CIA Afghan Paramilitaries Prevent Restoration of Peace

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US aggression in Afghanistan continues unabated in its 18th year. Prospects for restoring peace and stability to the war-torn are more illusory than likely.

Talks between Trump regime and Taliban representatives have been ongoing since July last year. 

Claims about concluding them successfully in the near-term are wishful thinking — not as long as CIA-controlled paramilitaries exist in the country.

A new study by Brown University’s Watson Institute (WI) for International and Public Affairs called the “CIA army” of Afghan paramilitary forces a “threat to human rights and an obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.”

It’s involved in the US war OF terrorism, not on it. State terrorism is longstanding US policy, especially post-9/11 when remaining constraints on its imperial rage ended.

CIA controlled paramilitaries in Afghanistan serve US imperial interests. Their existence makes restoration of peace and stability to the country unattainable.

So does keeping US “intelligence assets” in the country on the phony pretext of countering the scourge of terrorism the US created and supports.

Withdrawal of Pentagon forces won’t matter, if occurs, as long as a private CIA army in Afghanistan exists — with likely no intention of leaving.

Established shortly after US aggression on the country was launched, WI said they’ve “committed serious human rights abuses, including numerous extrajudicial killings of

civilians,” adding: 

“CIA sponsorship ensures that their operations are clouded in secrecy. There is virtually no public oversight of their activities or accountability for grave human rights abuses.”

Langley paramilitaries are the modern-day equivalent of CIA-recruited Afghan mujahideen fighters against Soviet occupiers in the 1980s — today’s Taliban, combatting illegal US war and occupation of their country.

They want it back, US invaders out. It’s not likely as long as the CIA’s private army in the country exists.

“Little is publicly known about” it said WI, adding: It’s “an illegal armed group (that) no basis in Afghan law and no formal place in the state security apparatus” authorizes.

“(A)ll we know is that the CIA-sponsored forces are uniformed and well-equipped, sometimes work with American English-speaking men during raids,” and are supported by Pentagon terror-bombing, indiscriminately killing civilians time and again.

Human rights groups and investigative journalists documented their crimes of war and against humanity — “operating with impunity, unconstrained by political or judicial accountability,” WI explained, adding:

“(T)he CIA-sponsored program and activities of its Afghan Army are shielded from public oversight and accountability.” 

“Afghan authorities appear to be uninformed or unwilling to divulge anything about the program’s structure, funding or operations.” 

“UN officials investigating reports of abuses and intentional killings of civilians by (CIA paramilitaries) were unable to obtain any information from Afghan officials.”

The sinister, diabolical, secretive, unaccountable CIA operates extrajudicially at home and abroad. Its existence threatens world peace, stability and security.

Its dirty hands are all over plots against nations on the US target list for regime change — along with involvement in its wars of aggression.

Whatever the outcome of US/Taliban talks, Washington came to Afghanistan to stay, not leave, permanent occupation planned, wanting the country’s resources plundered.

They include barite, chromite, coal, cobalt, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, enormous amounts of highly-valued lithium and other rare earth metals vital for high tech products, natural gas, oil, precious and semi-precious stones, potash, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, among other minerals.

They represent potentially trillions of dollars of economic value, a treasure Washington has no intention of relinquishing. US policymakers also aim to traverse the country with oil and gas pipelines.

Controlling it is also part of their plan to encircle Russia and China with US military bases, platforms for warmaking.

Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer, used for heroin production. What the Taliban eradicated pre-9/11, the US restored.

It’s a bonanza for money-laundering Western banks. The CIA relies on drugs trafficking as a revenue source. 

Permanent war is official US policy, including war by other means by illegal sanctions and other hostile actions against targeted nations.

Whatever US and Taliban representatives may agree on won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.

The history of US talks with other nations shows it can never be trusted.

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Jeffrey Epstein RIP: But Many More Questions Remain to be Answered

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The Jeffrey Epstein saga goes on even though convicted pedophile Epstein himself has been found hanged in his jail cell in Manhattan. One has to wonder how he managed to kill himself, if that is indeed the case, as he was reportedly on suicide watch at the prison and it is to be presumed that he had been stripped of any clothing or accoutrements that would have been usable to that end. So, he is dead but did he do it himself or was he helped? There are many prominent individuals and powerful government agencies that will be very pleased that he is gone as most of his secrets will have gone to the grave with him.

