ANALYSIS

Estimative Intelligence

Iran NIE (2007)

Goodman, Michael S., and Wyn Bowen.

1. "Calming the Crisis: Iran -- The Nuclear Issue." The World Today (Mar. 2008), 22-24.

2. "Nuclear Reaction: The Intelligence on Iran's Nuclear Capabilities." Jane's Intelligence Review (Mar. 2008), 2-5.

Kreps, Sarah E. "Shifting Currents: Changes in National Intelligence Estimates on the Iran Nuclear Threat." Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 5 (Oct. 2008): 608-628.

The author finds a parallel between the debate about the NIEs on Iran and a series of NIEs on the ballistic missile threat in the 1990s. She concludes that policy makers who accept "an estimate as the last word on any given threat" ignore "the fact that NIEs are, at best, informed guesses based on incomplete information about future capabilities and intentions."

Mazzetti, Mark. "New Data and New Methods Lead to Revised View on Iran." New York Times, 5 Dec. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on 3 December 2007 "concludes with 'high confidence' that Iran halted work on its nuclear weapons program in 2003." An NIE in 2005 had found that "Iran's leaders were working tirelessly to acquire a nuclear weapon."

McCreary, John, and Richard A. Posner. "The Latest Intelligence Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 371-380.

Using the 2007 NIE on Iran's "suspension" of the development of nuclear weapons as a pivot for their commentary, the authors argue that "[w]hen security concerns preclude publication of the key evidence on which an intelligence finding is based, the publication of the finding itself becomes doubly questionable." They conclude that there are better ways (less sensational art forms) for conveying this kind of information to a President.

Shoham, Dany, and Raphael Ofek. "The 2007 U.S. NIE on Iran's Nuclear Program: A Colossal Failure." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 25, no 2 (Summer 2012): 292-329.

The 2007 NIE on Iran "was not unvarnished and unbiased. Instead it was deliberately twisting and manipulative, conceptualized and indoctrinating, and was initially shaped ... with the bias that an attack on Iran ought not to be carried out until at least the end of President George W. Bush's term of office."

Warrick, Joby, and Walter Pincus. "Lessons of Iraq Aided Intelligence on Iran: Officials Cite New Caution and a Surge in Spying." Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2007, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The starkly different view of Iran's nuclear program that emerged" from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on 3 December 2007 "was the product of a surge in clandestine intelligence-gathering in Iran as well as radical changes in the way the intelligence community analyzes information.... Former and current intelligence officials say the new NIE reflects new analytical methods ordered by [DNI Mike] McConnell."

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