10:37 PM, Feb 12, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The LA Times reports:
Panetta's testimony isn't the first time Obama has indicated that he discounts the 2007 NIE. In December 2007, he appeared to believe the report, saying, "By reporting that Iran halted its nuclear weapon development program four years ago because of international pressure, the new National Intelligence Estimate makes a compelling case for less saber-rattling and more direct diplomacy." But just last month, Obama told ABC News that Iran is "pursuing a nuclear weapon" (as early as his June 2008 AIPAC speech, Obama said that Iran "pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists.")
As Allahpundit notes, this LA Times story makes it all the more obvious that from the very beginning the NIE was used as a "political tool, to make sure Bush couldn't take any drastic action to stop the program (which was unlikely anyway)." Just to reiterate: The Obama administration hasn't relied on any new information to conclude as false the 2007 NIE's claim that Iran halted its nuke program. If Obama and his advisers now think that the 2007 NIE is a sham, don't they have an interest in firing the people who wrote faulty intelligence? Presumably Obama believes that the role of intelligence agencies is to collect and relay accurate intelligence, and the role of political leaders is to make political decisions.