Editors note: This is the e-mail the White House sent Wednesday, detailing the August briefing President Bush received from Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell on new information about Iran's nuclear weapons program.
From: Johndroe, Gordon D.
To: Johndroe, Gordon D.
Sent: Wed Dec 05 17:54:47 2007
Subject: Question Taken in today's gaggle
In today's gaggle aboard Air Force One, Tony was asked the following questions:
Q In that conversation did McConnell tell him that our previous intelligence could be all wrong? How -- (inaudible) -- was he about that?
MR. FRATTO: I don't have anything on that.
Q I just want to follow up on Mike's question. Was there any indication from McConnell of the nature of the intelligence in the meeting in August?
MR. FRATTO: I can't give you more detail on what Director McConnell said to the President.
As a follow up, below is an on the record response from Dana Perino: "In August, DNI Director McConnell advised President Bush that the intelligence community would not be able to meet a congressionally imposed deadline requiring a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran because new information had been obtained just as they were about to finalize the report.
He said that if the new information turns out to be true, what we thought we knew for sure is right. Iran does in fact have a covert nuclear weapons program, but it may be suspended. The Director advised that there were many streams of information that had the potential to be in conflict, and it would take more time to vet it all to determine validity, and that's why they were not able to meet the deadline.
Director McConnell said that the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment of Iran's covert nuclear program, but the intelligence community was not prepared to draw any conclusions at that point in time, and it wouldn't be right to speculate until they had time to examine and analyze the new data."