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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Think Progress asks "What did Bush know and when did he know it?" about the intelligence communities unusually firm assessment that Iran's nuclear weapons program has been suspended since 2003.

I think they answer their own question.

First they quote Stephen Hadley

HADLEY: [W]hen was the president notified that there was new information available? We’ll try and get you a precise answer. As I say, it was, in my recollection, is in the last few months. Whether that’s October — August-September, we’ll try and get you an answer for that.

So he is trying to give the impression that it may have been as late as October, but making sure that, if it was in August or September, his statement isn't demonstrably a lie. I interpret it as "definitely before October"

But the proof is Bush's strange new choice of words also quoted by Think Progress
In October, Bush told a reporter that Iran was trying to “build a nuclear weapon“:
Q But you definitively believe Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon?

THE PRESIDENT: I think so long — until they suspend and/or make it clear that they — that their statements aren’t real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. […]

So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.

he dodged the question on "building" and instead discussed developing capacity and knowledge. This was noted at the time. The NIE does not say that Iran is no longer developing capacity and knowledge. I think it is almost certain that the strangely weak phrasing was caused by knowledge of the NIE.

Bush decided to keep the NIE secret, then recently changed his mind (shows his IQ is out of single digits and he knew it was going to leak). Note that, without admitting that the intelligence committee has concluded that Iran's nuclear program was long since suspended, Bush tried to argue that, whether or not Iran was actually then attempting to build a nuclear weapon, urgent action against Iran was needed to prevent World War III.

The man has nerve, I'll give him that.

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