There was certainly a warning that something might happen. Two weeks ago, he was reportedly found unconscious in his jail cell with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he might have tried to kill himself or, alternatively, had been beaten up by another inmate. There was also considerable speculation that some aggrieved part of the Deep State was trying to kill him to silence him.

The subsequent press reports revealed that Epstein had been taken to a hospital, but there has been no follow-up about his condition or status apart from a brief note that he had been returned to the same jail under suicide watch. In any event, the story had pretty much died, which is precisely what a lot of the high rollers and politicians who became involved with Epstein would have liked to see happen. Nevertheless, investigations of the “Affair Epstein” reportedly were continuing at the federal level as well as in New York State and Florida.

The most recent elaboration of the Epstein saga prior to his death came from his former patron Leslie Wexner, the canny Jewish business tycoon who built an Ohio based fashion empire called L Brands from scratch. L Brands, by the way, includes Victoria’s Secret, which features young women strutting around in their underwear. The 81 year old Wexner claimed in a 564 word letter that the wily Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” from him. In the letter Wexner admitted to having lost at least $46 million from his family money, but some media accounts are suggesting that the fraud amounted to much more, possibly as much as $500 million. And the alleged theft also extended to property, to include the series of transactions that left Epstein possessing the Upper East Side mansion where he resided and did his filming of celebrities having sex with young girls, estimated to be worth $56 million, as well as the commercial airliner that became the Lolita Express and a yacht.

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*(Leslie Wexner. Credit: American Academy of Achievement/ YouTube)

Now, either sum of purloined money is not exactly pocket change even for multi-billionaire Wexner, even if rag trade magnate was enamored of the massages he was getting at Epstein’s house. It would take an extremely poor businessman to be unaware of losing that kind of money and that much property unless his name were Donald Trump.

Wexler claimed that he began to sever ties with Epstein in 2007, after Florida authorities charged Jeffrey in early 2006 with multiple counts of molestation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender, but he received an astonishingly mild jail sentence of eighteen months with a private cell, unlimited visitors including young women, and daily release so he could be picked up by his driver to go to work in his Palm Beach office, a bit of incomprehensible leniency that is currently being subjected to criminal investigation by the state of Florida. After the sentence was handed down the county sheriff observed that “He was astonished that [Epstein] had to go to prison at all.”

Indeed, the entire Florida side of the Epstein story seems to have disappeared down some memory hole. Epstein was convicted for his involvement with prostitution, but the only remaining issue was the consequences that he faced. That is where other players stepped in, including Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, Palm Beach county state attorney Barry Krischer, and the Miami office U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta.

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*(Barry Krischer (L) Alex Acosta (R)

My belief that Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence agent is based principally on Acosta’s comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team. He was asked “Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” … “Acosta testified that he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had ‘been told’ to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ‘I was told Epstein belonged to intelligence and to leave it alone.’”

The questions about Epstein remain even though he is gone, but one fears that the authorities will be disinclined to further investigate a dead man. It appears that no one in the various investigative agencies or the mainstream media has been interested in what Acosta meant, even though it would be simple enough to ask him. Who told him to back off? And how did they explain it? And then there is Epstein’s Austrian passport. Was it fake or real, with a real name and photo substitution or alternation of both picture and name? How did he get it? Austrian passports are highly desirable in intelligence circles because the country is neutral and its holders can travel just about everywhere without a visa.

And there’s more. As a former intelligence officer myself, there is little doubt in my mind that what Epstein did and how he did it was an intelligence operation. There is no other viable explanation for his filming of prominent politicians and celebrities having sex with young girls. And as for the question of whom Epstein might have been working for, the most likely answer is Mossad. The CIA would have had no interest in compiling dossiers on prominent Americans, but American movers and shakers like Bill Clinton, with his 26 trips on the Lolita Express, former Governor Bill Richardson, or former Senator George Mitchell are precisely the types of “agents of influence” that the Mossad would seek to coerce or even blackmail into cooperation.

Other compelling evidence for a Mossad connection came from Epstein’s relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, who reportedly served as his key procurer of young girls. Ghislaine is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who died or possibly was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell was an Anglo-Jewish businessman, very cosmopolitan in profile, like Epstein, a multi-millionaire who was very controversial with what were regarded as ongoing ties to Mossad. After his death, he was given a state funeral by Israel in which six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence listened while Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.”

