monresize.jpgLate last night CNN started hyping an “exclusive” report claiming Hezbollah involvement in Iraq – at the behest of the Iranians. Michael Ware was the reporter and his sole sources were “US Intelligence.” This morning, we learned the tale was not so “exclusive” since our old friend Michael Gordon ( Judy’s pal at the New York Times) had apparently gotten the same info from a new, fresh-out-of-the-White-House US military briefer – General Bergner*.

The story they are spinning claims that Iran has sent Hezbollah to Iraq to attack Americans. CNN used lots of “scary pictures” of Hezbollah to remind us to be very afraid once again – and Gordon, as Glenn Greenwald notes today, did his best impression of a Pentagon pitchman moonlighting as a journalist:

… one “learns” that Iran is also arming Shiite militias in Iraq though its proxy, Hezbollah, and that “Iranian officials have helped plan operations against American troops in Iraq and have had advance knowledge of specific attacks that have led to the death of American soldiers.”

These are quite extraordinary claims the NYT is publishing, as they amount to an accusation that the Iranian Government, at its highest levels, is directing fatal attacks on American troops in Iraq, which constitutes, of course, an act of war. As Gordon himself points out: “In effect, American officials are charging that Iran has been engaged in a proxy war against American forces for years.”

So what’s the point of all this hype and hoopla? We’re clearly watching the next stage in the run-up to war with Iran – and I’m guessing we’re also seeing an attempt to build support for another Israeli attack on Lebanon couched in “take out the terrorist Hezbollah” lingo. All of which must make Joe Lieberman very happy indeed.

In the midst of all this so-called reporting, no one bothered to mention that – while there may be some Hezbollah trainers in Iraq, Nasrallah focuses on Lebanon and does not simply take orders from Iran – nor that the most friendly to Iran forces are not al Sadr’s (as portrayed in the CNN report) but the Badr Corps run by George Bush’s pals in SCIRI nor that Hizbollah in Iraq is not the same organization as Hezbollah.

But these gaps are not at all surprising considering the disastrous state of US military intelligence as described in a very important post by Col Pat Lang this weekend on Military Intelligence Failure in Iraq.

(h/t to *Bernhard on this – his Moon of Alabama has been a haven for those of us who miss all-night Billmon discussions – and to Scarecrow and markfromireland.)