U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Defense Science Board Report
A recently published Defense Department study "Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies" (January 2014), by the blue ribbon Defense Science Board, concludes the following:
"Closing the nation's global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority. It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don't normally do well without a crisis. ...monitoring for proliferation... presents challenges for which current solutions are either inadequate, or more often, do not exist. Among these challenges are... Small inventories of weapons and materials.... Small nuclear enterprises designed to produce, store, and deploy only a small number of weapons...Undeclared facilities and/or covert operations, such as testing below detection thresholds, or acquisition of materials or weapons through theft or purchase... Use of non‐traditional technologies..."
These intelligence blind-spots align perfectly with U.S. monitoring gaps against Iran's nuclear weapons program. The Defense Science Board Report is tantamount to an admission that Iran probably already has the bomb.
Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program
Like the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iran's nuclear weapons program is clandestine, mostly underground, mostly inaccessible to international inspections, and impenetrable to U.S. national technical means. Most of what we know about Iran's nuclear program has been disclosed voluntarily by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The U.S. did not even suspect Iran was working on the bomb until 2002, after the program was in operation for some 15 years.
We should know from our own experience that Iran probably already has the bomb. During its World War II Manhattan Project, when nuclear weapons were only a theoretical possibility, and working with 1940s era technology, the U.S. built two atomic bombs of radically different design that both worked perfectly -- in a mere three years.
Iran, with access to copious unclassified information on nuclear weapon designs, working with 21st Century technology, helped by the A.Q. Khan network, North Korea, Russia, and China, supposedly has been unable to build the bomb -- after thirty years of trying. This is an implausibly optimistic assessment.
North Korea developed its first nuclear weapons in no more than 8 years.
Unreported by the mainstream media are warnings that Iran might already have the bomb by such experts as former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey; former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth; President Reagan's Science Advisor Dr. William R. Graham; former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Admiral Robert Monroe; former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Ambassador Henry Cooper; and Israeli intelligence officers, the latter going public in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in September 2013.
Historically, the U.S. intelligence community has underestimated and been surprised by foreign nuclear weapon programs. They were surprised by the first Soviet A-bomb test in 1949, by the Soviet H-bomb test in 1955, by China's first nuclear test in 1964, by discovery after the 1991 Persian Gulf War that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was within 6 months of developing an atomic bomb, by Pakistan and India's nuclear tests in 1998, and by North Korea's nuclear test in 2006.
Nuclear Testing Not Necessary
Nuclear testing is not necessary to develop a nuclear weapon deliverable by aircraft or missile. The U.S. Hiroshima bomb (a "gun-type" uranium bomb) was not tested before use -- Hiroshima was the test. Israel, South Africa, and North Korea all developed nuclear weapons without nuclear testing.
North Korea developed its first nuclear weapon by 1993, according to a declassified CIA report and Senate testimony by then Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey. North Korea's first nuclear test years later, in 2006, was probably for political purposes -- nuclear blackmail of the U.S. and its allies -- and to develop more sophisticated nuclear weapons.
Iran and North Korea are strategic partners and by treaty and in practice share science and technology. North Korean scientists are present in Iran helping its missile and nuclear programs. Iranian scientists reportedly have been present at all three North Korean nuclear tests.
A prudent U.S. foreign and defense policy would assume that Iran's nuclear weapons program is probably on a par with North Korea's.
See No Evil
America has a bigger problem with its intelligence community than the inadequacy of national technical means to monitor rogue state and terrorist nuclear weapon programs.
Intelligence community leaders General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Morrell, until recently the Deputy Director of CIA, are proven liars, willing to lie to Congress and the American people to cover up the failures and transgressions of the Obama Administration.
Clapper lied about National Security Agency spying on the American people. He lied again in covering for President Obama's false assertion that North Korea does not have nuclear missiles -- during the crisis over North Korea's threatened nuclear missile strikes in 2013 -- belittling the Defense Intelligence Agency's accurate assessment that Pyongyang does, in fact, have nuclear armed missiles.
