December 5th, 2007
09:25 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee didn't know about NIE report

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - At a dinner with reporters on Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee admitted that he had neither read nor been briefed on the latest national intelligence estimate, which stated that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

“I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program, or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it,” Huckabee told the assembled journalists, after being informed of the report’s content by a questioner.

“And I’ve heard, the last two weeks, supposed reports that they are accelerating it and it could be having a reactor in a much shorter period of time than originally been thought,” he added.

The candidate’s apparent lack of knowledge on the issue comes at a time when the former Arkansas governor is facing intensifying scrutiny due to his rise in the polls. A Des Moines Register survey released on Sunday found Huckabee leading the GOP field in Iowa with 29 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers.

Huckabee attributed recent attacks on his Arkansas record on taxes, immigration and the criminal justice system to “desperation” on the part of rival campaigns.

“I call it that the ‘tattle tale campaign,’” he said. “Sometimes campaigns are reduced to tattle tales on the others. I think it’s a real turn off to most people.”

- CNN's Dana Bash and Evan Glass

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    whoooa...WAR....what it is a good for...absolutely nothing....

    Mike Huckabee is actually the only somewhat sane republican on the republican ballot, but he really needs to get away from this republican MACHO chest pounding about who can get us into another war faster.

    When somebody lies, in this case the Bush administration about Iran and their nuclear capability, and then they are debunked, that is what makes us lose credibility.

    ...and that is WHAT EMBOLDENS OUR "ENEMIES". That is what makes Ahmedinajad come out and say "this is a vitory for Iran".

    I hope Mike Huckabee re-thinks his way about haw to deal with foreign governments, whether they are friendly or not. If he does he might just be able to save the republican party.

    December 5, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Jerry

    That means I have better information than him. I guess I'd be a better candidate...Believe-me THAT's scary!

    December 5, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Huckabee is a social conservative, but he is NOT a fiscal conservative, a foreign policy conservative nor a immigrant conservative. If this man wins the Republican nomination, Hillary gets the prize.

    December 5, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Steve, Lyons, CO

    Huckabee: rapist apologist, and like Bush, too stupid to lessen America's fear by expressing RELIEF at Iran's halt of its nuclear program.

    December 5, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. James Izzard

    This seems like it should be a huge story.

    Why is the press giving this guy a free ride? Remember someone named George Bush?

    December 5, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Beckster

    He is not even an acting Gov. He doesn't have anymore access to "official" documents than I do. The only news he gets is probably off this lousy network and we all know you can't believe 75% of it!

    December 5, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Gregory O. Davidson, Kissimmee, Florida

    More Republican lies and propaganda in order to cause more death and destruction. Stop the torture, stop the killings..... instead follow Jesus!

    December 5, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Ean, San Diego, CA

    This is further proof that Huckabee is one of the least qualified candidates in the GOP race. He's good for a pithy and charming comment, but unfortunately his credentials are alarmingly weak.

    December 5, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. David, Lafayette, IN

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I was convinced that "tattle tales" are individuals that inform an authority figure of other individuals wrong doings. He seems to imply that it is wrong to air these discussions in the public domain. So, it's either poor wording or another example of "taking care" of your own

    December 5, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. chris, Chicago, IL

    Huckleberry hound. The intelligence report isn't as important as the east hawk oat. Render unto Caeser.

    December 5, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Ben, Chicago IL

    Hmm, Huckabee is shown to be as ignorant as Bush when it comes to national security, and he starts doing well in polling of Republicans. The Republicans are going to have a tough time the next election unless they get put forth a candidate that actually is aware of history, current events, and has positions on the war etc that are in line with the public sentiment.

    December 5, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |

    Most people jump at the sound of the first whistle, however this is one situation where caution needs to be applied. How intelligent is intelligence that has been reporting for the last 4 years that Iran was building weapons and all of a sudden they realize they have not since 2003.

    Just reading HUCKABEES comment shows his careful deduction of the same sentiment,“I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program, or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it”.

    So instead of extrapolating on the no-news that he has a lack of knowlegde, ask yourself how worthwile the report is in the first place.

    December 5, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Andrew, NJ

    Huckabee hasn't read anything that has to do with Iran, he was too busy plotting the Crusades against them for when he gets in office.

    This war-mongering ignorant neocon needs to be kept as far away from the White House as possible

    December 5, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. solid

    Apparently Huckleberry is now taking pointers from Lazy Fred's campaign!

    December 5, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. DefendAmericaSaveTheTroops

    CNN doesn't appear to be doing it's job giving us a complete view of the stance of all candidates towards Iran so let me help.

    Congressman Ron Paul voted against supporting the Iraq war and denounces sanctions and war with Iran. He's the only truly anti-unnecessary-war candidate.

    ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, released yesterday, reinforces Ron Paul's position that a pre-emptive attack on Iran – an option advocated by other GOP presidential candidates – would be unwise and unwarranted.
    Congressman Paul issued the following statement in response to the report:

    "We needlessly and foolishly threaten Iran even though they have no nuclear weapons. I find it incomprehensible that as the failure of our Iraq policy becomes more evident, some want the same kind of policy toward Iran. A policy of peace, trade and diplomacy, is superior."

    The report's finding that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 supports Congressman Paul's view that military action against Iran is contrary to American national security. The report found that any Iranian nuclear weapon capability is not imminent, and noted that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research judges that Iran is unlikely to have the capability to produce a nuclear weapon before 2013.

    "While candidates with virtually zero foreign policy experience like Rudy Giuliani are advocating escalation, Dr. Paul – an Air Force veteran and member of the House Foreign Relations Committee – has been a staunch opponent of expanding war into Iran," said Ron Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. "More than any other candidate, Ron Paul understands that America cannot afford to make the same mistakes with Iran that were made with Iraq."

    December 5, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Trollmaster, CA

    Based on what he's saying here:

    “I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program, or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it,” Huckabee told the assembled journalists, after being informed of the report’s content by a questioner.

    “And I’ve heard, the last two weeks, supposed reports that they are accelerating it and it could be having a reactor in a much shorter period of time than originally been thought,” he added.

    It seems that Huckabee is just another weak minded victim of Bush's fear mongering propaganda.

    December 5, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. MikeknaJ

    Can someone explain to me how a candidate for President should automatically be in the know on NIE briefings before they are made public? How was Huckabee, or any other candidate, supposed to be privy to that kind of intel?

    December 5, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. MJ Seymour,CT

    It's funny Ron Paul has been telling everyone the same thing as the NIE all year long. The media ignored him and his fellow contenders for the Republican nomination laughed at him. But, the average American people have begun to hear Dr. Paul and see a statesman that has their best interest first.

    December 5, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. S. Wright

    No one knows what Iran is doing. That's the problem.

    Regarding this estimate; it should be noted that this is an estimate, and what has been made public is only a part of the total estimate.

    Candidates that are giving opinions on this incomplete disclosure are merely playing politics with the national security of this country, and aren't to be considered as serious contenders.

    Until the American people, and by extension, the candidates of both parties, are shown the entire estimate, the persons involved in drafting it, and their credentials brought to the fore, this estimate is simply not ready to be commented on.

    December 5, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Louie P

    Huckabee pardoned or commuted sentences of 669 convicted criminals. 11 of those were convicted MURDERERS.

    Huckabee defends his record saying he is a Christain believes in REDEMPTION.

    Well I'm also a Christian. I believe in law and order. I believe in JUSTICE.

    December 5, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Ed Williams, York, PA

    I think Dana Bash and Evan Glass owe it to their readers to tell us why Mike Huckabee should have gotten a copy of the NIE report. Does it speak badly of a candidate that they aren't on the national intellignce agency distribution list.. No! of course not. This is simply another case of CNN hoping to disparage a Republican candidate for their self serving gain.

    December 5, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. bukky, baltimore

    who's saying he should have gotten a copy of the report... This story was the first thing on CNN on tuesday morning. They entire country was talking about all day. Tuesday night this guy still hasn't heard about what the rest of the country knows...?

    A candiate keeping up with daily news that will affect the country is NOT too much to ask for.

    December 5, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Steve, Landing, NJ

    What in the heck are you people talking about? "How was Huckabee supposed to know about the NIE blah blah blah"? It was released Monday, he was asked about it Wednesday. The Democrats all talked about it in their debate yesterday. Why in the world would a presidential candidate *not* know about it? Do they not get points for keeping up with current events?

    December 5, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. sal lincoln nebraska

    Everyone who's supposed to know what irans doing knows exactly what irans doing...It the individual americans fault for not knowing right from wrong and truth from false...No one made you become bitter and discredit everything you read...You bought into that ideoligy...Which is what bush and cheney have produced over the last 7 years nothing but propaganda and now no one believes anything they read even though no apparent intellegent thought or research goes into making those descisions...Stop relying on govnt figure heads to tell you whats right and wrong there just as smart as you are and sometimes thats not saying much

    December 5, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Helen J, Omaha, NE

    Wow. "Lack of knowledge"?? Did CNN know that Iran's nuclear program was on the supposed decline before this brief was made public? If not, why? They're expecting Governor Huckabee to have some sort of clairvoyance, why not themselves?

    Huckabee is a Presidential CANDIDATE, not the President. Once he has access to the NIE, he'll be better equipped to deliver comments on the matter. Until then, why is this a story??

    December 5, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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