Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Umansky Doesn't Believe Hersh

There has been a lot of excitement in peace and left circles about Seymour Hersh's report that the Bush adminstration is planning nuclear war against Iran. But one of the best writters on the left has some questions. Eric Umansky has doubts about Hersh's story.

I have little faith in Hersh's story to begin with. I don't know he's wrong, but I'm far from convinced he's right.

Why do I say that? Let's look at his sources. There are four, or perhaps only three, backing up his main contentions. Here is how Hersh introduces them:

  • "A former senior intelligence official"
  • "A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror"
  • "One former defense official"
  • "A former high-level Defense Department official" [Note: I'm listing this as a different source than the one above it, but Hersh doesn't clearly signal that they're different. For example, he could have written, "another former defense official"]

So number of "current" officials cited: 1--if you count the "adviser." The "Pentagon adviser," I suspect, is a member of the Defense Science Board, members of whom are also cited in the story. The DSB are civilians who work part-time advising the SecDef. They are not involved in nuts-and-bolts planning.

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