either works, will probably, coupled with an Iranian nuclear device, a porous southern border, and some Coyote with no clue what he’s hauling asking no questions, paid in cash, will result in an American city getting vaporized sometime within the next 4-8 years.

Now, The Times probably won’t live to see it and “report” on it, seeing as how they won’t live to see June of this year, but they’re providing their man with a cover for the results of his own failures by hanging it all on Bush.

The left and the Donks will scream about how “Bush did nothing and we lost a city!” totally forgetting to remind people that the then senior senator from Delaware, now the sitting VP, threatened impeachment if he did attempt a millitary strike to stop the Mullahs from developing bombs in the first place.

Consider this The Gray Whore’s “Ahab Moment”:

“With my last breath I curse thee! From Hell’s hollow heart, I stab at thee!”

SuperCool on January 11, 2009 at 2:21 AM

All you Israel-can-do-no-wrong people, don’t blame Bush excessively for this. Remember, during Israel-Lebanon war, Bush gave Israel every permission to go after Hezbollah and what did Israel do? Stall after it going got hard. But, Bush had to pay an enormous diplomatic price for this. I am sure, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the war against the neocons became nuclear. They were forced out of the administration by any hook or crook. I saw the same thing happen in Australia too.

Bush is alone in the office with no loyalists at hand and both CIA and the State conspiring against him with the blessing of the Dems newly supreme in Congress. Then comes the NIE, which scuttles any leeway to go after Iran. If he went ahead with the Iran stike, Israel would have botched it anyway jsut as they botched the Lebanon offesnive in 2006 and the Gaza offensive now. They talk tough but give up in the middle.

He did make a lot of mistakes but let’s not forget the context. He can’t pull rabbits out of thin air every time. As for this, some Israel-sympathising lefty(there are some of them) might have leaked this to NYT, just to make sure Israel is not too blindsided in the new administration.

promachus on January 11, 2009 at 2:41 AM

If striking Iran’s nuclear program from the air would destroy it,I believe the Bush administration or Israel would
do it.They know that Ahmadinejad means it when he says he wants to make Israel a “stinking corpse”.

It is to spread out and to deep for an air strike to do enough damage that would warrant the risk involved.

So Bush has handled it the way that all the liberals and their “Global Test” rants wanted it handled,through the UN and the EU.
Sanctions and endless negotiations have failed here like they did in Iraq and always do when dealing with power hungry dictators and terrorist.

Bush was called a war monger using “cowboy diplomacy” in regards to taking out Saddam which is referred to by liberals as the worst foreign policy disaster in modern times.
The difference in Iran and Iraq is that bypassing the UN and liberal appeasement policies brought regime change in Iraq which is now a free country not hell bent on our destruction and starting wars with it’s neighbors.

Dealing with the enemies of Freedom the way liberals want to do has always been a failure and when Iran gets the bomb on Obama’s watch,he will be held responsible for it like everything that has gone wrong in the world was blamed on Bush.

The buck stops at the White House remember liberals.

The captain has covered Obama’s constantly changing policies on Iran,showing that in the end,Obama has no different plan to handle Iran except talking face to face with Ahmadinejad.

liberals may flock to Obama like the sheep they are when he
just keeps saying “hope and change” over and over,but Ahmadinejad will not be impressed:


I wonder where he got that idea? Oh, yeah!

posted at 10:20 am on May 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/15/i-wonder-where-he-got-that-idea-oh-yeah/

Both CNN and Barack Obama sound outraged that George Bush might conclude that Obama wants to offer a program of appeasement to Iran, North Korea, and other dictatorships. Speaking in Israel on the 60th anniversary of that nation’s independence, Bush warned that people still have not learned that negotiations with genocidal lunatics produces nothing but more genocide. Hitler proved it in 1939, but 69 years later, some still live in a pre-Munich mindset:

Barack Obama, Neocon
posted at 7:46 am on May 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/17/barack-obama-neocon/

First, listen to how far Barack Obama has actually moved his foreign policy approach regarding Iran. Last summer, especially during the YouTube debate, Obama railed against the Bush administration policy, with “failed” being about the kindest term he could muster. Now, however, he has adopted the Bush policy towards Iran in toto. No talks with Iran until they end their nuclear-weapons programs, progressively tougher sanctions until they comply with international non-proliferation regulations and UN Security Council resolutions — that is exactly what the Bush administration has done since 2003.

This is just another example of real world problems that Obama is not going to be able to give some speech that the MSM drools over so that he can gloss over it with nuance.

