No surprise: Western intel has known about secret Iranian nuke site for years

posted at 7:05 pm on September 25, 2009 by Allahpundit

So says Newsweek, Fox News, and the LA Times, pegging the intel breakthrough as early as 2006. Why would they need a small, hidden enrichment site when they’ve already got a nice big one that everyone knows about at Natanz? Wild guess here, but maybe because there’s some ultra-secret nuclear-related project they’re working on that they don’t want anyone to know about.

I wonder what it could be.

After Iran’s secret underground uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz was discovered in 2002 — with 8,000 centrifuge machines, a stockpile of 1,400 kilogram of low enriched uranium — US intelligence expected Iran would try again to build another secret facility.

“Not surprisingly, we found one,” a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing today…

The Qom facility is not yet operational, officials said; it’s at least a few months away from that. They estimate that the facility has roughly 3,000 centrifuge machines — not enough to “make sense for commercial use,” an official said, but the “right size” if one were looking to make a little weapons-grade uranium.

I’m going to commit conservative blasphemy here and credit The One for a hand well played. Newsweek speculates that he came clean about the secret facility this week to get ahead of Iranian spin about it being some innocuous little pilot program, but that’s nonsense. He came clean, quite obviously, to turn up the heat on Russia and China in supporting his demand for new sanctions on Iran. Remember how Medvedev suddenly and mysteriously sounded open to sanctions after meeting with Obama on Wednesday? At the time I thought that might be a payoff for our capitulation on missile defense but it turns out The One broke the news to him about the secret Iranian site that very afternoon. Nicely done.

As shocking as it is to think of him getting tough with anyone, his foreign-policy credibility rested on him being able to come through with the sort of new economic penalties on Iran that he’s been promising forever. Looks like today’s revelation is going to help him do that, which makes it an easy call — in a sense. In another sense, it’s a major escalation of the crisis insofar as it (a) destroys any remaining pretense in useful-idiot circles that Iran’s program might be peaceful or that they’ve been forthcoming, (b) creates a diplomatic standoff over whether UN inspectors will be allowed into the secret site, and (c) leaves Iran with little to lose in going public with the fact that they’ve got the bomb once they’ve got it, which will humiliate the western powers who tried to stop them with sanctions and will immediately force a crisis with Israel. None of that is The One’s fault — this trainwreck has been decades in the making — but I hope he realizes he’s taken a fateful step here. I wonder, too, how many other cards he has up his sleeve that he’s waiting to play at opportune moments. Remember, the CIA has reason to believe there are upwards of a dozen secret nuclear sites, not just one buried in a mountain near Qom. Will he spill the beans about those to give Israel political cover if and when the IAF finally makes a run at Iran?

Here’s video of the nuclear terrorist himself wearing a sh*t-eating grin, insisting that he’s quite sure he doesn’t know what you mean about any secret nuclear sites, and warning the leader of the free world to back off and apologize. The U.S. response, courtesy of Bob Gates: Get bent.


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I hope Israel acts before it’s too late.

petefrt on September 25, 2009 at 8:01 PM

petefrt:Yup,and Bi Bi has the will to curtail Irans
plans!

canopfor on September 25, 2009 at 8:06 PM

How the devil do I ever prevail when I’m only a man?
But I’ll never be duped by a scurrilous Hitler again!

I wasn’t born to walk on water
I wasn’t born to sack and slaughter
But on my soul I wasn’t born
To stoop and knuckle under!
A man can learn to steal some thunder
A man can learn to work some wonder
And when the gauntlet’s down it’s time
To rise and climb the sky
And soon the moon will smolder
And the winds will drive
Yes a man grows older
But his soul remains alive
All those tremulous stars still glitter
And I will survive!

Let my heart grow colder
And as bitter as a falcon in the dive!
There was a dream-a dying ember
There was a dream-I don’t remember
But I will resurrect that dream,
Though rivers stream and hills grow steeper
For here in hell, where life gets cheaper
Oh here in hell, the blood runs deeper
And when the final duel is near
I’ll lift my spear and fly
Piercing into the sky and higher
And the strong will thrive!
Yes the weak will cower
While the fittest will survive!
If we wait for the darkest hour
Till we spring alive
Then with claws of fire
We devour Iran like a falcon in the dive!

PercyB on September 25, 2009 at 8:14 PM

Finally,the world now knows,that Dinnerjacket has been gameing the world,and its only been about a four year
stall tactic!!

