Yes, Andrew, Trita Parsi is a story


One of the risks of overreaching in a story is that the good, solid stuff gets buried.

As I detailed on Friday, I think Eli Lake overreached in his Washington Times expose of the National Iranian American Council; evidence that NIAC should register as a foreign agent of Iran — or that it lobbies for Iran — seems, to me, to be sparse.

Andrew Sullivan says there isn’t a story; perhaps he skimmed it, and found the central allegation unproved.

But Eli has a story — more than one — and for these reasons:

–Eli makes a strong case that NIAC is fooling around with its tax exempt status, ie, that it lobbies in excess of the 20 percent of its time that is allowable under tax laws.

–NIAC simultaneously campaigned to end U.S. democracy funding for Iran — and profited from it.

–Crunching numbers and speaking to actual leaders of the opposition, Eli shows that NIAC is far less representative both of Iranian Americans and of opponents of the regime than Parsi (and Sullivan and others) have made it out to be.

–The very same style of sleaze campaign Sullivan decried when he claimed it afflicted Parsi and Chas Freeman — I partly agree with Sullivan in the case of Parsi and not at all in Freeman’s case — but that very same style of campaign, NIAC plotted against Dennis Ross.

Outrage, Sullie? Where is it?


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