Baxter Greene on January 11, 2009 at 3:50 AM

As background, we know now that AQ Kahn’s turnkey nuke service had some saboteurs who successfully impaired the devices they built. Bad triggering devices, slightly imperfect explosive lenses, the wrong mixture of HE, subtly wrong geometry, slight impurities in critical materials … all of these could turn a bomb into a fizzle.

It worked before. If this project got started before the sabotage of AQ Kahn’s work was revealed, it would have been a very reasonable thing to do.

Of course, whether it worked or not, Iran is going to have to have its physicists and engineers check EVERYTHING.

As far as the NYT, well, some a** is missing its hole.

njcommuter on January 11, 2009 at 5:28 AM

(sarcasm on)
Wait, but what about the “attack” Sid Hersch promised us? You know, anonymous sources told him it was coming summer of 2005, and then 2006, and finally in 2008. (I can’t remember if he was saying this in 2007 or not.) You mean that might have been all made up and the “sources” a figment of his imagination? Gee that can’t be because as we all know journalists are honest and up front not like you pajama clad partisans.
Gee, next you tell me that it wasn’t weird that the NIE report basically said they hadn’t been working on the nukes for years yet the date they had previous predicted, 2015, had remained the same.

(sarcasm off)

Dave_d on January 11, 2009 at 7:55 AM

This is how world wars get started…Pussy around and we are in big trouble. Cept the mainland might not be safe this time…and John Belushi isn’t around anymore to save us.

tomas on January 11, 2009 at 8:11 AM

progressoverpeace on January 11, 2009 at 12:41 AM

Pat Santy at drsanity.blogspot made the same distinction between guilt and shame cultures quite well some time ago.

onlineanalyst on January 11, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Had Bush not gone after Iraq and pushed to go into Iran instead, the world would be a much better place. As much of a dirtbag as Saddam was, I don’t think he ever would have been crazy enough to lob nukes at Israel. Iran on the other hand is counting down the days.

angryed on January 11, 2009 at 8:24 AM

Iran’s space program should also be on everyone’s mind.
Once they have orbital capability….
Even a crude EMP weapon detonated over North America will be devastating…

jerrytbg on January 11, 2009 at 8:36 AM

So we are now considering wars on 3 fronts? That should be all that The One needs to push through the draft …

What did B. Hussein Obama know, and when did he know it.

It is obvious that the timimng of this article is suspect. Is the Times in contact with B. Hussein Obama operatives? If so, did this get published at their request?

I don’t believe that Israel would sit quietly while this got to such a dangerous point.

The chance that this is mere fear and hyperbole is pretty high. Remember how America acted when the ‘reports’ of Saddam having WMD came out?

I wonder if the democrats will be happy now that they have control of a probable new war. They sure were disappointed that Gore had missed his big chance.

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 8:56 AM

So we are now considering wars war on 3 fronts?
DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Yes… crush it like a cockroach…
Before it’s too late to avoid greater destruction.

jerrytbg on January 11, 2009 at 9:08 AM

You can’t just push into Iran…this is silly. Iraq had the logistics the Permission(coughs)of UN resolutions and everything else.

Saddam would not have just faded away…learn this.

tomas on January 11, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Haaretz reported this back in Nov.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1019989.html

juliesa on January 11, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Yes… crush it like a cockroach…
Before it’s too late to avoid greater destruction.

jerrytbg on January 11, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Conventional wisdon suggests we cannot go in with troops as we are stretched as it is, and a bombing run won’t cut it, so I guess you are calling for nukes, right?

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 9:19 AM

From Powerline:

The New York Times is reporting that President Bush “deflected” a request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs Israel wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex. Bush also flatly refused to grant Israel’s request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located, according to the same report.

Bush supposedly told the Israelis he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. also agreed to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel.

The Times doesn’t say whether the Israelis took any comfort from Bush’s “covert” campaign to sabotage Iran’s nuclear efforts. In their place, I don’t think I would. It’s always seemed to me that, absent very dramatic regime change in Iran, the choices are a nuclear Iran or an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Sabotage seems like a long shot, even absent a New York Times story that this is what we’re trying to do.

Is the Times report accurate? Who knows? But if Israel really did seek U.S. help in connection with an attack on Iran, I have little difficulty believing that the Bush administration turned Israel down.

JOHN adds: The Times article is fascinating reading. It is based on research that reporter David Sanger has been doing for over a year; his book The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, will be published on Tuesday.

