Needing intel on Iran, State Department turns to … Google
AFP/Stringer There’s so much going on in Dafna Linzer’s WaPo piece today about U.S. intel on Iran, it’s hard to know where to start. First, there’s the incredible admission by the State Dept. that a junior foreign service officer was tasked with finding Iranians the United States can slap with sanctions for having connections to ...
There’s so much going on in Dafna Linzer’s WaPo piece today about U.S. intel on Iran, it’s hard to know where to start. First, there’s the incredible admission by the State Dept. that a junior foreign service officer was tasked with finding Iranians the United States can slap with sanctions for having connections to the country’s nuclear program.
The junior officer’s intel-gathering method: Googling “Iran and nuclear” and then passing on the names that come up. Then there’s the territorial cat-fighting going on between State and the CIA, which refuses to check the Googled names against their own intel because they don’t want to give up their trade secrets.
That left the State Dept. in the unenviable position of recommending to the U.N. Security Council on Friday that 12 Iranians found to have some tenuous connection to the nuclear program (again, because they came up in a Google search) be hit with sanctions. The CIA wouldn’t help, but someone told Linzer that:
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.
Good work, everyone. There’s nothing that says “intelligence reform” less than relying on Google searches and refusing to share information between organizations. The Google thing really cracks me up. If the folks at State trust Google so much, perhaps they should check out what a search for “failure” gets them.
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