So now,

1) What are Irans intentions!

2) What are their capabilities!
===============================

I hope the World acts before its too late!:)

canopfor on September 25, 2009 at 7:55 PM

NO Barrak Hussein Obama’s TREACHERY is so much more than neville chamberlein’s. n c was an appeaser b h c is a traitor!!! in my humble opinion.

huckelberry on September 25, 2009 at 8:16 PM

I would say that Iran’s response is pretty much teh One’s answer on this particular well played card of diplomacy. The card was so well-played Iran continues to tell us to jam it.

Really? This is NOW going to somehow change China’s and Russia’s minds and come on board? On board with what? Meaningless sanctions the Chicoms and Russkies will circumvent anyway – even IF they manage to get any passed?

Yeah. Card WELLLL played.

I’m one to give credit where due, but this is a stretch at most.

Come on, AP.

catmman on September 25, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Apparently, according to one report, Obama told the Russians they then turned around and told the Iranians.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Ah, that sounds about right. Clearly, this announcement wasn’t planned. As this early dispatch at Reuters shows, Obama’s hand was forced when diplomatic leaks about Iran’s letter to IAEA on Monday reached the press.

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE58O1N420090925

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:21 PM

CIA OR MOSSAD? And what did Netanyahu know and when did he know it? What was Netanyahu’s trip to Russia about? All which makes me wonder if you aren’t giving O too much credit. What else was there left to do? Frankly, to my mind, it’s more a Netanyahu play than one by Obama.

Halli Casser-Jayne http://www.thecjpoliticalreport.com

The CJ Political Report on September 25, 2009 at 8:22 PM

I miss the days when “diplomatic solutions” include economic sanctions instead of being an alternative to them.

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Apparently, according to one report, Obama told the Russians they then turned around and told the Iranians.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:07 PM

I wonde rhow much intelligence any of our traditional (as opposed to Obama’s thugs) allies will share with the US now.

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:28 PM

In other words, when President Obama addressed the General Assembly and Security Council he already knew that Iran was ignoring international standards, and its latest violations endangered international peace and security more than ever before. And yet he deliberately refused to put Iran on the agenda of the Council summit — the same Council that he claimed bore responsibility for responding to such threats.

President Obama knew that if the magnitude of the Iranian threat were revealed yesterday, the emptiness of his resolution would have been embarrassingly obvious and his cover blown. In public, at the highest levels of the U.N, he heralded generalities as significant. In private, he was petitioning lower levels of the U.N. to act on startling specifics of the Iranian threat.

Why did the president not present this same evidence to the Security Council, the body with “the authority and the responsibility to respond”? Why did he not challenge world leaders to deal with the same Iranian threat that he privately was pressing upon U.N. bureaucrats?

There is only one possible answer: President Obama does not have the political will to do what it takes to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.

NRO Corner

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:36 PM

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:21 PM

That is the most likely explanation although its also plausible that any of the allies could have told the Russians (or even the Iranians).

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:28 PM

There was an article online a few months ago (March/April?) discussing this issue in expectation of Obama’s radicalism. I have no doubt that Obama has proven worse than any of the allied intelligence services thought.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Look, Obama was dragged kicking and screaming to that podium with Sarkozy and Brown today. That this became news was not expected by Obama.

I think the Israelis spooked the British and the French into forcing this issue into the open.

It might also have something to do with the fact that Obama deliberately refused to meet with Gordon Brown this week refusing official requests a number of times. (even leaking the conflict to the press was not enough to garner the meeting).

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:43 PM

The notion that this revelation “turns up the heat on China” to support sanctions is wishful thinking. The Northern Koreans have been SETTING OFF NUKES and the Chinese wouldn’t budge. If anything, the announcement turns up the heat on Obama. The Chinese are pretty crafty. No doubt they follow our political scene very closely. They should know that after this disclosure Obama is under enormous political pressure to produce some kind of visible result. For even minor concession on their part they can now demand a pound of flesh. After seeing what the Russians got, they would be fools to not exercise this leverage.

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:50 PM

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:50 PM

That assumes he actually wants to do something about the Iranians and that he had a quid pro quo with the Russians. I suspect he wants the entire thing to go away and that the gift to the Russians was exactly that a gift.

