ABC: Key Iranian nuke scientist defected to U.S. in 2009

posted at 7:09 pm on March 30, 2010 by Allahpundit

Drudge has the siren up, but the news itself is less interesting than the timing of it.

[Shahram] Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, went missing last June three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, according to the Iranian government. He worked at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is closely connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to the Associated Press…

According to the people briefed on the intelligence operation, Amiri’s disappearance was part of a long-planned CIA operation to get him to defect. The CIA reportedly approached the scientist in Iran through an intermediary who made an offer of resettlement on behalf of the United States.

Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection by the CIA, according to the people briefed on the situation. They say Amiri helped to confirm U.S. intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear program…

One Iranian web site reported that Amiri had worked at the Qum facility prior to his defection.

A couple of things. One: This is just the latest reminder that the CIA’s doing some bang-up work these days (no pun intended). Hats off to Panetta and crew. Two: This isn’t news. Amiri was suspected of having either defected to the west or been kidnapped by western spies right after he went missing, for obvious reasons. The Sunday Telegraph reported four months ago that it was indeed a defection and that he’d given up the goods on Iran’s nuclear program — specifically, the inner workings of the formerly secret site at Qom that was revealed last summer. The CIA already knew that the site existed but evidently didn’t know what was going on inside. Enter Amiri, who helped fill in the blanks.

So why is old news being re-reported by ABC as some kind of bombshell scoop? Probably because of the story this past weekend about suspicions mounting among western intel that Iran’s planning to build at least two more nuclear sites. The White House naturally wants Iran to be paranoid that we know more than we’re letting on, so here’s a timely reminder that their top guys are indeed touchable. And of course, this helps bring a bit of extra public pressure on Russia and China to approve new sanctions. It’s one thing for a western government to claim that Iran’s behaving badly, quite another to produce an Iranian nuclear scientist to confirm that, yes indeed, they’re behaving badly.

So that’s what this is about, I think. For your viewing pleasure, here’s The One at today’s joint presser with Sarkozy insisting that western patience is really truly running thin after eight endless years of this nonsense and that we might, perhaps, have to impose new economic punishment on Iran, which hopefully the UN will go along with and hopefully will be more than a token gesture and hopefully will get Iran to abandon its program. Etc.

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Hmm, James Jesus Angleton would raise an eyebrow. Double agent? Or the real deal?

Wheels within wheels within wheels.

SteveMG on March 30, 2010 at 7:14 PM

This could be big. And it comes on the heels of the CIA report.

orfannkyl on March 30, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Or maybe it’s cover for this, which Drudge has headlined right underneath:

CIA: Iran can build nukes.

uknowmorethanme on March 30, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I want to think this is great news but I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know, something like Obama sends him back to Iran with weapons grade uranium or something.

darwin on March 30, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I hope that this administration is committed to our national safety and a strong defense. I hope that our institutions are sufficient to endure the tests to come.

chaswv on March 30, 2010 at 7:19 PM

BREAKING:

“Obama Administration To Release Amiri Back To Iran As A Good Will Gesture.”

katy on March 30, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Sure, but they slipped the rods into Manhattan after they disabled CTU.

/

JammieWearingFool on March 30, 2010 at 7:19 PM

It’s one thing for a western government to claim that Iran’s behaving badly, quite another to produce an Iranian nuclear scientist to confirm that, yes indeed, they’re behaving badly.

It didn’t work for Bush, why would it work for Obama?

portlandon on March 30, 2010 at 7:20 PM

The problem with you Allah is that you leave no room for comment. You explain everything to well.

Vigilante on March 30, 2010 at 7:20 PM

“Obama Administration To Release Amiri Back To Iran As A Good Will Gesture.”

katy on March 30, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Maybe he’ll swap ‘em for the three dumb bass backpackers.

thomasaur on March 30, 2010 at 7:21 PM

The problem with you Allah is that you leave no room for comment. You explain everything to well.

Vigilante on March 30, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Wow! I was thinking the exact same thing.

thomasaur on March 30, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Nice

blatantblue on March 30, 2010 at 7:23 PM

thomasaur on March 30, 2010 at 7:21 PM

If they were CIA… nah
If they were SEIU…yup

katy on March 30, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Hell, Obama will just give him back to Iran as a precondition for negotiations. Obama doesn’t mind the Iranians giving us preconditions. He just doesn’t want to impose any himself.

Hawthorne on March 30, 2010 at 7:24 PM

thomasaur on March 30, 2010 at 7:22 PM

If I had stitches… they’d be out.

katy on March 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM

This just in: The Øbama administration has thrown Amiri into the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until such time as they can find a country who wants him.

Kafir on March 30, 2010 at 7:27 PM

It’s one thing for a western government to claim that Iran’s behaving badly, quite another to produce an Iranian nuclear scientist to confirm that, yes indeed, they’re behaving badly.

Yes, but that assumes, AP, that Russia and China care about Tehran behaving badly.

And without their support, non-military action simply, I think, won’t succeed.

SteveMG on March 30, 2010 at 7:29 PM

If they were CIA… nah
If they were SEIU…yup

katy on March 30, 2010 at 7:24 PM

This is why A-jad has been holding on to these kids.

thomasaur on March 30, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Breaking: President Obama finally realizes that the CIA has acted “stupidly” and will negotiate sending Amiri back to Iran for undisclosed draft picks.

carbon_footprint on March 30, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Amiri just finished a press conference where he stated the main impetus for his defection was free health care. He also said he wanted to master teabagging and hoped the Anderson Cooper would mentor him.

darwin on March 30, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Breaking: President Obama finally realizes that the CIA has acted “stupidly” and will negotiate sending Amiri back to Iran for undisclosed draft picks.

carbon_footprint on March 30, 2010 at 7:31 PM

!!! So that’s Obama’s plan … a beer summit with Iran!

darwin on March 30, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Amiri will be traded to Iran for an undisclosed number of doctors who will work for food.

AubieJon on March 30, 2010 at 7:35 PM

The current Administration will probably give him
back to Iran!

Or,charge him as a Terrorist!!(sarc).

canopfor on March 30, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Amiri will be traded to Iran for an undisclosed number of doctors who will work for food.

AubieJon on March 30, 2010 at 7:35 PM

They’ll get bonus food for every foot amputated and pair of tonsils taken out.

darwin on March 30, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Obama, Clinton and Holder are working on repatriation as we speak.

Aviator on March 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Oh, great! Now the poor guy has a bullseye
on his forehead!
Why do we even know this?
What part of STFU, and, “In the interest of National
Security,” doesn’t this crowd understand??

I am soooo flipping glad the adults are in charge!/s

Chewy the Lab on March 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

They could’ve indirectly and independently tested anything this guy gave them for months now. I’m sure the CIA could’ve run double-blind tests to see how legit his stories have been and after the afghan attack on senior CIA folks I’ll bet they would’ve been EXTRA careful about double agents.

If they still think he’s legit there’s a good chance he is.

Khorum on March 30, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Shahram Amiri
=================

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahram_Amiri

canopfor on March 30, 2010 at 7:41 PM

On a serious note, our national security is one area where I do NOT want Obama to fail.

carbon_footprint on March 30, 2010 at 7:42 PM

If Iran doesn’t stop this nonsense, Obama’s going to give them the finger-waving of their life!

DrAllecon on March 30, 2010 at 7:46 PM

“And of course, this helps bring a bit of extra public pressure on Russia and China to approve new sanctions…”

It’s a good thing that we don’t owe China a Trillion dollars of debt that if they cashed in, could collapse our economy overnight…

… Whew! For a moment there, I was getting worried.

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on March 30, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Hah hah hah, hey Iran… All your Nuclear scientists are belong to US.

doriangrey on March 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Obama’s latest plan

Step 1. Let Iran know we know whats going on.

Step 2. Agree to to a meeting

Step 3. Bow

Step 4. ???

F15Mech on March 30, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Hah hah hah, hey Iran… All your Nuclear scientists are belong to US.

doriangrey on March 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Someone set up Iran the bomb?!?!

Scrappy on March 30, 2010 at 7:49 PM

On a serious note, our national security is one area where I do NOT want Obama to fail.

carbon_footprint on March 30, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Nor do I, nor does anyone else here. That’s the point! By the US announcing that this guy defected, it’s the school yard bully’s equivalent of, “One of yours’ joined ours.”