Israel and high-profile Jewish players also have continued to turn up like bad pennies in the Epstein case, but no one seems to be interested in pursuing that angle. Epstein clearly had contact with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak and Wexner also had close tiesto the Jewish state and its government. Barry Krischer, who may have been the source of the comments to Acosta, has received the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) award. Evidence also suggests that Krischer, cooperating with rabidly pro-Israel Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, played a key role in the failure to adequately punish Epstein for his conviction for pedophilia.  According to a recent New Yorker story, the police investigators of the Epstein case observed that “the tone and tenor of the discussions of this case with Krischer changed completely” after his meetings with Dershowitz. At that point, the two detectives most involved in the case found themselves under extreme pressure. They were surveilled constantly by private investigators and they even had their household trash snatched and searched. And the resulting plea agreement with Krischer “…was due to the efforts of Dershowitz, who had proceeded to attack and smear the victims.”

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Krischer claims that his office “subpoenaed witnesses took evidence to a Grand Jury, which returned a single felony count indictment against Epstein of soliciting prostitution,” but the reality appears to be that he worked with the defense to get Epstein off. There was plenty of evidence based on more than forty interviews with victims to convict Epstein, but instead of having him arrested, Krischer instead set up the Grand Jury with no mention of underage victims to mitigate the possible consequences. He also did not inform the victims of what he had arranged so they could challenge the verdict and penalty, a violation of Crime Victims Rights Act.

The Palm Beach police who worked the case at the time told The Miami Herald as part of an investigation published in November that they felt pressured by Krischer to downgrade Epstein’s case to a misdemeanor, or to drop it entirely. They said “the fix was in.” Acosta, more recently, did not refer to Krischer by name during an early July news conference, but spoke of the Palm Beach County state’s attorney. He described his own office as stepping in to ensure Epstein faced some form of punishment. “Simply put, the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office was willing to let Epstein walk free. No jail time. Nothing,” Acosta said. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable, and we became involved.”

After thirteen months in country club jail in Palm Beach, Epstein was released. At his mansion in New York City, he subsequent had an artist paint a mural of himself in jail, evidently as an insider joke for those who knew about his time behind bars. End of story? Not exactly, even though Epstein is now dead. But the key questions go unanswered including was he a spy for Israel? And what about the Krischer-Dershowitz connection that kept him from being punished commensurate with his crimes? Did those instructions also come from Israel or from its friends in the U.S. Justice Department? Will the three simultaneous investigations currently taking place even continue and ask the right questions now that the target of the investigation is gone? Given the high stakes in the game, quite likely, there will be a cover-up both of how Epstein lived and how he died. We the public will never know what Epstein was all about.

Regime Change in Iran: Been There, Done That

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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The failed coup attempt in Caracas in early May brings to mind the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British intelligence in Iran in 1953 to overthrow the Mohammad Mossadeq government. It is quite astonishing how that regime-change long-ago operation parallels what is currently taking place in Venezuela and also with regards to Iran yet again.

Mossadeq was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran beginning in 1951, serving in a government in which the Shah with limited authority was the head of state presiding over a parliamentary system. Iran was nominally independent at the time, but it was heavily influenced by the neighboring Soviet Union, which retained control over several Iranian provinces after the Second World War ended, and Great Britain, which exploited the country’s oil resources through the mechanism of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which was owned by the British government. When Mossadeq, frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations with the British over sharing of oil revenues, eventually declared that he would nationalize the AIOC, London and Washington conspired to remove him.

The new National Iranian Oil Company was immediately attacked by the British, who used the Royal Navy to block export of oil from Iran’s Abadan refinery. Ships carrying Iranian oil were stopped and boarded with their shipments confiscated as “stolen property” in light of the British government’s former ownership claim on the AIOC.

