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Subject: The Late Great Former Head of CIA CounterIntelligence Has a Theory
swhitebull    12/19/2005 1:25:02 PM swhitebull - hurray for James Jesus Angleton!
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swhitebull    The Angleton Angle - CounterIntel Fiasco and Risen's Book    1/6/2006 3:45:13 PM
An interview via Ouija board With james Jesus Angleton, deceased former head of CounterIntel, CIA: From Michael Ledeen, National Review: The Great Counterintelligence Fiasco Why should anyone believe anything the CIA has to say about Iran? Like everyone else in Washington, I’ve been reading excerpts from James Risen’s new book, the one that "exposes" the "crimes" of the Bush administration with regard to the war on terrorism. The most recent excerpt deals with the CIA’s activities vis-à-vis Iran, and Risen says some very shocking things, things which a serious city would find far more troublesome than the legalities about NSA’s intercepts of conversations involving terrorists. Since I’m just an amateur at these arcane subjects, I thought it best to get some real expertise, and so I dusted off the old Ouija board for the first time this year, and got it up and running. After about 20 minutes of searching, I finally got my old friend James Jesus Angleton, once upon a time the head of counterintelligence at Langley. JJA: Happy New Year! Hope everyone’s doing well. ML: Thanks, dittos. We’re okay down here, hoping for a terrific 2006. And you? JJA: Kind of you to ask. I’m doing fine, it’s just that the puritans who run this place won’t let me smoke. They say it’s totally contrary to the milieu, and that if I want to smoke I can put in for a transfer to the other place... ML: Probably not what you’re looking for? JJA: Not at all. But enough about me, what’s on your mind? ML: Have you read that excerpt from the Risen book, State of War, that was in Thursday’s Guardian? JJA: Indeed I have. I was hoping that’s why you called. It’s simply amazing. Unbelievable. ML: You mean the buffoonery by the CIA operations directorate that Risen talks about? JJA: Well, obviously. But the really amazing part is that Risen doesn’t even notice the truly horrible aspects of his own story. He doesn’t have the wit or the energy to think half a step beyond the tale he’s been told. ML: Okay, let’s take them in order. The first one dates back to Clinton. It’s about an operation called "Merlin," and consisted of feeding doctored information about the design of nuclear weapons to the mullahs via a Soviet scientist who had defected "years earlier" to the United States. The concept was to get the Iranians to use the snafued version in their bombs so that they would fizzle instead of explode. JJA: Right. We’ve been doing such things for years, and for good reason. If you know that your enemies are trying to steal your blueprints, or buy good weapons on the clandestine market, you’re well-advised to try to get them to steal or buy things that won’t work, instead of running around trying to plug all the cracks in the dyke. Nothing wrong with the concept. ML: Except that we never did it with nuclear stuff before, did we? And Risen’s got expert testimony that the Iranians could easily have sorted out the good parts of the blueprints from the disinformation, so that in the end we would have actually helped them. JJA: Yes, I saw that. You can always get somebody to say that any given idea is idiotic. But you’d need to know a lot more than Risen knows to be able to judge it, in this specific case. And that points us to the really interesting question, the one that Risen doesn’t bother to ask, let alone answer. ML: I’m following you. If we knew enough — in 2000, mind you — to be able to design an effective disinformation program, then... JJA: Then (he started shouting in that gravelly voice of his) THEY KNEW THE IRANIANS HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM SIX YEARS AGO. ML: But they were forever testifying, in those years, that they really didn’t know. JJA: The damn fools. ML: Well, maybe they had a political problem. They certainly knew that Clinton wasn’t going to do anything about it, so why should they make the case? There’s a long history of this, including the CIA’s failure to sufficiently warn about al Qaeda, etc. etc... JJA: Nononono! They did make the case — that’s Risen’s real scoop, and he doesn’t even know it. They had to make the case in order to justify the operation. You couldn’t have "Merlin" unless you knew there was an Iranian nuclear-weapons program. Remember that Risen makes a big deal about the fact that the Russian defector was carrying "a technical design for...a 'firing set' for a Russian-designed nuclear weapon." ML: You’re right. Good heavens! JJA: Damn right. And that takes us to the true idiocy of "Merlin." It’s not, as Risen has it, that we might have inadvertently helped the mullahs design a better weapon; they had all the help they needed on that one. That was a component of a Soviet bomb. The true idiocy was the apparent failure to realize that the Iranians could find out all about the defector, because their nuclear program was being helped by the Russians, who had to know all about this guy. And the Russians also knew all about that "firing set," becau
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