This schtuff needs to be kept uber quiet, IMO.

Chewy the Lab on March 30, 2010 at 7:56 PM

The CIA launched a secret programme, dubbed “the Brain Drain”, in 2005 designed to undermine Iran’s nuclear programme by persuading key officials to defect. In the biggest previous coup, Revolutionary Guards general Ali Reza Asgari, the deputy defence mnister, vanished on a trip to Turkey in 2007.

From the Telegraph…which HotAir does not like me to link to.

In other words…it really is Bush’s fault this time.

uknowmorethanme on March 30, 2010 at 7:57 PM

The CIA launched a secret programme, dubbed “the Brain Drain”, in 2005 designed to undermine Iran’s nuclear programme by persuading key officials to defect. In the biggest previous coup, Revolu.tionary Guards general Ali Reza Asgari, the deputy defence mnister, vanished on a trip to Turkey in 2007.

From the Telegraph.

It really is Bush’s fault this time.

uknowmorethanme on March 30, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Okay, so what’s President Spineless going to do about it?
Write another “terse” letter?

GarandFan on March 30, 2010 at 7:59 PM

This schtuff needs to be kept uber quiet, IMO.

Chewy the Lab on March 30, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Chewy the Lab: Very good point Chewy,lose lips/
sinks ships!:)

canopfor on March 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Let’s say the CIA is done debriefing him. How do you keep a nuke scientist happy? Where are we going to let him work? And is that wise?

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 30, 2010 at 8:08 PM

And is one of his gifts from the US a fully operational computer with complete web access and email?

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 30, 2010 at 8:11 PM

I’ve heard Obama is prepared to unleash a Double-Dog-Dare on Iran in the next few days. It should be interesting.

Unfortunately, the reports from Iran are that Ahmadinejad is prepared to respond with a Triple-Dog-Dare.

ButterflyDragon on March 30, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Obama’s latest plan

Step 1. Let Iran know we know whats going on.

Step 2. Agree to to a meeting

Step 3. Bow

Step 4. ???

F15Mech on March 30, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Step 4. Get T-bagged by A-Jad

:D

macncheez on March 30, 2010 at 8:48 PM

New sanctions?

No pistachio imports?

Does Obama like pistachios?

We know he likes the nuts who run Iran.

profitsbeard on March 30, 2010 at 8:51 PM

So why is old news being re-reported by ABC as some kind of bombshell scoop?

1. They usually don’t report good news about American ops.
2. Messiah said it’s OK to report it.
or
3. It took them this long to discover the story.

n0doz on March 30, 2010 at 8:54 PM

And then there is another more plausible reason for the timing of this release. You must remember when 0 makes release of classified information – to help his poll numbers or take attention away from some stumble he has made. Never give more credit to smarts than to selfish interest as far as he is concerned.

Oleta on March 30, 2010 at 11:11 PM

Allah, Please start living in the real world. There are no sanctions or diplomacy that will stop Iran from getting the bomb. No matter how tough the sanctions regime put in place and no matter whether China and Russia agree to them or not, both are going to help Iran break any sanctions. The only thing that will stop Iran from getting the bomb is military action agains all of their nuke facilities, period.

Brown James on March 30, 2010 at 11:39 PM

I’m still trying to figure out how we were able to come up with millions to support the Mujahadeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan, but even under Bush they couldn’t come up with money and arms for similar groups to fight against the Tehran regime? There’s weapons all over the place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq and Afghanistan would have been perfect launching sites for attacks and places of refuge should the Iranians tried to chase them across the border…not only would they have had to deal with the locals, but also the U.S. and allied forces.

Also may have disrupted the Iranian supply of detonating devices to their pals and a lot more of our men would still be alive.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 31, 2010 at 5:08 AM

This just in: The Øbama administration has thrown Amiri into the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until such time as they can find a country who wants him.

Kafir on March 30, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Syria, Chad, Niger, Somalia, Yemen, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Libya, Venezuela, Chile, Nicaragua have entered into a bidding war along with other countries to offer Amiri sanctuary. Obama is looking for the best deal for carbon credits.

/sarc

barnone on March 31, 2010 at 11:37 AM