Flynt and Hillary Leverett Actually Apologize for Ahmadinejad

Michael Crowley has a devastating piece out now on Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the former National Security Council staffers and expert self-marginalizers. In it, the Leverett does something I didn't think she was foolish enough to do, which is to tell a reporter what he actually thinks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The verdict: He likes him! Also, and more egregiously, he defends the Iranian regime for showing restraint in the face of pro-democracy demonstrators:

I asked the Leveretts why, if Ahmadinejad enjoys such broad support, his regime has cracked down so brutally. In fact, they told me, Ahmadinejad has shown restraint. "It's become politically incorrect and impossible to say it, but ... this government hasn't even begun to deploy the force it's capable of using," says Hillary. (Even the videotaped shooting of Neda Agha-Soltan on a Tehran street was an "exceptional" and "isolated" case, she says.) "There's a slightly flippant counter-response," Flynt says with a wry grin. "Why did the Nixon campaign order the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building when it was clear Nixon was going to win reelection by a landslide?" The Leveretts also sought to account for Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel as shrewd regional politics. "It does get to him when he's described to the outside world as anti-Semitic. He would describe himself as anti-Zionist," Flynt explains. "Resistance to Israel is an important theme to him. ... If it's crazy, it's crazy like a fox."
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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