NIE Timeline, Take Three

This is a compilation of the several timelines I–and others–have done so far on the NIE.

November 2006: NIE "completed"

January 5, 2007: John Negroponte resigns as DNI, reportedly because of fight over NIE; Negroponte would move to become a top official at State

January 11: US takes six Iranians in custody after a raid on a diplomatic building in Irbil, Iraq

February 2007: NIE completed; Cheney objecting to content

February 7: Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Ali Reza Asgari arrives in Turkey; he disappears there, and is presumed to have defected or been kidnapped; in March he was reported to be cooperating with western intelligence

April 26: Thomas Fingar announces NIE will be delayed due to Ahmadinejad’s demagoguery

May 12: Cheney meets with Saudi Arabia

July 2007: Intelligence community intercepts communications that verify claim Iran’s nuclear program remains suspended; Senior Administration Officials briefed

August 2007: Bush claims he learned new intelligence exists

August 9: Bush substitutes the claim that Iran was seeking nuclear technology for earlier claim that they were seeking nukes. (h/t Froomkin)

They have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program. That, in itself, coupled with their stated foreign policy, is very dangerous for world stability. . . . It’s a very troubling nation right now.

August 29-30: Six nuclear warheads "accidentally" get flown from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana

September 6: Israel strikes site in Syria

October 2007: BushCo considers spiking the NIE

October 14: Putin meets with Germany’s Angela Merkel; news reports of assassination attempt planned in Iran

October 16: From Iran, Putin says an attack on Iran is an attack on Russia

October 17: Bush makes World War III comments

October 19: Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan

October 24: McConnell writes memo outlining conditions for declassifying NIEs

October 27: David Shedd reveals Mike McConnell has made it harder to declassify NIE judgments–leading most observers to believe the Iran NIE would not be released

November 3: Pervez Musharraf declares martial law

November 9: The US releases prisoners captured in Irbil in January

November 13: McConnell says NIE will be done "in about a month" but that judgments will not be released; he also says he would resign if results were "cherry picked"

November 16: At OPEC, the Saudi Foreign Minister refuses to make a public statement about ditching the dollar–but he says the economic ministers should discuss it

November 22: Mohammed el Baradei states Iran is cooperating, though IAEA still has questions about its nuclear program

November 23: The Saudis confirm attendance at Annapolis Conference; on the same day, they send the conservative Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan to contest elections

November 25: Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan

November 26: Syria confirms attendance at Annapolis Conference

November 26: Per Seymour Hersh, Bush tells Ehud Olmert what’s in the NIE.

November 27: The Annapolis Peace Conference

November 28: The day Hadley claims Bush was briefed on the NIE; Bush meets with Olmert again; in Pakistan, Musharraf relinquishes military position

November 29: Khalilzad submits a resolution endorsing Annapolis at UN; Condi calls Khalilzad in the middle of the meeting to ask WTF he’s doing

November 30: A Khalilzad deputy withdraws the UN resolution while Khalilzad is in "previously scheduled" meeting in DC with Condi; Iranian nuclear negotiator Saaed Jalili tells Javier Solana that all previous negotiations are meaningless (h/t Danger Room)

December 1: Mohammed el Baradei states that bombing Iran would ensure it gets the bomb more quickly

December 3: Unexpected public release of NIE showing Iran has given up nuke program; Nawaz Sharif barred from participating in election

December 4: Israelis say the NIE is wrong; Bush announces his first trip to Israel as President (h/t Laura); both Annapolis and Iran’s purported nukes are on the agenda; Khalilzad calls the claim that he had submitted the resolution without vetting it bull

Let me know what I’m missing. Eventually, I’ll load this as a permanent timeline page–once I figure out how to do that.

  1. Leen says:

    The spin coming out of the Bush administration and friends in response to the NIE has been outrageous and absurd. Bush Iran “has been, is and will continue to be dangerous” no matter what the NIE reports. Bolton was as crazy as ever tonight on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

    Facts do not matter these radicals are going into Iran during the next 12 months. People should be out on the streets but instead they have their pedals to the metal as they drive to the mall in the bubble.

    Who would Jesus Impeach?

  2. Loo Hoo. says:

    No expertise here, just letting you know that I am following events and am interested.

    And that I win FITZ!! Maybe.

  3. QuickSilver says:

    What about the BushCo allegations that Iran was arming Iraqi insurgents? That talk was in full force in February 2007.

      • randiego says:

        Hi Loo Hoo –
        I’ve been a daytime lurker and nighttime commenter at TNH for a while now. I prefer the quiet, and the quality of the commenting (not to mention EW’s analysis) is the best to be found.

        • bmaz says:

          Hey randiego, good to see you. By the way, I have a lot of old friends in the concert business and the rumor is that Zep is seriously considering a limited US tour.

  4. Loo Hoo. says:

    I know there are comments here, and there is a glitch in the system.

    I’m wondering if you have access to experts from trusted allies around the world, and would be able to let us know what they have to offer.

    It’s so sad that we need sources apart from our own news sources, but TIME magazine has shown that we do.

    Respect and thanks beyond expression.

  5. nolo says:

    hey EW!

    stellar work, as ever. . . as
    to my little garnish for this
    sumptous turkey-dinner of a
    time-line, let me offer a
    state dept. “out of loop
    cranberry chutney, thus:

    ALSO on nov. 30, 2007, state
    department’s spokesmodel sean
    mccormack REALLY lays it on thick
    about the continuing nuke progress
    RIGHT NOW in iran — that was fri-
    day before the monday of NIE release

    clearly, state (read: condi) did NOT
    get any advance warning that mcconnell
    was going to publish the NIE on iran.

    of course, more to come, as i dig around. . .

  6. IMbobo says:

    Which side initiated Musharraf’s visit to Riyadh? Can’t imagine that he asked for an audience to beg them to send Sharif back to Pakistan.

    What drove the Saudis to decide that Sharif had worn out his welcome? I know the US badly wanted Musharraf to lift the state of emergency

  7. Hmmm says:

    Well, I would think the Sauds summoned Musharraf to let him know what was about to happen, cutting-Cheney-down-to-size-wise, and why they thought it was the right time for Sharif to head home.

    The Sweetie has a theory that “Sharif” is Pakistani for “Ralph Nader,” but now that his campaign is null I guess that spoiler-candidate scenario won’t be playing out after all. I don’t understand what the plan is, but I have to assume there is one, and that it is intended to affect Pakistan’s position relative to the US.

    And who knows, maybe it’s about Cousin Osama too.

  8. nolo says:

    also — august __, 2007 — mcconnell tells
    bush there is “new information” on the iran
    nuke capabilities — and bush doesn’t ask
    what that information might be
    . no one
    briefs him on it — and, mcconnell does not
    think it part of his duties to make sure
    the president knows that his WW III rhetoric
    is way out of line with reality
    . . .

    oh — wait.

    you only want what ACTUALLY happended
    on this time-line, right? not what
    bush seems to think we are stupid enough
    to swallow, here, right? never mind.

    i’ll go strike the above.


  9. LS says:

    Ya gotta go back all the way….go back before 9/11, Niger Docs too….Sibel Edmunds…gotta go all the way back…..

    Musharraf is an enabler of the neocons agenda.

    Right now, they are getting kinda caught…catch them, the time is now!!

    Stay open minded.

    • Hmmm says:

      Huh. Well, in that case, Musharraf going to Saudi Arabia might have been like Cheney going to Saudi Arabia, i.e. to be told “The US is not driving any more. We are driving now.”

  10. Jeff says:

    Two small things on the timeline, and one major question:

    October 24, 2007 is the actual date of the memo from McConnell outlining the threshold for even considering publishing NIE KJs.

    This is probably what you meant with the early November decision, but it is striking nevertheless that AP reported that on November 13 that McConnell

    said a new national intelligence estimate on Iran should be complete in about a month, but its key findings will not be released publicly. He says doing so could alert Iran to its intelligence vulnerabilities.

    That makes this very quick turn of events all the more remarkable, if you ask me.

    The big question, of course, is what happened in mid-2007. I really think it must have been something big. I mean, it’s clear from Hersh’s reporting that as far back as November 2006 CIA had real doubts about Iran’s purported covert nuclear program. But real doubts are quite different from the rather strong assessment on the part of the IC as a whole that Iran halted its covert nuclear program four years ago. Also, I saw that Hersh was on TV saying that they had the intel over a year ago. I suppose that’s possible, and the analysis just came together. But I suspect more likely they had some of the intel, but something big new came in this year, in the middle of this year. And on that, it’s interesting that same November 13 AP report, obviously before this whole set of revelations, has McConnell saying this:

    It was due last spring but was delayed by an influx of new information that raised new questions, said McConnell, the nation’s top intelligence official.

    Probably that looked different at the time than it does now.

