The likelihood that Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or less is “extremely high,” former Central Intelligence Director James R. Woolsey tells Newsmax.
“I don’t think Iran has had much interest in anything except a nuclear weapon with their nuclear program,” Woolsey says. “Most of the estimates I’m hearing and was hearing last winter in Israel talk about sometime late this year, early next, for the possibility of a relatively primitive nuclear weapon.”
Such a weapon could be a “so-called shotgun design, which is very easy to do once you have the highly enriched uranium,” Woolsey notes. It could be “something that could be detonated up in the northern desert of Iran and have a mushroom cloud and radioactivity, and everyone would say they're now a nuclear power.”
That sort of weapon could be less than a year away, Woolsey says.
“For something more sophisticated, a spherical weapon that would have a good yield-to-weight ratio and could be used on a missile might be another two, three, or so years,” he says.
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Asked whether the Obama administration is prepared to do anything to stop that, Woolsey says, “I certainly hope so, because it really changes the entire world picture and nature of the Middle East. It substantially increases the power of Iran and its proxies, such as Syria and Hezbollah and Hamas. It would be a terrible development in the world of international affairs and it would put a great deal of pressure on the Sunni states of the Middle East — Egypt, Saudi Arabia — to, in the first instance, accommodate to Iran, and in the second instance, themselves get in line for nuclear reactors, saying that what they are interested in is nuclear power for electricity, but once they have that, once they have the reactor, they can get into the business of enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium.”
When told that good sources say that Israel is absolutely intent on taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities, Woolsey says, “I think the best thing that could happen in Iran would be a change of regime.”
For years, Woolsey says, the president has had the authority to shut down relationships with any bank that does business with Iran if that bank engages in deceptive practices.
“I see no reason at all not to shut down the operations of Iranian banks or banks that do business with Iran,” he says.
Asked about President Obama’s recent comment that, “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower,” Woolsey observes, “I don’t know why any patriotic American would not want us to be a superpower. We are one of the great forces, if not the major force, for there being peace in the world. The fact that we sometimes have to fight wars with bad guys and sometimes choose to doesn’t undercut that, as far I’m concerned.”
Woolsey notes that, in the 20th century, the United States defeated five large totalitarian regimes, and “the world went from 20 to 120 democracies . . . I think the history of America’s being a super power in the 20th century and early 21st is largely one of promoting freedom in the world, and I have no idea why anybody who’s a patriotic American would not want us to be a superpower.”
Woolsey suggests that, in making the comment, the president perhaps was referring to others who may question why we should be a superpower.
Woolsey calls the administration’s effort to come up with euphemisms to describe terrorists and terrorism “debilitating from the point of view of our being able to understand what’s going on.”
Woolsey has come up a few euphemisms of his own: “For example, for terrorist, they might try anger-management-challenged candidate for therapy. When you have to not call something by its right name, you undercut your ability to deal with it.
“One could not intelligently describe the Spanish inquisition and not mention the word Catholic,” Woolsey says. “One could not intelligently describe what motivated the Kamikaze pilots of World War II and not mention Shintoism. All great religions in one way or another and at one time or another in their history spawned fanatic movements, and there’s absolutely no reason for us not to be candid about what’s going on here and describe it accurately.”
Although the administration has been doing a good job of killing terrorists with Predator drone aircraft, it has insisted that terrorists who are captured should be given the same rights as American citizens, Woolsey observes.
“For a lot of these terrorists, it would be better to capture them and to interrogate them and then to keep them for as long as necessary,” he says.
Noting that one in five terrorists who have been released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has returned to terrorism, Woolsey says, “Catch, interrogate, and retain for as long as necessary for foreign terrorists seems to me to be a reasonable approach.”
Woolsey labels as “outrageous” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s decision to revisit whether former CIA officers should be prosecuted for engaging in enhanced interrogation of terrorists. He is one of six former Central Intelligence directors who sent a letter to Holder objecting to his decision, pointing out that the cases had already been closed after investigations by professionals in the Justice Department.
The message Holder is sending to CIA clandestine officers is that, if they take risks that are approved by the president and the Justice Department in order to potentially save the lives of thousands of Americans, they may face huge legal fees and worse, Woolsey says. Holder’s decision “says not only should you not take risks, you may get in trouble for following written instructions signed off on by the Department of Justice,” Woolsey says.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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