Mr. Trita Parsi, the factotum of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), writes endlessly about Iran, American policy toward Iran, and the presumed secret history of American dealings with Iran. Even though an American court found him to have made false accusations against another Iranian-American (in a case that Parsi himself brought in an embarrassing failed effort to demonstrate his independence of the Iranian regime), he is still taken seriously by many journalists and even scholars. They should know better, but he gets respect he doesn’t deserve.
So I thought I would try to illuminate a small corner of his writings, the nonsense he’s written about me. I have a competitive advantage, after all; I know about these matters from my own experience. He writes about meetings involving me and just one other person, but he has never communicated with me, nor is there any evidence that he read my own accounts of events. The number of factual errors is, let us say, very impressive.
It’s hard to get most everything wrong, but Mr. Parsi has done his best.
In his book Treacherous Alliance; the secret dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U. S., Parsi says a great many things about me, most of which are false.
● He mistakenly claims that I had easy access to Pres. George W. Bush (page 232) through Karl Rove “with whom he met periodically.” In fact, I had three or four conversations with Rove in eight years, and never spoke with President Bush except to thank him for inviting us to the White House, along with several hundred other Jewish Americans, for an annual Chanukah celebration.
● He says that I was a consultant to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. False.
● With regard to a meeting in Rome in December 2001 that I helped organize, he has the Italian participants wrong, and he defames one of the American participants, Larry Franklin, saying that he “would later plead guilty to spying for Israel in 2005 and… is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence.” Franklin made no such plea, and never served time in prison. There are public records to prove that Mr. Parsi’s claims are false.
● Concerning that same meeting in Rome, Parsi alleges that I concealed it from American government officials, but it was fully approved by Deputy National Security Advisor Hadley, and I not only informed the American ambassador to Rome in advance, but twice briefed him in Rome on what had transpired.
● Parsi also owes an apology to the Italian government. He writes “as a student of the Italian fascist movement, Ledeen enjoyed extensive contacts within the Italian intelligence service,” apparently meaning that the Italian intelligence service in the 21st century was part of the “fascist movement.” Ridiculous and misinformed. Remember, this is a guy who sues others for libel…
He has a chapter called “Scandal” that deals with “Iran-Contra.” It’s badly confused and crammed with errors. He writes that my role — meeting with Israeli and Iranian officials and middlemen — was my own initiative, an incredible claim when the records of the White House travel office show that my trips were paid for by the National Security Council, to which I was a part-time consultant. Mr. Parsi doesn’t seem to understand how the American government works; it was hardly possible for me to have had conversations with top foreign officials without formal approval from the USG. But he couldn’t be bothered to read the (published) documents.