(IPS) - A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.Very much worth reading it all, remember 'fixing the intelligence around the policy'? Highlights if you are short on time... (you know you're in trouble when 'Death Squad' John Negroponte is the voice of reason)-
- intelligence analysts have had to review and rewrite their findings three times, because of pressure from the White House.
- The White House has now apparently decided to release the unsatisfactory draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.
- Frank J. Gaffney, a protégé of neoconservative heavyweight Richard Perle, complained that Negroponte was "absurdly declaring the Iranian regime to be years away from having nuclear weapons".
- an unsubtle signal to the intelligence community that the White House was determined to obtain a more alarmist conclusion on the Iranian nuclear programme.
PS. U.S. defense officials have signaled that up-to-date attack plans are available if needed in the escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear aims, although no strike appears imminent.