Article questions 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

The International Herald Tribune has published an article by investigative journalist Dr. Edward J. Epstein (author of the 1989 book Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA) questioning the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate’s (NIE) view on Iran’s nuclear program. The NIE is an annual report produced cooperatively by all 16 agencies of the US intelligence community. The 2007 NIE caused controversy by marking a spectacular break from long-term US policy of warning that Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear program. It specifically asserted “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program”.  Epstein now argues that the CIA got it wrong and that Iran did not terminate, but simply restructured, Project 1-11 -its clandestine nuclear armament research operation. He details developments in the past year and urges US President-Elect Barack Obama to “confront the reality that Iran now has the capability to change the balance of power in the Gulf, if it so elects to do, by building a nuclear weapon”. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Article questions 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

  1. Johanna says:

    Was there ever a real doubt about Iran’s nuclear weapons program? Epstein is not the only person to realize this, many have.

    What say you?


  2. intelNews says:

    Thanks for your question. There is currently no consensus in the US intelligence community about Iran’s nuclear weapons (as opposed to energy) program. The 2007 NIE, which states “with high confidence that […] Tehran has halted its nuclear weapons program”, perfectly demonstrates this. Interestingly, the CIA analytical community don’t see eye-to-eye with the US State Dept on this matter. There is a lot more agreement on other cases, such as Syria, Israel, Turkey, etc. But I would say that, on Iran, there are many gray areas that leave plenty of room for disagreement. That’s not to say that Iran does not want to have nuclear weapons. But the question is, can it get them, and is it trying to do so. And this is quite another matter. [IA]

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