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The Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran thing
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 06, 2007

This is important for two particular reasons.

First, it appears we still have serious problems with strategic intelligence. That problem came to light concerning Syria, prior to the strike by Israel:
The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.

In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea.

One U.S. official told ABC's Martha Raddatz the material was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the facility.

Officials said that the facility had likely been there for months if not years.

"Israel tends to be very thorough about its intelligence coverage, particularly when it takes a major military step, so they would not have acted without data from several sources," said ABC military consultant Tony Cordesman.
If all that is true, per ABC, why are the Israeli's presenting us with satellite imagery on a nuclear facility in Syria? We don't have satellites monitoring that country (I assume we do, and I further assume that's a pretty safe bet)?

If so, why in the world is some other country telling us what's in Syria?

Note the last paragraph and let's make some further assumptions. Perhaps the facility wasn't obvious as it was configured but, when confirmed or tipped by "several sources", Israel was alerted to its existence and to what the facility was in actuality.

One word: HUMINT (human intelligence)

Conclusion - we still aren't anywhere near where we need to be in the collection of critical human intelligence in the hot spots of the globe. Otherwise, it could be argued, we wouldn't have been surprised by the Israeli revelation.

Second, despite foolishness like that which is being perpetrated by Seumas Milne in The Guardian, there is very little likelihood that the Bush administration is arguing (or planning) for a strike on Iran.
A senior U.S. official said the Israelis planned to strike during the week of July 14 and in secret high-level meetings American officials argued over how to respond to the intelligence.

Some in the administration supported the Israeli action, but others, notably Sect. of State Condoleeza Rice did not. One senior official said the U.S. convinced the Israelis to "confront Syria before attacking."

Officials said they were concerned about the impact an attack on Syria would have on the region. And given the profound consequences of the flawed intelligence in Iraq, the U.S. wanted to be absolutely certain the intelligence was accurate.

Initially, administration officials convinced the Israelis to call off the July strike. But in September the Israelis feared that news of the site was about to leak and went ahead with the strike despite U.S. concerns.
Again, taking the ABC report at face value, if US officials argued strongly against the raid, despite the apparent inarguable evidence that a nuclear facility existed in Syria and were able to delay it in July because they were concerned about the "impact" such an attack would have on "the region" (aka Iraq), it seems that it would be doubly hard to then argue that it would be cavalier about making its own attack on Iran without having the same sorts of concerns. In fact, Iran would be a worse case scenario for the US because it would be the one directly involved in the attack. At least Israel, while an ally, provides the US with a certainly level of removal for the Syrian attack.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

The Conventional Wisdom on the Left is that a war with Iran is imminent. The one source who has almost single-handedly created this CW over the last few years is Seymour Hersh. The next time a moonbat makes this assertion, demand a link. You can bet the farm that the moonbat will link you up to Seymour. Like the Little Shop of Horrors, the Little Shop of Soros cries, "Feed me Seymour!" and Seymour delivers the goodies.

Recently, though, Seymour gave the moonbats at HuffPo a little indigestion with this morsel:
I recently spoke with Hersh, whose new piece, "Target Iran," is featured in The New Yorker this week.

When I asked Hersh who wants to bomb Iran, he said, "Ironically there is a lot of pressure coming from Democrats. Hillary Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have all said we cannot have a nuclear-armed Iran. Clearly the pressure from Democrats is a reflection of - we might as well say it - Israeli and Jewish input." He added the obvious: "a lot of money comes to the Democratic campaigns" from Jewish contributors.
Ignore the anti-semitism. That’s just become a conventional feature of the discourse in the nutroots. The cognitive dissonance will come from the new claim that it’s the Dems who are pushing for this, along with Chimpy McHitler and Darth Cheney.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
My experience in dealing with these groups (contract work) over the last few years is this:
- they are more interested in fighting turf wars than the enemy
- these place are staffed at the senior levels by lifers (people who have climbed up to the top by sheer violation of the peter principle).
- they have a wide variety of mutually incompatible software systems
- companies with pet politicians (Murtha and his district for example) win contracts and deliver technology that never was going to work

So no surprise for me that this happens.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I’ve often wondered about the usefulness and even loyalty of the CIA bureaucracy.

I wouldn’t be shocked either if they some elements of the Administration possibly including or excluding Bush himself that do not want this intel to come to light because it makes the agreement with North Korea less than a stellar success.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
My experience in dealing with these groups (contract work) over the last few years is this:
- they are more interested in fighting turf wars than the enemy
In this case, the enemy being the Bush admin....
I’ve often wondered about the usefulness and even loyalty of the CIA bureaucracy
As Plame/Wilson proved, you’re right to do so.

I’ll say it again- any new President- especially one coming in from a differing party than the previous guy- should basically clean house at CIA and State immediately.

Besides getting rid of the malcontent infighters, you also get rid of the cream of the cr*p that usually rises to the top in our permanent bureaucracies
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Isn’t satellite intel coming from NSA and others, who are supposed to be better than the CIA?

Also, let’s keep in mind that Israel can focus pretty exclusively on their neighbors and specialization breeds excellence. While I would prefer we find all this stuff out by ourselves, its not unreasonable to think Israel would be beating us in the field.

And I actually think its a good result if North Korea is shipping their entire program abroad in the sense that we can probably strike it better in Syria than in North Korea itself. If they are having a fire sale or not is the question, and regardless, we’re going to be very careful with our deal with the Norks.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Isn’t satellite intel coming from NSA and others, who are supposed to be better than the CIA?
It would help if you knew you needed to be on the lookout for a nuclear facility and roughly where first.

Basically the ball was dropped on us not knowing North Korea transfered their equipment to Syria. If we can’t detect that, how can we detect the spread of technology to other nations and groups? It makes it more imperative we stop Iran from acquiring nuclear technology.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I was reading this and it sounds way more interesting than what I have read so far anywhere else.
That was confirmed to The Spectator by a very senior British ministerial source: ‘If people had known how close we came to world war three that day there’d have been mass panic. Never mind the floods or foot-and-mouth — Gordon really would have been dealing with the bloody Book of Revelation and Armageddon.’
I am surprised at how silent the usual suspects have been on this. I guess George Soros has not issued an important action alert yet.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Basically the ball was dropped on us not knowing North Korea transfered their equipment to Syria.
If America can’t detect that, how can America detect the spread of technology to other parts of North Korea? If N. Korea can set up a nuclear facility on the other side of the planet in relative secrecy, how hard can it be to set up secret alternative facilities in N. Korea?
Written By: unaha-closp

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