What other estimate might an informed analyst make given the evidence available produce? Of 9 nuclear weapons development programs to use as a guide, the shortest in history was the Manhattan Project. The US effort to determine if a bomb could be made started in late 1941. Modern technical means of information gathering would have given strong evidence of the program by late 1943. Detectible preparations for a test started in early 1945, and the test occurred in mid-1945. The Manhattan project required 3-1/2 years to go from first investigation of the problem, to create the industry, and test the bomb. If the question is 'when could Iran have a bomb,' and without strong detailed evidence of the status of the supposed Iranian program, the answer, based upon experience is 1-4 years. The next year, with the same lack of evidence, the opinion will be 1-4 years, and without further detailed information to base an estimate upon, any careful analyst will continue to say 'Iran could have a bomb in one to four years." Meir Dagan spent the whole time he was responsible for producing an estimate, producing just that - an estimate based upon evidence and experience. The error was not in intelligence or analysis. The error was when politicians took a worst case analysis and touted it as both fact and proof of the fact.
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from the article: Dagan brought a possible attack on Iran closer