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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CIA forced to shut down crucial Beirut listening post

One of the upshots of the exposure of the CIA's operations in Lebanon and Iran is that the crucial Beirut office of the CIA has been shut down (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
"Beirut station is out of business," a source said, using the CIA term for its post there. The same source, who declined to be identified while speaking about a classified matter, alleged that up to a dozen CIA informants have been compromised, but U.S. officials disputed that figure.

U.S. officials acknowledged that some CIA operations were suspended in Beirut last summer. It's unclear whether full operations have resumed. Beirut is considered a key watching post for turmoil in the Middle East.

Senior CIA officials have briefed congressional staffers about the breach, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, visited Beirut recently to interview CIA officers. Committee staff members want to determine whether CIA operatives used sloppy practices that revealed sensitive sources and methods.

Much in the case remains unclear, including the extent of the damage and whether negligence by CIA managers led to the loss of the Lebanese agents.

According to the source, CIA case officers met a series of Lebanese informants at a local Pizza Hut, allowing Hezbollah and Lebanese authorities to identify who was helping the CIA. U.S. officials strongly disputed that agents were compromised at a Pizza Hut.

U.S. officials also denied the source's allegation that the former CIA station chief dismissed an email warning that some of his Lebanese agents could be identified because they used cellphones to call only their CIA handlers and no one else.

Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, and Lebanon's internal security service have used software to analyze cellphone calling and location records to help them identify a network of alleged Israeli spies since 2007, according to several people familiar with the case. Dozens of people were arrested.

In 2010, U.S. counterintelligence officials determined that the CIA's Lebanese agents could be traced the same way, the source said. But the station chief allegedly ignored the warning. "He said, 'The Lebanese are our friends. They wouldn't do that to us,' " the source said.
Sounds like amateur hour to me. 'These people are our friends'? You've got to be kidding.

A lot of people knocked Israel over the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh liquidation - allegedly carried out by Israel nearly two years ago. Let's put that in perspective compared to this. Not one Israeli agent was captured. Yes, they discovered whose passports were used, but they never discovered who used them. Mabhouh is dead. Compare that to this mess.

What could go wrong?

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At 10:13 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

I wouldn´t be surprized if the help to Hisbollah came from Husain Barak Soetoro

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Chrysler 300M, that was the first thought that went through my mind was whether the Obama posse delivered these people to their allies (our enemies).


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