November surprise! NYT plans page-one Iraq WMD splash for tomorrow; Flashback: Operation Merlin

posted at 8:42 pm on November 2, 2006 by Allahpundit

So says the teaser on Drudge. Well, on the bright side, at least they’re not making a pretense of being impartial anymore.

Only two possibilities here:

1. They have evidence that someone in the administration knew there were no WMDs.

2. They have evidence that Saddam was further along in his nuke program than we thought.

The election’s in five days so I think we can safely rule out number two. Ace peers ahead a few hours into the future:

[I]t will be a re-breaking of a story — with NEW reportage and NEW quotes that aren’t new at all — that there was reason to doubt Saddam’s capability in this area and that “some senior intelligence analysts at the State Department” strongly questioned the prevailing view that he sought a bomb.

The same “senior intelligence analysts” who have been saying the same thing for four years and who, no matter how right they may have turned out to be, were nonetheless a small minority of the intel community who were unable to persuade their fellow analysts of their point of view.

While we wait for the bomb to drop, enjoy this not at all coincidentally timed poll jointly commissioned by the lefty rags the Guardian, the Toronto Star, and Haaretz:

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country’s reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq…

As a result, Mr Bush is ranked with some of his bitterest enemies as a cause of global anxiety. He is outranked by Osama bin Laden in all four countries, but runs the close in the eyes of British voters: 87% think the al-Qaida is a great or moderate danger to peace, compared with 75% who think this of Mr Bush.

The US leader and close ally of Tony Blair is seen in Britain as a more dangerous man than the president of Iran (62% think he is a danger), the North Korean leader (69%) and the leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah (65%).

World opinion is on the side of the left, and don’t you forget it.

Update: This almost comes as a relief:

SOURCES: NYT: U.S. POSTING OF IRAQ NUKE DOCS ON WEB COULD HAVE HELPED IRAN…

Federal government set up Web site — Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal — to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research; a ‘basic guide to building an atom bomb’… Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency fear the information could help Iran develop nuclear arms… contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that the nuclear experts say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums…. Developing…

On behalf of every conservative in the United States, let me ask one question:

Exactly how far along was Saddam’s nuclear research that Iran might possibly benefit from it?

Update: Okay, two questions:

Why is the IAEA worried about Iran using bombmaking information in their “peaceful nuclear energy program”?

Update: Someone send me the link to the DU thread accusing Bush of having done this deliberately to help Iran’s bomb program along in order to justify bombing them. If the thread doesn’t exist yet, it will.

Update (Ian): This isn’t the first time the NY Times has gone with an Iraq “surprise”.

Update: Here’s the Times article. The left’s and right’s interests in this story are oddly aligned: the more significant the published nuclear documents are, the more serious the error is in having posted them — and the more they bolster Bush’s argument that Saddam was a serious threat to build a bomb. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays tomorrow. Both sides might just want to call it a wash and walk away, although Geraghty sure does seem excited.

For now:

[I]n recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb…

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away

In Europe, a senior diplomat said atomic experts there had studied the nuclear documents on the Web site and judged their public release as potentially dangerous. “It’s a cookbook,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his agency’s rules. “If you had this, it would short-circuit a lot of things.”

Ace summarizes the piece thusly:

Iraq had advanced plans to build a bomb (but it was no threat to build a bomb!) and Bush is horrible because he let those plans be posted on line, which Iran may use to build a bomb (but we also don’t have to worry about them building a bomb, so don’t get any tricky ideas about bombing them!).

Rob Port questions the timing. The Times says the feds shuttered the website last night after the paper inquired about nuke experts’ complaints; an IAEA official had complained about it to the U.S. ambassador to Austria last week, but the blockbuster documents had been online since September. Given that timeline and the potential this has to cut against the Dems — especially with Saddam expected to be in the news this weekend — I doubt they held the story to coincide with the election.

In any case, the irony is indeed rich.

Update: Captain Ed wonders, if the nuclear documents on the website are authentic, does that mean the ones linking Saddam to Al Qaeda are authentic too?

