CIA officials are doing their best to “burn” Amiri by characterizing him as a valuable long-term intelligence asset, according to Giraldi, in part to sow as much distrust of him among Iranian intelligence officials as possible.
But Giraldi said it is “largely a defense mechanism” to ward off criticism of the agency for its handling of the Amiri case. “The fact is he wasn’t well vetted,” said Giraldi, adding that Amiri was a “walk-in” about whom virtually nothing was known except his job.
Although an investigation has begun within the CIA of the procedures used in the case, Giraldi said, Amiri’s erstwhile CIA handlers still did not believe he was a double agent or “dangle”.
What convinced CIA officers of Amiri’s sincerity, according to Giraldi, was Amiri’s admission that he had no direct knowledge of the Iranian nuclear program. A “dangle” would normally be prepared with some important intelligence that the US is known to value.
Amiri’s extremely marginal status in relation to the Iranian nuclear program was acknowledged by an unnamed US official who told The New York Times and the Associated Press on Friday that Amiri was indeed a “low-level scientist”, but that the CIA had hoped to use him to get to more highly placed Iranian officials.