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The Iran Cables: Secret Documents Show How Tehran Wields Power in Iraq - The New York Times
By Tim Arango, James Risen, Farnaz Fassihi, Ronen Bergman and Murtaza Hussain

Nov. 18, 2019

An unprecedented leak exposes Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life.

Many of the cables describe real-life espionage capers that feel torn from the pages of a spy thriller. Meetings are arranged in dark alleyways and shopping malls or under the cover of a hunting excursion or a birthday party. Informants lurk at the Baghdad airport, snapping pictures of American soldiers and keeping tabs on coalition military flights. Agents drive meandering routes to meetings to evade surveillance. Sources are plied with gifts of pistachios, cologne and saffron. Iraqi officials, if necessary, are offered bribes. The archive even contains expense reports from intelligence ministry officers in Iraq, including one totaling 87.5 euros spent on gifts for a Kurdish commander.
CIA  counterintelligence  covert_operations  espionage  influence  informants  Iran  Iraq  leaks  political_power  Qassim_Suleimani  Quds_Force  security_&_intelligence  Tehran 
november 2019 by jerryking
The Extra-Secret White House Computer System, Explained - The New York Times
The White House uses a web of computer systems to store delicate information.CreditCreditAl Drago for The New York Times
By Charlie Savage, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman
Oct. 1, 2019
classified_information  code_words  covert_operations  Donald_Trump  memorialization  NSC  secrets  security_&_intelligence  transcripts  Ukraine  White_House 
october 2019 by jerryking
C.I.A. Names the ‘Dark Prince’ to Run Iran Operations, Signaling a Tougher Stance
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and ADAM GOLDMAN

Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the C.I.A.’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the president took against Iran during his campaign......Mr. D’Andrea took over the agency’s Counterterrorism Center in early 2006 and spent the next nine years directing the hunt for militants around the world........Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the C.I.A. The agency has extremely limited access to the country — no American embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover — and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter American espionage and covert operations.......Mr. Trump has appointed to the National Security Council hawks eager to contain Iran and push regime change, the groundwork for which would most likely be laid through C.I.A. covert action......Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, was an infantry commander during the early years of the war in Iraq, and he believes that Iranian agents who were aiding Iraqi insurgents were responsible for the deaths of a number of his soldiers. Derek Harvey, the senior director for the Middle East at the council, is also considered an Iran hawk.....
appointments  Iran  covert_operations  CIA  APNSA  security_&_intelligence  Al_Qaeda  NSC  H.R._McMaster  counterterrorism 
june 2017 by jerryking
Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations - The New York Times

The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. ..... The C.I.A. considers spying in China one of its top priorities, but the country’s extensive security apparatus makes it exceptionally hard for Western spy services to develop sources there.

At a time when the C.I.A. is trying to figure out how some of its most sensitive documents were leaked onto the internet two months ago by WikiLeaks, and the F.B.I. investigates possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, the unsettled nature of the China investigation demonstrates the difficulty of conducting counterespionage investigations into sophisticated spy services like those in Russia and China.....As more and more sources vanished, the operation took on increased urgency. Nearly every employee at the American Embassy was scrutinized, no matter how high ranking. Some investigators believed the Chinese had cracked the encrypted method that the C.I.A. used to communicate with its assets. Others suspected a traitor in the C.I.A., a theory that agency officials were at first reluctant to embrace — and that some in both agencies still do not believe.
CIA  China  espionage  security_&_intelligence  informants  counterintelligence  moles  counterespionage  covert_operations 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Special Trouble With Special Ops - WSJ
By Ian F.W. Beckett
April 24, 2017

Mark Moyar’s “Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces” demonstrates, traces the rise of various American special forces, which date from the formation of the Army First Ranger Battalion in 1942, now number 70,000 members. They have moved from being a secondary weapon to a primary weapon.......But, at best, unconventional units have offered tactical rather than strategic success. The one exception was the ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan in support of the Northern Alliance immediately after 9/11; operations against al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan were not as successful. There has been a litany of failures, including Operation Eagle Claw in Iran in April 1980 and Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia in October 1993. Successive presidents, however, have fallen under the spell of special forces, although their support has often been qualified and quickly withdrawn, as was the case with President Bill Clinton after Somalia......

