US intelligence agency confuses Iran with Iraq in report about Israeli strike
"George W. Bush is not stupid," Jon Stewart told a crowd in 2005. "He invaded Iraq. They didn't have weapons of mass destruction or ties to Al Qaeda ... but Iran does. So he was only one letter off and that should be credited."
The Agency that brought you bogus intelligence on the Iraq war -- a Defense Intelligence Agency operative who knew that a key US intelligence source was unreliable sat in on meetings with then-Secretary of State Colin Powell when he incorporated claims about mobile Iraqi weapons labs into his portfolio -- now brings you the Iran that is actually Iraq.
In a brief official history of their own agency, posted on their website (pdf here), the DIA confused Iran and Iraq.
Noting "world crises" in the 1980s, the agency's report cites “an Israeli F-16 raid to destroy an Iranian nuclear reactor.” (See page 14)
The discrepancy was first caught by the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood, who writes the blog Secrecy News.
In fact, Israel attacked an Iraqi nuclear reactor -- Osirak -- in 1981. Israel has not attacked Iranian nuclear sites -- or at least, not yet.
“The description appears to match Israel’s raid on Iraq’s [Osirak] nuclear reactor” in 1981, Israeli scholar Gideon Remez told Aftergood on his blog.
“Today’s preoccupation with Iran’s nuclear program seems to have been projected onto the events of 27 years ago.”
“If that is indeed the case, I’d recommend a correction,” he added.
The Defense Intelligence Agency, which authored the report, could not be reached for comment.
The DIA isn't the only one who's made gauche comments about Iran recently. On an official visit to the Middle East that was supposed to highlight his knowledge in foreign affairs, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters, "It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq. That's well known."
Pressed by reporters, who knew there were no reporters that Al-Qaeda was being trained in Iran, McCain continued.
"We continue to be concerned about the Iranians taking Al-Qaeda into Iran and training them and sending them back," he said.
Only after fellow Senator Joe Lieberman, who was traveling with him, whispered into his ear, did McCain correct himself.
"I am sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al-Qaeda, not Al-Qaeda, I am sorry," McCain said.