U.S. intelligence has already had two horrendously costly lapses this decade: the failure to interdict the plot of Sept. 11, 2001, and the erroneous assessment that Saddam Hussein was amassing weapons of mass destruction. Both brought us into wars. A third failure may now be unfolding, with consequences that might dwarf the preceding two. To avoid this, we need an inquest.
The status of Iran’s nuclear program is the issue. In December 2007, our intelligence agencies put out a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which in its opening sentence baldly declared that “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” Continue reading