It is Mr. Moyar’s contention that the problem has been that few incumbents of the White House have understood special forces’ limitations. Special forces, he says, are best suited to counterinsurgency. He sees little likelihood of future opportunities to use special forces in the strategic role they played in Afghanistan in 2001, for example. Indeed, he argues that given the persistence of conventional threats, “the best solution at the present time would be to expand conventional forces rather than special operations forces.” New roles and missions may evolve, but special forces must be properly integrated into broader strategic enterprises. Successive presidents, he writes, have made decisions about unconventional units “based on superficial and romanticized views.”....Following a policy preference instituted by Donald Rumsfeld, Barack Obama embraced “surgical strikes” as a substitute for a real strategy, because “they enabled him to show the American public that he was combating terrorism forcefully and efficiently.”.....
books  book_reviews  SAS  security_&_intelligence  counterinsurgency  SEALs  covert_operations  U.S._Special_Forces  unconventional_warfare 
may 2017 by jerryking
U.S. Strategy to Hobble North Korea Was Hidden in Plain Sight - The New York Times
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
containment  security_&_intelligence  North_Korea  covert_operations 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Secret History of SEAL Team 6: Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines -
JUNE 6, 2015
security_&_intelligence  U.S._Navy  covert_operations  SEALS  U.S._Special_Forces 
june 2015 by jerryking
The Shadow Commander - The New Yorker

The Shadow Commander
Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria.

Iran  Revolutionary_Guards  Qassim_Suleimani  Quds_Force  covert_operations  Syria  Middle_East 
august 2014 by jerryking
Blackwater's Founder Blames U.S. for Its Troubles -
Nov. 17, 2013 | WSJ |By Dion Nissenbaum.

Now, Mr. Prince says, he is done working for t he U.S. government. He has invested millions in setting up Frontier Resource Group, a private-equity firm that operates in more than a dozen African countries. The firm is building an oil refinery in South Sudan, owns a cement factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, conducts aerial gas and oil surveys across the continent, and is looking at taking over idle oil wells damaged by insurgents in Nigeria, he said.
security_&_intelligence  entrepreneur  private_equity  memoirs  oil_refiners  CIA  Blackwater  books  drones  covert_operations  Africa  political_risk  frontier_markets  natural_resources  Leon_Panetta 
november 2013 by jerryking
Tom Clancy knew that it was all about the story
Oct. 04 2013 | The Globe and Mail | ROBERT WIERSEMA

Late one afternoon, two men came into the store, clearly American in that slightly louder-talking, slightly bigger-than-life way that stands out in unassuming Victoria. They wandered the store for a bit before stopping at the display of Tom Clancy’s then-newest paperback, The Sum of All Fears.

One of the men brought a copy to the cash desk. Rather than pulling out his wallet, though, he asked to borrow a pen. Flipping the book open, he signed the title page, along with a note, something along the lines of: “Thank you for your support.”

He slid the book back across the desk to me with a small smile. And then, without another word, Tom Clancy left the store.

That casually bad-ass blend of hubris and humility was my one personal encounter with Clancy.....Clancy was one of a group of authors that included the recently departed and much-missed Elmore Leonard and Ray Bradbury, among others, who reminded me of the values of storytelling, the virtues of characterization, plot and wonder – elements that were either overlooked or looked down upon in the English department.
Tom_Clancy  covert_operations  espionage  authors  tributes  obituaries  writers  storytelling  virtues  characterization  plot  wonder 
october 2013 by jerryking
Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66
October 2, 2013 | |By JULIE BOSMAN.

Tom Clancy’s debut book, “The Hunt for Red October,” was frequently cited as one of the greatest genre novels ever written. With the book’s publication in 1984, Mr. Clancy introduced a new kind of potboiler: an espionage thriller dense with technical details about weaponry, submarines and intelligence agencies.
obituaries  writers  fiction  security_&_intelligence  espionage  covert_operations  Cold_War  Tom_Clancy  militaries 
october 2013 by jerryking
The secret race to save Timbuktu’s manuscripts - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 27 2012 | The Globe and Mail | GEOFFREY YORK.

