Saturday, February 10, 2007

Iran and Al Qaida, Not So Much

The Washington Post today has a revealing story which, while not exactly saying so, implies scorn on the latest bit of White House butchery of facts.

You see, Iran has arrested two Al Qaida operatives.

Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush's National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The suspects were caught along a well-worn, if little-noticed, route for militants determined to fight U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, according to a senior intelligence official.

The arrests were presented to Bush's senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said. That assessment comes at a time when the Bush administration, in an effort to push for further U.N. sanctions on the Islamic republic, is preparing to publicly accuse Tehran of cooperating with and harboring al-Qaeda suspects.
The White House line is that they only did so to derail U.S. claims that they are in cahoots with AQ.
"We are not convinced that the Iranians have been honest or open about the level or degree of al-Qaeda presence in their midst," said one Bush adviser who was instrumental in coming up with a more confrontational U.S. approach to Iran. "They have not made proper accounting with respect to U.N. resolutions, have not been clear about who is in detention and have not been clear as to what is happening to individuals who might be in custody."
The WaPo gives insight into how these anonymous and official leaks are conducted:
Five administration officials were made available for interviews for this story on the condition that they not be identified. Other officials who spoke without permission -- including senior officials, career analysts and policymakers -- said their standing with the White House would be at risk if they were quoted by name.
And reminds us all that, but for neocon zeal to add Tehran to their target list, Iran could so easily have been a worthwhile ally in the "War on (Some) Terror":
Since al-Qaeda fighters began streaming into Iran from Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, Tehran had turned over hundreds of people to U.S. allies and provided U.S. intelligence with the names, photographs and fingerprints of those it held in custody, according to senior U.S. intelligence and administration officials. In early 2003, it offered to hand over the remaining high-value targets directly to the United States if Washington would turn over a group of exiled Iranian militants hiding in Iraq.

Some of Bush's top advisers pushed for the trade, arguing that taking custody of bin Laden's son and the others would produce new leads on al-Qaeda. They were also willing to trade away the exiles -- members of a group on the State Department's terrorist list -- who had aligned with Saddam Hussein in an effort to overthrow the Iranian government.

Officials have said Bush ultimately rejected the exchange on the advice of Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld...
The "exiled Iranian militants" mentioned are the MeK, a terrorist group who have killed US citizens and helped Saddam gas Kurds. The neocons rely on them for "intelligence" about Iran although much of what they say turns out to be false.

Meanwhile, over at the NY Times, Michael "aluminum tubes" Gordon proves that he can still shill with the best of them. Glenn Greenwald, a great writer even though he broke his promise to blogroll Newshog, takes Gordon's stenography for the White House to bits in fine style. I wll content myself with referring the uber-right who will doubtless lap up all of Gordon's pablum to a recent post of mine and to today's post by Jim Henley.