War with Iran has been in the works for the past five years, shaped in almost complete secrecy by a small group of senior Pentagon officials attached to the Office of Special Plans. The man who created the OSP was Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy. A former Middle East specialist on the National Security Council in the Reagan administration, Feith had long urged Israel to secure its borders in the Middle East by attacking Iraq and Iran. After Bush's election, Feith went to work to make that vision a reality, putting together a team of neoconservative hawks determined to drive the U.S. to attack Tehran.The article connects the conviction of Defense Intelligence Agency employee Larry Franklin for leaking intelligence to AIPAC and Ahmed Chalabi's* alleged leaks which crippled the NSA's ability to listen to messages from Tehran to Iranian embassies to neoconservative plans for war with Iran. Bamford concludes by noting that neoconservatives are now citing the Israeli-Hezbollah/Lebanese conflict as a pretext for their desired war with Iran and "how frighteningly easy it is for a small group of government officials to join forces with agents of foreign powers—whether it is AIPAC or the MEK or the INC—to sell the country on a disastrous war."
In the end, the work of Franklin and the other members of Feith's secret office had the desired effect. Working behind the scenes, the members of the Office of Special Plans succeeded in setting the United States on the path to all-out war with Iran. Indeed, since Bush was re-elected to a second term, he has made no secret of his desire to see Tehran fall. In a victory speech of sorts on Inauguration Day in January 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney warned bluntly that Iran was "right at the top" of the administration's list of "trouble spots"—and that Israel "might well decide to act first" by attacking Iran. The Israelis, Cheney added in an obvious swipe at moderates in the State Department, would "let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterward."*Recall that Chalabi had been the administration's choice to be the new leader of Iraq and that his CIA funded INC had provided a substantial portion of the faulty intelligence used to sell/market a war with Iraq. This is fairly disturbing considering Chalabi is suspected of being an Iranian double-agent who had advocated war with Iraq in order to install a pro-Iranian Shiite regime.
Over the past six months, the administration has adopted almost all of the hard-line stance advocated by the war cabal in the Pentagon. In May, Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, appeared before AIPAC's annual conference and warned that Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences." To back up the tough talk, the State Department is spending $66 million to promote political change inside Iran—funding the same kind of dissident groups that helped drive the U.S. to war in Iraq. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared.