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August 11, 2015

What Intell Tells about Iran, Contrary to Baltimore Sun Commentary

The Baltimore Sun published an evasive opinion piece by a conspiracy theorist in favor of the nuclear weapons deal reached by negotiators for the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany with Iran. It did not publish CAMERA's rebuttal letter, so here it is:

"Commentary writer Ray McGovern (“No more ‘military option,’�? July 21, 2015) omits essential details regarding a prepared U.S. intelligence report on Iran and its purported nuclear program. By failing to note documented problems with the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the program and omitting geopolitical context, the author misleads readers on an important issue.

"McGovern—who routinely expounds conspiracy theories regarding the Iraq War and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (some of which appear at a “9/11 truth�? Web site)—claims the 2007 NIE “concluded in November 2007 that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon at the end of 2003 and had not resumed that work.�? Yet, he fails to note an important factor that may have influenced this alleged Iranian decision. By the end of 2003 large U.S. military forces had overthrown regimes in two countries that border Iran—Afghanistan and Iraq—and remained in place.

"Nor does McGovern reveal that even now the U.S. cannot be certain that Iran did in fact stop its program in 2003. That’s because the recent agreement reached between the Islamic Republic and the United States and its partners fails to commit Tehran to fully disclosing the history of its nuclear effort.

"McGovern, a former intelligence official turned fringe activist, also omits problems that can be found within the pages of the NIE itself. One big one: A footnote to the line proclaiming “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program�? clarifies that the estimate defines "nuclear weapons program" to exclude "Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment." Knowledge gained in such activity can be transferred, at least in part, to weapons development.

"Sun readers deserve more than a superficial gloss like McGovern’s when it comes to Iran’s alleged nuclear program.

Sean Durns
Media Assistant
Washington, D.C."

When Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described McGovern as a "liberal activist," CAMERA noted ("Washington Post-Watch: Post Trips When Bibi Meets Obama," July 8, 2010) that McGovern is "a former CIA official who helped found VIPS — Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — [and] he's long blamed 'O.I.L.,' oil, Israel, and logistics, which he defines as the desire for permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, for dragging the United States into war against Saddam Hussein. He signed a petition claiming the U.S. government knew about the 9/11 plot; he blasted Obama for 'caving into Israel' in 2009 for not sustaining the pro-Saudi, pro-Chinese, anti-Israeli Chas. Freeman's nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council; he insists Israel intentionally attacked the U.S.S. Liberty spy ship during the 1967 Six-Day War although U.S. and Israeli investigations determined the assault was accidental. " The Baltimore Sun could benefit from a little more due diligence when vetting freelance Op-Eds.

Posted by ER at August 11, 2015 11:26 AM


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