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Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group

POLITICS: Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON,(IPS) - The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the "laptop documents" -- 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop -- as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme.

But those documents have long been regarded with great suspicion by U.S. and foreign analysts. German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which along with its political arm, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organisation.

There are some indications, moreover, that the MEK obtained the documents not from an Iranian source but from Israel's Mossad.

In its latest report on Iran, circulated Feb. 22, the IAEA, under strong pressure from the Bush administration, included descriptions of plans for a facility to produce "green salt", technical specifications for high explosives testing and the schematic layout of a missile reentry vehicle that appears capable of holding a nuclear weapon. Iran has been asked to provide full explanations for these alleged activities.

Tehran has denounced the documents on which the charges are based as fabrications provided by the MEK, and has demanded copies of the documents to analyse, but the United States had refused to do so.

The Iranian assertion is supported by statements by German officials. A few days after then Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the laptop documents, Karsten Voight, the coordinator for German-American relations in the German Foreign Ministry, was reported by the Wall Street Journal Nov. 22, 2004 as saying that the information had been provided by "an Iranian dissident group".

A German official familiar with the issue confirmed to this writer that the NCRI had been the source of the laptop documents. "I can assure you that the documents came from the Iranian resistance organisation," the source said.

The Germans have been deeply involved in intelligence collection and analysis regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. According to a story by Washington Post reporter Dafna Linzer soon after the laptop documents were first mentioned publicly by Powell in late 2004, U.S. officials said they had been stolen from an Iranian whom German intelligence had been trying to recruit, and had been given to intelligence officials of an unnamed country in Turkey.

The German account of the origins of the laptop documents contradicts the insistence by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials who insisted to journalists William J. Broad and David Sanger in November 2005 that the laptop documents did not come from any Iranian resistance groups.

Despite the fact that it was listed as a terrorist organisation, the MEK was a favourite of neoconservatives in the Pentagon, who were proposing in 2003-2004 to use it as part of a policy to destabilise Iran. The United States is known to have used intelligence from the MEK on Iranian military questions for years. It was considered a credible source of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme after 2002, mainly because of its identification of the facility in Natanz as a nuclear site.

The German source said he did not know whether the documents were authentic or not. However, CIA analysts, and European and IAEA officials who were given access to the laptop documents in 2005 were very sceptical about their authenticity.

The Guardian's Julian Borger last February quoted an IAEA official as saying there is "doubt over the provenance of the computer".

A senior European diplomat who had examined the documents was quoted by the New York Times in November 2005 as saying, "I can fabricate that data. It looks beautiful, but is open to doubt."

Scott Ritter, the former U.S. military intelligence officer who was chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, noted in an interview that the CIA has the capability test the authenticity of laptop documents through forensic tests that would reveal when different versions of different documents were created.

The fact that the agency could not rule out the possibility of fabrication, according to Ritter, indicates that it had either chosen not to do such tests or that the tests had revealed fraud.

Despite its having been credited with the Natanz intelligence coup in 2002, the overall record of the MEK on the Iranian nuclear programme has been very poor. The CIA continued to submit intelligence from the Iranian group about alleged Iranian nuclear weapons-related work to the IAEA over the next five years, without identifying the source.

But that intelligence turned out to be unreliable. A senior IAEA official told the Los Angeles Times in February 2007 that, since 2002, "pretty much all the intelligence that has come to us has proved to be wrong."

Former State Department deputy intelligence director for the Near East and South Asia Wayne White doubts that the MEK has actually had the contacts within the Iranian bureaucracy and scientific community necessary to come up with intelligence such as Natanz and the laptop documents. "I find it very hard to believe that supporters of the MEK haven't been thoroughly rooted out of the Iranian bureaucracy," says White. "I think they are without key sources in the Iranian government."

In her February 2006 report on the laptop documents, the Post's Linzer said CIA analysts had originally speculated that a "third country, such as Israel, had fabricated the evidence". They eventually "discounted that theory", she wrote, without explaining why.

Since 2002, new information has emerged indicating that the MEK did not obtain the 2002 data on Natanz itself but received it from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Yossi Melman and Meier Javadanfar, who co-authored a book on the Iranian nuclear programme last year, write that they were told by "very senior Israeli Intelligence officials" in late 2006 that Israeli intelligence had known about Natanz for a full year before the Iranian group's press conference. They explained that they had chosen not to reveal it to the public "because of safety concerns for the sources that provided the information".

Shahriar Ahy, an adviser to monarchist leader Reza Pahlavi, told journalist Connie Bruck that the detailed information on Natanz had not come from MEK but from "a friendly government, and it had come to more than one opposition group, not only the mujahideen."

Bruck wrote in the New Yorker on Mar, 16, 2006 that when he was asked if the "friendly government" was Israel, Ahy smiled and said, "The friendly government did not want to be the source of it, publicly. If the friendly government gives it to the U.S. publicly, then it would be received differently. Better to come from an opposition group."

Israel has maintained a relationship with the MEK since the late 1990s, according to Bruck, including assistance to the organisation in beaming broadcasts by the NCRI from Paris into Iran. An Israeli diplomat confirmed that Israel had found the MEK "useful", Bruck reported, but the official declined to elaborate.

*Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.

