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National Intelligence Estimate

Bush Administration Credibility Suffers After Iran NIE Report

The new National Intelligence Estimate — which says Iran had a nuclear weapons development program, but halted it in 2003 — made President Bush's week play out like a sad country song.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was smiling and called the report a victory. Rush Limbaugh blasted the report as a product of administration sabotage. And Democrats were accusing the president of being a flip-flopper.The NIE drew fire from nearly all sides, including anti-war Democrats in Congress, foreign leaders the administration needs to hold the line against Iran, and conservatives usually supportive of the administration.The root issue for many critics comes down to credibility: Credibility of the estimate, credibility of the intelligence community that developed it and the credibility of the administration for whom those agencies work. Bridging that credibility gap might prove difficult for an administration heading into its final months.The administration remains resolute in its position that policy toward Ir...

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