Was that Iranian scientist a double agent???
An interesting possibiity....
The strange case of Shahram Amiri has puzzled US intelligence chiefs who approved a $5 million payment to him for information about Iran's illicit nuclear programme.
Former US intelligence agents have predicted that Mr Amiri will disappear into prison or even face death, despite the hero's welcome he was accorded as he was met by his wife and hugged his seven-year-old son.
But his decision to fly back voluntarily, claiming outlandishly that he was kidnapped by CIA and Saudi agents during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last June and then tortured in the US, has prompted suspicions that he was a double agent working for Iran all along, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
There are also questions about why the Iranian authorities allowed him to travel alone to Saudi Arabia, despite his sensitive work, and why he left his family behind if he was intending to leave Iran permanently.
And his role as one of the sources for the now heavily disputed 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that downplayed Iran's suspected nuclear weapons operations has raised further doubts. The US intelligence community has been working on a new NIE that will give a much more alarming assessment of the Islamic republication's atomic bomb ambitions.
The CIA nonetheless believed that Mr Amiri was a genuine defector as he was debriefed in Arizona and revealed information about how the Tehran university where he worked was the covert headquarters for the country's atomic programme.
"The CIA would not have been paying $5 million unless they had vetted him carefully and believed he was genuine," said Art Keller, a former agency case officer who worked on Iran's nuclear and missile programmes.
"They think he was legitimate. Iranian nuclear physicists do not grow on trees. And to get someone with really good access, sometimes you have to wave a really big potential payday for him."
Another former CIA operative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Telegraph that the agency was investigating whether Mr Amiri was a double agent - a possible explanation for his mysterious actions.