By mid-1952, Britain’s blockade of Iranian oil exports had badly hurt the Iranian economy, which eventually led to government bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the American CIA, which was initially ambivalent about what the proper role in the Anglo-Iranian conflict might be, joined British agents in supporting groups inside Iran that were hostile to Mossadeq. In the Majlis parliamentary election in the spring of 1952, Mossadeq faced serious opposition funded by the Anglo-Americans, and the election eventually was suspended. By early 1953, pro-communist and pro-Shah mobs supported and coordinated by the U.S. and Britain roamed the streets, sometimes fighting each other. Fearing a communist takeover and also under pressure from London, which was threatening to withdraw from the Korean War as a quid pro quo, President Dwight D. Eisenhower agreed to carry out a joint coup d’état.

Losing popular support due to a sinking economy, as early as August 1952 a struggling Mossadeq began ruling by emergency powers and started to jail opponents, which only aggravated the crisis. A rigged referendum to dissolve parliament and grant Mossadeq authority to govern by decree passed with 99.9% approval but led to accusations that the prime minister was seeking “total and dictatorial power.” The New York Times reported, “A plebiscite more fantastic and farcical than any ever held under Hitler or Stalin is now being staged in Iran by Premier Mossadeq in an effort to make himself unchallenged dictator of the country.” The move by Mossadeq also led to the first coup attempt, which was organized by the CIA.

On Aug. 15, 1953, Col. Nemathollah Nassiri, the commander of the Shah’s Imperial Guard, delivered to Mossadeq a decree from the Shah dismissing him. Mossadeq, who had been warned of the plot, had Nassiri arrested, and the Shah and his family fled into exile in Italy. The first coup thus ended with a whimper, but it was lessons learned for the second, better organized successful attempt which followed a few days later, Operation Ajax, coordinated by Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA.

Exploiting pro-Shah sentiment in the military, the CIA and the British turned to their stables of recruited army officers while also exploiting agents infiltrated into the communist party Tudeh, which rose to the occasion by launching mass demonstrations, to include looting and arson, which quickly alienated the public and also provided a pretext for Western support of the coup as it could be promoted as “anti-communist.” Efforts were also made to turn influential clerics against Mossadeq. The Iranian people blamed the government for all their woes and rioting soon led to the calling out of the army to restore order. The army did so and then had Mossadeq arrested. He was condemned to death, but his sentence was later commuted to three years in solitary confinement followed by house arrest. He died in 1967.

End of story, but not quite. All the elements currently being used against Venezuela and Iran were there back in 1953 to bring down Mossadeq and also appear in a detailed 2018 Pentagon plandescribing how to bring about a coup in Caracas. Wrecking the countries’ economies through sanctions and exclusion from the global banking network creates a crisis where one need not have existed. Meanwhile, a sustained campaign of vilification by Western political leaders and the media establishes the narrative that the benevolent intention is to block extremism and restore democracy while also eliminating a threat to the United States. And, as a last resort, the threat or actual use of force to stop the export of commodities to further wreck the economy becomes a clearly stated policy option, currently also employing secondary sanctions for anyone who dares to trade with the designated victim. Recently, America’s unilaterally imposed global ban on the export and sale of Iranian oil began. Venezuela’s oil sales are also being blocked and even its electricity grid is being attacked in an attempt to starve the Venezuelan people into rebelling against their government.

But you also have to have spies, secret agents, to get the ball rolling, just as was true in 1953. One assumes that the CIA has been active in recruiting the agents of influence inside Venezuelan political opposition as well as military circles who will bring out increasingly larger mobs as the situation continues to deteriorate. How successful they have been is difficult to determine, but Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido failed the first time around, reportedly because the Venezuelan government was aware of what was happening and the contacts that CIA was relying on to bring out the army were in fact double agents.

The suffering Iranian and Venezuelan people have yet to rise up in revolt. No matter. It took more than one try to bring down Mossadeq, and National Security Advisor John Bolton has recently warned Iran that its government won’t have any more anniversaries to celebrate if it continues with its “threats.” The Trump administration is also reported to be preparing military options for dealing with Venezuela.

Bolton has even warned the Russians, who are assisting Venezuela’s government: “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part.”  He is seemingly unaware of the irony, that the Russians might make the same claim about Eurasia and the Iranians regarding the Persian Gulf, where Bolton and his neocon friends in Washington have been the source of nearly continuous conflict.

The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles

Astute News

“And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died”

– Don McLean, “American Pie”

The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: Weltanschauungskrieg– “world view warfare.” As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d’ȇtre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated Weltanschauungskriegas “psychological warfare,” a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now. Of course, the American propaganda apparatus…

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What’s Behind Trump’s Syria Announcement?

