Did Clinton emails doom Iranian nuke scientist to death?
One of the non-classified Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department last year may have convinced the Iranian government that a nuclear scientist who claimed he was kidnapped by the CIA was actually a defector and spy for the US.
At the time that the email was released, the press picked up on the bizarre story.
New Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department appear to lift the curtain on the bizarre circumstances surrounding Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to have been abducted by the CIA.
The just-released emails, which were sent to Clinton back in 2010, seem to support what State Department sources have long maintained: that Amiri was not abducted, but a defector and paid informant who changed his mind about helping the U.S.
The emails also appear to offer insight into the department's plans to get Amiri back to Iran safely.
Amiri's complicated story began in 2009, when he mysteriously disappeared while on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Almost immediately, Tehran accused the U.S. of abducting him. The U.S. denied the accusation, saying it had no knowledge of Amiri's whereabouts.
Fast forward to nearly a year later, when a series of videos surfaced online of a man claiming to be Amiri.
In them, he denied being a defector and claimed to have been hiding out from CIA operatives in Virginia. In a subsequent video, however, he said he was living freely in Arizona.
Two weeks later, on July 14, 2010, CNN reported that Amiri had returned to Tehran after going to Iran's interest section at the embassy of Pakistan in Washington. CNN's report appears to directly correspond with an email Clinton's top foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan sent her, now being released by the State Department.
In the email -- written two days before the CNN report -- Sullivan expressed fear of the media catching wind of the story, writing: "The gentleman you have talked to Bill Burns about has apparently gone to his country's interests [sic] section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure. This could lead to problematic news stories in the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted."
An earlier email seemingly shows how the State Department worked to carefully craft Amiri's return to Iran.
Amiri was arrested upon his return and tried for treason. He was initially given a long prison sentence. But something changed recently that prodded the Iranian government to call for his execution.
While US State Department officials apparently burned Amiri by leaking his status as a defector/spy, Clinton's emails made it clear he was returning to Iran to spy for the US. Did that fact seal Amiri's fate?
That the poorly disguised identity of Amiri appeared in a supposedly unclassified email is a major breach of security - especially since the US was arranging his return to Tehran.