Now, here's an interesting little tid-bit, considering the source: Pat Buchanan's magazine, American Conservative, has published a report saying that Dick CheneyCheney_1 has had the Pentagon prepare a contingency plan for an immediate air strike on Iran, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, in the event of "another 9/11."

The report, in Buchanan's mag's "Deep Background" column, claims: "In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran." The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections."

This report is signed by one Philip Giraldi, who is identified as "a former CIA Officer, [and] a partner in Cannistraro Associates." This makes it even more interesting -- for the head of Cannistraro Associates is none other than former CIA Vince_cannistraro counter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro (right), who was also Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council under President Reagan, former Special Assistant for Intelligence in the office of the Secretary of Defense, and whose face you've seen a lot on TV -- he's currently a consultant to ABC News on intelligence and terrorism.

Now, I'm always mindful of the old saw that military intelligence is to intelligence as military music is to music -- and the blame-shifting between Cheney and his cronies and the CIA for intelligence failures in Iraq has led to a lot of bad blood between Langley types, past and present, and the Veep's office. But, while one wouldn't necessarily trust the ears of Cannistraro and his cronies when it comes to sussing out matters abroad, one wouldn't be wrong in thinking that the fact that this well-placed prominent veteran of a lifetime in the U.S. national security apparatus spent a lot of time at the highest levels of the intelligence community gives him and his subordinates access to some pretty juicy Pentagon gossip.

It will be interesting to see if some major news organization -- ABC News, for example, Cannistraro's employer -- tries to run this story to ground to see if it's true.