Update: Reader RLW wants to know if any of the secrets Bush spilled here overlap with the secrets spilled by Clinton’s CIA in 2000. Remember Operation: Merlin?

The CIA may have helped Iran to design a nuclear bomb through a botched attempt to channel flawed blueprints to Tehran’s weapon designers, according to a new book on the US “war on terror”.

In an excerpt from State of War, printed today in G2, the author and New York Times intelligence correspondent, James Risen, writes that the abortive operation misfired when a Russian defector on the CIA payroll, chosen to deliver the deliberately flawed nuclear warhead blueprints to Iranian officials in February 2000, tipped them off about the defects.

The operation, codenamed Merlin and approved by the Clinton administration, was intended to send Iranian scientists down a technological dead end, according to this account. They would spend years building a warhead which would fail to detonate. Instead, Risen writes, the operation may have helped Iran to “accelerate its weapons development” by extracting important information from the blueprints and ignoring the flaws.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Who reads the NYT anymore?…Not me…hopefully they will be gone in the next few years…let the Lib Dems support that paper…

areseaoh on November 3, 2006 at 9:43 AM

When you can fabricate any lie out of whole cloth with impunity, why worry about truth?

…that’s how propaganda works: you find something that folks are prepared to misunderstand, add official and scary fuel to the fire, and keep the buzz going. It’s the buzz, not the story that you’re looking for.

The story itself becomes a one-liner: “Bush lied/people died”, “domestic spying”, “where are the WMDs?”. Does anyone care to remember the *substance* of the stories which gave rise to the slogan. The storie *BECOME* the slogan, and you keep people chattering like a tree full of monkeys about slogan, the particulars of the story falling of the bone until the slogan is all that is left. If the chattering dies down, add some more fuel. Keep ‘em chattering.

The way to counter such propaganda is to force folks to confront the story, not the buzz. When someone whups out his comfy little slogan, ask for sources. Start the buzz that you want to see the sources on camera. Reveal who the leakers are. Look how long the whole Plame thing went on, she and her husband getting uncritical attention to keep their buzz going. Look at how many things have been leaked by partisan CIA and Defense apparachniks. Put ‘em on camera! Make ‘em go on record.

Ask for chapter and verse. Announce that in this country that the burden of proof is with the accuser — in this case the NYT — and have ‘em out their sources, documents, the levels of classification compromised, the compromisers…then demand that the leakers get the same treatment as any paltry buck sergeant would get if he or she inadvertantly took home a classified document. Having held a TS clearance for many years, I know how unforgiving that system can and *should* be.

Attack the story, don’t rebut the buzz.

Puritan1648 on November 3, 2006 at 10:03 AM

Even Fox is so far just reporting it the way the Times wants everyone to. Proving my point already. Hannity will probably be the only one who gets it.

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 10:09 AM

why dosen’t the RNC run ads showing little college kids regitering voters and goofy protestors and the crazy san fran nut jobs and such ,then link them the the dems and ask Are these the people who you want making decisions concerning your world,future Ect,

…just so…a November surprise, and not that hard to string together.

Proposal:

*fade-in* (black background, white letters) “Who are you going to vote for on November 7th?”

*quick, jarring edit* Closeup of fist-pumping Move-ON.org folks at a DC rally, trying to get some of those wacky puppets they seem to like.

*quick, jarring edit* Closeup of Lefties yelling at counter protesters. Get a flag in frame if possible.

*quick, jarring edit* Intersperse Kerry mouthing his “terrorizing in the dead of night” bit.

*quick, jarring edit* More protesters showing some of the slogans on their signs. If you can find that one from a few years ago advocating fragging, that’d be effective.

*quick, jarring edit* Intersperse a couple of those “Allahu akbar” snuff films that al-Jazeera likes to run. If you can get that recent one where the guys in the car kill the GI, use it.

*quick, jarring edit* More protesters, try to find nice ones of speakers spewing at a podium.

