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After Benghazi

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  • After Benghazi

    Former CIA case officer Ishmael Jones reflects on the sacking of the US Consulate in Benghazi:


    The following excerpt gets close to the heart of the matter. Ambassadors are by definition walking, talking targets. But you don't have to make matters worse by running a spy shop out of readily identifiable USG buildings:
    The solution is to have people operating outside of those embassies. I did this continuously in foreign countries Ė including Libya Ė for more than 15 of my 18 years in the CIA. I had no security, no Marine guards, not even an alarm system in my house. Except for brief tours in war zones, I never carried a weapon. The enemy did not disrupt or attack me because they couldnít identify and locate me. The enemy would never have been able to locate the safe houses I used because they were unconnected to any embassy. I never had diplomatic immunity, and it didnít bother me a bit. Diplomatic immunity didnít protect our ambassador in Libya.
    The same issue is approached a little differently by former Mossad officer Michael Ross (who is cited in Jones piece). Here, Ross is addressing the capture of a member of Canada's armed forces who was spying for the Russians:
    While Iím not ďread-inĒ on the detailed circumstances of Sub-Lt. Delisleís case, I can make a few guesses where things went wrong for the Russians based on whatís been reported in the media so far. No modern intelligence service operates out of an embassy any more. This anachronistic practice has gone the way of the Dodo and diplomatic cover is now considered useless. The counter-intelligence component of every domestic security service worth its salt (such as CSIS) knows all the personnel and everything that goes on in the Russian embassy in their country. Progressive thinking intelligence services have taken to setting up in commercial and non-governmental entities that have no official connection to their home state or nationality. All CSIS had to do was watch and listen to the staff at the Russian embassy to see with whom they have contact.
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.