Monday, December 10, 2007

Duped By Misinformation

By Cernig

When will American bloggers learn that anything in the UK's Daily Telegraph - especially if it has Con Coughlin or Phil Sherwell's name on it - should be treated as if it were a story from the National Enquirer?

Today Sherwell has a story that reports an anonymous British "senior official" as saying that the British government and intelligence community believe the US was duped by an Iranian misinformation ploy over it's nuclear program.

Of course, the War Party faithful love it.

But read carefully. Although we are left with the impression that the source is a senior British intelligence official, that isn't explicitly said. The source could just as easily be a senior official at a bank, a think tank or the post office.

Certainly, Sherwell has a habit of disguising the flimsiest of stories by carefully parsing his words. You may recall one of his stories from last year where his "intelligence" sources turned out to be a lying neocon pundit, a lying wanna-be spy and an ex-spokeman for a terrorist group turned FOXNews advisor.

Sherwell's story is even more suspect given an earlier contrary report by an equally anonymous US source that Britain's GCHQ electronic surveillance command center were involved in the telephone intercepts.
The US intelligence U-turn on Iran was partly based on telephone conversations in Iran intercepted by the British intelligence listening station GCHQ, according to a source in Washington speaking on a basis of anonymity.

...According to the source, there was a lengthy time-lag between the conversations being intercepted by GCHQ and the US intelligence agencies checking out whether they were genuine or whether those involved knew they were being listened to and put out false information.
Either or both may be wrong. But there's one thing British press-watchers know - if the British government's intelligence community want to leak something and let their displeasure be known, you won't hear it from the Telegraph but instead from the London Time's Michael Smith.

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