NYT buries the lead– Iranians halted weapons program in ’03 and have not restarted it

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New York Times News

Lest we forget Iran, page A1 of the New York Times today graces us with apprehension: U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran. But it’s a whole whole lot of nothing for two pages till it ends on this:

The draft version [of the U.S. government’s National Intelligence Estimate of 2010] had concluded that the Iranians were still trying to build a bomb, the same finding of a 2005 assessment. But as they scrutinized the new intelligence from several sources, including intercepted communications in which Iranian officials were heard complaining to one another about stopping the program, the American intelligence officials decided they had to change course, officials said. While enrichment activities continued, the evidence that Iran had halted its weapons program in 2003 at the direction of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was too strong to ignore, they said.

One former senior official characterized the information as very persuasive. “I had high confidence in it,” he said. “There was tremendous evidence that the program had been halted.”

And today, despite criticism of that assessment from some outside observers and hawkish politicians, American intelligence analysts still believe that the Iranians have not gotten the go-ahead from Ayatollah Khamenei to revive the program.

“That assessment,” said one American official, “holds up really well.”

What a waste of a front page, when important stories often land on A18.

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DICKERSON3870

RE: “page A1 of the New York Times today graces us with apprehension: U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran. But it’s a whole whole lot of nothing for two pages…” ~ Annie Robbins MY COMMENT: Numerous articles by James Risen over the years in the… Read more »

The expression is burying the “lede.” Not “lead.”

richb
richb

Note that many papers carry NYT front page stories but only run the first 1/3 – 1/2 of the story. The paper can legitimately claim they told the whole story but people who read the story in syndication by other papers will not get the whole story at all irrespective… Read more »

ToivoS
ToivoS

This is extreme even by NYT practices. Before seeing annie’s comments I read that piece and was wondering what was the point and then, right at the end, there was the news. And, at least to me, that was something new — total inversion of news reporting protocols.

HarryLaw
HarryLaw

Regime change has been US policy in Iran for a long time, well before any nuclear issues arose, the Iraq war was concocted on the basis, as Wolfowitz said at the time that WMD was the one thing the US and UK could agree on so they ran with that.… Read more »