Suspicion mounts as US unlocks Moussa Koussa’s foreign assets

Moussa Koussa

Moussa Koussa

Eyebrows were raised in intelligence circles on Monday, after the United States lifted its freeze of foreign assets belonging to Libya’s former intelligence chief, who defected to London last week. Libya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moussa Koussa, who headed the country’s intelligence agency from 1994 to 2009, managed to escape to the UK from Tunisia on a Swiss-registered private airplane. He is currently reported to be in an MI6 safe house in England, allegedly being interrogated about his inside knowledge of the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi. But Koussa is also thought to be the mastermind behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed nearly 300 people. The 57-year-old defector is also believed to have facilitated Libya’s funding of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and to have authorized the assassination of several Libyan dissidents living in Britain. In light of that, the news that Washington lifted its sanctions on Koussa’s sizeable fortune abroad is worth noting. It is also interesting to note that Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is reportedly pressuring European Union member-states to follow the US’ example in also unfreezing Koussa’s foreign assets. According to the London-based Daily Mail, Hague told the Commons that unlocking the Libyan defector’s assets abroad would provide an “incentive for members of the regime to abandon its murderous work”. Washington appears to be following a similar line of argument. Another theory, however, is that put forward by British intelligence observer Gordon Thomas, author of numerous books on intelligence history. According to Thomas, Koussa has acted as an agent-in-place for MI6 and the CIA “for a decade”, and his defection was carefully choreographed to combine maximum propaganda effect for the West, as well as maximum security and a new, worry-free life for Koussa himself.

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

7 Responses to Suspicion mounts as US unlocks Moussa Koussa’s foreign assets

  1. max says:

    He’s only 57? That’s some hard living to look like that at 57.

  2. Ramzi Nohra says:

    Interesting story. Unfortunately I cant place too much emphasis on Thomas’s word – his Mossad work contained a number of errors.

  3. intelNews says:

    I take your point about Thomas. On the other hand, the treatment of Koussa, who is apparently allowed to go on trips abroad, does not fall under the typical treatment of defectors. [JF]

  4. mcc43 says:

    last news about this man?

  5. intelNews says:

    @mcc43: Excellent question. The absolute last time a news report appeared about him was on December 25, 2011. Nothing since then. [IA]

  6. mcc43 says:

    Is it not true this news in february?
    however, is intriguing….

  7. intelNews says:

    @mcc43: Yes, you are right, it is from February and it is intriguing. Though it doesn’t really add anything to what we already know. Specifically, Koussa is still in Qatar, monitored at all times by the CIA, and continues to remain under house arrest, this time at a safe house. On the other hand, I guess you could say it is interesting that he has not been exfiltrated yet from Qatar by Western intelligence services. [IA]

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