North Korea Starting Up Nuclear Program Again

Well I did not think the original intentions of the North Korean regime would last long… That is if it actually ever did stop. I gues now that Kim is feeling better, he is back in control. There must have been some speculation within the N. Korean leadership that he was not going to pull through when they originally agreed to stand down their nuke program.

I wonder what Obama would do… How would he handle this situation. Diplomacy has not worked, is not working and does not look like it will work in the near future. Maybe he will do what Bill Clinton did, look the other way until they have more nuclear weapons developed… The same strategy he will use against Iran I am sure.

North Korea says it is preparing to restart its partially dismantled main nuclear reactor.

North Korean diplomat Hyon Hak Bong made the announcement to reporters Friday in the border village of Panmunjom, where talks are set to begin between North and South Korea on energy aid.

Pyongyang had been dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor as part of a six-nation nuclear disarmament deal. But it suspended work on the facility because it said the United States had failed to remove the North from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

British research institute International Institute for Strategic Studies says it will take less than a year for North Korea to restore the reactor.

Hyon also angrily denied reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is sick, dismissing them as rumors spread by people who hate his country. 

South Korean officials said earlier this month that Mr. Kim underwent brain surgery after suffering a stroke. The 66-year-old leader’s health has been the focus of global concern after he failed to show up at a national celebration marking the country’s 60th anniversary.

In a separate development , an expert on Pyongyang’s missile program says North Korea appears to be able to test its missiles under more realistic conditions than before. Joseph Bermudez’s comments to VOA on Thursday follow South Korean media reports that North Korea has been testing the engine for its longest-range missiles. 

Bermudez reported last week in Jane’s Defence Weekly about a new North Korean missile test and launch site, which he called Pyongyang’s “most advanced to date.” He said the launch facility appears to be about one or two years from completion. 

The long-range missile is theoretically capable of hitting the United States, but it failed less than a minute after launch during a test in 2006. It is not known if the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon of the size that North Korea is able to produce. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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North Korea Blows Up Cooling Tower At Main Nuke Site

Something is up with North Korea’s very quick Nuclear breakdown… Yesterday they release their disclosure as part of the lifting of sanctions and today they blow up the cooling tower at Yonbyon, with pictures and everything.

It would seem almost desparate in nature. Especially with the pictures and video being released by this secretive governemnt.  Is the country that bad off from the tryranical rule they have endured? Is this some sort of show? Are they creating a distraction? Only time will tell. I just hope those in power tread carefully and don’t take things at face value.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) — North Korea on Friday destroyed a water cooling tower at a facility where officials acknowledge they extracted plutonium to build nuclear weapons, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reported from the scene.

The cooling tower is demolished at the Yongbyon nuclear complex near Pyongyang, North Korea.

The cooling tower is demolished at the Yongbyon nuclear complex near Pyongyang, North Korea.

The massive implosion, which came at about 5pm local time Friday at the Yongbyon facility, was intended to be a powerful public symbol of a move to end nuclear activities by the Communist nation once branded a member of an “axis of evil” by U.S. President George W. Bush.

The destruction of the highly visible symbol of North Korea’s long-secret nuclear program came just a day after the country released details of its program.

A signal flare gave a three-minute warning as U.S. State Department officials and observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) watched from a reviewing stand.

“The whole thing came tumbling down,” Amanpour said.

“This is a very significant disablement step,” the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, said.

Nuclear experts say that the plant’s destroyed central water-cooling tower would take a year or longer to rebuild if North Korea were to try using the plant again.

“This is a critical piece of equipment for the nuclear reactor,” said analyst John Wolfsthal, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who has been following North Korea since the 1980s. “Without this facility, the reactor can’t operate and can’t produce more plutonium for weapons.” Watch the tower being demolished Video

North Korea has been dismantling other parts of the facility under the watchful eyes of representatives of the five other nations, including the U.S., that have been involved in six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

On Thursday, North Korean officials turned over to China a 60-page declaration, written in English, that details several rounds of plutonium production at the Yongbyon plant dating back to 1986. Video Watch President Bush claim progress over the N. Korea nuclear issue »

In it, North Korea acknowledges producing roughly 40 kilograms of enriched plutonium — enough for about seven nuclear bombs, according to the U.S. State Department.

