State Department Googles Sanctions Against Iran

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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.

Policymakers and intelligence officials have always struggled when it comes to deciding how and when to disclose secret information, such as names of Iranians with suspected ties to nuclear weapons. In some internal debates, policymakers win out and intelligence is made public to further political or diplomatic goals. In other cases, such as this one, the intelligence community successfully argues that protecting information outweighs the desires of some to share it with the world.

But that argument can also put the U.S. government in the awkward position of relying, in part, on an Internet search to select targets for international sanctions.

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.

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Posted by lep on 2006-12-11 12:08:49
I know Bush did it, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Iraq != Iran, and this article is about Iran.
Posted by wizeGurl on 2006-12-11 20:27:31
Noted and corrected!
 

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