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Hersh: White House ‘Stovepiping’ Iran Intelligence

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Posted on Nov 19, 2006
Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh says the White House is channeling intelligence related to Iran’s nuclear program, a la Iraq, preventing the CIA from scrutinizing “evidence” attributed to a secret Israeli source inside Iran.  According to Hersh, the CIA maintains Iran has “no secret program of significant bomb making.”


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  • Transcript (from Think Progress):

    HERSH: We can’t find, the new assessment says, we cannot find—the CIA says there’s no evidence that Iran is doing anything that puts them close to a bomb. There’s no secret program of significant bomb making.

    WOLF BLITZER: The Israelis have a different assessment.


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    HERSH: Absolutely.

    BLITZER: They think the Iranians may be within a year of getting to the threshold of having a point of no return, if you will, from having a bomb. When I was there in July, I had briefings. That’s what they suggested.

    HERSH: They’ve been saying that for, as you know, for five or 10 years. The fact is, Israelis have been coming up with new human intelligence, sort of the counter CIA assessment, they’ve come up with an agent inside Iran. They have more than one. And this agent is—who’s been reliable, so the Israelis claim in the past—who now says the Iranians are secretly working on making an actual trigger for a bomb. Even though they may not—we don’t have any specific evidence of a facility where they’re doing this work, the Israelis say yes they are, they’re getting ready to start detonating a weapon. Once they get the fissile material, the enriched material. Now, that information is being handled pretty much by the White House and various offices in the Pentagon. And the CIA isn’t getting a good look at the Israeli intelligence. It’s the old word “stovepiping.” It’s the president and the vice president. It’s pretty much being kept in the White House.

    BLITZER: They’d like to get more access to this Israeli agent, is that what you’re saying?

    HERSH: Of course, the people in the CIA want to know who he is, obviously. They certainly want to know what other evidence he has of actual making a warhead. This is the internecine fight that’s going on—the same fight, by the way, that we had before Iraq.

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    By TAO Walker, November 21, 2006 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    It’s probably safe to say just about everybody is sick and tired of all the rampant insanity that passes for the nightly news in these latter days.  Confucius say:  Only a person sick and tired of being sick and tired can get well.  Do you want out from under the thumb of those who rule by fear?  Get rid of those tendencies in your own nature and practices.  No, it isn’t easy, but at least its something we each of us has some capacity to attempt.  And it gets easier as you go along, because the fear-mongering enterprise is increasingly exposed to view as the futile exercise in make-believe it is and has always been. The-Bomb is intended to be the ultimate boogeyman.  Okay, it can kill you.  It might kill us all.  Meantime, its owners con us into standing still for all the fates way worse than death, while they butcher our mother and our brothers and sisters right before our terrified eyes. And we’re all dead sooner or later anyhow.  That’s one helluva scam, alright.  Who was it said:  “Better to be hung for a wolf than a sheep.”?  Our tormentors are doing everything in their electronically enhanced ‘power’ to keep us from remembering that.  Why?  ‘Cause they’re scared to death of what’ll happen to their own sick and tired selves, when we do.  So cheer up, People.  THE END, one way or another, is clearly in sight.

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    By WCG, November 21, 2006 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The fact is, none of us know what Iran is doing. Any comment here is just going to be a wild guess. Obviously, Israel will tend to see what they most fear (with reason). Equally obvious is that Bush will pick and choose intelligence for political purposes.

    But Iran can see very well that Bush would never - NEVER - have attacked Iraq if Sadam had had nuclear weapons. And Iran is an enemy not just of Israel and the U.S., but of all modern democracies. They are against everything we stand for - tolerance, minority rights, freedom of speech and religion, certainly the separation of church and state.

    Iran is a theocracy. God whispers in their ear just as he whispers in Bush’s ear, and whispering the same loony stuff, apparently. It would be no surprise at all if Iran was trying to develop nukes. In fact, it would be a big surprise if they weren’t. But how far along are they? None of us know, that’s for certain.

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    By Mac McKinney, November 20, 2006 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    You have to realize that the bottom line for the extremist Right-wing in Israel is that they want to be the biggest bully on the block, who can intimidate the rest of the Middle East neighborhood at will, so they project all these wild fantasies and drum up all this propaganda about Iran while they act the very way they accuse Iran of wanting to act. I’ve had Zionists tell me that the Iranians are so crazy that they’ll use a nuclear bomb against Israel the moment they produce one. Righttt. And then, some months later, the militarist faction ruling Israel acts completely lunatic itself and blows up half of Lebanon, better know as the “10,000 eyes for an eye” scriptural interpretation. In other words, they project their own dark qualities they are in heavy denial about onto Muslims.

