I wish I could believe that John. Unfortunately, I speak from experience, not intuition.
Your theory also implies that not only would we put out false information to the American media notwithstanding that the Pentagon was villified a couple of years ago for suggesting just such a thing — to the point where they fell all over their swords and folded up the whole initiative — but that we would also so efficiently coordinate the leak with the Jordanias and the Iraqis that everyone (i.e., no matter who the NYTimes chose to speak with) would be singing off the same sheet of music … making this the very first time, in the history of the Iraq venture, that such interntational harmony and coordination had ever occurred.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but people inside government do this kind of stuff all the time. And it always drives the vast majority of officials who don’t leak nuts. When I was prosecuting terrorism cases, I tried to get the judge to enforce threats to hold defense lawyers in contempt for violating court orders that discovery materials not be disclosed. I couldn’t do it, because every time I thought I could show a clear violation, I would be undermined by the fact that someone in our camp had leaked investigative information.
The defense lawyers typically suggested that this was all very clever and coordinated. It never was. It was always someone running off at the mouth for no good reason.
And after many years of dealing with both informants and people who declined to become informants, I can tell you: they read the newspapers, and this kind of stuff has a very bad effect on intelligence gathering.