The Times says that its account “emerged in interviews over the past 15 months with current and former American officials, outside experts, international nuclear inspectors and European and Israeli officials,” all of whom, of course, are anonymous. Every one of these individuals has an agenda, as do both the Times and Sanger. It is hard even to guess what portions of the Times story might be true.

On their face, the Times article, and presumably Sanger’s book, represent another outrageous breach of security. The paper purports to reveal top secret American initiatives against Iran:

The covert American program, started in early 2008, includes renewed American efforts to penetrate Iran’s nuclear supply chain abroad, along with new efforts, some of them experimental, to undermine electrical systems, computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies. …

Several years ago, foreign intelligence services tinkered with individual power units that Iran bought in Turkey to drive its centrifuges, the floor-to-ceiling silvery tubes that spin at the speed of sound, enriching uranium for use in power stations or, with additional enrichment, nuclear weapons.

A number of centrifuges blew up, prompting public declarations of sabotage by Iranian officials. An engineer in Switzerland, who worked with the Pakistani nuclear black-marketeer Abdul Qadeer Khan, had been “turned” by American intelligence officials and helped them slip faulty technology into parts bought by the Iranians.

What Mr. Bush authorized, and informed a narrow group of Congressional leaders about, was a far broader effort, aimed at the entire industrial infrastructure that supports the Iranian nuclear program. Some of the efforts focused on ways to destabilize the centrifuges.

If this information was published without the government’s authority, the Times’ reporter and editors should be criminally prosecuted. It seems more likely, however, that the administration approved publication in order to sow doubt and confusion among Iranian leaders.

The article includes interesting comments on the notoriously politicized National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran had abandoned its nuclear program:

Israel’s effort to obtain the weapons, refueling capacity and permission to fly over Iraq for an attack on Iran grew out of its disbelief and anger at an American intelligence assessment completed in late 2007 that concluded that Iran had effectively suspended its development of nuclear weapons four years earlier.

That conclusion also stunned Mr. Bush’s national security team — and Mr. Bush himself, who was deeply suspicious of the conclusion, according to officials who discussed it with him.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate, was based on a trove of Iranian reports obtained by penetrating Iran’s computer networks.

Is that true, or does the administration want Iran to believe, falsely, that its computer systems have been compromised?

The “key judgments” of the National Intelligence Estimate, which were publicly released, emphasized the suspension of the weapons work.

The public version made only glancing reference to evidence described at great length in the 140-page classified version of the assessment: the suspicion that Iran had 10 or 15 other nuclear-related facilities, never opened to international inspectors, where enrichment activity, weapons work or the manufacturing of centrifuges might be taking place.

The Israelis responded angrily and rebutted the American report, providing American intelligence officials and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with evidence that they said indicated that the Iranians were still working on a weapon.

…[T]he Israelis were not the only ones highly critical of the United States report. Secretary Gates, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said the report had presented the evidence poorly, underemphasizing the importance of Iran’s enrichment activity and overemphasizing the suspension of a weapons-design effort that could easily be turned back on.

In an interview, Mr. Gates said that in his whole career he had never seen “an N.I.E. that had such an impact on U.S. diplomacy,” because “people figured, well, the military option is now off the table.”

Prime Minister Olmert came to the same conclusion.

The Times doesn’t print classified information without a political purpose. In the past, it has collaborated with Democrats in the federal bureaucracy to try to undermine the Bush administration. With only days to go before Bush leaves office, that is no longer the paper’s concern. What, then, are Sanger and the Times up to?

My guess is they are, as usual, running interference for Barack Obama. The Times doesn’t want Obama to be blamed for what happens next in connection with Iran:

Those covert operations, and the question of whether Israel will settle for something less than a conventional attack on Iran, pose immediate and wrenching decisions for Mr. Obama. …

Since his election on Nov. 4, Mr. Obama has been extensively briefed on the American actions in Iran, though his transition aides have refused to comment on the issue.

The Times is careful to assure us that Obama’s aides aren’t the leakers.

Early in his presidency, Mr. Obama must decide whether the covert actions begun by Mr. Bush are worth the risks of disrupting what he has pledged will be a more active diplomatic effort to engage with Iran.

Either course could carry risks for Mr. Obama. An inherited intelligence or military mission that went wrong could backfire, as happened to President Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba. But a decision to pull back on operations aimed at Iran could leave Mr. Obama vulnerable to charges that he is allowing Iran to speed ahead toward a nuclear capacity, one that could change the contours of power in the Middle East.

