ABC News reported this week that President Bush has authorized new covert action against Iran. Current and former US intelligence officials have told ABC that the covert “black” operation is to destabilize the Iranian government.
The reported plan will include a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions. The sources told ABC that the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year and has received approval from the White House.
A recently-retired senior CIA official with direct responsibility over Iran has told ABC that economic pressure on Iran may be the most effective tool available, particularly in going after secret accounts used to fund the nuclear program.
ABC News has come under heavy criticism for its report revealing the covert CIA operation to destabilize the government of Iran.
The plan is designed to put pressure on Ahmadinejad government to stop Iran’s nuclear program. At the same time the US is engaged in a show of force in the Persian Gulf. On Wednesday, US warships carrying 17,000 personnel entered the Gulf in what was termed as the largest US naval presence in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 Iraq war.
The carriers USS John Stennis and USS Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf along with a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ships.
Through military threats, economic sanctions, covert actions to financially destabilize the government, as well as the diplomatic channels, as in US-Iran meeting in Baghdad scheduled for Monday, the US has started a multi-pronged approach to change the behavior of the Iranian regime. Barring any major development in Iran’s nuclear policy or any move on the part of the Iranians to disrupt the flow of oil in the Persian Gulf, a US military attack on Iran increasingly looks unlikely (for a more detailed analysis, please see the 14 May posting on this blog).