Bright And Shiny Objects

“Psychology 101 ain’t working. It’s just not working. I understand the issues, I clearly see the problems, and I’m going to use the NIE to continue to rally the international community for the sake of peace.”

And with that he gave an unconvincing little jump and stalked off.

I recognize that speech having given it many times myself.  It’s the Ghostbuster speech-

Venkman: Egon.  You said crossing the streams was bad.

Spengler: There’s definitely a very slim chance we’ll survive.

Venkman: I like this plan.  I’m excited to be a part of it.  Let’s do it.

See you on the other side Ray.

I want to tell you a fairy tale

At about the same time (one year ago), a new NIE on Iran was meandering through the intelligence community. A senior U.S. intelligence official told me last week that the report was prepared to say with a “moderate” degree of certainty that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons program, but the information wasn’t very conclusive. That finding would have put the U.S. in the same camp as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – deeply concerned about the Iranian efforts to enrich uranium but skeptical about the regime’s efforts to fashion that uranium into a bomb.

Iran has an opaque and nearly impenetrable government structure, and it’s hard to know who exactly controls the levers in that country. There are two of everything. There is a popularly elected President (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and a – more powerful – Supreme Leader (Ayatullah Ali Khamenei). There is an Iranian army and a – more powerful – Revolutionary Guard Corps. As recently as two years ago, a senior U.S. diplomat told me, “We don’t know anything about what goes on inside that government.” But that has changed fairly dramatically in the past year. A special CIA Iran-analysis group, which calls itself “Persia House,” was split off from the agency’s Middle East regional analysts. A major effort was made to recruit human intelligence sources inside Iran. And then, in June and July, the new Iran assets began to pay off. Some of the information may have come from an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps general named Ali Reza Asghari, who defected to Turkey in February. But a senior U.S. intelligence official assured me, “It was multiple collection streams. You don’t get a ‘high’ degree-of-probability assessment without multiple sources.”

In August, National Intelligence Director McConnell ordered CIA Director Michael Hayden to have ready by Labor Day a new intelligence estimate reflecting the latest information. Hayden said he needed more time. McConnell set a Nov. 30 deadline. Because some of the information sources were new, Hayden decided to launch a “red team” counter-intelligence operation to make sure that the U.S. wasn’t falling for Iranian disinformation. In late October, the Persia House and red-team analysts offered their findings to Hayden and his deputy, Steve Kappes, around the coffee table in Hayden’s office. The red team found that the possibility of Iranian disinformation was “plausible but not likely.” That assessment led two of the 16 intelligence agencies, but not the CIA, to dissent from the final “high” degree of certainty that Iran had stopped its weapons program in 2003. On the other hand, there was general agreement on a “moderate” finding that Iran had not restarted the program. The National Intelligence Board met and reached its conclusions on Tuesday, Nov. 27. “The meeting took a little more than two hours,” a senior intelligence official told me. “There have been times when it has taken multiple meetings that went on for hours and hours to reach a consensus, especially when dealing with one of Iran’s neighbors.”

Hayden and his senior Iran analysts briefed President Bush on the new NIE on Wednesday, Nov. 28. But it seems apparent the President made little effort to figure out how his Administration could leverage the shocking candor of the intelligence report to his advantage in dealing with Iran. “He could have said to the Iranians, ‘This document shows that we’re not rushing to war. We’re not out to get you,'” said Kenneth Pollack, a National Security Council staff member during the Clinton Administration and author of The Persian Puzzle. “‘But we – and the rest of the world – are very concerned about your uranium-enrichment program, and so let’s sit down and talk about it.'”

Sure reads like one of Tom Clancy’s lesser works doesn’t it?

That’s because this particular piece of fiction comes from Joke Line who only wishes he was a writer like Clancy.

Now other parts of the blogosphere have focused on this-

Oddly, Bush didn’t seem to ask for a delay in the release of the report. He could easily have requested a few weeks for his Administration to chew over the import of the NIE, discuss it with our allies, organize a new diplomatic initiative to negotiate with the Iranians. As it was, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns briefed the U.N. Security Council members who had been considering a new round of sanctions against Iran about the same time that word of the NIE broke in the press. When it did, the Chinese, who had seemed surprisingly ready to approve the sanctions, started backing away from that position.

including BarbinMD over at dK and Satyam at ThinkProgress (w/ Morning Joe video of Joke joking with Joe).  Hat tip to Atrios for the ThinkProgress link.

The angle I approach it from is last week’s exposure of Joke Line as nothing but the worst kind of Village Stenographer, a willing mouthpiece with no more skill or intellect than a parrot, a mere dictaphone and access puppet.

Joke Line writes what they want you to hear.

Now one of the shiny objects the Village Idiots want you to focus on is just exactly this mindless speculation “Why, why oh why did they release it now?”  Tweety and all the other MSNBC airheads were so all over this last night.

This meta argument is to distract you from the fact that they have been lying about the nuclear threat from Iraq for the last year.

At about the same time (one year ago), a new NIE on Iran was meandering through the intelligence community. A senior U.S. intelligence official told me last week that the report was prepared to say with a “moderate” degree of certainty that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons program, but the information wasn’t very conclusive. That finding would have put the U.S. in the same camp as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – deeply concerned about the Iranian efforts to enrich uranium but skeptical about the regime’s efforts to fashion that uranium into a bomb.

