First it was Bush. Then Cheney. Then on Sunday’s interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CIA Director Michael V. Hayden became the next ranking Bush administration official to contradict the nation’s best intelligence with tenuous allegations that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Here’s analysis from the Los Angeles Times blog:
Hayden follows in the footsteps of his boss, President Bush, who said in March that Iran had "declared" it was pursuing nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel, and Vice President Dick Cheney, who alleged that Iran was trying to produce weapons-grade uranium. Neither statement appears to be rooted in publicly known facts.
But Hayden’s Sunday talk show allegation, reported on by The Times’ Greg Miller in Washington, was qualitatively different than those of Bush or Cheney. He admitted candidly that his assessment was not "court-of-law stuff," that he had no proof. "This is Mike Hayden looking at the body of evidence," he told NBC’s "Meet the Press."
Rather, he cast the Iranian leadership in the role of rational actors. He deduced that Iran wouldn’t tolerate all the international isolation and sanctions it’s now weathering for a mere peaceful energy program.
This drumbeat of misinformation is too familiar. We heard the Bush administration say again and again that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the war on Iraq. Why is the CIA Director now undermining the findings that his own agency and the US intelligence community stated in the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran? According to the New York Times, the NIE
declares with “high confidence” that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003, and also says with high confidence that the halt “was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.”
Rather than painting Iran as a rogue, irrational nation determined to join the club of nations with the bomb, the estimate states Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.
With Admiral Fallon’s resignation, there is some concern that the Bush administration is bent on pushing the US towards military strikes in Iran. Instead of waiting for the next outrageous claim about Iran from the Bush administration, join us in asking Congress to support meaningful diplomacy.