1990 - 2009

1. The United States and Iran in the 1990s

Barber, Ben. "Iran Increases Funds for Terrorist Activities." Washington Times, 18 Aug. 1999.

"Iran has stepped up funding for Islamic terrorists in Lebanon, Syria and Israel to sabotage the revived Middle East peace process and distract Iranians from problems at home, Israeli and U.S. officials say. A weekend report said $5 million was sent to Hamas bank accounts in Syria last month."

Cassata, Donna. "Spy Budget Cleared for Clinton; Plan for New Agency Curbed." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 23 Dec. 1995, 3894-3895.

On 21 December 1995, the House and the Senate passed the fiscal 1996 intelligence authorization bill. "The bill reportedly authorizes about $28 billion." With regard to Speaker Gingrich's desire to create a fund to overthrow the Iranian government, the final version provides "$2 million for traditional covert activities in Iran and $18 million in a conditional fund. The administration ... would determine how to spend the latter amount."

Coughlin, Con. "Iran Sends More Spies to Europe." Telegraph (London), 4 May 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Iran is intensifying efforts to consolidate its network of terrorist cells and intelligence agents throughout Europe. As relations between Teheran and the European Union degenerated ... last week, Iranian intelligence chiefs" ordered that reinforcements "be sent to embassies throughout Europe, including Britain."

Newsweek. "New Evidence Ties Iran to Terrorism." 15 Nov. 1999. [http://www.newsweek.com]

"[N]ew evidence [has] emerged tying Iranian officials to the truck bomb that killed 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut 16 years ago, as well as to the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.... [A] National Security Agency phone tap recorded a Sept. 24, 1983, call from the Iranian ambassador in Syria to his foreign minister, in which the ambassador relayed orders he'd given to Abu Haidar, leader of the Husaini Suicide Forces Movement. The ambassador told Haidar to get weapons from Yasir Arafat's Fatah group to 'undertake an extraordinary operation against the Marines' in Beirut."

Omestad, Thomas. "A Stunning Admission: Iran's Secret Agency Confesses to Murder." U.S. News & World Report, 18 Jan. 1999, 36,

Iran's Intelligence Ministry has "acknowledged that some of its agents -- 'irresponsible, misguided and unruly personnel' -- were among the killers" of critics of hard-line Islamic clergy.

In a further development, the Associated Press reported on 10 February 1999 that Ali Yunesi, 43, has been nominated by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami as the new intelligence minister. "Yunesi led the investigation into the killings of writers and dissidents that began in November [1998]. The probe resulted in the Intelligence Ministry's disclosure ... that some of its agents had been arrested in connection with the five deaths." On 17 February 1999, Khatami forwarded his nomination of Yunesi as intelligence minister to the Iranian parliament. (AP, 17 Feb. 1999.) On 24 February 1999, the Iranian Majlis "gave an overwhelming vote of confidence" to Yunesi. (AP, 24 Feb. 1999.)

Wege, Carl Anthony. "Iranian Intelligence Organizations." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 10, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 287-298.

The author finds that the Iranian government has become "an interwoven network of clerical factions and security organs." A reorganization of Iran's security architecture took place in the 1990s as a result of "a serious relationship with the Russians," specifically the Russian SVR. The regime's "clandestine operational abilities are significant in terms of covert weapons acquisition programs and state sponsored terrorism. Iranian agencies are at least adequate at internal security."

Weiner, Tim. "U.S. Plan to Oust Iran's Government Is an Open Secret." New York Times, 26 Jan. 1996, A1, A5 (N).

As conceived by Speaker Gingrich, an $18 million CIA "covert" operation to "change the nature of the Government of Iran" is provided for in the FY 1996 intelligence authorization bill. Iran has announced plans to mount a $20 million counter-campaign.

2. The United States and Iran in the 2000s

Abedin, Mahan. "The Iranian Intelligence Services and the War on Terror." Terrorism Monitor (The Jamestown Foundation) 2, no. 10 (20 May 2004): 1-3.

Baker, Luke. "Israel Engaged in Covert War Inside Iran: Report." Reuters, 17 Feb. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[Q]uoting a former CIA agent and intelligence experts," Britain's Daily Telegraph said on 17 February 2009 that "Israel is involved in a covert war of sabotage inside Iran to try to delay Tehran's alleged attempts to develop a nuclear weapon.... Some analysts caution that reports of such a 'dirty war' may form part of a psychological warfare campaign to unsettle Iran."

Daragahi, Borzou, and Ramin Mostaghim. "Iran Charges Imprisoned Journalist with Spying." Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2009. [http://www.latimes.com]

According to judicial officials and her lawyer on 8 April 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian American freelance journalist living in Tehran, "has been charged with espionage by Iran's security court."

Hersh, Seymour M. "Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration Steps Up Its Secret Moves against Iran." New Yorker, 7 Jul. 2008. [http://www.newyorker.com]

According to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources, Congress late last year "agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran." These operations, for which the President sought up to $400 million, "were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership.... Clandestine operations against Iran are not new." U.S. Special Operations Forces "have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year.... But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials."

Joby Warrick, "U.S. Is Said to Expand Covert Operations in Iran: Plan Allows Up to $400 Million for Activities Aimed at Destabilizing Government," Washington Post, 30 Jun. 2008, A2, reports that Hersh's article "drew a sharp reaction from administration officials, who denied that U.S. forces were engaged in operations inside Iran."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Believes It Can See into Tehran from L.A.: Agency Seeking Help from Many Iranians in Area." Los Angeles Times, 16 Jan. 2002. [http://www.latimes.com]

"Dissatisfied with its intelligence-gathering on Iran, the CIA disbanded a station in Germany in the mid-1990s that had been a key spying portal into the Islamic republic. Instead, it reassigned several officers to a post much farther from Tehran but potentially richer in contacts: Los Angeles."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Has Recruited Iranians to Defect." Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2007. [http://www.latimes.com]

According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, "[t]he CIA launched a secret program in 2005 designed to degrade Iran's nuclear weapons program by persuading key officials to defect.... The program has had limited success. Officials said that fewer than six well-placed Iranians have defected, and that none has been in a position to provide comprehensive information on Tehran's nuclear program."

Sanger, David E. "U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site." New York Times, 11 Jan. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Sanger states: "Several details of the covert effort [referred to in this article] have been omitted from this account, at the request of senior United States intelligence and administration officials, to avoid harming continuing operations."

According to senior U.S. and foreign officials, "President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran's main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran's suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons....

"The covert American program, started in early 2008, includes renewed American efforts to penetrate Iran's nuclear supply chain abroad, along with new efforts, some of them experimental, to undermine electrical systems, computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies. It is aimed at delaying the day that Iran can produce the weapons-grade fuel and designs it needs to produce a workable nuclear weapon."

Sherwell, Philip. "Teheran 'Executed CIA's Spy Network 10 Years Ago.'" Telegraph (London), 13 Feb. 2005. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

According to former CIA officials, "America's spy network in Iran was exposed more than 10 years ago and about 50 of its local agents were executed or jailed in a devastating setback for United States intelligence operations in the Islamic state. The Iranian agents, who included senior military officers, had been relaying information to their handlers at the CIA's office in Frankfurt, using messages written in invisible ink on the back of letters posted from Iran."

Return to Covert Action - Iran

Return to Iran Table of Contents