Thu, 17 Jan 2008 01:03:46
George W. Bush
"I defended our intelligence services, but made it clear that they're an independent agency; that they come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want," said the US President George W. Bush.
Bush said he still viewed Iran as "a threat" despite a US National Intelligence Estimate, released last month, which confirmed the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program.
"He told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says, but that (the NIE's) conclusions don't reflect his own views" about Iran's nuclear-weapons program, an anonymous senior US administration official was quoted as saying in Newsweek magazine.
Asked whether Bush doubted the findings, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did not answer directly but said "He does not believe that the NIE that was produced ... should provide anyone any comfort that Iran is not a threat."
Political pundits believe the NIE has dampened the Bush administration's attempts to portray Tehran's nuclear program as a threat.