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January 07, 2006

Risen Book: Clinton Gave Iran Nuke Blueprints

Don't expect this to get much play:

In a hairbrained scheme that was personally approved by then-President Clinton, the CIA deliberately gave Iranian physicists blueprints for part of a nuclear bomb that likely helped Tehran advance its nuclear weapons development program. ...

Reports Risen: "It's not clear who originally came up with the idea, but the plan [to give Tehran nuclear blueprints] was first approved by Clinton."

Beginning in February 2000, the CIA recruited a Russian scientist who had defected to the US years earlier. His mission: Take the nuclear blueprints to Vienna to sell them - or simply give them - to the Iranian representatives for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Dubbed "Operation Merlin," the plan was supposed to steer Iranian physicists off track by incorporating design flaws in the blueprints that would render the information worthless.

But in what may turn out to be one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time, Operation Merlin backfired when the Russian scientist spotted the design flaws immediately - and even offered to help Iran fix the problems.

Wow.

Of course disinformation operations are nothing new. And operations like this have backfired before, and will backfire in the future.

However: It seems that lately we're not giving the executive the benefit of the doubt as to his intentions. We seem to be only interested in whether or not he was 100% right in his call.

Clinton was a "miserable failure" here. He aided and abetted Iran's nuke program, no matter what his intention was.

Think the New York Times will give this part of Risen's story above-the-fold, three-column treatment?


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posted by Ace at 01:53 PM

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