Timbuktu’s greatest cultural treasure: its ancient scholarly manuscripts, are under threat from Radical Islamist rebels who have repeatedly attacked the fabled city’s heritage, taking pickaxes to the tombs of local saints and smashing down a door in a 15th century mosque and demolishing mausoleums...Timbuktu’s most priceless remaining legacy is its vast libraries of crumbling Arabic and African manuscripts, written in ornate calligraphy over the past eight centuries, proof of a historic African intellectual tradition. Some experts consider them as significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls – and an implicit rebuke to the harsh narrow views of the Islamist radicals.

But now the manuscripts, too, could be under threat. And so a covert operation is under way to save them....The manuscripts, dating back to the 13th century, are evidence of ancient African and Islamist written scholarship, contradicting the myth of a purely oral tradition on the continent.

Many of the manuscripts are religious documents, but others are intellectual treatises on medicine, astronomy, literature, mathematics, chemistry, judicial law and philosophy. Many were brought to Timbuktu in camel caravans by scholars from Cairo, Baghdad and Persia who trekked to the city when it was one of the world’s greatest centres of Islamic learning. In the Middle Ages, when Europe was stagnating, the African city had 180 religious schools and a university with 20,000 students.

Timbuktu fell into decline after Moroccan invasions and French colonization, but its ancient gold-lettered manuscripts were preserved by dozens of owners, mostly private citizens, who kept them in wooden trunks or in their own libraries.

Today, under the occupation of the radical jihadists, the manuscripts face a range of threats. Conservation experts have fled the city, so the documents could be damaged by insects, mice, sand, dust or extreme temperatures. Or the Islamist militants could decide to raise money by looting and selling the documents.
Mali  Africa  Timbuktu  Geoffrey_York  cultural_institutions  covert_operations  antiquities  art_history  threats  art  collectors  collectibles  Islamists  sub-Saharan_Africa  digitalization 
december 2012 by jerryking
Imperial Grunts
October 2005 | ATLANTIC MAGAZINE | By Robert D. Kaplan. With the Army Special Forces in the Philippines and Afghanistan—laboratories of counterinsurgency.
covert_operations  security_&_intelligence  Robert_Kaplan  Phillippines  counterinsurgency  Afghanistan  Special_Forces 
may 2012 by jerryking
David Makol: The FBI Agent Who 'Flips' Insider-Trading Witnesses -
FBI  covert_operations  insider_trading 
january 2012 by jerryking
U.S. to Pursue African Rebels -

U.S. to Pursue African Rebels
Obama Authorizes Up to 100 Troops to Help Countries Defeat Bloodthirsty Lord's Resistance Army
Uganda  security_&_intelligence  covert_operations  Africa 
october 2011 by jerryking
Top Al Qaeda Figure Anwar al-Awlaki Killed -
targeted_assassinations  drones  AQAP  covert_operations  security_&_intelligence  al-Qaeda 
september 2011 by jerryking
Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel -
Sept. 5, 2011 | NYT | By SCOTT SHANE. Shamai Leibowitz, an FBI
translator, sentenced to 20 mths in prison last yr. for leaking
classified info. to a blogger. The info. detailed concerns re.Israel’s
efforts to influence Congress & public opinion, & fears that
Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran...While the U.S. govt.
routinely eavesdrops on some embassies inside the U.S., intelligence
collection against allies is always politically delicate, especially one
as close as Israel...The FBI listens in on foreign embassies &
officials in the U.S. chiefly to track foreign spies, though any
intelligence it obtains on other matters is passed on to the CIA &
other agencies. The intercepts are carried out by the FBI’s Operational
Tech. Division, according to Matthew Aid, a writer who describes the
monitoring in a book, “Intel Wars,” to be published in January...Treated
as highly classified by the FBI, the fact that the U.S. spies on Israel
is taken for granted by intelligence experts.
espionage  security_&_intelligence  Israeli  CIA  FBI  NSA  translations  intercepts  Israel  eavesdropping  books  covert_operations  wiretaps 
september 2011 by jerryking
The Mission to Get Osama Bin Laden
August 8, 2011 |The New Yorker | by Nicholas Schmidle.
OBL  covert_operations  seals  CIA  Pakistan 
august 2011 by jerryking
An Inside Look at the SEAL Sensibility -
MAY 7, 2011

The SEAL Sensibility
From a member of the elite force, an inside look at the brutal training
and secret work of the commandos who got Osama bin Laden.

