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Old 12-10-2007, 09:19 AM  
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Iran 'hoodwinked' CIA over nuclear plans

I know that now that the NIE is telling many of you what you want to hear, you're satisfied and don't need to hear any more, but just in case anyone is still interested in dissenting opinions about intelligence, here a story about the British perspective:

Quote:
Iran 'hoodwinked' CIA over nuclear plans

By Tim Shipman in Washington, Philip Sherwell and Carolynne Wheeler
Last Updated: 2:13am GMT 10/12/2007

British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.

The timing of the CIA report has also provoked fury in the British Government, where officials believe it has undermined efforts to impose tough new sanctions on Iran and made an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities more likely.

The security services in London want concrete evidence to allay concerns that the Islamic state has fed disinformation to the CIA.

The report used new evidence - including human sources, wireless intercepts and evidence from an Iranian defector - to conclude that Teheran suspended the bomb-making side of its nuclear programme in 2003. But British intelligence is concerned that US spy chiefs were so determined to avoid giving President Bush a reason to go to war - as their reports on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes did in Iraq - that they got it wrong this time.

A senior British official delivered a withering assessment of US intelligence-gathering abilities in the Middle East and revealed that British spies shared the concerns of Israeli defence chiefs that Iran was still pursuing nuclear weapons.

The source said British analysts believed that Iranian nuclear staff, knowing their phones were tapped, deliberately gave misinformation. "We are sceptical. We want to know what the basis of it is, where did it come from? Was it on the basis of the defector? Was it on the basis of the intercept material? They say things on the phone because they know we are up on the phones. They say black is white. They will say anything to throw us off.

"It's not as if the American intelligence agencies are regarded as brilliant performers in that region. They got badly burned over Iraq."

A US intelligence source has revealed that some American spies share the concerns of the British and the Israelis. "Many middle- ranking CIA veterans believe Iran is still committed to producing nuclear weapons and are concerned that the agency lost a number of its best sources in Iran in 2004," the official said.

The Foreign Office is studying a new text of a third United Nations Security Council resolution that would impose tough travel bans on regime figures and penalise banks that do business with Iran.

But diplomats say the chances of winning Chinese and Russian support for the move are in freefall. A Western diplomat said: "It's created a lot of difficulties because of the timing, just as we were about to go for a third resolution."

Bruce Reidel, who spent 25 years on the Middle East desks at the CIA and the National Security Council, said: "By going public they have embarrassed our friends, particularly the British and the Israelis. They have given our foes insights into our most secret intelligence and taken most of the options off the table."

Ephraim Sneh, until recently Israel's deputy minister of defence, warned that military action would be the only option if the world community did not institute robust sanctions. "No one can rule out with high confidence that somewhere in Iran, 70 times the size of Israel, there is one lab working on the weapons programme," Mr Sneh told The Sunday Telegraph.

"[Military action] is not a desired option; it is a last resort. That's why sanctions are so important. We have to urge the international community to be serious about sanctions and to take necessary measures to defend the civilian population."
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
Nightwish Nightwish is offline
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I lost interest in the British perspective back when they proved too proud to admit error in the Niger fiasco.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish
I lost interest in the British perspective back when they proved too proud to admit error in the Niger fiasco.
Is your belief that they were in error on Niger based on the world renowned Nightwish intelligence service?
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
I know that now that the NIE is telling many of you what you want to hear, you're satisfied and don't need to hear any more, but just in case anyone is still interested in dissenting opinions about intelligence, here a story about the British perspective:
Why isn't it that you have these people telling you what you want to hear...hmmm? The NC's have their guys planted within the media and their allies in GB. The NIE report is consistent, mostly, with what other intel experts have claimed earlier...who even say Iran never had a nuclear weapons program.

This article is a case of assertion with little evidence and generalities.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
Why isn't it that you have these people telling you what you want to hear...hmmm? The NC's have their guys planted within the media and their allies in GB. The NIE report is consistent, mostly, with what other intel experts have claimed earlier...who even say Iran never had a nuclear weapons program.

This article is a case of assertion with little evidence and generalities.
From our POV, the NIE is nothing more than assertion with little evidence and generalities. Unless you have access to the actual intelligence that's all you're ever going to have. The only thing we can do is speculate on how reliable the assertion is.

