News you may have missed #324 (CIA edition)

  • Intelligence not hampered by waterboarding ban, says CIA’s top spy. Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.
  • CIA given details of British Muslim students. Personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students is to be shared with US intelligence agencies. IntelNews has frequently reported on the CIA’s increased activities in the UK.
  • CIA death at Salt Pit gets fresh attention. Jeff Stein revisits the case of Gul Rahman, who died in 2002 after weeks of interrogations at the Salt Pit secret CIA facility in Afghanistan. His death was kept off the CIA books, and his body, which was secretly buried, has never been found.

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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 #0279

  • Pakistani spy agencies drug political activists. Intelligence agencies in Pakistan are using drugs to extract information from political activists, with the cooperation of doctors on the payroll of the state, according to one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers.
  • Georgia jails alleged Russian spy. Vakhtang Maisaia, a military expert who advised Georgia’s mission to NATO, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for Russia during the 2008 South Ossetia War. Last week, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, son of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia’s first post-communist president, was formally charged with “collaborating with Russian intelligence services”.

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Released cable reveals CIA decision to destroy torture tapes

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The US Justice Department’s investigation into the destruction of videotapes by the CIA, which reportedly showed acts of torture committed during interrogations of terrorism detainees, began in 2007, but has stalled. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is spearheading what appears to be the only organized attempt to discover when and why those tapes were destroyed. Last year the ACLU uncovered that the CIA destroyed the videotapes in question after –not before, as the Agency had originally claimed– a spring 2004 report by the Agency’s inspector general, which described the interrogation methods employed on CIA prisoners as “constitut[ing] cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment”. Thanks to the ACLU, we have also known for quite some time that the decision to destroy the incriminating tapes was taken sometime in November of 2005. But now, with the release of a new batch of documents in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, we have the exact date that decision was taken: Read more of this post

Is CIA collaborating with Palestinian spy agencies?

West Bank

West Bank

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A British newspaper has alleged that Palestinian security agencies in the West Bank are working with the CIA so closely that CIA officials “consider them as their property”. London-based quality broadsheet The Guardian said that CIA agents routinely advise and supervise the work of the two main security agencies of the Fatah-aligned Palestinian National Authority, namely the General Intelligence service and the Preventive Security Organization. The trouble with this arrangement is that both services have been documented to resort to severe torture of West Bank members of rival Palestinian group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006. And the CIA has had more than a little trouble with torture in recent times. So is the CIA guiding overzealous Palestinian National Authority security agents in extracting intelligence by torturing Hamas sympathizers? Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0117

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Did CIA engage in non-consensual human experimentation?

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Late last month, I warned that it would take several weeks before journalists, academics, historians, lawyers, and other interested parties comb through the recently declassified report on torture by the CIA inspector general, as well as several other newly available documents pertaining to the CIA’s interrogation program. The search continues. Meanwhile, several observers are focusing on the CIA’s Office of Medical Services, as well as on Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) a secretive US Army unit, whose work appears to have informed the CIA’s torture program. Read more of this post