Friday, February 15, 2008

What We Meant To Say Was...

What We Meant To Say Was...
By David Horovitz

Michael McConnell, the man responsible for the US National Intelligence Estimate that two months ago essentially cleared Iran of pursuing a nuclear bomb, backtracked last week.
In testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5, the admiral vouchsafed that, in hindsight, "I think I would change the way that we described [the Iranian] nuclear program."

Here's the very first sentence of that immensely ballyhooed NIE, which was greeted rapturously by Iran and with horror in Israel when it was published in early December: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Teheran halted its nuclear weapons program."

What McConnell is now saying amounts to the very opposite: Yes, runs the amended narrative, we think the Iranians may have halted what we narrowly, foolishly and misleadingly defined as their nuclear weapons program four years ago, we're not sure if they've restarted it, but the fact is that we led you all astray with our definition of that program in the first place.

You see, the new line continues, weapon design and weaponization - those narrow aspects that might have been halted - really constitute the "least significant portion" of a nuclear weapons program. In retrospect, we should have relied on more than a footnote to make that clear. The "most difficult challenge" is actually "uranium enrichment [to] enable the production of fissile material," and, as we probably should have stressed more prominently, work on that is proceeding apace.

Citing the "persistent threat of WMD-related proliferation," McConnell told the Committee that "Iran continues to pursue fissile material and nuclear-capable missile delivery systems." He then elaborated: "Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons. Iran continues its efforts to develop uranium enrichment technology, which can be used both for power reactor fuel and to produce nuclear weapons. And, as noted, Iran continues to deploy ballistic missiles inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and to develop longer-range missiles."

Or, to put it another way: Whoops. We meant to say that Iran is closing in relentlessly on a nuclear weapons capability, but we didn't express ourselves very effectively, and wound up making you believe the reverse. Sorry. But we're fixing that now, so we're all back on the same page. No biggie, right?



Anonymous cassie said...

Wow, somebody is sure going to have to do some reevaluating now.

12:12 PM  

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