Jeffrey LewisWiretapping ElBaradei

Three U.S. government officals have told the Washington Post that the “The Bush administration has dozens of intercepts of Mohamed ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats and is scrutinizing them in search of ammunition to oust him as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency…”

“The intercepted calls have not produced any evidence of nefarious conduct by ElBaradei, according to three officials who have read them.”

The article is well worth a read, providing a detailed run-down on the Bush Administration’s ham-handed efforts to oust ElBaradei. Apparently, Washington attempted to convince Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to challenge ElBaradei—but Downer balked.

“Our original strategy was to get Alex Downer to throw his hat in the ring, but we couldn’t,” one U.S. policymaker told the Post. “Anyone in politics will tell you that you can’t beat somebody with nobody, but we’re going to try to disprove that.”

The officials confirmed that Washington then launched an “orchestrated campaign” of anonymous leaks to discredit Elbaradei (See ACW on 26 October 2004 and 5 December 2004 for some of those leaks). “The plan is to keep the spotlight on ElBaradei and raise the heat,” another U.S. official told the Post.