Lets hope you are partially right and say he is actively looking for a solution and if thats the case, lets pray he doesn’t give the Chinese a quid pro quo…like pulling us out of the Straits of Formosa.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:56 PM

It might also have something to do with the fact that Obama deliberately refused to meet with Gordon Brown this week refusing official requests a number of times. (even leaking the conflict to the press was not enough to garner the meeting).

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 8:43 PM

That would be some payback. I wouldn’t have thought Gordon had it in him, but then he’s survived decades of Labour in-fighting, which takes some mettle and not a little backstabbing.

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:59 PM

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:50 PM

I believe Timmy Turbotax was to announce China’s entry or upgraded role in the IMF or World Bank soon. Gotta suck to keep them buying our bonds.

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 9:01 PM

George Friedman at Stratfor has been following this for some time and released a couple of good reports earlier this month.

This whole thing was known and telegraphed in advance. Earlier in the month Venezuela pledged 20,000 barrels of gas per day in the event of sanctions. Not a huge amount but the gasoline would obviously be directed to govt/military usage.

Nothing is going to come from sanctions. Zip. Russia has provided advanced air defense systems like the S-300. Iran also has beefed up its stockpile of sophisticated mines which can be quickly and easily deployed in advance then armed remotely.

Russia will pay some lip service to the call for a tougher reaction to Iran as a token payback/cover for Obama but they have no interest in doing anything substantial.

So what if sanctions are imposed and Iran becomes more bellicose. Cui bono? Why oil exporters of course. More specifically, major oil exporters who are not located in the middle east….er…Venezuela and Russia.

R Square on September 25, 2009 at 9:04 PM

We devour Iran like a falcon in the dive!

PercyB on September 25, 2009 at 8:14 PM

PercyB: Thanks PercyB:)

canopfor on September 25, 2009 at 9:06 PM

Even the NY Times said that the presser was “hastily arranged”. It wasn’t a well-played hand, but damage control.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/world/middleeast/26nuke.html?_r=3&hp

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 9:10 PM

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 8:50 PM

I agree. China and Russia would prefer tensions to rise. Obama is seen as a weak president and the more tension the more leverage/concessions can be wrung out of the US without really doing much to change the ground game. The only wild card are the Israelis.

If the Israelis bomb Iran the straights of Hormuz will be closed to oil exportation in short order. Iran has fleets of mine laying speed boats who will become very active in the region and commercial carriers will face problems with their insurance underwriters. US mine clearing is very effective but it takes time and more mines are easily placed in the shipping lanes.

I don’t have Stratfor’s reports handy but I would encourage folks to read Friedman’s ongoing take on the situation.

R Square on September 25, 2009 at 9:13 PM

Wethal on September 25, 2009 at 8:59 PM

All I know is that it looks like somebody got spooked today and both Obama and Ahmadinejad were caught flatfooted by it.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 9:13 PM

The chance of Taiwanese air force getting new F-16s has dropped to nil. Not that it was ever good anyway.

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 9:18 PM

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 9:18 PM

When the Chinese became a major creditor of ours Taiwan ran out of luck.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 9:29 PM

The chance of Taiwanese air force getting new F-16s has dropped to nil. Not that it was ever good anyway.

year_of_the_dingo on September 25, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Hey, we could send them the F-22! Those things are great and would be perfect for…..oh, wait a minute…..never mind.

But at least we could….never mind….that’s gone too..

R Square on September 25, 2009 at 9:30 PM

There is only one possible answer: President Obama does not have the political will to do what it takes to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.

That’s a given. Unfortunately at this point I’m not sure anyone has the will to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. I hope to be proven wrong.

mbs on September 25, 2009 at 9:30 PM

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 9:29 PM

How much debt were the Chinese buying in 1979? Maybe Ji-may Caatah was just omniscient…that would also help explain his uncanny ability to know who is a racist.

R Square on September 25, 2009 at 9:35 PM

R Square on September 25, 2009 at 9:35 PM

yeah right. The seeds planted by one disastrous POTUS have now borne fruit under this disastrous POTUS.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 9:39 PM

MY prediction is that the international community and the UN will have as much success stopping Ahmadenijad from getting the bomb as they did in:


Stopping N. Korea’s nuclear ambitions and missile development

Sanctions against Iraq (oil for food)

Stopping genocide in Darfur

Stopping genocide in Rwanda

Preventing terrorism from spreading throughout the world

Stopping genocide in Bosnia

Stopping any war from happening


Stopping UN relief workers from raping women and children


Stopping Hezbollah and Hamas from being armed to the teeth from Syria and Iran

Stopping the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Iranians by their government because the people want credible elections

just to name a few.

