CIA sued for allegedly discriminating against covert officer

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A former CIA officer, who served the Agency in a covert capacity, has sued his former employer claiming he was discriminated against because he is married to an Asian woman. According to the lawsuit, filed recently at a San Francisco court, covert CIA employee Walter Roule claims the his CIA supervisor favored junior officers with Caucasian wives for overseas postings, thus giving them more opportunities for promotion. Roule also claims that his supervisor threatened the careers of other CIA officers of Asian background, or with Asian partners, if they supported Roule’s discrimination complaint. In his court filing, the former covert CIA officer alleges that the discriminatory behavior started in 2006, when he was covertly posted in “the Northern District of California in a hybrid position”. Read more of this post

Lawsuit claims CIA uses pirate software in drone assassinations

Predator drone

Predator drone

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Central Intelligence Agency is using stolen software code in its covert Predator drone assassination program in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a lawsuit filed by a software company in the US state of Massachusetts. The software company, Intelligent Integration Systems, Inc. (IISi), which is based in Boston, accuses the CIA of unlawfully using proprietary coding, purchased through Netezza Corporation, a former partner of IISi. The latter claims Netezza sold the CIA a software application called Spatial, which the CIA uses to perform targeted killings through its unmanned drone program. But IISi alleges that Spatial contains stolen coding initially developed by its programmers. What is more, the company claims that the pirated coding is in fact defective, and that the CIA runs the risk of its unmanned Predator drone strikes “being off by about 40 feet”. Read more of this post

Swiss army planned covert operations in Libya

Hannibal Gaddafi

Hannibal Gaddafi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Swiss intelligence planned three separate covert missions to Libya in 2008 and 2009 in order to free two Swiss businessmen held by Libyan authorities, according to a Swiss newspaper. Citing a confidential document drafted by Switzerland’s ministry of foreign affairs, the Sunday edition of Neue Zürcher Zeitung revealed that one of the three planned missions involved an exploratory visit to Libya by an unnamed Swiss undercover officer. The operative, reportedly an employee of AAD-10, an elite intelligence unit in the Swiss Land Forces, visited Libya in civilian disguise, after legally receiving a visa permit from the government of Libya. According to Neue Zürcher Zeitung, his mission was to prepare an operation to abduct from the hands of Libyan authorities two Swiss citizens, Max Goeldi and Rachid Hamdani. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #428 (history edition)

  • US government study of Soviet-era spy services released. A historiographic blog has released a study by the US Federal Office of Criminal Investigations on Practices and Methods of East-Bloc Intelligence Services, which examines the spy craft and operations of Soviet-aligned secret services active in Germany.
  • Simon Wiesenthal worked for Mossad, claims book. A new book claims that famous Israeli Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal worked as an informant for Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Written by Tom Segev, the book, entitled Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends, claims that Wiesenthal gave the Mossad valuable information during Operation DAMOCLES.
  • UK spies did ‘very bad things’ in Cold War, says Le Carre. But even though they assassinated individuals and engaged in “a lot of direct action”, “decent humanitarian instincts came into play” in Western intelligence agencies’ operations, claims the former MI5 and MI6 spy and novelist. Raw Story‘s Daniel Tencer offers an interesting response.

CIA slowly opens up about botched 1952 mission in China

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The CIA has produced an hour-long documentary about a failed 1952 covert mission inside China, which resulted in the death of two American pilots and the capture of two CIA paramilitary officers, who spent a total of 40 years in Chinese prisons. The documentary, which premiered last week on a restricted basis at the Agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters, is based on internal CIA accounts of the operation, some of which were released in 2006. The premiere was reportedly attended by John Downey and Richard Fecteau, two CIA paramilitary officers on their first mission, who were captured by Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units inside Chinese territory, after the CIA-operated C-47 Skytrain airplane that was carrying them deep inside Chinese airspace was shot down in a Chinese ambush. Read more of this post

Recording of candid speech by Blackwater CEO leaked

Erik Prince

Erik Prince

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A recording of a relatively recent candid speech given by Erik Prince, the media-shy owner of Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater), has been obtained by The Nation magazine. The extensive recording was made on January 14, during a private talk given by Prince at the University of Michigan before a sympathetic invitation-only audience consisting of military veterans, ROTC commanders and cadets, as well as business entrepreneurs. In his talk, Prince, who last December admitted having worked as a CIA asset, advocated for the employment of private contractors by the US Pentagon to combat insurgents and “Iranian influence” in countries such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia. Writing for The Nation, Jeremy Scahill focuses on Princes views, as he conveyed them in his talk. Read more of this post

Analysis: Can the CIA sabotage the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

Shahram Amiri

Shahram Amiri

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is no doubt that the CIA has been actively trying to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program since at least February of 2008, when US President George W. Bush authorized Langley to intensify its covert efforts against Tehran. It is also true that the US was able to partially sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by eliminating the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, and by employing scientific front companies and cooperative suppliers, who gave the Iranians faulty hardware. The defection to Washington of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri provides recent evidence of the existence of a covert US project to “decapitate” the Iranian nuclear weapons program, by luring away leading Iranian researchers. On the other hand, it is worth wondering why the CIA chose to remove Amiri from the Iranian nuclear program, instead of asking him to remain an agent-in-place, which would have been far more beneficial for Langley. Read more of this post

