Tags: Iran | cia | iran | nuclear weapons | john brennan | Michael Mukasey

Michael Mukasey: CIA Needs 'Team B' to Keep Watch on Iran

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 07:37 AM

The Central Intelligence Agency, under the leadership of Director John Brennan, is no longer capable of objectively evaluating Iranian nuclear intentions, Michael Mukasey and Kevin Carroll write in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

They urge Congress to establish an alternate team of analysts to provide an independent assessment of Iran's capabilities and intentions.

Brennan has made it clear that anyone who argues against the administration's "framework" agreement with Iran and believes that it "provides a pathway" to nuclear weapons was being "wholly disingenuous." This public stance would inhibit in-house CIA analysts from contradicting their boss, according to Mukasey, an attorney general under George W. Bush, and Carroll, a former CIA case officer.

They argued that "evidence of cheating by Iran necessarily would be fragmentary — dual-use technology paid for through opaque transactions; unexplained flight patterns and port calls by aircraft and vessels of dubious registration; intercepted conversations using possibly coded terms; a smattering of human intelligence from sources with questionable access and their own mixed motivations and vulnerabilities."

Given that "the boss has already said that purported concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are dishonest," Mukasey and Carroll wrote, "how likely is it that an evaluation suggesting that Iran is up to something would make it beyond operational channels, through reports officers, analysts and CIA managers, up to policy makers?"

Mukasey and Carroll make the case that the Obama administration's overall approach to intelligence is worrisome. The White House mischaracterized the cause of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. It deluded Americans about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's record.

The administration also buried evidence that Osama bin Laden had "durable relationships" with Iran and Pakistan and minimized terrorist threats out of political expediency during the 2012 presidential campaign, they said. And it erroneously assessed the dangers posed by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida satellites in Yemen and Africa.

Congressional leaders acting in a bipartisan fashion should appoint national security experts "and direct the administration legislatively if necessary" to provide them with raw intelligence on Iran.

"This 'Team B' should then report its findings periodically not only to the administration, but also to congressional leaders and the presidential nominees of both parties once they are chosen," Mukasey and Carroll wrote.

The Team B approach was notably used in 1976, when then President Gerald Ford invited a group of outside experts to assess classified intelligence on the Soviet Union.

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The Central Intelligence Agency, under the leadership of Director John Brennan, is no longer capable of objectively evaluating Iranian nuclear intentions, Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general, and Kevin Carroll write in The Wall Street Journal.
cia, iran, nuclear weapons, john brennan, Michael Mukasey
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2015-37-15
Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 07:37 AM
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