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The Collective
Thursday, August 24, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via WaPo we find: U.S. Spy Agencies Criticized On Iran

A key House committee issued a stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran yesterday, charging that the CIA and other agencies lack “the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments” on Tehran’s nuclear program, its intentions or even its ties to terrorism.

The 29-page report, principally written by a Republican staff member on the House intelligence committee who holds a hard-line view on Iran, fully backs the White House position that the Islamic republic is moving forward with a nuclear weapons program and that it poses a significant danger to the United States. But it chides the intelligence community for not providing enough direct evidence to support that assertion.

The report states:

“American intelligence agencies do not know nearly enough about Iran’s nuclear weapons program” to help policymakers at a critical time, the report’s authors say. Information “regarding potential Iranian chemical weapons and biological weapons programs is neither voluminous nor conclusive,” and little evidence has been gathered to tie Iran to al-Qaeda and to the recent fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, they say.

And from the NYT we have:

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

However, if the House committee report has any credence, how can White House officials be grousing about the lack of a warning, since it may well be (indeed, it is likely) that we don’t know enough to issue said warnings?

This all sounds a bit too much like Iraq, where it was clear that many in the administration had decided (indeed, were quite convinced) that Saddam was a WMD threat, and then went looking for the intel to make their case. I don’t think we need to repeat that methodology here.

The bottom line is: if we don’t have solid intel, then upon what are these WH officials basing their claims?

And I find this view to be a bit odd

“Analysts were burned pretty badly during the run-up to the war in Iraq,” said Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. “I’m not surprised that some in the intelligence community are a bit gun-shy about appearing to be war mongering.”

Or, perhaps, they learned that they need to make a better case this time and not be pressured into reaching a specific conclusion.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Iran | |

3 Comments

  1. It’s not worth taking the risk when the Iranians are clearly going for the bomb. As a matter for knocking over their regime directly or indirectly, we certainly have other causus belli that are very much live, as do they. Besides, teh deterrent effect of taking out yet another state we clearly assume is going nuclear is manifest.

    Comment by Honza Prchal — Thursday, August 24, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  2. I am highly skeptical of the ease by which such regime-knocking-over would take place.

    This is not a small consideration.

    The cautionary tale from Iraq should be: it isn’t as easy as it looks, to be followed by: those types of dramatic events often have serious unintended consequences.

    The economic consequences of waging war with Iran also should give us serious pause for thought on that front.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, August 24, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

  3. […] I have already expressed skepticism about the House report and the similarities to Iraq: This all sounds a bit too much like Iraq, where it was clear that many in the administration had decided (indeed, were quite convinced) that Saddam was a WMD threat, and then went looking for the intel to make their case. I don’t think we need to repeat that methodology here. […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Déjà Vu all Over Again? (Iran, the UN and Nukes Version) — Thursday, September 14, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

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