Conspiracy/Counterconspiracy?

The thing about “conspiracy theories” is that when they show up in reputable magazines you need to erect a counterconspiracy to explain how that happened. Maybe TNR just made the whole thing up (it’s happened before) and that explains it. Or maybe TNR’s sources are lying to the reports. Or maybe the story is right. I don’t see a whole lot of other possibilities, and I think Spencer, John, and Massoud have a lot of ex ante credibility so if it’s not story three, then it’s got to be story two. So why, exactly, would Pakistani intelligence sources be making this stuff up? Now, clearly, they might be, but I’d like to hear some account of why someone would think that’s what’s happening.