As I reported this morning in the PDB, the German press is abuzz with rumors that CIA chief Porter Goss has been seeking authorization from Turkey so that the U.S. can attack Iran later this year.

From Der Spiegel:

According to [German news agency] DDP, during his trip to Turkey, CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network al-Qaida. A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Sources in German security circles told the DDP reporter that Goss had ensured Ankara that the Turkish government would be informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened. The Turkish government has also been given the “green light” to strike camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iran on the day in question.

They also add this scary addendum:

The most talked about story is a Dec. 23 piece by the German news agency DDP from journalist and intelligence expert Udo Ulfkotte. The story has generated controversy not only because of its material, but also because of the reporter’s past. Critics allege that Ulfkotte in his previous reporting got too close to sources at Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND. But Ulfkotte has himself noted that he has been under investigation by the government in the past (indeed, his home and offices have been searched multiple times) for allegations that he published state secrets — a charge that he claims would underscore rather than undermine the veracity of his work.

According to Ulfkotte’s report, “western security sources” claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss’ Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.

Turkey would certainly love to hit at the Kurd bases in northwestern Iran.  And it must be remembered that Goss’ visit to Turkey was unannounced and was only broken when a local news agency saw him meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan.

And Spiegel reminds us of last year‘s article by Seymour Hersh, which contained:

The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me.

The Pentagon and White House attacked that article, making vague criticisms about its “inaccurate statements” but never denied the substance of what it said.

According to my own analysis, air strikes alone against Iran would make for ruinous foreign policy and probably even be ineffective in stopping its nuclear power program.  But we all know that major foreign policy decisions are rarely made these days based on logic and common sense.

The German-language version of the Spiegel article can be found here.  See also Weiner Zeitung and Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung for related reports.

The story is also hitting all the Turkish and Middle Eastern media, including Al-Jazeera.  And whether or not it’s actually true, the story will be perceived as yet another example of American imperialism at work.’s coverage here.

And the leadership in Iran isn’t letting the reports slide either:

Iran warned on Sunday of a “crushing” response if its nuclear and military facilities were attacked by the U.S. or Israel.

Top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said, however, that talk of such an attack most likely was “psychological warfare.”

“Iran has prepared itself … they will get a crushing response if they make such a mistake,” Larijani said on state-run television late Sunday.

Larijani said Israel would “suffer greatly” if it launched an attack.

European media have indicated in recent days that the U.S. was preparing its allies for a strike against Iran’s nuclear and military facilities with the aim of curtailing Iran’s nuclear program.

Let’s hope it is all bluster and that Nobel Peace Price winner Mohammed Elbaradei and the IAEA can manage to keep the situation under control.


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