Saturday, August 11, 2012

Eyes Inside

Turns out that Israel shouldn't be too worried about Iran and its nuclear intentions.

And if you don't believe us, just ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

In a statement that received virtually no attention domestically--but received wide play in the Middle East--Mr. Carney tried to assure Israel that the U.S. will quickly learn if Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons. From Israeli TV:

“We have ‘eyes’ inside the nuclear facilities and we will know in real time when and if Iran decides to cross the threshold and develop nuclear weapons,” Carney said, according to a report by Channel 10 News.

Carney’s remarks were made in response to recent assessments in Israel, especially those of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, according to which the Americans understand that the Iranian threat is becoming an increased concern.

“The president remains committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” he was quoted as having said.

Perhaps Mr. Carney might want to change his statement to "we had eyes" inside Tehran's nuclear facilities. By suggesting that we have human intelligence assets inside the program (and well-placed ones at that), the White House press spokesman just made it easier for Iranian counter-intelligence to ferret out potential assets. At the very least, their "search" list is now a bit shorter.

Of course, that assumes the referenced assets are providing reliable information that can be independently confirmed by other sources. Unfortunately, assets like the one described by Jay Carney tend to be singular and their reports can't always be verified. Some well-placed spies, like the Polish hero Ryszard Kuklinski, provide invaluable information that helps direct our defense and foreign policy directives. Others, like the notorious "Curveball" in Iraq, divulge material that is not only inaccurate, it can also lead to policy blunders of the first magnitude.

Equally disturbing is the Obama Administration's penchant for disclosing classified information that suits its political purposes. This wasn't an inadvertent slip-of-the-tongue, but rather, a calculated message aimed at audiences here and abroad. After Mitt Romney's recent criticism of our Iran policy, the president's chief press flack assures everyone that we have full knowledge of the most important developments--and decisions--related to Tehran's nuclear program.

For those keeping score at home, this is at least the fourth major revelation involving sensitive intelligence programs and information so far this year. Since January, U.S. officials (speaking publicly or with their friends in the press) have blown the cover of a Pakistani doctor who helped us "get" Osama bin Laden; that physician is now serving a 30-year prison term. Administration figures have also disclosed our participation in the development/insertion of computer viruses into Iranian nuclear facilities, and they also exposed a secret Saudi operation that infiltrated an agent into an Al Qaida franchise plotting to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner.

Of course, the leaks are being "investigated" (by a pair of U.S. attorneys who work for Eric Holder) and that probe isn't making any discernible headway. So, with nothing to fear, members of the Obama team are free to keep talking, divulging the most sensitive secrets that make their boss look good and enhance his re-election prospects.

Assuming Mr. Carney's comments are accurate (and the Iranians crack down in a predictable fashion), the impact on our intelligence could be devastating. Assuming our "eyes" aren't part of a double-agent operation, we may well lose our best intelligence source (or sources) within the Iranian regime, as that nation's nuclear program approaches a critical juncture. But don't look for Jay Carney to face questioning from those U.S. attorneys investigating intelligence leaks in the Obama White House. Mr. Carney knew exactly what he was doing, and those comments almost certainly had the approval of his boss.


James said...

It also assumes Carney is telling the truth, very likely a stretch at best. Either way, this statement gives aid and comfort to the enemy, as the article pointed out, without explicitly saying so. Carney is at best an incompetent idiot unworthy of his job. This entire administration is worthy of an independent investigation, with jail time in the offing. Is Congress up to the task? It would be if the Parties in question were reversed. Democrats would never let a Republican get away with this.

Corky Boyd said...

I can't believe the loose talk going on from this administration. But I also believe both CIA and NSA have instantly reacted to such breaches. But they continue. No one tells them that sources simply dry up from disclosures like this.

I was in the Navy when Martin and Mitchell defected, and you could tell what was discussed in their interrogations by what didn't see afterward.

It is a sickening feeling.

Unknown said...

I am a retired Submarine Officer, and did a tour in the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The willingness of this administration to volunteer 'sources and methods' to score small transient political points is appalling.