White House silent on rumors of ‘alarming’ info about Iran nukes
August 10, 2012 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The White House has refused comment on news from Israel that a recent American intelligence report contains “explosive” new findings on Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz said yesterday that, according to Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran is currently “being passed around senior [government] offices” in the United States. Speaking on Thursday on government-owned Israel Radio, Barak said that the new NIE has brought American estimates on Iran’s nuclear program “closer to the Israeli position”. The NIE is a classified report, produced annually, that presents the consensus view of the US Intelligence Community on critical issues affecting American national security. Notably, a series of recent NIE reports have consistently argued that the Iranian government remains essentially indecisive about whether to militarize its nuclear program. IntelNews regulars may recall that, according to The New York Times, Israel’s primary external intelligence agency, the Mossad, is in broad agreement with the premise of recent American NIEs. Like its American equivalent, the CIA, the Israeli agency does not believe that Iran’s nuclear program has been militarized at this point. There is, however, one crucial difference between American and Israeli estimates on the subject: namely Tel Aviv’s view that the Iranian nuclear program should be militarily confronted regardless of Tehran’s future policy goals. According to Barak, the new American intelligence report contains “alarming [...] information” that Iran has achieved “surprising, notable progress” on the research and development stage of its nuclear program. In subsequent comments, the Israeli Defense Minister said that he was unsure whether the report was “under the title NIE or under another title”, but expressed confidence that its contents would radically affect Washington’s overall view on the subject. But the White House refused late on Thursday to comment on Barak’s revelations. Speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Jay Carney said he had nothing to say on “intelligence matters or intelligence [...] the President may or may not have received”. He also refused to answer questions on whether White House officials were displeased that a member of the Israeli government revealed information to the media about a classified US intelligence report.