News you may have missed #824 (India edition)

Tony MendezBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►CIA honed ARGO exfiltration skills in India. The Oscar-winning movie Argo has popularized the 1980 exfiltration by the CIA of a group of American diplomats from Tehran. But few know that Tony Mendez, the CIA officer in charge of the Iran operation, cut his teeth exfiltrating CIA targets in India. In his book, titled Argo, Mendez mentions the 1970 exfiltration of a Soviet defector in India codenamed Nestor. He claims that Nestor was a “huge catch” for the CIA, as he provided the Agency with “invaluable intelligence on the KGB’s operations in Central and Southeast Asia”.
►►Ex-CIA officer says al-Qaeda wanted India-Pakistan nuclear war. In his latest book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, former CIA officer Bruce Riedel says al-Qaeda helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Its goal was to “spark a nuclear war between India and Pakistan in order to polarize the world between Islam and the ‘Crusader-Zionist-Hindu’ conspiracy”. But the group’s plan was hampered by India’s restraint and refusal to strike back using force, he argues.
►►Man passing defense info to Pakistan held in India. Reports suggest that Sumer Khan, 34, from Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, has been arrested for sending strategic information to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency via emails and mobile calls for the past three years. A source said that Khan was caught after his calls to Pakistan were intercepted by Indian military intelligence and Intelligence Bureau. The arrest comes just two days after the conclusion of India’s biggest-ever air exercise, ‘Iron Fist’, in Jaisalmer.

3 Responses to News you may have missed #824 (India edition)

  1. Pete says:

    Re Argo-Mendez – The CIA seems to constantly need good publicity to function. Mendez was probably allowed to publish his Argo book because it put the CIA in a good light (as seen through the tone of the film). Same goes for Zero Dark Thirty. In no other country is there an external intel service with such a high public and political profile. Only Israel with Mossad (on its few good days…) approaches the US in having a high profile publicity seeking agency.

    Re AQ hoping Mumbai 2008 would ignite a India-Pakistan nuclear war. Just an AQ fantasy. The US would have promised India that the US armed drone program (in Pakistan and elsewhere) would steadily kill the terrorists responsible – hence no need for India to conduct its own retaliatory airstrikes or special ops activities against Pakistan.

  2. Pete says:

    Re: – “Man passing defense info to Pakistan” It may or may not be significant that where Khan (a minority Muslim in mainly Hindu India) was arrested is near the site of India’s nuclear tests, including the five simultaneous tests in 1998 . Indian military and also its civilian security service (IB) would be most sensitive to the passing of nuclear weapon information to Pakistan. Whether Khan passed such information (nuclear aspects of Indian military exercises?) remains to be seen.

  3. M. says:

    Pete – As to CIA’ constant need for publicity to function, they are hardly the only external Intel service who has such a high profile: SIS (aka MI6) has been glorifying their glamour-boy agents through 007 films longer than I’ve walked the Earth. However I agree that publicity is not good for intelligence work. As to AQ’s “fantasy” in trying to start a nuclear war b/w India & Pakistan, I think its illustrative of AQ’s strategy in the larger context of their war on civilized society. It’s slightly disconcerting.

    Best Regards,


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