I remind all readers to the Elephant Bar to take the time to get into the links provided by those who make comments. Last night in an exchange with Allen, Trish posted this Link . Allen responded by saying:
This is the article that Trish and Allen refer to:
Wow! This is worth anyone's time with an interest in the ME. And I use ME advisedly and in the largest possible geographic terms because I doubt the problem is isolated to Iraq.
Rollin's paints a dark picture of Bush I's handling of post-war relations with the natives, doesn't he?
Wed Jan 24, 12:24:14 AM EST
CQ HOMELAND SECURITY – SpyTalk
Jan. 19, 2007 – 8:08 p.m.
Spying in Baghdad: The CIA’s Real Mission Impossible
By Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor
Many years ago, when I was a young Army Intelligence operative in South Vietnam, I had a daily routine to see if my spies had any new information for me.
I’d drive by a soccer stadium in Danang, the large coastal city where I lived, and I’d look for a particular mark on the wall. If it was there, I’d go to a prearranged place at a set time for a clandestine meeting with a go-between. Many times the pick-up place was a pleasant beach about a mile from my house. The war was raging in the jungles and rice paddies less than 10 miles away, and communist agents were everywhere in the city. But security was good enough that they weren’t likely to risk exposing themselves by kidnapping or killing me.
My secret courier was a young boy who would come along selling ice cream from a box slung over his shoulder. I’d buy a cone wrapped in rice paper, and drive away. Back at the office, I’d unroll the paper to decipher my spy’s tiny handwriting.
Baghdad is nothing like that.
The chaotic, ubiquitous violence of Baghdad has kept the CIA indoors.
According to several well informed intelligence sources, hundreds of CIA operatives have become virtual prisoners in the Green Zone, the sprawling American enclave whose high walls and guards separate the U.S. embassy, military command and related civilian agencies from the raging sectarian violence in Baghdad’s streets.
The CIA operatives cannot safely roam the city to meet their few agents, much less recruit new ones.
It’s just too dangerous. CIA chiefs don’t want to risk one getting kidnapped, tortured on camera and beheaded.
That would certainly dampen the allure of a career in the CIA.
So “they spend their days playing cards and watching DVDs,” said a former senior CIA operations official who maintains close ties in the agency.
One barometer of the CIA’s caution is the lack of agency casualties in the war, which has killed more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel and wounded 25,000 more.
Not a single CIA “case officer,” spy jargon for espionage operative, has been killed in Iraq, a half dozen former senior CIA officers with close knowledge of the situation there told me... Read the entire article here.
Jeff Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.