May 23, 2007

ABC reveals that Bush approved plan to destabilize the Iranian government.

Here... and note the extremely harsh comments. For more commentary, start here. From Captain Ed:
ABC reports that Dick Cheney preferred the military option, but that Bush overruled him in favor of the covert action instead....

Thanks to the loose lips at Langley and ABC, that option may have to go back to the top of the list....

Or, at least it was high time. Someone in the CIA or in the larger "intelligence community" can't keep their mouths shut. Thanks to them, we may wind up with no other option against Iranian nuclear ambitions except the military strike.
It sounds terrible, of course, but it's hard to tell on this one whether part of the plan isn't letting them know this much.

26 comments:

George said...

To whom is this supposed to be news?

Gee, I bet there's also a plan to destabilize the North Korean government, too.

SteveR said...

Although it is concievable that letting the Iranians know what we are doing is part of the plan, its well established that the intelligence community will give away anything to tarnish the Bush Administration with the willing cooperation of the media.

But please save your outrage for the non-disclosure of a non-covert, not so secret agent.

Anyway, I would hope they had that plan.

The Drill SGT said...

Amazing. I'm certain that the same CIA folks that leaked this covert action story oppose direct military action (e.g. bombing) even more. Yet, by destroying our ability to use covert means, they increase the likelihood that we will bomb Iran.

changing topics only slightly. I have heard stories that Col Donovan the head of the WWII OSS (pre-CIA) had several OSS leakers committed to St Elizabeth's Hospital here in DC for the duration of WWII. The rationale was that a trial would reveal even more to the enemy.

The Drill SGT said...

Testing our Hostess's patience a bit, I am going to repost something I said earlier elsewhere because I think it deserves to be read by all Americans before Memorial day.

Cheers on Corridor Three

I worked on Corridor Three (DAMO-FDF) during the first Gulf War. I'm pleased to see that my successors are still going strong.

MadisonMan said...

I agree with George -- why is this surprising, or even news?

drill sgt may have a correct analysis. If I were feeling extremely cynical today, I'd say that pro-Bush folks in the CIA (if there are any) or the office of the VP leaked it because they knew of the blow-back against ABC that would occur, and because it diverts the focus from the AG mess.

El Presidente said...

Clearly the CIA is commited to regime change.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Only about 28 years too late but oh well, better late than never.

I wonder if this information was classified and if there will be any Congressional investigations to find who leaked this.

There are a good chunk of Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds in Iran who could probably do a lot of undermining if, ah, properly supplied. Whats good for the goose and all that.

George said...

If you poke around the web, you'll find obscure sites devoted to coverage of Iran and spy-stuff, and there's all sorts of weird stuff going on in Iran....uprisings in various cities by various ethnic groups, assassination attempts, mysterious bombings...

The Iranians know the score, but you never hear about this stuff in the papers, TV news, or on NPR. You would think that since Bush's "axis of evil" speech, news outlets would have dedicated ongoing space and resources to coverage to Iran and N. Korea, both of whom we're clearly at war with, albeit quietly...

Richard Dolan said...

As covert operations go, this seems to be pretty weak beer: "President Bush has signed a 'nonlethal presidential finding' that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions." It's hard to believe that the Iranians weren't aware that the US Gov't would dearly love to see a change of regime in Teheran, and has been taking these kinds of steps (and others as well) to bring that about.

Only the insiders can tell whether this "disclosure" was an effort at undermining Bush (more likely Cheney), or part of the "disinformation" campaign. Less convincing is the speculation in the article that the President's approval of this plan takes the military option off the table, or the opposite speculation by Captain Ed that it puts it back at the top of the available options. The truth is that the military option is unattractive (both for the Americans and the Israelis) for a whole host of reasons -- the mullahs know that better even than our own politicians -- but is nonetheless always available.

Fritz said...

During the Reagan Administration, we knew the Soviets were stealing technology. We decided to help them, providing them with all but a few necessary parts. They had spent billions on one such development for natural gas delivery. When they turned on the delivery system, the necessary stabilization technology was absent, causing the system to collapse in a massive explosion; so much so, we thought it was a nuclear detonation. Eventually they stopped buying our technology because they couldn't distinguish what was legitimate. The Soviets wasted billions in precious hard currency, speeding up the process of their eventual financial collapse. We didn't know about it because the Democratic Party had strong pro-American members. Today none exist. I would not be surprised if this was actually leaked by congressional Democrats that would have had received this Presidential directive. ABC was irresponsible to provide this gem of propaganda to the Iranian regime. Not only that, they are risking the lives of our agents and those Iranians that are helping. I guess unless you are a staffer at Langley and your husband is spreading lies in the newspapers, there will be no outrage.

Bruce Hayden said...

Yes, the leak was probably done to discredit the President, et al. But it is still likely to benefit us.

The Iranians are active in trying to covertly destablize Iraq, primarily I suspect just to discredit us. But they are throwing rocks in a glass house. Their country is probably almost as unstable as Iraq right now, and part of their attempt to destablize Iraq is likely to reduce the pressure that Iraq is having right now on the Iranian regime.

The nice thing that a leak like this does is to make a paranoid regime even more paranoid. Was that student protest spontaneous? Or was it instigated by the Great Satan? If we bombed them, the results would be obvious, one way or another. But there is a lot of unrest right now in Iran, and they really don't know how much of it is because of our instigation and how much isn't (my guess is that 98% is spontaneous).

