White House brushes off CIA draft on Iran: report
Reuters | November 20, 2006
The White House dismissed a classified CIA draft assessment that found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, The New Yorker magazine reported.
The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the CIA's analysis was based on technical intelligence collected by satellites and on other evidence like measurements of the radioactivity of water samples.
"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to the article.
"A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis, and told me that the White House had been hostile to it," it said.
The United States has accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy program.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did not respond directly to Hersh's assertions, but said the article was another "error-filled piece" in a "series of inaccuracy-riddled articles about the Bush administration."
"The White House is not going to dignify the work of an author who has viciously degraded our troops, and whose articles consistently rely on outright falsehoods to justify his own radical views," she said on Monday.
The article, in the current issue of the magazine, discussed how Vice President Dick Cheney believed the Bush administration would deal with Iran if the Republicans lost control of Congress -- as they did in the November 7 election.
"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 an unidentified source familiar with the discussion.
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