Monday, January 23, 2006

Personal Intelligence Agency Alert

As of today, we're introducing a new feature here at TCR: the Personal Intelligence Agency Alert. The PIA Alert will trigger whenever a pundit, blogger, journalist or anyone intimates, implies or flat-out states that Iran will have the ability to build a nuclear weapon in X amount of time---usually weeks or months, if the current trend in unfounded speculation and unbridled hysteria continues.

Since our intelligence community currently estimates that Iran is about a decade away from the ability to make nuclear weapons (read about it here) anyone stating otherwise---particularly a weeks or months adherent---must have his own Personal Intelligence Agency that rivals the combined work of better-known agencies including the CIA, DIA and NSA. He'll be asked to provide some information about his PIA including number of employees, overseas stations and the like so that we may better evaluate his assertions. Readers are welcome to send me any examples they come across, which I will post in this space as time allows.

The first PIA Alert was triggered today by John Derbyshire, who posted this today (my bolds):
Iran 2006, pop. 68m, has all the technology & expertise to produce nukes, may be just months away. Semi-stable under loose dictatorship.
John, would you be so kind as to provide us with a bit of basic information about your PIA, and tell us why it is more reliable than the combined work of our established intelligence agencies?

75 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work, TCR

1/23/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, 120 months is still months, no?

Technicall I was, after all, born just seconds ago.

1/23/2006 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/17/AR2006011700893.html

Charles Krauthammer
"Instead of being years away from the point of no return for an Iranian bomb, as we were before we allowed Europe to divert anti-proliferation efforts into transparently useless talks, Iran is probably just months away."

1/23/2006 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday, the NY Times and Newsday had editorials that would make a reader think Iran would have nuclear weapons any day now.

To top the day off,the NYT reprinted that dreadful Daily Telegraph article by wacko "virtual" historian, Niall Ferguson that you linked to a couple of posts ago.

1/23/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, Mr. CR! Of course, now you have been moved to the super-secret-special-deluxe level of NSA "surveillance"... After all, why waste time listening to a bunch of part-time students and similar green-card fodder gabble in strange tongues, when it's so much easier to score office points (& enjoy some excellent writing, also) following a native-born English-speaker who conveniently posts his anti-Amurkinism on a public forum? (P.S. Dear NSA: This is supposed to be sarcasm. If you are really reading this, you are sooo wasting your time, dudes... ) -- Anne Laurie

1/23/2006 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might take 10 years but it does not have to.

Consider:
1. Iran has natural Uranium deposits in-country.
2. Iran has some enrichment facilities now. Are they sufficient for weapons grade? Don't know.
3. Consider the timeline to Hiroshima
A. Fission of Uranium was demonstated in late 1938 - in Germany!
B. 1 Sep 1939 WW2 "Officially" started wit the attack on Poland.
C. October 1939 - The Einstain Letter was presented to FDR warning of the threat.
D. March 1940 - Calculations still being done as to how much uranium was needed for a bomb.
E. February 1941 - Plutonium conclusively DISCOVERED!
F. December 1942 - First nuclear reactor goes "critical" - at U of Chicago - Controlled fission!
G. July 16, 1945 - first nuclear explosion - a test
H. August 9, 1945 - Hiroshima

Less then 6 years from the letter to FDR to Hiroshima.

CONSIDER also that Pakistan has the bomb. that Libya had made more progress than we realized...

Iran is certainly more formidable than Libya, Pakistan or N Korea.
More money for sure and probably more talent.



NET - It may take ten years but need not.

1/24/2006 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The timing is difficult to assess.

The advantage for anyone now is that the discovery elements are all done. The technical aspects of building a bomb are well known and easily found. The U.S. threw their best and brightest and a TON of money at the problem 60 years ago - and was fortunate to have many things in place to make it happen such as the TVA turning out a huge amount of power to cover the refining energy costs. We also didn't have spy satellites and flyovers to worry about.

Today, the raw materials aren't terribly difficult to find, but refining is an expensive effort and difficult to hide. It does not take long if you have the money and manpower to throw at the problem.

So there's really two possible timetables - the 10 year timetable to do it without people fully knowing what they are up to, and maybe a 2-3 year timetable to build a first-test device that everybody knows is coming. Are they willing to disregard the international community enough to do the latter? Maybe, but I think someone will intervene with prejudice if they tried.

1/24/2006 2:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have my own award for the first pundit who explains that the most humane solution would be to use nuclear bunker busters to stop Iran. I'm not joking---remmeber me in 6 months.

1/24/2006 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stanley Kurtz:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/06_01_15_corner-archive.asp#087811

1/24/2006 7:45 AM  
Blogger zen said...

PIA Alert!

Pittsburg Tribune-Review Editorial
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/archive/s_414074.html

Cut and run?! No way that's crazy talk. This is wayyyy different, besides we need to go get some Iranians.

"The nuclear saber-rattling of neighboring Iran is heading for a showdown. To meet that threat should diplomacy fail, the United States must begin the six- to nine-month logistical process of drawing down its Iraqi force and repositioning it to respond, if need be, to the Iranian threat.

This is not retreat. This is not cut-and-run. This is a recognition of the reality in Iraq -- one that has evolved into an Iraqi problem that only the Iraqis now can solve -- and that the paramount world security threat now is Iran."

1/24/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone may point out that the intelligence agencies have often been wrong in the past. It's true, too...and they have almost always erred in overestimating capabilities. Which makes the PIA crowd even more likely to be wrong.

1/24/2006 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see someone beat me to Krauthammer. Darn.....

1/24/2006 2:51 PM  
Blogger B. said...

Darn, that overposting "anonymous" stole my thunder again... the "reliable" joke was just being begged.

PIA = funny stuff. I like the perspective. Good to see some intelligent criticism of Bush from the conservative side, too.

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