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February 12, 2007

Anonymous intel briefing on EFPs

"The smoking gun of an Iranian standing over an American with a gun, it's never going to happen." Unnamed defense analyst briefing the American press about Iran's alleged role in supplying bombs to Shiite fighters in Iraq.

The U.S. has been promising to produce the evidence that Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents. The great revelation had already been put off twice by the first of February. Finally, the press got a look at some military hardware at a background briefing in the Green Zone on Sunday.

It speaks volumes those who gave the briefing asked to remain anonymous.

The officials said they would speak only on the condition of anonymity, so the explosives expert and the analyst, who would normally not speak to the news media, could provide information directly. The analyst's exact title and full name were not revealed to reporters. The officials released a PowerPoint presentation including photographs of the weaponry, but did not allow media representatives to record, photograph or videotape the briefing or the materials on display. [WaPo]

The officials alleged that Iraqis are smuggling weapons made in Iran back into Iraq:

The defense analyst said Iranians used Iraqi smugglers to bring the weapons into Iraq. "The smoking gun of an Iranian standing over an American with a gun, it's never going to happen," he said. [WaPo]

The officials also went on at length about the Iranian operatives who have been captured in Iraq in recent months, as if hoping the reporters will make the connection between the captures and the weapons. So far, there's no direct evidence that the Iranians apprehended in Iraq had anything to do with the EFPs and other military hardware on display. So far, the officials acknowledged, only Iraqis have been caught smuggling EFPs into Iraq from Iran.

If Iraqis are smuggling EFP kits from Iran back into Iraq, where does the Iranian Quds Force come in? The U.S. briefers made a big deal of the fact that several members of the Quds Force have been picked up in raids in Irbil and Baghdad. The briefers invited the inference that the apprehension of Quds is proof that the Iranian government is involved, but as various media sources have noted, the officials supplied no evidence that Quds were supplying Shia insurgents with weapons on the orders of the Iranian government.

According to the NY Sun, the White House is being cagey about their evidence because they're afraid of being criticized by Democrats:

While the background briefing yesterday is the most explicit evidence the Americans have given to date on the Iranian role in Iraq, officials say more intelligence was not shared because of political concerns here and in Iraq. "We have a lot of stuff pointing to individual Iranians. We are not getting into because it would make things very tense between us and the government," an American diplomat said last week. The official, who requested anonymity, added that there were concerns at the White House that any information that did not represent a consensus view of all 16 American intelligence agencies would be challenged by Democrats in Congress concerned that the new focus on Iran could be a pretext for a new war. [NYSun]

Juan Cole has more on the weapons briefing.

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Comments

Sounds like how Judith Miller was presented the evidence of Iraq's WMD.

Remember what Col. Sam "Laoco├Ân" Gardiner said about that third carrier group?

Gulp:

A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow.

He's explained elsewhere that two carriers enable continuous, 24-hour air operations. A third carrier is a commitment of the Navy's strategic reserve. And if the Air Force moves fuel tankers are to weird places like Bulgaria, he says the strike is definitely days away.

A month ago, I thought even these brainless, nihilistic assholes weren't crazy enough to do this. Now I think its near a fait accompli.

So I'm wondering if they're using the same "guy in a baseball hat" who pointed out the "WMD sites" to Judith Miller back in 2003.

At this point, we have to presume anonymous sources are lying.

Well, at least this guy is not anonymous [thanks Josh and newshog]

I don't think its just that Pace has been away from his inbox and didn't get the memo with the party line either. Until recently we either had retired military critics of DoD/Bush intentions or we had fired military critics but heres just the latest general to take the seat where blame for military consequence of fxxxedup foreign policy tends to land and HE ain't interested.

--that is just my theory of course.

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