True or not, the revelation has had the desired effect: It put the Azeri government of President Ilham Aliyev on the spot and forced it to disavow any such collaboration with Israel. While some have questioned the integrity of the author and the logic of his thesis, the trouble is, it certainly sounds like the Obama administration to see such a stunt as a highly desirable two-fer: an opportunity to undermine Israel’s security, while effectively protecting Iran.
It seems that a similar calculation moved the Obama administration to divulge what appeared on the front page of the Washington Post’s Sunday editions: An article citing unnamed White House and intelligence sources – including “a senior U.S. official involved in high-level discussions about Iran policy” – that revealed details about the intelligence operations and capabilities the United States is said to have brought to bear lately against Iran.
The ostensible purpose of these initiatives has been the monitoring and disabling of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Among the insights: the CIA has stood up and greatly expanded a unit dubbed “Persia House” for the purpose of monitoring and running covert actions against Iran.
In the article, much was made of the growth of this organization, its use of stealthy unmanned drones to collect signals and other intelligence deep in Iran and U.S. involvement in computer worms, assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and explosions in certain sensitive facilities involved in Iran’s weapons program.
The point of these leaks of exceedingly sensitive activities – at least some of which could constitute acts of war, however, seemed once again to be cynically manipulative: It appears designed to show the American people that everything is under control. Team Obama is working the problem, skillfully employing intelligence assets to prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions from being realized without using military force.
The Post story also served as a vehicle for reiterating the administration’s party line: The mullahs have not decided to acquire an actual weapon and are at least a year away from getting one. And, what’s more, we will know should that decision be taken in plenty of time to do something about it.
We would all wish these assurances to be accurate. Unfortunately, the problem with the Obama administration’s practice of playing fast-and-loose with information that is secret for a reason – it might be called “political compromise,” but that would be the only sense of the term this president seems to favor – is that it almost certainly will jeopardize our security, and that of other freedom-loving people.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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