Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

2 minds on the Iranian assassination plot

I don’t know what to believe. Juan Cole makes a pretty good case that the facts of the matter make it look like it was not really run by the Iranian government, mainly because of the sloppiness of the accused, which is said to be uncharacteristic of Iranian overseas operations. On the other hand, one ...

quinnanya/Flickr
quinnanya/Flickr
quinnanya/Flickr

I don't know what to believe. Juan Cole makes a pretty good case that the facts of the matter make it look like it was not really run by the Iranian government, mainly because of the sloppiness of the accused, which is said to be uncharacteristic of Iranian overseas operations. On the other hand, one thing I learned in two decades as a reporter was never to underestimate the potential of people to screw up, especially large organizations. I mean, who would have believed that people in the White House would hire a bunch of semi-competent "third-rate" thugs to break into the Democratic Party's national offices?

I don’t know what to believe. Juan Cole makes a pretty good case that the facts of the matter make it look like it was not really run by the Iranian government, mainly because of the sloppiness of the accused, which is said to be uncharacteristic of Iranian overseas operations. On the other hand, one thing I learned in two decades as a reporter was never to underestimate the potential of people to screw up, especially large organizations. I mean, who would have believed that people in the White House would hire a bunch of semi-competent "third-rate" thugs to break into the Democratic Party’s national offices?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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