Details On The Iranian Nuclear Program

On Wednesday, Bill Gertz posted an article at The Washington Times which provided some of the details on the Iranian nuclear program. The information presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was truly an intelligence coup. Secretary of State (and Former CIA Director) Mike Pompeo noted that much of the information Israel had obtained was new to the United States.

The article reported:

An Israeli government PowerPoint briefing on the documents showed Iran moved the files in 2017 to a secret warehouse in an industrial area of southern Tehran called Shorabad. Inside the warehouse were numerous safes protecting some 55,000 pages of documents in binders, and 183 CDs containing 50,000 more digital files.

An Israeli official told reporters the daring operation by Mossad agents to steal the documents was carried out on Jan. 31, and included Iranians discovering the break-in as it was happening. The Iranians flew a drone aircraft into Israeli airspace 11 days after the document raid, possibly in response to the operation.

 The document cache was so large, Israeli agents were unable to bring all the files out. The storage facility and the materials in it were among the Tehran government’s most closely guarded secrets and Iranian authorities were alarmed that warehouse was discovered and sacked.

The documents reveal Iran’s nuclear arms program was called “Project Amad” and operated from 1999 to 2003.

An Iranian presentation in Farsi revealed in the Israeli presentation said that the goal of Project Amad was to “design, produce and test” nuclear weapons. Under the plan, the Iranians were to build five warheads with yields of 10 kilotons that would be designed “for integration on a missile.”

That is not a peaceful nuclear program to provide energy for Iran (as was claimed by Iran).

The section of the article dealing with Iran concludes:

The Israeli presentation included documents showing that Iran deceived the International Atomic Energy Agency in its final report on Iran’s past and present nuclear program that was required as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. The documents show that — contrary to Iran’s denial to the IAEA of a coordinate arms program and denying the existence of Project Amad — Iran in fact carried out a coordinated nuclear weapons programs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week the documents obtained by the Israelis from Iran were “authentic.” He called the documents that are being reviewed by U.S. intelligence agencies an “arsenal of knowledge.”

“It’s not just in the minds of people whom they have. It’s the actual calculations that they’ve done, the blueprints, the measurements,” he said.

The Pentagon’s latest nuclear posture review said the Iran nuclear deal has constrained Tehran’s arms program, “many of the agreement’s restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will end by 2031.”

“In addition, Iran retains the technological capability and much of the capacity necessary to develop a nuclear weapon within one year of a decision to do so,” the posture review said.

On May 10, 2016, I wrote an article about the role that Ben Rhodes had played in securing positive public opinion about the Iran deal. The deal was seriously flawed from the beginning. I am not sure that it can be changed in any way that would make the world safer from Iranian nuclear weapons. If it can’t be changed, it needs to be scrapped. At that point someone needs to pinpoint all locations of the Iranian nuclear program and make them disappear.

When Republicans Do Stupid Things

It is quite likely that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not approve the nomination of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. The Democrats on the Committee asked Pompeo questions about gay rights and his beliefs on marriage. Since Mike Pompeo holds what used to be very acceptable traditional views on marriage, the Democrats on the Committee have chosen to vote against his confirmation as Secretary of State. This has nothing to do with Mike Pompeo’s qualifications, it is a political stunt that illustrates the Democratic Party’s move to the extreme left. There didn’t used to be a religious litmus test to hold a Cabinet position, but according to the present crop of Democrats, there is. Unfortunately some Republicans have also decided to vote against Mike Pompeo.–Rand Paul is voting against him because he supported the war in Iraq. So did a lot of other people. Just for the record, on October 14, 2014, The New York Times posted an article stating that there were WMD’s in Iraq.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today that explains that the Democrat’s efforts to block the nomination of Mike Pompeo may be unsuccessful due to a few Democrats that represent states that voted for President Trump. You can read the details of all this in The Washington Examiner, but there is another part of this story I would like to focus on.

The site biography.com lists a few of Mike Pompeo’s qualifications:

Michael Richard Pompeo was born on December 30, 1963, in Orange, California, to parents Wayne and Dorothy. He grew up in Santa Ana and attended Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team.

Pompeo enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating first in his class with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1986. He followed with five years of active duty in the U.S. Army, serving as a cavalry officer in East Germany and rising to the rank of captain.

Accepted to Harvard Law School, Pompeo became editor of the Harvard Law Review and earned his J.D. in 1994.

…Pompeo began his civilian career at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington, D.C., where he mainly worked in tax litigation. He moved to his mother’s home state of Kansas in 1996 and co-founded Thayer Aerospace, which expanded to more than 400 employees within a decade. Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution and service company.

The man is definitely qualified and deserves to be confirmed. A no vote on this nomination is simply a political stunt, and those voting no need to be voted out of office.

