Black Box Reporter
WorldNetDaily expects its readers to trust Reza Kahlili, who hides behind a fake name and disguise and almost exclusively uses anonymous, untraceable sources.
By Terry Krepel
Nobody knows who Reza Kahlili is -- possibly not even WorldNetDaily, which employs him.
First, "Reza Kahlili" is not even his real name -- it's a pseudonym to protect his self-proclaimed past as a CIA operative working undercover in Iran's Revolutionary Guards. When he appears in public, he wears sunglasses and a surgical mask as a show of masking his identity. And much of what he reports is cited to unverifiable anonymous sources.
Kahlili first made a splash in 2010 by making a never-proven claim that Iran was planning nuclear suicide bombings with "a thousand suitcase bombs spread around Europe and the U.S." The Washington Post noted that some observers "compared Kahlili with Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who helped convince the George W. Bush administration that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."
WND hired him in mid-2012, and he's been cranking out one dubious claim after another there ever since. But WND was touting his dubious claims well before that. In February 2012, for instance, it promoted his claim that "The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people."
Bogus Obama-Iran claim
In October, for example, Kahlili suggested that some sort of secret deal had been cut between Iran and the Obama administration in which "Iran could announce a temporary halt to uranium enrichment before next month’s U.S. election in a move to save Barack Obama’s presidency." Kahlili cited only "a source affiliated with high Iranian officials ... who remains anonymous for security reasons" as the basis of his claim.
Of course, that never happened, but that didn't keep Kahlili's boss, WND editor Joseph Farah, from complaining that it didn't get wider pickup in the media, insisting in an Oct. 7 without evidence that the story was "based on hard intelligence" and that the story contained details like "names, dates, places" -- except, of course, for the source of Kahlili's claim and the people from the Obama administration Iran purportedly met with.
Farah whined that the media "are unlikely to give credit to WND after the fact even when the evidence becomes overwhelming," despite the fact that there was no substantive evidence then that such a deal was ever made, and there is certainly no evidence now.
Unsatisfied that his whining got none of the media coverage he desired, Farah tried it again four days later, hyperbolically insisting that Kahlili was reporting a " breathtaking story, based on impeccable Iranian sources, that Barack Obama sent an emissary to Qatar to meet with a representative of the ayatollah to offer a secret deal one that would help Obama win his re-election bid." Farah grumbled: "To say the least, this kind of reporting is expensive and risky. How did the rest of the media respond? With another collective yawn." Again, Farah provided no evidence that Kahlili or his sources could, or should, be trusted.
But Farah ignored the obvious: that WND has so beclowned and discredited itself with its near-pathological obsession with smearing President Obama with all manner of sleaze and untruths that nobody believes what's published there.
WND still wouldn't let this story go, however. After the New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. -- which the White House has denied -- WND tried to take credit for it, despite the fact that the Times' report is not what WND's Reza Kahlili claimed, which was that a full-fledged deal exists.
WND posted an Oct. 20 article that tried to ride the coattails of the Times story, insisting that the Times' reporting "fits the template for an “October surprise” already suggested by WND’s report this week that the Obama administration had cut a deal with Iran that would end many of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for the promise of a temporary halt to uranium enrichment." WND claimed to have a "highly placed source, who remains anonymous for security reasons and is highly placed in Iran’s regime," to back up its claim. (Gee, ya think the guy is highly placed?) Again, WND offered no evidence to back up the veracity of its source.
Farah used yet another column to promote Kahlili's story once more, asserting that "The media are asleep at the switch on what could prove to be the biggest story of the presidential campaign" issuing his usual complaint that "Even alternative media and talk radio are largely ignoring the critical details of the breakthrough reporting by Reza Kahlili for WND."
An Oct. 23 WND article touted how "A former CIA analyst says a WND report that revealed Iranian sources confirming a deal between the Obama administration and a representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over that nation’s nuclear program means the issue could not be used to 'bludgeon' challenger Mitt Romney." It continued:
Larry Johnson, an ex-CIA analyst, said yesterday during an interview on the John Batchelor Show the revelation has pulled the rug from underneath any Obama campaign plans to take advantage of the situation.
If Larry Johnson's name sounds familiar, it should. He's best known for feverishly promoting the existence of what is infamously known as the "whitey tape" -- a supposed recording of Michelle Obama railing against "whitey." Just one problem: No such tape has ever surfaced. Johnson has peddled strange explanations about why the purported tape has never been released, always absolving himself.
WND provided no evidence that neither Batchelor nor Kahlili -- who was a guest along with Johnson on Batchelor's show -- asked Johnson about this alleged tape during his appearance. After all, that would have discredited Johnson and, by association, Kahlili -- and we can presume that right-winger Batchelor was not about to do that.
Meanwhile, a follow-up article by Kahlili quoted more anonymous, unverifiable sources making related claims. Kahlili claimed that his "highly placed" source says that "after the WND revelation of the secret meeting, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was incensed." Kahlili added in yet another attempt to take credit for the Times' reporting: "The Iranian supreme leader demanded the Americans explain about the leak, which prompted the White House to leak a soft version of the story to the New York Times and deny the facts."
What facts? Kahlili has provided nothing that can be independently verified, and he has a history of making crackpot claims. Farah has given his readers no reason whatsoever to trust anything Kahlili says.
Boston bomber botching
As ConWebWatch has documented, Kahlili was eager to blame Iran for the Boston Marathon bombings, despite the fact he had absolutely no evidence beyond an anonymous "source within Iranian intelligence services." A mere day after the bombings, Kahlili wrote an article claiming that " the Islamic regime was behind" bombings, citing "a source within Iranian intelligence services."
To date, no credible evidence whatsoever has surfaced linking Iran to the Boston bombings. Neither WND nor Kahlili have corrected these articles.
Dubious virus attack
Kahlili wrote in a Jan. 1 WND article:
Iranian scientists, working under orders from the radicals running the Islamic regime, have genetically altered microbial agents in a nightmarish scheme to bring the West to its knees.
Needless to say, Kahlili offered no proof that any of this is actually happening. The claim about smallpox is particularly suspect because naturally occurring smallpox was eradicated in 1977 and the only place the disease exists is in two highly secure laboratories in the U.S. and Russia.
Nevertheless, Kahlili went on to cite the same anonymous source in a Jan. 7 article, even identifying this person as the same one "who revealed the existence of the regime’s microbial plant and its effort on biological weapons as published on Jan. 1 by WND exclusively." Given that this source's previous claim appears to be utter hooey, there's no reason to start believing him -- or Kahlili -- now.
'Speaker of the Truth'?
Alyssa Farah used a June 29 WND article to tout how Kahlili "has been honored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth at its “Rays of Light in Darkness” dinner." Farah added: "Kahlili appeared through Skype to accept his 'Speaker of the Truth' award, donning a surgical mask, baseball cap and glasses to mask his identity. A device was used to disguise his voice as he addressed the audience."
Farah (who is WND editor Joseph Farah's daughter) didn't note the irony of a man who has taken such elaborate measures to hide his true identity receiving an award for being a supposed "Speaker of the Truth."
Farah also failed to note the unverifiable nature of the anonymous sources he cites for the increasingly fantastic claims he makes, making it difficult for anyone, let alone the Endowment for Middle East Truth, to verify whether Kahlili is, in fact, a "speaker of the truth."