Magazine Sheds Light on Pentagon Resignation
A New Yorker magazine report claims that the Bush administration is expanding covert operations inside Iran as part of a $400 million effort to spy on the country's nuclear program and support rebel groups opposed to Iran's ruling clerics.
The article by Seymour M. Hersh is based on information from unidentified administration officials who had knowledge of a "Presidential Finding" on Iran, a highly classified document that lays the legal groundwork for all covert activities by U.S. intelligence officials.
Spokesmen for Congressional intelligence committees declined to comment on the Hersh report, citing the strict rules of secrecy governing such documents. The CIA also declined to comment. "The CIA does not, as a rule, comment on allegations regarding covert operations," agency spokesman George Little told The Post's Joby Warrick.
The report sheds new light on the abrupt resignation in March of Adm. William J. "Fox" Fallon, the former head of U.S. Central Command and one of the most outspoken opponents of an Iranian attack.
In his report, Hersh said he spoke to a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror who reported that "at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders, have weighed in" on a proposal to strike Iran.
Fallon, 63, clashed frequently with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, over strategy and troop levels, Pentagon officials said, and made several comments disagreeing with the administration's stance on Iran, most recently in an Esquire magazine article that portrayed him as the only person who might stop Bush from going to war with the Islamic republic.
"Fallon's early retirement, however, appears to have been provoked not only by his negative comments about bombing Iran but also by his strong belief in the chain of command and his insistence on being informed about Special Operations in his area of responsibility," Hersh writes.
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