Beware Iranians bearing gifts? 7

We know that the source, DEBKAfile,  is not always completely reliable, but this report seems to us to ring true:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s personal cameraman, Hassan Golkhanban, who defected from his UN entourage in New York on Oct. 1, brought with him an intelligence treasure trove of up-to-date photographs and videos of top Iranian leaders visiting their most sensitive and secret nuclear and missile sites.

The cameraman, who is in his 40s, is staying at an undisclosed address, presumably a CIA safe house under close guard.

He stayed behind when Ahmadinejad, after his UN speech, departed New York with his 140-strong entourage. For some years, Golkhanban worked not just as a news cameraman but personally recorded visits by the Iranian president and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of top-secret nuclear facilities and Revolutionary Guards installations.

When he left Tehran in the president’s party, his luggage was not searched and so he was able to bring out two suitcases packed with precious film and deliver it safely into waiting hands in New York.

The Iranian cameraman has given US intelligence the most complete and updated footage it has ever obtained of the interiors of Iran’s top secret military facilities and various nuclear installations, including some never revealed to nuclear watchdog inspectors. Among them are exclusive interior shots of the Natanz nuclear complex, the Fordo underground enrichment plant, the Parchin military complex and the small Amir-Abad research reactor in Tehran.

Some of the film depicts Revolutionary Guards and military industry chiefs explaining in detail to the president or supreme leader the working of secret equipment on view. Golkhanban recorded their voices. …

Although Golkhanban’s defection to the United States and request for asylum was disclosed to the media some days ago, Tehran has not made any comment.

The report may be telling the truth, but is the defector? It is more than possible, even very likely, that an asylum-seeker bearing valuable information is on a mission to deceive. As the report says:

From his years as a member of the loyal Bassij militia, the cameraman earned the complete trust of Iran’s security services and was able to reach his professional pinnacle as personal photographer for the two most eminent figures in the country, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, with the task of recording their most confidential pursuits.

Were they fooled? Or is the US being fooled?

If the information is genuine, will it prompt an attack on those nuclear installations? Not, we think, while Obama is (absurdly!) Commander-in-Chief.

  • In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!” Yeah, this smells fishy to me guys, like Iran is trying to sucker Israel into attacking.

    • HAHA What’s funny is that Israel is just begging for a pretext… any pretext. The question is: who is the sucker? If O’bama orders our aircraft carriers out of the strait of Hormuz at the outset of Israeli/Iranian hostilities, he will lose the election. All of the players are staking their positions.

  • I would say a healthy degree of skepticism is called for. My personal skepticism is owing to the fact that I can’t figure out why the US would purposefully leak that information to the press, thus jeopardizing connected individuals outside of the cameraman’s immediate family. That would seem to provide a dis-incentive for others to similarly come forward. I find it hard to believe that a single individual acting on his own agency, would have leaked it. The risks to the leaker would far outweigh the benefits in this case.
    The article makes more effort to obscure exactly who the “waiting hands” were, than to protect the identity of the cameraman who must now I suppose go into some sort witness protection program… when otherwise it could have been cast as a simple defection. The purported information would be more valuable to the US if Iran was unaware, or uncertain that we had it. Finally, no real reason was actually given for this mans betrayel of his country.
    All that being said, Ahmadinajad is a clown, and I can almost believe that such materials were successfuly smuggled past his security people. He will, in any event, be dismissed by the Ayatollah khameini very soon in an effort to make him the scape goat for the Iranian economic death-spiral… and innoculate the ruling clergy. If this proves insufficent, then we will have our nice little war. My opinion? Assume everything in global politics plays out according to Machiavellian principles, and you seldom go wrong.

  • Chimini

    Sounds like they are pulling something akin to the Iraq war… I think Iran is desperate for sympathies. It will do so to collect sympathies from the left.

  • liz

    Well they got a gift dropped in their lap – I hope they don’t screw this one up. It could be a setup because everyone knows how incompetent they are right now.

    • Frank

      Liz,
      If they were incompetent that would be a big improvement.

      • Yep. Case in point: Iran’s currency de-values by a third in one week so what does Ahmadinajad do? He goes on Iranian television and implores people not to exchange it for foreign currencies. This is the very definition of “brain dead”.