More Push-Back Against War from US Intelligence Community
March 20, 2012 • 8:11AM

Several well-placed U.S. intelligence officials today told EIR that the Sunday New York Times article by James Risen, providing previously unpublished details about the 2010 updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program, was a significant push-back effort on the part of the U.S. military and intelligence establishment against a looming war.

The Risen piece, clearly based on briefings from some of the intelligence and military officials who prepared the 2010 NIE update, was the most comprehensive report to date on how much effort went into its preparation. The 2010 document updated and corroborated the November 2007 NIE which concluded that Iran had abandoned all work on nuclear weaponization in late 2003, and had not resumed the work since. According to Risen's sources, the 2010 update on the earlier NIE was delayed as the result of new allegations that Iran had resumed some part of the weaponization program. Those allegations were investigated indepth before the new NIE was released to select Members of Congress and the Executive Branch. According to Risen's sources, the allegations wer either found to be untrue or simply did not represent sufficient proof to change the findings.

While the original November 2007 NIE was partially released in a declassified form to the public, the 2010 update was strictly kept classified. The Risen article, therefore, represented the most comprehensive account of the new document made available to the general public.

And the fact that the Israeli intelligence services, including Mossad, shared the U.S. assessment that Iran has not resumed work on a nuclear weapon, was aimed at boosting opposition within Israel to Netanyahu's now-accelerating drive to get the OK to launch a preventive strike on Iran.

One recently retired CIA official made it clear that he considered the Risen story to be the strongest indication to date of how adament U.S. intelligence services are about the need to avoid a war at all costs. Risen, the New York Times national security correspondent, has been in the cross-hairs of the Obama Administration for the past several years. He is a party to the Espionage Act indictment of a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of leaking information to Risen that appeared in the writer's book State of War about covert operations against Iran by the Bush-Cheney Administration. The Sterling case has not gone to trial, because it is now before an Appellate Court over government attempts to use secret witnesses at the trial.