    So Israel, in a sense mimicking ancient Rome in a loose historical parallel, fears Iran as a power rival in the same way that Rome feared Carthage. Israeli Zionists want to emasculate Iran just as Rome wanted to emasculate Carthage, utilizing an even bigger stick, the somewhat clueless American military. None of these attitudes are lost on Iran, meanwhile, who is preparing to defend itself dramatically. I don’t know if Iran has any real nuclear weapons intentions, but if they do, it is quite understandable, given Israel’s large nuclear arsenal and propensity for acting murderously and irresponsibly.

    If Iran actually gained nuclear weapons, then that merely puts Israel and Iran into nuclear stalemate via the deterrence of mutually assured destruction, the same stressful situation the United States and the Soviet Union had to endure for decades, and still do endure to some extent. As usual, these are the bitter fruits of fear and paranoia on both sides, fertilized by the endless cycles of violence that have scourged the world for millenia. Better for Israel and Iran to devote their energies to getting off this wheel of pain, but that means talking, negotiating, letting go of one’s ego and changing habits and attitudes, a far greater challence, unfortunately, then indulging in hatred and violence.

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    By Jackie T. Gabel, November 20, 2006 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    RE: ” This is the internecine fight that’s going on — the same fight, by the way, that we had before Iraq.”

    >>>>>>>>limited hangouts

    We’re seeing the not-so-Strange-Love faction of the oligarchy struggling to rein in the madmen. This game is more dangerous than any corporate media will acknowledge.

    If WMD go off anywhere in the world, don’t look to the cave, the laptop, bin Laden; don’t look to the Axis of Evil. Look to Cheney and Cheney’s handlers.

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    By Franco, November 20, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The CIA was wrong before. How do we know they’re not wrong again? Intelligence is a difficult, albiet serious, game. Hearings that look into the CIA for the last 20+ years would help the CIA uncover their errors.

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    By cal, November 20, 2006 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Sounds like a replay of the Iraq war, the White House cooking the intelligence using unknown or not credible humint sources.  The only advantage this time around is that a different Congress will hopefully be asking serious questions. Time for some hearings with Negroponte and Hadley as the first two witnesses.  Bush obsessed on Iraq instead of focusing on the nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran.

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    By MARIAM RUSSELL, November 20, 2006 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The Reps are running out of enemies with any kind of shelf life.


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    By Robert David Steele (Vivas), November 20, 2006 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I agree with the comment above.  I know Sy Hersh personally and consider him to be one of the few surviving credible investigative journalists.  Wolf Blitzer just reads from his cue cards.

    I believe that the Israeli who recently visited President Bush was seeking a “wink and a nod” for an Israeli attack on Iran that Bush will claim he could not prevent.  I felt so strongly about this I did a press release and a fax to every Member of Congress.

    Now my final point: it is the Collective Intelligence of the world, the citizen-reporters, who may finally succeed in getting a majority to appreciate the truth, reality, and to object in strong political terms to the terrible things that are being done in our name.  I hope we succeed before there is a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East, and perhaps a dirty nuclear bomb here in the USA.

    The White House and the Pentagon seriously underestimate the diversity and cleverness of the Iranians, in my view.

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    By Angel, November 19, 2006 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Israeli sources are definitely lying about Iran’s nuke ambitions. 

    Iran is developing nuclear energy to construct and upgrade their towns and cities to welcome the hidden imam.  They have no desire to introduce him to radioactive wastelands, which symbolizes man’s failings of administering peace and justice.  The hidden imam hates nuclear weapons and WMDs of any kind.  If Iran went down that path, he would reject them in a heartbeat which is the last thing that Ahmadinejad wants.

    The chaos and destruction that precedes the 12th imam’s appearance is not a nuclear holocaust at the hands of Iran but the war and aggression we witness today, which is headed by the US, Israeli and coalition forces.

    Israel and US claims are cloaking malicious, covetous intentions on their part.  Providing Iran remains faithful in their peaceful efforts, the lies and liars responsible for this fiasco will be exposed before any invasion against Iran can take place.

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