January - March

Materials presented in chronological order.

Ciralsky, Adam. "Scandal: Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy." Vanity Fair, Jan .2010. [http://www.vanityfair.com]

The relationship of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater (now Xe), with the CIA was not merely as "a contractor; he was, insiders say, a full-blown asset. Three sources with direct knowledge of the relationship say that the C.I.A.'s National Resources Division recruited Prince in 2004 to join a secret network of American citizens with special skills or unusual access to targets of interest.... Prince says that ... he did much of his work on spec, claiming to have used personal funds to road-test the viability of certain operations.... According to two sources familiar with his work, Prince was developing unconventional means of penetrating 'hard target' countries."

Mazzetti, Mark. "C.I.A. Takes On Bigger and Riskier Role on Front Lines." New York Times, 1 Jan. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The deaths of seven Central Intelligence Agency operatives at a remote base in the mountains of Afghanistan are a pointed example of the civilian spy agency's transformation in recent years into a paramilitary organization at the vanguard of America's far-flung wars.... Over the past year, the C.I.A. has built up an archipelago of firebases in southern and eastern Afghanistan, moving agency operatives out of the embassy in Kabul and closer to their targets."

Warrick, Joby, and Pamela Constable. "CIA Base Attacked in Afghanistan Supported Airstrikes against al-Qaeda, Taliban." Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The CIA base attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan this week was at the heart of a covert program overseeing strikes by the agency's remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, officials familiar with the installation said" on 31 December 2009. Drone strikes are continuing, however.

Warrick, Joby. "Jordan Emerges as Key CIA Counterterrorism Ally." Washington Post, 4 Jan. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The death of Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid in the suicide attack on CIA Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan provides a look "into a partnership that U.S. officials describe as crucial to their counterterrorism strategy. Although its participation is rarely acknowledged publicly, Jordan is playing an increasingly vital role in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.... Traditionally close ties between the CIA and the Jordanian spy agency ... [were] strengthened" after the 9/11 attacks.

Broad, William J. "C.I.A. Is Sharing Data With Climate Scientists." New York Times, 5 Jan. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The nation's top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government's intelligence assets -- including spy satellites and other classified sensors -- to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change.... The monitoring program has little or no impact on regular intelligence gathering, federal officials said, but instead releases secret information already collected or takes advantage of opportunities to record environmental data when classified sensors are otherwise idle or passing over wilderness."

Oppel, Richard A., Jr., Mark Mazzetti, and Souad Mekhennet. "Behind Afghan Bombing, an Agent With Many Loyalties." New York Times, 5 Jan. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to Western government officials, "[t]he suicide bomber who killed seven C.I.A. officers and a Jordanian spy last week was a double agent who was taken onto the base in Afghanistan because the Americans hoped he might be able to deliver top members of Al Qaeda's network." The officials said that "[t]he bomber had been recruited by the Jordanian intelligence service [the General Intelligence Directorate] and taken to Afghanistan to infiltrate Al Qaeda by posing as a foreign jihadi....

"The remains of the seven C.I.A. officers killed in the attack arrived in a military plane on [4 January 2010] at Dover Air Force Base, where a private ceremony was held. The event was attended by Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, as well as by family members of the slain officers."

See also, Joby Warrick and Peter Finn, "Suicide Bomber Who Attacked CIA Post in Afghanistan Was Trusted Informant from Jordan," Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2010, quoting "a former U.S. counterterrorism officer" who said that the bomber "had been jointly managed by U.S. and Jordanian agencies and had provided 'actionable intelligence' over several weeks of undercover work along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Mark Mazzetti. "Suicide Bombing Puts a Rare Face on C.I.A.'s Work." New York Times, 7 Jan. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Following the suicide bombing at a CIA base in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, "details of the lives of the victims -- five men and two women, including two C.I.A. contractors... -- have begun to trickle out, despite the secretive nature of their work.... Their deaths were a significant blow to the agency, crippling a team responsible for collecting information about militant networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan and plotting missions to kill the networks' top leaders."

Panetta, Leon. "The CIA Is Proud To Be on the Front Lines against al-Qaeda." Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2010, A13. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"We have found no consolation ... in public commentary suggesting that those who gave their lives somehow brought it upon themselves because of 'poor tradecraft.' ... In a very different environment, against a very different enemy, our tradecraft is tailored to a battlefield. In the barren landscape outside Khost, Afghanistan, things such as 'safe' houses -- a staple of traditional espionage -- are not easily found."

Ignatius, David. "The CIA Has Long Struggled with Ensuring Safe Interrogations." Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2010, A13. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Agency veterans argue that the Iraq experience -- like the agency's tradecraft in Lebanon during the 1980s -- shows it may be safer to operate out in the field, away from 'protected zones' that, in reality, have become targets for the enemy."

Shane, Scott, and Eric Schmitt. "C.I.A. Deaths Prompt Surge in U.S. Drone Strikes." New York Times, 23 Jan. 2010.[http://www.nytimes.com]

"Beginning the day after the [30 December 2009] attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports."

[Panetta, Leon E.] "[Press Release:] CIA Director Leon E. Panetta Announces Stronger Language Requirements for Promotion." 29 Jan. 2010. [Available at: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/press-release-2010/index.html]

"Director Leon E. Panetta has announced a new policy that raises language requirements for promotion to the Agency's top ranks -- the Senior Intelligence Service.... Under the new policy, promotions to SIS for most analysts and operations officers will be contingent on demonstrating foreign language competency. If an officer is promoted to SIS and does not meet the foreign language requirement within one year, he or she will return to their previous, lower grade."

DeYoung, Karen. "Afghan Taliban's Second in Command Captured in Karachi." Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The Afghan Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was captured last week in Karachi during a joint operation by Pakistan's intelligence service and the CIA, according to U.S. and Pakistani sources." See also, Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins, "Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban's Top Commander," New York Times, 16 Feb. 2010.

Nakashima, Ellen. "Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web Site Illustrates Need for Clearer Cyberwar Policies." Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to former senior officials, a "Saudi-CIA Web site was set up several years ago as a 'honey pot,' an online forum covertly monitored by intelligence agencies to identify attackers and gain information." Saudi intelligence operatives had used the site "to round up some extremists before they could strike." By early 2008, U.S. military officials, including Gen. Ray Odierno, U.S. military commander in Iraq, had grown "concerned that the site 'was being used to pass operational information' among extremists." The decision was made to designate the operation as "a traditional military activity," not as a covert operation, so there was no need to brief congressional committees.

The Pentagon's Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare at Fort Meade and its "[e]lite U.S. military computer specialists[,] ... mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum." A former official said that "dismantling of the CIA-Saudi site inadvertently disrupted more than 300 servers in Saudi Arabia, Germany and Texas." According to another former U.S. official, "some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon's plan, [but] several key princes were 'absolutely furious' at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool."

Return to CIA 2010s Table of Contents