Current and Former House Intelligence Committee Members Urge Colleagues to Review Intelligence Community Assessments of Iran Nuclear Deal

Aug 13, 2015

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Contact:  Patrick Boland, (202) 225-4176

Current and Former House Intelligence Committee Members Urge Colleagues to Review Intelligence Community Assessments of Iran Nuclear Deal

Washington, DC –Today, current and former Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) sent a letter to their colleagues concerning Iran's past nuclear weapons work and the likelihood of catching Iran if it cheated and attempted to establish a covert enrichment program. The letter urges Members to review the Intelligence Community's classified assessments for themselves.

Current Members of the Intelligence Committee signing the letter include Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Luis Guttierrez (D-IL), Jim Himes (D-CT), Andre Carson (D-IN),  Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA); former Members signing include former Ranking Member, current ex-officio Member and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

The PDF of the letter can be found here and the text of the full letter is below:

Dear Colleague:

As current and former members of the House Intelligence Committee, we are writing regarding two important issues that have been raised during the review of the Iran deal negotiated by the Administration and other representatives of the P5+1.

The first concerns the ability to catch Iran should it decide to cheat and attempt to “break out” and develop a nuclear weapon. As you know, the agreement provides constant monitoring of Iran’s known nuclear facilities throughout the entire chain of development, from the uranium mines to its centrifuges. 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. 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 second issue concerns the IAEA and its ability to establish a baseline on Iran’s prior nuclear weapons research and development. While we do not know precisely what Iran has committed to make accessible to the IAEA for the purpose of answering the IAEA’s questions over the prior military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work, we do have extensive knowledge of Iran’s prior weapons work from an abundance of sources. To the degree that the United States and other world powers need a “baseline” on how far Iran progressed during its nuclear work over a decade ago, our own intelligence can supply the answer. And our 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.

During our entire service on the Intelligence Committee, we have made it a top priority to monitor Iran’s nuclear program, its missile development, and its nefarious activities in the region and beyond. We have done so because we recognize the imperative – for the United States and our allies, including Israel – that Iran never obtain a nuclear weapon. You can be assured that these efforts will not only continue under the agreement but intensify. We have also developed strong international partnerships that will help empower the IAEA to inspect and monitor Iranian compliance with the limitations and constraints on its nuclear activities in the future.

The upcoming vote on the nuclear agreement is one of the most important votes we will cast in Congress. Our work on the Intelligence Committee and the insights it has given us into Iran’s nuclear program – past and present – as well as the confidence it gives us that this agreement cuts off Iran’s access to the bomb, have been significant drivers behind our decision to support the deal.

We hope you will take advantage of the Intelligence Community’s assessment as you make your decision. In the future, as in the past, we will all need to work together to make sure Iran is never permitted access to the world’s most devastating weapon. Thank you for your thoughtful attention to this important decision.