And as for your first question, I can only say that I'm not the one who thought he was lied to by the pre-Iraq intelligence, you are. I recognize that intelligence is guesswork and that there are almost always competing views based on conflicting evidence. The people who were "lied to" are the suckers who take the top level assessments at face value. Don't get suckered again by believing that your "sources" have the bedrock truth instead of a political agenda.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
Is your belief that they were in error on Niger based on the world renowned Nightwish intelligence service?
No, my belief is based on the fact that the only information with which they were forthcoming on the Niger allegation was proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be fraudulent, and that although they've continually handwaved about "other sources," they've not been forthcoming with any of them. Basically, everyone on the face of the earth, except you and a few overly prideful Brits have realized the error and that the reason these phantom "other sources" have not been produced is because there aren't any.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
From our POV, the NIE is nothing more than assertion with little evidence and generalities. Unless you have access to the actual intelligence that's all you're ever going to have. The only thing we can do is speculate on how reliable the assertion is.
Weren't you among those trumpeting the NIE back when it seemed to support the idea (or at least didn't refute the idea) that Saddam was still in possession of wmd's? So what we are hearing, then, is that the NIE is good and reliable when it is saying what you want to hear, but "nothing more than assertion with little evidence and generalities" when it isn't. Understood.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish
No, my belief is based on the fact that the only information with which they were forthcoming on the Niger allegation was proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be fraudulent, and that although they've continually handwaved about "other sources," they've not been forthcoming with any of them. Basically, everyone on the face of the earth, except you and a few overly prideful Brits have realized the error and that the reason these phantom "other sources" have not been produced is because there aren't any.
The vast majority of underlying intelligence for these conclusions is never released (or at least not released until it becomes nothing more than historical trivia). In fact, the vast majority of the conclusions are never released. Why you think Britain should reveal their sources and methods just to convince you that they have good reason to believe what they believe is beyond me.

In other words, your belief is based on your personal preference not any solid logic. I don't know whether the Brits were right about Niger or not, but the facts that they haven't backed off (as far as I'm aware) and that their own version of an intelligence investigation found the conclusion "well founded" lead me not to dismiss it as easily as you have.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish
Weren't you among those trumpeting the NIE back when it seemed to support the idea (or at least didn't refute the idea) that Saddam was still in possession of wmd's? So what we are hearing, then, is that the NIE is good and reliable when it is saying what you want to hear, but "nothing more than assertion with little evidence and generalities" when it isn't. Understood.
It's apparent that you don't really understand at all. The fact that the 2002 NIE said what it said is justification for the President's good faith belief and stands in opposition to the charges that the Bush administration lied us into war on the basis of false charges of WMD. That's what I've trumpeted. I've never tried to claim that the conclusions of that NIE were a certainty. My view of intelligence products remains consistent.

One difference between that NIE and the present one though is that in 2002, the intelligence services of our allies and the interpretations of both Republican and democrat administrations were all aligned while, as the OP article points out, the 2007 NIE is disputed by at least two of our best and most capable allies.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:56 AM   #10
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
The vast majority of underlying intelligence for these conclusions is never released (or at least not released until it becomes nothing more than historical trivia). In fact, the vast majority of the conclusions are never released. Why you think Britain should reveal their sources and methods just to convince you that they have good reason to believe what they believe is beyond me.
Makes it awfully convenient for such handwaving, doesn't it? Not only did they not release it to the public, but when the US government asked them to share it, they wouldn't even release it to them. There may be good reason to withhold it from the public, but no good reason to withhold it from the official intelligence sources in the government with whom you've agreed to share such intelligence. The only good reason to withhold it from our own intelligence community is that it doesn't exist.
Quote:
I don't know whether the Brits were right about Niger or not, but the facts that they haven't backed off (as far as I'm aware) and that their own version of an intelligence investigation found the conclusion "well founded" lead me not to dismiss it as easily as you have.
We've been through this before. Outside of the Brits themselves (and you), the findings of their own version of an intelligence investigation were anything but "well-founded." They were criticized by US intelligence as shoddy and questionable, and the leap in logic that found the story was well-founded, was based largely on the fact that uranium is one of Niger's major exports (as opposed to being based on actual documention, observation or recounting of the goings on of the meeting between the Niger and Iraq delegations). Using their logic, if an Iraqi delegation went to Japan, it must have been to purchase DVD players.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
One difference between that NIE and the present one though is that in 2002, the estimate served the interests of the intelligence services of our allies and the interpretations of both Republican and democrat administrations were all aligned while, as the OP article points out, the 2007 NIE is disputed by two of our allies with the most vested interest and strongest incentives to oppose Iran.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by StcChief
Content to wait for the Nuclear glow....for solid proof.

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This is not the same thing as WWII. That's stimulus response like a Pavlovian dog whereby all are the exact same incidents when they differ. If you note the agressor is not Iran it was AQ. Geez! Where's the logic?
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by StcChief
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Kill them all, God will know his own. /Arnaud
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish
Makes it awfully convenient for such handwaving, doesn't it? Not only did they not release it to the public, but when the US government asked them to share it, they wouldn't even release it to them. There may be good reason to withhold it from the public, but no good reason to withhold it from the official intelligence sources in the government with whom you've agreed to share such intelligence. The only good reason to withhold it from our own intelligence community is that it doesn't exist.We've been through this before. Outside of the Brits themselves (and you), the findings of their own version of an intelligence investigation were anything but "well-founded." They were criticized by US intelligence as shoddy and questionable, and the leap in logic that found the story was well-founded, was based largely on the fact that uranium is one of Niger's major exports (as opposed to being based on actual documention, observation or recounting of the goings on of the meeting between the Niger and Iraq delegations). Using their logic, if an Iraqi delegation went to Japan, it must have been to purchase DVD players.
Depends. Did they get their first 500 tons of “DVD players” from Japan?
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