Throughout President Bush’s current Middle East trip, administration officials have had to quell confusion about how the December 3, 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program affects U.S. policy in the region. Already the report has undercut efforts to form “an international coalition to impose sanctions against Tehran” and Iran has used the report for its own propaganda purposes. Besides the great damage it has done to the containment of Iran’s regional dominance efforts, the report’s conclusions are just fundamentally flawed. Heritage Foundation Comprehensive Guide to What is Wrong with the NIE includes:

  • The NIE uses a narrow definition of Iran’s nuclear weapons program that is so restrictive even officials from the Atomic Energy Agency have expressed disagreement with it’s conclusions.
  • The NIE mistakenly assumes that weaponization of the warhead is the key aspect of Iran’s nuclear program.
  • The NIE understates the importance of Iran’ ‘civilian’ uranium enrichment efforts to the development of nuclear weapons.
  • The NIE does not address related military developments, such as Iran’s ballistic missile programs, some of which make little sense unless the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads.
  • The release of the NIE eases international pressure on Iran despite the fact that the NIE itself maintains that such pressure is critical to stopping the weapons program.

Update: RedState calls on Sens. Ensign, McConnell, and Kyl to investigate how the NIE reached its conclusions.


Quick Hits:

  • Iraq’s defense minister Abdul Qadir said his nation would require help with internal security through 2012 and border security through 2018 Monday. Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadir’s projections. The New York Times adds: “Mr. Qadir’s comments are likely to become a factor in political debate over the war. All of the Democratic presidential candidates have promised a swift American withdrawal.”
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers will face a “significant burden” as the agency seeks to help relieve state and county facilities burdened with housing immigrant convicted criminals.
  • Admiral Timothy Keating of the US Pacific Fleet urged Beijing to clarify the “the intentions of its increasingly sophisticated armed forces.” Keating told reporters: “We are concerned about the development of long-range cruise and ballistic missiles, we are concerned about their anti-satellite technology (and) we are concerned about area denial weapons.”
  • Amazon decided to pay fines totaling $1,500 a day instead of complying with a French court order banning the companies ‘free shipping’ policies. Amazon’s free shipping policy violated French price controls on discount books.