National Security

Spy panel Dems rally to support Iran deal

Current and former Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are trying to persuade their colleagues to back the nuclear deal with Iran by pointing to past intelligence assessments.

Classified reviews available to lawmakers make it clear that Iran would not be able to cheat without being detected, ten Democrats wrote in a letter on Thursday.

{mosads}“We are confident that this monitoring and the highly intrusive inspections provided for in the agreement — along with our own intelligence capabilities — make it nearly impossible for Iran to develop a covert enrichment effort without detection,” they said. “You need not just take our word for it; please arrange a time to visit the Office of House Security in HVC-301 where you can read the assessment of our intelligence agencies for yourself.”

The lawmakers also seek to address “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which have become a flash point for critics of the deal.

Skeptics have scolded the IAEA for refusing to detail its plans to study the possible past militarization of Iran’s nuclear program. But U.S. intelligence agents have deep enough insight to make those details virtually meaningless, the lawmakers wrote.

“[W]e do have extensive knowledge of Iran’s prior weapons work from an abundance of sources,” they wrote.

“[O]ur intelligence is far more comprehensive and accurate than the statements we are likely to obtain from Iran’s scientists or the information we can gather from IAEA access to sites Iran has had a decade to bulldoze and sanitize,” the added.

Thursday’s letter was led by Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). The other Democrats to sign on were Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Luis Guttiérrez (Ill.), Jim Himes (Conn.), André Carson (Ind.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Mike Thompson (Calif.). Pelosi is an ex-officio member of the panel. Eshoo, Schakowsky and Thompson were formerly members of the Intelligence Committee.

The letter comes amid a steady trickle of lawmakers announcing positions on the deal ahead of a mid-September vote. Lobbying on the agreement has hardly slowed in August, even though Congress is out of session for the month-long summer recess.

Tags Adam Schiff House Intelligence Committee Iran United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

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