Update: Kinda ironic that on the same day that the NY Times characterizes the deliberate lies that brought the US into war with Iraq as simply a case of intelligence "misjudgment", that this article should come out.
The New York Times has an article in which it promotes the view that the US intelligence on Iran's nuclear program -- which has concluded that there is no actual nuclear weapons program there -- may be merely the result of "skittishness" by the analysts resulting from their "mistaken" assessments about Iraq's non-existent WMDs. I guess the Palme Affair is simply a non-event for the NY Times?
This has been a talking point of the NeoCons for a while now who have been trying any way possible to undermine the conclusions of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which said there was no nuclear weapons program in Iran, much to their chagrin. But there are many problems with this view. For one thing, the misleading US intelligence on Iraq's WMDs was not merely the result of a "mistake" by analysts -- rather it was a deliberate deception by government officals. There was a deliberate policy of skewing the intelligence and marginalizing the dischordant voices and plain lying. That's why we have terms such as "stove-piping" and "Yellowcake from Niger" in our political lingo now. Remember, the US intelligence agencies objected to the claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear material as stated by Bush in his 2003 State of the Union speech. The State Department had specifically warned that the intelligence was not reliable. The Washington Post (later) even reported this:
"Dozens of interviews with current and former intelligence officials and policymakers in the United States, Britain, France and Italy show that the Bush administration disregarded key information available at the time showing that the Iraq-Niger claim was highly questionable."
In fact the Bush administration went as far as to circumvent the intelligence analysts by creating an "Office of Special Plans" whose very purpose was to 'stove-pipe' faked intelligence to the White House that would justify the war.
So why is the New York Times misrepresenting the facts and giving credence to a NeoCon ploy of casting doubt on current US intelligence assessments on Iran, in addition to trying to rewrite the history of the Iraq war?
It should be pointed out that this attempt at rewriting history so as to hide the lying by the Bush administration over Iraq is not limited to the New York Times. Despite the fact that the Washington Post had reported that the "Uranium from Niger" story was a known lie, the editorial board of the Washington Post still pretended that the claim was "well-founded".
Oh, and it is particularly ironic that the New York Times article is citing Bolton in claiming that the US intelligence analysts are wrong on Iran. After all, Bolton is well known to "exaggerate" the intelligence about WMDs, as the New York Times itelf once reported. But then again, since the NY Times seems to be trying to legitimize the NeoCon criticisms of the US intelligence conclusions, it isn't surprising that they would cite Bolton in this manner.