On the news that a new National Intelligence Estimate has found that Iran has not been pursuing nuclear weapons since 2003, Democrats have pounced on President Bush over his knowledge of the report. Democratic Senator Joe Biden went so far as to conclude:
Are you telling me a president that's briefed every single morning, who's fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in '03?
I refuse to believe that. If that's true, he has the most incompetent staff in modern American history, and he's one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.
Democrats are distraught that President Bush did not receive or pursue details of this "tentative conclusion." Let's assume that the Director of National Intelligence provided the President details on this preliminary information. The findings were still tentative and no responsible leader would direct policy changes until the report had undergone rigorous adjudication by the Intelligence Community.
Furthermore, Iran certainly did not deserve the benefit of the doubt. It has a history of pursuing nuclear weapon technology from Pakistan, developing indigenous long-range ballistic missiles, and procuring nuclear-capable cruise missiles. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had discovered that Iran had used its laser centrifuges to produce an average level of enrichment between 8-9%, well above the level Iran had originally claimed (3%) and in excess of the 3-5% enrichment needed for nuclear power. Even International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei concluded, at the time, that Iran "has failed to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed."
After weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, Americans wanted more rigorous intelligence processes to ensure that history did not repeat itself. The U.S. Intelligence Community met this expectation and publicly released its findings. Therefore, considering the circumstances, the President and the Intelligence Community acted appropriately.
Handcrafted by Gindu on December 4, 2007 |
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