I suppose we should enjoy what is likely to be the Times’ last major leak for some time, even assuming the paper stays in business through 2009. With a Democratic President in place, neither Democratic bureaucrats nor the Times will have any desire to undermine the administration by leaking and publishing classified information.

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Here is another fact ignored by the Times.

Democrats controlled Congress at the time. They had all of the intelligence that Bush had. Where were they on this issue, and can we expect more of the same?

P.S. Keemo, you really need to learn how to use links.

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 9:54 AM

Been using links for years DannoJyd… Far too many complain that they can’t open them. If I think it is a good read, and relates to the thread, I’ll make that choice without need for your management; thank you very much…

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Saddam would not have just faded away…learn this.

tomas on January 11, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Tomas, while I agree with you America has made this the age of the Democrat. That means they were right when declaring how Iraq was better off when Saddam the torturer, and mass murderer was in power.

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:07 AM

The left (which includes the NYT) simultaneously doesn’t want to do anything effective to stop rogue states from getting nuclear weapons, and opposes missile defense systems. I attribute this seeming illogic to a inner belief they have that the US is the rogue nation. Will this delusion continue during the reign of Obama?

KW64 on January 11, 2009 at 10:14 AM

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Nice website; BTW…. I’m touring it as I type this.

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:05 AM

I’m certain that you, as well as Allah, are well aware of how copyright infringenment works. The only way to steer clear of that is to use links, right?

I’m just looking out for ya, buddy. :oP

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Thank you, but the credit goes to Jenn Sierra. She started Fort Hard Knox, and all I do is dirty the pages over there.

I’ll pass along your praise. ;o)

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:18 AM

The left won’t rest until Iran has a nuke so it can destroy Israel. The level of anti-semitism and self loathing of liberals, and even of Jewish liberals is incredible. Only when Tel Aviv lies smoldering in molten ruins will the liberals of America be satisfied. Then they’ll go and blame conservatives.

In the end Iran’s plan won’t work anyway. Israel will never go away as they are under God’s protection. I could easily see Iran simply vanish as a State once Israel gets through with her.

Mojave Mark on January 11, 2009 at 10:25 AM

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Interesting dynamic at Powerline; if I copy and paste anything, the link simply takes you to the blog, rather than to the article of interest. Now, I’m a construction guy with limited computer skills. Maybe I’m butchering this technique. Most sites I visit allow me to link to a specific article.

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Sorry, gang, but I am pretty sure that not a single person here knows enough about this story to either determine NYTimes motives – which could be many different things, or nothing – or to know the intentions or impact of the Bush Administration’s decision.

Mostly, you don’t know if the story is true or accurate.

It’s the NYTimes – why give them 100% crebibility only when it supports your view of them, when your view of them is centered on the assumption that they have no credibility?

Jaibones on January 11, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Jaibones on January 11, 2009 at 10:35 AM

You can’t trust what you read, Bush and Israel can’t trust State or CIA or Obama, and nobody can trust Iran. Sounds like the basis for major miscalculation and f**k-up.

JiangxiDad on January 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Report_Saudis_US_sponsoring_covert_action_0507.html

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html

How long did they sit on it Allah? A year and a half at least.

Knowledge of covert ops against Iran is nothing new. The people who think that there being covert ops is some incredible revelation needs to keep up with current events a little bit more.

LevStrauss on January 11, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Wow, Bush. Thanks a lot. Might as well have signed Israel’s death warrant while you’re at it.

Between amnesty, the bailouts, and now this, I have lost all respect for the man.

I feel as if I didn’t leave the Republican party, the party left me. Too bad there’s nothing else good to register as in NY.

Seven Seas on January 10, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Wow, Seven Seas and no common sense. A man with a 25% approval rating with a couple of months left in office should start another war? Why? So he can be tried for treason as he watches Obama pay reparations to Iran?

The fortitude to take on the Iranian nuclear program will arrive when the mushroom cloud rises above Tel Aviv and not one momoent before. Even at this point, the Real Intelligence Failure continues as few understand that if Saddam had not been removed, Iraq today -instead of fighting al Qaeda- would be developing nuclear weapons.

Basilsbest on January 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Maybe to avoid another all war? We already had two going on in the middle east.

blatantblue on January 11, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Why publish it now? Because Sanger’s book is coming out Tuesday. Compromise U.S. security for self-promotion? Why not.

paustin110 on January 11, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

You’ve got me laughing here as I would describe myself in much the same manner as I too am a construction guy with limited computer skills, and even worse access to the net [1960's land lines] due to living way out amongst the cows. mmmmoooOOOooo!

