Sunday, March 27, 2005
Who needs spies in Iran anyway
In its scramble to marshal resources for gathering intelligence on al-Qaida and Iraq, the CIA shut down a spy ring it was operating in South America that was providing a rare glimpse into the activities of Iranian militants and intelligence networks, according to a former agency official involved in the operation.
The program, which had taken five years to assemble, had succeeded to the point that several of the CIA's informants had been invited to take part in religious training inside Iran, the former official said.
The decision to pull the plug on the CIA-run program came in 2002, after President Bush had declared Iran part of an "axis of evil"
This means the spy program was begun in 1997, i.e. under Clinton. Yeah, I know, another element of "big gov't" only the Republicians have the wil to cut. What are these idiots thinking? Hatred and fear of Iran is one of the great legacies of Reagan.
The official who was involved in managing the spy ring said that it was among the few successes the CIA had in recent years obtaining reliable intelligence on Iran..."I will not say we stopped a terrorist act but will say we were in close enough that had one been planned, we would have had that opportunity," said the official.
How does a successful program end up getting cut? "South America, Africa and Europe were areas where CIA operations were particularly vulnerable to cuts." What the hell is everyone doing with the hundreds of billions of dollars being borrowed from our children? The admin comes to Congress asking for blank check after blank check; no wonder Sen Kerry was so troubled when asked to vote on these matters. If I recall, al-Qaeda is particularly deadly in Africa and Hezbollah in South America.
Stations in South America and Africa sometimes were left so threadbare that the agency had...stations and bases in certain regions are all but shuttered, with agency operatives visiting periodically to meet with sources and make payments.
The "people" making decisions must have no sense of global politics. We get attacked from one direction and turn all our attention in that direction.
"Then 9-11 happened and I was just told to shut it down," said the former CIA official. The agency's informants, who had been operating under false identities, were, the official said, "dropped without protection."
Just so you know,
The former official who described the operation retired from the agency last year and cited frustration with the decision to close the South American program as a reason for discussing it. Other CIA officers vouched for the source's credibility and confirmed the official's role in South America.Ah, an oldie but goody we don't see much in the news these days: multiple sources for verifying a story.