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Iran NIE: Why Now?

Two areas of debate have surfaced after the release of the latest intelligence estimate concluding that Iran has unlikely had an active nuclear weapons program since as far back as late 2003. The first question is why, after being told by the Bushies that no NIE would be released to the public, was it eventually revealed? Some speculated it was because of pushback from Congress but I think Fred Kaplan's hypothesis that the hardliners in the Cheney faction lost out this time is probably far more accurate given the legislature's recent penchant for believing whatever the Bushies choose to peddle.

And this leads us into the second area of discussion: why did the Bush administration continue to ratchet up the rhetoric on Iran even after the intelligence community concluded there was likely no 'there' there. The simplest answer is that the Bushies had no intention of releasing the NIE, at least in its current form. Most likely they were hoping to delay the findings until such time that a sufficient number of caveats could be added or deleted from the document so as to cast an ambiguous cloud over the reports findings. And as we've come to know with the Bush administration, ambiguousness is their modus operandi.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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