Given the agency's, er, controversial past in the country, the best thing the CIA can do for the cause of regime change in Iran right now is probably to stay as far away as possible. But CQ's Jeff Stein reports that the U.S. intelligence community is looking to take advantage of this week's situation:
Iran's political crisis provides the CIA with an opportunity to provoke the defection of Iranian military, intelligence and diplomatic representatives abroad.
(After the Soviet Union crushed the "Prague Spring" in 1968, Czech officials defected in droves to the CIA.)How it handles a similar scenario now, and the possible windfall of inside information on the Iranian leadership and its nuclear program, will be far more beneficial than clumsy attempts to manipulate the protests sweeping Tehran.