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Dec18-06, 08:15 AM
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Seeking Iran Intelligence, U.S. Tries Google
Internet Search Yields Names Cited in U.N. Draft Resolution

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 11, 2006; Page A01
When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be sanctioned for their involvement in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the agency refused, citing a large workload and a desire to protect its sources and tradecraft.

Frustrated, the State Department assigned a junior Foreign Service officer to find the names another way -- by using Google. Those with the most hits under search terms such as "Iran and nuclear," three officials said, became targets for international rebuke Friday when a sanctions resolution circulated at the United Nations.

Policymakers and intelligence officials have always struggled when it comes to deciding how and when to disclose secret information, such as names of Iranians with suspected ties to nuclear weapons. In some internal debates, policymakers win out and intelligence is made public to further political or diplomatic goals. In other cases, such as this one, the intelligence community successfully argues that protecting information outweighs the desires of some to share it with the world.
Maybe they could use Wikipedia too!

Whatever happened to letting the fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages? Oh - that was before the internet.