Not even the left will be surprised by this but they’ll publicly scoff and attack the story anyway lest it give any more credence to Bush’s complaints about Iran. Greenwald used that same “reasoning” a few weeks ago with respect to the Anbar Awakening: it simply couldn’t be true, because if it’s true then it means progress really is being made and if progress is being made then it justifies extending the mission and we can’t have that. Ergo, it must be false. Doubtless one of the nutroots superfriends will deploy that logic tomorrow for this story. I’ll be sure to print it out and add it to my scrapbook of What Conservatives Can Learn from Liberals about Journalism, right next to Eric Boehlert’s lectures during Jamilgate about the danger of letting a political agenda shape one’s view of the facts.

Speaking of liberal journalists, note the byline on the story. Remember him? Rove must have gotten to him.

A top special operations officer from Lebanon’s Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah has been captured in Iraq, where U.S. officials say he played a key role in a January attack that killed five Americans.

Ali Mussa Daqduq, an explosives expert, was captured in March in the southern city of Basra, where he was helping train and lead Shiite militias fighting coalition troops, U.S. intelligence officials told CNN.

Daqduq pretended to be deaf and mute when captured, and his identity was not known for weeks, the officials said…

The U.S. military declined official comment on Daqduq’s arrest, as did the Iraqi government. But documents and forensic evidence, seen by members of the Iraqi government and shown to CNN, support the claims.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Daqduq was captured in a raid aimed at seizing another Shiite militant leader suspected of involvement in the January 20 attack in Karbala — a well-planned attempt to kidnap five American soldiers that ended with the soldiers’ executions.

Qais Khazali, a one-time spokesman for anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, was one of the men sought by American troops in connection with the attack. By the time of his March arrest, he had left the Mehdi Army and was leading one of the “special groups,” according to U.S. intelligence.

In searching for Khazali, U.S. and allied troops found computer documents detailing the planning, training and conduct of the failed kidnapping. And they found Daqduq, whom intelligence officials said has admitted working on behalf of Iran.

Given the spectacular success Iran has had with building a Shiite proxy in Lebanon, it only stands to reason that they’d want their new proxies in Iraq to benefit from their expertise. Call it “cross-pollination.” As for Khazali, regular HA readers will remember our posts about him in March and, more recently, Petraeus naming him as the prime suspect in the same Karbala raid that this turd Daqduq was evidently involved in. From the very beginning, the unusual professionalism and subterfuge of that operation — the attackers spoke English and wore stolen American uniforms — had the military suspicious of an Iranian hand in it.

Ah well. Must be a lie, otherwise we might have to act. This, too. What else do you expect from a “shiny uniform”?

Update: Actually, never mind what I said about the nutroots trying to debunk this story. They’ll be too busy tomorrow trying to debunk this one.

Update: Many thanks to “Flying Dutchman” for sending this along. It’s Ware’s video report on the story.

Update: Not a huge scoop given what Petraeus has had to say in the past about Quds Force involvement in the Karbala operation, but Hezbollah’s involvement wasn’t the only story to come out of the military press conference this morning.

Iranian operatives helped plan a January raid in Karbala in which five American soldiers were killed, an American military spokesman in Iraq said today…

General Bergner declined to speculate on the Iranian motivations. But he said that interrogations of Qais Khazali, a Shiite militant who oversaw Iranian-supported cells in Iraq and who was captured several months ago along with another militant, Laith Khazali, his brother, showed that Iran’s Quds force helped plan the operation…

Documents seized from Qais Khazali, General Bergner said, showed that Iran’s Quds Force provided detailed information on the activities of American soldiers in Karbala, including shift changes and the defenses at the site…

[M]ilitary officials say that there is such a long and systematic pattern of Quds Force activity in Iraq… “Our intelligence reveals that the senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity,” he said. When he was asked if Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could be unaware of the activity, General Bergner said “that would be hard to imagine.”

That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone in the U.S. chain of command publicly accuse the Iranian leadership of complicity in Iranian operations. Note the bit in the blockquote too about Iran knowing about defenses at the site. No kidding.