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27 January 2009


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William R. Cumming

Just out of curiosity, PL, does the Intel Community seek truth or "facts"? obviously, facts dictate capabilities but not motives, intentions, or plans! Do you think this Administration like the past will "Make its own reality."



You make a tantalizing opening statement about the CIA, Panetta, Blair, and the DNI. Could you shed more light into the inner structures of the current intelligence community? I would guess that the Bush DNI would differ from the Obama DNI. Just where will the CIA be in the pecking order? Will Blair really be our top Intelligence official? How will our intelligence services work together in this new administration?

Let's all remember how that last NIE on Iran went and what that showed us about the state of internal intelligence community politics...


When I see a statement like this: "... with the mullahs quite probably on the verge of enriching sufficient uranium to make a bomb ..." that does not also point out reactor grade fuel (4% U235) can't be made into a bomb without enriching it to around 90%, I go cold. The article, like the Drudge headline to the same effect, is red meat to the ignorati.


Rather than just a review of what the CIA has accomplished, or failed too, over the years an actual Analysis of the status of the people, political climate as well as the industrial and military capabilities would be in order. "...religious inspiration can evolve or fade,…" Perhaps the most telling point that, yet it seems to be glossed over in this article.

tom garshol

with the memory of Monica Godling fresh in my mind... Before any nie' s iz ordered. What about a rapport that just state how many of the "experts" that actually speaks farsi. How many that can read farsi. And how many that has actually been there.
I am not impressed by thd Bushies.



Colonel, wouldn't a U.S. Interest Section, like the one in Cuba, help us develop better contacts and intelligence than being fed small dribbles of selected information?

I wish Obama would have had the guts to come out with policy from day one.

This gentleman should not be believe after making statements like, That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA.

I don't think he is a geneticist.


Enough of this "intelligence" already. Let's have a little good judgement and common sense. Oh, and honesty wouldn't hurt either.

Ideologically driven statements about "stopping Iran's nuclear program," (HRH Hillary) have no place in a world where Mohamed El-Baradei has already determined the facts first hand.

Duncan Kinder

"CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta should consider a bipartisan review of intelligence collection concerning Tehran.

Whenever I hear the word "bipartisan" used, I immediately grab my wallet.


Duncan Kinder writes: Whenever I hear the word "bipartisan" used, I immediately grab my wallet.

I have a very skeptical reaction to that phrase, too. I'd rather that such a review be non-partisan. I'd like it even better if it were made up of people who know the intelligence business or the uses to which intelligence is put.

Sidney O. Smith III

Speaking of US national security interests, why not a NIE-Israel? Shortest executive summary in USG history. 3 words. 13 letters.

Bibi Bombs Iran.



A reminder. Anyone who is personally abusive or an obvious propagandist will be banned. pl


A review of intelligence on Iran should be conducted at the DNI level, either by the National Intelligence Council or the Deputy DNI for Analysis. Any internal CIA review of its own performance is a useless exercise.

Ken Roberts

Can someone recommend books, news websites, other resource material for a dispassionate look at Iran? Sounds like a good idea to learn bit about.


What have Langley's actions produced? A good question - and a revealing one in that it assumes that intelligence should be the driver of US policy vis a vis an important strategic state, rather than seeing policy and intelligence as, at best, complimentary or parallel activities. Whilst honest and truthful assessments would be nice, the key policy question, in my view, is to determine what the US wants its "relationship" with Iran to be - that is not an intelligence function.

The only observable product from Langley that I can discern is a massively polluted information stream that lurches through propaganda and disinformation cycles every few months or so in a desperate attempt to paper over the rather awkward reality that there has been no coherent US-Iran policy for nigh on 3 decades now.

Apart from that, bugger all that I'm aware of.


It's always worth remembering that a key element in the US elite construction of Iran is essentialism: We can't have normalised relations/negotiate with Iran because Iran is X, where X is some characteristic that makes the activity impossible and therefore not worth trying - so much the better then to cling to the current default postures.

Clifford Kiracofe

Well yes, an NIE per Iran is certainly worthwhile.

I would add two more to the list for now:

1. Israel (with some emphasis on counterintelligence issues)

2. Mexico (the disintegrating failed narco-state on our southern border)

Gerecht is part of the Neocon complex, thus not to be taken too seriously I should think.

Cloned Poster

I think Israel were given a double up-free card by Obama to sort Gaza, and no comments btw (I picked Gaza as long-term occupiers), saying that "crush Hamas" but if you don't do it, we are having lunch in Tehran.

Lunch in Tehran and Mumbai and on to Indonesia (or the other way around).

Shudders at what Pakistan is doing and it my be an official declaration of an extra capacity nuke along with Mini-me Israel (of US) in the ME. Pakistan is a China client and Russia is so soft(Iskander who?) now along with those cuddly Obama Muslims.



US Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Iran Tuesday of engaging in "subversive activity" in Latin America, saying it concerned him more than Russia's recent naval forays in the region.

"I'm concerned about the level of frankly subversive activity that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America particularly South America and Central America," Gates told lawmakers.

How do you believe this statement relates to the post you made about $40/barrel oil and an attempt to destabilize Chavez et al? Since the Bloivars posit higher oil prices to bankroll their "revolution" it seems to point to a nexus of propaganda and real politique.

I'm sure the Iranians would like a higher price for oil at the head, so they may in fact be in negotiations with Chavez to raise oil prices, whereas the US has most likely brokered a deal with the Saudis to keep prices lower, both for the world economy as well as to destabilize the Bolivars.

What are your opinions?

