Cheney Channeled Ghorbanifar (After All)

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 1:38 AM PDT

Over at Tapped, Laura Rozen points out this choice bit from "State of Denial:"

[Chief U.S. weapons inspector David] Kay got a cable from the CIA that the vice president wanted him to send someone to Switzerland to meet with an Iranian named Manucher Ghorbanifar.

"I recognize this one," Kay said when he saw the cable. "This one I'm not going to do."

Ghorbanifar had been the Iranian middleman in the Reagan administration's disastrous secret arms-for-hostages deals in the Iran contra scandal. Though he had been a CIA source in the 1970s, the agency had terminated him in 1983 and the next year issued a formal "burn notice" warning that Ghorbanifar was a "talented fabricator."

This time, Kay read, Ghorbanifar claimed to have an Iranian source who knew all about Iraqi nuclear weapons, but who wanted $2 million in advance, and who would not talk directly to the U.S., only through Ghorbanifar.

Kay discovered the latest Ghorbanifar stunt involved Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former NSC colleague of Oliver North who had been involved with Ghorbanifar in the Iran-contra days.

All of which sounds hideously familiar if you know a little about Ghorbanifar's m.o. (and you will after reading Rozen's piece on the "talented fabricator's" intel peddling in Mother Jones). And it also sounds awfully suspicious given how strenuously the Pentagon and the White House have denied that anyone seriously tried to open a back channel to Ghorbanifar. Congressional investigators take note.

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