Expanded Intelligence Effort Targetting Iran Proves There Is No Iranian Atom-Bomb Program
April 9, 2012 • 8:05AM

An expanded intelligence effort, led by the CIA but including the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), has given the White House confidence that it will have early warning of any move by Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb, say unnamed officials. Not reported by the Washington Post, but implicit in this is that since the U.S. knows Iran doesn't have a military program, and the U.S. will have plenty of warning if it decides to start one, there is no reason to go to war. The effort includes stealth reconnaissance drones, increased intercepts by the NSA, increased satellite scanning, and a large informant network. "There is confidence that we would see activity indicating that a decision had been made," a senior U.S. official involved in high-level discussions about Iran policy told the Washington Post. "Across the board, our access has been significantly improved." He added that "Even in the absolute worst case — six months — there is time for the president to have options." The effort began in 2006, under George W. Bush, who told then-CIA director Michael Hayden that he didn't want to be caught with his pants down with respect to Iran's nuclear program. It began in the CIA with a few dozen analysts and has grown to several hundred, led by a veteran case officer since that time. The effort has also confirmed the view expressed in the 2007 and 2010 NIEs that Iran has not decided to build a bomb. "It isn't the absence of evidence, it's the evidence of an absence," said one former intelligence official briefed on the findings. "Certain things are not being done."