A former CIA analyst has accused the White House of trying to silence its critics after he was told that an article he wrote criticising the Bush administration's policy on Iran could not be published because it contained classified material.
The article had already been cleared by the CIA.
Flynt Leverett, a Middle East expert who also served on the National Security Council, said that his op-ed article for the New York Times contained no information that had not already been publicly discussed by officials. He said he was being targeted because he was critical of the government's "disastrous policies".
"The claim [that the article contains classified information] is false, if not fraudulent," said Mr Leverett. "The people making this claim know it is not true ... This is an abuse of the pre-publication review policy to silence an opponent of their policies."
The row comes as early results from weekend elections in Iran suggest that moderates and opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have done better than his allies.
n President George Bush hailed a new era of strategic co-operation with India yesterday as he signed a law that will allow Delhi to buy US nuclear reactors and fuel for the first time in 30 years.