NIE Authors: For Iran Nukes Before They Were Against Them
Earlier today The Wall Street Journal reported on the anti-Bush authors of the NIE Report:
Our own “confidence” is not heightened by the fact that the NIE’s main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as “hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials,” according to an intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As many recognize, the latest NIE on Iran’s nuclear weapons program directly contradicts what the U.S. Intelligence Community was saying just two years previously. And it appears that this about-face was very recent. How recent?
Consider that on July 11, 2007, roughly four or so months prior to the most recent NIE’s publication, Deputy Director of Analysis Thomas Fingar gave the following testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (emphasis added):
Iran and North Korea are the states of most concern to us. The United States’ concerns about Iran are shared by many nations, including many of Iran’s neighbors. Iran is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations and working to delay and diminish the impact of UNSC sanctions than in reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution. We assess that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons–despite its international obligations and international pressure. This is a grave concern to the other countries in the region whose security would be threatened should Iran acquire nuclear weapons.
This paragraph appeared under the subheading: “Iran Assessed As Determined to Develop Nuclear Weapons.” And the entirety of Fingar’s 22-page testimony was labeled “Information as of July 11, 2007.” No part of it is consistent with the latest NIE, in which our spooks tell us Iran suspended its covert nuclear weapons program in 2003 “primarily in response to international pressure” and they “do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”
Back in 2001 Thomas Fingar said this about the Iranian regime:
Despite some moderation in its rhetoric toward the US and the West, Iran still seeks WMD and continues to support terrorism. In its search for indigenous WMD capabilities, Iran relies heavily on outside assistance. Russia alone cooperates with Iran’s nuclear program.
In April 2006 after Iran announced progress on their nuclear program Fingar said this:
The nation’s 16 intelligence agencies haven’t changed their view of Iran’s capability, said Thomas Fingar, chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
And, back in April 2007 the NY Times had this on Fingar:
At a briefing on Thursday, Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, said the official view of the intelligence agencies remained that Iran was unlikely to have nuclear weapons before 2010 at the earliest. But he also acknowledged that the mistakes made in assessing Iraq’s capabilities had made the intelligence agencies far more cautious about delivering definitive assessments to President Bush.
But on Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons, he said, there has been virtually no dissent. “Certainly none that has surfaced,” he said, “and this is a question we revisit all the time.”
Pundita has much more on Thomas Fingar and sounds worried.
UPDATE: Doug Ross researched another Iranian threat.
Atlas takes a look at the NIE’s “act of sabatoge.”
Hat Tip Larwyn