Seals  covert_operations  training 
may 2011 by jerryking
U.S. Boosts Ranks of Elite Forces -
MAY 6, 2011

U.S. Boosts Ranks of Elite Forces
White House Has Secretly Expanded Strike Teams; Stepped-Up Raids Kill and Capture Thousands
covert_operations  SEALs 
may 2011 by jerryking
In Pakistan, no more secrets -
May, 4, 2011 | The Washington Post | By Vali Nasr.

The CIA shattered Pakistan’s intelligence establishment’s confidence with its
ability to hunt and kill bin Laden right under the nose of the ISI. Yet
the ISI’s real worry is that the next item on the CIA’s agenda could be
one of the two Taliban leaders the .S. holds most directly responsible
for the insurgency in Afghanistan, and who are believed to be hiding in
Pakistan: Mullah Omar or Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of his eponymous
terrorist network. And if the CIA found bin Laden, then it could
probably find everything it wants to know about Pakistan’s nuclear

It has become clear that since 2009 the CIA has built an infrastructure
of intelligence gathering and operational capability that opened up
Pakistan’s underworld of jihadists, spooks and terrorists. There are no
more secrets. Worse yet, the United States can act at will to kill,
capture or destroy in Pakistan — even in an army town.
Afghanistan  CIA  covert_operations  duplicity  instrumentation_monitoring  ISI  OBL  Pakistan  secrets  security_&_intelligence  Taliban  Vali_Nasr 
may 2011 by jerryking
Navy SEAL Osama kill team told to stay quiet - The Globe and Mail
KimBerlY Dozier
Washington— The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, May. 03, 2011
covert_operations  security_&_intelligence  OBL  SEALs 
may 2011 by jerryking
Britain's Excellent Libyan Adventure -
March 7, 2011, 4:03 pm
Britain’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
SAS  Libya  MI6  covert_operations 
march 2011 by jerryking
Secret Assault on Terrorism Widens on Two Continents -
August 14, 2010 | New York Times | By SCOTT SHANE, MARK
"The attack offered a glimpse of the Obama administration’s shadow war
against Al Qaeda and its allies. In roughly a dozen countries — from the
deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet
republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife — the United States
has significantly increased military and intelligence operations,
pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying
contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists."
Yemen  CIA  counterterrorism  Obama  al-Qaeda  contractor  security_&_intelligence  drones  covert_operations  militaries 
august 2010 by jerryking
Judith Miller: The Weekend Interview with Ray Kelly -
JUNE 19, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JUDITH MILLER.
Terror Target: Manhattan. New York's police commissioner says it's a big
mistake to write off failed attacks as the work of incompetents, and
he's developed his own intelligence apparatus to make sure they don't
succeed...."Apart from helping bring violent crime down to historic
lows, Mr. Kelly's fame is based on the counterterrorism plans he first
sketched in 2002 on a piece of paper for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That
model has transformed the way that the NYPD and other large police
forces in many cities now combat terror. By creating a local
intelligence capability—complete with undercover agents, informants,
analysts, a community mapping effort, a terrorism cyber-unit, a small
army of linguists and even an overseas presence in 11 cities—Mr. Kelly's
counterterrorism force is widely regarded by experts as second only to
the FBI in homeland defense intelligence."
counterterrorism  covert_operations  informants  intelligence_analysts  New_York_City  NYPD  policing  Ray_Kelly  security_&_intelligence  terrorism  violent_crime 
june 2010 by jerryking
A Perfectly Framed Assassination in Dubai -
FEBRUARY 27, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by Robert Baer.
Stepped-up surveillance technology may be tipping the scales in the
cat-and-mouse game between spies and their targets--comment on the
current state of spycraft.
targeted_assassinations  spycraft  Mossad  Hamas  Dubai  CIA  security_&_intelligence  Israel  covert_operations 
march 2010 by jerryking
Israel's Secret War With Iran -
MAY 16, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by RONEN BERGMAN. Article
details recent successes of the Israeli intelligence community but
concludes that there remain limits to the utility of intelligence.
Israel  security_&_intelligence  Iran  Syria  Hezbollah  Hamas  Mossad  covert_operations 
may 2009 by jerryking

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