Jackie Shaw

Maybe you should read "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer. It's a dandy tale about overthrowing Iran's Prime Minister by the CIA at the behest of England in 1953 and all about oil. Fast forward to 1979. I used to wonder why the Iranians took hostages in the American Embassy. No one in the media in '79 even mentioned that the coup in '53 could be the reason for the American hostages. Oh well, one of the unintended consequences of a CIA action.

Jackie Shaw

P.S. My dad has always told me the reason we have never had a coup in the United States is because there are no U.S. Embassies here. The old guy makes sense.


My quickie blurb, the position of Iran vs. Israel after 8 yrs of Bush.

- I think Israel loses a lot in term of world public opinion. Lebanon + Gaza backed by Bush really destroy their credibility. I don't think there are much world goodwill left toward israel. All in all, Israel depends so much more on US politics, precisely at a time when they lost key asset in the US. Euro/NATO definitely throw Israel on the curb with their request for Gaza troop. (It will be interesting what they gonna do next. My guess would be more of the same, they don't have too much options at this moment.)

-Iran. surprisingly a big winner and they have managed the pressure very well. (tho' admitedly, dealing with Bush is kinda wayyyyy obvious. Even the date on special force operation inside Iran can be read few months ahead just by the way his neocon gangs are bragging on TV.)

but on serious note, Iranian progress: high oil price windfall and Iran domestic economy reform. Opening diplomacy/eastward looking. Relationship with China and Russia/transfer of technology. Nuclear front an Iraq/Afghanistan are very impressive accomplishment. They have balanced national interest and external pressure. They ace latin america and asia. Africa is a bit weak. India is entirely lost (but maybe swinging back as India and Russia are back again)

Overall they achieve the main point of their effort. Avoid isolation and remove the few bottle neck in global relationship, trade, and technological development.

Iran definitely is in much stronger bargaining position now. They can negotiate with knowledge that US does not have soft leverage anymore. (oil import, banking, closure of gulf..all are mitigated.)

I think this will put Iran-US negotiation in saner term. (both know what each want but at the same time both have no big leverage.) At worst...more of the same, and things just muddle through going nowhere quick.

best case scenario. step by step constructive negotiation is now possible. Both side sees no gain in further confrontation.

Babak Makkinejad


I believe I can shed some light on this.

It is obvious that Islamic Iran, with a per capita income of $ 5000 and the population of 70 Million is an incredible danger to the safety and security of the United States with a per capita income of $50,000 and a population of 300 Million. One must also include in this picture the fact that in the technological arena Iran is struggling to master 1950s technologies while US is already in the 21-Century.

We owe this clarity to the herculean intellectual endeavors of such first rate giants of historical and strategic wisdom – that have – as of late - blessed the United States by their presence. Men such as Leeden, Frum, Gingrich, Krauthammer, Ruel, and others make me shrivel inside me with a deep sense of mental inadequacy and of worthlessness. Indeed we are not worthy, we are not worthy!

It is to these men that we owe the unraveling of the Islamo-Papist conspiracy south of Rio Grande. For the creeping subversion of Islamo-Papist, beginning in Venezuela now has swallowed Bolivia and Nicaragua and is getting closer to Florida, where it could join forces with the Godless Cuban Communists and thus will be ready to take over the United Stats. Does any one remember the fate Kamazats?

And every one in US needs to be extremely concerned since once the take over of the United States by the Forces of the Darkside is complete the fate of Greece under Ottoman rule will befall US as well. By that I mean the following.

If you travel in Greece you will be struck by how handsome the men are and how ugly the women. That is because over the centuries the Ottomans – who could marry 4 wives – took all the good-looking women to Turkey. Now, Iranians, being the followers of the Shia sect of Islam, not only can marry 4 permanent wives but also an indefinite number of temporary wives. Before you know it all the blonde bomb shells are in Iran – including Pamela Anderson. Thank God for Secretary Gates for warning us in time against the nefarious plots against American Womanhood!

Of course, Iranian, having taken over US with the help of the Papists probably will also insist on all women in US to cover themselves in black veils- thus making US, like many other Muslim countries, a paradise for ugly women.


I am definitely shorting Gillette stock.


Seriously: A NIE on Iran would be very helpful for Obama as a vetting test to see who comes up with propaganda spew like MESH keeps producing and who actually shows sobriety in their analysis. I think the next year will be an interesting process of weeding out the most obvious stay-behind elements of the republican neo-con spin machine, so that Obama can feel reasonably in control of the ship. Maybe wishful thinking, but I think your current president is smart enough to think strategical thoughts that go over a longer timespan than the news-cycle. Wich makes for a refreshing change. (Unless he *is* the antichrist, of course.)

Not so serious: "Of course, Iranian, having taken over US with the help of the Papists probably will also insist on all women in US to cover themselves in black veils- thus making US, like many other Muslim countries, a paradise for ugly women."

B.M., you forget that a nice ankle/wrist combined with eyelashes rarely lies.

Green Zone Cafe

Oh come on, Babak. Greek women are as fine as any, and not less beautiful than Turkish women, certainly. Melina Mercouri, Marina Sirtis, Melina Kanakarides, Maria Callas?

Most of it is diet and medical care, anyways. Recently I saw a stunning tall young Turkish woman - with what was probably her grandmother - short and pan-faced.


Probably most board readers have seen today's Asia Times article by Sam Gardiner, but here it is anyway;


IT basically states that aggressive U.S. policy has pushed Iran and Russia into something approaching a strategic partnership. With greater Russian support, it will be even harder to pressure Iran.

I'm curious if others consider Gardiner's analysis reasonable.


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