Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More On The Iran NIE...Disinformation From Iran?

Intel and terrorism expert Kenneth Timmerman has an illuminating article that examines the background of the men who created the NIE.

His conclusion is that the report is a product of Iranian disinformation:

"..Washington has fallen for “a deliberate disinformation campaign” cooked up by the Revolutionary Guards, who laundered fake information and fed it to the United States through Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers posing as senior diplomats in Europe.

{..}The National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, “a State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience who briefly headed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research {..}

Fingar was a key partner of Senate Democrats in their successful effort to derail the confirmation of John Bolton in the spring of 2005 to become the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. As the head of the NIC, Fingar has gone out of his way to fire analysts “who asked the wrong questions,” and who challenged the politically-correct views held by Fingar and his former State Department colleagues, as revealed in "Shadow Warriors." ( Timmerman's book -ff).

Collaborating with Fingar on the Iran estimate, released on Monday, were Kenneth Brill, the director of the National Counterproliferation Center, and Vann H. Van Diepen, the National Intelligence officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.

“Van Diepen was an enormous problem,” a former colleague of his from the State Department told me when I was fact gathering for "Shadow Warriors."

“He was insubordinate, hated WMD sanctions, and strived not to implement them,” even though it was his specific responsibility at State to do so, the former colleague told me.

Kenneth Brill, also a career foreign service officer, had been the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in 2003-2004 before he was forced into retirement.

"Shadow Warrior" reports, “While in Vienna, Brill consistently failed to confront Iran once its clandestine nuclear weapons program was exposed in February 2003.."

While Mr. Timmerman is undoubtedly spot on about the background and motivations of these people and that the report is highly dubious, my take is slightly different.I think the Bush Administration wanted a face saving way of backing off from a confrontation with Iran and was sending a message to Tehran that the US military option was off the table.After all, the president picked these men himself.

The president by this time has realized that he is unlikely to get significant support for a military attack on Iran from any of our allies, that the Saudis, the Gulf States and the Chinese (all of whom also have considerable leverage on our economy) oppose it, and that he was perhaps unwilling or unable to deal with the political firestorm that would develop from a war with Iran this close to his retirement.

I hope I'm wrong, but it appears that the president has decided to let Iran be the next administration's problem, while he runs out the clock letting the State Department fiddle with various diplomatic gambits.

The Israelis will likely feel like they've been hung out to dry, and with good reason, although the president may actually be calculating that the Israelis,facing an existential threat my do the job on Iran for him and spare him the political fallout.

This decision of the president's likewise makes it more difficult for any GOP candidate running in `08 to make the case to the American people on security, national defense and terrorism issues..but then, the president has never been overly concerned about the effects of his actions on his fellow Republicans.

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