In response, Bush said he would lift some U.S. sanctions against North Korea and remove the country from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But he made clear that other sanctions remained in place on North Korea — which has been on the terrorism list since its alleged involvement in the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner which killed 115 people.

“The United States has no illusions about the regime in Pyongyang,” Bush said. “We remain deeply concerned about North Korea’s human rights abuses, uranium enrichment activities, nuclear testing and proliferation, ballistic missile programs and the threat it continues to pose to South Korea and its neighbors.”

U.S. analysts will pore over the document to resolve Washington’s outstanding concerns, which include questions about the extent of North Korea’s proliferation of nuclear technology and the status of any uranium enrichment program. Video Watch what’s still unknown after Pyongyang’s declaration »

Friday’s event at the nuclear plant marked at least an effort by North Korea — dubbed “The Hermit Kingdom” in the international community for its isolationist tendencies — to show the world a good-faith effort to end its nuclear weapons program.

Media outlets from the five other nations involved in the talks were invited to view the tower’s implosion, a rare move in North Korea. CNN was among the media outlets present.

But there appeared to be no mention of the declaration or planned implosion at Yongbyon on the Web site of North Korea’s state-run news agency on Thursday. And an article Wednesday noted the 58th anniversary of the Korean war, calling it “a war of aggression started by the U.S. imperialists in an attempt to occupy the whole of Korea.”

 

 

China Hands Over Intel Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

China, a long time defender of Iran over it’s potential nuclear weapons program, has turned over intel regarding the program. China is probably in a good position to actually reveal what Iran’s intentions are as it is believed they helped Iran develope their nuclear program.  This is a turning point for Iran, as one of their staunchest allies is afraid enough of what Iran’s plans are, they are releasing their information on it.

VIENNA, Austria —  China, an opponent of harsh U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, has nonetheless recently provided the International Atomic Energy Agency with intelligence linked to Tehran’s alleged attempts to make nuclear arms, diplomats have told The Associated Press.

Beijing, along with Moscow, has acted as a brake within the council, consistently watering down a U.S.-led push to impose severe penalties on Tehran for its nuclear defiance since the first set of sanctions was passed in late 2006.

A Chinese decision to provide information for use in the agency’s attempts to probe Iran’s purported nuclear weapons program would appear to reflect growing international unease about how honest the Islamic republic has been in denying it ever tried to make such arms.

The new development was revealed by two senior diplomats who closely follow the IAEA probe of Iran’s nuclear program. One commented late last week and the other Wednesday.

The IAEA declined comment, and nobody was picking up phones at the Iranian and Chinese missions to the IAEA.

John Bolton, the previous U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and before that the U.S. undersecretary of state in charge of the Iran nuclear dossier, said any such Chinese move would be “potentially significant” because of Beijing’s former military ties to Tehran. /**/

In a telephone call from Washington, Bolton said America believed that the Chinese had helped Iran develop its nuclear program, particularly in one area of uranium enrichment, “plus they had cooperation on ballistic missile programs as well.”

The diplomats said Beijing was the most surprising entry among a fairly substantial list of nations recently forwarding information to the agency that adds to previously provided intelligence, and which could be relevant in attempts to probe Iran for past or present nuclear weapons research.

But they said several other countries not normally considered to be in the anti-Iran camp had also done so in recent weeks.

The diplomats — who demanded anonymity because their information was confidential — declined to name individual nations. But they attributed a generally increased flow of information to the U.N. nuclear watchdog to concerns sparked by a multimedia presentation to the 35 IAEA board members by the agency in February about intelligence previously forwarded by member states on Iran’s alleged clandestine nuclear arms program.

One of the diplomats said the agency also was on the lookout for misleading information provided it, either inadvertently or in attempts to falsely implicate Iran.

One example, he said was a document showing experiments with implosion technology that can be used to detonate a nuclear device. While the document appeared genuine, it was unclear whether it originated from Iran, said the diplomat.

Suspected weapons-related work outlined in the February presentation and IAEA reports preceding it include:

—uranium conversion linked to high explosives testing and designs of a missile re-entry vehicle, all apparently interconnected through involvement of officials and institutions;

—procurement of so-called “dual use” equipment and experiments that also could be used in both civilian and military nuclear programs; and

—Iran’s possession of a 15-page document outlining how to form uranium metal into the shape of a warhead.

