Sunday, February 13, 2005

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FEB. 5, at a news conference after meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw: An attack on Iran is "not on the agenda at this point. We have many diplomatic tools still at our disposal and we intend to pursue them fully. ...The question is simply not on the agenda at this point."

Dafna Linzer, Feb. 13, reporting for the Washington Post:

The Bush administration has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort. ... The aerial espionage is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack and is also employed as a tool for intimidation.

And later in the same article:

The surveillance has been conducted as the Bush administration sharpens its anti-Iran rhetoric and the U.S. intelligence community searches for information to support President Bush's assertion that Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the intelligence community is conducting a broad review of its Iran assessments, including a new look at information about the country's nuclear program, according to administration officials and congressional sources. A similar review, called a National Intelligence Estimate, formed an important part of the administration's case for war against Iraq.

This sounds an awful lot to me like the "cherry-picking" the Bush gang did with the intelligence on Iraq.

Iran's leaders are not as totally clueless about U.S. intentions as Saddam Hussein was, however. One of the purposes of flying the drones is to encourage Iranian fears that an attack might be imminent, in the hope that Iran will turn its radar on to better detect such an attack. With Iran's radar on, the U.S. can get information on radar frequencies and range, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their defense systems.

Iran wasn't falling for it, though.

"The United States must have forgotten that they trained half our guys," [an] Iranian official said. After a briefing by their air force three weeks ago, Iran's national security officials ordered their forces not to turn on the radar or come into contact with the drones in any way.

I know this is deadly serious business, but THAT is funny.

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