Roger L. Simon

Is Seymour Hersh Being Played?

Sometimes it seems as if Seymour Hersh — the seeming bete noire of the Bush administration — has an open “leak line” from disgruntled CIA agents and surly State Department officials permanently plugged into his ear. When I heard about his latest infusion of goo in The New Yorker this morning, to wit that the US is spying on Iranian nuclear installations and trying to figure out what to do about them (planning special ops, air raids, etc.), I thought “Here he goes again, leaking top secret information!” But then I thought – duh, what top secret information? Is it possible that any US administration, Democrat or Republican, at this juncture in history would not be directing its intelligence agencies to take a long hard look at Iranian nukes and game plan how to deal with them? Of course not. In fact it would be at the very top of anybody’s agenda.

So then why The Big Leak? Well, if I were someone in the government who wanted to announce that we were taking a tough line and had some nasty surprises for the mullahs (to scare them, of course), but didn’t want to make this an official public policy statement, what would I do? I’d leak it to Seymour Hersh and count to five.

Am I wrong? The President of the United States has now essentially corroborated Hersh.