April 6, 2012 / by emptywheel

 

DOE Washing Terrorists in the Nevada Desert

I’ve long suggested that our attempts to suggest Mossad was running the MEK (and Jundallah) led covert operations in Iran were attempts to hide US cooperation with those groups against Iran.

Sy Hersh confirms precisely that speculation with respect to the MEK.

The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence. He said that the targets were not “Einsteins”; “The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale,” he said, and to “demoralize the whole system—nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants.” Attacks have also been carried out on pipelines. He added that the operations are “primarily being done by M.E.K. through liaison with the Israelis, but the United States is now providing the intelligence.” An adviser to the special-operations community told me that the links between the United States and M.E.K. activities inside Iran had been long-standing. “Everything being done inside Iran now is being done with surrogates,” he said. [my emphasis]

More interesting, he describes JSOC training MEK in the Nevada desert.

Despite the growing ties, and a much-intensified lobbying effort organized by its advocates, M.E.K. has remained on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations—which meant that secrecy was essential in the Nevada training. “We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official told me. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications—coördinating commo is a big deal.”

Hersh goes on to describe that we not only taught MEK how to stay in communication in the field, but how to intercept Iranian communications as well (remember the importance of intercepts in our understanding of Iranian nukes?). Moreover, the stuff the JSOC trainers were teaching MEK was so “sexy” that people started to get worried.

We’ve been training terrorists in our own deserts and sending them out against Iran–all while fear-mongering about Iran engaging in terrorism.

In other words, even the war on terror hasn’t taught us how such schemes can backfire.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2012/04/06/doe-washing-terrorists-in-the-nevada-desert/