This Is Actually No Big Deal

Rex Tillerson has been fired as Secretary of State. He will be replaced by Mike Pompeo. This is not really news to those who pay close attention. Pat Robertson (who hosts the 700 Club produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network) predicted yesterday that Tillerson would be gone today. Why? Because Trump and Tillerson disagreed on too many major issues–Iran, the Paris climate treaty, and North Korea. Tillerson is not a man who is used to operating under someone else’s leadership when he dioes not agree with that leadership, and Trump is not used to having people undermining his policies when they are supposed to be supporting them. The change is probably good for everyone involved.

Mike Pompeo is a good choice to succeed Rex Tillerson. He graduated first in his class at West Point and went on the Harvard to get his law degree. He worked in the business world and served in Congress before becoming head of the CIA. It is believed that his worldview is much more compatible with President Trump than was Tillerson’s.

Two qualities of a good executive are the ability to be flexible and the ability to change direction when needed. The current shuffle in the White House is a good example of both. Although I am not sure I agree with exactly how the change was handled, it was a necessary change and needed to be done quickly. Now hopefully the President and at least some of the State Department can move in the same direction.

Keeping The Public Unaware

The November 13th issue of the Weekly Standard will feature an article by Stephen F. Hayes illustrating how important information was kept from the American public for political gain.

The article reminds us that when Osama Bin Laden was killed, the seal team involved collected a lot of computer information about terrorism.

The article reports:

In the heady days immediately after the May 2 Abbottabad raid, President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, had described the intelligence haul brought back from Pakistan by the Navy SEALs and CIA operatives as extensive enough to fill a “small college library.” A senior military intelligence official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on May 7, 2011, said: “As a result of the raid, we’ve acquired the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

Yet:

On the penultimate day of the Obama administration, less than 24 hours before the president would vacate the White House, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a press release meant to put to rest what had been a pesky issue for his office. “Closing the Book on Bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced. “Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year effort to declassify several hundred documents recovered in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound in May 2011.” Accompanying the press release were 49 documents captured during the raid, bringing the total number of documents made public to 571.

A small college library with 571 documents would be pretty pathetic. So what happened?

This is how the limited amount of information was used during the 2012 presidential campaign:

In the spring of 2012, with the Republican presidential primaries nearing an end and shortly before the first anniversary of the successful raid on bin Laden’s compound, Obama’s National Security Council hand-picked 17 documents to be provided to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point for analysis. (Obama’s NSC would later hold back two of those documents. One of them, laying out the deep ties between the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda leadership, would complicate Obama administration efforts to launch negotiations with the Taliban, according to an explanation the NSC’s Doug Lute offered to West Point.) The West Point documents were shared with Obama-friendly journalists. Their conclusion was the only one possible, given the documents they were provided: At the time of his death, Osama bin Laden was frustrated and isolated, a relatively powerless leader of a dying organization. In the summer and fall of 2012, Obama would use this theme as the main national security rationale for his reelection: Al Qaeda was alternately “on the run” or “decimated” or “on the path to defeat.”

“Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. Al Qaeda has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead,” Obama said in Green Bay, Wis., on November 1, five days before his reelection.

The story continues:

No more. On Wednesday, November 1, CIA director Mike Pompeo announced the release of “nearly 470,000 additional files” from the Abbottabad raid. From 571 to 470,000: The “most transparent administration in history,” you might say, has just been trumped, by nearly three orders of magnitude.

Some of the information might have caused a problem with the Iran nuclear deal:

Bin Laden had described Iran as the “main artery” for al Qaeda in one of the previously released letters recovered in Abbottabad. The details on Iran’s support for al Qaeda, some of them buried until now, led to terrorist designations by the Treasury Department and even caused some intelligence analysts to revisit the assumption that the Shiite radicals in Iran wouldn’t back the Sunni al Qaeda. In a 2011 interview, David S. Cohen, a senior Treasury Department official who went on to become deputy director of the CIA, described the intelligence, which detailed a network of financial support for al Qaeda that operated out of Iran: “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate,” Cohen said. “There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.” Iran was providing a “core pipeline” of support that included safe haven for al Qaeda members and the facilitation of travel and the flow of money and weapons.

…The CIA release of the additional 470,000 documents includes a 19-page report on al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran authored by an unidentified al Qaeda operative. The author lays out some tensions between al Qaeda and Iran but makes clear those differences don’t preclude cooperation. The document reports that the Iranian regime was giving its “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed.” This included safe haven in Iran, the facilitation of travel for senior al Qaeda operatives, and “money, arms,” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”

Among other conclusions I can draw from this information, it might be time to revisit the Iran deal keeping Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda in mind.

