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Obama’s Team Doesn’t Buy the 2007 NIE on Iran’s Nuclear Program

9:55 PM, Jan 4, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The New York Times reports:

Mr. Obama’s top advisers say they no longer believe the key finding of a much disputed National Intelligence Estimate about Iran, published a year before President George W. Bush left office, which said that Iranian scientists ended all work on designing a nuclear warhead in late 2003.
 
After reviewing new documents that have leaked out of Iran and debriefing defectors lured to the West, Mr. Obama’s advisers say they believe the work on weapons design is continuing on a smaller scale -- the same assessment reached by Britain, France, Germany and Israel.

Here was then candidate Obama on the NIE when it was released:

"It is absolutely clear that this administration and President Bush continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology. They need, now, to aggressively move on the diplomatic front. They should have stopped the saber rattling -- should never have started it."

The 2007 NIE was always transparently political and poorly reasoned. And it has long since been disproven by the available evidence. It had nothing to do with what we actually knew about Iran’s nuclear program and everything to do with the policy preferences of some inside the U.S. Intelligence Community.
 
Candidate Obama’s call for diplomacy with the mullahs at the time was based on the politically convenient, but factually erroneous, claim that the Bush administration was the problem when it came to relations between Iran and America. He accused Bush of letting ideology get in the way of the “facts” -- even though the 2007 NIE wasn’t factual at all but instead a partisan and ideological document.
 
The real fact of the matter is that Iran continues its pursuit of nukes more than two years after Obama praised the 2007 NIE saying, in its “key judgments,” it had stopped. During that time, Iran has also continued to sponsor terrorist attacks against Americans inside Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Those are the facts.
 
Will Obama let his ideology get in the way of them?

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

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