AFP: A congressional committee warned Wednesday of “significant” gaps in US intelligence on Iran, a scenario it said precluded confident assessments on Tehran’s weapons of mass destruction programs. WASHINGTON, Aug 23, 2006 (AFP) – A congressional committee warned Wednesday of “significant” gaps in US intelligence on Iran, a scenario it said precluded confident assessments on Tehran’s weapons of mass destruction programs.
The unclassified report called on US intelligence agencies to provide better information to policymakers, in the event of any talks on the current nuclear showdown, or to check compliance with sanctions if negotiations founder.
It was released as tensions between Iran and the United States rose another notch, as the State Department said Tehran’s response to an incentives package aimed at ending the standoff fell short of conditions to avoid sanctions.
“There is a great deal about Iran that we do not know,” the report, issued by the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said.
“The United States lacks critical information needed for analysts to make many of their judgments with confidence about Iran and there are many significant information gaps,” said the report, accompanied by a classified annex.
The committee declined to specify where gaps were evident, saying it did not want to tip off the Iranian government, but added that more needed to be done to decipher Iran’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons efforts, its political and economic strategy, alleged support for terrorism and involvement in fomenting violence in Iraq.
“US policymakers and intelligence officials believe, without exception that the United States must collect more and better intelligence on a wide range of Iranian issues,” the report said.
Complaints about the structure of intelligence collecting struck a familiar chord. Huge gaps in US knowledge about Iraq’s clandestine programs were exposed after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration as the rationale for war.