Scathing WSJ op-ed says CIA ‘incapable’ of objectivity on Iran

The CIA under the leadership of John Brennan can no longer objectively evaluate Iranian nuclear intentions, Michael Mukasey and Kevin Carroll write in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Mukasey and Carroll, the former an ex-attorney general of the US (under George W. Bush) and the latter an ex-CIA case officer in the Middle East, urge Congress to establish an alternate team of analysts that would provide an independent assessment of Iran’s capabilities and intentions.

Brennan said in early April that anyone who opposes the White House’s “framework” agreement with Iran reached in Lausanne was being “wholly disingenuous.”

This public position, according to Mukasey and Carroll, would inhibit in-house CIA analysts from contradicting their boss.

CIA Director John Brennan. (photo credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
CIA Director John Brennan (photo credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

They argued that “evidence of cheating by Iran necessarily would be fragmentary — dual-use technology paid for through opaque transactions; unexplained flight patterns and port calls by aircraft and vessels of dubious registration; intercepted conversations using possibly coded terms; a smattering of human intelligence from sources with questionable access and their own mixed motivations and vulnerabilities.”

Given that “the boss has already said that purported concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are dishonest,” Mukasey and Carroll wrote, “how likely is it that an evaluation suggesting that Iran is up to something would make it beyond operational channels, through reports officers, analysts and CIA managers, up to policy makers?”

Mukasey and Carroll suggest that the Obama administration’s overall approach to intelligence is problematic. They mention the White House’s mischaracterization of the cause for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the hiding of information about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s record.

The two high-profile writers suggest a “Team B” should be appointed by Congressional leaders from both parties and that the team should “direct the administration legislatively if necessary” to provide it with raw intelligence on Iran.

“This ‘Team B’ should then report its findings periodically not only to the administration, but also to congressional leaders and the presidential nominees of both parties once they are chosen,” Mukasey and Carroll wrote.

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