A U.S. intelligence estimate late last year said Tehran worked on nuclear weapons programs until 2003, while Israel and other nations say such work continued past that date.

Tehran continues uranium enrichment, which can generate the fissile core of nuclear warheads, and has led to three sets of Security Council sanctions but insists it is developing the technology only for its other use — power generation.

It denies ever trying to make atomic arms and last month declared the issue of its purported nuclear weapons strivings — and any attempt to investigate them — closed, asserting that information suggesting it ever had a nascent nuclear arms program is fabricated.

But the agency has signaled it is not giving up on its efforts to investigate purported military aspects of Tehran’s nuclear activities. Other diplomats told the AP that deputy director general Olli Heinonen planned to meet in the next few days with Ali-Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief delegate to the agency, to press for answers.

Ahead of that tentative meeting, Gregory L. Schulte, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, urged Tehran to end its stonewalling. He told the AP that with the next IAEA report due in about two months, time was running out for Iran to “explain these serious indications of troubling activities.”

An IAEA report in February said suspicions about most past Iranian nuclear activities had eased or been laid to rest. But it also noted that Iran had rejected the information provided by IAEA member nations to the agency for its probe of suspected weapons research as false and irrelevant.

It also noted that Iran had blocked agency requests to talk to key officials suspected of possible involvement in past military nuclear programs, among them one identified by diplomats as nuclear engineer Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

They told the AP that he and others active as academics in Iran’s civilian nuclear faculties are suspected by the agency of key roles in secret nuclear activities with a possible military dimension, including the procurement of “dual use” equipment.

In a summary recently forwarded to the AP, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group that claims to have informants inside the Iranian government, identified three others as Revolutionary Guard commander Fereydoon Abbasi, Seyed Jaber Safdari and Mohammed Mehdi Nejad-Nouri.

It said the three and others are involved in clandestine nuclear weapons-related research at three Iranian universities: Beheshti; Malek Ahstar and Imam Hossein.

Asked for verification, a senior diplomat of an IAEA member state said that a fact check run by his country’s relevant agency showed the claims to be generally accurate. Another senior diplomat also said the information appeared to be fairly reliable.

The liberal media and Government officials want us to believe N. Korea is ready to play nice… Low and behold aluminum tubes from N. Korea, which they presented as evidence that they did not have a covernt nuclear weapons program, tested positive with traces of enriched uranium

The Posts, liberal stance, is that the traces were contamination by other equipment… What other equipment, the equipment being used to enrich water…

N. Korea managed to run its clandestine program though the Clinton Presidency… Maybe they are just waiting for Hillary to take the reins and start up again. This past years news about N. Korea’s involvement in Iran and Syria should send up some warning signs… But alas the liberal media says it is not so…

WASHINGTON —  Traces of enriched uranium have been found on smelted aluminum tubing provided to the United States by North Korea in its effort to prove it was not operating a secret nuclear program, The Washington Post reported.

Citing U.S. and diplomatic officials, the Post said the discovery by U.S. scientists apparently contradicts North Korea’s claim that its acquisition of thousands of aluminum tubes were for conventional purposes rather than a nuclear program. Such tubes could be used in the process of converting hot uranium gas into fuel for nuclear weapons, according to U.S. officials.

The U.S. did not want to reveal the discovery of the uranium traces because it could expose intelligence methods and complicate diplomatic efforts aimed at North Korea, the Post said in a story posted on its Web site late Thursday. The office of the director of national intelligence and the State Department declined to comment on the discovery, the newspaper said.

The tubing could have been contaminated by exposure to other equipment rather than by an active enrichment program, the Post said, citing unidentified officials.

North Korea is expected to issue a declaration by the end of the month in which it outlines all its nuclear programs. Under an agreement with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, North Korea has begun disabling its main nuclear facilities.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Associated Press last week that the Bush administration was not ready to “engage broadly” with North Korea until its leadership ended all aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea and Iran “are clearly still states about which there are significant proliferation concerns,” Rice said

Hide And Seek With Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

Another piece of missing NIE information. As many are already speculating, Iran is still running its nuclear weapons program. The NIE report surely seems damning of our government, but as the report states, Iran suspended its program in 2003. Key here is suspended. This is not the same as ended.