By Stephen Lendman
Source

He alone likely knows what others can only speculate about. His announced pullout came after senior regime advisers argued against it.

First, it’s important to note that it’s unclear whether the US role in Syria will change following his troop pullout announcement, or if things will stay the same.

There’s no ambiguity about why US forces are in the country. Washington’s aim throughout the war has been and continues to be for regime change, wanting Syria transformed into a vassal state, Iran isolated ahead of a similar scheme to topple its government.

Washington’s objective remains unchanged whether US forces stay, leave, or are deployed to Iraq or elsewhere regionally, what’s most likely.

That’s what imperialism is all about – in all US war theaters, wanting subservient puppet rule installed serving US interests.

Trump is a longtime businessman, real estate executive, TV personality – a geopolitical know-nothing. His knowledge consists of what’s fed him by handlers, along with rubbish Fox News reports, his favorite TV channel.

Did he act on impulse, announcing his Syria troop pullout and partial Afghan one, or did others influence his decision?

My experience in small business for most of my formal working life suggests no one operates in a vacuum. I discussed everything important with colleagues. Decisions were never made hastily.

Wharton professor Wroe Alderson, the father of modern marketing, taught the principle of postponement, along with his Wharton colleague Reavis Cox.

Effective decision-making requires maximum information. The notion of postponement for marketing efficiency isn’t about putting off for later what should be done now. It’s about time needed to collect enough information to make wise decisions, a haste makes waste notion.

Collective thinking works best, greatly aiding decision-making. By his own admission, pulling out of Syria was on Trump’s mind long before his announcement last week. Here’s what he said:

“Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months (ago) when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer.”  

“Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS.” Let them carry the load. It’s “(t)ime to come home & rebuild.”

He went off-the-rails, adding: “Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the US leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us.”

He may genuinely believe US forces are combatting ISIS because that’s what his handlers told him. Hard as it is to believe, he may not know that the US created and supports ISIS, al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra offshoot, and other regional terrorist groups.

The Pentagon and CIA use them as proxy troops. Washington pretends to be combatting the scourge it actively supports.

As president and commander-in-chief of US forces, Trump may be ignorant about what’s essential for him to know.

Analyst Abdel Bari Atwan suggested his move may have followed “a military rule that says: if you are facing defeat and want to cut your losses, the shortest way out is to declare victory and promptly retreat.”

Strategic military thinking isn’t his forte. It’s the domain of many others in his regime. How they’ve advised him can only be speculated about. He’s likely gotten various views on Syria and other geopolitical issues.

AP’s Matt Lee and Susannah George believe Turkey’s Erdogan influenced his decision, saying he acted “hastily without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State” – the US supports, as I’ve explained many times in my articles.

Trump meets regularly with key regime officials, along with congressional leaders. He’s likely alone only when spending private time with family members.

Although he reportedly argued against a change in regime policy on Syria, Mike Pompeo defended his announcement publicly, saying “(i)t no longer makes sense for there to be 2,000 soldiers stationed there.”

Former State Department official Brett Bruen slammed him, saying he “publicly parrots whatever he thinks the president wants him to say, and foreign leaders have a very tough time putting themselves next to a parrot that is trumpeting ‘America First.’ ”

According to AP’s Lee and George, “Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off.”

Trump “ignored the script…sid(ing) with Erdogan…remain(ing) unmoved by those scrambling to convince him to reverse or at least delay the decision.”

“ ‘The talking points were very firm,’ ” said one of the officials, explaining that Trump was advised to clearly oppose a Turkish incursion into northern Syria and suggest the US and Turkey work together to address security concerns.’’

“Everybody said push back and try to offer (Erdogan) something that’s a small win, possibly holding territory on the border, something like that.”

“Trump capitulated by pledging to withdraw…offering no specifics on how it would be done…” Efforts by Mattis, Bolton and Pompeo to dissuade him failed, according to AP’s sources.

“Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth back home where they belong,” Trump tweeted.

Whatever unfolds in the new year, Washington’s imperial agenda remains unchanged – in Syria, Afghanistan, and everywhere else.

