Wednesday, January 4


I don't know if these stories from NYTimes reporter James Risen's new book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, are accurate, but they sure sound like the kinds of schemes the idiots devoted to the Bush administration would dream up.

And Bush gave George Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom WHY? Oh yes, for the same reason Tommy Franks and Paul Bremer got it. Because he did such a great job directing the analysis of CIA pre-Iraq War intelligence. And Franks led the capture of Bin Laden. And Bremer was such an effective governor of Iraq post-invasion.

U.S. officials have long maintained that Iran's rulers want to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran has insisted that it seeks to develop only a civilian nuclear energy program. Whatever the case, the CIA was desperate to counter what it believed was a clandestine nuclear program, and turned to a Russian defector who had once been a nuclear scientist in the former Soviet republics, according to the book.

The book says the CIA worked with the U.S.-based defector to concoct a story about how he was destitute, but in possession of valuable nuclear weapons blueprints that had been secreted out of Russia.

CIA officials had concerns about the man's temperament, Risen says, but sent the defector and the blueprints to Vienna anyway, with orders to hand-deliver them to someone at Tehran's diplomatic mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

His CIA handlers never imagined that the Russian defector would tip off the Iranians to the fatal flaw that they had hidden deep within the blueprints. But that, the book adds, is exactly what the Russian did, in part because the CIA failed to send anybody to accompany him out of fear that it might make the Iranians suspicious.

The book does not say whether Iran used the plans, but reports that a senior Iranian official visiting Vienna appears to have taken them immediately to Tehran after the defector dropped them off.

"He [the Russian] was the front man for what may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA, one that may have helped put nuclear weapons in the hands of a charter member of what President George W. Bush has called the axis of evil," the book contends.

Two nuclear weapons experts who say that they have no knowledge about whether the covert effort described in the book occurred added that a deliberate flaw in the plans could have been easily found by the Iranians.
According to the book, the CIA effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear effort came on the heels of another massive intelligence failure, in which a CIA officer mistakenly sent an Iranian agent a trove of information that could help identify nearly every one of the spy agency's undercover operatives in Iran.

The Iranian was a double agent who turned over the data to Iranian authorities. They used it to dismantle the CIA's spy network inside the country and arrest or possibly kill an unknown number of U.S. agents, the book says.

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