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CIA's ambitious post-9/11 spy plan crumbles: Front companies shut down

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 02:54 AM
Original message
CIA's ambitious post-9/11 spy plan crumbles: Front companies shut down
Source: Los Angeles Times

By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 17, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The CIA set up a network of front companies in Europe and elsewhere after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a constellation of "black stations" for a new generation of spies, according to current and former agency officials. But after spending hundreds of millions of dollars setting up as many as 12 of the companies, the agency shut down all but two after concluding they were ill-conceived and poorly positioned for gathering intelligence on the CIA's principal targets: terrorist groups and unconventional weapons proliferation networks.

The closures were a blow to two of the CIA's most pressing priorities after the 2001 terrorist attacks: expanding its overseas presence and changing the way it deploys spies.

The companies were the centerpiece of an ambitious plan to increase the number of case officers sent overseas under what is known as "nonofficial cover," meaning they would pose as employees of investment banks, consulting firms or other fictitious enterprises with no apparent ties to the U.S. government.

But the plan became the source of significant dispute within the agency and was plagued with problems, officials said. The bogus companies were located far from Muslim enclaves in Europe and other targets. Their size raised concerns that one mistake would blow the cover of many agents. And because business travelers don't ordinarily come into contact with Al Qaeda or other high-priority adversaries, officials said, the cover didn't work....

***

One of the CIA's commercial cover platforms was exposed in 2003 when undercover officer Valerie Plame was exposed in a newspaper by columnist Robert Novak. Public records quickly led to the unraveling of the company that served as her cover during overseas trips, a fictitious CIA firm called Brewster Jennings & Associates....

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-in...
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. "And because business travelers don't ordinarily come into contact with Al Qaeda"
Oh, God, we are so screwn...
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Demagitator Donating Member (236 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 03:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. It had to fail...
I am no expert in spies, I have a degree in Asian studies. When I traveled to Asia; average Asians would never sit with the with middle class and Institutional types.

When I would sit with Asians; they would "laugh" at the the type of corporate Inquisitional types the CIA would try to use, in that article.

And myself being a pacifist, I could recognize a spy in a New York minute.

The CIA should be shut down -- it is a waste of money; and all the paperwork, and work of spying should go back to the US Army.
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Pastiche423 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 03:52 AM
Response to Original message
3. This article personifies the ineptness of the * administration
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. It makes you wonder what business fronts they set up.
All that money. Unreal.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. They would have been better off setting up street carts
and selling falafels.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. LOL! Now, there's a good idea for a start up --
contract falafel sales for CIA. All we need is a micro loan and some big sunglasses. :)
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. It's amazing what information you can get out of someone
If you feed them well at a good price and are willing to listen to their complaints.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. Hire Bill O'Reilly as a consultant
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jimshoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. Sounds like everybody's trying to get
out of Dodge before the bill comes due. Good time to get into the paper shredding business.
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dcindian Donating Member (881 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 07:40 AM
Response to Original message
5. Cover story?
One would expect that the Bush administrations actions against Valerie Plame had a terrible effect on front companies. I think any large country now has taken what they knew of Brewster Jennings & Associates and use it to figure out all the other front companies America had.

Mr. Bush's actions have put this country at great risk. So now he relies on a complacent congress to destroy our civil liberties in order to do what would have been done lawfully before.

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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. Rober Novak: republicon propagandist, traitor to America
Novak deserves prison for undermining the safety of the USA by serving the evil-doing republicon homelanders
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. but Novak is a cable news darling -- how dare the print media mention his name negatively
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
9. The perfect spy
The Soviets were very good at setting up clandestine intelligence networks. They would use illegals and NOCs and spend decades to get people to establish their bona fides in a given country, the whole time letting a network remain passive as to not attract attention.

These true-believer bozos think they can move into a city with tons of high-tech gear and Billions of funny money to spread around and get things done without attracting the notice of the local service and every other network in town.

It was bound to fail and is a direct result of the dependence on high-tech solutions that have been put forth by Donald Rumsfeld and other proponents of the Military-Industrial complex.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. Sounds like lack of investment in people skills vs technology they don't even understand the uses of
Neocon ideology could be the death of us -- it's certainly been the death of enough people already.

Hekate
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Humint
There's one thing remote sensing can't do and that's to get inside the head of the target. The only way to do that is by recruiting people with access.

Junior and his gang have alienated so many people that it will be a long time before we can recruit the assets we need to get a handle on what's really going on.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
11. after spending hundreds of millions of dollars setting up as many as 12 of the companies...
Edited on Sun Feb-17-08 10:46 AM by QuestionAll
more money stolen from the taxpayers that could/should have been put to MUCH better uses.
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Wapsie B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
12. Idiots.
It's like the Apple Dumpling Gang or the Keystone Cops here. But the adults are in charge here so no worries. :eyes:
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BearSquirrel2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
15. Wrong way ...

There best covers would be to set up phoney terrorist funding organizations and "human rights" organizations. I would even dare send people over falsely claiming to be ELF and ALF fronts in Europe.

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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-17-08 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Hell, why not just fund the terrorist organizations directly...
get the ball rolling for the MIC. :yoiks:
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Oreegone Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
19. Thank you Vallerie
Tried to do what it took Vallerie Plame years to do. Now we are compromised for a long time to come due to ignorance and a desire to get even. Thanks Cheney, you Dick.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
21. Under Bush we Have No Security... PS: Bush Sr. Endorsed McCain
Edited on Mon Feb-18-08 12:22 PM by fascisthunter
lolololololololololol
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
22. This story is a planted one
Since when does the LA Times have inside information about what the CIA does? This is what the Bush administration does all the time. They dominate what the news is, what we will be talking about while they go merrily along their planned route. For all we know these so-called front companies are set ups to get Al Qaeda off the real spying. The article vaguely refers to 'current and former agency officials' or to a 'former high ranking CIA official' as sources and only quotes one person. Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. Would you believe Feinstein if she said this?

The real story is hinted at in this excerpt:

"Agency officials declined to respond to questions about the front companies and the decision to close them.

"Cover is designed to protect the officers and operations that protect America," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said. "The CIA does not, for that very compelling reason, publicly discuss cover in detail."

But senior CIA officials have publicly acknowledged that the agency has devoted considerable energy to creating new ways for its case officers -- the CIA's term for its overseas spies -- to operate under false identities.

"In terms of the collection of intelligence, there has been a great deal of emphasis for us to use nontraditional methods," CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said in November 2006 radio interview shortly after taking the helm at the agency. "For us that means nontraditional platforms -- what folks call 'out of embassy' platforms -- and we're progressing along those lines."

******

REad the entire article. It's planted to obfuscate and lie and spead disinformation. Does anyone really believe present and ex CIA would blab about what the agency has done 'traditionally' or otherwise?

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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-08 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
23. "Ill-conceived" accounts for about 50% of the CIA operations. "Poorly implemented"
covers the rest.
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