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Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Obama's Intel Chief Clapper Sails from Gafffe to Shining Gaffe

For someone tasked with being the nation’s top intelligence officer, James Clapper seems to get an awful lot wrong—and in so many ways.  From lying about the NSA's tracking of Americans' web habits to threats from Iran and North Korea to, 20 years ago, his reorganization of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the retired general sails on, from gaffe to shining gaffe. Yet the DNI is still a starter on the Obama team's "full court press" to sell Capitol Hill on bombing Syria.  How could that be?  READ MORE HERE.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Famed CIA Widow Dies

Lorraine Adie Copeland, the widow of a famed CIA official who was a daring World War Two operative in her own right, died Saturday in her chateau in the south of France, surrounded by family members, including her son Stewart, drummer for the mega-hit rock bank The Police. She was 92.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hot Shots: War Games Edition

Rummy-soaked Plans: We couldn’t let the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war pass without revisiting a 2002 Donald Rumsfeld memo that identified 29 “potential problems” with an invasion. No. 2: “If the US preempts in one country, does it mean it will pre-empt in all other terrorist states?”  (Only in your neocon dreams...) No. 29: “Iraq could successfully best us in public relations and persuade the world that the war is against Muslims.” (That was a question?)  And finally (drum roll, please), No. 13: “US could fail to find WMD on the ground in Iraq and be unpersuasive to the world.”  Sounds like a Letterman Top Ten.  One wonders why Rumsfeld would draw such an accurate and comprehensive list of problems and then ignore them. Odd duck, him.  Onset Alzheimer’s maybe?

These and other Iraq War gems comes to us courtesy of the private National Security Archive at George Washington University, which is presenting on its Web site 12 key documents, ranging from a 1999 CENTCOM war game report on “potential outcomes of an invasion of Iraq aimed at unseating Saddam Hussein,” to a 2006 CIA “analysis of its own failure to realize that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program was non-existent,” and much, much more. While these documents mainly serve to reinforce what everyone already knows--that Iraq’s WMD program was virtually nonexistent and the US were not prepared at all for a post-invasion rebuild--they also begin to answer the two remaining questions the public has about the War in Iraq: “whether the United States truly believed that Iraq's supposed WMD capabilities posed an imminent danger, and whether the results of the engagement have been worth the high costs to both countries.”

How Iran Can Beat Israel: In his 2012 book “The Second Nuclear Age,”  Yale professor Paul Bracken presented a war scenario that resulted in a minimally nuclear-armed Iran defeating a U.S.-allied Israel with hardly firing a shot.  The key players in the crisis, of course, were the United States, Israel, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Cruz to Bear

It's hard to imagine a clearer demonstration of how whacked out the Republicans have gotten under tea party tutelage than the performances of Ted Cruz and James Inhofe during hearings to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

What planet are they from? Not since the last days of the booze-besotted, red-baiting Joe McCarthy has the Senate witnessed performances so wild, careening and conspiracy-minded that they wouldn't even make the final cut of The Manchurian Candidate.

As Foreign Policy aptly put it today: "Has freshman Ted Cruz jumped the shark already?

Monday, January 7, 2013

John Brennan's Merry Skate to CIA

The increasingly desperate Republicans must be grinding their molars over President Obama’s nomination of John O. Brennan to run the CIA, a place where he spent about 30 years.

I mean, what’s the worst they can say about the shooting guard of “The Reaper Presidency,” as the U.K.-based Bureau Investigative Journalism calls Obama’s first term? That he’s talks too much?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Australia Whitewashes FBI Undercover Probe of US Navy Whistleblower

A Pink Panther-style undercover FBI operation last year against a former U.S. Navy whistle-blower living in Australia was proper, Canberra’s defense ministry says--a finding promptly rejected by the country’s own federal police.

The rare public row erupted after the redacted defense ministry report was obtained and published over the weekend by Australia’s Fairfax Media organization, owner of the Sidney Morning Herald and several other prominent news outlets.

The defense ministry report claims that the Australian Federal Police, or AFP,  had given permission for an FBI agent to visit the Canberra home of Gwenyth Todd, a former Pentagon, White House and U.S. Navy national security adviser, and question her.