Well according to this report, which claims to have people inside Iran, the program is unsuspended and under the strictest covert cover. This is more believable than the complete dumping of the program. It would also indicate that diplomatic methods are not working. Have diplomatic efferts ever worked with Iran?

Iran needs to be shown force, that is the only thing this Jihadist regime understands. As for their 2003 suspension of their nuclear program, force is clearly their motive behind its suspension, the invasion of Iraq scarred the shit of the Iranians…

Since then threat of force has been deminished to nothing thanks to our liberal comrades in the US and UN. So Iran feels they are free to do as they please. The NIE report gives Iran just the cannon fodder they needed to through the anti-American and anti-Bush political movements into high gear.

In 10-15 years, hindsight will be 20-20 and people will be blaming Bush for not attacking Iran when he knew they were running this nuclear program all along.

Mr. Bush get some balls and turn up the pressure on Iran.

NEW YORK —  Iran did shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003 but restarted it a year later, moving and hiding the equipment to thwart international inspectors, according to an Iranian opposition group, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran exposed the country’s nuclear-fuel program in 2002 and now believes a newly released U.S. analysis is giving the wrong impression that Iran’s nuclear program is not an urgent threat, the newspaper reported.

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate published last week said Tehran shut down its weaponization program in 2003, contradicting an earlier report that the Islamic Republic was determined to build a nuclear bomb.

Read the Wall Street Journal report (subscription required)

The NCRI, considered by the United States and European Union to be a terrorist organization, has had a mixed record of accuracy with its claims about Iran’s nuclear ambitions in the past, the Wall Street Journal said.

The NCRI, however, says it was added to the EU terrorist list under pressure from Tehran at a time when Western countries were trying to improve relations with Iran.

The group agrees that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council decided to shut down its most important nuclear weapons research center in eastern Tehran, called Lavisan-Shian, in August 2003, the Journal said.

But the group, which claims it has sources inside Iran, told the paper the facility was broken into 11 fields of research, including projects to develop a nuclear trigger and shape weapons-grade uranium into a warhead.

“They scattered the weaponization program to other locations and restarted in 2004,” Mohammad Mohaddessin, NCRI’s foreign affairs chief, told the Wall Street Journal.

“Their strategy was that if the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) found any one piece of this research program, it would be possible to justify it as civilian. But so long as it was all together, they wouldn’t be able to.”

By the time international inspectors were allowed to visit the Lavisan site, the buildings Iran claimed were devoted to nuclear research had been torn down and the ground bulldozed, the paper reported.

The NCRI said the equipment was moved to another military compound known as the Center for Readiness and Advanced Technology, to Malek-Ashtar University Isfahan and to a defense ministry hospital in Tehran.

NIE Gaps Missing

Michael Tanji posted a very insightful piece on Threatswatch.org regarding the latest NIE report. Mr. Tanji, a former intel analyst points out the missing ingredient that leave open a doorway to disaster in our national security.

As Mr. Tanji points out, the intel community left out variables they do not know from the report, which means that future intel reports may not be accurate because they will be looking for the wrong information.

Also of concern is the fact that of the 150 page report, only a 4 page summary has been released to the public. Can a true interpretation of the intel be comprehended by this summary and is this more of a partisan play that highlights only the anti-Bush agenda… The questionable intelligence in the report may show more of a concern for what Iran is doing, but that is not at our disposal.

There is Value in Recognizing Ignorance

By Michael Tanji | December 10, 2007

Ample ink has been spilled by both ends of the political spectrum on what the latest NIE on Iran’s nuclear capabilities means. Partisans in both camps have reason to love and hate the thing, or more precisely what they think is in the thing, given that we are dealing with just four pages of unclassified and high-level conclusions from 150 pages of narrative and supporting material. The folly of judging important books by their covers notwithstanding, one question remains to be asked: with all that may be wrong with an NIE, what should be done to make them more right?

By “right” I do not mean what political slant they should take (ideally, none). To a certain extent I do not even mean how correct they should be. By “right” I mean how accurately they explain what is known and more importantly what is unknown.

