April 1, 2010
“Reporting” on Iran should seem familiar
Fox News currently has an article at the top of its website that is headlined: ”CIA: Iran Moving Closer to Nuclear Weapon.” The report, by DOD and State Department correspondent Justin Fishel, begins with this alarming claim:
A recently published report by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iran is still working on building a nuclear weapon despite some technical setbacks and international resistance — and the Pentagon say it’s still concerned about Iran’s ambitions.
But, as blogger George Maschke notes, that statement is categorically false. The actual report, to which the Fox article links and which the DNI was required by Congress to submit, says no such thing. Rather, this is its core finding:
The report says the opposite of Fox’s statement that ”Iran is still working on building a nuclear weapon.” And, of course, the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which concluded that Iran ceased development of its weapons program has never been rescinded, and even the most hawkish anonymous leaks from inside the intelligence community, when bashing the 2007 NIE, merely claim that analysts “now believe that Iran may well have resumed ‘research’ on nuclear weapons — theoretical work on how to design and construct a bomb — but that Tehran is not engaged in ‘development’ — actually trying to build a weapon.“
This misleading “reporting” is hardly confined to Fox News. Reporting on Obama’s efforts to secure international sanctions, Reuters today makes this claim:
[E]evidence has mounted raising doubts about whether Tehran is telling the truth when it says its nuclear program is only to produce peaceful atomic energy.
Particularly damning was a report in February from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that said Iran may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile.
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