SANTA MONICA, CALIF. -- Rudy Giuliani told reporters today that if you read the NIE report carefully, it shows President Bush "deserves credit" in his decision to invade Iraq.
The fact that report cites 2003 as the year intelligence agencies say Iran backed off from a nuclear weapon tells Giuliani that, in his words, "pressure works."
Pointing to the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the invasion of Iraq, Giuliani said "if the estimate is correct, and again the estimate itself says its not sure they're correct...that they stopped moving toward nuclear arms in 2003."
"If it's true, if it's correct, if it's accurate, and they warn us it may not be--but if it is, then it shows Iran is susceptible to heavy pressure, because in 2003 there was heavy pressure on Iran. There was ... a significant number of American troops in Iraq. America had just been successful in Afghanistan. America was in the process of being remarkably succesful in Iraq -- actually acheiving what Iran was never able to achieve--which was to defeat Saddam Hussein."
"So it seems to me, what it would underscore with all of the interpretations is that we would want to take a strong position towards Iran and keep it strong, just in case that moderate possibility turns into a fact that they'll once again move toward becoming nuclear."
Still, Giuliani is still weary to believe the "moderately confident" position the NIE takes that Iran has not resumed nuclear weapons pursuits.
Since 2003, Iran has elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-line leader who has openly mocked the United States and the United Nations for their disdain in allowing Iran to go forward in developing nuclear capability. Giuliani says if the report estimate is true, the current White House adminstration, who vows to continue warning Iran of harsh consequences for pursuing nuclear power despite the NIE's findings, would actually be owed praise.
"Again, the NIE would also have to say that President Bush gets great credit if this happened in 2003," says Giuliani.
Giuliani's top advisor on Iran, Norman Podhoretz, recently said he had "dark suspicions" that the intelligence community was "leaking information calculated to undermine" President Bush after Podhoretz read the NIE report. Podhoretz also reportedly advised President Bush and adviser Karl Rove to bomb Iran in 2004.
Giuliani has said recently that he does not take the same position as Podhoretz's "dark suspicions," but wants Iran to know that in a Giuliani administration, the "military option is on the table."