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Shouldn’t We Have Better Sources Of Information ?

by @ 8:32 pm on December 11, 2006. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Iran

Today’s Washington Post reports that some of the intelligence that the United States has been gathering from Iran comes from Google:

When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be sanctioned for their involvement in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the agency refused, citing a large workload and a desire to protect its sources and tradecraft.

Frustrated, the State Department assigned a junior Foreign Service officer to find the names another way — by using Google. Those with the most hits under search terms such as “Iran and nuclear,” three officials said, became targets for international rebuke Friday when a sanctions resolution circulated at the United Nations

While this is partly a story about just how ubiquitous Google has become, it also demonstrates just how little cooperation there is between various government agencies on something as important as the Iranian nuclear program. Because, you see, the CIA refused to release to the State Department any information that wasn’t already publicly available on the Internet. So, when the State Department came up with a list of names against him travel restrictions would be imposed, the inevitable occurred:

None of the 12 Iranians that the State Department eventually singled out for potential bans on international travel and business dealings is believed by the CIA to be directly connected to Iran’s most suspicious nuclear activities.

“There is nothing that proves involvement in a clandestine weapons program, and there is very little out there at all that even connects people to a clandestine weapons program,” said one official familiar with the intelligence on Iran

Which, of course, just makes the whole anti-proliferation program look foolish in the eyes of the world.

The question, of course, is what is the CIA not making public ? Do they really have inside information about the Iranian nuclear program, or is this just another intelligence debacle waiting to happen like the supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction ?

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