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Monday, November 21, 2011

CIA spy rings busted by Iran, Hezbullah

Two CIA spy rings, one targeting Iran and the other targeting Hezbullah, have been broken up by their targets, and at least 12 CIA agents have been arrested. The United States fears that the agents will be executed.
The spies were paid informants recruited by the CIA for two distinct espionage rings targeting Iran and the Beirut-based Hezbollah organization, considered by the U.S. to be a terror group backed by Iran.

"Espionage is a risky business," a U.S. official briefed on the developments told ABC News, confirming the loss of the unspecified number of spies over the last six months.

"Many risks lead to wins, but some result in occasional setbacks," the official said.

Robert Baer, a former senior CIA officer who worked against Hezbollah while stationed in Beirut in the 1980's, said Hezbollah typically executes individuals suspected of or caught spying.

"If they were genuine spies, spying against Hezbollah, I don't think we'll ever see them again," he said. "These guys are very, very vicious and unforgiving."
And it sounds like these guys were pretty amateurish.
But others inside the American intelligence community say sloppy "tradecraft" -- the method of covert operations -- by the CIA is also to blame for the disruption of the vital spy networks.

In Beirut, two Hezbollah double agents pretended to go to work for the CIA. Hezbollah then learned of the restaurant where multiple CIA officers were meeting with several agents, according to the four current and former officials briefed on the case. The CIA used the codeword "PIZZA" when discussing where to meet with the agents, according to U.S. officials. Two former officials describe the location as a Beirut Pizza Hut. A current US official denied that CIA officers met their agents at Pizza Hut.

From there, Hezbollah's internal security arm identified at least a dozen informants, and the identities of several CIA case officers.

Hezbollah then began to "roll up" much of the CIA's network against the terror group, the officials said.

One former senior intelligence official told ABC News that CIA officers ignored warnings that the operation could be compromised by using the same location for meetings with multiple assets.

"We were lazy and the CIA is now flying blind against Hezbollah," the former official said.
I sure hope the Mossad still has agents there, and that the CIA agents - who will undoubtedly be tortured - don't know too much about them.

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1 Comments:

At 5:32 AM, OpenID deluded-fool said...

Or that the critics of torture (on practical grounds) are right, and it tends to lead to massive amounts of misinformation obscuring the useful intelligence.

 

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