Sen. Feinstein Kills Off False Iran Report

The office of Senator Dianne Feinstein has weighed in to kill off once and for all a false report that appeared in Asia Times earlier this week that claimed she had been briefed about planned air strikes on Iran. The report is “plain wrong,” Feinstein’s spokesman said.

“Sen. Feinstein has not received any briefing classified or unclassified from the administration about any plans to strike Iran,” Scott Gerber, a spokesman for the California Democrat, told me today. “And we’re seeking a correction to the Asia Times report.”

As I reported yesterday, Asia Times ran an article Tuesday saying “Bush plans air strikes” on Iran by August: “After receiving secret briefings on the planned air strike,” the outlet reported, “Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said they would write a New York Times op-ed piece ‘within days’, the source said last week, to express their opposition.”

Yesterday, I reported that Senator Lugar’s spokesman had called the report flat out untrue. Lugar “wasn’t briefed, there’s no oped,” Lugar spokesman Andy Fischer told Mother Jones.

Today, Feinstein’s spokesman called the report “plain wrong” and “irresponsible.” He also said that the original story’s writer had apparently not contacted the office to confirm or deny the anonymously sourced report.

Gerber reiterated that Feinstein, a ranking member of the Senate Intelligence committee, remains a strong advocate for pursuing diplomacy with Iran.

With the amount of misinformation and bogus rumors on this issue swirling around these days, Washington is starting to feel a bit like the Middle East. But for those who believe you can’t be too paranoid about a trigger happy administration, isn’t the risk of losing one’s credibility crying wolf prematurely obvious?