Bush to Israel: NIE Was Wrong

Prez privately telling Israel he doesn't believe Iran has shut down nukes
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2008 3:15 PM CST
President Bush waves as he boards Air Force One before leaving for Kuwait following an official departure ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Jan. 11, 2008. U.S....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush is privately assuring Israel’s leaders that he doesn’t believe the National Intelligence Estimate's conclusion that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. In disavowing December's NIE, Bush said the “conclusions don't reflect his own views,” a US official told Newsweek. The private pledge may help quell calls in Israel’s defense community for military strikes.

Olmert was “very happy” with Bush’s reassurances, even as national security adviser Stephen Hadley said the president was only repeating that he still considered Iran “a threat" and was not disavowing the NIE. The anonymous official also said Bush seemed almost apologetic when first telling Olmert about the intelligence estimate, about a week before it was made public.