His name is Touraj Esmaeeli, and you haven’t heard it before. And yet, he’s a big story. He worked as a top advisor to the Iranian intelligence service, as an expert on that country’s cyberwar against the United States and other Western countries.
Several of his colleagues have been arrested since last spring, accused of spying, but the spybust hasn’t been widely covered. Esmaeeli scooted off to Istanbul, where he first checked in to a hotel and then barely escaped a combination of Iranian and Turkish agents who had come to arrest him. He has taken refuge in a Western consulate. He is said to have hundreds of documents in his possession, and the regime is said to be changing its cyber warfare methods to protect against the documents being exploited by its Western enemies.
Perhaps we will learn more, perhaps not. But we already know enough to conclude that Khamenei and his fellow thugs in Tehran have real security problems. The defection of Esmaeeli is a bad sign for the Islamic Republic. It shows that they cannot trust their top people.
The unreliability of their own security forces is an inevitable outcome of the failure of the Khamenei regime, and this offers opportunities to Western intelligence services. Even an organization like the CIA, whose failures in Iran will some day fill the pages of insiders’ tell-it-all books, has no doubt feasted on the opportunities for recruitment. It certainly looks like Esmaeeli had his documents well prepared, knew where to go in Istanbul, and was one step ahead of his pursuers.
I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d lay long odds that the Iranian regime is highly penetrated, by us, by the Saudis, by the Israelis, and all the rest you can conjure up in a few minutes. But the really profound penetration, about which I’ve been writing and speaking for many years, is political and ideological. The masses, all over the country, have had it with the regime. They want regime change, and the regime knows and fears it. We know this by watching and listening to the ruling ayatollahs. Here’s the latest from Ayatollah Jannati, who presides over the powerful Guardian Council:
“The Iranian people can tolerate thirst and hunger, but they will not tolerate the defeat of the revolution.”
Which tells us exactly what Jannati and his ilk truly fear: the overthrow of the theocratic tyranny. There’s more. On the anniversary of Khomeini’s triumphant return to Tehran in 1979, a date hitherto marked by monster rallies filling the country’s streets, this year there wasn’t a soul celebrating the great event. The regime doesn’t dare permit millions of demonstrators to gather, because it is a certainty that they would call for an end to the Islamic Republic.
The mullahs can see their destiny acted out in Venezuela, they see their top officials betraying the regime and scrambling to take regime secrets to its enemies.
It would be invaluable to lay our hands on the archives of the Islamic Republic, as the Israelis demonstrated by pilfering the documentation of the secret Iranian nuclear program a few months ago. That’s just one slice of the real story. A few more defections, and we’ll get the full picture of Iran’s global role, its malevolent alliance with North Korea, China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia.
We would also get a fuller picture of the Iranian penetration of the West, the names of their friends and agents in our own ranks, the preparations they are making to visit terror upon us. Yes, even in the United States.
I hope we get them before it gets really nasty, right here. They are doomed, and we should hasten their rendezvous with destiny.