ABC's Blotter reports that "The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert 'black' operation to destabilize the Iranian government".
Wow. This is an excellent idea. It draws on a legacy of success of American black ops in the Middle East that is the envy of the world, and the resources of a Central Intelligence Agency whose skill and judgement has never been more respected than they are nowadays. Just look at Iraq.
What the hell? Never mind Bush, he thinks history is what's going to save his legacy, not something he needs to learn from. Where the hell is everybody else on this to remind him that screwing with Iran directly has been an absolute disaster every time they've tried it? I mean, yes, it's supposed to be "nonlethal" (riight), but the results of any attempt at "destabilization" is almost certainly going to end up lethal to somebody.
In any case, this is probably a dead issue. Black ops can only conceivably work when they're kept in complete secrecy. Iran is going to go absolutely nuts over this, and will almost certainly take steps to ensure that "destabilization" is unlikely at best. The entire country will know that the CIA intends to plunge Iran into chaos, ensuring that the current regime has more power and more stability than it did before, so the only way the CIA can avoid making things worse is by making damned sure that Iran knows that they're doing nothing of the kind. Channels are probably already buzzing.
Unless, of course, the CIA is delusional enough to believe that black ops, openly engaged in, would actually work. But that's highly unlikely.
Props to A Tiny Revolution for the link.
Edit: Hmm... I have to revise slightly. Actually, this sort of tactic could work, but not in this case. If you wanted to provoke repression of dissent in order to make the regime look bad, this might be a way to do it. It'd be a very, very nicely Machiavellian trick to use against a democratic regime that you want to behave undemocratically through its paranoia. You'd even want it to get out through a neutral source like ABC, so as to make it more of a gray op than a black op.
Unfortunately, it'd be useless in Iran. The repression already exists. All this provides is justification.
Edit #2: Ah. I finally figured it out. The CIA itself almost certainly leaked this so that it would get killed. Someone at the CIA probably said "this is utterly mad, there's no way we can pull this off with the kind of resources we actually have in the country" and got the go-ahead to tip off the Blotter on deep background. Even if the public doesn't pay attention, Iranian intelligence would be on this immediately.
I can't believe I didn't see this immediately.