(END/2008)


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Added: Mar-13-2008 
By: think_ffs_unbanned
In:
Iraq, Iran, News, Middle East
Tags: Iran, Nuke, Laptop, Data, Came, Terror, Group
Location: Tehran, Tehran, Iran (load item map)
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  • LOL

    Same gruop like the one that hade evidence of WMD in Iraq? LOL

    Peace.

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

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  • IslamIsLife: "LOL

    Same gruop like the one that hade evidence of WMD in Iraq? LOL

    Peace."
    Exactly.

    What a fucking joke.

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (2) | Report

  • Another invasion based on lies.

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (2) | Report

  • The Mossad is working overtime to get the US to bomb Iran, it's their #1 objective.

    Remeber "curveball" and his wild claims of Iraq having mobile chemical factories used for WMD, aluminum tubes for a nuclear program, drones of death, uranium from Niger...etc, all later proved to be false.

    Same thing happening here, just making up stuff to start another war.

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (2) | Report

  • u_make_me_laugh: "and the source for this crap is?

    im just curious."
    you can read, right?

    just curious.

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (2) | Report

  • JihadKiller1s1k: "
    AndyBIue: "Another invasion based on lies. "
    another anti war KOOK based on trusting radical muslims."
    you sound like some brainwashed Pr*ck who listens to everything Mr Bush tells him.

    Posted Apr-4-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • tag125: "
    IslamIsLife: "LOL

    Same gruop like the one that hade evidence of WMD in Iraq? LOL

    Peace."
    Exactly.

    What a fucking joke.
    "
    And look whose hand is behind it -Mossad/Israel LOL
    Ask yourself who stands to gain most from these wars .

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • ricsi: "
    tag125: "
    IslamIsLife: "LOL

    Same gruop like the one that hade evidence of WMD in Iraq? LOL

    Peace."
    Exactly.

    What a fucking joke.
    "
    And look whose hand is behind it -Mossad/Israel LOL
    Ask yourself who stands to gain most from these wars ."
    But, they're our friends (aiming pistol at own head).

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Tel Aviv , tel you anything .

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • TalkingMonkey: "The Mossad is working overtime to get the US to bomb Iran, it's their #1 objective.

    Remeber "curveball" and his wild claims of Iraq having mobile chemical factories used for WMD, aluminum tubes for a nuclear program, drones of death, uranium from Niger...etc, all later proved to be false.

    Same thing happening here, just making up stuff to start another war."
    I think that German intelligence people told us that Curveball was a drunk and a fabricator too, More..

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • I doubt a terror group would have access to Iran nuclearproduction even less secret plans of a Nuclearbomb plans,Anyone believing this must open their mind.

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Nieko: "I doubt a terror group would have access to Iran nuclearproduction even less secret plans of a Nuclearbomb plans,Anyone believing this must open their mind."
    Please read the statement LOL !!!
    It was a set up,handed down to them via mossad to implicate Iran--no true data about Iran or its intentions but a crudely fabricated set up as usual :

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • sonicblue: "
    ricsi: "
    Nieko: "I doubt a terror group would have access to Iran nuclearproduction even less secret plans of a Nuclearbomb plans,Anyone believing this must open their mind."
    Please read the statement LOL !!!
    It was a set up,handed down to them via mossad to implicate Iran--no true data about Iran or its intentions but a crudely fabricated set up as usual :"
    You turds worry about the US trying to make a case to attack Iran when we don't need one. Iran has already declared war on us by merely chanting "Death to America". You can speculate all you More..
    LOL who rattled your cage,big boy ????
    MY big mouthed mullahs ??? Learn to identify flags before commenting,then maybe you will make sense.

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (1) | Report

  • PaTnAsH: "if the US bombs iran they will have 100-200 years of global jihad,,,the world will be a total mess,, worse than now i assure u,, plus the iranian army is far more advanced and will crush US facilities in the middle east and most importantly israel will be gone for sure lol allaaaah akbar"
    So true. its gonna happen eventually, and guess what, Iran has Russia as an Ally ... think of the chain reaction, Ding-Dang ! WW3 !
    check this VID at youtube, keep watching it , and watch More..

    Posted Apr-4-2008 By 

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  • And i can assure u , Iran has got Nuclear power , and they wont hesitate to use it.

    Posted Apr-4-2008 By 

    (0) | Report

  • if the US bombs iran they will have 100-200 years of global jihad,,,the world will be a total mess,, worse than now i assure u,, plus the iranian army is far more advanced and will crush US facilities in the middle east and most importantly israel will be gone for sure lol allaaaah akbar

    Posted Mar-15-2008 By 

    (0) | Report

  • ricsi: "
    Nieko: "I doubt a terror group would have access to Iran nuclearproduction even less secret plans of a Nuclearbomb plans,Anyone believing this must open their mind."
    Please read the statement LOL !!!
    It was a set up,handed down to them via mossad to implicate Iran--no true data about Iran or its intentions but a crudely fabricated set up as usual :"
    You turds worry about the US trying to make a case to attack Iran when we don't need one. Iran has already declared w More..

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (-1) | Report

  • THE TIME HAS COME IT HAS COME BOMB BOMB BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN

    Posted Mar-14-2008 By 

    (-1) | Report

  • AndyBIue: "Another invasion based on lies. "
    another anti war KOOK based on trusting radical muslims.

    Posted Mar-13-2008 By 

    (-5) | Report