Put me in Kevin Drum’s camp on the much-decried ABC News report of a covert American program to “destabilize” Iran’s government: It reeks to high heaven of a deliberate administration plant. ABC insists it gave the White House and CIA a chance to object to the story if reporting it would endanger operatives in the field or national security. And the same administration that got the New York Times to sit on its story about an extralegal warrantless wiretap program for a year didn’t say boo.
If it’s not a plant, what’s the alternative motive here? Disgruntled CIA insiders inexplicably felt the need to out the shocking news that, in a radical departure from the policy of the past half century, the American government is covertly screwing with Iran? Since that was already pretty much taken for granted, the only real loser here so far seems to be the militant organization Jundullah, which has suffered a crackdown in Pakistan and Iran following claims in the ABC report that they’d been getting secret support from the US to work against Iran. Except this same group has been tied closely to Al Qaeda in previous reporting. So what we’re supposed to buy here is that the US really wanted to help an Al Qaeda affiliate in its eagerness to undermine Iran, but then CIA sources decided, for reasons unclear, to suddenly burn them, and the most secretive administration since Adam Weishaupt launched the Bavarian Illuminati declines offers to kill the story? Bullshit. Certainly it’s possible that the U.S. really was supporting Jundullah—precisely with the intention of pulling a two-birds-with-one-stone move like this later. But nothing about this story makes sense unless it’s a sanctioned leak.