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February 21, 2009

The Greatest Threat to Our National Security


by Gordon Prather

Our new Director of National Intelligence has some good news [.pdf] for you soccer-moms. Your primary "near-term security concern" no longer needs to be the prospect of getting nuked in your jammies by Muslim terrorists who have somehow managed to get their hands on a nuclear-weapon.

No, indeedy.

Your primary security concern should now be – if it isn't already – the "global economic crisis," which "started in the United States, quickly spread to other industrial economies and then, more recently, to emerging markets."

Okay, maybe that's your primary concern. But why is that a national security concern?

Well, according to DNI Blair, "the widely held perception" is that "excesses in U.S. financial markets and inadequate regulation were responsible."

Furthermore, DNI Blair judges that the recent dramatic decline in oil prices [down more than two-thirds from the 2008 peak of $147/bbl] has at least partially resulted from an anticipated deep and protracted global recession.

And why is that dramatic decline a national security concern for us? Because of its disastrous economic effect upon Russia and more than a few members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, particularly those – such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia – who are also members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Of course, we and our puppet-master, Israel, are widely perceived – because of our repeated threats to Bomb-Bomb-Iran, to put an end to Iran's nuclear programs, despite their annual certification [.pdf] by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be peaceful, in accordance with the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – to have been responsible for the dramatic run-up in oil prices in the first place.

But, hey, now that the paranoid Likudniks – who regard Iran's IAEA Safeguarded nuclear programs to be an "existential threat" – have once again come to power in Israel, they may require us to "remove" that existential threat. Or else.

Of course, if Israel destroyed Iran's IAEA Safeguarded facilities with nukes, that would probably precipitate WWIII. But if they simply used the bunker-buster high-explosive bombs we have provided them, there might not be much collateral damage or civilian casualties.

The price of oil would immediately go sky-high and stay there for a while, solving the global economic depression problems of Russia and several OPEC members.

So what does DNI Blair have to say about Iran and its "existential threat" to us and "our allies"?

DNI Blair begins by noting that the "Iranian regime continues to flout UN Security Council restrictions on its nuclear programs."

(DNI Blair gives no explanation as to how the Security Council came to require – contrary to the spirit and letter of the UN Charter – "restrictions" to be placed on Iran's IAEA Safeguarded nuclear program. Nor would you ever know from reading his threat assessment that there even was such a thing as the NPT or the IAEA.)

DNI Blair declares that

"Iran continues its efforts to develop uranium enrichment technology, which can be used both to produce low-enriched uranium for power reactor fuel and to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons."

But, as DNI Blair must know, so long as all Iran's nuclear programs are IAEA-safeguarded, so long as Iran remains a NPT-signatory, Iran's uranium-enrichment technology can not be used to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium.

And, although DNI Blair continues "to assess Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon," he "judges" that Iran "would be technically capable of producing enough highly-enriched uranium for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame."

On what basis could DNI Blair have possibly made such a judgment?

Well, maybe someone in our intelligence community read some of the IAEA reports posted on the IAEA website. Or maybe talked to someone who claimed to have talked to A.Q. Khan, who is an expert on the technological capabilities needed for producing enough almost-pure Uranium-235 to make a nuclear weapon. Certainly, there is no one capable of making such a judgment in this country. Or in Israel.

Of course, it wouldn't do much good for neo-crazy media sycophants, such as William Broad and David Sanger, at the New York Times, to actually read the IAEA reports. They breathlessly claim that the latest report by Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei "said it had discovered an additional 460 pounds of low-enriched uranium, a third more than Iran had previously disclosed."

Horrors!

No. What the IAEA report actually says is that it has now "finalized" its assessment of Iran's physical inventory, carried out back on 24-26 November 2008 and "has concluded that the physical inventory as declared by Iran was consistent" with the IAEA verification.

Far from claiming that Iran had actually produced a third more than it had estimated it had produced, the IAEA has now verified that Iran's estimate was consistent with what they found.

The IAEA then notes that Iran has "estimated" it has produced, since the IAEA did that verification back in November, an additional 171 kg of low enriched UF6.

Now, ElBaradei's report to the IAEA Board and to the UN Security Council is supposed to be primarily concerned with the implementation – or lack thereof – of the Iranian NPT-associated Safeguards Agreement. However, it also addresses ‘relevant provisions' of Security Council resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1835.

ElBaradei reports, once again, that Iran is in complete compliance with its NPT-associated Safeguards Agreement, and is – therefore – in complete compliance with its NPT "obligations."

ElBaradei notes that since Iran has ceased its previous voluntary compliance with an Additional Protocol – as is Iran's right – he is unable to form a "complete picture" of Iran's nuclear programs. Of course, under Iran's existing NPT-associated Safeguards Agreement, no such picture is required.

Nor is ElBaradei required to verify "the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."

Nevertheless, this week, in accepting the task of forming a new government, Likud Party leader Benjamin [Bibi] Netanyahu had this to say;

"Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence."

Okay, that probably settles that. Bibi is going to Bomb-Bomb-Iran. And if he doesn't use nukes, maybe your primary security concern will continue to be how to endure a decade-long depression with sky-high food and oil prices.

But what if Bibi does use nukes?

Well, then your primary security concern can revert to not getting nuked in your jammies.


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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