One sign that the Bush White House has long known about the Iran NIE according to various blog posts whose URLs I have forgotten is this post by Gareth Porter
November 9, 2007
Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE
by Gareth Porter
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear program, and thus make the document more supportive of US Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.
I doubted Porter's sources since it seems to me that Cheney would have objected to the majority judgments not the dissenting judgments. Now I have a wonderful thought.
Maybe Cheney held up an NIE in which most agencies concluded that Iran was hell bent on making nuclear weapons because he didn't like a few dissents and, because of the delay, intelligence was collected which convinced the agencies which perviously agreed with Cheney that he was full of it ? Is that just too wonderful to be true ?
It seems not. In Wednesday's Washington Post David Ignatius wrote
The secret intelligence that produced this reversal came from multiple channels -- human sources as well as intercepted communications -- that arrived in June and July. At that time, a quite different draft of the Iran NIE was nearly finished.
or perhaps finished but held up by Cheney.