Ex-CIA officer urges Bulgaria to probe alleged Hezbollah attack alone

Robert BaerBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A 22-year veteran of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who spent over a decade in the Middle East, has urged Bulgaria to probe a recent suicide attack against Israeli tourists on its soil without relying on American or Israeli assistance. Robert Baer, who is considered a foremost intelligence expert on Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group accused of orchestrating the attack, said that Bulgarian authorities should keep the investigation free of the “intelligence games” currently taking place between the US, Israel and Iran. He was speaking Sunday on Bulgaria’s bTV, in reference to the July 18 blast that hit a bus stationed outside the main airport building in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas. The suicide bomber, whose identity remains unknown, killed himself, the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israeli tourists. Soon after the attack, Israel announced that it had gathered “unquestionable intelligence” showing that Hezbollah, backed by Iran, was behind the suicide bombing. But according to Baer, who spent several years in Lebanon in the 1980s, Israeli and American intelligence investigators are too politicized to be able to provide objective evidence as to the culprits of the attack. The former CIA case officer told bTV that both Tel Aviv and Washington “want to lead a war in Iran” and that they will be tempted to point at Tehran as the main instigator of the suicide blast in Burgas. Baer claimed that, by relying on its own investigative resources, Bulgaria will be able to ensure a “true police-style investigation” by its own security forces and avoid “intelligence games” played by the United States and Israel. He added that, if the US has “reliable proof” that Iran/Hezbollah is indeed behind the attack, it might be tempted to skew the investigation by hiding the evidence from the Bulgarians and the Israelis alike, if it is “not yet willing” to go to war with Iran. It is worth noting that the former CIA operative refused to rule out Hezbollah’s purported role in the attack, saying that the Shiite militant group had been operating in Bulgaria and other countries of Eastern Europe “since the mid-1980s”. He added that he had personally investigated Hezbollah activity in Bulgaria “in the 1990s”, but refused to elaborate on this.

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