A new report out

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A new report out this evening from McClatchy on the Bush Administration’s Iran machinations:

Some officials at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department said they’re concerned that the offices of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney may be receiving a stream of questionable information that originates with Iranian exiles, including a discredited arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who played a role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.

Officials at all three agencies said they suspect that the dubious information may include claims that Iran directed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in July; that Iran’s nuclear program is moving faster than generally believed; and that the Iranian people are eager to join foreign efforts to overthrow their theocratic rulers.

The officials said there is no reliable intelligence to support any of those assertions and some that contradicts all three.

The officials said they fear a replay of the administration’s mishandling of what turned out to be bogus information from Iraqi exiles in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, documented earlier this month in a Senate intelligence committee report.

The article also reports that former defense officials have been told airstrike plans for Iran are being updated and that the leader of a Persian Gulf country failed to get the assurances he was seeking, during a recent visit to Washington, that the military option was off the table.

There was also this nugget:

Adding to the unease, Rumsfeld’s office earlier this year set up a new Iranian directorate, reported to be under the leadership of neoconservatives who played a role in planning the Iraq war.

Current and former officials said the Pentagon’s Iranian directorate has been headed by Abram Shulsky. Shulsky also was the head of the now-defunct Office of Special Plans, whose role in allegedly manipulating Iraq intelligence is under investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

Some officials say they fear the office, whose existence was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, is being used to funnel intelligence from Ghorbanifar, the arms dealer, and an Iranian exile group known as the Mujahedeen Khalq.

You may recall that after Republican gains in the 2002 mid-term elections, Vice President Cheney declared privately that more tax cuts were “our due.” If the GOP retains control of Congress in November, will military action in Iran be their due?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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