Documents reveal Bill Clinton’s secret contact with Iran

Mohammad Khatami

M. Khatami

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Two newly declassified high-level documents reveal a short-lived overture between Washington and Tehran, initiated in 1999 by the Bill Clinton administration. The US President resorted to the secret communication with Iran in an attempt to preempt several hawkish policy planners in his administration. The latter pressed for strong American military retaliation against Iran, in response to the latter’s alleged involvement in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. The bombing, which targeted a US Air Force base in the suburbs of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killed 19 and wounded 400 American servicemen and women. By 1999, US intelligence agencies were convinced that the bombing had been financed and orchestrated by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an independent administrative and paramilitary institution tasked with –among other things– exporting the Iranian Revolution abroad. But the Clinton Administration decided to contact the then newly elected reformist Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, and sternly inform him of the evidence against the IRGC. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0266

Bookmark and Share

Too much intelligence collection overwhelms US agencies

Predator drone

USAF drone

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The broad debate about America’s recent intelligence setbacks has centered on the view that US spy agencies do not share enough information with each other. Several days ago, however, Politico’s Laura Rozen noticed an important remark by an anonymous former intelligence official, buried in a longer piece in The Washington Post about the Christmas Day bomber. The official told the Post that “[t]he real story line internally [in the Christmas Day bomber affair] is not information-sharing or connecting dots […]. Information was shared. It was separating noise from chaff. It’s not that information wasn’t passed around, it’s that so much information is being passed. There’s an inherent problem of dealing with all the data that is sloshing around” (emphasis added). This view may in fact be closer to reality than the more dominant ‘turf war’ argument. Read more of this post

US forces helped assassinate top FARC commander in Ecuador

Raúl Reyes

Raúl Reyes

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
US military intelligence and combat troops helped Colombian forces assassinate a senior leftwing Colombian paramilitary commander on Ecuadoran soil last year, according to an Ecuadoran government report. As this blog reported last month, Colombia’s soon-to-be-dismantled DAS intelligence service admitted it paid “an informant in the Ecuadorean security forces” US$2.5 million to supply information on the whereabouts of Raúl Reyes, senior leader in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Reyes was assassinated along with 16 of his guerillas in a daring raid by Colombian forces, around a mile inside Ecuador’s border, on March 1, 2008. Now an Ecuadoran government report claims that Reyes’ killing, which sparked the so-called 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis between Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, was conducted with logistical and combat assistance by US forces stationed in Ecuador. Read more of this post

US use of stealth spy drones in Afghanistan raises questions

RQ-170 Sentinel

RQ-170 Sentinel

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
On December 6, we posted a link to a photo of what appeared to be a classified US drone aircraft, which was published on a blog belonging to French newspaper Libération. Then, unexpectedly, on December 8, the US Air Force admitted that the mystery aircraft, dubbed ‘the Beast of Kandahar’ by aviation spotters, is the RQ-170 Sentinel, an unmanned, unarmed surveillance and reconnaissance drone with stealth capabilities, that is officially still in production by US defense contractor Lockheed Martin. That’s all well and fine. But the question is: why would the US be using a stealth drone against the Taliban in Afghanistan, who have no known antiaircraft radar systems, and are therefore unable to track enemy surveillance planes? Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0068

Bookmark and Share

Kremlin dismayed after US retains Kyrgyz air base

Bakiyev

Bakiyev

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The recent decision by the Kyrgyz government to halt the eviction of US forces from the Manas air base has been hailed as a foreign policy success for the US government, and a rare defeat for Russia’s resurgence. Russian foreign ministry officials admitted earlier this week that the Kyrgyz reversal was a setback for Moscow’s plans and hinted that the Kremlin had been deceived by the government of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. As intelNews reported last February, Kyrgyzstan had announced that it would expel US forces from Manas, which experts have described as the “primary logistics hub” for the US military’s operations in Afghanistan. The decision of the Kyrgyz government came soon after it received an unprecedented $2.2 billion in Russian loans and aid. But President Bakiyev changed his mind after the US government agreed to “triple its rent for Manas”, and –it appears— cease its criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s rapidly deteriorating human rights record. Read more of this post

US Pentagon to build revolutionary spy airship

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
The US Department of Defense has announced that it is preparing to build a revolutionary surveillance airship that will remain constantly airborne for up to ten years. The 400 foot-long airship will be “a cross between a satellite and a spy plane” and will be powered by solar panels and fuel cells running on hydrogen. It will be able to spy on target planes, tanks and troop movements taking place within a 400-mile radius, while flying at the relatively safe altitude of 65,000 feet. Although Pentagon representatives hinted that the new airship would be primarily utilized along the Afghan-Pakistani border, they also noted it would be able to reach any global location within a fortnight. Read more of this post

Analysis: US may lose its most important base in Afghan war

Bakiyev

Bakiyev

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
US Pentagon officials routinely describe the US Air Force base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, as “hugely important”. It became even more so in 2005, after the government of Uzbekistan shut down the US Air Force base in Karshi-Khanabad, under Russian pressure. Since then, the Manas airbase has become the “primary logistics hub” for the US military’s Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, as it offers US forces a vital northern supply line to Afghanistan “in the face of ongoing insurgent attacks along the Khyber Pass route through Pakistan”. Pentagon officials were therefore stunned when Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced last Tuesday that his government “has made the decision on ending the term for the American base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and in the near future, this decision will be announced”. Read more of this post