Interesting Information From An Unlikely Source

Wikipedia defines the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as a British intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces.This group played an interesting role in the 2016 presidential election in America. The American Spectator reported today on some aspects of that involvement. The article at The American Spectator refers back to an article in the U.K Guardian on April 13th. The perspective on the story in the two articles is very different, but both stories have valid points.

The article at the U.K. Guardian reports:

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

…Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.

The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.

“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” the source added. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’

I would like to point out that with all this electronic surveillance and all this investigating, there has not been one concrete, proven charge of the Trump campaign working with Russia to impact the election. I would also like to point out that the people in charge of this electronic surveillance in America (the Obama Administration) had a sincere interest in making sure Donald Trump was not elected President.

The article at The American Spectator has a different perspective:

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The article at The American Spectator concludes:

Were the media not so completely in the tank for Obama and Hillary, all of this political mischief would make for a compelling 2016 version of All the President’s Men. Instead, the public gets a steady stream of Orwellian propaganda about the sudden propriety of political espionage. The headline writers at Pravda couldn’t improve on this week’s official lie, tweeted out by the Maggie Habermans: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both Dem and Republican House Aides.”

Liberals pompously quote the saying — “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” — even as their media enshrine it. Historians will look back on 2016 and marvel at the audacity of its big lie: whispers of an imaginary Trump-Russia collusion that wafted up from the fever swamps of a real collusion between John Brennan and foreign powers seeking Trump’s defeat.

I am convinced that collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia does not exist. I am also convinced that the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Russia should be much more scrutinized than it is.

As I reported here in December 2016:

Let’s look at some of the history between Hillary Clinton and the Russians. in April 2015, Breitbart.com reported that the chairman of the Russian Nuclear Agency-controlled Uranium One funneled $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. This was followed by the Uranium One deal that allowed the Russians to acquire control of one-fifth of America’s uranium. So the mainstream media is trying to tell me that Russia would rather do business with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. You can bribe Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure you can bribe Donald Trump.

The lesson learned in the contrast between the articles in The American Spectator and the U.K. Guardian is that the media can twist a story in any direction it chooses. It is up to the readers to do the research into the background of the story.

 

 

Following The Money

There have been a lot of stories told about the $400 million that was paid to Iran (coincidentally just as some American hostages were being released). Yesterday Claudia Rosett posted an article in the New York Sun that offers an interesting explanation as to where the $400 million came from.

The article reports:

Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.

…The Judgment Fund has long been a controversial vehicle for federal agencies to detour past one of the most pointed prohibitions in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

The Judgment Fund, according to a Treasury Department Web site, is “a permanent, indefinite appropriation” used to pay monetary awards against U.S. government agencies in cases “where funds are not legally available to pay the award from the agency’s own appropriations.”

In March, in letters responding to questions about the Iran settlement sent weeks earlier by Representatives Edward Royce and Mike Pompeo, the State Department confirmed that the $1.3 billion “interest” portion of the Iran settlement had been paid out of the Judgment Fund. But State gave no information on the logistics.

Aside from the fact that we are funding a regime that is using the money to fund attacks against American civilians and servicemen, I would like to note that the Tribunal at the Hague decided that America owned money to a known sponsor of terrorism. Based on that decision, I don’t think the Tribunal at The Hague is force for global peace. Giving money to a known sponsor of terrorism is not a good idea under any circumstances.

Is This Even Legal?

The National Review posted a story today about the nuclear deal with Iran. In the story, Fred Fleitz, the author, reports on two aspects of the deal with Iran that were not going to be made public (or available to Congress or other nations).

The article reports:

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) issued a press release yesterday on a startling discovery they made during a July 17 meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna: There are two secret side deals to the nuclear agreement with Iran that will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the U.S. public. One of these side deals concerns inspection of the Parchin military base, where Iran reportedly has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear-warhead development. The Iranian government has refused to allow the IAEA to visit this site. Over the last several years, Iran has taken steps to clean up evidence of weapons-related activity at Parchin. 

The other side deal relates to the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. Evidently the PMD issue is not resolved. In 2013, Iran agreed to answer International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questions about work in weapons-related areas, but has not actually answered the questions.

This is a copy of part of the press release issued by Senator Cotton and Congressman Pompeo:

According to the IAEA, the Iran agreement negotiators, including the Obama administration, agreed that the IAEA and Iran would forge separate arrangements to govern the inspection of the Parchin military complex — one of the most secretive military facilities in Iran — and how Iran would satisfy the IAEA’s outstanding questions regarding past weaponization work. Both arrangements will not be vetted by any organization other than Iran and the IAEA, and will not be released even to the nations that negotiated the JCPOA [Iran nuclear agreement]. This means that the secret arrangements have not been released for public scrutiny and have not been submitted to Congress as part of its legislatively mandated review of the Iran deal. 

Do we need any more reasons to reject this treaty?