Loose lips

Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing in the Contentions blog at Commentary, wonders if leaked information published in the Los Angeles Times had anything to do with the arrest of 4 Iranian-Americans currently being held in Iran. He writes:

Leaks of vital U.S. intelligence secrets can get Americans killed. They can also place Americans in a great deal of danger.

As of yesterday, Iran has seized four Iranian-Americans and charged them with spying. They are Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban-planning consultant associated with George Soros's Open Society Institute; Parnaz Azima, a journalist who works for the American-financed Radio Farda; and Ali Shakeri, a "peace activist" from the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at the University of California, Irvine. In addition, Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who is reported to have traveled to Iran on private business, has been missing since March.

Do these developments have anything to do with a 2002 leak about a highly classified U.S. intelligence program?

On January 15, 2002, under the headline "CIA Looks to Los Angeles for Would-Be Iranian Spies," the Los Angeles Times disclosed on its front page that the CIA was recruiting Iranian-Americans in southern California, home to the largest concentration of Iranian émigrés in the United States. According to the paper, the agency was "offering cash for useful information" to Iranian-Americans who "have business connections [in Iran] or relatives in [a] position to provide valuable information from inside the largely impenetrable republic." The article went on to give more details.
The four Iranian-Americans include Kian Tajbakhsh, who works for George Soros' Open Society Institute. Read the details revealed by the LAT in Schoenfeld's article and imagine Iranian security reading translations of it.

Where is the public benefit in revealing the sort of information the LAT did? Is it worth the endangering real people?

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Update: Douglas Hanson writes:

If it can be shown that the four Iranian-Americans arrested in Iran were undercover and were apprehended because of leaks published by the LA Times, we anxiously await a referral from Gen. Hayden to the DOJ.  If substantiated, an appointment of a Special Prosecutor to look into violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by the LAT is warranted, and would be in stark contrast to Fitzgerald's phony case against Scooter Libby where he couldn't even produce tangible evidence of a violation of the law.