American held in Pakistan is acting CIA station chief

Raymond Allen Davis

Raymond Davis

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A British and a Pakistani newspaper have confirmed that an American diplomat, who is being held in Pakistan for killing two armed men in Lahore, is in reality an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. On January 25, former US Special Forces member Raymond Allen Davis (note: this may not be his real name) used an unregistered Glock semi-automatic pistol to shoot dead two passengers on a motorcycle, who he says tried to assault him while he was driving his car in Pakistan’s second largest city. Witnesses say Davis shot dead the one of the two men by firing ten shots from inside his vehicle, before stepping outside to shoot the second man as he was running away from the scene of the crime. Pakistani authorities say Davis’ claim to self-defense is discredited by the fact that the second man’s body was found almost 10 meters away from the motorcycle, bearing bullet wounds in his back. A third individual was struck and run over by a car carrying several armed Americans, whom Pakistanis say were also CIA operatives. The latter have since returned to the United States, according to Pakistani officials. Soon after Davis’ arrest, US President Barack Obama insisted that Pakistani authorities had illegally captured a “US consulate worker” of an “administrative and technical” capacity, attached to the US consulate in Lahore. Read more of this post

Private US spy network still operating in Pakistan

US Pentagon

US Pentagon

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Senior US Pentagon officials continue to rely almost daily on reports from a network of contracted spies operating deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to The New York Times. Last March, when the paper revealed the existence of the network, several senior US military sources expressed serious concerns about the operation, which some say borders on illegality, and is currently under investigation by the US government. Although The Times is apparently “withholding some information about the contractor network, including some of the names of [its] agents”, it appears that the network is staffed by former CIA and Special Forces operatives. The entire operation appears to be an attempt to evade some of the stringent oversight rules under which the CIA and the US Pentagon are required to operate. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #318

  • US State Dept. lawyer defends CIA drone attacks. State Department legal adviser Harold Koh has told a conference that “the considered view of this administration” is that the controversial CIA-operated drone attacks inside Pakistan “comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war”.
  • How the CIA let Anwar al-Aulaqi escape to Yemen. Last year, the Yemeni government asked the CIA to help collect intelligence on US-born al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Aulaqi. But the CIA refused, and so did US Special Forces officials, who had been asked by the Yemenis to help them pursue Aulaqi. Just months later, US Army Major Malik Nidal Hasan, who was in contact with al-Aulaqi, killed 13 US soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • More on alleged Israeli spy caught in Algeria. Algerian authorities insist that a man (identified only as “Alberto”), who was captured after entering Algeria using a forged Spanish passport, is a Mossad agent. There are also rumors that the US embassy in Algiers has been involved in the case, and that it was for this reason that FBI deputy director John Pistole traveled to Algeria last week.

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Reports of a possible rogue US DoD operation in Pakistan

Michael Furlong

Michael Furlong

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A New York Times article published late yesterday alleges the existence of a clandestine intelligence network of private contractors, set up by a US Pentagon employee, possibly without supervision or approval by senior US Defense officials. The network, which appears to operate under the cover of an Internet-based research company, is actually used to gather intelligence on the activities and whereabouts of individuals on the CIA’s assassination list, claims the paper. What is more, the network coordinator, retired US Air Force officer Michael D. Furlong, is currently being investigated by the US Department of Defense for fraudulent dealings with private contractors. It is not clear whether these were the same contractors (mostly former CIA and US Special Forces operatives) who were employed in the undercover intelligence network uncovered by The New York Times. Read more of this post

Analysis: Taliban knew about US Special Forces presence in Pakistan

Bombed site in Shahi Koto, Pakistan

Bombed site

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
There has been remarkably little coverage in the US media of the deaths earlier this month of three US Special Forces operatives in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, who were killed in a bomb attack in the city of Shahi Koto. Most of the few analyses that have commented on the importance of this event have focused on the inevitable revelation that US troops are indeed active in Pakistan. But what about the intelligence angle? It appears that the bombing, which took place outside a newly built girls’ school in the town, was in fact aimed at the US troops, and that the attackers were aware of their supposedly secret presence in the area. The operation was therefore carefully targeted, and the suicide bomber appears to have patiently waited for the arrival of the Pakistani Frontier Corps five-vehicle convoy to arrive at the school. Read more of this post

