US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is from 2010, experts say


The last U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program was from late 2010, several Iran experts said Friday.

The question over whether there is a new NIE on Iran arose this week after Israel’s Defense Minister told Israel Radio Thursday that a new U.S. intelligence assessment shares Israel’s sense of heightened urgency about Iran’s nuclear program. A U.S. intelligence report “making the rounds” in Washington “comes comes very close to our own estimate…It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one and it is even less likely that we will know every development in time on the Iranian nuclear program,” Ehud Barak told Israel Radio Thursday, CBS News reported. His comments echoed a report in Israeli daily Haaretz the same day that said the more alarming American assessment was contained in a new U.S. NIE on Iran.

But current and former American officials said that the Israeli claims are unduly alarmist.

“We have eyes, we have visibility into the program, and we would know if and when Iran made what’s called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told journalists Friday, AFP reported. Continue reading

New US National Intelligence Officer for Iran: Rachel Ingber

The new U.S. National Intelligence Officer for Iran is Rachel Ingber.

Ingber takes over from Jillian Burns, who has moved to Afghanistan to become the new U.S. Consul-General in Herat.

Ingber most recently served as a senior US government Middle East analyst. Earlier in her career, in 1997, she served as a research intern at the Washington Institute for Near East  Policy, and compiled an Iran Research Guide at Columbia University. (Little of her recent writing seems to be available on the Internet.)

“As a member of the National Intelligence Council, the NIO/Iran will oversee Intelligence Community wide production and coordination of the full range of analytic assessments on Iran including strategic analysis on Iran … and, as appropriate and required, more focused, time-sensitive analysis for the most senior decision makers,” the National Intelligence Council job posting for the NIO/Iran position said.

Among the job’s responsibilities, “Provide warning to policymakers on emerging issues that could portend major discontinuities or affect significant US interests and opportunities,” it continued. Ingber is expected to bring on a new deputy.