    • bmaz says:

      Jeff – Apparently I am on a roll tonight with things I kind of know, but can’t quite remember all the specifics on. At any rate, I think I recall something about about a lead Iranian weapons scientist/engineer or official or similar muckety muck walking into the hands of the US. If it was around this time, I could certainly see them wanting to incorporate and/or test his info vis a vis the NIE. I know that is a terribly lame reference, I’ll see if i can find what the hell I am referring to. Maybe someone else has a better clue what I am trying to refer to….

      • Jeff says:

        You might be thinking of Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari who apparently/purportedly defected around February 2007. Someone else floated that idea by me, and it seems possible. But it’s hard to see how his info could sustain the judgment that they were moderately confident the covert nuclear program was shuttered through mid-2007. Who knows.

  11. IMbobo says:

    OK, but what drove the Saudis to decide that Sharif had worn out his welcome? It’s something Condi would have wanted – US was trying to pressure Musharraf to end martial law. But why would the Saudis accede? Or if not accede to Condi, why did they want him out?

  12. Hmmm says:

    Well, I have no special information, but to me it felt more like placing a chess piece on the board at the opportune moment, not so much like expelling a guest who had overstayed. To ask it the other way: Why did they take him in in the first place, and why did they prevent his return before 11/25?

  13. bmaz says:

    Hey guys, not everything in the world is about the currently pathetic United States. Having Sharif was a pain in the ass, for a lot of reasons, for the Saudis; they were tired of the hassle and said that arrangement with Musharref was over and done.

    • IMbobo says:

      I agree everything isn’t about the US of A. Can you cite any particular reasons his presence was a burden on the Saudis? It had to be either something he was doing while living in SA, or a Suadi response to some external pressure, in which case such pressure probably did come from the US of A.

      The third possibility is that the Saudis ejected him on their own to screw over Musharraf, but if so, why?

      • bmaz says:

        I can’t remember where I saw this, or what news I saw it … some source I deemed credible … but I recall something to the effect that the Saudis had some sort of gentlemen’s agreement with Musharref to keep Sharif; but it was a hassle. As an ancillary bonus apparently they thought it would prick Musharref in the process as that was right when he was dealing with the return of Bhutto. It is certainly possible that Rice or another from the US government lobbied in as well, I dunno. Wish I could be more specific; but that is the best I can recall right now.

        • IMbobo says:

          Thanks, bmaz@23. I have reasonable explanations in my head for Annapolis (cynical ploy by the US to isolate Iran – Palestinians? feh), for the release / leak of the NIE (pushback by the military and the intell agencies vs Bushco and the Neocons – appearing at MSG, tickets start at $250), for the Israeli rejection of the NIE (Bibi is breathing down Ohlmert’s neck).

          But not for why SA is willing to screw over Musharraf.

      • JGabriel says:


        The third possibility is that the Saudis ejected [Nawaz Sharif] on their own to screw over Musharraf, but if so, why?

        It may be not so much to screw over Musharaff, as it is to put a piece in play while Musharaff is getting screwed over anyway.

        Bhutto is considered a secular leader. Shawaz has more ties and affiliations with the religious sectors in Pakistan. It may well be that Saudi Arabia feels their interests would best be served by Sharif in power, or at least in contention for it, over Bhutto.

        That seems the most likely explanation to me, at any rate.

  14. alank says:

    With WordPress, you write a page instead of a post when you want a static presence for said content.

    The problem with this site design, among other things, is there is no sidebar navigation where such things as links to static pages would appear. There’s no place for archives and there’s no navigation between blogs, from earliest to latest.

    NIE timeline additions? I’m sure there’s loads more to add. The research monkeys are on the case and kicking bottom.

    • behindthefall says:

      With WordPress, you write a page instead of a post when you want a static presence for said content.

      The problem with this site design, among other things, is there is no sidebar navigation where such things as links to static pages would appear. There’s no place for archives and there’s no navigation between blogs, from earliest to latest.

      NIE timeline additions? I’m sure there’s loads more to add. The research monkeys are on the case and kicking bottom.

      Emphasis mine. Suppose you meant ‘posts’ not ‘blogs’. Bingo.

  15. randiego says:

    Zep on tour? Yeah, for $200 a pop! I keep seeing ads for the new compilation everywhere… are they seeding the market?

    I’m torn about it – one side of me says some things just should not be – but then I still really enjoy Springsteen shows…

    PS – I had Hold Steady on my calendar back in November, but a bout of stomach flu knocked me out. I’ll definitely catch them next time.

  16. Leen says:

    Elbaradei has been telling us for four years that there was no hard evidence to back up the repeated claims by the cakewalk zealots about Iran. Now we have the NIE to back up what elbaradei has been saying.

    Would Iran be more willing to give up their uranium enrichment (legal under the Iaea) if the US and Israel would sign an agreement stating that they would not pre-emptively strike Iran?

    Would Iran be more willing to give up uranium enrichment if Israel would sign the Non_proliferation Treaty and open up to inspections like Iran?

    • IMbobo says:

      dday –

      Yes of course it’s relevant. But the way I see it, it’s a response by Musharraf to Sharif’s unwelcome presence in his country beginning a week prior. Excluding him from the “election” is an obvious countermove a dictator such as Musharraf would employ, and so not at all a surprise. My questions is why, and how, Saudi Arabia forced Musharraf to allow Sharif back into the country, which went down over the 2 weeks prior to his exclusion from the election.

  17. bmaz says:

    Randiego – Yeah, tickets to a Zep show would be steep. I don’t know what they would have left (did hear the rehersals for the O2 show in London were killer though); but I will say this, I saw the Stones a few months back at the end of the Bigger Bang tour and they were still just fine. Shockingly good actually, and in the scheme of things today, well worth the $175 I paid for the ticket (not many bands I could ever say that about). The Hold Steady isn’t in these guy’s league, but they are a pretty fun touring bar band. They tour around a lot; they’ll be back (cheap too; ticket here was $20).

  18. marksb says:

    So…who forced the release of the NIE, complete with judgments? Was it someone in Congress, as Washington Monthly speculated? I have been trying to stay on top of this through work but I don’t think I’ve seen the party that forced the release. This has got to be in spite of WH efforts, so there must be some power behind it.

  19. radiofreewill says:

    The NIE shows that our Military didn’t think Iran had an active Nuclear Weapons Program, which might explain why Bush’s Summertime Run-Up to the War in Iran fizzled.

    So, the Military is out of Bush’s pocket, the IC is acting independently of Bush’s Ideological ‘Assessments,’ and Mukasey might let Fitz’ non-Grand Jury Plame materials get turned over to Waxman.

    Who, besides Condi and a herd of soon-to-be-extinct, more-getting-indicted-every-day Republicans, is left standing with Bush and Cheney?

  20. PeteG60 says:

    When did Bush start to use “Iranians bla bla bla knowledge necessary to bla bla bla nuclear weapons”?

    I’d suspect he started to use those words after he was told what is in the NIE about Iran’s nuclear program.

  21. radiofreewill says:

    Using teh Google with ‘bush knowledge necessary’ returns:

    October 17, 2007 NYT WWIII Article:…..?ref=world

    Mr. Bush said he had “told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

  22. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    EW, the post heading references NIE, but then a number of the items are wider in scope.

    Here are some ‘tea leaves’ that I pulled off the w3 tonight. Themes are bolded. Links are included for the sake of credit + verifiability in case anyone is interested:


    Fear that I’m being an info-glutton, but figured that I’d toss the lot your way in case any is of interest. I see nodes here, although I realize they may not be obvious to others. It’s interesting to note that the pushback at BushCheney is correlating with a sinking dollar, and (as I’d expect) other nations — including Russia and China – appear to be moving toward some… ‘new opportunities’ in Iraq.
    I hope Ben Lando over at UPI’s “Iraq Oil Report” is a good source; I found him via Juan Cole, which seemed like a reasonable filter.…..d=10229471
    (Big Shitpile): On November 26th the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), a secretive sovereign-wealth fund, displaced Prince Waleed as the bank’s biggest shareholder, paying $7.5 billion for a 4.9% stake.
    (Iraqi Oil & Russia – Oil Politics) – Lukoil, the private Russian major that claims rights to develop Iraq’s largest oil fields, has reportedly restarted talks with the Iraq Oil Ministry, in Baghdad, the awkwardly named reports.
    (Kurdistan vs Baghdad – Oil Politics) Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil minister, Ashti Hawrami, begins his U.S. tour of political and business leaders from Washington to Texas a hot item with international oil companies, but with icy relations with his counterpart in Baghdad. He has signed around 20 oil deals with international oil companies, most after the national oil minister labeled them illegal.…..d=10191747
    (Big Shitpile) Back-of-the-envelope calculations from Goldman Sachs suggest that if banks suffer a $200 billion loss on subprime mortgages but want to keep their capital ratios at an average level of 10%, that would stifle lending by a whopping $2 trillion.

