When MoveOn.org ran full page ads just before the Congressional testimony of General David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker with huge headlines saying “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?“, John Bolton’s fellow travelers went great lengths to condemn Move On for its lack of appropriate respect for dedicated national security leaders. Resolutions in the House and Senate were passed to condemn Move On.
But in today’s Washington Post, John Bolton — who in addition to his own State Department team was infamous for trying to mine raw intelligence and manipulate it towards political ends — essentially accuses the entire national security intelligence establishment of betraying American interests in the 2007 Iran National Intelligence Estimate.
. . .many involved in drafting and approving the NIE were not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department, brought into the new central bureaucracy of the director of national intelligence. These officials had relatively benign views of Iran’s nuclear intentions five and six years ago; now they are writing those views as if they were received wisdom from on high. In fact, these are precisely the policy biases they had before, recycled as “intelligence judgments.”
That such a flawed product could emerge after a drawn-out bureaucratic struggle is extremely troubling. While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this “intelligence” torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were. Ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions in an essentially unmolested fashion, to the detriment of us all.
I disagree with nearly every element of the Bolton take on the NIE report, with the exception that he is right that the release of the NIE has most likely sunk any serious plans to initiate a preemptive attack against Iran — much as I argued in a Salon.com article titled “Why Bush Won’t Bomb Iran.”
John Bolton didn’t get his vote in the Senate on his confirmation — and he is not going to get his Iran War.
— Steve Clemons