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.
Matthew Continetti, writing at the Washington Free Beacon, explains why Jeb Bush has a problem in his foreign policy adviser James Baker. Baker recently spoke at a conference for the left-wing group J Street. Here's an excerpt from Continetti's column:
Former Texas governor Rick Perry said he was "alarmed" by reports the Obama administration is considering not supporting the state of Israel at the United Nations. Perry, who may run for president in 2016, said he urged Obama to "turn away from such a path."
Lost in much of the reporting about CPAC is that almost all of the likely presidential candidates—really, all of them, with the exception of Rand Paul—seemed to place themselves at the Reaganite hawkish-internationalist end of the foreign policy spectrum. The much-heralded return of Republican isolationism or anti-interventionism wasn’t much in evidence, except during Rand Paul's half hour on the stage.
Barack Obama wants us all to simmer down about Iran. He wants Senator Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, and the donors he represents to butt out of the sanctions debate. He wants Republicans to quit crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He wants the media to stop hyping terror threats. He wants the American people in the dark about the secret correspondence he’s had for years with Iran’s supreme leader. He wants John Boehner to be mindful of protocol.
The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
This week's three-day White House summit on "countering violent extremism" ended Thursday, but the community-focused spirit of the summit lives on. In a Friday blog post at the State Department's "Dip Note," the Obama administration asks readers a question: "What Solutions Do You Think Are Most Critical To Countering Violent Extremism?"
The Obama adminstration begins its three-day summit on countering violent extremism with a "roundtable discussion" Tuesday afternoon led by Vice President Joe Biden and including "representatives from cities working to address the spread of violent extremism." President Barack Obama will join the summit twice this week, according to the Associated Press:
House speaker John Boehner criticized President Obama's ISIS war authorization, saying that it does not go far enough.
"ISIL is at war with our country and our allies," reads Boehner's statement. "If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorization, not one that limits our options.