Credibility Problems at the Washington Post: Blogger Fabricates Content of Reza Kahlili Speech on Iran
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.
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!
Stein was not finished misquoting me:
But he also criticized the CIA for allegedly rejecting his proposal that it "should help Iranians free themselves of this evil regime."
“I wish my CIA handler were here today so I could ask him, ‘how is that working out for you?’" he said.
Again -- instead of listening to the actual audio, he let his imagination run wild, created his own scenario, and got it entirely wrong. I had stated that one my handlers (the only one I did not like to work with), in response to my statement that we should help Iranians free themselves, responded point-blank that I should consider Ayatollah Rafsanjani the king of Iran due to the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the senior President Bush and Rafsanjani at that time. Then I responded with: “How is that working for you?”
Similarly, Stein also leaves out my actual comments about the CIA, which is documented in the Special Policy Forum Report of the event:
The CIA personnel he dealt with were very professional and well informed. They asked him to return to Iran as a spy, though they said he was free to remain in the United States if he wished. Kahlili volunteered to help the agency, hoping that the information he provided would help the United States bring about change in his country.
Stein goes on to say that:
Kahlili was also questioned skeptically about his claim that he was welcomed into the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence section despite his involvement in "the freedom movement."
In Stein's original post, before he updated it, he claimed my family had connections to the shah. This is another fabrication on his part.
The following misquote is particularly disappointing:
They will attack Israel, European capitals, and the Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker [until a religious prophecy is fulfilled] ... and kill the rest of the nonbelievers.
That quote was taken out of context. Plus, Stein supplied the bracketed "until a religious prophecy is fulfilled" without explanation. Again, this is dishonest reporting.
Mr. Stein also failed to understand the correct story, as I stated in the book, that my childhood friend recruited me in the Guards. He mentions the "freedom movement" -- I have no idea what he means by the freedom movement.
It seems that Mr. Stein’s judgment is a bit skewed. Just whose side is he on? Is he among the appeasers of the mullahs -- those mullahs who not only kill Iranian boys and girls who want nothing but freedom, but also kill our own soldiers, who are sacrificing their very lives so that we can enjoy the privileges of a free society? Does Stein sympathize with the same mullah-appeasers who packed a large room to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last September while the brutal slaughter of Iranians was taking place in Tehran’s streets?
I asked Mr. Stein to correct his errors, and he promised to do so. However, he only made minor changes and kept in his misquotes and distortions of the event.
Stein had the opportunity to use my appearance to expose the horrors that are going on in Iran -- he had the chance to use the reach of his WaPo blog, Spy Talk, to inform his audience of the real threat the Iranian regime poses. He could have focused his attention on the more important issues I brought up, but instead he chose to attack me.
While it’s heartbreaking to see such a lack of integrity from a member of the press -- the very sort of person I tried to protect by risking my life as a spy -- I want to let him know that I will continue on with my pursuit of trying to change the long-failed U.S. policy of trying to appease the mullahs and allowing our government to be manipulated by Iranian lobbyists here in the States. I will continue on to bring awareness to the West that the Islamic Regime is messianic, and that their only goal is to bring about the demise of the West and wipe Israel off the map.
I pray that soon we will witness the downfall of this evil regime and celebrate the freedom of a nation, which has been paying dearly for three decades to free itself from Islamic fascism.