So, this is a way to keep pressure on Iran w/o really having to commit any resources to it, or maybe even taking any real risks.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

speaking of disinformation, one of the nastiest ones played in the covert world is to let it be known that General X or Mullah Y is on the Israeli payroll when that isn't true. It can be hard on families however. :)

You generally don't falsely leak that the guy is on your payroll, because that tends to demoralize your double agents. :(

peter hoh said...

So if the CIA and the NSA agreed that the best way to do something would be to put certain info in the press, so that it would look like a leak, and the MSM decided not to run the story, would they be unpatriotic?

Crimso said...

"would they be unpatriotic?"


No, just very, very atypical.

The Drill SGT said...

peter hoh said...
So if the CIA and the NSA agreed that the best way to do something would be to put certain info in the press, so that it would look like a leak, and the MSM decided not to run the story, would they be unpatriotic?


As Mike Wallace implied in the clip below, Journalists don't really think of themselves as Americans first. Based on that In your hypothetical, I would expect ABC to go public with the attempt by the US to plant a story.

Indeed, on an edition of the PBS panel series Ethics in America, devoted to war coverage, which was taped at Harvard in late 1987, Mike Wallace proclaimed that if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S. soldiers of an impending ambush. “Don't you have a higher duty as an American citizen to do all you can to save the lives of soldiers rather than this journalistic ethic of reporting fact?", moderator Charles Ogletree Jr. suggested. Without hesitating, Wallace responded: "No, you don't have higher duty...you're a reporter." When Brent Scrowcroft, the then-future National Security Adviser, argued that "you're Americans first, and you're journalists second," Wallace was mystified by the concept, wondering "what in the world is wrong with photographing this attack by [the imaginary] North Kosanese on American soldiers?"

You have to see it to believe it

Luckyoldson said...

SteveR said..."But please save your outrage for the non-disclosure of a non-covert, not so secret agent."

So Libby was acquitted?

Duh.

Luckyoldson said...

fritz,
Why do you use a picture of Bush (or is it Bill Maher?) trying to smother a young girl??

Just wondered.

SteveR said...

Hey lucky, are you so freakin' stupid to equate perjury with the unmasking of a secret agent? Well yes you are.

Tim said...

"Yes, the leak was probably done to discredit the President, et al. But it is still likely to benefit us."

No, not bloody likely will it benefit us in either the short or the long term.

Some may know the CIA and related organizations don't do all their work by themselves - they are highly dependent upon indigenous support. A lot of time, effort and money are spent on just developing an in-country network of reliable persons willing to help us out. Almost all the time these folks reside in nation's hostile to the US with authoritarian governments completely comfortable with using extreme violence against their own citizens, if only to provide a demonstration effect of "this is what happens to those who cooperate with the US."

So now ABC runs this story, true or not; it's on the web and soon (if not already) disseminated across the globe and in Iran.

Smart young Iranians disgusted by their government, wanting change, wanting to find some way to bring that about certainly will be less inclined to contact anything remotely associated with the US for fear ABC News or some other like-minded patriotic abuser of the First Amendment will disclose information putting them and their families at extreme risk.

Multiply that by all the nations across the globe with very problematic governments, friendly to terrorists and interested in weapons of mass destruction, and no, it isn't "likely to benefit us," at all.

Unless you’re Michael Moore and think al Qaeda are “freedom fighters.”

hdhouse said...

Well I'm confused.

You say that Bush and Cheney and the CIA have put into effect a plan to destabilize Iran?

And all this time I thought the disinformation and intrigue fostered by the Bush team was targeted against the United States....and they were really going after Iran....

Really?

and then there is fritz...dear dear Fritz who said...
We didn't know about it because the Democratic Party had strong pro-American members. Today none exist. I would not be surprised if this was actually leaked by congressional Democrats that would have had received this Presidential directive. ABC was irresponsible to provide this gem of propaganda to the Iranian regime. Not only that, they are risking the lives of our agents and those Iranians that are helping. I guess unless you are a staffer at Langley and your husband is spreading lies in the newspapers, there will be no outrage."

Really? Fritz. Really? do you speak for others or just for the monkey cage down at the zoo?

See what happens when I'm out of town for a few days? Ohhhh you silly rightwing geese. Silly silly boys.

Freder Frederson said...

And there's always the possibility that this story was deliberately leaked by the Bush administration. Considering how lacking in details it is and basically just alleges what everyone assumes was happening anyway, what is the harm to national security in this non-story? If anything, it appears to be a sop to the Bolton wing of the Republican party who think we are being too nice to Iran.

peter hoh said...

From ABC News Thursday:

"In the six days since we first contacted the CIA and the White House, at no time did they indicate that broadcasting this report would jeopardize lives or operations on the ground. ABC News management gave them the repeated opportunity to make whatever objection they wanted to regarding our report. They chose not to."

Does that change anyone's opinion?

Fen said...

SteveR: But please save your outrage for the non-disclosure of a non-covert, not so secret agent.

Lucky: So Libby was acquitted? Duh.

Libby was found innocent on charges he "outed" a "covert" agent. No need for an aquittal. Duh indeed.

Fen said...

Does that change anyone's opinion?

Not really. I trust statements by ABC only slightly more than I trust the same from Dan Rather and Mary Mapes of cBS.

Roger said...

What george said in the first post; moreover, I have a hard believing the Iranians would be surprised about US policy to destablize their government--announced or otherwise.