My crowd and I aren’t very angry at the WaPo story revealing that the CIA has exceeded its own award-winning comic essays. If you work your way through it all you’ll discover that the CIA doesn’t really know whether Iran has a nuclear program at all, but then ends up saying, as Kevin Drum was kind enough to point out, that “left to its own devices” Iran would certainly build atomic bombs. Then the Agency that gave us all that advance warning on 9/11, the “Gorbachev is firmly in control” insight, the “East Germany is the world’s 7th greatest industrial power” analysis, the “the Soviet Union doesn’t support terrorists” assessment, and the “Khomeini’s writings are Israeli forgeries” testimony, now tells us that we don’t much need to worry about the Iranian bomb because–if by some chance they do decide to build one, and the CIA doesn’t know, of course, one way or the other–it’ll take ten years or so.
Since any simple soul over the age of 10 or so knows that any serious country could put together an atomic bomb in a very few years (we did it, from scratch, in less than four years as I recall), this reported assessment is either a gag or a journalistic blunder. My crowd and I can’t tell which it is, but we did get a big bang out of it.
I mean a lot of laughs. We also thought it was funny to see guys like Drum, who has not spared the CIA when it comes to their buffoonery on Iraq, openly accepting the latest assessment as credible. We remind ourselves that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Didn’t Sidney Blumenthal say that?