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Credibility Problems at the Washington Post: Blogger Fabricates Content of Reza Kahlili Speech on Iran

Jeff Stein posts an article of fabrications and misquotes. On the heels of Dave Weigel, is it time for some quality control at WaPo?

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'Reza Kahlili'

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July 20, 2010 - 4:10 am
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Recently, I spoke at an event at the Washington Institute, where I urged the West to help Iranians free themselves from the evil regime of the Islamic Republic. My speech was warmly received by over one hundred dignitaries, state officials, and members of the press.

I have since received several congratulatory communications saying how much they appreciated the presentation, with many expressing how they wished the Obama administration would reach the same conclusion that I have been suggesting all along — that the ruling fanatics in Iran are beyond being reasoned with. Some further agreed with me that our failure stems from our trying to use a rational approach. That won’t work, because we are dealing with irrational people. They see, as I do, that nuclear-armed mullahs will not only destroy Iran and its freedom loving people, they will also destroy the world.

However, blogger Jeff Stein — who did not attend the event — posted an article on his Spy Talk blog on the Washington Post attempting to discredit me. The article is full of pure fabrications and misquotes.

Initially, he sent me an email asking me to verify the information about the Iranian nuclear enrichment surpassing 90%, which I did. But he asked of nothing else to clarify the information that he was challenging.

The title of Stein’s article:

“Reza Kahlili, self-proclaimed ex-CIA spy, makes new Iran claim”

I am not “self-proclaimed” — I am an actual ex-CIA spy. And Stein knows it, as he quotes from David Ignatius’ review of my book. Ignatius’ review included the following, which Stein must have seen:

So I did some checking. And I am happy to report that the author did indeed have a secret relationship with the CIA. That’s a relief, because the story he tells — of the Iranian revolution and how he came to despise it — is genuinely powerful.

Eventually, I found one of Kahlili’s former case officers, who described him as “legit” and “a very brave guy.”

Why would Stein leave that out? Did it not fit his agenda of tearing someone down? Someone he’s never met, never done any background check on? Mr. Stein, by deliberately leaving out the above, attempted to assassinate my efforts and attack my character. He did not even bother asking me to provide assurances of my collaboration with the CIA — as everyone else in the media has done — but rather stuck with his agenda of discrediting me.

Stein’s article quotes unnamed guests who claimed they rolled their eyes during my speech, and he quotes other unnamed guests who called me the equivalent to Ahmed Chalabi. Who were these sources? Even Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has recently warned that Iran is nearing nuclear bomb capability. This exact concern has issued from the Obama administration and the European Union, and is the reason for recent sanctions and extra measures taken. Yet Mr. Stein feels the need to attack me and my comments about Iran being close to a nuclear capability and that a nuclear armed Iran will be horrific for the future of the world.

Stein continues:

Kahlili’s previous accounts have been greeted with widespread skepticism.

I’ve kept very close track of everything that has been written about me, my book, and my published articles. I challenge Stein to justify this comment.

In his post, Stein makes sure his readers know that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is an entity supported by Israel, stating the following:

Kahlili was showcased Friday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington think tank founded by a former senior official of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Stein continues with this:

“From my sources,” Kahlili told his audience Friday, “I have heard Iran has successfully enriched uranium over the 90-percent threshold, and that was even before they announced the 20-percent experiment. And that they have missiles that they have not publicly shown, because that would verify their intention of carrying out [sic] nuclear warheads.”

Kahlili said he passed along that and other information to the CIA, which he suggested was suppressing his report on uranium enrichment.

This is fabricated. I never stated that I passed the enrichment information to the CIA. I did not say, in any way, shape, or form, that the CIA was suppressing that information. The audio of the event clearly shows this. It is available on the Washington Institute site.

He made up that statement on his own. Then he asked some CIA officials — who also were not present at the event — to respond to the false statement!

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