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Alleged Iran plot is more ‘caper novel’ than spy novel

In Americas, World News on October 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

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Here’s another way to look at what U.S. law enforcement officials say was a plot by two Iranians — with assistance from “factions” of Iran’s government — to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.:

Yesterday, we posted about how “brazen and bizarre” the alleged scheme appears.

Today on Morning Edition, spy novelist and Washington Postforeign policy columnist David Ignatius said the whole thing reads more like an Elmore Leonard “caper novel” than a cloak-and-dagger “spy novel.”

“That’s not to say it didn’t happen,” Ignatius added. But the tale of a Iranian-born U.S. citizen living in Texas reaching out to a man he thought was with a Mexican drug cartel (who turned out to be a paid informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration) and trying to arrange the bombing of the ambassador, is “extremely unusual and sloppy … tradecraft” and isn’t how Iran’s spy agencies usually work.

His comments echo those of former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, who said on All Things Considered earlier this week that the “really strange plot” isn’t the way Iran’s “very professional” spies normally go about their business.

Also on Morning Edition, Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran and the Middle East with the Carnegie Endowment said there are other oddities about the scheme.

When Iran has been involved in assassinations in recent years, he said, they’ve happened in “places where they know they can get away with it,” including Europe and South America. And the plots have never involved “working with a non-Muslim proxy,” such as a killer from a Mexican…

Full article…

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