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The ITT List

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006, 8:04 pm

A Couple Noteworthy Items In The NY Times

By Brian Zick
Has Anybody Told George Bush Yet?
William Broad, Nazila Fathi and Joel Brinkley report that: "Analysts Say a Nuclear Iran Is Years Away."

Western nuclear analysts said yesterday that Tehran lacked the skills, materials and equipment to make good on its immediate nuclear ambitions...
The official, Muhammad Saeedi, the deputy head of Iran's atomic energy organization, said Iran would push quickly to put 54,000 centrifuges on line — a vast increase from the 164 they said Tuesday that they had used to enrich uranium to levels that could fuel a nuclear reactor.

Still, nuclear analysts called the claims exaggerated. They said nothing had changed to alter current estimates of when Iran might be able to make a single nuclear weapon, assuming that is its ultimate goal. The United States government has put that at 5 to 10 years, and some analysts have said it could come as late as 2020.
"They're hyping it," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, a private group that monitors the Iranian nuclear program. "There's still a lot they have to do." Anthony H. Cordesman and Khalid R. al-Rodhan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington called the new Iranian claims "little more than vacuous political posturing" meant to promote Iranian nationalism and a global sense of atomic inevitability.

Lots of Iran-bashing by various sources, all effectively undercutting the pretense of urgency. But no mention whatsoever in the article of the Bush administration's aggressive fear-mongering, conveniently timed to the approach of the November elections, in a blatant replay of the GOP's 2002 electoral strategy. Well, maybe they're just exposing one extremist megalomaniac at a time.

Has Anybody Told Arlen Specter Yet?
Better a little late than never. John Markof and Scott Shane finally get around to reporting on the case of AT&T in cahoots with NSA illegal spying. The story is headlined: "Documents Show Link Between AT&T and Agency in Eavesdropping Case" A class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation accuses AT&T of helping the NSA invade AT&T's customers' privacy.

Mark Klein was a veteran AT&T technician in 2002 when he began to see what he thought were suspicious connections between that telecommunications giant and the National Security Agency.
Now Mr. Klein and a few company documents he saved have emerged as key elements in a class-action lawsuit filed against AT&T on Jan. 31 by a civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The suit accuses the company of helping the security agency invade its customers' privacy.
Based on his observations and technical knowledge, Mr. Klein concluded that the equipment permitted "vacuum-cleaner surveillance" of Internet traffic. Mr. Klein, 60, who retired in 2004 after 23 years with AT&T and lives near Oakland, Calif., said he decided to make his observations known because he believed the government's monitoring was violating Americans' civil liberties.
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