Thursday, July 27, 2006

Iran: The Next War

Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad, a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country. Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies. But this time, the target was Iran.

...In the Pentagon's view, according to one senior official there at the time, Iran was nothing but "a house of cards ready to be pushed over the precipice." So far, though, the White House had rejected the Pentagon's plan, favoring the State Department's more moderate position of diplomacy. Now, unwilling to play by the rules any longer, Franklin was taking the extraordinary—and illegal—step of passing on highly classified information to lobbyists for a foreign state. Unable to win the internal battle over Iran being waged within the administration, a member of Feith's secret unit in the Pentagon was effectively resorting to treason, recruiting AIPAC to use its enormous influence to pressure the president into adopting the draft directive and wage war against Iran.

It was a role that AIPAC was eager to play. Rosen, recognizing that Franklin could serve as a useful spy, immediately began plotting ways to plant him in the White House—specifically in the National Security Council, the epicenter of intelligence and national-security policy. By working there, Rosen told Franklin a few days later, he would be "by the elbow of the president."

Knowing that such a maneuver was well within AIPAC's capabilities, Franklin asked Rosen to "put in a good word" for him. Rosen agreed. "I'll do what I can," he said, adding that the breakfast meeting had been a real "eye-opener."

Working together, the two men hoped to sell the United States on yet another bloody war. A few miles away, digital recorders at the FBI's Language Services Section captured every word....