Out of the running
Days after a report in this space disclosing a political fight over whether Marine Corps Gen. James E. Car twright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would be picked as the next chairman, President Obama decided against promoting a four-star who is considered one of his favorite generals.
U.S. officials said the president informed Gen. Cartwright over the May 21-22 weekend that he would not get the nomination.
A spokesman for the general declined to comment.
U.S. officials close to the issue said Gen. Cartwright was not on a Defense Department list of candidates sent to the White House recently.
The expected replacement for outgoing Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who retires in the fall, is Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.
Mr. Obama will announce as early as this week the appointment of Gen. Dempsey, an Iraq war veteran who only recently was appointed Army chief, the Associated Press reported.
Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, that service’s chief of staff, is said to be the likely nominee for vice chairman, to replace Gen. Cartwright.
Gen. Cartwright was undone for promotion by an inspector general probe earlier this year that cleared him of improperly handling the case of a female subordinate two years ago.
The general also has been dealing with personal issues related to his separation from wife Sandee Cartwright, who according to defense officials has made damaging allegations to other generals about her husband’s relationships. possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
“Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the agency,” says the internal IAEA report dated May 24. “As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004.”
That statement helps explain why the CIA in February revised its annual report to Congress on arms proliferation to leave out language contained in earlier reports echoing a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran halted work on nuclear arms in 2003.
The IAEA report for the first time provided details of the agency’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear arms work, including seven areas:
Neutron generator and related diagnostic experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.
Uranium conversion and high simultaneity” like those used to tr igger a nuclear weapon blast.
Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies that used detonators to set off hemispherical high explosive charges, and included “work which may have benefited from the assistance of foreign expertise” outside Iran.
High voltage firing equipment used for explosives tests over long distances and possibly underground nuclear tests to determine if high voltage triggering of nuclear detonators can be carried out over long distances.
Missile re-entry vehicle “redesign activities” for a new warhead that is “assessed as being nuclear in nature.” The design work included modeling on the removal of a conventional, high explosive warhead from the Shahab-3 missile and its replacement with a “spherical nuclear payload.”
An Iranian nuclear official on May 25 dismissed the latest IAEA report as based on fabrications from “arrogant” countries, code often used by Tehran to describe the United States.
The report concluded that Iran is violating its IAEA agreement with regard to safeguards and is refusing to explain its nuclear activities.
Bill Gertz can be reached at insidether email@example.com.