"We really have to see what's happened in Iran," Brill said. "There is still a very significant amount of time that needs to be worked through by the Iranians to get to where they want to go."It's a dreary pattern. The question -- bomb Iran or not -- will be framed as one of, are they getting nukes or not? What passes for the antiwar side of the debate will be saying, no, don't attack, because they really aren't getting nukes anytime soon. There'll be very little discussion of a more fundamental question: why does Uncle Sam get to say who can have nukes and who can't? Who died and made us God?
Defending the quality of intelligence assessments, Brill said much of what the intelligence agencies have predicted has been validated by the IAEA and others.
U.S. intelligence officials are scrubbing their information and analysis on Iran as tensions increase over its nuclear program. Tehran insists its work is solely for peaceful, civilian purposes, but the U.S. and a number of its allies believe it is after a nuclear arsenal.
The nation's No. 2 intelligence official, Gen. Michael Hayden, said the Iran intelligence has benefited from the lessons-learned exercises on estimates about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Based on all the data available to spy agencies, he said confidently that Iran is intent on developing a nuclear weapon. Over time, he added, "We are able to be more clear." He declined to offer specifics about the information -- or the gaps in information.
The top U.S. intelligence analyst, Thomas Fingar, said changes have been made in how analysis is done. "All of us have greater confidence in the judgments that we are making and bringing forward on Iran," Fingar said.
He said the various intelligence agencies took to heart the various reports on the flawed intelligence leading up to Iraq. "We get it," Fingar said. "We realize we have got to rebuild confidence."
If the Iranians aren't enriching uranium for use in a weapons program, they must be crazy. Under completely-bipartisan U.S. policy, there are only two sure ways not to be attacked by the U.S. military: possess nuclear weapons, or be completly subservient to Washington. On the whole, I hope they build and test nuclear weapons next week. If they do, a great opportunity for more-and-better war will be lost to our supervisors -- and I don't just mean G. W. "The Village Idiot" Bush. I'm quite sure that J. McCain, H. Clinton, or any other replacement who's likely to be promoted as an inevitability by the dimbulb trumpets of the conventional wisdom will be equally bellicose -- and maybe more efficient as well. A scary thought indeed.