    (US Politics: Congress vs Bu$hCheney )Nov 16 – Harry Reid says, ‘no recess appointments for Dubya’
    (Iraq-Iran Oil Pipeline) A pipeline from Iraq to Iran is being built, according to press reports. The Ministry of Oil plans to increase exports and production through this and other pipelines, but this is the first groundbreaking we’re hearing. Also to watch: a proposed but separate, Oil Minister Shahristani told me, pipeline sending products refined from Iraqi oil, in Iranian refineries, back to Iraq.
    (Kurdisan ignores Baghdad. Again. — Oil Politics) Iraqi Kurd government to announce two more oil deals soon … Reliance paid $15M+ as signing bonus
    (Turkey & Iraq – Oil Politics) What’s the Turkish move toward Iraq really about?
    “…highlighted the overlooked complexity of Turkey’s beef with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party guerrillas: “Is this really about PKK? Or is this about Kirkuk?”…..d=10048962
    (Big Shitpile) While some investors have clearly been getting carried away, the crisis in credit markets is far from over—and may be about to get worse. One depressing indication of this was a vast, $8.4 billion writedown this week by Merrill Lynch, an investment bank.

    Iraqoilreport, Oct 18 , 2007
    (China, Iran Do Biz in Iraq – Oil Politics) – Iraq has signed $1.1 billion worth of deals to construct new power plants with both Iranian and Chinese firms.

    Iraqoilreport — October 12, 2007
    (Is Condi still working for Chevron? – Oil Politics) Hunt Oil talked to State Dept. prior to signing KRG deal, contrary to prior statements –

  23. wigwam says:

    It seems clear from yesterday’s press conference that Bush’s hand was forced on the release of this NIE conclusion. So, who forced him, how, and why?

    Almost surely it was a combination of the intelligence community, who are still smarting from getting blamed for the Iraq fiasco, and the upper-levels of the military, particularly the Navy:
    – Secretary of Defense is career CIA: Gates
    – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is an admiral: Mullen
    – Commander of CENTCOM is an admiral: Fallon
    – DNI is a retired admiral: McConnell
    What’s the Navy’s particular concern? War games show that in a conflict Iran the Fifth Fleet would get wiped out: http://www.agoracosmopolitan.c…..01932.html

  24. klynn says:

    March 12, 2007

    VP is Keynote speaker at AIPAC national conference. Makes some interesting comments about Iran…..9736/posts

    (Sorry folks about the link. I click on the link icon and it is not working for me.)

    Here’s a bit from the speech:

    Friends owe it to friends to be as candid as possible. So let me say that a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for the United States and the entire Middle East. It’s not hard to imagine what could occur if our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves. Moderates would be crushed, Shiite extremists backed by Iran could be in an all-out war with Sunni extremists led by al Qaeda and remnants of the old Saddam regime. As this battle unfolded, Sunni governments might feel compelled to back Sunni extremists in order to counter growing Iranian influence, widening the conflict into a regional war.

    If Sunni extremists prevailed, al Qaeda and its allies would recreate the safe haven they lost in Afghanistan, except now with the oil wealth to pursue weapons of mass destruction and underwrite their terrorist designs, including their pledge to destroy Israel.

    If Iran’s allies prevailed, the regime and Teheran’s own designs for the Middle East would be advanced and the threat to our friends in the region would only be magnified.

    My friends, it is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while, at the same time acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened and Israel’s best friend, the United States, dangerously weakened. (Applause.)

  25. klynn says:


    Thanks for working on the larger timeline. Thanks to all who are contributing in the threads. This kind of work brings a bigger picture together. Super amazing to have everyone researching and building the timeline.

  26. Scarecrow says:

    EW – you might want to add in statements by the Pentagon highest — e.g., Fallon and Gates — against starting a war with Iran.

  27. wavpeac says:

    I have to say that it is somewhat comforting to watch the news and hear one news show after the other virtually refer to the pres as a liar. On the other hand, I cannot quite figure out why americans have not recognized the complete and utter danger of having a lying neo con shadow government in charge. HELLOOOO!! Can we wait until they are voted out of office?? I don’t think so. Also we need hearing going on as voting approaches so that all of the Bush crimes are on the table, daily, and so that all those goobers who associated themselves with him, can go down in flames.

    And then we need to find out how badly our country has been hijacked.

  28. wavpeac says:

    So how do we know if Asgari spilled accurate beans? Do we know if our gov’t is just “using” him the way they used other tortured Iraqi’s in an effort to create rationale for war. Or is there legitimate concern?

    We don’t have all the facts, but the one fact that speaks loud and clear is that Bush Co has no credibility. Therefore his leadership (or lack thereof) is a considerable danger to the american people. Can’t we all agree on this one point. Bush has lost all cred and it leaves americans extremely vulnerable to being “played”.

  29. merkwurdiglieber says:

    The timeline illustrates the three dimensional chessgame aspect of
    policy making/war planning… the modus operandi of this crowd is make
    it up as you go, but these moves look desparate, off tempo, like POTUS
    at the last presser… fine work EW and crew!

  30. TheraP says:

    I’m still focussed on the bigger picture. So, at the point the NIE was “ready,” was right around the time they were expecting the report of the BiPartisan Commission on Iraq. How does that play into the mix here? We know bush was against it initially etc.

    Also, wasn’t it in December of ‘06 that the NY Times finally published the info about the degree of warrantless spying?

    Plus, not only were they against Iran for fear of nukes, but they kept tying Iran to those IED’s.

    Just trying to broaden the context here.

  31. emptywheel says:

    Folks, I added this to the timeline, but wanted to call your attention to it:

    Another possibility exists, though: the Bush administration may have wanted to salvage negotiations with Iran after the “disaster” this weekend in London. This story has been largely lost in the NIE furor, but the new Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told diplomats that all proposals made in previous negotiations over the nuclear issue were irrelevant – that the diplomatic efforts to date were for naught. This led to intimations that the negotiations would shut down, with one official quoted saying “we can’t do business with these guys at this point.”

    Since the NIE says very explicitly that international pressure was instrumental in causing a halt in Tehran’s nuclear weapons research, the Bush administration may have hoped releasing the report would shore up support for continued diplomacy.

    • TheraP says:

      the Bush administration may have wanted to salvage negotiations with Iran after the “disaster”

      So many disasters. So little time.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      Diplomacy only as a cover for the neocon dream strike that has always
      been the intent of this administration. Remember Kurusu and Nomura talked
      past the zero hour.

        • merkwurdiglieber says:

          Why did you not tell ze world? Exactly my point, an entirely humorless
          lot this neocon group.

          • alank says:

            I avoided the temptation to get into a debate about the diplomacy between Japan and the U.S. Stimson was as much a case as Cheney. He wanted to attack Japan in 1933.

            • merkwurdiglieber says:

              True enough, there is a case that US policy under FDR was hardline
              toward Japan, Matsuoka’s comment about the British and Americans teaching
              the Japanese to play poker while changing the game to contract bridge
              is not entirely innaccurate. Diplomats have always been at the mercy of
              militarists when there is no countervailing public opinion in play.

    • selise says:

      Folks, I added this to the timeline, but wanted to call your attention to it:

      Another possibility exists, though: the Bush administration may have wanted to salvage negotiations with Iran after the “disaster” this weekend in London. This story has been largely lost in the NIE furor, but the new Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told diplomats that all proposals made in previous negotiations over the nuclear issue were irrelevant – that the diplomatic efforts to date were for naught. This led to intimations that the negotiations would shut down, with one official quoted saying “we can’t do business with these guys at this point.”

      Since the NIE says very explicitly that international pressure was instrumental in causing a halt in Tehran’s nuclear weapons research, the Bush administration may have hoped releasing the report would shore up support for continued diplomacy.

      i hadn’t considered this before, but some variation on this might help explain speaker pelosi’s otherwise idiotic (*)press release monday:

      Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on the Bush Administration’s release of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear program:

      “While harboring no illusions about the intentions of some Iranian leaders, the new Iran NIE suggests there is time for a new policy toward Iran that deters Iran from restarting its nuclear program while also improving relations overall.

      “The NIE also illustrates the effectiveness of international monitoring and targeted sanctions to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These tools, and efforts such as the Nunn–Lugar program to secure loose nuclear materials that Congress expanded this year through the passage of the 9/11 Commission recommendations legislation, can be employed successfully to deter the production or acquisition of the components needed for nuclear weapons.”

      (*) note: idiotic because (among other things):

      1) didn’t our big sanction efforts begin after 2003? (or do i have that wrong?)
      2) didn’t iran offer a grand bargin in 2003, which we rejected – ie we refused negotiations?

      so, i don’t see how she can say that iran’s lack of a current nuclear weapons program is due to our negotiations and sanctions regime. it makes no sense to me, unless her statement is really about some other negotiations.

      • marksb says:

        I just see Pelosi spinning this thing to show that Congress is working and passing effective legislation that contributes to a safer world and security in the U.S. She’s doing what Speakers do best: spinning the story.

