On Glenn Beck’s radio show yesterday, former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) said he doesn’t care what the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran says. Iran is “undoubtedly intent upon nuclear weapons,” Thompson said, explaining, “I don’t care what this latest NIE says.” The former actor then dismissed the intelligence that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program as “foolishness”:
They’re undoubtedly intent upon nuclear weapons. I don’t care what this latest NIE says. That’s foolishness that represents our own inability to get a handle on it more than anything else.
Listen to it:
Thompson’s baseless analysis seems to come straight from his gut rather than any established facts.
On the Charlie Rose Show last week, Thompson conjured a conspiracy theory, claiming that Iran “leaked” the intelligence to “divert our attention a little bit.” In a posting on Red State, he mused that the NIE was “awfully convenient for a lot of people.”
One group for whom the NIE is not “convenient,” however, is hawks like Thompson. Since its release last week, neocons — who don’t have access to the intelligence — have been questioning the NIE because it doesn’t fit their world views:
Norman Podhoretz: “I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again.
Daniel Pipes: The NIE is a “shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda” that “makes war against Iran more likely.”
Danielle Pletka: “This NIE was presented with a clear intention to deceive and to redirect foreign policy… I have no doubt that these people [the intelligence community] believe they are protecting the nation from the President.”
As the National Security Network pointed out yesterday, Thompson and his fellow hawks are doing everything they can to “to generate smoke where there is no fire” regarding the NIE’s credibility.
In doing so, they disregard the fact that the intelligence was heavily vetted, the process was overseen by a Bush administration appointee and even Vice President Cheney has said he doesn’t “have any reason to question” the NIE’s findings.
UPDATE: In a Q&A with US News and World Report today, Thompson says he’s “wondering if [the NIE] is an indication of the intelligence community being somewhat politicized.”