Laura Rozen at War and Piece notes that, according to Haaretz, "During their visit to Washington last week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were briefed on the report." However, when top State negotiator Under Secretary Burns met with his opposite numbers from Europe, Russia and China to press for more sanctions on Iran, "Mr. Burns could not divulge the intelligence findings at that meeting on Friday because Congress had not been briefed."
I bet Britain and the rest are sooo pleased, even if so far the Europeans are outwardly continuing to back Bush.
Laura also notes the glaring conclusion - Israel got a briefing before Congress did.
Not that it made a difference - the Israelis immediately announced their own dark suspicions that Iran had "probably" restarted it's nuclear program - helpfully kicking the ball down the road for US neocons.
Russia's Putin, in a meeting with Iran's nuclear negotiator, has vocally backed the IAEA who themselves say that the NIE is consistent with the U.N. atomic watchdog agency's own findings and "should help to defuse the current crisis."
"Although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities, the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran," International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement.It's just possible that Israel and those neocons "in the know" are quietly kicking themselves today. Kevin Drum cites Laura again on why their was a sudden turnaround on releasing the NIE's key findings, something which the White House had originally said wouldn't happen:
The NIE released today had been held up for more than a year. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats this summer, the CIA's top intel analyst indicated to Mother Jones during a break that the delay was due in part to new intelligence that the United States had obtained. The source of that intelligence has not been revealed, but comments by national security advisor Stephen Hadley today suggested the United States had received new information a few months ago and that a conclusion on the NIE's findings was reached only last Tuesday.Remember the Iranian general, Ali Rez Asgari, who defected/was kidnapped back in March to much glee from the wingnuts about how he could blow the whistle on Iran's nuclear weapons plans? Maybe he did - just not in the way they expected. In turn, as Kevin puts it, "the intelligence community was directly responding to the fact that Bush and Cheney were continuing to make hawkish statements even when they knew the evidence didn't back it up."
Update There are others thinking about that Iranian general, it seems.
The U-turn by US spy agencies over Iran, the biggest since the Iraq debacle five years ago, is the result of "physical" intelligence, likely to be a defector, according to various diplomatic and security sources in Washington today.I well recall how many of the neocons were crowing that Asgari would blow the lid off the lies over Iran's nukes.
One of the main figures in the frame is General Ali-Reza Asgari, a former deputy defence minister and Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander.
Asgari apparently disappeared in Turkey over the last 12 months, having either defected or been kidnapped, and may be in US hands.
But all accounts said that Israel was sharing the intel from Asgari, having been part of his kidnap or defection - so if the Israelis are stonewalling the NIE today having been briefed on it last week, then they already know they are warmongering on the feeblest of pretexts.