Intelligence on Iran

Graham Allison had a smart piece in Monday’s Lebanon Daily Star warning us that our intelligence in Iran could be bad, and Iran might be closer to a bomb than we think.

That’s certainly true, and it’s made even more worrisome by the fact that NY Times reporter James Risen tells us that the entire US intelligence apparatus in Iran was “rolled up” when a CIA agent sent the roster of US assets there to an Iranian double agent.

At the same time, it’s important to have not just a grain, but a whole shaker of salt handy when dealing with Iran hawks.  Charles Krauthammer warned in January of this year that

Instead of being years away from the point of no return for an Iranian bomb…Iran is probably just months away.

Or for a really remarkable piece of bad intelligence, we can look to Michael Ledeen (who claims to have better intelligence on Iran than the CIA, yet who’s never set foot in Iran), who told the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in April 2003 of the “likelihood that Tehran will test nuclear devices by the end of this summer.”

To borrow from Donald Rumsfeld, I think we’re in “known unknown” territory here.  What better time to offer the Iranians a grand bargain and get it over with, no?