The New York Times reports that:
Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.
Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.
Quick! Get Condi on the teevee to talk about not wanting the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud!
The criticisms reflect the views of some officials inside the White House and the Pentagon who advocated going to war with Iraq and now are pressing for confronting Iran directly over its nuclear program and ties to terrorism, say officials with knowledge of the debate.
The dissonance is surfacing just as the intelligence agencies are overhauling their procedures to prevent a repeat of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate — the faulty assessment that in part set the United States on the path to war with Iraq.
Shorter version: the same neocons are at it again. Watch out.
Some policy makers also said they were displeased that American spy agencies were playing down intelligence reports — including some from the Israeli government — of extensive contacts recently between Hezbollah and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. “The people in the community are unwilling to make judgment calls and don’t know how to link anything together,” one senior United States official said.
“We’re not in a court of law,” he said. “When they say there is ‘no evidence,’ you have to ask them what they mean, what is the meaning of the term ‘evidence’?”
Bushco - rewriting the dictionary every single day.
As for Iran being in direct control of Hezbollah's actions against Israel:
“Does Iran profit from all of this? Yes,” said Gen. Wayne A. Downing Jr., the retired former commander of the Special Operations Command and a White House counterterrorism adviser during President Bush’s first term. “But is Iran pulling the strings? The guys I’m talking to say, ‘no.’ ”
But, but but... okay then, how about this angle?
The consensus of the intelligence agencies is that Iran is still years away from building a nuclear weapon. Such an assessment angers some in Washington, who say that it ignores the prospect that Iran could be aided by current nuclear powers like North Korea.
The prospect? The wish is more like it. They have no evidence so they're now pulling stuff out of their butts...again.
I found this LA Times article to be of interest as well. After the Bush administration received Iran's response to the recent proposal offered by the west regarding incentives to stop its production of enriched uranium, it remained almost eerily silent - quite uncharacteristically so.
Over the last week, senior U.S. diplomats had warned that anything short of a halt of Iran's enrichment program would lead to a quick U.S.-led push for targeted sanctions at the United
The U.S. stance appeared even more muted than that taken Wednesday by France, where Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters that any return to the negotiating table would depend on Iran suspending its enrichment program.
The Bush administration's reaction came in an announcement by the State Department, where a spokesman called the Iranian response "a serious offer" that warranted review.
Hmmm...what's really going on here? Is the Great Bushco actually bending to the will of the Europeans? (gasp!) Have the Europeans finally grown a strong, collective spine and decided that enough is enough? Has China threatened to cause major financial damage to the US economy if the neocons don't get off Iran's back?
China may reduce the amount of US bonds it holds as part of its foreign exchange reserves, an influential official has reportedly said.
The remarks, made by Parliamentary vice-chairman Cheng Siwei, triggered a fall in the US dollar against leading currencies in European trading.
China is a major funder of US debt, holding about $260bn (£149bn) in US Treasury bonds - second only to Japan.
Any reduction in China's dollar assets could hit the US economy.
Should China cut its US dollar holdings, this could drive up long-term yields on US bonds, which could in turn put pressure on interest rates.
It looks like Bushco may not get its way when it comes to fixing intelligence on Iran, which it has admitted it doesn't have much of anyway, in order to start the next ME war with that country.
Meanwhile, neocon Max Boot - who wondered aloud back in 2003 about what the heck a neocon was and then went on to say he wasn't one but defended the imaginary neocons, including himself, and then went on to proclaim he was happy to be one - provided his warmongering buddies with a plan B in Tuesday's LA Times: Max Boot: Israel Should Hit Syria First - A preemptive-war policy keeps the enemy from fighting on its own terms
Yeah. We've all seen that movie before. And we want our money back.