Allow me to explain.

As a former intelligence analyst I recall a time when an enlightened boss with sufficient bureaucratic muscle would allow analysts to include a section in their assessments labeled “intelligence gaps.” “Key judgments” are the intelligence community’s version of the outside world’s “executive summary.” I’m not aware of a parallel to “intelligence gaps,” since like most authors trying to convey expertise, intelligence officers do not like to suggest that there is something they don’t know.

The importance of the gaps section in an intelligence assessment cannot be understated. It was not simply a laundry list of factors that you were ignorant about; it served as a management tool that would help craft future collection requirements. Satellites not taking pictures of the right sites? Not recruiting agents in the right locations or asking them the right questions? By pointing out where collection was coming up short and how you were under-serving policymakers, you justified your request for a change in tactics and demonstrated your willingness to respond to consumer needs.

This wasn’t a one-way street. Collectors get more credit when the gather information of high value. One report with a breakthrough piece of information is worth infinitely more than 20 reports telling you some variation on what you already knew. By providing what analyst’s needed, collectors ended up helping themselves. Likewise, if the list of unknowns grew smaller, consumers could better determine if intelligence was serving their needs and bolster their confidence in our assessments.

Of course like any exercise conducted in a bureaucracy, this collector-analyst feedback process was spotty at best. You had to make a serious effort to carve out the time the fill out evaluations and in a job that is often nothing but juggling one “must do now” task after another, collector feedback was often viewed as a housekeeping task that could be put off, usually indefinitely. As much as anything, this internal intelligence failure contributes to the community’s sorry record of gathering meaningful intelligence on a wide variety of targets, particularly hard targets like Iran.

There are many ways to tackle an intelligence problem analytically, but what makes or breaks an intelligence assessment is the information available to be analyzed. One unimpeachable source on one discrete topic can make for a very confident assessment indeed, but few intelligence problems are so narrow and simple. Read the key judgments of this latest NIE backwards to see what I mean. Viewed in this fashion it says, “We are not terribly confident in these discrete elements, but when we view them as a whole our confidence is boosted.” That’s akin to an airline mechanic signing off on the airworthiness of a jetliner knowing that almost everything he just inspected is dodgy. Who wants to board the plane first?

As mentioned previously, the full NIE is 150 pages long, so enough collection may not be a problem. However, the fact that the authors make such an effort to couch and caveat what they think they know indicates that they are making up for a great deal of ignorance. Should we be satisfied with such ambiguous and circumspect descriptions of the information our nation’s leaders will be using to make the critical decisions of our time?

Your author has commented elsewhere on what he feels is really at work with this NIE. While it may very well be a partisan political agenda made manifest, experience suggests that the intelligence community is doing its utmost to avoid another public failure on par with Iraq’s WMD programs (or India’s nuclear weapons test, or the collapse of the Soviet Union, etc.). This includes but is not limited to using every linguistic trick in the book to ensure that anything written about any intelligence problem could be looked at in hindsight as “right” if interpreted in a particular way.

The community owes the leaders of our country, regardless of their political affiliation, better.

People laughed at former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he spoke of the problem of “unknown unknowns.” Odd as his verbiage was, he was driving home the point that you cannot make sound decisions about national security if you are in any way ignorant of your adversary’s intentions and activities. Does anyone really think that one of our toughest intelligence targets suddenly became transparent or is it more likely that there is more going on here than meets the eye?

Anyone in the current administration – and any aspiring presidential candidate – that is interested in leaving a noteworthy imprint on the intelligence community should make mandatory the inclusion of intelligence gaps in every NIE and major intelligence product. Our adversaries do not need to know what we don’t know, but the community would be doing itself and its customers a great service by remembering the significance of ignorance.

Liberal Doves Wary Of NEI Conclusion On Iran’s Nuclear Program

Wow another news story I never thought I would see happen… It appears that Bush’s assertion that Iran is a danger is not overblown….

Some experts fear the intelligence estimate will sap international pressure to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons.

By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 7, 2007

WASHINGTON — The new U.S. intelligence report that says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 is suddenly raising concerns among the political center and left, as well as conservatives who have long called for a hard line against the Islamic Republic.