    • scribe says:

      Ok, it seems like a plausible thing to do/say. But, I think the real angle is that the EU might be sayng something like this: “Look, you clowns, we’ve been negotiating with you back-channel for some time, trying to keep everyone – particularly you – from glowing in the dark. You balked on going further than you already had in 2003, and got Putin to side with you. Then you send this joker who comes out and says everything to date is wiped away and we have to start anew. That’s not going to cut it – get a new negotiator who understands that and is willing to go forward, not hit the reset button.”
      In this scenario, the EU is playing swingman, mediating between Charlie’ll Give-You-a-Jack-in-the-box-Head in DC and a bunch of intransigent clowns in Teheran poking Charlie in the eye with a stick. And not getting much for their trouble save continued existence and, maybe, a break on this winter’s heating gas.

  32. TheraP says:

    And Rumsfelt was finally pushed out just after the election… again, right around the time frame of this report… which they didn’t want to believe…

    I think it’s important to have the wider context and not just confine it to stuff related to Iran.

  33. Leen says:

    This morning the Diane Rehm show will be focused on the NIE.

    EW I have two questions that I will be trying to get on the show. Do you have an opinion on which one I should try to get through?

    This question is for Kenneth Pollack

    On Oct 25 2005 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that you said “I believe I am USGO1″ (United States Government official) in the six times delayed and upcoming Aipac espionage trial. Most of the classified intelligence that was allegedly passed from Larry Franklin to Rosen and Weismann had to do with IRAN. This investigation and the upcoming trial have basically taken place under the MSM ’s radar, another indication of the power of the Israeli Lobby. Most Americans are completely in the dark.

    Will the newly appointed Attorney General Mukasey dismiss this upcoming trial? Will the American public ever find out about the Iranian classified intelligence that was “allegedly” passed to Israel?

    Diane will you be doing any shows about this very serious investigation and trial?

    JTA article


    Iaea’s director Elbaradei has been telling us for four years that there was no hard evidence to back up the claims being repeated by the “cakewalk” zealots about Iran. Now the NIE backs that up.
    Would Iran be more willing to consider giving up their uranium enrichment (legal under the Iaea) if the U.S. and Israel would sign an agreement stating that they would not pre-emptively strike Iran. Would Iran be more willing to consider giving up their uranium enrichment capabilities if Israel would sign the Non Proliferation Treaty?

  34. klynn says:

    Via NYT’s March 20th 2007

    “PARIS, March 19 — Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran’s nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, European, American and Iranian officials say.

    “The ultimatum was delivered in Moscow last week by Igor S. Ivanov, the secretary of the Russian National Security Council, to Ali Hosseini Tash, Iran’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a confidential diplomatic exchange between two governments was involved.

    For years, President Bush has been pressing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cut off help to Iran on the nuclear power plant that Russia is building at Bushehr, in southern Iran. But Mr. Putin has resisted. The project is Tehran’s first serious effort to produce nuclear energy and has been very profitable for Russia.”

    and this

    From Russian Election blog

    “On November 18, 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have expressed interest in converting their cash reserves into a currency other than the rapidly depreciating U.S. dollar.

    The meeting was held in the Saudi capital Riyadh, with heads of states and delegates from 13 of the world’s biggest oil-producing nations, was the third full OPEC summit since the organization was created in 1960.

    Ahmadinejad’s comments at the rare OPEC summit meeting also highlighted the growing challenge that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, faces from Iran and its ally Venezuela within OPEC.

    Oil is priced in U.S. dollars on the world market, and the currency’s depreciation is a significant source of concern to oil produces as it has played a role in the increase in crude prices and the decrease in the value of their dollar reserves.

    Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah had tried make the environmental impact of the oil industry on the environment the topic of the summit, but faced continual interference from both Iran and Venezuela.

    Iran and Venezuela proposed trading oil in a basket of currencies to replace the historic link to the dollar, but they had not been able to generate support from enough fellow OPEC members. Many OPEC members, such as Saudi Arabia, are U.S. allies.

    Both Iran and Venezuela are currently at odds with the U.S., and their proposal may have political, as well as economic motivations. Iran is in a dispute with Washington over its nuclear program, and Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is an open critic of U.S. President George Bush. U.S. sanctions on Iran have made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for the country to do business in dollars.

    A day earlier, Saudi Arabia opposed a move by Iran on Friday to have OPEC include concerns over the falling dollar included in the summit’s closing statement after the weekend meeting. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister even warned that even talking publicly about the currency’s decline could further hurt its value. But by Sunday, it appeared that Saudi Arabia had compromised…Algeria’s Oil Minister, Chakib Khelil, said he would urge Russia, the second-biggest oil supplier, to join OPEC when he became president of the organization.”


    And this from Asia Times on October 26:…..6Ak06.html

  35. alank says:

    Going back to August 2, 2005, “Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.” The assessments, representing the views of the intelligence community, sharply “contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that ‘all options are on the table.’”

  36. klynn says:

    And then in Oct. 17

    Iraq announces private contracts with China and Iran to build power plants

    (And yet Iran cannot finish building their own power plant with the aid of Russia?) Okay what up on this?…..8grid.html

    And then this from Reuters on Nov 13 about Iran-China relations and trade growth from 200 million to 20 billion…..353031.htm

    And references to a “currency cold war” waged by China, Russia, Iran and Venezuala

    and this from January 2007…..uela_x.htm

  37. scribe says:

    A couple things you’ve left out:
    – first half of October, 2007
    Russian head-o-gov’t Putin meets with German Chancellor Merkel. Topics of discussion (per German radio news, which I listen to): Iran, Iran, and petroleum and gas. They come to a relatively unified position about what to do about Iran and the Iranian program, though what that position is (other than resolving things peaceably) is not disclosed.

    Comment: It needs be remembered that each New Year’s for the past several years, Putin and the state(i.e., Putin)-controlled gas companies in Russia have had occasion to turn the faucet on the gas pipelines bringing Siberian gas across the Ukraine and Belarus to Western Europe, usually in the context of a “dispute” with those two nations over the transit fees being imposed upon the gas by those nations and the distribution of same. It’s a yearly thing, and there’s little doubt in my mind, at least, that avoiding that drama (cold German houses at Christmas) was on Merkel’s agenda. Her plate is already full with the continuing locomotive engineers’ labor dispute, which really bit hard when all the trains stopped a couple weeks ago (they promised this week no more strikes until after Christmas and New Years’, but it ain’t over), and the growing appearance of cracks in her grand coalition government. Putin, has other things on his plate, not the least of which is the proposed NATO ABM (anti-Iranian, supposedly) system still on the boards for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic. Bushco’s continued intransigence on that issue led, a couple weeks ago, to the Russians announcing they would no longer abide by the Conventional Forces Limitation treaty (one of the treaties closing out the Cold War), which limited the number of tanks and similar west of the Urals.

    Putin leaves Germany prior to Bushie’s WWIII commentary and continues his trip, stopping next in … Iran. While there, he has extended summit meetings with Ahmedinejad (or however you spell it).

    Bushie makes his WWIII comments.

    October 22-23, 2007: Asia Times reports on the Russian-Iranian summmit meetings, linked here,…..6Ak06.html

    And, well, the headline says it all: “Attack Iran and You Attack Russia”.

    The article (admittedly, it says its sourced on unnamed sources characterized as high-level diplomatic persons) but it sends a pretty clear message. Note that in the coming weeks, there appear to be no rebuttals of the article or its tenor coming from Russia. At least publicly.

    Comment: My conclusion is that Bushie was directing his WWIII comments not so much at Iran, as at Putin (primarily) and the US’ Euro allies (secondarily), following Putin’s (effectively) guaranteeing Iranian sovereignity during his summit. That Putin made that guarantee post his summit with Merkel indicates the Germans, and perhaps others among the US’ Euro allies, decided to line up with Putin on this issue, or at least not oppose it, and thus put their foot down to force Bushie and Deadeye to back off. And, I’d suppose, the Germans made pretty clear to Bushie and Deadeye just what they were doing, why, and wherefore, so there would be no mistaking it for anything else. I get the feeling from German news coverage that they are just fed up with what they see as the intransigent, immature stupidity of the Bushco MidEast policy.

    Also on 10/22, Scott Ritter on Truthdig,…..struction/
    talking about “imprinting” the WWIII discussion into Bushie’s head, and who’s doing the imprinting.

    Comment: Bushie’s WWIII comments, and his blatant lying yesterday about timing the NIE, indicate to me the sort of bully-caught-out-and-trying-to-brazen-his-way-out of everyone ganging up on him that would be consistent with his personality and the idea (in his makeup) that he can do no wrong.

    I’m open to your interpretations, too….

    • klynn says:

      Yes on the CFL!

      Agree on the ties. We made similar links to info and I think we are on the same path of thought on the big picture…

      Although I did not link the article regarding the EU’s position with Iran – a group effort to leave alone but actions do not appear to be that…

    • brendanx says:

      There was also that supposed death threat against Putin when he was in Teheran, which I took, paranoiacally or not, to be a little message from us.