This is also why I find meta arguments about whether there was a ‘change in tone’ in August largely off point.  Jane Hamsher (Lieberman’s Role in Spreading The Good Word About Iran) almost gets it when she points out that-

February 2007: NIE completed; Cheney objecting to content

February 7: Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Ali Reza Asgari arrives in Turkey; he disappears there, and is presumed to have defected or been kidnapped; in March he was reported to be cooperating with western intelligence

then she gets all wrapped up in the details of how it could possibly be that the White House didn’t know and when didn’t they know it.

The same meta lie fairy story that Joke Line is feeding us.

Because whether they knew in July or August or October or last week isn’t the point.  A year ago they had an NIE that essentialy agreed with the IAEA.

They have been lying all along.

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  1. Speculate all you like.  Conspiracy Theories explicitly allowed, but don’t forget the main point-

    At about the same time (one year ago), a new NIE on Iran was meandering through the intelligence community. A senior U.S. intelligence official told me last week that the report was prepared to say with a “moderate” degree of certainty that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons program, but the information wasn’t very conclusive. That finding would have put the U.S. in the same camp as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – deeply concerned about the Iranian efforts to enrich uranium but skeptical about the regime’s efforts to fashion that uranium into a bomb.

    They have been lying all along.

    • OPOL on December 7, 2007 at 12:19 am

    I mean really…

  2. Iran still being a threat.  Fuckin’ pathetic.

  3. from the web.

    http://www.survivemartiallaw.com/

    • KrisC on December 7, 2007 at 2:10 am

    hadn’t been outed, she would have had the intelligence that Iran halted it’s program…my c/t…that’s one of the reasons this administration outed her…they wanted Iran from the very beginning, she knew Iran had halted the enrichment program but  Cheney didn’t want the intelligence to get out…

    From Bush’s press conference today, Bush explains…

    “People said, well, why is it that you can’t get exact knowledge quicker? Well, the answer is, is because we’re dealing with a regime that is not very transparent and, frankly, we haven’t had a very good presence in Iran since 1979. And that’s why I instructed the intel community to beef up its intelligence on Iran, so we could have a better sense for what they’re thinking and what they’re doing. And this product is a result of intelligence reform and, more importantly, the good, hard work of our intelligence community.”

    Why don’t the reporters ask that question?  Why don’t they ask Bush why his administration outed a CIA agent working specifically on this project?

    • documel on December 7, 2007 at 2:11 am

    This is the most bizarre WH action–and that’s saying quite a bit.  I have to believe that someone in the intelligence community threatened to go public and therefore, they had no choice but release this unedited.  But their reaction, talking as if no one read the report, totally ignoring what was released, proves the disdain they have for the whole world.  They’re nuts–with international support.

    Can it be that they’re all crazy and we’re the sane ones?  I must be insane, because that’s what I believe is going on.  I don’t want to be saner than the people in control of the military, of the nuclear arsonal, of the fate of civilization.  Maybe Bush isn’t worried about global warming because he knows he’s gonna nuke us to “heaven.”

  4. This essay, along with Armando’s The Missed Opportunity, has finally gotten through my head something about the Village Writers.

    Yglesias (as per Armando’s essay) and Klein (as per yours).  Regardless of whether they are good or bad people, both of them are good writers, they write in ways that lead the mind to where they wish it to be led.

    Problem is, Klein, and Yglesias (to the extent Armando points to in his essay) sometimes lead the political mind away from the very thing it should be focusing upon.

    Both you and Armando get kudos from me for hacking through this dense thicket of well written misinformation.  Really, this skill is a valuable resource to the netroots, imo.

    Thanks.  My hacking through the thicket of misinformation skills are fine for lesser writers, but these ones really twist my brain.  Great work.

    • Edger on December 7, 2007 at 3:21 am

    In The Wake Of NIE Report, White House Adjusts It’s Threshold For War.

    Startled White House staffers rushed yesterday to explain the discrepancies between the Administration’s rhetoric over the last two years and the report of it’s combined intelligence agencies, or the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), on Iran. The report, which expresses the views of 16 branches of the intelligence community, states that Tehran stopped work on it’s nuclear weapons program back in 2003, which, for the uninformed, was four years ago. However, as Administration aides were quick to point out, the wildly divergent views on Iran’s capabilities had more to do with semantics than any real discrepancy.

    National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, hurried to explain away the differences, saying, “You see, statements from Dick Cheney and George Bush saying Iran was moving full speed ahead in their quest to build a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying the entire known galaxy were not necessarily at odds with the intelligence communitie’s view that Iran was no longer even trying to develop a bomb; in fact, they dovetail nicely. Look, we all know that you can’t trust those sneaky Iranian guys, so if they say they’re not building a bomb, then they must be building one, right? And if they go so far as to actually not build a bomb, then it stands to reason that they must be building a really big bomb, see? And since our combined intelligence agencies are now saying that they (the lying Iranians) haven’t been building a bomb for four years, then they must be building the biggest bomb the world has ever even seen! Boy, we’re really in trouble now and only George Bush can save us.” Then, laughing manically and making a play gun out of his thumb and forefinger, Mr. Hadley rushed from the podium shouting ‘BANG! BANG!’.

    Also in response to the NIE report, The Bush Administration, ever quick to adjust to the ebb and flow of world affairs, has revised it’s criteria for attacking Iran down from Iran actually possessing a bomb to Iranian President Ahmadinejad just being able to say the word nuclear more correctly than Mr. Bush, which ratchets up the crisis considerably, as this is expected to occur within days, if it hasn’t already.

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