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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Laurel and Hardy and the CIA

Here’s a tale guaranteed to make your stomach lurch, courtesy of The Guardian: Did the CIA give Iran the bomb?

The article is extracted from NY Times reporter James Risen’s book “The State of War”, and it reads like a very bad spy novel. For instance:

The CIA officer had made a disastrous mistake. She had sent information to one Iranian agent that exposed an entire spy network; the data could be used to identify virtually every spy the CIA had inside Iran.

Mistake piled on mistake. As the CIA later learned, the Iranian who received the download was a double agent. The agent quickly turned the data over to Iranian security officials, and it enabled them to "roll up" the CIA's network throughout Iran. CIA sources say that several of the Iranian agents were arrested and jailed, while the fates of some of the others is still unknown.

And that's not even talking about the carefully befouled plans for a nuclear bomb. All in a normal day's work, apparently, for the CIA.

It’s hard to know what to think of this whole story, actually (double agents, fake nuclear plans and all…), but if it's true, we should all be very, very afraid - because these are the folks upon whom we are relying for our Middle East strategy decisions. (Yes Virginia, there is a war in Iraq.)

Then again, we already knew they were bumbling idiots. If they ever make this into a movie, I hope they find the equivalent of Laurel and Hardy to play some of the lead roles.

Update: It seems Iran is kinda mad at the Guardian.