The "X" factor

With oil reaching $130 today, Goldman Sachs forecasting $141 oil, and T. Boone Pickens calling $150, it's time to examine the one "X" factor that could quickly spike oil to $200.

On May 9, retired CIA operative Philip Giraldi posted an item on the American Conservative magazine's blog:  "There is considerable speculation and buzz in
Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has
agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian
al-Qods-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants."  Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to Giraldi, is the only senior decision-maker who's not yet fully on board.  The final decision rests with the president, and while there's no evidence he's ready to issue the order, there's also no evidence he's not.

Yesterday morning, Giraldi mused on why his reporting hadn't been picked up by more mainstream media sources.  Hours later, Israeli Army Radio reported that Bush was determined to attack Iran before the end of his term, the Likud-leaning Jerusalem Post picked up the story, and it was quickly plastered at the top of Drudge.  Not exactly the New York Times or CNN, but it was enough to draw a non-denial denial from the White House.  A very quick one.  So quick that the story was instantly lost amid the anticlimactic primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, Sen. Ted Kennedy's cancer diagnosis, and curiously enough, the news that oil was approaching $130 — an increase in which the Iran story evidently figured not at all.

As usual, it bears watching where the U.S. aircraft carriers are located.  And as near as we can tell, the Navy spokesman who said late last month that the presence of two carriers in the Persian Gulf was a short-term situation was telling the truth.  The Truman has been sailing the Mediterranean for the last ten days or so, leaving the Lincoln alone among the carrier fleet in the Gulf.

The Daily Reckoning