I should have posted this nugget from Lee Smith's Tablet Magazine piece earlier; it concerns the fabled "grand bargain" for peace Iran apparently once offered... the Leveretts:
Hillary Mann Leverett claimed that after rotating back to the State Department from the White House in April 2003 she had received a fax from a Swiss diplomat acting as an intermediary on behalf of the Iranians, offering what the Leveretts would come to call the Grand Bargain. According to the Swiss fax, she said, the Islamic Republic would cease support for terrorist organizations, terminate its nuclear weapons program, and recognize Israel if the United States would in turn guarantee that it had no designs to topple the regime.
So why didn't the Americans bite? As the Leveretts explained in a series of interviews and their own articles, including, most famously, a 2006 op-ed in the New York Times published with redactions ordered by the Bush White House, it was because of Bush and the neoconservatives, who intended to lead the United States to war again.
As the missed Grand Bargain became another proof of Bush's incompetence, Leverett and his wife found themselves the center of a great deal of positive attention among reporters, talk-show hosts, and Democratic politicos. The couple was profiled in Esquire, and Flynt enjoyed a guest spot with Jon Stewart. The problem is that it wasn't the neocons who dismissed the plausibility of the offer; rather it was Flynt Leverett's putative allies, including then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage. Other staffers don't remember it at all. As a former colleague on the NSC staff recalls, "this historical document arrives and Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley don't remember it, and only Flynt does. It was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador, or of the Swiss ambassador and the Leveretts together."
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