The New York Times reports Sunday on a leaked January 2010 classified memo, authored by Secretary of Defense Gates for NSA Jones issuing a "stark warning" that the United States [wa]s not adequately prepared" in the face of a nuclear-ambitious Iran.
Among Gates's primary concerns:
- What US response should Iran assemble all elements necessary to create a nuclear weapon without actually continuing on to actually assemble a usable bomb.
- Need "new thinking" about how to contain Iran if it chooses to produce a bomb, and how to prevent Iran's state-sponsored terrorist groups from gaining access to the same.
- Discussion of secret operations against Iran and how to best manage Gulf alliances.
Though the administration insists that Gates' memo did not provoke a dramatic shift in its ongoing efforts to devise policy, it does signal the difficulty in both generating new non-military responses and in breaking with Bush-era continuity. Despite the tonal shift and an effort to engage Tehran, Obama has found it difficult to generate global enthusiasm for a new round of sanctions just as Iran allowed his deadline for negotiations to lapse in late 2009.
UPDATE: CNN reports on Gates' response.
- Amy Greene