Thompson ‘Skeptical’ of NIE Findings

By Lindsey Ellerson

Dec 4, 2007 4:53pm

ABC News’ Christine Byun Reports: As he toured a South Carolina gun shop, Republican candidate Fred Thompson commented on the recent National Intelligence Estimate report on Iran.

“I am skeptical about it,” the former senator of Tennessee said about the new assessment which reports Iran’s nuclear program has been frozen since 2003.

Thompson said he hoped they were “accurate,” but expressed reservations about the strength of the nation’s intelligence gathering.

“One of the biggest problems we got in this country is the fact we let our intelligence capabilities wither,” Thompson said, stressing the country needs to focus on both technology and “human intelligence.”

He also said that he is wary of the Iranian government’s intentions, warning that “they want us to kind of relax a little bit.”

“Once you get a full-fledged piece of your nuclear capability and program, it’s not very far to go, to turn it into a weapons program. It mainly has to do with the intent of people involved … and that involves trusting the Iranians, which of course, nobody who loves freedom and liberty should do,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who is campaigning for the next two days in the Palmetto State, also brushed off the push-polling calls some have received in Iowa which attack his past lobbying career. The automated phone calls criticize GOP candidates while praising former Governor Mike Huckabee, who has pushed past Thompson in recent Iowa polls. 

“If they wanna do that, let’s let them come out and do it. It’s another part of modern-day campaigning that gets pretty rough sometimes, pretty deceptive sometimes. But I give people enough credit to know how politics work and how politicians work. I would just say at the end of they day, go back and check everybody’s record,” Thompson said.

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