If the publisher and editors of the New York
Times thought the soon-to-be released book – entitled State
of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration –
by their reporter James Risen will undo the damage done to the reputation of
the "newspaper of record" by disgraced neo-crazy media sycophant Judith
Miller, they may be in for a surprise.
True, President Bush was so desperate to prevent their publishing a story based
on a "revelation" in Risen's book that he summoned publisher Arthur
Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt
to suppress it.
And, in another section, Risen reports that the CIA recruited and sent to Iraq
– as spies – more than 30 relatives of Iraqi scientists alleged by the neo-crazies
to be involved in nuke and chem-bio weapon programs. According to Risen, all
of them – including American anesthesiologist Sawsan Alhaddad of Cleveland –
returned to tell the CIA that all of those programs had been killed years
before and never resuscitated.
But, of course, the CIA already knew that. In 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Gen.
Kamel, the man in charge of all Saddam's nuke and chem-bio programs, had
defected to Jordan, and told the CIA and the UN Special Commission that every
trace of those programs had been destroyed, either during the Gulf War, or –
at Kamel's direction – in the immediate aftermath.
Quoth Kamel, "Nothing is left."
Hans Blix – then director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency
and later chairman of the entire UN arms inspectorate in Iraq – was able to
verify by 1997 that Kamel told the truth.
But the CIA disregarded the reports of the IAEA experts about Iraq.
Now, it turns out the CIA disregarded the reports of IAEA experts about Iran.
According to Risen, back in February 2000, the CIA recruited a Russian "defector"
and sent him to IAEA headquarters in Vienna "with blueprints for a nuclear
bomb" with instructions to give them to the Iranian delegate to the IAEA.
Well, according to Risen, the Russian "scientist" was actually "carrying
technical designs for a TBA 480 high-voltage block, otherwise known as a 'firing
set,' for a Russian-designed nuclear weapon."
It's obvious that what Risen is referring to is a fire-set, not a nuclear bomb.
A fire-set is an electrical device that holds back the enormous charge built
up relatively slowly on a capacitor until the precise millisecond that charge-pulse
is needed – the fire-set is triggered – to vaporize the bridge wires in one
or more high-explosive detonators.
Leaving aside the extremely interesting assertion that the CIA has the blueprints
for a Russian nuke fire-set, let Risen continue.
"He [the Russian] held in his hands the knowledge needed to create
a perfect implosion that could trigger a nuclear chain reaction inside a small
spherical core. It was one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world,
providing the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear
powers such as the United States and Russia from rogue countries such as Iran
that were desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short.
"Iran has spent nearly 20 years trying to develop nuclear weapons,
and in the process has created a strong base of sophisticated scientists knowledgeable
enough to spot flaws in nuclear blueprints. Tehran also obtained nuclear blueprints
from the network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, and so already had
workable blueprints against which to compare the designs obtained from the CIA.
Nuclear experts say that they would thus be able to extract valuable information
from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws."
Now that is all either nonsense or neo-crazy, misleading statements. Or both.
In particular, after almost three years of exhaustive, go-anywhere, see-anything,
interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication
that Iran has – or ever had – a nuclear weapons program.
Furthermore, there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran obtained workable blueprints
for a fire-set, much less for a nuclear weapon, from the Pakistanis.
And there is no sense in which a fire-set is "one of the greatest engineering
secrets in the world."
According to the IAEA's
final report [.pdf] to the UN Security Council, Iraqi engineers had developed
– but had not tested – in about a two-year effort a complete 32-point implosion
system, including an electronic firing system, detonators, and associated high-explosive
So Risen joins Judith Miller in "reporting" neo-crazy misinformation
– in complete disregard of the reports of IAEA experts – on the front pages
of the New York Times. Gray Lady, indeed.