Todd, now married to an Australian military officer, had blown the whistle on a secret plan by top US navy admirals in 2007 to spring a confrontational fleet maneuver on Iran.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Operation Shockwave: A CIA Op Against Iran that Worked

Judging by news reports over the years, the CIA hasn’t done very well against Iran -- not counting the string of assassinations of nuclear scientists credited to Israel, the CIA’s partner in covert operations.

Of course, initial news reports of secret operations are not entirely reliable--or at least fall short of telling the whole story.

But periodic reports surface of CIA spy nets rolled up by the Iranians or its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. This week came Tehran’s giddy announcement that it had broken up an Israeli "terror and sabotage network" inside Iran.

But the CIA and Mossad have had their innings against the Islamic Republic, too.

One was “Operation Shockwave,” a joint covert action against Iranian intelligence in the late 1990s that has received virtually no attention here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

White House Leaks Iran Spy Flights to Rebuff Romney and Other War Hawks

You’d think that sensitive spying operations against a hard target like Iran would normally be kept out of politics.

You’d be wrong, of course -- and these aren’t normal times, with Israeli extremists and Republican chickenhawks clamoring for a reckless military strike on Iran.

So the Obama administration used secret intelligence and The Washington Post this weekend to fend off war mongers that it’s soft on Iran -- and more:  to send the message that a military attack is unnecessary, at least for now.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We’ll Get Iran’s Dough, Beirut Bombing Case Lawyer Vows

The headline over the story of a federal court's award Wednesday of $44 million to victims of the 1983 Beirut terror bombing said it will be “hard to collect” anything from Iran.

But don’t tell that to their lawyer.

Joseph Peter Drennan, the Alexandria, Va.  attorney representing two servicemen wounded in the 1983 truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon said he “strongly” believes he’ll end up collecting the cash from Iran, sponsor of the Hezbollah terrorist group that carried out the attack.

The main reasons: Iran has cash here, starting with $2 billion in Citibank accounts in New York.

And the time is ripe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Obama Spanks GoP Chickenhawks on War With Iran

It’s ironic isn’t it, that President Obama, who’s never gotten closer to a military uniform than a handshake, is so much more cautious about sending men and women into harm’s way than his predecessor, a onetime Air Force pilot?

The conventional wisdom, after all, is that civilians who’ve never seen a bullet fired in anger are far more cavalier about sounding the trumpets to war than a soldier who’s been there.

Lately the Republicans have been proving it right once more. In reference to Iran, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been sounding like four year olds playing with tiny toy soldiers on their living room carpets.

In sharp contrast, Obama has been at his most presidential this week on matters of war and peace. Presiding over coffins and amputees will do that to you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CIA Man's Thriller Gets Inside Iran's Murderous Rivalries

I've known former CIA operations officer Art Keller for several years now as a reliable guide on counterterrorism issues related to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, all of which he's had extensive experience with.

Thus we need to pay attention when he says attacking Iran would be "a huge mistake."

This week sees the publication of his first novel, Hollow Strength, a Tom Clancy-like thriller which posits a murderous rivalry inside Iran's military leadership, climaxing in the desperate defection of a Revolutionary Guards Navy officer to the CIA.

It seemed a timely moment to pose five questions for him on the current crisis.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Act of Valor": A War Movie Liberals Can Like

Oh, sure, it’s a shoot ‘em up, bang-bang-bang flick that will have your head throbbing after the first half hour, maybe less.

And in its cleaned-up version of counterterror raids, it’s closer to Spiderman than “Saving Private Ryan,” whose unforgettably morbid first 20 minutes, depicting the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy, gave new meaning to the word “realistic.”

But even though “Act of Valor” is essentially a sanitary recruiting film for the Navy SEALs, adolescent through and through, it’s one that liberals should think about liking.

Why? Because, in a world teetering on another catastrophic war, “Act of Valor” depicts the kind of small-ball play that--in combination with other “smart power” techniques--remains the only sensible option to the kind of big-theater, air-strikes and ground-war conflict so beloved by armchair generals and other chickenhawks.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Our Feel-Good Sanctions on Iran

UPDATE, JAN 10: The goal of the sanctions is "regime collapse,"  a "senior U.S. intelligence official" told The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson on Tuesday.

Let’s not kid ourselves about the Iran sanctions: They’re not going to stop the theocrats from building a Shiite bomb.

With apologies to Ron Paul, it’s safe to assume that the Iranians are determined to go nuclear.

And why not? The United States and Iran have been at war since 1979, when the U.S.-backed shah was overthrown and Islamist mobs stormed the American embassy, taking 52 diplomats hostage.

We’ve called for their demise again and again. They’ve called for ours. War between us and them has seemed inevitable for decades. The drumbeat for a preemptive U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran reached a crescendo in the last months of the Bush administration and remains at a high decibel level today.

If you were them, what would you do? Lose your nukes?

Not a chance.

Monday, November 21, 2011

CIA Rocked Again By Iran's Counterspies

It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again, former CIA operatives say.

The CIA just doesn’t seem to have its groove when it comes to operations against Iran.

Poor intelligence tradecraft -- the tricks of the game -- have repeatedly doomed the CIA operations, former agency officers say.

Of course, the CIA doesn’t broadcast its spying successes -- or comment on failed operations-- so a balanced picture is nearly impossible to compile.

But from what the world knows about CIA operations against Iran (and its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon),  something seriously needs fixing -- again and again.

According to the Associated Press and other news organizations, the latest of several operations against Iran (and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah) blew up in its face last summer.

Iran’s counterspies were able to identify a dozen or so CIA informants in Beirut and elsewhere by analyzing their cell phone traffic.

“Beirut station is out of business,” the Los Angles Times reported, citing an unnamed source.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cable TV's Counterterrorism Morons

I don’t know about you, but I can’t bear to watch much TV news anymore. I mean, there’s so little of it anyway, sandwiched as it is between pundits who know little beyond a particular moment in Beltway politics and the "experts" who are so misleading they're dangerous.

But last night’s appearance on CNN of killer-thriller terrorism novelist Brad Thor to offer expertise on the downing of that helicopter in Afghanistan was a new low in foreign policy commentary -- unless I’ve missed something that’s been broadcast today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CIA Secrecy Trumps Public Interest in Iran Screw-up, DoJ Argues

The Justice Department says the CIA's need for secrecy trumps the public's interest in knowing about a screwed-up operation that put nuclear secrets in Iran’s hands.

The spy gambit blew up in the agency’s face when the Russian scientist it was using to peddle nuclear blueprints to Iran got cold feet and disclosed that the documents had been salted with false information, according to an account by New York Times reporter James Risen in his 2006 book, “State of War.”

The CIA officer who ran the screwed-up operation, Jeffrey Sterling, is being prosecuted on charges of illegally releasing classified information about it. The government is trying to compel Risen to testify about his sources.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iran’s Top Terrorist Emerges From the Shadows

Brigadier Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s supersecret overseas intelligence and sabotage service, is beginning to show a little more ankle, but he remains pretty much an enigma among Iran experts in Washington — including U.S. intelligence agencies, some say.

CQ Politics (04/11/2008)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Washington Not Ready to Add Nicaragua to the Axis of Evil

Alarms have been raised about Iran’s ties to Nicaragua, but the Bush administration isn’t seeing much to get upset about — yet. Maybe it’s because the Iranians haven’t shown up with the cash for all their grandiose plans. When Nicaraguans hear about the $350 million port and other projects the Iranians are supposed to be building, they simply roll their eyes.

CQ Homeland Security (03/28/2007)

Friday, March 21, 2008

John McCain’s Polish Moment, Iranian Style

The Republican candidate’s insistence, then backtracking, then his campaign’s backtracking on the backtracking, that Iran is training al Qaeda evoked President Gerald R. Ford’s declaration that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” For others, it was a reminder that we have all been here before — and we are once again exposed to the ignorance of top American officials about the Middle East.

CQ Homeland Security (03/21/2007)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Top U.N. Nuclear Watchdog a Russian Spy: Defector

The top U.N. official responsible for monitoring the clandestine nuclear programs of Iran and Pakistan is a Russian spy, according to a new book on Moscow’s espionage operations in the United States and Canada.
See story

CQ Politics(01/18/2008)