Has Obama gotten a new, more worrisome NIE on Iran?
The last National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program was in 2007. It was notable for saying that Iran had given up on building a bomb back in 2003 but continued research into a weapon. It also noted that Iran was unlikely to be able to build a weapon until as late as 2015.
But sources are telling Haaretz that a new NIE on Iran is now in Obama's hands that believes they are accelerating their nuclear program and could have the capability to build one more quickly than first thought:
President Barack Obama recently received a new National Intelligence Estimate report on the Iranian nuclear program, which shares Israel's view that Iran has made surprising, significant progress toward military nuclear capability, Western diplomats and Israeli officials have informed Haaretz.
This NIE report on Iran was supposed to have been submitted to Obama a few weeks ago, but it was revised to include new and alarming intelligence information about military components of Iran's nuclear program. Haaretz has learned that the report's conclusions are quite similar to those drawn by Israel's intelligence community.
The NIE report contends that Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program.
The NIE reports are the most important assessments compiled by the U.S. intelligence community and are submitted to the president and other top governmental officials. This NIE report was compiled by an inter-departmental team headed by director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Its contents articulate the views of American intelligence agencies.
In 2007, the NIE report on the Iranian issue included a non-classified abstract, but this time the White House decided to keep the new report's contents under wraps. There has been no clear disclosure of the very existence of the report and its submission to Obama.
It is possible that Israel has become so concerned with Iranian efforts to build a bomb that they shared some intel with us that we didn't have previously. Mossad's human intelligence assets in Iran are far superior to ours. Or perhaps the malware we've been using to spy on Iran's nuke program revealed something surprising.
Whatever the new intel shows, it was significant enough for Obama to keep it a secret.