    • brendanx says:

      My thought about this palace coup: doesn’t the logic of this dictate that Cheney actually be removed officially from power, from heart problems, say? I’m not talking about impeachment by Congress, of course; they wouldn’t do it any more than Fred Hiatt would, even though Cheney and Bush have been caught red handed trying to lie us into another war.

      Bush, the dumbfuck, is always letting the cat out of the bag and letting his emotions (if you want to call them that) show — the WWIII was clearly a tantrum directed at Putin. Here’s another open confession of his malign designs against Iran from yesterday’s coverage: “Bush said he is not troubled about his standing, about perhaps facing a credibility gap with the American people. ‘No, I’m feeling pretty spirited — pretty good about life,’ Bush said. ‘I have said Iran is dangerous, and the NIE doesn’t do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world.’” He feels “pretty good” that Iran is “dangerous”.

  38. WilliamOckham says:

    I’ll resist the urge to start my timeline in 622 CE.

    October 2001 – Italian spy agency (SISMI) begins (knowingly?) passing on false information about Iraq overtures for Nigerien uranium to other Western spy agencies.

    February 2002 – Niger claims reach Cheney; CIA sends Joe Wilson to Niger.

    March 16, 2002 – Alireza Jafarzadeh, pr rep for terrorist group MEK, claims Iranians have secret nuclear weapons program. Reveals secret Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz.

    [I’ll leave out the gory details of the rest of 2002]

    January 29, 2003 – Bush includes Niger claim in SOTU.

    March 19, 2003 – U.S.-led invasion of Iraq begins. U.S. plans to install Ahmed Chalabi, suspected Iranian agent, as leader of Iraq.

    May 1, 2003 – Bush declares “Mission Accomplished”.

    May 15, 2003 – Alireza Jafarzadeh claims Iran has chemical and biological warfare programs.

    July 14, 2003 – Bush Administration deliberately blows the cover of Valerie Plame Wilson, CIA NOC specializing in Iranian WMDs.

    Sometime in 2003? – Ali Reza Asghari, high-ranking Iranian defense official turned by foreign (Turkey?) spy agency.

    Sometime in 2003 – Iranian government takes unilateral steps to defuse antagonistic relationship with U.S., including cancelling covert nuclear programs.


  39. emptywheel says:


    What do you make of the Danger room piece above? It looks liek, directly after that meeting, 6 EU countries got together and had a bitch fest.

    • scribe says:

      Danger room?

      Different issue, first: You’ve got the time Putin visited Iran wrong.

      The Asia Times article was published October 22-23. The article makes clear that Putin’s visit, statements (and decision-making/agreement with Iran) took place the week prior, i.e., around October 15-16. In other words –
      about 10/12-13: Putin visited Germany and he and Merkel hashed out some issues.
      Putin flew on to Iran directly from Germany.
      (Presumably, the Germans tell the US what they and Putin talked about)
      about 10/14-16: Putin in Iran and meets, discusses and agrees with Iran that “Attack Iran and you attack Russia”
      Word of this gets back to D.C. – either from Russia, Germany, Iran, or any or all of them.
      10/17 Bushie starts talking about WWIII
      10/22-23 Asia Times runs its story.
      10/22 Ritter talks about Deadeye imprinting “WWIII” into the speech centers of Bushie’s brain.

      The two stories I cited took a week from the happening of the event they report upon until publication.

      Everyone seems to be thinking Bushie was talking about WWIII being US v. Nucular Iran (some time in the distant future), when in fact it would have been US v. Russia (this month, upon the triggering event of the US attacking Iran). And that’s why the US media are either making fun of Bushie, not reporting the Asia Times story, or both. Because if they were to do so, everyone would recognize we were/are in imminent danger of these clowns making sure no one sees 2008.

      Frankly, I get the idea the DC Establishment is treating Bushie like townspeople treated the kid, Charlie, in that old Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a good Life” where he can hear thoughts and has limitless powers. Everyone thinks good (i.e., pleasing to Charlie) thoughts and tells Charlie how good he is out of fear for their lives. When Charlie’s fed-up father tries to whack him, Dad’s head winds up on a jack-in-the-box. Fer sher, Bushie has Charlie’s petulance down.

      • alank says:

        10/22 Ritter talks about Deadeye imprinting “WWIII” into the speech centers of Bushie’s brain.


        Asgari is probably holed up in Tel Aviv.

      • Jim Clausen says:

        Spot on analysis scribe.

        If you look at the vacuum created from the fall of the Soviet Union, we have the PNAC us v. them crowd who need an enemy to fear. Condi, Cheney, et al are lost without the broad brush of a Manichian world view. Hoftstadter had it right… Paranoia on a nationalistic scope.

      • IMbobo says:

        10/17 Bushie starts talking about WWIII

        So it boils down to
        10/16 Putin to Bush “Attack Iran and you attack Russia”
        10/17 Bush to Putin “You asked for it”

      • emptywheel says:

        The Danger Room link at 53–which suggests Saeed Jalili’s new role as nuclear negotiator may be the cause of the NIE release. Click through and then consider the meeting of 6 EU states after that in your reading of the European side of things.

        I’ve corrected the dates–but can we get a link?

        It does make a lot of sense, with the dates like that. When is HJC going to start its Dick impeachment inquiry again?

        • scribe says:

          As to correcting the dates: the dates of the information in the Asia Times article come from the article’s publication date and the first couple paragraphs in it, where the article says “a week ago … blah, blah”

          As to the German radio news reports on the Putin-Merkel summit, I’ll try, but ARD’s and MDR’s news website archiving leaves a lot to be desired when trying to search. And, whatever I find will be in German, so it’ll have to be translated. I’m stealing time from work which has to be done to do this, so it might not be for days before I get to finding and translating it.

          • emptywheel says:

            I had tried to figure out the Iran-Russia thing from Asia times and the later date was my best guess. But I admittedly was trying to care for my sick MilleniaLab, so my concentration was divided.

            • scribe says:

              Give Millenialab a skritch behind the ears from me. That seems to work to cure all upsets* my wonder setter might have.

              * Like “OMG, you’re more than 10 feet from me! Please, please, please let me snuggle up.”

              • emptywheel says:

                Oh, he’s really sick alright. You can tell, bc he’s off sulking in the other room, and not on his brand new Prince Puppy cushion in my office. We had another dog in the house the other day and McC guarded that cushion like it was his first born.

                • scribe says:

                  Yeah. As long as he’s pointed in the right direction if/when he tosses/craps. Chances are he won’t mess his bed unless sick enough to be ready for the vet. A couple years back, I had another dog which got badly ill and, blessedly, I managed to get her into the tiled surfaces of the bathroom in the nick of time. Still … what a mess.

                  Mine gets really territorial about toys, particularly Mr. Squeaky Tennis Ball. It’s that combination of squeeze and dying-prey squeak…. She points the drawer where I hide them.

  40. klynn says:


    Not to “back” Pelosi but it does if your program received boosts of Polonium 210 via smuggling through Turkey or via the Caspian Sea…

    Just a thought. Besides a few things have happened in the intelligence world which could point to such links…

  41. Leen says:

    “War with Iran is no less likely now than it was last week, last month, or last year. Indeed, it is conceivable that the chances of just such a provocation occurring sometime before we get a new president have increased, precisely because the War Party has been dealt such a devastating setback on the nuclear front. Desperation makes people do very odd things, and in this case I would reverse one of Victor Davis Hanson and Michael Rubin’s arguments and apply it to those seemingly intent on taking us into yet another disastrous war, including the president.”

    December 5, 2007
    No Iran Attack?
    Don’t Be So Sure…
    Never underestimate the neocons

  42. radiofreewill says:

    If anyone knew Iran’s Nuclear Program was shuttered, it was Putin.

    So, Putin called Bush’s “We’re going to Attack” Bluff on Oct. 16th.

    To which, Bush, on Oct. 17th, countered by Raising the Stakes to WWIII!

    They don’t call him the Idiot in Chief for nothing…

  43. joejoejoe says:

    OT: Scottish Haggis just went on the Senate floor because he was pissed that Harry Reid called the Senate GOP caucus “a bunch of puppets” of Bush. Specter cherry picked 4 votes to show they weren’t puppets and then questioned if Harry Reid was “up to the job” of leader. When old boring people fight!

    Now Kent Conrad is on talking about agriculture….the excitement never stops!

  44. radiofreewill says:

    Leen – It’s over. There won’t be any attack on Iran, by anybody.

    Bush’s ‘War Frenzy’ frame of mind has been de-bunked by all the major powers, and now it’s time for US to get our own house in order.

    Bush’s Ideological Basis for Invoking the UE is no longer valid – We are not truly ‘at War’ or in a ‘State of National Emergency’ – despite Bush saying so, and not allowing anyone else to say otherwise.

