According to Hersh, President George Bush has persuaded key congressmen to go along with covert operations inside Iran--$400 million worth. They're getting nervous about the operations being more extensive than they bargained for: mainly gathering nuclear information. Something like authorizing military action in Iraq a few years ago.
Evidently the operation includes funding dissidents. An excerpt:
The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists.
Hersh suggests that the White House, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, is more than interested in direct military action, but the military has been resisting.
Here's the thing: it's Hersh, who has a long record of digging up some pretty well-buried secrets. His stories hold up.
On the other hand, it's Hersh, with a track record of hyperbole when speaking about the stories he covers. He has more Deep Throats than the Mitchell Brothers, and that always makes me nervous. I have to go back over his stories and winnow the sources he names into column A and the unnamed sources into column B. It's almost impossible to check a lot of his facts until other reporters catch up.
He's got enough for me this time. I'm just desperately counting the days until we have a new President.