In November 2007 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a National Intelligence Estimate entitled, Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities. Its most prominent Key Judgment was this:
A. We judge with high confidence that in the fall of 2003 Iran halted its nuclear weapons program.
This set the liberals atwitter. Lefty star blogger Matthew Yglesias quoted his favorite candidate:
Barack Obama says:
By reporting that Iran halted its nuclear weapon development program four years ago because of international pressure, the new National Intelligence Estimate makes a compelling case for less saber-rattling and more direct diplomacy.
On the other side John Bolton highlighted the NIE and warned:
That such a flawed product could emerge after a drawn-out bureaucratic struggle is extremely troubling. While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this "intelligence" torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were. Ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions in an essentially unmolested fashion, to the detriment of us all.
Candidate Obama is now President Obama, and we now get to see how his strategy of less saber-rattling and more direct diplomacy has worked out. The Washington Post reports today:
The accumulating evidence of Iran's nuclear momentum emerges as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded Monday that the White House has little to show for nearly a year of diplomatic engagement with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. "I don't think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians," Clinton told reporters.
The internal documents and expert analysis point to a growing Iranian mastery of disciplines including uranium metallurgy, heavy-water production and the high-precision explosives used to trigger a nuclear detonation. Although U.S. spy agencies have thought that Iran's leaders halted research on nuclear warheads in 2003, European and Middle Eastern analysts point to evidence that Iran has continued to hone its skills, as recently as 2007.
Funny how it was the Bush administration that was always accused of cooking the intelligence.