Moderate and liberal foreign policy experts said that U.S. intelligence agencies, possibly eager to demonstrate independence from White House political pressure, may have produced a National Intelligence Estimate that is more reassuring than it should be on the potential risks of the Iranian nuclear program.

Isfahan

Isfahan

 click to enlarge

The report, made public Monday, contradicted the Bush administration’s assertion that Iran has been secretly working to build nuclear weapons. It also found that Tehran, which says it is enriching uranium solely for civilian energy purposes, appears to have a pragmatic view and has responded to outside pressure and economic sanctions, in contrast to characterizations by administration hawks.

For years, President Bush’s anti-Tehran vitriol has drowned out the more circumspect voices in the U.S. foreign policy establishment who nonetheless agree Iran poses a concern. But with this week’s report, many experts worried that the pressure they believe is needed to counter Tehran now may dissipate.

Iran expert Ray Takeyh, a former professor at the National War College and National Defense University, said that although his own politics are left of the president’s, he agrees with Bush that Iran’s nuclear program is a continuing threat.

“The position I take is that President Bush is right on this,” said Takeyh, now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Takeyh, who has long argued for engaging Iran in diplomacy, said the intelligence report was too easy on Tehran by not objecting to the uranium enrichment program, which many Western governments have alleged is meant to build the knowledge base to eventually develop nuclear weapons. The American intelligence agencies, in effect, accepted Iran’s contention that the enrichment is for peaceful purposes, Takeyh said.

After the report’s release, Bush pledged to maintain pressure on Iran and lobbied for international support. On Thursday, French and German leaders meeting in Paris said they favored continued pressure, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not commit herself to backing harsher United Nations sanctions sought by the United States.

The new U.S. intelligence estimate has made any new economic sanctions unlikely, most analysts agree, since it has given nations such as Russia and China a reason to give the benefit of the doubt to Iran, their ally and business partner. As a result, experts of varying political affiliations in Washington believe that efforts to successfully apply pressure on Iran have been hurt by the report.

At the same time, they say, it is questionable whether the Islamic Republic has been responsive to international pressure, as the report suggests.

Sharon Squassoni, a former government nuclear safeguards expert now with the generally liberal Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, noted that the intelligence report said Iran suspended its enrichment program in 2003 and later signed an agreement allowing U.N. inspections.

But, she said, the portion of the report made public was silent on the fact that the Iranians reversed both actions in 2006.

The ability to develop fissile materials is the most important element of a nuclear weapons program, she told reporters.

Gary Samore, who was a top arms control official in the Clinton White House, agreed that the National Intelligence Estimate did not adequately emphasize Iran’s continuing efforts to enrich uranium and build missiles.

The halting of the weaponization program in 2003 is less important from a proliferation standpoint than resumption of the enrichment program in 2006,” said Samore, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Samore said the report undermined Bush’s warnings about Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons and left Tehran in a strong position, allowing it to develop its enrichment capacity without a substantial challenge from the United States and its allies. The secret weaponization program is “on ice,” he said, but Iran preserves the option to resume that when it wishes.

Though American intelligence officials believe Iran has been enriching uranium at a concentration that could only be used for civilian energy purposes, analysts fear that the same basic technology could eventually be used to kick-start a weapons program.

Anthony Lake, who was a national security advisor to President Clinton, found no fault with the intelligence report. But he said a key message was the importance of taking action.

While we’ve got more time, we’ve got to use the time, because the enrichment activities are continuing,” Lake said in an interview.

The new report repeats a number of the same cautions and conclusions in its last major assessment, in 2005, when the agencies reached the vastly different conclusion that Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons. But the new report stresses the more recent findings that cast doubt on Tehran’s determination to build a bomb.

As a result, conservatives have denounced the report.

John R. Bolton, the hawkish former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has called for a congressional investigation of the report, which he said is flawed.

In a Washington Post op-ed column Thursday, Bolton alleged that many of the officials involved were “not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department” brought in by J. Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence.

Norman Podhoretz, the right-wing commentator who has advocated a U.S. military strike on Iran and who is a foreign policy advisor to Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign, accused the intelligence community of purposefully “leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush.”

paul.richter@latimes.com