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December 05, 2007

Podhoretz: Intel community plotting to undermine president on Iran

The latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 as a result of international pressure.

These revelations are awkward for the hawks in the Bush administration--they just lost their pretext launch a surprise attack on Iran before the next election. That is, unless they can discredit the NIE...

Right wing pundit Norman Podhoretz suspects that the NIE is just latest subversive act of an intelligence community bent on undermining the president:

But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.” [Commentary]

Notice how Podhoretz asserts as fact that the intelligence community at large has been trying to undermine the president for years. The only question in mind is whether that same shady cabal also distorted the NIE to make the president look bad.

The absurdity of this conjecture becomes clear when you think about what the NIE is.

National Intelligence Estimates are compiled by the National Intelligence Council. In compiling the NIE, the NIC draws on the expertise of the entire intelligence community--including the CIA and the various intelligence organizations under the DOD, DHS, DOE, State, and the Treasury. Is Podhoretz suggesting that the spooks who answer to Gates, Chertoff, and Mukasey are complicit in this alleged fraud?

It's not surprising that civil servants succumb to pressure from above to tell the boss what he wants to hear. On Iraq, we saw the intelligence community bend over backwards to please the POTUS.

It would be nothing short of astonishing if a substantial fraction of the intelligence establishment organized from below to undermine the President by falsifying the most important statement of forward-looking intelligence in the US.

Of course, this conspiracy would also require the conspirators to undermine themselves by falsely contradicting their collective assessment from 2005. If the intelligence community wanted to make the president look bad, there are much easier ways.

Podhoretz should be careful who he accuses of fraud. He's getting dangerously close to fingering some loyal Bushies. The NIE states the views of the Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell. "NIEs are the DNI's most authoritative written judgments concerning national security issues," according to the NIC's mission statement.

Note that Norman "Black Helicopter" Podhoretz is a senior foreign policy adviser to Rudy Giuliani, vote accordingly.
 

 

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Comments

I wish someone would pay me to spool out crazy talk and phantasms.

Norm's also Elliott Abrams' father-in-law. Anyone who would let his daughter (or stepdaughter in his case) anywhere near that viper is one sick puppy.

The howls coming from the wacky extreme of the War Party (Stormin' Norman and his cohorts) are entertaining, but I am more pessimistic about this conclusion than a lot of the antiwar crowd. At the very best, it's a temporary setback for the hawks. They can and will find another justification to get their next mideast war. Let us not forget the the Kyl-Lieberman resolution officially declared the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, the first official military of a sovereign nation-state to be declared such. Hell, the talking point on Iran for the past year or so has been that we're already at war with them because their supposedly aiding the insurgents in killing our troops. It's only a matter of time, IMO.

It should be pointed out that the purpose of Iran's nuclear weapons program was to deter Saddam. With the elimination of the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, two of Iran’s traditional enemies, Iran had no need to continue a costly WMD program past 2003.

The year 2003 coincided with another lost opportunity. Apparently, Iran made "backdoor" diplomatic overtures to the USA that the Bush junta turned down. This may be as regrettable a mistake as when the CIA staged a coup that overthrew Mossedegh in the 1950s (a singular event that started the Iran-USA enmity culminating in the 1979 hostage crisis).

The hyper-militarist influence of the “Pod” on Giuliani is duly noted, but with Giuliani’s political fortunes diminishing daily, the “Pod” will be looking for another body to inhabit. One should track his movements as one should track an escaped evil-spirit entity.

...Not just is JP a batshit-nutbag, but also Bolton.

JP's wife is Midge Dector...ya ought to check this chick out...she's in love with Donald Rumsfeld.

Where's Phantom when you need him?

Maybe the Bush Administration will re-assemble the Office of Special Plans for the intelligence the top officials want.

It must be very hard for someone to arrive at such an advanced age, and have to consider the possibility they may have already helped to sell their last war.

As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding.

this is also flat wrong. podhoretz is breathtakingly dishonest.

Here's what USCourts.gov has to say about the various kinds of bankruptcy. It doesn't get into the nitty gritty details of how much each kind costs, or how long it takes, but it gives you a sense of what's involved.

Bankruptcy for corporations, known as chapter 11, is soooo much easier than Bankruptcy for individuals, rich or poor. I think I'm going to patent and incorporate myself, just for protection.

I was, once upon a time, a party to a class action suit where the major corp declared chapter 11.

So in honor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=141HmTUCfsg

With the elimination of the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, two of Iran’s traditional enemies, Iran had no need to continue a costly WMD program past 2003.

Sure, because no-one could possibly need deterrence against Israel or the USA. Obviously. Because they are the very paragons of virtue, and would never even consider invading or bombing other people's countries to further their own geopolitical ambitions, and neither has ever expressed any strategic interest whatsoever in the Persian Gulf region.

One of these days, I'm going to run out of snark. But not today...

(NB - I am not saying they are running a WMD program, or that military action would be justified if they were. I'm just pointing out that there are perfectly valid strategic reasons why they might want to pursue such a program.)

(As a further aside, it's worth remembering that the both the Iraqi Ba'athist regime and the Taliban were directly supported by the USA, and that in the case of the former at least, this was specifically in order to act as a proxy against Iran following the overthrow of the US-backed dictator and mass-murderer Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, so they certainly have good historic reasons to fear the US.)

cfrost: Norm's also Elliott Abrams' father-in-law. Anyone who would let his daughter (or stepdaughter in his case) anywhere near that viper is one sick puppy.

This is straying from the topic at hand, but maybe we ought not encourage people in thinking that whom a woman marries is a decision her father gets to make.

"we ought not encourage people in thinking that whom a woman marries is a decision her father gets to make"

You'd be right about that. If she were my daughter though I'd have to tell her that I didn't want Abrams in my house. Maybe in the yard, properly chained and muzzled.

Podhoretz had made much of his conversion from Trotskyite to Neocon. Big fuckin' deal. He used to be a left wing asshole, now he's a right wing asshole. Same mindset, characterized by complete certainty of his position. Ditto for Irving Kristol and of course, David Horowitz.

So what's wrong with the idea of patenting our very selves?

Apparently Bolton is thinking the same thing

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