This is not good. The NYT released an article last night that Gates warned the White House last January that the U.S. basically has no plan on what to do if Iran succeeds in developing nukes. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Irans steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document. Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obamas national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course. Officials familiar with the memos contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies. One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as a wake-up call. But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Irans nuclear program. In an interview on Friday, General Jones declined to speak about the memorandum. But he said: On Iran, we are doing what we said we were going to do. The fact that we dont announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesnt mean we dont have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies we do. But in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon fuel, designs and detonators but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon. In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a virtual nuclear weapons state. According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Irans power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility. (snip) Nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Obama, in an interview with The New York Times, was asked about whether he saw a difference between a nuclear-capable Iran and one that had a fully developed weapon. Im not going to parse that right now, he said. But he noted that North Korea was considered a nuclear-capable state until it threw out inspectors and, as he said, became a self-professed nuclear state. Mr. Gates has alluded to his concern that intelligence agencies might miss signals that Iran was taking the final steps toward producing a weapon. Last Sunday on the NBC News program Meet the Press, he said: If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I dont actually know how you would verify that. But he cautioned that Iran had run into production difficulties, and he said, Its going slow slower than they anticipated, but they are moving in that direction. Mr. Gates has taken a crucial role in formulating the administrations strategy, and he has been known over his career to issue stark warnings against the possibility of strategic surprise. Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared. He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement. .... Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran?s Nuclear Drive - NYTimes.com Yet more "blame Bush" insinuations from White House Officials to try to avoid responsibility for Obama's policies. Obama made the 2009 deadline - and Iran called his bluff. And now we're left with No Plans.