*quick, jarring edit* Footage of the Madrid and London bombings.

*quick, jarring edit* Footage of our troops in Iraq, fire and maneuver stuff, then one with folks in formation with flag flying would be great.

*quick, jarring edit* Finish up with the whole “or you’ll end up in Iraq” Kerry gaffe.

*quick, jarring edit* Footage of our troops, fire and manuever footage.

*quick, jarring edit* Footage of Ahmed Khatami (or whatever his bloody name is) speaking of the election, closeup when he gets to part endorsing the Dems. Make translation big enough and font clear enough to read.

*fade to black*

*count to three*

Display “Who are you going to vote for on November 7th?”

*fade to black*

Display “The Democrats?”

*fade to black*

Display, “This add not paid for by MoveON.org, George Soros, Al Jazeera, Hezbollah, or Hugo Chavez.”

*fade to black*

Display, *The Republicans”.

*fadeout*.

Might work. Don’t show any wounded soldiers, don’t show any dead soldiers. The al-Jazeera snuff footage is usually effective, and it’s done from a distance.

Get on it, Mr. Rove.

Puritan1648 on November 3, 2006 at 10:20 AM

Who reads the NYT anymore?…Not me…

…the problem with the NYT is who *DOES* read ‘em.

The NYT is “show prep” for the Left. Editorial boards nationally follow the NYT’s editorial lead, per Bernie Goldberg and loads of other people (Annie Coulter?).

So, if they get the buzz going, their minions will keep it going. They need someone calling “b*ullsh*t” on ‘em, reminding folks of Jayston Blair, publishing leaked classified information, and NOT defending themselves against NYT allegations. They don’t need folks repeating the story.

What is needed are folks immediately *ATTACKING* the credibility of the story and demanding the sources.

The fact that the NYT is never pressed for sources, and can get away with sourcing material “an unnamed government insider” is how they can get away with this garbage. Hold their prissy little feet to the fire.

Puritan1648 on November 3, 2006 at 10:24 AM

The fact that the NYT is never pressed for sources, and can get away with sourcing material “an unnamed government insider” is how they can get away with this garbage. Hold their prissy little feet to the fire.

No sweat. They can always print a retraction Wednesday morning and give a pretense of journalistic integrity.

irishsquid on November 3, 2006 at 10:53 AM

The only people who read the NYT are those who already believe the BS they come out with. Kind of like going to a Michael Moore movie.

I think that the NYT is getting so low in the rankings they may start running “Kidnapped by a UFO” or “My baby’s father had 2 heads” kind of stories.

BobK on November 3, 2006 at 10:56 AM

Those meddling kids!

Ray Robinson, who I’ll claim as one of my “blog kids” may have started this whole thing with an email to the IAEA two weeks ago. He’s been digging into this archive for quite a while both on his personal site and on Fox News and the American Thinker.

Bob Owens on November 3, 2006 at 11:02 AM

The only people who read the NYT are those who already believe the BS they come out with. Kind of like going to a Michael Moore movie.

I think that the NYT is getting so low in the rankings they may start running “Kidnapped by a UFO” or “My baby’s father had 2 heads” kind of stories.

BobK on November 3, 2006 at 10:56 AM

Again, don’t be fooled folks just because you know the score. Even Fox has been reporting the Times story all morning without the proper framing. They really need to consult Captain’s Quarters before going to air, but clearly they haven’t. The NY Times knew exactly how this would go down, and their plan is working just as they intended.

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Oh man that tin foil from the Jiffy Pop popcorn tray works great. C’mon isn’t it obvious. Saddam is scheduled to get his verdict on Sunday, in a last minute attempt to save his life Ramsey Clarke will burst into the courtroom and announce that Saddam is ready to take the US and members of the current Iraqi goverment to a secret underground nuclear weapons facility. In addition he will tell them the location of a chemical weapons storage facility. He will then tease them that by staying alive he can show them more.
I do have a question for the New York Slimes however. Did he or did he not have an active and viable program to develope weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear? Documents say he did UN inspectors unsure, who you going to believe? Oh that’s right Joe Wilson.

