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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PatDollard.Com: NIE Chief Backs Away From His Own Report!

From PatDollard.Com:

The top US intelligence official is backing away from his agency’s recent assessment that Iran halted its ‘nuclear weapons program’.

Sixteen US spy agencies concluded in their December 3 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran is not conducting a nuclear weapons program.

At a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said he wishes he had written the unclassified version of the document differently.

“I would change the way we describe the Iranian nuclear program. I would have included that there are the component parts, that the portion of it, maybe the least significant, had halted,” he said.

The intelligence director was referring to a specific aspect of the NIE report which dismissed White House allegations that Iran is planning to design nuclear warheads.

Although McConnell attempted to cast doubt by backtracking on his agency’s position on the case, the UN nuclear watchdog has asserted that Iran is conducting its nuclear activities under IAEA regulations.

The Bush administration has been severely criticized for its stance on Tehran as critics see the NIE as evidence that the US has exaggerated the extent of Iran’s nuclear program.

Political analysts believe McConnell’s attempt to deflate his agency’s report could be aimed at deflecting criticism on Washington for its go-to-war attitude toward Tehran.

His comments on the NIE, which lowered the probability of the imposition of tough resolutions against the Islamic Republic, come as the US is lobbying for a third round of UN Security Council sanctions to be slapped on Iran.