Senior Iranian scientist defected to CIA: report

Shahram Amiri

Shahram Amiri

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
ABC News appears to confirm earlier rumors, which intelNews reported on last December, that a senior Iranian nuclear scientist has defected to the CIA. The Iranian government had initially accused American and Saudi intelligence agencies of kidnapping Shahram Amiri, a central figure in the Iranian nuclear research program, who disappeared last June during a hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. However, as intelNews reported last year, French intelligence sources  claimed that Amiri’s defection was facilitated through a carefully planned intelligence operation involving the CIA, as well as French and German operatives. Moreover, the alleged defector was said to have secretly briefed International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Frankfurt, Germany, before they traveled to Iran to inspect a previously undeclared Iranian nuclear facility near the city of Qum. According to ABC News, which cites “people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials”, not only has Amiri defected to the CIA, but he has already been “extensively debriefed” since his defection. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #310

  • Analysis: Outsourcing Intelligence. David Ignatius points out that the latest rogue operation of the US Defense Department, revealed last weekend by The New York Times, points to the increasing irrelevance of the CIA in the so-called “global war on terrorism”: “by using contractors who operate ‘outside the wire’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the [US] military has gotten information that is sometimes better than what the CIA is offering”, says Ignatius.
  • White House threatens veto on intelligence bill. The White House has renewed its threat to veto the fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill over a provision that would force the administration to widen the circle of US lawmakers who are informed about covert operations and other sensitive activities.
  • CIA’s Kiriakou authors new book. John Kiriakou, who spent 14 years working for the CIA, and has made headlines in the past for defending the practice of waterboarding in interrogations, while recognizing it is torture, has a new book out, entitled The Reluctant Spy.

News you may have missed #0243

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Obama’s Afghan plan includes expanding CIA ops in Pakistan

Predator drone

Predator drone

By I. ALLEN & J. FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Obama Administration’s plan to increase US military presence in Afghanistan includes expanding the CIA’s work in neighboring Pakistan, a country with which the US is officially not at war. An article published yesterday in The New York Times notes that the President has authorized the CIA to expand its Predator drone assassination program to include strikes in places like Baluchistan, which are outside Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas and far from the Afghan-Pakistani border. This development represents a major policy victory for the hawkish wing in the Pentagon’s senior leadership, which has been pressing Obama’s advisors to expand CIA assassination operations deeper into Pakistan since November of 2008. It also further reveals the Obama Administration’s policy preference toward undercover operations with a strong deniability proponent. Read more of this post

South Africa busts Shin Bet operation, expels Israeli agent

El Al logo

El Al logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The South African government has expelled an Israeli intelligence agent posing as an airline worker, after the discovery of a major Israeli undercover operation at the Oliver R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The operation was uncovered by Carte Blanche, South African television’s most respected investigative news program, based on testimony by Jonathan Garb, a former guard at El Al, Israel’s national airline, who became a whistleblower after being fired from his job. Garb told Carte Blanche that El Al offices in South Africa and around the world have acted as fronts for Shin Bet, Israel’s General Security Service, for a long time. He also told the program that Shin Bet officers in Johannesburg used their El Al employee cover status to infiltrate the airport and gather information on black and Muslim South African travelers to Israel. Read more of this post

Suspected IRA militant charged in undercover agent’s killing

Robert Nairac

Robert Nairac

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A man suspected by British authorities to be a former member of the Irish Republican Army has been charged with participating in the killing of a British army undercover agent, who tried to infiltrate the IRA in the 1970s. Robert Nairac, a captain of the British Army’s Intelligence Corps, was among numerous British government agents who attempted to infiltrate the IRA from the 1960s onwards. Although educated at Oxford, Nairac studied Irish republican culture and put on a convincing Northern Irish accent in order to carry out the infiltration. His activities centered on patronizing various pubs in Catholic stronghold areas of Belfast, using the cover name “Danny McErlaine”, and pretending to be a member of the Official IRA (an IRA splinter faction) from north Belfast. But on May 14, 1977, a group of IRA members abducted Nairac from a pub in South Armagh and drove him to a remote location, where they interrogated him prior to executing him. Read more of this post

Comment: Why the Italian Convictions of CIA Officers Matter

Sabrina DeSousa

Sabrina De Sousa

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
An Italian court has convicted 22 CIA officers and a US Air Force officer involved in the abduction of a Muslim cleric from Milan in 2003. All but three Americans tried in the case received jail sentences ranging from five to eight years, for kidnapping Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in broad daylight and for illegally renditioning him to Egypt, where he says he was brutally tortured before being released without charge. As intelNews has previously reported, it is extremely unlikely that the US will agree to extradite the convicted abductors to Italy. Washington has formally invoked the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, arguing that the offenders were operating “in the course of official duty” and fall therefore under US, not Italian, jurisdiction. But the convictions are important nonetheless, for three reasons.

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Analysis: Is US supporting suicide terrorists in Iran?

Jundullah men

Jundullah men

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Jundullah, a militant anti-regime Sunni group in Iran, claimed responsibility last week for an October 18 suicide attack that killed 42 people, including five senior members of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards corps. Tehran blamed the attack, which is part of a wider low-intensity guerilla war in the country’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, on the work of covert American, British and Pakistani operatives. Should the Iranian allegations be taken seriously? IntelNews has written before about Washington’s complex relationship with Jundullah and the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), two of several armed groups officially deemed terrorist by the US State Department. In 2007, ABC News went so far as to claim that Jundullah “has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005″.   Read more of this post