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Magazine Sheds Light on Pentagon Resignation

POSTED: 04:02 PM ET, 06/30/2008 by Derek Kravitz

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.

By Derek Kravitz |  June 30, 2008; 4:02 PM ET
Previous: A "Two-Fer" for Congressman Etheridge | Next: The Long Road to the Cole Bombing Indictment

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Iran has a number of ethnic groups besides Persians; some of whom are well integrated into Iranian society and some of whom are not. This policy of using Sunnis in Iran to fight a proxy war, if true, is really stupid. Even if there ever is a more compliant government in Teheran, all you're doing is sowing the seeds for chaos in the future to make it harder for any government there to effectively rule the country. Just like present day Afghanistan. The Saudis and Israelis both like such policies, because Sunni extremists can be diverted to fight there instead of trying to overthrow the Gulf sheikhs, the Saudi monarchy, or to fight in aid of the Palestinians. But that doesn't mean that this is good for the United States own interests in having peaceful relations with Iran.

Posted by: George Robertson | July 1, 2008 1:19 PM

This dad-gum lousy administration has now set its eyes on Iranian oil fields, apparently.
They are looking for any ole excuse to attack Iran, hang the cost.
The American people aren't buying their sack of lies again.
And, as your other article clearly reveals, they will stomp on anyone to get their way.
It's time for them TO GO!!!

Posted by: Judy-in-Texas | July 1, 2008 2:17 PM

This Administration should be facing major prosecution. It is not legal nor right to lie to the American people so that you can drag us into war under false pretenses. Sadly, the America I know and love has been adversly munipulated by the neocons in both the Administration and both Houses of Congress. Its time we lose these imposters. McCain is biggest flip floppin double talking neocon out there. If you think the policies we have been using for the past 7 years are working for the benefit of the country vote in McBush. Obama isn't perfect eiter, but he is significantly better than McCain. McCain will definetly push us into Iran.

Posted by: disgustedcitizenx | July 2, 2008 12:39 PM

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