A published report says the U.S. Congress agreed late last year to a
request from President George Bush to fund a major escalation of covert
operations against Iran.
The New Yorker magazine says Mr. Bush
asked Congress for up to $400 million to try to destabilize
Iran's religious leadership. Citing unnamed intelligence,
congressional and military sources, the magazine says the approved
covert activities include support for minority and dissident groups, as
well as intelligence-gathering about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons
The New Yorker says the new operations are described in
a highly classified Presidential Finding that Mr. Bush signed. It says
the measures significantly expand the "scale and scope" of existing
U.S. operations in Iran.
There has been no immediate reaction
from the Bush administration to the report. But the magazine says that
some congressional leaders have had serious questions about the nature
of the new operations, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency
and the Joint Special Operations Command.
Findings are highly classified documents that must be issued for covert
intelligence operations to a small group of Congressional leaders and
their intelligence committees.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning
investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, wrote the article. Hersh has
uncovered many stories about U.S. military action abroad, including the
My Lai massacre in the Vietnam War and the mistreatment of detainees at
the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.