I will have more to say on specific details revealed in my Ghorbanifar Timeline in the coming days. But for now, I wanted to make my main point more strongly by focusing on particular dates in the timeline.
The timeline strongly suggests that the hawks within the White House sustained the contacts with Ghorbanifar as part of a (mostly successful) campaign to prevent the Administration from building a closer relationship with Iran.
Before I get into actual dates, recall Flynt Leverett’s argument (which was so dangerous the Administration censored it heavily). Leverett argues that the only workable solution to our relations with Iran is to forge a "grand bargain," trading security for more constructive Iranian engagement throughout the Middle East.
In the current regional context, issue-specific engagement with Iran is bound to fail. The only diplomatic approach that might succeed is a comprehensive one aimed at a “grand bargain” between the United States and the Islamic Republic.
Iran will only cooperate with the United States, whether in Iraq or on the nuclear issue, as part of a broader rapprochement addressing its core security concerns. This requires extension of a United States security guarantee — effectively, an American commitment not to use force to change the borders or form of government of the Islamic Republic — bolstered by the prospect of lifting United States unilateral sanctions and normalizing bilateral relations.
The parts of Leverett’s op-ed that got censored reveal that, in fact, Iran has attempted to foster such a grand bargain several times during the Bush Administration. Colin Powell and Richard Armitage cautiously supported those attempts. But each time those efforts started developing, the Administration scuttled the efforts–usually based on inflammatory claims.
And at least some of those claims may have come from Manucher Ghorbanifar.
In other words, top Administration officials kept letting Ghorbanifar’s fraudulent "intelligence" get inserted into the government because it provided critical–albeit fraudulent–support for a policy of regime change in Iran.
Now look at the known dates:
December to February 2001
Michael Ledeen says he first started putting this meeting together "soon after September 11, 2001, probably in the October 2001 timeframe." The first documented discussions about the meeting occurred on November 7, and the meeting occurred from December 10 through 13.