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Negroponte Didn't Buy the 2007 NIE on Iran's Nuclear Program Either

2:41 PM, Oct 1, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Ambassador John Negroponte, who served as the first Director of National Intelligence (DNI) from 2005 to 2007, was on FOX News early this afternoon. He pegged the prospects of talks with Iran working at "less than 50-50." Negroponte insisted that he doesn't think Iran ever gave up its pursuit of nukes. Negroponte explained:

"We conducted a National Intelligence Estimate in 2005 that concluded that Iran is determined to obtain a nuclear weapon. I haven't seen anything since that time, in the intervening four and a half years, to change that judgment -- at least in my opinion."

Add former DNI Negroponte to the list of senior intelligence officials, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former DNI Michael McConnell (Negroponte's replacement), who didn't buy the 2007 NIE on Iran's nuclear weapons program. That assessment said America's spooks didn't know if Iran wanted nuclear weapons or not.

With the revelation that Iran built a covert uranium enrichment plant well before the November 2007 NIE came out saying that Iran's nuclear weapons program (including said covert enrichment) had been "halted," we can now relegate that flawed assessment to the dustbin of intelligence failures. Well, actually, we would be able to totally dismiss it out of hand if it weren't for the fact that some in the American Intelligence Community still, incredibly, believe it.

The 2007 NIE was clearly wrong, at a minimum, and almost certainly a piece of policy prescription that ignored all evidence getting in the way of its authors' desired conclusion -- including a secret uranium enrichment site that the IC knew of beforehand.

We eagerly await the Congressional investigation into how the IC flubbed its assessment of Iran's WMD programs -- you know, just like all those investigations into the IC's failures with respect to Saddam's Iraq.