Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did Susan Rice Disclose Classified Info on Iran?

     Bloomberg's Eli Lake reports Tuesday that the Obama administration kept secret until the beginning of April Iran's two to three month breakout time for a nuclear weapon, saying "the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public."
     Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, speaking to reporters on Monday, said that the administration has held this assessment for "quite some time." Lake says that Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed Monday "that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1."
     However, at least one member of the administration publicly spoke about the two-to-three-month breakout time frame prior to April. On March 2, 2015, National Security Advisor Susan Rice addressed the annual AIPAC meeting and said the following [emphasis added]:
This is my third point—a good deal is one that would verifiably cut off every pathway for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.  Every single one. 
Any deal must prevent Iran from developing weapons-grade plutonium at Arak, or anywhere else. 
Any deal must prevent Iran from enriching uranium at its nuclear facility at Fordow—a site we uncovered buried deep underground and revealed to the world in 2009 
Any deal must increase the time it takes Iran to reach breakout capacity—the time it would take to produce a single bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium.  Today, experts suggest Iran’s breakout window is just two to three months.  We seek to extend that to at least one year.
     Rice's disclosure suggests that either DNI spokesman Brian Hale is incorrect in his assertion that the assessment was declassified on April 1, or Rice revealed classified information.
     The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rice's March disclosure.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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