I am going out on a limb here but history shows the UN to have a record of nothing but failure in stopping dictators and terrorist regimes.

Baxter Greene on September 25, 2009 at 10:00 PM

The idiot Democrats who are blocking drilling for our own oil offshore and in Alaska are endangering our national security and what’s left of our economy.

Drill here. Drill now.

Better late than never.

hillbillyjim on September 26, 2009 at 7:30 AM

“. . . . destroys any remaining pretense in useful-idiot circles that Iran’s program might be peaceful or that they’ve been forthcoming, . . . ” I don’t think so. The useful idiots in this country wouldn’t believe they have nuclear weapons if they displayed one over Israel.

We need a repeat of the 1988 Tanker War. But I doubt if this President has the backbone.

amr on September 26, 2009 at 7:35 AM

If the US knew it, the Russians knew it before or the same time as the US. The Russians have lots of people working in Iran = lots of spies.
The Russians and the Chinese are not going to support any tough meaningful sanctions; i.e. cut of gasoline supplies.

Obama announcing this “discovery” means little. Within days or weeks it will be watered down or forgotten. It was more a “tough guy” tactic for the meeting in Geneva next week.

All Iran has to do is bluster, fluster and agitate and Obama will back down.

Iran just needs more time…they will get it from Obama. Obama is more interested in being the “Nixon of Iran” – he will open the doors to a new (nuclear-tipped) Iran.

albill on September 26, 2009 at 7:49 AM

Oh, tut tut…terrrrut.

There are no WMD anywhere in the Middle East you Nazi, Neo-Cons. Get a grip.

/sarc

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 26, 2009 at 8:05 AM

As shocking as it is to think of him getting tough with anyone…

Dude, are you seriously this gullible? There are mountains of evidence as to Obama’s fecklessness, weakness, and lack of interest in anything that happens outside of major metropolitan America. He doesn’t care what happens in Peoria, much less Natanz.

To twist a story from Newsweak, for heaven’s sake, into some scenario for a savvy Obama play against Iran is utterly ridiculous. Unpersuasive.

Jaibones on September 26, 2009 at 8:05 AM

Well, hats off to Barry though I suspect he rather tripped into the right decision here. There really wasn’t much choice.

The rel test comes in what he actually does when Iran pushed back. Barry talks tough, but I don’t recognize any steel behind it.

karl9000 on September 26, 2009 at 8:06 AM

and (c) leaves Iran with little to lose in going public with the fact that they’ve got the bomb once they’ve got it, which will humiliate the western powers who tried to stop them with sanctions and will immediately force a crisis with Israel…

(c) Iran with little to lose and Paradise beckoning – once they’ve got the bomb, they will use it. They will never just “show it off” to humiliate any one. They will strike Tel Aviv, Rome, and NYC – all stated intentions… the only delays will come in the perfection of their solid fuel missile delivery systems – both ground and sea launched versions.

When those systems are perfected to Iranian satisfaction, their annoncement that they have the bomb will be plain as day. And WWIII will begin in ernest. A side effect will be Hussein’s suspension of the Constitution, and declaration of his status as President for the duration.

This is why Hussein stated he is not interested in victory – victory is the end of a crisis, not the beginning. Allowing Iran to get the bomb, through seemingly nieve political moves, is a policy to an end.

Friendly21 on September 26, 2009 at 8:35 AM

Funny observation that both Ahmadinejad and Obama made their bones as community agitators and continue to use the language of agitation. Both have unconstrained visions of their place in history and the rationalization of the power of the state to compel their vision on others. In the language of Hoffer, they are both true believers. Both tyrannical in instinct and seperated only by degree.

Hard vs soft tyrannies.

R Square on September 26, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Friendly21 on September 26, 2009 at 8:35 AM

Perhaps, tho’ I tend to believe they are more inclined to attempt to have it both ways by enabling rogue actors/terrorists with nuclear material for a high quality dirty bomb attack. Iran doesn’t have the delivery mechanism to hit the US without the use of some unconventional methodologies. WOuld Israel launch a nuclear attack on Iran in the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion in Tel Aviv? I don’t know….but this is the sort of complication that would leave the US sitting on its hands under this president.

R Square on September 26, 2009 at 8:43 AM

It figures.

We know where they are and what they’re up to…but we’re too spineless to do something about it.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Dark-Star on September 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM

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