WASHINGTON (AFP) - A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.
Seymour Hersh, writing in an article for the November 27 issue of the magazine The New Yorker released in advance, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after Democrats won control of Congress last week.
A month before the November 7 legislative elections, Hersh wrote, Vice President Dick Cheney attended a national-security discussion that touched on the impact of Democratic victory in both chambers on Iran policy.
"If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran," Hersh wrote, citing a source familiar with the discussion.
Cheney said the White House would circumvent any legislative restrictions "and thus stop Congress from getting in its way," he said. …
"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running paallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.
A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote.
Cheney and his aides had discounted the assessment, the official said. …
LSB: WTF? Don’t these guys ever learn? Lying to the American public about nuclear weapons in Iran – this is like WMDs in Iraq all over again. And Cheney would ‘circumvent any legislative restrictions’ imposed by the Democratic Congress? If he said that, his ass needs to be impeached as the first act of the 110th Congress.