LakeRuins on November 3, 2006 at 11:24 AM

Update: The NYT is now the official marketing agency for the islamofascists.

Entelechy on November 3, 2006 at 11:28 AM

Depending on how the MSM plays this, this could possibly be good news for the GOP and the President:

http://newsbusters.org/node/8783

tnculp on November 3, 2006 at 11:37 AM

Own goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooalllllllllllll!

Editor on November 3, 2006 at 11:46 AM

The RNC needs to be running ads showing Saddam in power, with this quote plastered all over the screen:

“Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away…”

Source: New York Times 11/03/06″

I mean c’mon, how hard is this?

Dudley Smith on November 3, 2006 at 11:58 AM

The pussies at KOS didn’t like me posting about Operation Merlin. I commented without any disprespect earlier, simply stating the facts.. and to my surprise when I returned to see if anyone had replied… my comment had disappeared! Shocking!

I’ve posted again, this time a little less friendly. Let us see how long it lasts:

Pathetic (0 / 0)

You guys are pathetic. I posted on Clinton hand delivering Nuclear information to Iran via Operation Merlin, and you delete my comment? What are you afraid of? Weak kids. Weak.

by rightwinged on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:58:22 AM PST

[ Reply to This ]

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:04 PM

By the way, the Kos kids want to bombard Digg… I say we do the same by linking to Captain Ed’s post… what say you AP?

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:06 PM

Ya digg?

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:08 PM

Even Fox is so far just reporting it the way the Times wants everyone to. Proving my point already. Hannity will probably be the only one who gets it.

Sadly Hannity will be unable to properly argue the point.

Keljeck on November 3, 2006 at 12:09 PM

The pussies at KOS didn’t like me posting about Operation Merlin. I commented without any disprespect earlier, simply stating the facts.. and to my surprise when I returned to see if anyone had replied… my comment had disappeared! Shocking!

I’ve posted again, this time a little less friendly. Let us see how long it lasts:

Pathetic (0 / 0)

You guys are pathetic. I posted on Clinton hand delivering Nuclear information to Iran via Operation Merlin, and you delete my comment? What are you afraid of? Weak kids. Weak.

by rightwinged on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:58:22 AM PST

[ Reply to This ]

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:04 PM

Deleted already… What weaklings. Rather than try to argue or even call me names, they simply delete my comment.

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:23 PM

I’m not a huge Hannity fan, I think he too often carries water for the President when it’s undeserved, but I sense a more than mild animosity toward him here, and I don’t quite get that. I think you’re wrong. Rush, Hannity, Levin, Savage, Ingraham, et al, will be all over this.

Freelancer on November 3, 2006 at 12:32 PM

I’m not a huge Hannity fan, I think he too often carries water for the President when it’s undeserved, but I sense a more than mild animosity toward him here, and I don’t quite get that. I think you’re wrong. Rush, Hannity, Levin, Savage, Ingraham, et al, will be all over this.

Freelancer on November 3, 2006 at 12:32 PM

They certainly all will be.. but the MSM won’t, other than to push the angle the NY Times was going for.

I assume the animosity you’re talking about was from Keljeck. I don’t know if he meant animosity towards Hannity as a person, I think he was mocking Hannity’s debate skills. And he may have a point. But why eat one of the few voices we have in the semi-MSM?

RightWinged on November 3, 2006 at 12:39 PM

I don’t know if he meant animosity towards Hannity as a person, I think he was mocking Hannity’s debate skills. And he may have a point. But why eat one of the few voices we have in the semi-MSM?

Exactly. I think he’s right, knows his stuff, he just doesn’t know how to argue his points. I watch H&C I cringe when he says something on point, completely the wrong way. His questions are like “How can you not support our troops?” then they say, “I do support our troops, I’m in the military.”

He never cuts them down by saying, “You don’t understand what I mean” he just says, “nyaha!”

Keljeck on November 3, 2006 at 12:44 PM

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