Hezbollah uncovers CIA informants
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
November 21st, 2011
02:39 PM ET

Hezbollah uncovers CIA informants

By Senior National Security Producer Pam Benson

CIA informants in Lebanon were unmasked by Hezbollah and captured by the terror group, CNN has been told. One of the means used by Hezballah counter terrorism operatives to identify the foreign assets was to trace their cell phone calls.

A US official would not discuss the details of how many CIA informants might have been affected and the degree of impact on Central Intelligence Agency operations in Beirut. The official called spying a "perilous business."

“Collecting sensitive information on adversaries-who are aggressively trying to uncover spies in their midst-will always be fraught with risk.  Good CI (counterintelligence) can mitigate risks, but won't eliminate them all," the source said.

The official says Hezballah has a very capable intelligence component and cannot be underestimated."Hezbollah is an extremely complicated enemy. Remember, this group was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist group before 9/11.  It's a determined terrorist group, a power political player, a mighty military, and an accomplished intelligence organization-formidable and ruthless.  No one underestimates its capabilities." The official added, "look who helps them" a reference to Iran with which it shares tactics and information.

Back in June, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the militant Islamic group has uncovered three spies within its ranks, two of whom were recruited by the CIA, Lebanon's state news agency reported.  The U.S. embassy in Beirut dismissed the report as "empty accusations."

A report by ABC News alleged unsafe spy practices, like meeting with multiple informants in the same location, were partially responsible for the compromising of the information.  But the official CNN spoke to insisted it would be wrong to say that problems with CIA operational tradecraft led to the agents capture by Hezballah.

While the capture of the informants is a set back for the CIA, the official did say, "This assertion that CIA's activities in Beirut are shut down is nonsense."

The United States considers Hezbollah, which has close ties to Iran and Syria, to be a terrorist organization. The group is a political party and a major provider of social services in Lebanon, in addition to operating a militant wing.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. obd

    Amazing - I never would have thought to put" Hezbollah" and "intelligence" in the same sentence.

    November 27, 2011 at 1:38 am | Reply
    • Jaws7

      They are also a capable military group and did to Israel in 2006 what several other countries
      in the area could not.

      December 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
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    November 24, 2011 at 7:31 am | Reply
  3. rafael

    A "freedom fighter" fights on his own land. Once u bring that shit here, u are a terrorist. And deserve what u get!!

    November 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Reply
    • Tester

      Rafael, are you calling our American heroes terrorists because we bring "that shit" over there? aren't we just being proactive in hunting down terrorist scum before they've hatched out of their "freedom fighter" eggs??

      November 22, 2011 at 12:36 am | Reply
      • Jaws7

        I think you view the matter to simplistically. The terrorist as you call them are freedom fighters in
        their country. If there is a clash with them it is because their goals and are strategic goals are not
        the same. You need to show these freedom fighters a little more respect as you would do no
        different if you were in their shoes.

        December 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  4. Amazed

    Just remember tester, our ancestors were terrorist, insurgents, and freedom fighters over 200 years ago, granted that was for our independence, and continued survival, but isnt that what all those insurgents are fighting for, our country has just forgotten where we came from, or just doesnt care. As americans we are just so quick to label someone protecting their homeland an insurgent, or a terrorist, because as a nation it just makes it easier for our government to convince us that their way of life is threatening ours... Isnt it kinda sad that a 22 year old has a more open-minded world view than you? or are you just so blind to the double speak that you will so quickly forget the damages we did, the effects of which are still being seen, have you forgotten agent orange already? And vietcong, while i may sympathize with what your people when through, you must remember we are not all like tester, though some feel like they have to be to get by... And not everyone has such an open mind as i. That being said the tactics used by both sides in that conflict, were horribly inexcusable, and ill just leave it at that

    November 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • Tester

      Difference is we're always the good guys!!

      November 22, 2011 at 12:40 am | Reply
  5. cas

    Why do they ever bother getting feedback such as "...dismissed the report as "empty accusations".." What did you expect? The C.I.A to say, yes damn it! Those are our undercover agents! ......Thus sealing the agents fate...Some responses are just so obvious, not worth getting feedback on. It is comical whenever I read it.

    November 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  6. Mrs deodorant

    Here it is.....propaganda to convince Americans we should attack Iran. Since when do the CIA announce their clandestine activities? And at such a time as this! Seduction without candy and flowers. Nooooo. W e're just gonna get sc#*%ed again. Alright, fellow Americans....time to bend over

    November 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • tal

      If you knew the history of hezbullah, you would not write this.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • Journalist21

      Propaganda is not what it used to be. Media organizations take their own political slant, yes, but journalists are forced to look for bigger and better news - what will get people reading. I'm sure the CIA and other govt. organizations are not thrilled that the failure to protect these poor people was broadcast.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  7. Tester

    Not true, I hear that Vietnamese terrorists killed way more innocent American peacekeepers back in the sixties!! Terror scum...

