War propaganda is repulsive. It appeals to emotion, vilifying an enemy, often exaggerating its potential. Nothing was as appalling in the Bush Administration as Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN ‘connecting the dots’ of isolated events and misidentified objects into a call for war.
The FBI, under both Bush and Obama, has announced several ‘heroic’ acts of disrupting potential terrorist attacks. Some involved real but incompetent ‘terrorists’ who couldn’t blow themselves up in a plane or detonate a bomb in Times Square if Osama Bin Laden was there giving them directions. Too many of the ‘terrorist’ plots unearthed since 9/11 have been sting operations,l like the Liberty City down-and-outs lured by the FBI into an FBI-fabricated plot.
This dilettante show by the FBI contrasts sharply with European and Interpol operations against active, professional Al Queda led cells rooted in Germany, Spain, France and other European cities.
Now we have the Obama Administration doing one better than George W. Bush’s team. Reuters reports:
The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their confidence that at least some Iranian leaders were aware of the alleged plot was based largely on analyses and This means they have no hard evidence that the Iranian government either approved or directed this operation. Many independent Iranian experts based their skepticism that the assassination plot was directed by Al Quds or the Iranian government based on the same, ‘their understanding of how the Quds Force operates.’ Who is right?
They said it was “more than likely” that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani had prior knowledge or approved of the suspected plot. They insisted it was “not a rogue operation in any way,” and was sanctioned and directed by Quds Force operatives in Iran. Yet they have produced no evidence of this. We don’t even know if the Iranian cousin of the only arrested suspect is actually an Al Quds operative; we’ve been provided no documentation to support the accusation. There is a huge difference between ‘more than likely’ and having concrete intelligence pointing to Khamenie’s knowledge of the plot.
But other parts of Iran’s factionalized government may not have known, they said. That included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who “didn’t necessarily know about this,” one said. So why did Holder insist that the plot was the work of the Iranian government?They said it was “more than likely” that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani had prior knowledge or approved of the suspected plot. They insisted it was “not a rogue operation in any way,” and was sanctioned and directed by Quds Force operatives in Iran.
But other parts of Iran’s factionalized government may not have known, they said. That included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who “didn’t necessarily know about this,” one said.
Several senior U.S. government officials acknowledged the alleged plot was unusual in its poor tradecraft — spy jargon for espionage skills and finesse. So why the aura of certainty?
“We would expect to see the Quds Force cover their tracks more effectively,” said one official. Another said a plot to launch a violent attack inside the United States was “very outside the pattern” of recent Quds Force activities.
Kenneth Katzman, an Iran specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said there were elements of the alleged plot that did not make sense.
“The idea of using a Texas car salesman who is not really a Quds Force person himself, who has been in residence in the United States many years, that doesn’t add up,” Katzman said.
“There could have been some contact on this with the Quds Force, but the idea that this was some sort of directed, vetted, fully thought-through plot, approved at high levels in Tehran leadership I think defies credulity,” he said.
Risk of False Accusations
This is huge. What happens if US allies find the US allegations of an Iranian-sponsored plot premature or wrong? Could the US be giving the ‘plot’ to the Saudis and Israelis for political purposes? Or to justify regional war?
There is no reason why these loose ends weren’t tied up before the Justice Department made the announcement of arrest. Making the announcement without more certainty is irresponsible.