It turns out, that once investigated by the IAEA, these CIA-spy tip-offs are turning to be ...err, unfounded!
According to the Guardians Feb 23, 2007 cover story, the frequency of such false alarms has been so high that nowadays the IAEA inspectors do not follow up on them, unless they have passed the credibility test!
(One may speculate that at some point these annoying baseless investigations have ticked off the Iranians enough for them to say: "You know what? you are just wasting our and your time, with your ridiculous inspections, go and come back when we have Ze Beumb or something that you can indeed write to home about!")
So want an example?
One particularly contentious issue concerned records of plans to build a nuclear warhead, which the CIA said it found on a stolen laptop computer supplied by an informant inside Iran. In July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.
Of course, Tehran rejects the material as forgeries. But even the IAEA doesn't seem to have convinced its internal operatives sufficiently. According to an IAEA official:
First of all, if you have a clandestine programme, you don't put it on laptops which can walk away. The data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you'd have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi. So there is some doubt over the provenance of the computer."
(It seems to be clicking in certain minds, that in a country where even the President of the country cannot speak English, people do not scribble their thoughts in English! So, the next batch of fabricated evidence better have some arabic lettering, unless they are produced under guidance from the members of the intelligence committees exemplified in the post below.)
Here's another one of the "outstanding issues" listed in the new condemning report:
a 15-page document that appears to have been handed to IAEA inspectors by mistake in October 2005. That document roughly describes how to make hemispheres of enriched uranium, for which the only known use is in nuclear warheads. Iran has yet to present a satisfactory explanation of how and why it has the document.
Anyone with a half-scientific sanity will know that a document that "roughly" describes a methodology that is "only" used in the "known" application X, does not mean that it was not explored to be used in the "unknown" applications Y, Z or W!
But more importantly, why would an allegedly secretive entity (Iranian Atomic Agency), a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, "mistakenly" hand in the self incriminating evidence for a technology that violates the terms of their treaty?
The fear machine warns that Iranianas are very smart and are secretively making the bomb under the world watch but accidentally expose themselves by giving a report of their bomb-making attempts! Why do we assume it is given away by MISTAKE? Why don't we take this as an evidence of TRANSPARENCY?
But the reality may also be that the Iranian nuclear science is too naive (or bomb-blind) to realize which document describes the methodology of bomb making! Why not give this thought a plausible pause?