Monday, January 17, 2005

Expanded Role of Military in Covert Operations, On To Iran

Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker has this story on Secretary Rumsfeld's effort to locate all covert operational authority within the DOD. It seems Secretary Rumsfeld has been lobbying for such a structural change for over two years, and it looks like the "accountability moment" (WP) of the 2004 presidential election will be used to further advance neocon policy. According to Hersh, Stephen Cambone and William G. Boykin, both prominent neocons within the administration, will be part of the chain of command for the new commando operations. Hersh reports that the administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran since last summer, and the Pentagon is updating its military war plan against Iran, now that a full-scale invasion force could enter through Iraq. Hersh claims a former high-level intelligence official told him, "It’s not if we’re going to do anything against Iran. They’re doing it.” Apparently covert operations have also been authorized in Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Malaysia, and Tunisia.

Of the New Yorker article written by the same journalist who broke the Abu Graib story, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett said, "I think it's riddled with inaccuracies, and I don't believe that some of the conclusions he's drawing are based on fact."

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