US admits ‘200 troops’ on the ground in Pakistan

Afghan-Pakistani Border

AfPak border

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last December, when Washington’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, categorically denied that the US had troops on Pakistani soil, we at intelNews were among some who refused to believe him. Instead, we referred readers to earlier revelations in The New York Times that US military forces were already secretly operating in Pakistan, and that more than 70 US “military advisers […] and technical specialists” were embedded with Pakistan’s special forces in the remote areas bordering Afghanistan. Those in the know are aware that embedded US troops have operated in Pakistan since at least February of 2008, no matter what Holbrooke claims. It took the deaths of three of these American soldiers, in a suicide attack by Pakistani Taliban, last week, for American officials to begin to admit that US troops are indeed operating inside Pakistan. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0225

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Analysis: Is an obscure US military unit replacing the CIA?

Joint Special Operations Command logo

JSOC logo

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
An obscure US military unit established in 1980 is gaining prominence in America’s “war on terrorism” and may be slowly replacing the CIA’s functions, according to a well-researched piece in The Atlantic magazine. The US Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was created soon after the fiasco of the attempted rescue of the hostages held at the US embassy in Tehran. Since 9/11, the unit has emerged from its relative obscurity to join the forefront of America’s so-called “global war on terrorism”. Gathering evidence from a variety of sources investigating the use of paramilitary operations in America’s post-9/11 wars, Max Fisher argues that, even under the Obama Administration, JSOC may in fact be “taking on greater responsibility, especially in areas traditionally covered by the CIA”. Read more of this post

Blackwater aids US covert assassination, kidnapping ops

Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Private mercenary firm Blackwater (recently renamed Xe) is part of a covert US program in Pakistan that includes planned assassinations and kidnappings of Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill published earlier this week in The Nation magazine an in-depth study of the controversial firm’s role in the outsourced operation, which was first revealed by The New York Times and The Washington Post last August (see previous intelNews commentary). The close operational association between US Special Forces, the CIA, and the private mercenary firm is well known, largely thanks to Scahill’s prior work. Read more of this post

Comment: Daring US Raid in Somalia is Risky Policy

Saleh Nabhan

Saleh Nabhan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The political aftereffect of a recent raid by US Special Forces in southern Somalia may be more significant than its outcome. The operation, which took place in the early hours of Monday, killed a number of al-Qaeda-linked militants and captured at least two, according to local witnesses. Unnamed US officials said that among the dead is Saleh Ali Nabhan, a 30-year-old Kenyan al-Qaeda operative who is said to have participated in the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned resort in his homeland, among other acts. Read more of this post

CIA deployed agents disguised as journalists, says ex-NSA analyst

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Former NSA analyst and US Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen has said that the CIA deployed at least two operatives posing as journalists in several world hotspots after 9/11. The two operatives, both US Special Forces veterans, were subcontracted to the CIA by private mercenary company Blackwater, and were accredited as journalists by Korean-owned United Press International (UPI). Madsen, who authors the daily Wayne Madsen Report, says the two operatives were active in Uzbekistan shortly after 9/11. One of them secured a travel visa to enter Iran in 2003, where he allegedly “engaged in target analysis and spotting for a planned US attack on Iran” (this was presumably before Washington decided to axe the rumored plan to launch a direct military attack on Iran in favor of an intensive plan of covert sabotage, as detailed by The New York Times last January). Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0073

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US Special Forces already stationed in Pakistan, article reveals

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
American and Pakistani military officials have disclosed to The New York Times what defense and intelligence analysts have suspected for quite some time: namely that US military forces are already secretly operating in Pakistan. The officials, who spoke “on condition of anonymity”, confirmed [article reprinted in The International Herald Tribune] that more than 70 US “military advisers […] and technical specialists” are helping Pakistan’s armed forces fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the remote areas bordering Afghanistan. Predictably, the US advisers, who have been stationed in Pakistan since the summer of 2008, include “communications experts and other specialists”. The latter allegedly do not participate in ground combat, but routinely provide Pakistani commandos and specialist units with intelligence data. Read more of this post

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