BERLIN — U.S. intelligence services attempted to influence political policy by releasing their assessment that concludes Iran halted its nuclear arms program in 2003, said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Der Spiegel magazine quoted Bolton on Saturday as alleging that the aim of the National Intelligence Estimate, which contradicts his and President Bush's position, was not to provide the latest intelligence on Iran.
"This is politics disguised as intelligence," Bolton was quoted as saying in an article appearing in this week's edition.
Bolton described the report, released Monday, as a "quasi-putsch" by the intelligence agencies, Der Spiegel said.
The intelligence estimate said Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program four years ago but was continuing to develop the technical means that could be used to produce a bomb. This contradicted Bush's assertion that Iran was actively trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
The hawkish Bolton has long criticized Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, who has said that there was no hard evidence that Tehran was pursuing nuclear weapons.
ElBaradei said the report "somewhat vindicated" Iran, which has denied allegations that it was secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. It says its nuclear program is to generate electricity.