    Expect to see a return to normal Legislative Oversight and Judicial Review – the enforcement of Subpoenaes, the rejection of Executive Privilege over-reach, and the testimony of Any not-currently-serving former Bush employee of interest.

    Bush and Cheney will be called to account. Abramoff and the Corrupt Lobbyists will be called to account. Meddlers in Our Foreign Policy will be called to account.

    It’s a new day.

    • Leen says:

      I hope you are right, I really do. Justin Raimando, Sy Hersh and others including (me) do not think that is the case. Look at EW’s timeline…Bush announcing trip to Israel. Did you watch that clip at Crooks and Liars of Sy Hersh on Wolf Blitzer last evening? Sy said “it’s still not over, there is still Israel” they are not happy with that report and may unilaterally attack.

      Still wondering if the Aipac trial will be dismissed? Maybe a deal if there is not an attack on Iran?

    • brendanx says:

      This is a pretty sanguine view. I said “it’s over” after the ISG, but it wasn’t. It’s over when Cheney’s out of office, through elections or “heart problems”.

      The comments about judicial oversight, etc., are non-sequiturs. We’ve averted an attack on Iran (fingers crossed) because of a palace coup. That doesn’t mean government under the constitution has been restored, or even that war has definitively been averted, not when the executive, Congress, the leading Democratic candidate, and the press are still largely in the hands of people who wanted that war.

  45. charles says:…..ndex.shtml

    Director General Briefs Press On Iran, 5 March 2007
    Dr. ElBaradei Addresses Global Security Issues, 14 February 2007
    Director General Calls for “Timeout” on Iran Nuclear Issue, 29 January 2007
    Director General in France for Talks, 23 January 2007
    Director General Response to Security Council Resolution, 23 December 2006

  46. Stephen Parrish says:

    I may need some assistance from one of the moderators: the link from Raw Story that I’m trying to post refuses to appear in what I have posted above.

    • brendanx says:

      The link is grimly funny. Strangely, it’s not the first time I’ve heard neocons refer to Zoroastrianism in discussing “regime change” in Iran. They’re not naturally Muslims, you see.

    • chetnolian says:


      You might like to factor in why David Milliband, our Foreign Secretary, is making such a thing at the moment of continued concern about the enrichment of uranium when there’s no planned power plant to use it, which is in fact a good point. It might suggest the EU is keen to avoid the release of the NIE, which they will have welcomed because they are as afraid as the rst of us of Dick, being parlayed by Iran into a reason to stop talking about nuclear atall.

      By the way I can’t remember why everyone keeps on insulting my delicious national dish by association with Spector. Can someone tell me, then please stop?

  47. WilliamOckham says:

    An alternative theory just occurred to me about why the NIE was released. I will note in advance that many of the competing theories aren’t mutually exclusive. Indeed, some are mutually reinforcing. With that in mind, think about this:

    If the final nail in the “Iran has an active nuclear weapons program” really was Asgari and documents he smuggled out of Iran, then a whole bunch of other countries knew that we knew the truth, at least by early this summer. Did somebody threaten to blow the lid off this by releasing the information in a more damaging way?

    That would explain a lot about the timeline. Substitute “when I found out that we couldn’t sit on this” for all the “when I found out about it” in Bush’s rhetoric.

    • Leen says:

      So why would Elbaradei be saying for the last four years that there this is no hard evidence to back up these claims?

      I was surprised when Valerie Plame actually came out and contradicted Elbaradei when she said that there was “no doubt” that Iran was trying to develop a nuclear weapons program

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Not sure why you ask about El-Baradei. The answer to that question is because there wasn’t any evidence to back up the claims. The man has a darn good track record. The only suspicious thing that I’m aware of that ever came out was the IAEA discovery of a little too much radiation in Iran’s civilian program.

        As to Valerie Plame-Wilson, we pay people like her to be very suspicious of our adversaries. She was sidelined by Bush’s malfeasance when Iran quite possibly was pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Remember they quit at about the same time her cover was blown.

    • TheraP says:

      I like your theory. It has seemed to me that something was pushing this out. And not from the inside… but from a threat of it coming out… without their being able to spin it their way.

      So, yes, I buy your theory.

    • brendanx says:

      I still see the NIE as the culmination of a series of moves against Cheney in the context of the deteriorating international position of the U.S.: first and foremost the ISG, then Fallon’s and others’ threats to resign, Blair’s unseating, the Basra withdrawal and the public British condemnation of plans to attack Iran, and even elements of the press, e.g. the “Angler” series (echoed by several staid pundits’ assertions that Cheney was “mentally ill”).

  48. LS says:

    What about the sudden departure of Fran Townsend???? I wonder if she decided not to carry water for the liars anymore.

    Also, the Scott McClellan book quotes about being told “false information”…

    I, of course, have no idea if there are any connections to the leaking of the NIE…because it does seemed leaked to me, since they are in major unprepared damage control mode…

  49. WilliamOckham says:

    Now that I’ve had a chance to read the WaPo article (from March 2007) that ew linked to, I’m even more curious. This bit is especially fascinating:

    Iranian officials said he was not involved in the country’s nuclear program, and the senior U.S. official said Asgari is not being questioned about it.

    It simply amazes me that somebody could write that sentence. A former deputy defense minister (of country we claimed at the time was actively pursuing nuclear weapons) defects and we don’t even ask him about it. Think about it. How did that assertion pass the most basic smell test?

  50. radiofreewill says:

    Leen, Israel isn’t going to attack Iran without US approval – and Bush isn’t in a position to give an approval – he would be immediately impeached if he did, and he knows it, too.

    If Olmert attacks on his own, his government will fall, and Our next President will surely cut their foreign aid to a trickle.

    We are going to break the Neocon Cabal that used US to advance their Ideological Agenda at the expense of our hard won reputation as worldwide Peace-brokers. No longer will Israel have a Veto, or worse – be in the driver’s seat, of US Middle East Foreign Policy.

    Abramoff, K-Street and the A*pac crowd will be called to account.

    We aren’t going to make a half-fix after all the shit Bush has dragged US through, but it will take some time for Our Justice System to root-out all of the evil infesting Our government.

    The truth is, in this sorry chapter of Our History, Israel looks as bad as Bush and Cheney.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      Congress cannot summon the will to impeach, especially over an issue
      of Isreali security. The neocons wrecked Democratic foreign policy in
      the Vietnam era, more precisely the 1967 Israeli War “miracle” victory
      aftermath. The establishments of both US political parties are in too
      deep for such action by the Congress… I wish you were right, but as of
      now they are deadweight.

      • radiofreewill says:

        Of course, this is all mho, but I really think the only thing that has been maintaining Bush’s Omnipotence Image, and Our Congress’ fear of him, has been the presumed backing of the Military.

        When it was Myers and Pace – both of whom were absolutely ’star-struck’ by the King, as was Petraeus – it did appear that the Military was too weak to oppose Bush on critical character issues – torture, attacking Iran and surveilling US Citizens in the name of ‘looking for the enemy.’

        Myers – on active duty – got his niece a cozy job she wasn’t qualified for at DHS/ICE, and Pace – on actice duty – wrote a fucking character reference for the convicted felon Libby! They were clearly in Bush’s pocket.

        Now, we’ve got Mullen on the job. He called bullshit on the Iran Attack plan, let Fallon rip Petraeus a new asshole (”I hate chickenshit bastards like that!”), and the Military is definitively out of the torture business.

        Without the Military, Bush is just a blowhard. He’ll take our historic relationship with Israel down with him, as well as anyone else who advocates a ’special relationship’ with them anymore – and that includes Hillary, too.

        The Neocons almost destroyed America – We are going to clean house to restore the Rule of Law and make sure nothing like this can ever happen again.

        • merkwurdiglieber says:

          I take your point about military support as regards congressional fear
          of POTUS, institutional military insubordination is the only effective
          actor in play. The Congress could pile on to save face, but not as the
          primary actor. At any rate, this fix has been in for 40 years and a change
          is overdue… hope you are right.

  51. TheraP says:

    This info was already bouncing around at the time the US gave the go-ahead and the Ok, continue it, to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. But does this news now change our view of what happened there? Personally I have always been so, so troubled by that invasion and the way they just crushed that country. And I don’t know enough about the middle east and the players to know if they would have been connected to Iran. But if so… wouldn’t that change the calculus? And mean that the US simply ignored that Iran was not really much of a current threat and allowed Israel to flatten Lebanon – before the info came out?

    I may be totally off base. But this, to me, feels like what we used to do with Russia. Try to figure out what was going on there, when we really were guessing in the dark.

    If I am really off base, please give me a pass.

    • brendanx says:

      U.S. policy towards Iran is driven by Israel’s desire to eliminate Hezbollah. Incredible to think that that’s pretty much all it’s about. Don’t remind me of Lebanon: 410-8.

      • TheraP says:

        Than you, brendanx. I hate to say it, but you’ve bolstered my query.

