Col. Sam Gardiner says the US is already conducting military operations in Iran and a plan has been forwarded up to the White House. He broached this
September 17, 2006

TSR-Gardiner.jpg Col. Sam Gardiner says the US is already conducting military operations in Iran and a plan has been forwarded up to the White House. He broached this topic a few months back. (Updated with full transcript)

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Gardiner: We're conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming. From both the Iranians, Americans, and from Congressional sources.

Gardiner: The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House, that means we’ve gone to a different state.

The Agonist has more...

On April 15th, 2006, Sam revealed "Bush's Secret War on Iran"

GARDINER: Sure. Actually, Jim, I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way. (full transcript)

Digby writes:

"Colonel Sam Gardiner is the retired colonel who taught at the National War College, the Air War College and the Naval Warfare College and who found more than 50 instances of demonstrably false stories planted in the press in the run up to the war, back in 2003. He was just on on"

I guess Glenn Reynolds wondering that ""Much of the problem in Iraq comes from Iran, and we seem curiously unwilling to do much about it. I wonder -- does Iran already have nuclear weapons, and are we being successfully blackmailed?" is just a little off...

Full transcript:

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So how likely is a U.S. military strike against Iran? And would it lead to all-out war?

Joining us now is retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner. He's taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, the
Air War College, and the Naval War College. Colonel, thanks very much for coming in. You've just prepared a paper for the Century Foundation entitled
"Considering the U.S. Military Option for Iran." You speak to a lot of people, plugged in.

What is your bottom line? How close in your opinion is the U.S., the Bush administration, to giving that go-ahead order?

COL. SAM GARDINER, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): It's been given. In fact,
we've probably been executing military operations inside Iran for at
least 18 months. The evidence is overwhelming.

BLITZER: Wait. Let me press you on that.


BLITZER: When you say it's been given, the president says he wants
diplomacy to work to convince the Iranian government to stop enriching
uranium, to not go forward.


BLITZER: "I would tell the Iranian people that we have no desire for
conflict,: he told David Ignatius of "The Washington Post" the other day.


BLITZER: So, what does that mean, the order has been given?

GARDINER: We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now.
The evidence is overwhelming from both the Iranians, Americans, and
from congressional (ph) sources.

BLITZER: What is military operations? Define that.

GARDINER: Sure. Sure.

They probably have had two objectives going back 18 months. The first
was to gather intelligence. Where is the Iranian nuclear program?

The second has been to prepare dissident groups for phase two, which
will be the strike, which will come as the next phase, I think.

BLITZER: Well, preparing intelligence, that's understandable...


BLITZER: ... using all sorts of means. They want to know what the
Iranians are up to in terms of their nuclear -- nuclear program. But
are you suggesting that U.S. military forces, Special Operations Forces,
or others are on the ground right now in Iran?

GARDINER: Yes, sir. Certainly. Absolutely clear. The evidence is
overwhelming from lots of sources.

And again, most of them you can read in the public. Seymour Hersh has
done good work on it, and there are lots of other people who have done

I have talked to Iranians. I asked an Iranian ambassador to the IAEA,
"What's this I hear about Americans being there?" He said to me, "Well,
we've captured some people who worked with them. We've confirmed that
they're there."

BLITZER: Yes, but, you know, these guys, the Iranians, you can't
necessarily believe what they're saying.

GARDINER: Sure. Sure.

BLITZER: They could arrest some dissidents in Iran...

GARDINER: Sure. Sure.

BLITZER: ... and say these are American spies. They do that all the

GARDINER: Sure. The House Committee on Emerging Threats tried to have
a hearing some weeks ago in which they asked the Department of State and
Defense to come and answer this question because it's serious enough to
be answered without congressional approval, and they didn't come to the
hearing. There are sources that I have talked to on the Hill who
believe that that's true and it's being done without congressional

BLITZER: Look, I was once a Pentagon correspondent many years ago...


BLITZER: ... and in those days and in these days, and as Jamie McIntire
just reported, and as you well know from your time in active duty at
Pentagon in the U.S. military, these guys are planning contingency
operations for almost everything. If Canada goes to war against the
United States, they've got a contingency plan.

GARDINER: OK. Different now. Two differences.

Number one, we have learned from "TIME" magazine today that some U.S.
naval forces had been alerted for deployment. That is a major step.
That's first.

The second thing is the sources suggest the plan is not in the Pentagon.
The plan has gone to the White House. That's not normal planning.
When the plan goes to the White House, that means we've gone to a
different state.

BLITZER: You think it's possible there's a little psychological warfare
being played on Ahmadinejad right now to rattle him, to spread the word,
to put out this kind of information to get him nervous, perhaps a little
bit more agreeable to the diplomatic option?

GARDINER: It's possible. It's also possible that this path was
selected a long time ago.

You'll recall that even before Gulf Two, at a time when the president
said we have no plan, "I have no plan on my desk," in the summer of 2002
we began bombing Iraq, Operation Southern Focus. Without congressional
approval, without the U.N. sanctions, we went ahead and began bombing...

BLITZER: Well, the argument at that time was if there were violations
of the no-fly zone, if U.S. warplanes were flying in the north and the
south and there were rockets or anti-aircraft fire going up, they could
take those out.

GARDINER: Yes, but it was a campaign to begin the war before the war
began. And, you know, I would suggest the evidence is there.

BLITZER: All right. So you see a similar pattern right now.

GARDINER: Exactly.

BLITZER: We're going to follow this closely.

Colonel Sam Gardiner, thanks very much.

GARDINER: My pleasure.

BLITZER: We'll look forward to reading your report that the Century
Foundation is putting out as well.

Can you help us out?

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