November 18, 2006

seymourhersh.jpg Seymour Hersh joined Wolfie today on Late Edition and talked about Iran and his new article " The Next Act." A topic that he has pursued intensely for some time now. All this neocon--attack Iran stuff is becoming more and more of a reality...

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Late Edition's transcript:

Blitzer: based on your reporting---is Iran to actually building a ...having a nuclear weapon?

Hersh: Far away

BLITZER: When you say far away, be precise.

HERSH: There's a new report that's the CIA, new assessment. And the CIA, by the way, has really become, under Mr. Hayden, it's getting much more vital. They've done a very good analysis of the Israeli war in Lebanon that hasn't been made public yet. They've done a new analysis that may be part of a national intelligence estimate soon.

BLITZER: You're talking about General Michael Hayden, the new CIA director.

HERSH: Yeah. Well, the stuff coming out of there, from what I gather, is really much more to the point.

BLITZER: So what's the conclusion as far as how much time the world has before Iran actually has a bomb? HERSH: The new study didn't say that. What it said is that we do a lot of very good things. We have tremendous people in the field, tremendous capability. We can do things that I don't write about and nobody should write about. We do very good technical things, and we can't find, the new assessment says we could not find, the CIA says there's no evidence that Iran is doing anything that puts them close to a bomb. There's no secret program of significant bomb making.

BLITZER: The Israelis have a different assessment.

HERSH: Absolutely.

BLITZER: They think the Iranians may be within a year of getting to the threshold of having a point of no return, if you will, from having a bomb. When I was there in July, I had briefings. That's what they suggested.

HERSH: They've been saying that, as you know, for five or ten years, one year. The fact is, the Israelis have come up with new human intelligence. I write about this in the article. Sort of the counter-CIA assessment. They've come up with an agent inside Iran. They have more than one.

And this agent is, who's been reliable, so the Israelis claim in the past, who now says the Iranians are secretly working on making an actual trigger for a bomb. Even though they may not have any specific -- we don't have any specific evidence of a facility where they're doing this work, the Israelis say, yes, they are. They're getting ready to start detonating a weapon.

And once they get the fissile material, the enriched material. Now, that information is being handled pretty much by the White House and various offices in the Pentagon. And the CIA isn't getting a good look at the Israeli intelligence. It's the old word, stovepiping. It's the president and the vice president. It's pretty much being kept in the White House.

BLITZER: They'd like to get more access to this Israeli agent, is that what you're saying?

HERSH: Well, of course the people in the CIA want to know who he is. They want to know, obviously. But they certainly want to know what other evidence does he have of actual making a warhead. This is the internecine war, fight that's going on, the same fight, by the way, we had before Iraq.

Think Progress has some more information...

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