The April 17 edition of the weekly magazine the New Yorkerwill contain anarticle by Seymour Hersh claiming that the United States is preparing a nuclear attack against Iran. In hisarticle, he states, “One of the military’s initial optionplans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.” On Sunday, President Bush called Mr. Hersh’s allegations “wild speculation.”

The reason that the nuclear option is the only one that willinsure destruction of the facilities is that we lackessential intelligence about, for example, which ventilatorshafts in the facilities supply air to generators or topeople, or are dummies. A former senior intelligenceofficial told Hersh, “Every other option, in the view ofthe nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap.”

Even nuclear weapons may not work, again because of our lack of intelligence. The Iranian facilities are welldistributed, and we do not know where they all are.

The US intelligence gathering network in Iran wasdestroyed last year, when the names of 83 operatives were,according to an administration claim, accidentallytransmitted to the Iranian embassy in Washington by the CIA.

In June of 2004, in a journal entry calledA NationalCatastrophe, Whitley Strieber said that the revelation ofValere Plame’s name was an intelligence catastrope becauseshe may have been one of a tiny number of NOCs or “non-official covers,” who appear to be ordinary citizens, but actually run extensive intelligence networks. Valerie Plame’s area of activity is believed to have centered on Iran. NOCs carry ordinary passports, and are not protected by diplomaticimmunity.

Strieber wrote, “The names on the NOC list are among thegreatest secrets possessed by our country, and the leaking of this particular name at this particular time could well be the single most traitorous act in our history, if it has indeedblinded us to the actions of Iran as they are in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.”

Because of our lack of intelligence now, the administrationmust consider the nuclear option if it has any chance atall of stopping Iran’s drive to acquire a nuclear capability.

This situation has been brought about because of our lack ofknowledge about what’s happening within Iran, and that stemsfrom an intelligence failure that, at best, was caused byspectacular CIA incompetence, and at worst stems from the’outing’ of Valerie Plame.

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