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Gold9472
05-22-2007, 08:52 PM
Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report
May 22, 2007 6:29 PM

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

"I can't confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime," said Bruce Riedel, a recently retired CIA senior official who dealt with Iran and other countries in the region.

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A National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johndroe, said, "The White House does not comment on intelligence matters." A CIA spokesperson said, "As a matter of course, we do not comment on allegations of covert activity."

The sources say the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year and received approval from White House officials and other officials in the intelligence community.

Officials say the covert plan is designed to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq.

"There are some channels where the United States government may want to do things without its hand showing, and legally, therefore, the administration would, if it's doing that, need an intelligence finding and would need to tell the Congress," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official.

Current and former intelligence officials say the approval of the covert action means the Bush administration, for the time being, has decided not to pursue a military option against Iran.

"Vice President Cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former CIA official Riedel, "but I think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

The covert action plan comes as U.S. officials have confirmed Iran had dramatically increased its ability to produce nuclear weapons material, at a pace that experts said would give them the ability to build a nuclear bomb in two years.

Riedel says economic pressure on Iran may be the most effective tool available to the CIA, particularly in going after secret accounts used to fund the nuclear program.

"The kind of dealings that the Iranian Revolution Guards are going to do, in terms of purchasing nuclear and missile components, are likely to be extremely secret, and you're going to have to work very, very hard to find them, and that's exactly the kind of thing the CIA's nonproliferation center and others would be expert at trying to look into," Riedel said.

Under the law, the CIA needs an official presidential finding to carry out such covert actions. The CIA is permitted to mount covert "collection" operations without a presidential finding.

"Presidential findings" are kept secret but reported to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other key congressional leaders.

The "nonlethal" aspect of the presidential finding means CIA officers may not use deadly force in carrying out the secret operations against Iran.

Still, some fear that even a nonlethal covert CIA program carries great risks.

"I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran," said Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow for Mideast studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"And this covert action is now being escalated by the new U.S. directive, and that can very quickly lead to Iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow," Nasr said.

Other "lethal" findings have authorized CIA covert actions against al Qaeda, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Also briefed on the CIA proposal, according to intelligence sources, were National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams.

"The entire plan has been blessed by Abrams, in particular," said one intelligence source familiar with the plan. "And Hadley had to put his chop on it."

Abrams' last involvement with attempting to destabilize a foreign government led to criminal charges.

He pleaded guilty in October 1991 to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress about the Reagan administration's ill-fated efforts to destabilize the Nicaraguan Sandinista government in Central America, known as the Iran-Contra affair. Abrams was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush in December 1992.

In June 2001, Abrams was named by then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to head the National Security Council's office for democracy, human rights and international operations. On Feb. 2, 2005, National Security Advisor Hadley appointed Abrams deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy, one of the nation's most senior national security positions.

As earlier reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the United States has supported and encouraged an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, that has conducted deadly raids inside Iran from bases on the rugged Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan "tri-border region."

U.S. officials deny any "direct funding" of Jundullah groups but say the leader of Jundullah was in regular contact with U.S. officials.

American intelligence sources say Jundullah has received money and weapons through the Afghanistan and Pakistan military and Pakistan's intelligence service. Pakistan has officially denied any connection.

A report broadcast on Iranian TV last Sunday said Iranian authorities had captured 10 men crossing the border with $500,000 in cash along with "maps of sensitive areas" and "modern spy equipment."

A senior Pakistani official told ABCNews.com the 10 men were members of Jundullah.

The leader of the Jundullah group, according to the Pakistani official, has been recruiting and training "hundreds of men" for "unspecified missions" across the border in Iran.

Gold9472
05-22-2007, 08:55 PM
If "Jundullah has received money and weapons through the Afghanistan and Pakistan military and Pakistan's intelligence service", and the United States has supplied Afghanistan and Pakistan money and weapons, doesn't that mean the United States is giving money and weapons to Jundullah?

They may as well be considering they are "secrectly encouraged and advised by American officials (http://search.php?searchid=84559)."

Look at this report (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php/?t=14577) from February 17, 2007:

Provincial police commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ghafari said a total of 65 suspects had been detained over the Zahedan attack, including three who were believed to have actually carried it out.

He renewed Iranian accusations that Jundullah was receiving support from British and US forces in neighboring Afghanistan for its campaign of violence in Sistan-Baluchestan.

Looks like he was telling the truth.

Gold9472
05-30-2007, 01:31 PM
Bush sanctions 'black ops' against Iran

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=E3KMWW5VVIXZNQFIQMFSFF4AVCBQ 0IV0?xml=/news/2007/05/27/wiran27.xml

By Tim Shipman in Washington, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:24am BST 28/05/2007

President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert "black" operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed.

Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.

Under the plan, pressure will be brought to bear on the Iranian economy by manipulating the country's currency and international financial transactions.

Details have also emerged of a covert scheme to sabotage the Iranian nuclear programme, which United Nations nuclear watchdogs said last week could lead to a bomb within three years.

Security officials in Washington have disclosed that Teheran has been sold defective parts on the black market in a bid to delay and disrupt its uranium enrichment programme, the precursor to building a nuclear weapon.

A security source in the US told The Sunday Telegraph that the presidential directive, known as a "non-lethal presidential finding", would give the CIA the right to collect intelligence on home soil, an area that is usually the preserve of the FBI, from the many Iranian exiles and emigrés within the US.

"Iranians in America have links with their families at home, and they are a good two-way source of information," he said.

The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime.

The plans, which significantly increase American pressure on Iran, were leaked just days before a meeting in Iraq tomorrow between the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart.

Tensions have been raised by Iran's seizure of what the US regards as a series of "hostages" in recent weeks. Three academics who hold dual Iranian-American citizenship are being held, accused of working to undermine the Iranian government or of spying.

An Iranian-American reporter with Radio Free Europe, who was visiting Iran, has had her passport seized. Another Iranian American, businessman Ali Shakeri, was believed to have been detained as he tried to leave Teheran last week.

The US responded with a show of force by the navy, sending nine warships, including two aircraft carriers, into the Persian Gulf.

Authorisation of the new CIA mission, which will not be allowed to use lethal force, appears to suggest that President Bush has, for the time being, ruled out military action against Iran.

Bruce Riedel, until six months ago the senior CIA official who dealt with Iran, said: "Vice-President [Dick] Cheney helped to lead the side favouring a military strike, but I think they have concluded that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

However, the CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan.

Iranian officials say they captured 10 members of Jundullah last weekend, carrying $500,000 in cash along with "maps of sensitive areas" and "modern spy equipment".

Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior State Department official now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said industrial sabotage was the favoured way to combat Iran's nuclear programme "without military action, without fingerprints on the operation."

He added: "One way to sabotage a programme is to make minor modifications in some of the components Iran obtains on the black market."

Components and blueprints obtained by Iranian intelligence agents in Europe, and shipped home using the diplomatic bag from the Iranian consulate in Frankfurt, have been blamed for an explosion that destroyed 50 nuclear centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant last year.

The White House National Security Council and CIA refused to comment on intelligence matters.

Eckolaker
05-30-2007, 03:24 PM
Borat: Next we go to Washinton DC's, home of great U.S. Warlord, Premier Bush.