W. Thomas Smith, Jr



The recent setback for the U.S. Intelligence Community – specifically CIA – wherein scores of operators working for the Agency were seized by Iranian security forces in Iran and Hezbollah (Iran’s proxy army) in Lebanon; speak to two disturbing truths. The first is that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah, which is both financially and operationally supported by the IRGC, maintains human intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities that are as “formidable” as any fielded by the West. Secondly, they are aggressively operating against us.

According to Reuters, former CIA operations officer Bob Baer says,"Hezbollah’s 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]."

And at least one expert refers to Iran and Hezbollah’s aggressive counterintelligence operations and recent success as bordering on war.

Professor Walid Phares – an advisor to the U.S. House’s Anti-Terrorism Caucus and the author of several books on Jihadist terror (including Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America), tells us, "This latest operation by Hezbollah’s against a major U.S. intelligence agency is bordering on an act of war. Lebanon is a sovereign country, and a terrorist organization has had the freedom to wage counter-espionage operations against CIA, and they have detained individuals they believe were working with that U.S. agency. If the Lebanese government endorses this operation, it would be responsible for an act of aggression bordering on an act of war against the United States.”

Phares adds, “If the Lebanese government considers such operations against a U.S. agency on Lebanese soil as rogue – and conducted without legitimate Lebanese government authority – then it should demand Hezbollah cease its activities against the U.S.” He says, the Lebanese government – which receives military support from the U.S. – may raise the matter of U.S. espionage operations in Lebanon in bilateral discussions with the U.S. government. But Hezbollah has no legal authority to conduct such counter-espionage operations against what is considered to be an ally of Lebanon.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC) – who chairs the U.S. House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counter Intelligence – says both the immediate issue and the threat extends far beyond Iran and Lebanon.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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