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.”
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.
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.