Private US spy network still operating in Pakistan

US Pentagon

US Pentagon

Senior US Pentagon officials continue to rely almost daily on reports from a network of contracted spies operating deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to The New York Times. Last March, when the paper revealed the existence of the network, several senior US military sources expressed serious concerns about the operation, which some say borders on illegality, and is currently under investigation by the US government. Although The Times is apparently “withholding some information about the contractor network, including some of the names of [its] agents”, it appears that the network is staffed by former CIA and Special Forces operatives. The entire operation appears to be an attempt to evade some of the stringent oversight rules under which the CIA and the US Pentagon are required to operate. The latter is forbidden from operating on Pakistani soil, and is not allowed to outsource spying operations. The private network is therefore officially supposed to compile broad-themed reports about political and social trends in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But there is evidence that its reports are far more narrow than initially thought, and are being used to track and kill suspected Taliban members. Last March, The Times was told that the operation had been “hastily terminated”; it turns out, however, that it is still going on, and that detailed reports from the private spy network find their way to senior US military commanders on an almost daily basis. A Pentagon spokesperson told the paper that he could not comment on the allegations, because the program “remains under investigation by multiple offices within the Defense Department”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Private US spy network still operating in Pakistan

  1. Kohji says:

    Snr Pentagon officials rely daily on these reports *and* multiple DoD offices are investigating these people.


    One thing is sure, they have some kind of leak problem.

    Unless the whole thing is a ruse to get talibani chasing shadow groups that don’t exist. (Doubtful.)

    Sounds unorganized.

    IMO, loose affiliations are necessary for defensive work and talibani assassinations are moral in current situation. (Maybe not best strategy, but an acceptable one.)

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