Amiri Told CIA Iran Has No Nuclear Bomb Programme
by GARETH PORTER
19 Jul 2010 22:44
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism official, told IPS that his sources are CIA officials with direct knowledge of the entire Amiri operation.
The CIA contacts say that Amiri had been reporting to the CIA for some time before being brought to the U.S. during Hajj last year, Giraldi told IPS, initially using satellite-based communication. But the contacts also say Amiri was a radiation safety specialist who was "absolutely peripheral" to Iran's nuclear programme, according to Giraldi.
Amiri provided "almost no information" about Iran's nuclear programme, said Giraldi, but had picked up "scuttlebutt" from other nuclear scientists with whom he was acquainted that the Iranians have no active nuclear weapon programme.
Giraldi said information from Amiri's debriefings was only a minor contribution to the intelligence community's reaffirmation in the latest assessment of Iran's nuclear programme of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)'s finding that work on a nuclear weapon has not been resumed after being halted in 2003.
Amiri's confirmation is cited in one or more footnotes to the new intelligence assessment of Iran's nuclear programme, called a "Memorandum to Holders", according to Giraldi, but it is now being reviewed, in light of Amiri's "re- defection" to Iran.
An intelligence source who has read the "Memorandum to Holders" in draft form confirmed to IPS that it presents no clear-cut departure from the 2007 NIE on the question of weaponisation. The developments in the Iranian nuclear programme since the 2007 judgment are portrayed as "subtle and complex", said the source.
CIA officials are doing their best to "burn" Amiri by characterising him as a valuable long-term intelligence asset, according to Giraldi, in part in order to sow as much distrust of him among Iranian intelligence officials as possible.
But Giraldi said it is "largely a defence mechanism" to ward off criticism of the agency for its handling of the Amiri case.
"The fact is he wasn't well vetted," said Giraldi, adding that Amiri was a "walk- in" about whom virtually nothing was known except his job. Click on link above to continue reading the article.
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.