"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Will the US wage another war based on bad intelligence?

The National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI)--the political wing of the militant Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK)--recently unveiled satellite photos of an alleged new secret uranium enrichment facility near Tehran. That same day, Colin Powell claimed that Iran was working to produce a nuclear-tipped missile. Two days later, the Washington Post reported that Powell relied on an "unvetted, single source" who approached US intelligence officials earlier in the month with a 1,000 page dossier detailing the alleged state of Iran's nuclear program. The article left open the possibility that the "walk-in" source could represent the MEK.
A number of security and Iran experts interviewed by The Daily Outrage didn't know the identity of Powell's source. Alireza Jafarzadeh, a major figure in the Iranian opposition, denied that the MEK was behind Powell's statement.
Others see an MEK connection. "It's quite plausible that the Mujahedeen put together a dossier and gave it to the US government," says John Pike of, which frequently breaks intelligence news. Pike says that his group independently verified Powell's claim but calls the MEK's intelligence material "of uneven quality." The MEK successfully discovered an Iranian nuclear facility in 2002 yet has often been wrong since then. And its motives are decidedly biased in favor of overthrowing the Iranian regime. "There's a big difference between doing robust verification and harassing a country," Mohamed ElBaradai, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The New York Times. "They're completely unreliable," says Juan Cole, an Iran expert at the University of Michigan and popular blogger.
The MEK started as an Islamist-Marxist student group that fled Iran after feuding with Ayatollah Khomeini and relocated to Iraq, where Saddam Hussein gave them bases, weapons and protection. They became known as "Hussein's private army," and helped violently subdue Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991 while agitating for regime change next door. The State Department added the cultish group to its terrorist list in 1999. But prominent hawks inside and outside the government--such as Richard Perle and Daniel Pipes--value the group's hard-line stance.
Even without an MEK-link, Powell's shady sourcing brings to mind his own deceitful UN performance last February and the intelligence manipulation that rushed the US into war. "There has been an unfortunate tendency for Bush Administration officials to depend too heavily on expatriates and defectors for their information and to give too much credence to single-source allegations," Cole says. Iraqi National Congress meet the MEK.
In addition, the Los Angeles Times recently described how the US has few sources of reliable information on Iran, according to current and former intelligence officials. "Our policy could be based on a wild-ass guess," says Pike.
But that hasn't stopped the Bush Administration from viewing the IAEA's recent hard-won deal with Iran--in which the mullahs agreed to temporarily halt their program for enriching nuclear fuel--with suspicion. The Administration's increasing belligerence gives a strong sense of deja vu.
"The intelligence community is now more careful because of Iraq," says Jon Wolfsthal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "I don't think our political leaders are."

This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 04:34


Post a Comment