Bloomberg's Eli Lake reports Tuesday that the Obama administration kept secret until the beginning of April Iran's two to three month breakout time for a nuclear weapon, saying "the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public."
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, speaking to reporters on Monday, said that the administration has held this assessment for "quite some time." Lake says that Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed Monday "that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1."
However, at least one member of the administration publicly spoke about the two-to-three-month breakout time frame prior to April. On March 2, 2015, National Security Advisor Susan Rice addressed the annual AIPAC meeting and said the following [emphasis added]:
This is my third point—a good deal is one that would verifiably cut off every pathway for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Every single one.
Any deal must prevent Iran from developing weapons-grade plutonium at Arak, or anywhere else.
Any deal must prevent Iran from enriching uranium at its nuclear facility at Fordow—a site we uncovered buried deep underground and revealed to the world in 2009
Any deal must increase the time it takes Iran to reach breakout capacity—the time it would take to produce a single bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium. Today, experts suggest Iran’s breakout window is just two to three months. We seek to extend that to at least one year.
Rice's disclosure suggests that either DNI spokesman Brian Hale is incorrect in his assertion that the assessment was declassified on April 1, or Rice revealed classified information.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rice's March disclosure.
The United States Army has charged Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy." Bergdahl allegedly abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by Taliban-aligned forces for nearly five years before the Obama administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban forces.
The big speech last week was, of course, the one given before Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was a forceful performance. Nancy Pelosi said that she was so dismayed by both the style and the substance of the prime minister’s speech that she was nearly reduced to tears.
Susan Rice told AIPAC It was "neither realistic nor achievable" to expect Iran to stop enriching uranium:
"We cannot let a totally unachievable ideal stand in the way of a good deal. I know that some of you will be urging Congress to insist that Iran forgo its domestic enrichment capacity entirely," Rice told AIPAC, as the crowd broke in to chear.
"But, but, but as desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic nor achievable."
Secretary of State John Kerry contradicted National Security Adviser Susan Rice by saying that Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "welcome to speak in the United States" and by saying that the U.S.-Israel relationship is at an historic high. Kerry made the comments this morning on ABC:
The following is a transcript of a conversation in the Oval Office passed to me simultaneously by the German, French, and British intelligence services, along with copies of their governments' complaints about the immorality of American spying on its allies.
Writing on the White House blog, Ambassador Susan Rice, the president’s national security advisor, accuses the Senate of harming national security by not confirming more ambassadorial nominees. Rice contends that the current backlog of forty-eight is unnecessary and harmful:
President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, said on ABC that Bowe Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction" and that "Sergeant Bergdahl wasn't simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield."
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last summer by Judicial Watch, the Obama administration last week released 41 documents related to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. An email from the deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, has received most of the attention. In it, Rhodes laid out four goals for Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who would be appearing on five Sunday talk shows 36 hours later.
Whether it’s “pivoting” or “rebalancing,” the Obama administration’s unceasing efforts to turn retreat into a virtue – particularly when it comes to the Middle East – have become a distinguishing feature of this president’s national security strategy.