Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Secret to How the US Comes Up with Names for UN Sanctions

Here’s a great story from the Washington Post and the Times of India. What does the State Department do when the CIA turns down its request for information? It asks a junior foreign service officer to do a Google Search.

The US state department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians suspected to be involved in the Islamic Republic's nuclear program so that they could be sanctioned.The agency forthrightly refused to comply with the request citing workload and desire to protect its sources.

Left with no option, the state department assigned a junior foreign service officer to locate suspects by doing a Google search. Those with the most hits under search terms such as "Iran and nuclear", three officials said, became targets for international rebuke on Friday when a sanctions resolution was circulated at the United Nations.

Ironically, none of the 12 Iranians listed to be banned for international travel and business for their involvement in the country's nuclear activities are believed by the CIA to be associated with the project. Policymakers and intelligence officials have always struggled when it comes to deciding how and when to disclose secret information, such as names of Iranians with suspected ties to nuclear weapons.

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