House Intel Report on Iran: "Erroneous, Misleading and Unsubstantiated"

| Thu Sep. 14, 2006 3:49 PM EDT

The Washington Post reports on complaints to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House intelligence committee, about a recent HIC report on Iran's capabilities, "calling parts of the document 'outrageous and dishonest' and offering evidence to refute its central claims." Those obfuscating, deceiving, complaining Iranians! Except that the complaints, which cite "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements," are coming from U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program.

For example:

Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect," noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring.

A technical quibble, you might say; but wars have been launched on the strength of finer distinctions. (And anyway, privately, several US intelligence officials said the report included "at least a dozen claims that were either demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate.")

As said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector said, "This is like prewar Iraq all over again. You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is spun up, using bad information that's cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors."

Another reason--as if one more were needed--to pray the House switches in November.

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