That seems to be the real scoop in James Risen’s book, says Michael Ledeen. Hmmm.
ML: Have you read that excerpt from the Risen book, State of War, that was in Thursday’s Guardian?
JJA: Indeed I have. I was hoping that’s why you called. It’s simply amazing. Unbelievable.
ML: You mean the buffoonery by the CIA operations directorate that Risen talks about?
JJA: Well, obviously. But the really amazing part is that Risen doesn’t even notice the truly horrible aspects of his own story. He doesn’t have the wit or the energy to think half a step beyond the tale he’s been told.
ML: Okay, let’s take them in order. The first one dates back to Clinton. It’s about an operation called “Merlin,” and consisted of feeding doctored information about the design of nuclear weapons to the mullahs via a Soviet scientist who had defected “years earlier” to the United States. The concept was to get the Iranians to use the snafued version in their bombs so that they would fizzle instead of explode.
JJA: Right. We’ve been doing such things for years, and for good reason. If you know that your enemies are trying to steal your blueprints, or buy good weapons on the clandestine market, you’re well-advised to try to get them to steal or buy things that won’t work, instead of running around trying to plug all the cracks in the dyke. Nothing wrong with the concept.
ML: Except that we never did it with nuclear stuff before, did we? And Risen’s got expert testimony that the Iranians could easily have sorted out the good parts of the blueprints from the disinformation, so that in the end we would have actually helped them.
JJA: Yes, I saw that. You can always get somebody to say that any given idea is idiotic. But you’d need to know a lot more than Risen knows to be able to judge it, in this specific case. And that points us to the really interesting question, the one that Risen doesn’t bother to ask, let alone answer.
ML: I’m following you. If we knew enough — in 2000, mind you — to be able to design an effective disinformation program, then…
JJA: Then (he started shouting in that gravelly voice of his) THEY KNEW THE IRANIANS HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM SIX YEARS AGO.
ML: But they were forever testifying, in those years, that they really didn’t know.
Meanwhile, Byron York explains why Rep. Murtha hopes nothing looks like victory.
Appearing at a town meeting in Arlington, Virginia, with fellow Democratic Rep. James Moran, Murtha said, “A year ago, I said we can’t win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism.” Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, “I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there’s a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing.”
It seems to me that slow withdrawal or not, the day we turn security over to the Iraqis, will be a victorious day. It’s disturbing that Murtha apparently will only be happy if it’s called a failure.
My Democrat grandparents must be spinning like tops in their graves.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more about the meeting in which Murtha made that statement – and the soldier who called him and Rep. Moran on their stands. A must read.