Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bush, CNN and the latest NIE

Following a failed assassination attempt on Indonesian President Sukarno in 1957, a National Review editorial comment began: "The attempted assassination of Sukarno last week had all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Everyone in the room was killed except Sukarno."

Then there was CIA director George Tenet who, according to the Washington Post, told President Bush it was a “slam-dunk” Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs.

And then there’s this CNN story using the latest National Intelligence Estimate to replay the “Bush knew and didn’t tell us” slime some Dems often use.

CNN’s “news report” begins:

President Bush was told in August that Iran's nuclear weapons program "may be suspended," the White House said Wednesday, which seemingly contradicts the account of the meeting given by Bush Tuesday.President Bush wasn't given specifics in the August meeting, his press secretary says. . . .

The new account from [press secretary] Perino seems to contradict the president's version of his August conversation with McConnell and raised new questions about why Bush continued to warn the American public about a threat from Iran two months after being told a new assessment was in the works. . . .

The entire CNN story is here.

So we seem to have, CNN says, “new questions about why Bush continued to warn the American public about a threat from Iran two months after being told a new assessment was in the works, do we?


Why would the President continue to warn about Iran when he knew he’d soon be getting a new NIE estimate from some of the same people who not so long ago gave him a “slam-dunk” assurance on Iraq’s WMDs?

The question sounds like something Sen. Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democrats will want to investigate.

If they do, I hope they take a look at Thomas Joscelyn’s Weekly Standard post which begins:
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."

The inconsistencies are more troubling when we realize that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Fingar is one of the three officials who were responsible for crafting the latest NIE. The Journal cites "an intelligence source" as describing Fingar and his two colleagues as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials." (The New York Sun drew attention to one of Fingar’s colleagues yesterday.)

I hope you all take a look at the rest of Joscelyn’s post which asks some very important questions CNN and much of the rest of MSM are ignoring or underreporting.


Anonymous said...

More commentary on Iran (and less about the NIE) here.