Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat

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Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat is the title of a report published in August 2006 by the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The report's main author was Frederick Fleitz, a member of the staff of Peter Hoekstra, Republican chairman of the Committee. From 2001-2005, Fleitz was a senior advisor to John Bolton, then Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, and a leading neoconservative. [1]

The report was aimed at undermining the assessments of Iran's nuclear capabilities made by US intelligence agencies, and argued that the CIA and other intelligence agencies lack "the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments" on Iran's nuclear program. The report made these findings without interviewing any intelligence officials, and was based solely on publicly available documents. [2]

The report makes a number of extreme claims that are not substantiated by any available evidence, including accusations that "Iran likely has an offensive chemical weapons research and development capability" and "Iran probably has an offensive biological weapons program."

The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency called Fleitz's report "outrageous and dishonest", and in a letter to Rep. Hoekstra, chairman of the House intelligence committee, noted that report contained "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements." [3]

In the view of national security expert John Prados, the report - both its provenance and timing - "should be read as fresh politicisation of intelligence" designed to "send the message" to the intelligence community that any new estimates on Iran that take "a less alarming view (of the threat posed by Iran) will be deemed suspect." [4]

"More and more it appears that the pattern of manipulation and misuse of intelligence that served the Bush administration in the drive to start a war with Iraq is being repeated today for its neighbor Iran," Prados wrote.[5]

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