18 November 2005

Covert

covert
adjective
- not openly acknowledged or displayed

See secret

secret
adjective
- not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others

Terms no longer understood in the USA:
CIA Builds Foreign Front Against Terrorism - 2 Dozen Joint Facilities Represent the Agency's Most Successful Post-9/11 Strategy
By Dana Priest Washington Post Friday, November 18, 2005; A01

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 one of the more than 3,000 suspected terrorists captured or killed since Sept. 11, 2001, outside of Iraq came about as a result of foreign intelligence services working in tandem with the agency, the CIA deputy director of operations told a congressional committee in a closed-door session earlier this year.

The initial tip about where an al Qaeda figure is hiding may come from the CIA, but the actual operation to pick him up is usually organized by one of the joint centers and conducted by a local security service, with the CIA nowhere in sight. "The vast majority of successes involved our CTICs," one former counterterrorism official said. "The boot that went through the door was foreign." The centers are also part of a fundamental, continuing shift in the CIA's mission that began shortly after the 2001 attacks. No longer is the agency's primary goal to recruit military attaches, diplomats and intelligence operatives to steal secrets from their own countries. Today's CIA is desperately seeking ways to join forces with other governments it once reproached or ignored to undo a common enemy?

So they take their "central and most successful strategy in combating terrorism abroad" and splash it across the pages of the Washington Post for all the world to see.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot, over.

It's a safe bet that most or all of these CTICs are in Arab/Muslim countries. Now that their existence has been acknowledged it will only be a matter of time before the unholy alliance of Islamists, leftists and "human rights" activists manage to connect the dots, identify the cooperating countries, and blow the cover of the American agents assigned to each. All of which will make the continued operation of the CTICs more difficult, and such difficulties may include the assassination of the agents involved. Consider Reuel Marc Gerecht's comments regarding the CIA's apparent inability to keep the identity of its secret agents secret:
• Fact: The vast majority of CIA officers overseas operate with little to no cover and have done so since the foundation of the post-World War II clandestine service in 1947.

• Fact: The CIA knows that most of its officers overseas are "blown" to the local security and intelligence services, and not infrequently to the more astute members of the native press in countries where a real press exists, and to knowledgeable members of the foreign diplomatic community who have firsthand contact with the country's foreign and defense ministries (where real diplomats always spend more quality time and have greater access than do spooks).

• Fact: Probably the vast majority of all sensitive assets--foreign agents whom the agency considers highly valuable and who might be in some trouble if exposed--have been handled by compromised officers.


All this raises the question: Who would want to be an ally of the United States? Consider the detailed account of Jordanian cooperation with the CIA provided by the LA Times in a story dated 10 November, 2005: Clandestine Ties to Jordan Aid CIA Operations in Middle East. The punch line is in paragraph two:
Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, or GID, has surpassed Israel's Mossad as America's most effective allied counter-terrorism agency in the Middle East. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, its cooperation with the CIA has grown even closer.

In fact the article features repeated statements meant to belittle Israel and the Mossad as an ally in America's "War on Terror". No doubt the article was greeted with a heart-felt Baruch Hashem in suburban Tel Aviv. I mean, with friends like the Jordanians have, who needs enemies...

The article goes on to tell us that:

• The GID has been aggressively involved in the hunt for Zarqawi

• The USA subsidizes the GID's budget

• The CIA has personnel "embedded" at GID HQ

• The CIA and GID conduct joint operations

• Jordan has served as a hub for "extraordinary renditions"

• Jordan has tortured terrorist suspects for the US

• The CIA station chief enjoys a better relationship with the King of Jordan than the US ambassador

One CTIC identified, 23 to go.

So I'll ask again: who wants to be an ally of the United States? Or better yet, why?