I ran a Google search to find the article, and it appears that you need to do a copy and paste of their headline url. You get that by right clicking on the headline, click on properties [on the bottom], then copy the info at the bottom. In this case it was ‘ http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/01/022518.php ‘. Apologizes if that is what you’ve been doing. We will discover what it takes to get it right though.

I’ll post this, and we’ll see if that works.

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Sounds like the basis for major miscalculation and f**k-up.

JiangxiDad on January 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Dad, go inside the headlines link and check out the story about the CIA by Charles McCarry, longing, I think, for the good old days when CIA was 100% staffed by NancyBoys from the Ivy League (you mean … it isn’t any more?).

It’s an interesting contrast to this NYT-Iran-Israel-Bush story.

Jaibones on January 11, 2009 at 11:09 AM

The New York Times…always keeping our enemies informed. If Bush had given the go ahead to Israel, the NYT would have published that too. You stay classy, NYT. Like someone said, May can’t get here fast enough. Instead of an RIP though, I say RIH.

scalleywag on January 11, 2009 at 11:27 AM

DannoJyd on January 11, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Tried it and was successful… Thanks.

I’m also out in the boonies looking at hundreds of cows out my office window. Must say though, following 30 years in the Los Angeles (so. bay) area, I love being in the boonies.

Finished up my tour of FHK; impressed I am!

Off to Bozeman to fix my oldest son’s plumbing. Nice day to all.

Keemo on January 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM

There is a very simple solution to making the US safe.
First thing that needs to be done is nuke both the east and west coast with no prior warning. And when I say nuke, I mean with enough warheads to create an impenetrable radioactive zone a couple of hundred miles wide on both coasts. This action provides twofold protection, one, it creates a buffer zone to prevent any possible ground invasion from either coast, and two, it rids our country of the largest centers of communist rhetoric within our own house. Once this has been accomplished we should do the same along the Mexican border, the top portion of Mexico should glow green for the next 1000 years or so, this solves illegal immigration. And finally, we begin unrestricted nuking of the middle east…starting with Mecca. When all the dust settles we politely ask the rest of the world if anyone would like to complain…

BadMojo on January 11, 2009 at 12:17 PM

It seems like it has been about 5 years now that we’ve been hearing Iran is only about 2 years from having a bomb.

Disturb the Universe on January 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

There is a very simple solution to making the US safe.
First thing that needs to be done is nuke both the east and west coast with no prior warning.

Hey, wait a minute …!

njcommuter on January 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

njcommuter on January 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Obviously members from HA would get some form of warning…most of them anyway.

BadMojo on January 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM

This has never made any sense to me. Joint Pub 3-12 says that preemptive nuclear strikes are a reserved power of the President, but we’ve allowed a country that has declared its intent to destroy us to gain the power to do so.

If that doctrine means a damn thing I would bet on some severely localized global warming happening all over Iran right around the time they have the ability to carry out a nuclear strike. Of course, that would rely on the President caring more about the future of America and our allies…something I am increasingly unsure of.

blankminde on January 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM

My guess is they are, as usual, running interference for Barack Obama. The Times doesn’t want Obama to be blamed for what happens next in connection with Iran:

Those covert operations, and the question of whether Israel will settle for something less than a conventional attack on Iran, pose immediate and wrenching decisions for Mr. Obama. …

Since his election on Nov. 4, Mr. Obama has been extensively briefed on the American actions in Iran, though his transition aides have refused to comment on the issue.

The Times is careful to assure us that Obama’s aides aren’t the leakers.

Early in his presidency, Mr. Obama must decide whether the covert actions begun by Mr. Bush are worth the risks of disrupting what he has pledged will be a more active diplomatic effort to engage with Iran.

I suppose we should enjoy what is likely to be the Times’ last major leak for some time, even assuming the paper stays in business through 2009. With a Democratic President in place, neither Democratic bureaucrats nor the Times will have any desire to undermine the administration by leaking and publishing classified information.

PowerLineBlog

Heh to all of that.

Jaibones on January 11, 2009 at 12:53 PM

onlineanalyst on January 11, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Thanks for the info. I’ll check out the site. I’ve been talking about this, myself, for quite a few years, and I’m happy to know that others have also been identifying it. It is of utmost importance to understand this distinction, since fighting against tribalistic cultures requires quite different rules, strategies and tactics than fighting against individualistic ones (something the West has long forgotten).

progressoverpeace on January 11, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Comment pages: 1 2