WikiLeaks documents reveal CIA’s role in Iraq



Along with unprecedented inside information on American military operations in Iraq, the 400,000 US military reports recently released by whistleblower site WikiLeaks provide several interesting snippets of the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in that ongoing conflict. Wired magazine’s Danger Room blog correctly notes that, unlike Afghanistan, where the CIA’s role has been relatively clear almost from the very start of the US invasion, the Agency’s function in Iraq has been something of a mystery for most outside observers. There has even been some speculation that the CIA has been sidelined in Iraq by a host of Pentagon-managed special operations outfits, including the Joint Special Operations Command. But the WikiLeaks documents, which are primarily composed of incident reports authored by US troops on the ground in Iraq, include frequent references to operations by “Other Government Agency” or “OGA” —a term usually reserved for the CIA in internal military documents. Collectively, the reports referring to OGA activities reveal significant paramilitary functions performed by CIA personnel until as recently as 2009. These functions seem to include joint operations with US military forces in raiding suspected insurgence hideouts, evaluation of the technical capabilities of the Iraqi insurgency, as well as several frontline engagements between CIA personnel and insurgents in several Iraqi cities. In one example, an incident report describes an OGA vehicle convoy that was ambushed by insurgents “while returning from a mission”. Read collectively, the reports appear to point to the existence of a CIA base a few miles west of the city of Ramadi, located firmly within central Iraq’s Sunni triangle. One report describes the delivery to the OGA base of “OGA informants” (presumably Iraqis), who were duly “directed to the [facility’s] vehicle search area to meet OGA”. Danger Room emailed the CIA about the reputed based near Ramadi, but was predictably told that the “CIA does not comment, as a rule, on speculation about what may or may not be an Agency facility”.

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

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