1. Which side are Hersh and the New Yorker on? Should they be held accountable for reporting sensitive and classified information?
Covert is not printed in a national magazine.
2. If true, is this headed in a good direction, or is it more of the pre-war Iraq funding of opposition leaders who never did anything substantive?
Report: U.S. Escalating Covert Operations Against Iran
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Late last year, Congressional leaders agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, The New Yorker magazine reported.
An article published online Sunday by the magazine cites current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources and said the operations were described in a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership.
Even though some legislators, including top Democrats, were troubled by the Finding, the $400 million funding for the escalation, which includes gathering intelligence about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, was approved.
While clandestine operations against Iran are not new, the article by reporter Seymour Hersh cites officials as saying the scale and scope of the operations in Iran have been significantly expanded.
Some of the operations that have taken place within the past year include seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, for interrogation purposes and the pursuit of 'high-value targets.'
“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” the article quotes a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”
The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups as well as other dissident organizations, the article states.
The article states that federal law requires, at minimum, the Finding be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate as well as to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees.