This is, of course, fabulous news for Iranians and Americans alike, if totally unexpected. I think all the 'very wise men' inside the Beltway were completely blindsided by this announcement -- conventional wisdom seems to have been that Cheney was making a strong push for bombing Iran before their term is up. Gareth Porter reported several weeks ago that:
So not only were the dissenting opinions not removed - they actually comprised the main conclusions of the NIE. Kevin Drum has some speculations about why it was eventually released. Best guess is that new confirming evidence was recently received and some in the intelligence community wanted to put the brakes on Bush's sabre-rattling.
But damn, can you believe they thought twisting and censoring the evidence to justify yet another war would work a second time? How many days until this maniac is out of power? Oh yeah, 412 to go.