Morrell lied when he altered CIA talking points on Benghazi to protect then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.
Clapper and Morrell are clear indicators that the Obama Administration has corrupted -- the technical word is "politicized" -- the intelligence community. How can Congress and the American people trust their intelligence leaders to tell the truth about anything that reflects badly on this White House? The fish rots from the head down.
The biggest liar is in the White House.
The Obama Administration's Geneva interim agreement with Iran is probably calculated to kick the can down the road so some future administration will get blamed if Iran eventually does a nuclear test. The model is the Clinton Administration's Agreed Framework with North Korea, which never had any realistic chance of denuclearizing North Korea, but kicked the can to the Bush Administration, so they got blamed for the North Korean bomb when Pyongyang tested in 2006.
If Iran already has the bomb, why have they not yet tested?
Fritz Ermarth thinks Iran is following the example of North Korea, and probably wants to clandestinely build such robust capabilities so that its nuclear status will become irreversible.
Israel and South Africa never tested because they elected to pursue a policy of deliberate ambiguity, to reap the deterrence benefits of being known nuclear weapon states while avoiding the international opprobrium of making their nuclear status official by testing.
However, most of my colleagues and I conclude from analysis of Iranian and Jihadi statements and writings that Tehran is not interested in the bomb for status or deterrence. The word "deterrence" does not even appear in their military writings about the bomb. It is all about nuclear use, in particular a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would cause a protracted national blackout, potentially killing millions of Americans through starvation and societal collapse.
For example: "If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they will disintegrate within a few years.... American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot." (Tehran, Nashriyeh-e Siasi Nezami)
The mullahs who run Iran want the bomb for reasons of religious eschatology having to do with the Shiite version of Apocalypse, the return of their 12th Imam, and the ultimate triumph of Islam in the secular and spiritual universe. In this vision, the Jews and Infidels (that's us) must convert or die.
The Islamic Bomb has nothing to do with deterrence theory or geostrategic calculations familiar to Western nuclear strategists. The Mullahs have their own timetable for the Apocalypse. They hold a "12th Imam Conference" in Tehran every year to study signs and portents. Their development of nuclear weapons, and the failure of the West to stop them, is itself interpreted as one of the "miracles" indicating the Apocalypse is nigh.
The possibility of nuclear EMP attack is another "miracle" as it destroys the high-tech society and weaponry that is the source of U.S. strength. In this view, Western materialism and worship of the False God that is Technology becomes our downfall.
A Nuclear EMP attack would cause us to destroy ourselves by means of the corrupt lifestyles of an anti-spiritual civilization wholly focused and dependent upon high-tech materialism. We would die for our sins in the perfect act of divine retribution:
"In the context of the final battle... all of the planes and satellites will fall, computers will fail, other equipment will be made useless and... the Earth will be shaken ... by nuclear war," prophesy Abdallah and Shayk Muhammed an-Naqshbandi, "Technology will stop or turn against the Americans."
The Congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran has several times detonated its Shahab III missile at high altitudes, apparently simulating a nuclear EMP attack. Iran has also demonstrated the capability to launch a ballistic missile from a freighter and make a nuclear EMP strike anonymously, and so perhaps escape retaliation. Iran has also orbited several satellites on trajectories consistent with practicing a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Iran has not conducted a nuclear test because its theocracy is not interested in diplomatic "signaling" or Western theories of nuclear deterrence and arms control bargaining. When the mullahs are ready, they will make a surprise nuclear attack. The vaporization of New York City and an EMP attack that crashes American society will be their nuclear tests.
The bottom line is that Iran is a nuclear truck bomb headed our way.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served in the CIA, the House Armed Services Committee, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the Congressional EMP Commission, and is the author of Electric Armageddon and Apocalypse Unknown both books available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.
Also appeared on americanthinker, sent by the writer