NIE: An Abrupt About-Face
11:01 AM, Dec 5, 2007 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
As many recognize, the latest NIE on Iran's nuclear weapons program directly contradicts what the U.S. Intelligence Community was saying just two years previously. And it appears that this about-face was very recent. How recent?
Consider that on July 11, 2007, roughly four or so months prior to the most recent NIE's publication, Deputy Director of Analysis Thomas Fingar gave the following testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (emphasis added):
This paragraph appeared under the subheading: "Iran Assessed As Determined to Develop Nuclear Weapons." And the entirety of Fingar's 22-page testimony was labeled "Information as of July 11, 2007." No part of it is consistent with the latest NIE, in which our spooks tell us Iran suspended its covert nuclear weapons program in 2003 "primarily in response to international pressure" and they "do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."
The inconsistencies are more troubling when we realize that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Fingar is one of the three officials who were responsible for crafting the latest NIE. The Journal cites "an intelligence source" as describing Fingar and his two colleagues as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials." (The New York Sun drew attention to one of Fingar's colleagues yesterday.)
So, if it is true that Dr. Fingar played a leading role in crafting this latest NIE, then we are left with serious questions:
Many in the mainstream press have been willing to cite this latest NIE unquestioningly. Perhaps they should start asking some pointed questions. (Don't hold your breath.)