        I am truly sorry to have reminded you of that. It was one of the worst summers of my life – having that horrible situation dragging on and on.

        Oh, my goodness, what has been done in our name. The slime of it!

  52. bobschacht says:

    emptywheel wrote,

    August 29-30: Six nuclear warheads “accidentally” get flown from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana

    September 6: Israel strikes site in Syria

    Thanks for including that! Then Leen December 5th, 2007 at 10:16 am wrote @91

    Sy Hersh on the NIE “it’s still not over, there is always Israel”. They are very upset with this report, they may act unilaterally.…..know-when/

    and radiofreewill December 5th, 2007 at 11:57 am wrote @111

    Leen, Israel isn’t going to attack Iran without US approval – and Bush isn’t in a position to give an approval – he would be immediately impeached if he did, and he knows it, too.

    This angle has been investigated by Alfred Kelgarries in an article titled, “The Strange Case Of The Vanishing United States Attack On Iran“. It would take too much space to recite all the dates and sources in his analysis, but it is worth a read.

    Bob in HI

  53. phred says:

    EW, bit late on this thread, but wanted to add my two cents to what I see as the big picture illuminated by your timeline.

    Returning to the recurring theme of the Baker faction trying to regain control from the neocon faction, I wonder if Baker’s return as an advisor to Bush in September of 2006 was motivated primarily by the party elders deciding to intervene before Junya drove the party bus over the electoral cliff. By September, the Baker faction probably had a pretty clear idea that they were going down in the election, no matter what math KKKarl was working from. Baker turns up in the hopes of helping turn the corner on Iraq policy to mitigate the damage. But, Cheney and Rummy are hell bent on upping the ante and heading into Iran at their earliest convenience.

    This spells disaster for the Republican Party’s future prospects, not to mention for the U.S. economy upon which the larger interests of the Republican power brokers depend. So the Baker camp realizes they need to actively work to constrain the damage and reassert their authority over the neocon upstarts. The problem is they must act in a way that doesn’t make Junya Bush look bad, his parents won’t stand for it. There will be no Nixon moment where the Congressional Republicans walk over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and tell W he must go for his own sake and for the sake of the party. Indeed, to keep Mama Bush and Papa Bush happy, the establishment Republicans (ERs) must make it clear that they will not support impeachment under any circumstances. So, they offer the soon-to-be majority establishment Dems (EDs) a deal…

    as long as the EDs keep impeachment off the table, the ERs will work to curtail the neocon game plan, isolate Cheney, and prevent an attack on Iran. I don’t think the EDs needed to accept this deal, but perhaps they viewed it as the easiest way to prevent history from repeating itself in Iran leaving them with an even bigger mess than the one they have now.

    Within days of the election, the ERs made good on their bargain by forcing out Rumsfeld at DoD and having him replaced by Gates. Pelosi made good on her end and took impeachment off the table. Rove is gone, Gonzales is gone. Over the past year the ERs have been tidying up, isolating Cheney as they go. However, throughout this period Cheney has resolutely pursued an attack on Iran following the tried and true method he used on Iraq (from bellicose speeches, to planting page 1 stories in the NY Times with Michael Gordon in the role of Judy Miller, to actively trying to fix the intelligence). I suspect the trip to Saudi was an effort to either find legit evidence that Iran was up to no good or to convince the Saudis to get on board with trumped up charges.

    Given the Saudi connections to the ERs (via Baker and Papa Bush), I would guess the ERs found out pretty quick what Darth was up to in Saudi. Since that hadn’t panned out as he hoped, Cheney turns to Israel to provoke a fight with their attack on Syria. And I’m guessing he drew on old ties from his period as SecDef to have a few nukes take an unscheduled trip, just to be handy if he got a chance to use ‘em. I did not understand why Syria didn’t make a bigger stink about that attack at the time. If my overactive imagination is right, however, the Saudis probably told them to sit tight, they would take care of it.

    Meanwhile, even after all of these setbacks, BushCo is still trying to bury the NIE and find a way to get the ball rolling in Iran. At this point the Baker faction and the Saudis move to put a stop to this nonsense. The Saudis send Sharif back to Pakistan to keep Musharraf focused on his domestic problems, so as not to have time to be persuaded by Cheney to do anything rash on his border with Iran. The Baker faction gets Condi to set up the Annapolis meeting and the Saudis make sure everyone shows. In the process getting the point across to the Iranians that while they may not be on the verge of Armeggedon, they will be dealt with in a collective fashion. And then the Baker camp gets the NIE released over here. When McConnell was first nominated, everyone thought he was a pretty straight arrow iirc. I haven’t been impressed with his conduct regarding PAA, but if his task has been two-fold to keep Junya out of jail and to prevent war with Iran, then he has certainly had a hand in both here. Oh and I suppose we should add his swearing in to the timeline, Feb. 13, 2007.

    Obviously, this is all a wildly speculative hypothesis. What I like about it though is that it ties together a few things that had been inexplicable to me thus far. Namely Pelosi’s adamant refusal to entertain the idea of impeachment despite growing public support for it. Secondly, the attrition of key neocons in W’s inner circle. Third the limited response of Syria to the Israeli attack. And along the way, Cheney appears to be conducting his affairs just as he did in the run up to Iraq. Only this time, he is encountering greater opposition. I don’t know of course, it’s just one interpretation, but I see at least some of the puzzle pieces slipping into place.

    • scribe says:

      So far so good – it’s a plausible rationale, but it leaves a couple (big) loose ends lying out there.
      1. If the ERs were so hell-bent on reining in Deadeye, why not take out Addington? He’s arguably more important to the neocon project than Deadeye – not in public view and perhaps even more ruthless, and younger and healthier to boot. Plus, he’s both Deadeye’s gatekeeper and enforcer. Removing him would seem to be a prime objective. Without him, Deadeye can rant a lot, but his ability to act (or get action by he ever-present threat of retaliation) would be circumscribed. No one in Addington’s position gets there without (a) creating a lot of enemies, and (b) leaving a lot of dirt behind.
      2. If the ERs were so in control of things, you’d think they’d put a little better handle onto Charlie’ll Give-you-a Jack-in-the-box-for-a-head (see #103 above) and his big stick – the US nuke arsenal. The whole “oops, unscheduled flight” deal seems to reflect and entirely too hapahzard approach (on everyones’ part) for anyone to be comfortable, and then there’s his next-day response to Putin.
      3. What if the whole “oops, unscheduled flight” thing was ordered by Bush, not Cheney? Maybe without knowledge of the formal chain of command? A lot of room to speculate there, but I fear the ERs may have underestimated just how whacked Bushie really might be with his apocalyptic religious mission thing.

      • phred says:

        Well, like I said, some of the puzzle pieces are falling into place ; )

        But fwiw, here goes…

        The ERs can’t get to Addington, he’s Cheney’s chief of staff and whether he stays or goes is up to Cheney. This is actually a crucial question in general. How exactly did they manage to force out Rummy, Rove, and Gonzo? In principle, no one but W could force them out and even then, they could refuse to resign — not sure what happens then exactly. So, someone from the Baker camp has to have the influence to persuade W. Given his nature, from what I can tell, the only person with that influence would be Babs. I’ve always heard W is her favorite and that he has issues to trying to one up his Dad. So I’m guessing Mom has his ear. Even at that, there is only so far she can go. And I would guess W won’t give up Cheney directly, or he would already be gone. Hence, the changes have been elsewhere and arguably have the potential to improve W’s “legacy”, which is an argument he is vain enough to listen to.

        So, for #2, the ERs aren’t in control of things, but I think they are working hard to curtail the neocon agenda while avoiding impeachment. Obviously, impeachment is preferable, but like I said Mama won’t let that happen.

        And as for #3, I think Bush is and always has been onboard with everything Cheney has ever done. To the extent that information is withheld from him it is strictly for plausible deniability, not out of any chance that W would reject Darth’s game plan. So again, the ERs are trying to stop both of them, but by isolating Cheney’s legion of moles throughout the government they effectively isolate Bush as well.

        And personally, I think WWIII was addressed to Iran, but I think Bush said it with an eye on Putin with the same childish bravado he used with “bring ‘em on”.

      • bobschacht says:

        2. If the ERs were so in control of things, you’d think they’d put a little better handle onto Charlie’ll Give-you-a Jack-in-the-box-for-a-head (see #103 above) and his big stick – the US nuke arsenal. The whole “oops, unscheduled flight” deal seems to reflect and entirely too hapahzard approach (on everyones’ part) for anyone to be comfortable, and then there’s his next-day response to Putin.
        3. What if the whole “oops, unscheduled flight” thing was ordered by Bush, not Cheney? Maybe without knowledge of the formal chain of command? A lot of room to speculate there, but I fear the ERs may have underestimated just how whacked Bushie really might be with his apocalyptic religious mission thing.

        Please see my link @127,
        last sentence, for a source that puts flesh and bones sources on this so-called “unscheduled flight.”

