RUSH: Jennifer in Hemet, California, I’m glad you called. I really appreciate your patience in waiting. Welcome.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m glad to get to speak to you. What I’m calling about is the NIE, and having read it, I wanted to comment on it as an intelligence document. The bottom line on it is that it offers no accountable assessment of what Iran’s intentions are. What it does do, it’s structured to imply that that first sentence is an indicator of what Iran’s intentions are.
RUSH: Right: ‘plausible but unlikely.’
CALLER: Well, exactly. And what the document does is allow CIA to lay out data that’s out there without being technically misleading about it but, nevertheless, leaving an impression that they don’t counteract by making any statements about Iran’s intentions. If you look at the end of the document, they do not make an accountable statement about what they think Iran’s intentions are. In fact, if you look up at the scope note on page four, their exact records are: ‘We do not assume that Iran has the intention of acquiring nuclear weapons. Rather, we examine the intelligence to assess,’ blah, blah, blah. So it’s an interesting way to put it. Let me just say this: A well-crafted intelligence document would use that opening sentence’s statement about the nuclear weapons program having halted, as supporting evidence for an accountable assessment of what’s going on and where Iran is headed with this program.
RUSH: Wait. The exact words are: ‘We do not assume Iran has the intention of acquiring nuclear weapons’?
CALLER: Look at page four. I’ll read it to you. ‘This NIE does not assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons.’ That’s actually in boldface type on page four of the NIE.
RUSH: Well, that’s absurd!
CALLER: It’s the kind of thing… It’s a Zen sort of statement. You know, you could be communicating your stance on this and then this is what I’m going to tell you. It’s not the way… A military officer who wrote something like that would get locked up by the commander and told to go sit in the corner.
CALLER: Because it leaves an invalid impression. You may lay out the exact truth with respect to each of your supporting points and comments, but if you say up front things that leave a misleading impression, then you should be shot.
RUSH: (laughs) Well, wait a minute. Isn’t it consistent, though, for them to say, ‘We do not assume they’re pursuing nuclear weapons’? Isn’t that consistent with the opening line in the key judgment?
CALLER: Well, it leaves an impression of inconsistency, although I can tell you that an intelligence officer who wrote this thing would come back and say, ‘Well, that sentence doesn’t mean that we don’t think they intend to acquire nuclear weapons. It just means that we didn’t assume that in writing this NIE.’
RUSH: Oh. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, okay. I misunderstood you. I’m sorry.
CALLER: Well, and I can fully understand how you would misunderstand that. I wouldn’t have written that sentence in that way.
RUSH: It’s a CYA.
CALLER: Pretty much, yes.
RUSH: It’s an ambiguous CYA, so that no matter what ends up happening in the future they can’t be held accountable for what they wrote.
CALLER: That’s how it comes off, yes. When you are in the line of intelligence, you learn to put your key judgment up front, meaning, ‘If you take nothing else away, remember this 25-word summary of what I said.’
RUSH: Which has got a lot of politics behind it in this case.
CALLER: Exactly. I will tell you this, having worked with the DIA and the military service agencies, the way they probably were gotten to sign off on this is because their loyalty is to their military bosses. They’re not going to sign on to something that’s misleading. I imagine that the way they signed off on this was that it was couched in these kind of non-accountable terms. Basically, everything CIA said is probably technically correct as far as they know. It’s the structure of this thing that makes all the difference.
RUSH: Well, maybe so, but the opening line here: They’ve stopped their nuclear program in 2003. Here it is four years later. We’re just now learning this 3-1/2 years later. Whatever follows, the Drive-Bys are not going to read it. That makes the political point. That paralyzes the president in terms of political action or even tightening sanctions. I do wonder how something like that gets past… Sixteen agencies participate in this.
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: And they all have to sign off on it. Now, have you read the Wall Street Journal editorial today about the three primary authors of this, all State Department people, one of them very disgruntled with a grudge against the world because he’s been trying to get our Iranian policy changed and nobody has been listening to it?
CALLER: That I haven’t read, and I would be less competent to comment on anything like that. I’m commenting on the way this document is assembled to leave an unaccountable impression, which it leaps out with me because I could never have gotten away with writing this. (laughs)
RUSH: Okay, well, you may not want to assume anything, then. I mean, you’re obviously very precise and within the limits of your scope of experience and responsibility. But somebody like me listening to you say these things, I have to ask: Why? If this is so unprofessional, if this is so wouldn’t-pass-muster in your experience, how does this happen?
