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Morning Bell: Stop the Tehran Two Step

Posted By Conn Carroll On February 6, 2008 @ 9:01 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

When the National Intelligence Estimate announced that, “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons pro¬≠gram,” it was the lead story [1] in the nation’s biggest [2] newspapers [3]. But following congressional testimony from Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell that only the “least significant [4]” parts of Iran’s nuclear program had been halted, the nation’s paper’s either did not [5] mention [6] Iran’s nuclear threat, or buried it [7] deep in the story [8].

McConnell’s retreat [9] on the NIE’s conclusions validates many of the exact criticisms leveled against the report [10]. Specifically McConnell admitted [11]:

  • “Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.”
  • “Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons.”
  • “Iran continues to deploy ballistic missiles inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and to develop longer-range missiles.”
  • “Only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons.”
  • “We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.”

The original distorted NIE conclusions, and the disproportionate share of media coverage it received compared to McConnell’s much needed corrective, underscores the need for the de-politicization of NIEs. Writing in the Wall Street Journal [12], former US Representative to the UN John Bolton recommends McConnell: 1) explain how the NIE was distorted, and rewrite it objectively to reflect the status of Iran’s nuclear programs; 2) commit that NIEs will abjure policy bias; 3) reaffirm the existing policy that NIE key judgments should not be made public. Then, stick to it and enforce discipline against leaks.

Quick Hits:

  • Gay activists [13] plan to introduce a bill in the Maryland General Assembly to ban all civil marriages [13]. The legislation would replace the word “marriage” with “valid domestic partnership” in the state’s family law code.
  • The price tag on the Senate’s stimulus deficit spending fest [14] is now up to $204 billion.
  • Iran is angry with India [15] for launching an Israeli spy satellite a few weeks ago.
  • Defying MoveOn.org, Hillary Clinton has agreed to debate Barack Obama on Fox News [16].
  • Two Berkeley city councilwomen are trying to rescind a city-approved policy that calls Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in the city [17]. The councilwoman only want to retract the city’s rhetoric; they still want to keep the new anti-Marine policies including an investigation into whether the Marines violate city laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation; and giving the protest group Code Pink a free weekly parking space and sound permit to protest in front of the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/02/06/morning-bell-stop-the-tehran-two-step/

URLs in this post:

[1] lead story: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/world/middleeast/03cnd-iran.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

[2] biggest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120302210.html

[3] newspapers: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran4dec04,0,2695315.story?coll=la-home-center

[4] least significant: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a1ce672e-d456-11dc-a8c6-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

[5] did not: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-02-05-terror-threat_N.htm

[6] mention: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-terror6feb06,1,5058104.story

[7] buried it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502979.html

[8] deep in the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/washington/05cnd-threat.html?em&ex=1202360400&en=d779d740b0a941e1&ei=5087%0A

[9] retreat: http://www.nysun.com/article/70818

[10] leveled against the report: http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/bg2098.cfm

[11] admitted: http://intelligence.senate.gov/080205/mcconnell.pdf

[12] Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB120217061766442685.html

[13] Gay activists: http://www.365gay.com/Newscon08/02/020508mar.htm

[14] stimulus deficit spending fest: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/06/us/06fiscal.html?ref=todayspaper

[15] Iran is angry with India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Tehran_upset_over_India_launching_Israeli_spy_satellite/articleshow/2759983.cms

[16] Fox News: http://embeds.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/02/05/team-hillary-accepts-fox-debate-invite/

[17] calls Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in the city: http://www.mercurynews.com/valley/ci_8183140

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