Author: Bill Clinton gave Iran bomb plan N.Y. Times reporter
says harebrained scheme to foil Tehran likely helped advance
Posted: April 14, 2006
10:50 a.m. Eastern
In his last year of office, President Clinton approved of an
unusual scheme to transfer classified data that likely helped
Iran advance its nuclear weapons program, according to New York
Times reporter James Risen in his new book "State of War."
Risen says the CIA used a double-agent Russian scientist to
hand over a blueprint for a nuclear bomb to Iran.
The White House plan actually was to derail the Iranian
program by passing on fatal flaws, says Risen, but the
deliberate errors were so rudimentary they would have been
easily fixed by Russian nuclear scientists, reported the online
Post Chronicle, which said the story was recounted last night by
radio host and former Justice official Mark Levin.
Risen's book has been in the news for its revelations about
the Bush administration's controversial NSA domestic anti-terror
The Clinton operation, in early 2000, was code named
Operation Merlin and "may have been one of the most reckless
operations in the modern history of the CIA," Risen writes.
A defector from Russia was to offer Tehran the blueprint for
a "firing set," the sophisticated mechanism that triggers a
CIA officers told the Russian the Iranians already had that
technology and the scheme was to find out the full extent of
Tehran's nuclear capability.
But the Russian inserted a note in the package indicating he
could help fix the flaws if he were paid the right price.
Iran's announcement Monday that it successfully has enriched
uranium was the third major development this year on the way to
producing an atomic bomb, leaving only one more step.
That next development – metalizing the enriched uranium to
fit it into a warhead – could come as soon as four months from
now, says author Jerry Corsi, who has watched the predictions in
his book "Atomic Iran" unfold since it was published one year
In a nationally televised speech Monday, President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad said that with the production of enriched uranium,
"I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear
The audience, which included top military commanders and
clerics, broke into cheers of "Allahu akbar!" or "Allah is
In January, Iran successfully tested a missile with solid
fuel, and last week, a U.S. official reported Iran now has
ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Tehran has rejected a demand by the U.N. Security Council to
stop all uranium enrichment activity by April 28.
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