TPM today passes on Michael Hirsh's report that Bush has disowned the Iran nuclear NIE.
In public, President Bush has been careful to reassure Israel and other allies that he still sees Iran as a threat, while not disavowing his administration's recent National Intelligence Estimate. That NIE, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its weapons program in 2003, which seemed to undermine years of bellicose rhetoric from Bush and other senior officials about Iran's nuclear ambitions. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his six-nation trip to the Mideast. "He told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE's] conclusions don't reflect his own views" about Iran's nuclear-weapons program, said the official, who would discuss intelligence matters only on the condition of anonymity.And by a remarkable coincidence (no, really - otherwise it would have to be a conspiracy) the neoconservative Heritage Foundation posted their latest set of talking points, "A Comprehensive Guide to What Is Wrong with the NIE", on Friday. It does the usual hatchet job of being economical with the facts whenever neocons talk about Iran's nuclear program. It mentions that discredited walrus, John Bolton, more than once; refers to the infamous smoking laptop provided by the Mujahedeen e-Kalq that even the IAEA says is an outrageous and innacurate hoax and lauds the caution of said IAEA while forgetting to mention that the IAEA says it is impossible for the current enrichment facility and it's product to be redirected to military means without IAEA knowledge. The usual crap, in other words.
But you can be sure Bush's neocon advisors have given him the "my pet goat" version before he headed off to the Middle east. If you thought the NIE ended the neocon push for war with Iran over it's civilian nuclear program, think again.