CALLER: Well, I would say that it’s undoubtedly prompted by political concerns, and I don’t want to speculate on who has those concerns.
RUSH: Don’t worry. I’ll take care of that.
CALLER: Right. (laughter) I know you will. You’re very good at that, Rush. My bottom line on this is that, as an intelligence document, it is a waffling document in terms of where it should be accountable and make statements, and that’s what we… Okay, if Iran halted its program in ’03, what does that mean about Iran’s intentions? You know, ‘How was Iran, in fact, influenced to do that?’ and this document doesn’t do that.
RUSH: Well, what we’re able to access doesn’t say it, but I read a piece by Herb Meyer earlier today, who was very deeply involved in national security during President Reagan’s administration. He said that the full report will never be made public — it’s too classified — but that members of both the House and Senate intelligence committees can get it simply by asking for it. And he suggests — because this conclusion in the key judgment is so at odds with everything we thought we knew, and it’s the only place of all of the intelligence we’ve had in the last number of years that states they gave up their nuclear plan, he thinks — that members of those committees ought to stop everything they’re doing, cancel appearances, get the document, read the whole thing, and then find out what the justifications for the key judgment are, because they’re not in the four or five pages that were released. You’re not going to be allowed to see the whole thing, either, given your past, I would assume. So he’s suggesting they do it, and then if there’s anything at variance with that key judgment, that they tell us.
CALLER: He certainly has every right to suggest that. I would not stand in the way of that at all, although, you know, certainly they should be responsible about discussing any intelligence sources or methods. They shouldn’t do that. What I will say about this NIE, though, is that if it contains, in the classified version, a key judgment that specifically addresses Iran’s intentions — instead of leaving that to be implied by what they’re saying about what Iran did in 2003 — there’s no reason why that could not be in the unclassified version that gets published.
CALLER: It should have been.
RUSH: That’s an excellent point if they quit why did they quit and do they intend to start again someday? None of that’s answered.
CALLER: The question is do they intend to start again. It’s just like Iraq and WMD, the whole question is: What are their intentions? What are he they going to continue to try to do.
RUSH: Right. As an intelligence person, does it matter to you what Ahmadinejad threatens and says for years and years and years?
CALLER: Oh, absolutely. Of course.
CALLER: It doesn’t seem to matter to these people.
RUSH: Well, I realize that. One thing that we have made a point of doing for quite a while now, is making sure that we read the conspiratorial nonsense that comes from a lot of the Arabic newspapers. Some of them are very good and a lot of them are just tabloids, but we make sure that we keep up with it because that’s what a lot of people in that part of the world are thinking, and you can’t just dismiss what Ahmadinejad is saying. You can’t do that.
RUSH: Well, Jennifer, thanks so much for calling. I’m glad you got through. It’s been fascinating. I hadn’t looked at that passage the way you pointed it out, and I appreciate your clarifying that for me.
CALLER: You’re very welcome!
RUSH: Thanks, Jennifer.
CALLER: Have a good one. Thank you, Rush.
RUSH: Greg in Texas City, Texas, nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Rush, thank you very much for taking my call, and Merry Christmas.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: I’ve been a longtime listener, first-time caller, and I want to tell you I respect you a lot more today than I did 20 years ago, but I appreciate your stand on what’s going on in the political world and the status of the United States. I happened to be a military advisor in Iran in 1968 through ’71, and I went back into the country from ’73 until the fall of the Shah — well, right before the fall of the Shah. And this NIE report, I agree with your previous caller, the intelligence lady, and —
RUSH: Wasn’t she great?
CALLER: Yes, she was, and also the CIA man that used to work for the CIA, and the extent and depth of the meaning of the NIE report. This was a no-win situation for George Bush. It’s purely political. And the only winner out of this would be the liberal media, who is succeeding at winning the war for the will of the American people. And the important issue is history and the ignorance or apathy to the facts. Most of the callers that I hear, or people that I hear commenting, in 1979 when Iran — they’d been at war with us since then, since they took over the embassy — most of these callers are in their thirties and forties and maybe fifties. That means they really didn’t have too much involvement with what was going on then. But if the report says that they stopped this program in 2003, you said it a while ago, you were absolutely right, we rightly labeled Iran as part of the axis of evil —
RUSH: Exactly. I have to —
CALLER: — when we invaded —
RUSH: You know, Greg, I have to stop you there. It’s my fault. I’ve run up against a hard break, but thanks so much.