I hope readers are enjoying having James and Andy around — with Iran on the front burner and Jane knee-deep in textbooks and problems sets, I figured I could use the help.
Among other things, this frees me up to focus on my pet peeves — if one can one have multiple pet peeves.
Former DNI John Negroponte made an offhand remark to PBS about the role of opposition groups in blowing the cover on Iran’s then-clandestine facilities at Natanz and Arak:
… Iran had previously concealed its enrichment activities, only made them public once they had been revealed by sources inside of Iran who are opposed to the regime.
(Keep in mind, Negroponte wasn’t DNI at the time of the revelation — he became DNI in April 2005.)
Anyway, NCRI put out a press release declaring that Negroponte: Iran’s Uranium enrichment first revealed by Iranian Resistance.
Well, not quite. I repeat, as I have before, that:
- In December 2002, Mark Hibbs reported that the US intelligence community, based on imagery and procurement data, had suspected that Iran was building a clandestine uranium enrichment plant in Natanz and a heavy water production facility in Arak for about a year.
- Hibbs also reported that six months earlier, in mid 2002, the US briefed the IAEA on the intelligence, providing “precise geographical coordinates of the sites.”
- When NCRI held its press conference a few weeks later, in August 2002, they misidentified the purpose of the Natanz facility as a fuel production plant.
- In December 2002, Corey Hinderstein, then with the Institute for Science and International Secruity, was the first person to publicly identify Natanz as a gas centrifuge facility.
You can look it up.