This is, quite honestly, a big deal. The opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are doing fairly well in the media-pundit-sphere. But they’ve had an extremely difficult time making substantive arguments against the deal because according to almost all technical experts it is about as tight and comprehensive and total a surveillance regime as we’ve ever seen. Ever. Iran will not have a nuclear weapon under any circumstances for 10 to 20 years. Unless they choose to cheat. And if they do, the U.S. and the international community will almost certainly catch them and catch them before they’re able to weaponize. But here’s the problem — that’s only the opinion of people who actually know what they’re talking about.
Yesterday the AP ran a story that sounds eye-poppingly scary. The International Atomic Energy Agency has a “secret” side deal that will allow the Iranians to inspect themselves. What the hell, right? Thanks Obama and what was Obama thinking? But the story itself was based on the reporter apparently not knowing what he was talking about. And the AP had to later scrub what were seemingly the most damning details. I’d go into those details. But Max Fischer at Vox has a very lengthy explainer going into just how botched this steaming pile was.
It is an even more egregious example of the 24 days canard which I discussed here and here. Giving the Iranians 24 days notice to clean up sites where we think they might be cheating on the deal sounds really, really bad — unless you actually know what you’re talking about, unless you know about this thing called “radiation” which not only can you not clean up with a mop but has half-lifes stretching into thousands or in some cases millions of years.
Let me share with you a deep truth: The nuclear stuff is complicated. Einstein said that. It doesn’t necessarily work in the way your everyday life experience would suggest. So it’s important to consult the people who know about the nuclear stuff, people called scientists. Particularly, nuclear scientists. And here we have another case where tendentious malefactors leak seemingly damning details to reporters who in the most basic sense do not know what they are talking about and write a story which can and often does dramatically affect the public debate over a critical issue. It’s already happened with the 24 days nonsense and it may with this. The AP has to scrub its story and pull a New York Times pretending the gist somehow isn’t changed when there is barely a story there in the first place. It really is a replay of how reporters — often acting in good faith — get played by malicious leaks. There are lots of reporters unfortunately who are in on the scam but they shall remain nameless for the moment. And it’s all a replay of the tragic nonsense parade which preceded the Iraq War — with lots of the same easy-mark reporters.
Again, basic premise: The nuclear stuff is complicated. The nuclear scientists understand it better than Hannity or even Wolf Blitzer. Listen to the nuclear scientists.