Giuliani advisor: Doubt the NIE!

Norman Podhoretz suspects that the intelligence community is attempting to undermine Bush.

By Tim Grieve

Published December 4, 2007 8:09PM (EST)

In an NPR radio debate going on right now, the Democratic candidates are taking turns explaining how the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran underscores the ways in which the Bush administration has failed the United States. "You cannot trust this president," Joe Biden says. "He is not trustworthy. He has undermined our security in the region. He has undermined our credibility in the world. He has made it more difficult to get cooperation from the rest of the world."

Norman Podhoretz has a different reaction. Podhoretz -- a "founding father of the neocon movement" who is currently serving as a senior advisor to Rudy Giuliani -- says the NIE is proof that we cannot trust ... the intelligence community.

As Think Progress reports, Podhoretz says he can't shake the suspicion 1) that the "intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view ... that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons"; 2) that "having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal"; and 3) that "the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again."

"This time, the purpose is to head off the possibility that the president may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations," Podhoretz writes.

If you're thinking that it would be a good thing to "head off" such airstrikes -- particularly if Iran is not, in fact, developing nuclear weapons -- well, you don't think like Podhoretz thinks. In an interview earlier this year, Podhoretz said that he hoped and prayed that the United States would bomb Iran -- really, he used those words, "hope" and "pray" -- even though doing so might "unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we've experienced so far look like a lovefest."

Did we mention that Podhoretz is one of Giuliani's top advisors on foreign policy? Once Mitt Romney is done giving his "Mormonism" speech, perhaps Giuliani ought to be called on to give one on what Podhoretzianism means to him.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Iran Middle East Rudy Giuliani War Room