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MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: War With Iran
We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war.
Israel’s leaders would calculate that once the battle is joined, it will be politically untenable for you to give anything less than unstinting support to Israel, no matter how the war started, and that U.S. troops and weaponry would flow freely. Wider war could eventually result in destruction of the state of Israel.
This can be stopped, but only if you move quickly to pre-empt an Israeli attack by publicly condemning such a move before it happens.
We believe that comments by senior American officials, you included, reflect misplaced trust in Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu.
Actually, the phrasing itself can be revealing, as when CIA Director Panetta implied cavalierly that Washington leaves it up to the Israelis to decide whether and when to attack Iran, and how much “room” to give to the diplomatic effort.
On June 27, Panetta casually told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I think they are willing to give us the room to be able to try to change Iran diplomatically ... as opposed to changing them militarily.”
Similarly, the tone you struck referring to Netanyahu and yourself in your July 7 interview with Israeli TV was distinctly out of tune with decades of unfortunate history with Israeli leaders.
“Neither of us try to surprise each other,” you said, “and that approach is one that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is committed to.” You may wish to ask Vice President Biden to remind you of the kind of surprises he has encountered in Israel.
Blindsiding has long been an arrow in Israel’s quiver. During the emerging Middle East crisis in the spring of 1967, some of us witnessed closely a flood of Israeli surprises and deception, as Netanyahu’s predecessors feigned fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting a war to seize and occupy Arab territories.
We had long since concluded that Israel had been exaggerating the Arab “threat” — well before 1982 when former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin publicly confessed:
“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
Israel had, in fact, prepared well militarily and also mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify expansion of its borders.
Given this record, one would be well advised to greet with appropriate skepticism any private assurances Netanyahu may have given you that Israel would not surprise you with an attack on Iran.
Footnote: VIPS Experience
We VIPS have found ourselves in this position before. We prepared our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of February 5, 2003 after Colin Powell’s speech at the UN.
We had been watching how our profession was being corrupted into serving up faux intelligence that was later criticized (correctly) as “uncorroborated, contradicted, and nonexistent” — adjectives used by former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller after a five-year investigation by his committee.
As Powell spoke, we decided collectively that the responsible thing to do was to try to warn the President before he acted on misguided advice to attack Iraq. Unlike Powell, we did not claim that our analysis was “irrefutable and undeniable.” We did conclude with this warning:
“After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion ... beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”
We take no satisfaction at having gotten it right on Iraq. Others with claim to more immediate expertise on Iraq were issuing similar warnings. But we were kept well away from the wagons circled by Bush and Cheney.
Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA (20 years)
Larry Johnson, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Department of State, Department of Defense consultant (24 years)
W. Patrick Lang, Col., USA, Special Forces (ret.); Senior Executive Service: Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East/South Asia, Director of HUMINT Collection, Defense Intelligence Agency (30 years)
Ray McGovern, US Army Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA (30 years)
Coleen Rowley, Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI (24 years)
Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), (29 years); Foreign Service Officer, Department of State (16 years)
• Late 1991: In Congressional reports and CIA assessments, the US estimates that there is a 'high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons.' A February 1992 report by the US House of Representatives suggests that these two or three
nuclear weapons will be operational between February and April 1992 (73).
• Late October 1991: A US National Intelligence Estimate report says that Iran's nuclear program appears disorganized and in its early stages. Richard H. Solomon, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, says that China has sold nuclear related technologies to Iran despite earlier assurances that it would not sell such technologies to Iran (73).
• November 1991: Israeli officials contend that, using Pakistani assistance, Iran could make a nuclear bomb by the end of the decade. For their part, US officials estimate that it would take 10 to 15 years. According to a New York Times report (1 November), US analysts insist that Iran has neither the money nor the professional personnel to produce a nuclear weapon in a short time. One expert said that although China may assist Iran in
nuclear weapons development, such assistance ‘will certainly not be on the scale of Western help to Iraq’ (73).
• February 24, 1993: CIA Director James Woolsey says that Iran is still 8 to 10 years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon, though if it were assisted from abroad; it could become a nuclear power earlier (73).
• December 13, 1993: According to Defense News, the CIA 'believes that Iran could have nuclear weapons within eight to 10 years, even without critical assistance form abroad' (73).
• February 16, 1994: According to the latest CIA estimates, Iran could develop a nuclear bomb in six to eight years, although its nuclear weapons program is still in an early stage and relies on foreign technology and expertise (73).
• September 23, 1994: CIA Director James Woolsey says that, 'Iran is eight to ten years away from building [nuclear] weapons, and that help from the outside will be critical in reaching that timetable. Iran has been particularly active in trying to purchase nuclear materials or technology clandestinely from Russian sources. Iran is also looking to purchase fully-fabricated nuclear weapons in order to accelerate sharply its timetable' (73).
• January 5, 1995: US Defense Secretary William Perry says that Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb though 'how soon … depends how they go about getting it.' Perry said buying or stealing a bomb from one of the Soviet states could happen in ‘a week, a month, five years.’ Alternatively, if Tehran could obtain a large amount of highly enriched uranium, then 'five years is on the high end' (73).
• January 1995: The director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Holum, testifies that Iran could have the bomb by 2003 (74).
• January 19, 1995: According to Thomas Graham, Special U.S. Representative for Nonproliferation, Iran has ‘no current program’ for producing weapons-grade fissile materials. 'They are not that far along,' he added (74).
• February 29, 1996: Lynn Davis, US Undersecretary of State, says that Iran is 'many years away' from possessing a nuclear weapons capability, but stealing nuclear technology or material 'can reduce the time dramatically in terms of developing a weapon' (74).
• April 29, 1996: Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres says 'he believe that in four years, they [Iran] may reach nuclear weapons' (74).
• March 1997: John Holum, director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, testifies to a House panel that Iran could develop a nuclear bomb sometime between 2005 and 2007 (74).
• June 26, 1997: General Binford Peay, US military commander in the Persian Gulf, says that Iran may have nuclear weapons 'some time at the turn of the century, the near-end of the turn of the century' if it gets access to fissionable material (74).
• October 21, 1998: General Anthony Zinni, head of US Central Command, says Iran could have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons within five years; 'If I were a betting man,' he said, 'I would say they are on track within five years, they would have the capability' (74).
• November 21, 1999: According to a senior Israeli official, Iran will have a nuclear capability within five years, unless Russian military aid to Iran stops (74).
• January 17, 2000: A new CIA assessment on Iran’s nuclear capabilities says that the CIA cannot be ruled out the possibility that Iran may possess nuclear weapons. This analysis is based on the CIA’s admission that it cannot monitor Iran’s nuclear activities with any precision and hence cannot exclude the prospect that Iran may have nuclear
• September 20, 2000: According to the CIA, Iran is 'attempting to develop the capability to produce both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and it is actively pursuing the acquisition of fissile material and the expertise and technology necessary to form the material into nuclear weapons.' A CIA official also claimed that Iran could be in a
position to test fire an ICBM within five years (74).
• February 6, 2002: CIA Director George Tenet tells the Senate that Iran is seeking longrange ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction and will probably succeed in having them by 2015. He also said that Iran 'may be able to indigenously produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this decade … obtaining material from outside could cut years from this estimate' (74)."
Originally posted by Danbones
I was listenig to a war historian on the radio last night. He figures the same and he is a very credibile collector of details..
He said attacks generally happen by the dark of the new moon..and he listed the dates for the rest of the year as likely dates for such an event...