A former US intelligence officer has described the attempts by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to destabilise Iran through a massive network of Iranian moles — just busted by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry — as “an absolute act of war.” “This is an absolute act of war,” said former American intelligence linguist Scott Rickard during an interview with Press TV’s The Debate show on Monday. He also pointed to other hostile US attempts against Iran, such as waging cyber warfare to blow up Iranian centrifuges through the Stuxnet virus in collaboration with the Israeli regime and Germany, among others. Rickard said he was not at all surprised by the news of the latest exposure of American destabilizing spying operations against Iran. He said that ever since Washington’s “systemic [intelligence] operation[s]” in Iran were disrupted by the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the US “has maintained a systemic nature whereby they’ve worked with everything from humanitarian groups like Amnesty International [and] journalist outlets like Newsweek.” He then recalled how US-based Newsweek’s native Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari attempted to distort events during post-election unrest in Iran in 2009. The former US intelligence linguist further praised Iran’s “incredible resilience” in face of what he referred to as persisting efforts “to demonize Iran” by “the American media, the American government, and their Western allies… while they’re maliciously attacking the country with acts of warfare on a constant basis.” Also participating in The Debate show was the founder of the American Institute for Foreign Policy, Michael
Iran announced on Monday it had captured 17 spies working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sentenced some of them to death, deepening a crisis between the Islamic Republic and the West. Iranian state television published images that it said showed the CIA officers who had been in touch with the suspected spies. In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies had been arrested in the 12 months to March 2019. Some have been sentenced to death, according to another report. Such announcements are not unusual in Iran, and are often made for domestic consumption. But the timing suggests Tehran could harden its position in a standoff with Western powers which has raised fears of a direct military confrontation. In recent weeks the United States has blamed Iran for attacks on shipping near the Strait of Hormuz, the global oil trade’s most important waterway, accusations Iran has denied. The United States and Iran have downed drones operated by the other side and on Friday, Iran captured a British-registered tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran had previously warned it would respond to Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar on July 4. There was no immediate comment on the Iranian allegations by the CIA or U.S. officials. Iran announced in June that it had broken up an alleged CIA spy ring but it was unclear whether Monday’s announcement was linked to the same case. BRITAIN’S NEXT MOVE Prime
Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear. Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment. The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam. “Several former U.S. officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country’s inner workings,” the Journal said. The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the Journal said. Kim Jong Nam’s role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield that is due to be published on Tuesday. Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia, citing a source with knowledge of the intelligence. The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam’s last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a U.S. intelligence
CIA director Gina Haspel heard an audio recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during her visit to Turkey this week, two sources told Reuters on Thursday. Representatives of the CIA and Turkish intelligence have declined to comment on Haspel’s review of the recording.