and Syrian security bodies in a joint operation uncovered and dismantled
an Israeli spy network operating in Lebanon.
operation, the first in its kind, led to a harsh clampdown on the
Mossad network in Lebanon in March, the Syrian press reported.
Mossad network, named "Ivory", included spies with different
nationalities working to harm Syrian security, Syria's Dam Press
website released the names of a number of the arrested spies, but
declined to reveal any further information due to the sensitivity of the
has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by
well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being
reported across the country.
October, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President
Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US
and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos
through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals
have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria
this month, four members of the UN peace-keeping mission in Syria who
were visiting Homs province saved a foreign spy and took him out of the
region in their car.
four peace observers entered the city of Khalidiya in Homs province but
they were five when returning from the city, eye-witnesses said, adding
that the two UN cars then stopped at a restaurant and the peace
observers handed the foreign spy to unknown parties.
in February, a Saudi spy named Nasser al-Ariqi was arrested in Homs
after clashes erupted between Syrian forces and armed gangs on
has been said to be the commander of a heavily armed terrorist group in
the city in Western Syria. The Lebanese media reports said that the
armed group has been trying to remove the Syrian army's security
checkpoints using heavy weaponry.
November, US officials acknowledged that Hezbollah has unraveled the
CIA's spy network in Lebanon and arrested dozens of informants, severely
damaging the intelligence agency's reputation and ability to gather
vital information on the country at a sensitive time in the region.
officials said several foreign spies working for the CIA had been
captured by Hezbollah in 2011. The blow to the CIA's operations in
Lebanon came after top agency managers were alerted in 2010 to be
especially careful handling informants in the Middle Eastern country.
CIA-led program in the Middle East went up in the air after officials
confirmed to news organizations that paid informants in Iran and Lebanon
working for the US government had disappeared while attempting to
the last two years, leaders of both Iran and Hezbollah have publicly
announced the successes of their security and counterintelligence forces
in uncovering CIA informants.
intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi announced in May, 2011 that more
than 30 US and Israeli spies had been discovered and he quickly took to
Iranian television to broadcast information explaining the methods of
online communication that the agents would use to trade intel. Only a
month later, Hezbollah leader Seyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that two
high-ranking officers within his own organization had been identified as
CIA spies. After several months, the US government confirm that not
only is this information true, but they believed that the rest of their
Hezbollah-targeted operations in the Middle East were compromised.
June, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said two of the group's
members had been arrested on suspicion of being affiliated with the CIA,
and a third was held for working either for the CIA or for European or
Israeli intelligence agencies.
former US intelligence official who worked in the region said US
operatives have been "battling for most of the last decade" in a shadow
war with what he described as Hezbollah's extremely effective
the years, Hezbollah has proven persistent and successful both in
spotting CIA informants within its ranks and in trying to plant its own
double agents on the CIA," the former official said.
frequent tactic used by the group, the former official said, is to send
"walk-in" operatives into US embassies in Middle Eastern and
Mediterranean countries claiming to have information about attacks being
planned against US targets.
of having information about real attack planning, however, the
"walk-ins" use their visits to US embassy buildings to gather
information about embassy security measures and procedures which could
then be used to plan possible attacks, according to the former
Baer, a former CIA operations officer whose books inspired the
Hollywood movie Syriana, said that Hezbollah's counterintelligence
capabilities are formidable and should not be underestimated.
security is as good as any in the world's. It's the best. It's better
than that of the KGB," the former Soviet spy agency, Baer said.
founded during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, has grown from a militia
that fought Israeli forces in south Lebanon into the most powerful
political and military force in the country.
said one reason Hezbollah has been successful in rooting out spies is
that it has managed to find access to US equipment to identify and track
down CIA informants.
officials were coy about the extent and seriousness of CIA losses. But
they said damage to US intelligence was serious enough for extensive
briefings and discussions to have been held with congressional oversight
committees. A congressional source said any discussions remain
Hezbollah and Iran are major targets of interest for US spy agencies and the White House.
CIA declined to comment on the latest developments. Agency spokesman
Preston Golson said the CIA "does not, as a rule discuss allegations of
report by the Los Angeles Times on Monday revealed that that CIA
operations in Lebanon have effectively been crippled due to Hezbollah's
officials confirmed that some CIA informants assigned to gather
information on Hezbollah and the government of Iran had been
compromised, and that any such losses are considered damaging to US
intelligence collection efforts.