CIA cover blown in latest spy-versus-spy with Iran
The naming of the CIA station chief in Beirut by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah is seen as part of an intensifying undercover war between the West and Iran.
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"With a damage assessment, traditionally you just have to close down and figure out why [it happened] and what else is compromised," he says. "They also have to consider that the embassy or wherever they were operating from is compromised. It's a laborious, time-consuming thing that can take years. You've got to pull everybody out and put new people under cover and get them to learn Arabic."Skip to next paragraph
Archive footage of Baer being interviewed by a Lebanese television station about his former clandestine activities in Beirut was included as background in Al-Manar’s expose of the CIA’s current Lebanon operations.
Hezbollah has a strong and aggressive counter-intelligence department that apparently has access to sophisticated monitoring and surveillance equipment to track down enemy agents. In the past three years, more than 100 people in Lebanon have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel. They have ranged from garage mechanics to a retired general in the Lebanese army.
US equipment used?
While there have been no serious overt acts of violence along the traditionally volatile border between Lebanon and Israel since the month-long conflict of 2006, the two enemies are engaged in a secret intelligence war using highly sophisticated equipment. Last week, Hezbollah technicians discovered an elaborate Israeli tapping device hooked into the group’s private fiber-optic communications network in south Lebanon. The device was destroyed in a remote-control explosion by the Israelis shortly after its discovery.
Hezbollah is believed to have uncovered the CIA network through the process of telephone co-location which analyzes millions of phone calls made in Lebanon every day to discern patterns. Ironically, the equipment used by Hezbollah to roll up the CIA network is thought to have been originally provided by the US to help the Lebanese government trace the assassins of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated in a truck bomb explosion in 2005, according to Baer and Lebanese press reports. In June, an international tribunal indicted four members of Hezbollah for their alleged role in Mr. Hariri’s assassination.
Baer said that the CIA had grown weak on tradecraft and in cultivating human intelligence resources over the past decade, which had resulted in costly mistakes being made in Lebanon.
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