    November 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • VietCong1968

      @Tester
      You bastard, we were defending our country from foreign intervention, from American invasion, we weren't terrorists, we were freedom fighters!

      November 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Reply
      • Tester

        Freedom fighters, insurgents, terrorists, what is the difference??? You pick up a weapon against one of our American heroes, we will kill you and the terrorist recruits you call "children", by leaving behind depleted uranium.. DU munitions is the fertilizer from which freedom grows, don't you know??

        November 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
      • mary

        Actually you had a barbaric regime killing preople of the South forcing Communism on them. Many from the South were brought to US, because Viet Kong were killing innocent people, or anyone in government there or even Doctors. We had friends there who needed heart medicine, they wouldnt let him have it so his son who was from the South fighting against the North and ended up in the US eventually, tried to send his parents medicine. His dad was a doctor.US was trying to help the South Vietnamese from being slaughtered. Viet Kong saw no face, they slaughtered women and children alike. Communism has never helped anyone, it controls people.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  8. ram

    The us has more paid spies in the world than all the other countries put together, i suspect. That is why they cannot look after their own citizens at home. Too many mouths coming to the trough to feed for this type of activity....so they want to be dominant in the world, they should act with respect and integrity and respect other sovereignties, then the world will beat a bath to its doorstep/ Right now they are losing big time.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • mary

      Thats why so many are trying to come to the US? FREEDOM is one thing many dont have. I dont think they want to be dominant in the world, I just think MOST countries arent able to go after those who abuse and try to control them, thats why you see so many "Springs" going on, the people want the freedom of their voice. If they had the ability to fight terrorists in their land dont you think theyd do it?Google Anjem Choudary, because theres lots out there like him. Countries need to wake up to whats going on and quit being so "righteous" when it comes to allowing threatening people like him live amongst them. Its time to stop letting just anyone come to our countries. And sorry, Im for fences, not to lock people in, but to keep people out. My guess is that either you dont live in US or you immigrated to there. I believe in fairness and helping others, and who are going to help those people whose leaders are killing its people? Because Americans are tired of going to war to "help" others. Oh yes, you think its 'oil" or "occupation"(even though they are leaving), but if countries allow terrorists to train and live amongst them as you well know has happened, and if they dont go after them, you dont think someone else should? When those terrorists are attacking all around the world?If your country is attacked, and youre finding mass graves of innocent people killed by its leaders as were found in Iraq, Taliban killing those poor, but many wonderful Afghan people, Al Qaeda doing the same in Africa, Iran injecting its venom all around the world by paying its proxies....when its your country, dont ask for help. Americans are tired of allowing their families to die for people who dont appreciate it. Even China is having problem with terrorists.Dialogue should work, but there are extremists out there who wont listen to the other side and prefer to use violence instead peaceful measures. NATO tries but is lax sometimes. US DOES respect other countries, especially the people who have no way to defend themselves without retribution.They are not losing anything, when Americans have problems they always rise above them, just wait and see. Immigration WILL change all around the world. People from terrorist countries will eventually end up being banned, because people are tired of giving too much to people who would hurt them for religion or other.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:54 am | Reply
      • sgt reyes

        @mary. couldnt have said it better my self. im not here to steal oil or to destroy a country. im here to protect my people from a viable threat. although i am tired of fighting for people who dont want our help but only our hand outs, i still believe every person of this world is entitled to basic freedoms given to at birth. as an American i will proctect those right wether American or not. thank you for saying eveything.

        November 25, 2011 at 7:56 am |
      • Grateful Military Girlfriend

        Mary, I agree. Sgt. Reyes, thank you for all you do. God bless you!

        November 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bobby

      So spys are suppose to look after us at home? What would they be spying on? Big brother? We should just send all the towel heads LED tv's and make them like us, then they could go back to stoning their children and treating their farm animals better than their women. Hezzbollah is a ruthless gang of thugs that sends 10 year old kids loaded with explosives into asupermarket to kill some Jewish People, lets respect their sovereignty. Comedy!!!! God Bless our Soldiers, Spies, and any other American working in that part of the world. Especially our snipers... Thank God you only comment on CNN and don't run the Country. Id be jumping the fence and running into Mexico.... I LOVE THE USA!!!!! Don't like it, LEAVE

      November 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Reply
    • obd

      The US has 127% of the world's spies, I suspect.

      November 27, 2011 at 1:40 am | Reply

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