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Saturday, May 29, 2004

You probably didn't read it here first, but the theory that Michael Ledeen is an Iranian spy has been winning a lot of converts lately, including Matthew Yglesias (who might actually conceivably not be completely joking), Jim Henley (who is clearly joking perhaps because he has a heavier hand with the irony than Matt), and Atrios (who claims he isn't sure we are all joking anymore, not that he knows who I am).

Seriously has anyone else reported that we know that Chalabi told the Iranians we had broken their code ? If true this should be kept secret so they think they can trick us by using a broken code. I have seen the claim reported only by Ledeen (twice).

And have you noticed that Michael Ledeen looks Iranian ?
I mean so do I, and I am not an Iranian OR an Iranian spy, but, I mean, where did he get that tan ?

Update: Michale Ledeen is no longer alone (if he ever was) Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker that "According to a Chalabi aide, the I.N.C. has heard that it will be accused of telling Iran’s intelligence service that the U.S. had cracked one of its internal codes."

I suppose the cat is well out of the bag, but I wonder how the US found out about this. I assume that Michael Ledeens straw man who thinks that the Iranians used the broken code to report that Chalabi had told them that the code was broken is not only nonexistent but also wrong. Iranian intelligence take note, I don't know squat, but if the US found out via a source in Iran that source is likely to be rather peeved with Ledeen and Mayer.

I'm sure they are delighted to have their names linked given how highly they probably think of each other. I only regret that they don't know or care what I think of them.

There is an interesting twist as each tries to determine who will be blamed for revealing the secret to journalists. Neither mentions the possibilityu of not reporting what they knew, but they present very different stories as to how they found out. Ledeen puts the blame on un-named intel officials writing "some intel officials in town are saying two things to the journalists: 1) We broke the Iranians' communication codes, so we were reading their mail. Chalabi found out about this, and told the Iranian intelligence chief in Baghdad."
while Mayer quotes an un-named Chalabi aid. Now, what is the chance that Mayer had better contacts close to Chalabi while researching "THE MANIPULATOR :Ahmad Chalabi pushed a tainted case for war. Can he survive the occupation?" than Ledeen. I think it is clear that Ledeen got the information from Chalabi associates and is trying to shift the blame for the leak to un-named intel officials who told numerous un-named journalists.

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