With a nuclear deal with Tehran hanging in the balance, lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of downplaying Iran’s role in funding terrorist organizations in the Middle East. In the 2015 World Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the administration failed to include references to Iran and their ongoing support for known terrorists.
This omission inspired several top senators to write a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “Despite ongoing nuclear negotiations and the administration’s evolving policy towards the Iranian regime, we are perplexed that your annual assessment contains no meaningful reference to the chaos that Iran manufactures through its support for terrorist groups and proxy organizations, which raises serious questions about the credibility of this annual exercise,” read the letter. It was signed by Dan Coats, Tom Cotton, and others.
On June 3rd, Clapper responded, assuring the lawmakers that including Iran in the report “would have been appropriate” and that the omission “is in no way a change in the assessment.”
That of course leads to the natural question of why references to Iran were missing from the report. Was it a mistake? Were there earlier drafts that included Iran’s terror network? If so, why were they taken out? This isn’t an academic discussion. With the June 30th deadline approaching, the Obama administration has a vested interest in repositioning Iran’s place in the world. It makes no sense to lift economic sanctions against a country that will just turn around and funnel money to organizations like Hezbollah.
For now, the Obama administration is mum on why Iran was left out of the report. That, of course, can only lead us to one conclusion. They were left out purposefully. Obama wants us to believe that Iran is ready to join the rest of us in the first world, and he’s willing to play games to get what he wants. He has a great deal of reputation riding on this nuclear deal, and he’s going to do anything he can to make sure it doesn’t fall apart at the last minute. Unfortunately, “anything” includes endangering U.S. interests and allies.
Intelligence reports should be free of political bias, insofar as its possible to achieve that lofty state. They should at least be comprehensive with the facts. If President Obama is determined to do this deal with Iran, nothing is going to change his mind. But the American people and the representatives we elect deserve to know what we’re getting into. If he can still make a case for a nuclear deal with a rogue nation, more power to him. That is, if there’s any power left to give.