A veteran U.S. journalist says the Bush Administration is carrying out secret reconnaissance missions in Iran to identify targets for possible military strikes.

In a story published in "The New Yorker" magazine, Seymour Hersh says informed sources told him the Defense Department has sent secret commando teams into the Islamic nation to identify nuclear, chemical and missile sites that could be destroyed by precision airstrikes and commando raids.

Mr. Hersh, who first exposed the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, says a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told him "civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett says Mr. Hersh's story is "riddled with inaccuracies" with some conclusions not based on fact.