Friday, November 18, 2005

Spies and spy businesses


This article from the Washington Post is actually something about the so-called "War on Terror" that in part seems rational; but consider the following points as you read this below:

  • The CIA has, and had, been under attack by people for "faulty intelligence" on WMDs in Iraq.
  • The CIA has been under attack especially by the wingnut fringe as "outing" Plame.
  • When you read what's here below the image that emerges is of a highly, highly competent CIA combatting terrorism, thanks to George Tenet.
  • Some of the countries involved are quite unsavory, and the rendition thing gets no prominent mention if any (haven't finished reading the darn thing yet).

If that doesn't make you go "hmmm...." I would say you're fundamentally incurious. As they used to say in the Soviet Union, these things do not get published by accident.

An excerpt:

The CIA has established joint operation centers in more than two dozen countries where U.S. and foreign intelligence officers work side by side to track and capture suspected terrorists and to destroy or penetrate their networks, according to current and former American and foreign intelligence officials.

The secret Counterterrorist Intelligence Centers are financed mostly by the agency and employ some of the best espionage technology the CIA has to offer, including secure communications gear, computers linked to the CIA's central databases, and access to highly classified intercepts once shared only with the nation's closest Western allies.

The Americans and their counterparts at the centers, known as CTICs, make daily decisions on when and how to apprehend suspects, whether to whisk them off to other countries for interrogation and detention, and how to disrupt al Qaeda's logistical and financial support.

The network of centers reflects what has become the CIA's central and most successful strategy in combating terrorism abroad: persuading and empowering foreign security services to help. Virtually every capture or killing of a suspected terrorist outside Iraq since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- more than 3,000 in all -- was a result of foreign intelligence services' work alongside the agency, the CIA deputy director of operations told a congressional committee in a closed-door session earlier this year...

George J. Tenet orchestrated the shift during his tenure as CIA director, working with the agency's station chiefs abroad and officers in the Counterterrorist Center at headquarters to bring about an exponential deepening of intelligence ties worldwide after Sept. 11.

Beneath the surface of visible diplomacy, the cooperative efforts, known as liaison relationships, are recasting U.S. dealings abroad.

The White House has stepped up its criticism of Uzbek President Islam Karimov in the past year for his authoritarian rule and repression of dissidents. But joint counterterrorism efforts with Tashkent continued until recently. In Indonesia, as the State Department doled out tiny amounts of assistance to the military when it made progress on corruption and human rights, the CIA was pouring money into Jakarta and developing intelligence ties there after years of tension. In Paris, as U.S.-French acrimony peaked over the Iraq invasion in 2003, the CIA and French intelligence services were creating the agency's only multinational operations center and executing worldwide sting operations.

The CIA has operated the joint intelligence centers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, according to current and former intelligence officials. In addition, the multinational center in Paris, codenamed Alliance Base, includes representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Australia.

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