"You Can't Distinguish Between Al-Qaeda And
Some U.S. Officials Fear Iran Is Helping Al Qaeda They say intelligence suggests that the regime lets key figures plot. But the picture is cloudy. By Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer March 21, 2006
WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence officials, already focused on Iran's potential for building nuclear weapons, are struggling to solve a more immediate mystery: the murky relationship between the new Tehran leadership and the contingent of Al Qaeda leaders residing in the country.
Some officials, citing evidence from highly classified satellite feeds and electronic eavesdropping, believe the Iranian regime is playing host to much of Al Qaeda's remaining brain trust and allowing the senior operatives freedom to communicate and help plan the terrorist network's operations.
And they suggest that recently elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be forging an alliance with Al Qaeda operatives as a way to expand Iran's influence or, at a minimum, that he is looking the other way as Al Qaeda leaders in his country collaborate with their counterparts elsewhere.
"Iran is becoming more and more radicalized and more willing to turn a blind eye to the Al Qaeda presence there," a U.S. counter-terrorism official said.
The article was careful in juxaposing these charges to the ones made three years ago regarding Iraq, and in reporting that other officials believe that a Shiite government would ever cooperate with an ultraorthodox Hanbalist Sunni organization that regards Shiites as apostates, but still they made this into a major story. Shame on them.