Probably Iran’s Fault: US Officials Settle on Iran in Absence of Evidence

Officials Pin Slowed Banking Websites, Photos of FBI Agent on Iran

Evidence is a rare thing in US foreign policy statements these days, but certitude is a lot more common. It may seem odd that officials arrive at 100% confidence without proof, but when pinning blame on somebody becomes a matter of expediency, it is remarkable how quickly those officials can become convinced. And nothing is more expedient than blaming Iran.

So when a handful of US banking websites run slow for “several minutes,” US officials have “no doubt” Iran is responsible, and that Iran did so in revenge for US banking sanctions against them. “No doubt,” but no specific evidence to back up the allegation beyond an argument that it would make some sort of sense.

Photos of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, including one with him wearing an orange jumpsuit and holding a sign saying “I am here in Guantanamo” are also a matter of some interest. US officials had long hinted that they figured Levinson was in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

But with the photos and videos making the rounds, blame is needed, and now US officials “presume” Iran is responsible for those photos. The sum total of the argument for this is that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been critical of the Guantanamo detention center, yet this sort of criticism is common across much of the world, and there seems no evidence at all that it is Iran. The presumption, rather, is a hope that publicly blaming Iran will distract from the inability of the US to come up with any good proof, and likewise enjoy the harm done when such stories hit the news circuit unquestioned.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of