Mossad, CIA, ‘agree Iran has no active nuclear weapons program’
March 19, 2012 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Quoting American intelligence sources, The New York Times reports that intelligence agencies from the United States and Israel agree that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program years ago, and that Tehran is not currently attempting to revive it. As intelNews has been reporting consistently since 2009, the overwhelming consensus in the US intelligence community is that the Iranian regime suspended all efforts to build a nuclear bomb in 2003. Furthermore, the US intelligence community maintains that the decision to turn Iran into a nuclear power has yet to be conclusively taken in Tehran. This was first outlined in the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), an annual report cooperatively authored by the heads of all US intelligence agencies. This consensus appears even wider after Sunday’s New York Times report, which maintains that, even though many hawkish Israeli politicians advocate aggressive action against Iran, Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, is in broad agreement with the premise of the 2007 NIE. The Times cites an anonymous “former senior American intelligence official”, who says that, although Israeli intelligence planners direct “very hard questions” to their American counterparts, the “Mossad does not disagree with the US on the [Iranian] weapons program”, and that “there is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts”. Undeniably, the 2007 NIE has its detractors, including some who accuse the US intelligence community of refusing to realize “that Iran now has the capability to change the balance of power in the Gulf”. The latest report in The Times does not deny that there are “significant intelligence gaps” in Washington’s ability to understand Iran’s intentions. Iran, argues the report —correctly— is “one of the most difficult intelligence collection targets in the world”. The report quotes another former US intelligence official who describes Iran as “the hardest intelligence target there is —harder by far than North Korea”. The reason Is not only the absence of a US embassy in Tehran since the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, but also, the official says, “the [Iranian] political system, [which] is so confusing [in that] has the effect of making it difficult to determine who speaks authoritatively on what”. Still, The Times cites former and current US intelligence officials who say that “they have been throwing everything they have at the Iranian program” and strongly express confidence in the 2007 NIE. In an article published late on Sunday, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz noted The Times report but contained no official or unofficial reaction from Tel Aviv.