10 Most Deadly CIA-backed Coups In Latin America

Rebel Voice

They are the eternal bad guys, at least for most of the planet, and for a very good reason. The CIA have been involved in causing more hardship and war across the planet in the last 70 years than any other single organisation.

But the shady Federal corporation acts at the behest of the Establishment/Surplass of the USA. Extremely rich and powerful people who live in opulent mansions make recommendations and issue instructions to the politicians and apparatchiks of the Federal regime. It is these play-makers who ultimately control the actions of the CIA.

The reasons are power and, of course, profit. The old adage is always, Follow themoney. It will be found that whenever a CIA-led coup is instigated anywhere in the world, there will be the issue of financial gain at the back of it. It may not always be immediately evident, but rest assured…

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CIA’s Latest Greatest Failure

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Government agencies that are skilled at invading nearly everyone’s privacy worldwide are sometimes totally inept at keeping their own internal communications secure. The problem is particularly acute for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which must maintain secure contact with thousands of foreign agents scattered all over the world. By secure contact one means being able to provide specific targeting to the agents and received in return detailed information that responds to what is being sought without any third party being able to intercept or interpret what is being shared.

Communicating is the most vulnerable element in any foreign agent operation, particularly as counter-intelligence services commit major resources to cracking the systems used to link an agent in the field with his case officer or handler, who might be in the same country under diplomatic cover but just as easily might be in another nearby country or halfway around the world.

Various media reports have lately been detailing a catastrophic communications security failure by CIA that took place between 2007 and 2013. In simple terms, what took place was this: the Agency developed a method of covertly communicating with its agents through the internet that involved sites which enabled two way communications that were believed to be both secure and efficient. It presumably operated like social media sites where you have to log in, provide a password and then are able to send and receive messages. It almost certainly had some level of encryption built into it and there may have been several layers of passwords and/or questions that the user had to answer to gain access.

Once developed, the system, which was originally intended only for occasional low-level use, was then deployed to handle nearly all the CIA’s agent communications worldwide, including a number of key countries targeted by Washington, to include Iran and China. Each country had a separate site and the sites themselves were set up under innocuous business or social cover arrangements which presumably would have made them of no interest to prowling counterintelligence services.

What exactly went wrong is not completely clear, but the mechanism was discovered by Iranian counterintelligence, possibly employing information provided by a double agent. The Iranians determined what kind of indicators and components the CIA site had and then went on a Google search to find other similar sites. They then watched their site as well as the others, noting both their activity and their idiosyncrasies, and were presumably were able to penetrate the site directed against them. At some point, they passed what they had learned on to the Chinese and possibly others.

The Chinese expanded on the Iranian work by breaking through the firewall in their country’s site and getting into the entire system. It was possible to identify all the CIA agents in China. More than two dozen were arrested, tortured and killed and a like number were found and executed in Iran, though some were warned by CIA and were able to escape. Agents in other countries were also exfiltrated as a security measure because it was not known to what extent the information on the system had been compromised and shared. The damage is still being assessed, but one thing that is known is that the United States knew little or nothing about what was going on in China and Iran at a critical time when negotiations over nuclear programs and North Korea were taking place.

The internet communications system was used so extensively because it was easy to use. When it eventually crashed, fully 70% of CIA communications with agents were potentially compromised. Ironically, a CIA contractor had, in 2008, warned that the internet system had major flaws that could be exploited. He was fired for his pains.

Secret communications to protect spies are as old as the Greeks and Romans, who used codes and substitution ciphers. The leap into internet communications by the CIA demonstrated that no system is infallible. The CIA got lazy and did not do its homework when setting up communications plans with agents. The reality is that running agents in a hostile foreign country is more an art than a science. You communicate with a spy in a way that fits in with his lifestyle so as not to arouse suspicion. He or she might be able to take phone calls, or receive letters with invisible writing. They might have the privacy to do burst communications from a computer to a satellite. Or they might prefer to use the old-fashioned methods — to include chalk marks signaling dead drops, brush passes and encrypted communications using one-time pads. CIA, which lost many of its skilled spies post 9/11 after it went crazy over electronics, drones and paramilitary operations, will now have to relearn Basic Espionage 101. It will not be easy and will take years to do if it is even possible. Some might argue, perhaps, that the world would be a better and safer place if it is not done at all.

By Philip Giraldi
Source

 

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