Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 11, 2006

CIA Bested By — Google?

by Brad Warbiany

Seeking Iran Intelligence, U.S. Tries Google

When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be sanctioned for their involvement in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the agency refused, citing a large workload and a desire to protect its sources and tradecraft.

Frustrated, the State Department assigned a junior Foreign Service officer to find the names another way — by using Google. Those with the most hits under search terms such as “Iran and nuclear,” three officials said, became targets for international rebuke Friday when a sanctions resolution circulated at the United Nations.

The real question is whether Google is any more reliable than the CIA. Well, the names they discovered aren’t even suspected to be connected with the weapons programs.

None of the 12 Iranians that the State Department eventually singled out for potential bans on international travel and business dealings is believed by the CIA to be directly connected to Iran’s most suspicious nuclear activities.

“There is nothing that proves involvement in a clandestine weapons program, and there is very little out there at all that even connects people to a clandestine weapons program,” said one official familiar with the intelligence on Iran. Like others interviewed for this story, the official insisted on anonymity when discussing the use of intelligence.

Wow. So they’re looking for the Manhattan Tehran Project, and they’ve found the National Institute of Science.

I don’t know who to be more disappointed in: the government for relying on Google, or Google for not supplying the right information!

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