Commentary Magazine


What Is It With Former CIA Officers?

How come so many of them gravitate simultaneously to the extreme Left and the extreme Right?

Michael Scheuer, as we’ve noted here before, is a peculiar hybrid of Noam Chomsky and Patrick J. Buchanan. His writings can be found both at the right-wing American Conservative and at the left-wing crackpot website,

He is joined in writing for both outlets by Philip Giraldi, another former CIA officer who launched his public career in 2005 by asserting, in the American Conservative, that the U.S. was preparing plans to  attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

Giraldi’s latest “research” also concerns Iran. At, he contends that “despite what the U.S. intelligence community believes,” there is “no evidence to support [the] suspicion” that Iran has a nuclear-weapons program.

Continuing from there, Giraldi writes that “even if Iran is seeking nuclear weapons,” there is “broad consensus that the program is likely not far advanced, is suffering from technical problems, and is susceptible to internationally sanctioned steps to slow it down as long as the United States takes the lead and abandons the role of school bully.”

Do these dots connect?

On the one hand, writes Giraldi, there is “no evidence” that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, there is a “broad consensus” that its nuclear-weapons program is “likely not far advanced.”

On yet another hand, the program can be slowed down only if the U.S. “abandons the role of school bully.”

Am I alone in thinking that these are contradictory propositions? And is this how analysis is conducted inside the CIA these days? Or are these men former CIA officers for good reason?