News you may have missed #711 (ex-spy edition)

Glenn L. CarleBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Egypt ex-spy chief to run for President. Omar Suleiman, 74, announced his candidacy on Friday and collected around 72,000 signatures of eligible voters in one day, more than twice the 30,000 required. Hosni Mubarak’s former intelligence chief insisted that his bid for the presidency does not have the support of Egypt’s military rulers and accused Islamists of sending him death threats. Mr Suleiman, made vice-president by Mubarak in the last days of his three-decade rule, symbolizes that era’s tough security regime and poses a threat to Islamists, who were routinely harassed and arrested during Mubarak’s era, and to liberals, who spearheaded Mubarak’s ouster. But his candidacy might appeal to some Egyptians hoping for an end to political instability.
►►Ex-CIA officer says evidence in alleged case was flawed. Information from the US Central Intelligence Agency used by Canada to link accused Ottawa terrorist Mohamed Harkat to al-Qaeda was untrue, according to Glenn Carle, a retired CIA case officer who interrogated Harkat at secret CIA black site prisons in 2002. Speaking to promote his blistering memoir about the case, The Interrogator: An Education, Carle said that Harkat, who was thought to be Osama bin Laden’s main financial administrator, “wasn’t the senior member of al-Qaeda that we had assessed. He wasn’t even a member of al-Qaeda”. Yet as recently as 2010, Canadian Security Intelligence Service evidence and testimony before the Federal Court of Canada continued to point to Harkat’s relationship with Haji Pacha Wazir as evidence of Harkat’s ties to the bin Laden terror network.
►►Ex-KGB agent wins South Ossetia vote. Former senior KGB agent Leonid Tibilov has won a tense run-off to lead Georgia’s rebel pro-Russian region of South Ossetia, after two earlier polls ended in turmoil. Tibilov won 54.12 percent of the vote with all ballots counted against human rights commissioner David Sanakoyev’s 42.65 percent. The peaceful end to the election contrasts sharply with the angry protests that followed a November 27 ballot in which Alla Dzhioyeva, a female candidate who opposed the local administration was disqualified after coming out ahead in the poll. Dzhioyeva was then hospitalized in February after being interrogated and allegedly beaten by police following allegations that she planned to seize power.

News you may have missed #533

María del Pilar Hurtado

María Hurtado

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The government of Colombia will –finally– officially request from Panama the extradition of Maria Pilar Hurtado, former director of Colombia’s disgraced DAS intelligence agency, who was granted political asylum in the Central American country last year. The Colombian government has been contemplating this move for some time, as the investigation into illegal activities by the DAS is progressing extremely slowly. In Iran, the government says that it plans to try dozens of American intelligence officials in absentia. The announcement has raised the possibility that Tehran may out US spies which the Iranians claim attempted to recruit locals as part of a sophisticated intelligence-gathering operation. One former CIA operative, Glenn Carle, voluntarily came out a few years ago, following retirement, and made news headlines last month, in connection with alleged CIA spying on American academic Juan Cole. Carle, who worked for the CIA for 23 years, in Africa, the Balkans and Latin America, among other locales, has written a book. It focuses on a several-month period he spent questioning a suspected leader of al-Qaeda. The interrogations took place in two countries, which he says he is not permitted to name.

US Senate to review allegations CIA tried to smear professor

Juan Cole

Juan Cole

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate will review allegations, made on Friday by a former CIA officer, that the spy agency tried to gather derogatory information about an American university professor who is critical of the ‘war on terrorism’. According to its chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Committee may “take further action”, depending on its preliminary findings. The allegations surfaced last Friday in an article by New York Times reporter James Risen. Acting on a tip by an unnamed source, Risen spoke to former CIA officer Glenn L. Carle, who confirmed that the Agency “at least twice” displayed an interest in gathering discrediting information about University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole. Dr Cole, who specializes in Middle Eastern history and speaks fluent Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, has been consistently critical of US foreign policy in the Middle East through his writings on his influential blog, Informed Comment. Carle, who made the allegations to The New York Times, retired from the CIA in 2007, after a career that spanned two decades in the Agency’s National Clandestine Service. In the last few years of his public service, Carle was a senior counterterrorism official at the US National Intelligence Council, which operates under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Read more of this post

US SEALs ‘pocket guide’ left behind in bin Laden hideout

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A document provided to members of the US Navy SEALs who assassinated Osama bin Laden, was left behind in bin Laden’s compound by mistake, and has reportedly been accessed by The London Times. It contains remarkably detailed descriptions of the compound’s occupants and frequent visitors, including their ages and legal names, all the way down to bin Laden’s wives, children and grandchildren. It also details the approximate timing of the arrival of each of the compound’s residents, as well as the precise location of their bedrooms and living quarters. Furthermore, the guidebook discusses the possibility that bin Laden’s youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, who also lived in the compound, may have given birth to twins in recent years. Remarkably, the pocket guide, which must have been carried by every member of the SEALs team that attacked the al-Qaeda founder’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, earlier this month, describes even bin Laden’s usual clothing preferences. It states that he “[a]lways wears light-colored shawal kameez with a dark vest” and that he “occasionally wears light-colored prayer cap”. Read more of this post