Turf War Over Iran Policy?

Is the “outing” of an alleged mole for Israel inside the Pentagon an attempt by a faction in the government to head off war with Iran?

The disclosure this week of an FBI investigation into the activities of a Defense Department official involved in Iran policy is being seen as a blow to advocates of regime change in Tehran.

A key Pentagon supporter of such a policy, Lawrence Franklin, is reportedly under investigation for allegedly passing classified information about American policy on Iran to Israel through officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Analysts said the development could tilt the balance toward advocates of a softer approach to Iran, even if President Bush is re-elected.

The investigation is the latest in a series of inquiries centering on the Pentagon policy planning office headed by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. The office has come under withering criticism for its alleged role in trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein and what critics say is its botched postwar planning in Iraq.

The FBI is investigating whether Pentagon officials handed highly classified U.S. Intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran.

An intelligence source said that the FBI might be soliciting Franklin’s help in that investigation.

Moreover, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee is investigating a secret back channel between officials from Feith’s office and controversial former Iran-contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, according to a recent report in The Washington Monthly.

What a tangled web we weave…

Okay, here’s the mystery: Why would factions inside the Pentagon (call them neocons if it helps to identify them; whether it’s an accurate term is open to debate) feed secret information through unauthorized back channels to Iran, Iraq, and Israel? Are they trying to play both sides against the middle, the old “thesis + antithesis = synthesis” Hegelian dialectic?

Or do they just not know what they’re doing? Is it possible that ego prevents them from considering the possibility that they are using us?

Whichever, George Washington is spinning in his grave.

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