Hezbollah identifies undercover CIA officers
In this photo taken from Al-Manar news website CIA agents are seen.The militant group Hezbollah has revealed the identities of CIA officers allegedly working undercover in Lebanon, striking a blow to agency operations in the region in the latest salvo in an escalating spy war.
Hezbollah made the names public in a broadcast Dec. 9 night on a Lebanese television station, al-Manar.
Using animated videos, the station recreated meetings purported to have taken place between CIA officers and paid informants at Starbucks and Pizza Hut.
The disclosure comes after Hezbollah managed to partially unravel the agency’s spy network in Lebanon after running a double agent against the CIA, former and current U.S. intelligence officials said. In June, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah bragged that his group had identified at least two spies working for the CIA. The CIA, however, has dismissed Hezbollah’s assertions. “The agency does not, as a rule, address spurious claims from terrorist groups,” CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said, according to an Associated Press report. “I think it is worth remembering Hezbollah is a dangerous organization, with al-Manar as its propaganda arm. This fact alone should cast some doubt on the credibility of the group’s claims.” The apparent outing occurred despite top CIA officials being warned to be extra careful when handling informants in the wake of Hezbollah and Lebanese officials’ arrest of scores of Israeli spies in 2009. Al-Manar said the CIA team in Lebanon consisted of 10 officers and all used diplomat cover. The station said their jobs were to oversee intelligence networks in Lebanon. Hezbollah MP Nawar Sahli yesterday told the Lebanon Daily Star that the so-called intelligence war with Israel and the CIA was continuing. “We have our tools and we are watching their movements,” Sahli said.