        Bob in HI

    • emptywheel says:

      I think the EDs’ refusal to deal with impeachment has to do with one thing only–a belief that we’re still working according to the old political rules, that Bush is not as extreme as he really is. It’s the same problem the beltway media have–they’re staring at this frog in a pot of water every day, and never notice when it starts to fry. Plus, if they notice the frog frying, then they lose out on dinner.

      • phred says:

        I don’t know EW. The frog in the pot analogy implies that one doesn’t have an external frame of reference to see how much trouble they are in. Pelosi and Reid have been getting an earful on everything from impeachment to war funding to PAA to Mukasey and now the current round of FISA revisions. I don’t think a case can be made that they are unaware of the issues at hand.

        But, I’ll agree, they don’t want to lose out on dinner ; )

        Hmmm, I’ve got no idea what comes next. Evidently there are those of the opinion that painting Cheney into a corner is imminently dangerous and others who think his time is up with the release of the NIE. My preference, obviously, is impeachment. It’s the only way to shut this down for sure. I’m just hoping those with influence, whoever they may be, are successful at keeping things in check. But, I definitely feel that the American public is being held hostage. I just wish I knew why.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        bob s @127 = ominous, but enlightening, link.

        EW, agree that the Dems still do not seem to grasp the full nature of the threat embodied by Bush and Cheney; the military and IC appear to have a better grasp than Congress.

        The idea that Bush and/or Cheney might order rogue, red flag operations (almost certainly involving nuclear warheads) would be consistent with prior ‘rogue’ actions like subverting customary chains of command. (Evidence? DoJ, FISA, Geneva Conventions, and so on…)

        Their obsession with Iranian nuclear targets is consistent with Wm Ockham’s timeline data: 2003: (1) Iran stops making nuclear weapons, (2)Valerie Plame is ‘outed’. Bush and Cheney got: (1) payback for Wilson’s OpEd, plus (2) an IC blinded with respect to Iranian capabilities.
        The CIA employee tasked with tracking Iranian nuclear development would be a prime target for anyone who wanted to control information about Iranian nuclear plans; the fact that Wilson’s OpEd was in the NYT must have seemed like confirmation to them that the IC was out to undercut their objectives to attack Iran.

        A retrovirus succeeds by imitating familiarity. It arrives disguised as a normal cell. Bush seemed like ’such a normal guy’ to millions of Americans. But just because something arrives disguised doesn’t absolve anyone of willful blindness in ignoring a threat.

        Hat tip to phred for coherence.
        But I still have a question. Did 6 nukes go missing in August? Or was it 5? Because we only hear of 5 accounted for.
        Who’s counting…?

        McConnell was sworn in mid-February 07, the month that Fallon refused to send a third carrier to the Gulf. Two months earlier, Gen. Peter Pace prepared the groundwork for Fallon when he made a determined that put a wrench in Bu$hCheney desires for aggression against Iran. Pace was fired; Fallon, Pace, and McConnell may not get WH Christmas cards this year.

        The kabuki and silent knife-fighting appear to be taking a toll: Bush looked dreadful in that NIE presser. But Bush, Cheney, and the neocons are relentless. True Believers can’t tolerate the humiliation or shame of giving up, nor of losing. John Dean was right; Nixon realized when the game was over; Bu$hCheney won’t.

        Agree with whoever assessed that Iran and Putin are ascending, and that Sun Tzu had it right. Putin and the Chinese may have a more accurate view of Bush (and Cheney) than Congress. After all, Putin and the Chinese aren’t blinded by sentiment. But an unsentimental view of their crimes would necessitate impeachment. If these things were true, would missing warheads, or confirmation of a rogue ‘red flag’ operation involving nuclear attack, be enough to merit a Congressional re-think about impeachment? If not, why not?

        • merkwurdiglieber says:

          Nixon knew what he was doing when he created the pressroom over the
          FDR swimming pool. He brought the press, literally, into the “process”,
          made them defacto staff stenographers with quite a bit of prestige as
          “working at the white house”… hence, the boomer and genX beltway
          kewl kidz social contract that makes reality for them impossible. The
          blogs that bedevil them so are an organic corrective to this rot, but
          we are running out of time against pros who know how two minute drill us
          to death, i.e. “damn close run thing”.

  54. radiofreewill says:

    Iran has easily out-maneuvered Bush every step of the way – people with rich, tribal traditions have long-known how to bring down Tyrants – but the big winner in the Bush Disaster Years has been Putin.

    Bush has been the Best Enemy to have, which according to Sun Tzu (The Art of War) – is A Predictable One. And what is Bush, if not utterly trapped by his Dominance Hubris and ‘Confidante of God’ Infallibility?

    Once Bush declared Iran to be part of the Axis of Evil, that’s the way they had to be – forever.

    How easy was it for Iran to then expose Bush, the Arrogant Sabre-rattler, as an aggressive, lying War-Mongerer before the World?

    Putin is the dominant World Leader now.

  55. phred says:

    rfw, I disagree that Putin is dominant, I’m not sure there is a dominant world leader at the moment. Personally, I think we’d all be better off without one. I’m all in favor of greater plurality, playing a bit more nicely with others and all that.

    • radiofreewill says:

      phred, the entire World is just as sick of Bush as We are. I think the US is going to step to the side on the World stage for a while in a mini-period of isolation – We need to heal from the incredible, and almost fatal, wounding we’ve taken at the hands of BushCo.

      But, the rest of the World is ready to get on with growing towards a brighter future and putting the American Nightmare behind them. Putin seems to be leading that wave, complete with movement to the Euro – Bush weakened US so badly that he cost us our Consumer Economy, too, when he let the Subprime mess destroy the Trust in the Benchmark Dollar – all in the name of Cronyism.

      We’ve go a lot of work to do on Ourselves before we’re going to be credible again with the Community of Nations. We need a time-out.

      • phred says:

        rfw, Oh I agree with that entirely. All I meant was that I don’t think Putin is the new the world leader as of yet. Given China’s rising influence, and our fall from grace, along with the re-emergence of the European center of power via the EU, I think things are in a real state of flux. And Putin, while definitely influential, does not appear to me anyway to have hugely greater influence than other powers at the moment.

  56. Hmmm says:

    I dunno, at this point I think maybe phred’s got the story pegged. Now I want to puzzle out exactly where things stand if phred is right. In other words: If Cheney’s not completely neutralized, then what are his possible next moves?

    With regard to EDs specifically, while statespersonlike restraint is certainly a major component of their tragic flaw portfolio, I never quite bought that it’s the whole of it. As I have remarked more than once previously, ever since Pelosi came in there has been a sense that something very very large must be hanging over somebody’s head, and more and more it’s felt like the threatened party is not the EDs themselves, but rather the American people as a whole. I.e. the EDs are frozen in place meaningful-remedies-wise because PNAC is holding us all hostage. Hostage to what, exactly, has never been clear; leading contenders for that have been US economy crash, false flag attack, and/or suspension of the Constitution followed by dictatorship. An Iran attack would seem to fit the scenario better than any of those. So from where I sit, that all seems to fit with phred’s hypothesis too.


  57. Hmmm says:

    Another thing to consider: Surely Pelosi, Reid, et al. appreciate full well that they have the opportunity to achieve something truly historical, even more important than removing Nixon was. They would be famous forever. But they’re not doing it. So: What force is acting on this situation that’s powerful enough to outweigh that?

  58. merkwurdiglieber says:

    There is not enough difference between the ER and Neocon Republican
    view to make for a real split, the ERs and EDs both bought into the
    petrodallar scheme of supertex John Connally as Nixon’s SecTreas. The
    political mainstream has moved further and further rightward for so long
    the middle, not to mention the left, are a long way from where we are
    now… smells like Weimar to me.

  59. radiofreewill says:

    The best Outcome would be for the Bush-created Obstructions of the Rule of Law (literally) to be Removed, and Our ‘System of Justice’ – as it was originally designed – allowed to operate freely once again, unfettered with the taint of Bush’s Ideological Politicization.

    One of my take-aways from all of this is something that I think the Founders would have been Proud to hear shouted back at them 230 years distant – that We checked it out during the Bush-Neocon Ideology Plague, and Confirmed that OUR Constitution, well-tended, Keeps Tyranny in Remission!

    Wrestling control back from the Ideological Hijackers that Cravenly used the Shock of 911 to establish themselves above Legislative Oversight and Judicial Review has been a ‘close run thing,’ and accomplished only through the efforts of many, many good Americans – all in Service to the Rule of Law.

    Like abused kids, it will take US a while to realize there was nothing wrong with US to begin with – it’s only that Bush and Cheney said so, and then they didn’t allow anyone else to check or balance them.

    Let the real hero be the Rule of Law, and we can turn this near disaster into a Strengthening Story to pass down through the Ages to Our decendents…joining Our Forefathers in knowing what it means to Almost Lose Living as Free Citizens of a Free Country.