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07/01/08

Seymour Hersh: Congress Agreed to Bush Request to Fund Major Escalation in Secret Operations Against Iran


Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviews Seymour Hersh on his recent explosive piece

Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran
by Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker

L ate last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program.

Congressional leaders agreed to a request from President Bush last year to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing Iran's leadership, according to a new article by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine. The operations were set out in a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which, by law, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders. The plan allowed up to $400 million in covert spending for activities ranging from supporting dissident groups to spying on Iran's nuclear program. Hersh joins us from Washington DC.

Congressional leaders agreed to a request from President Bush last year to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing Iran's leadership. This according to a new article by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine.

The operations were set out in a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which, by law, must be made known to Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders and ranking members of the intelligence committees. The plan allowed up to $400 million in covert spending for activities ranging from supporting dissident groups to spying on Iran's nuclear program.

According to Hersh, US Special Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq since last year. These have included seizing members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of so-called "high-value targets" who may be captured or killed.

While covert operations against Iran are not new, Hersh writes that the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command, have now been significantly expanded.

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. He joins us from Washington DC.

Read the full story or listen to the program on Democracy Now's web site.

 

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