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U.S. Embassy served as venue to recruit CIA spies: Hezbollah
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BEIRUT: The Central Intelligence Agency has used the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy complex in Awkar, north of Beirut, as a venue to recruit Lebanese informants to spy on Hezbollah, the resistance group said in a report released Friday.

According to the report on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television Friday night, the CIA had a team of 10 officers, including women, who were assigned to recruit Lebanese spies tasked with gathering information on Hezbollah’s officials and fighters along with the addresses of their homes and the group’s arms depots.

The spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Amanda Johnson, refused to comment. “I don’t comment on such alleged matters,” Johnson told The Daily Star.

According to Hezbollah’s report, the current chief of the CIA station in Lebanon is Daniel Patrick Mcfeely. Mcfeely, born in 1966, replaced Louis Kahi who quit his job as the CIA chief in Lebanon in 2009. The 10 officers, registered as diplomats at the U.S. Embassy, served as CIA agents for three years in Lebanon.

“The CIA officers were active in recruiting agents from various segments of the Lebanese society: government employees, security and military personnel, religious, banking and academic figures,” the report said.

It added that while recruitment of agents took place inside the embassy building, meetings with them were held in fast-food restaurants, MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

The Hezbollah report said that among the targets set by the CIA officers was to gather information on Hezbollah, the resistance’s arms depots, its fighters and officials, as well as the addresses of their residences.

“The CIA worked during the [2006] July war to monitor the resistance’s activity and provide the Israeli intelligence with all field information,” Hezbollah said in its report. It added that the CIA had linked the spies it was directing to the Israeli Mossad agency.

The report accused the CIA officers of corruption while recruiting Lebanese agents. “The CIA officers seized part of the money allocated for agents and requested them to sign receipts of amounts bigger than what these agents received,” the report said.

Commenting on the party’s revelations, Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah said the resistance was secretly waging “a security war” against the American and Israeli intelligence agencies and was achieving “resounding results.”

“The priorities of the American and Israeli intelligence in Lebanon are to target and strike the resistance,” Fadlallah said in an interview with Al-Manar television. He said that Nasrallah was “a permanent target” of the American and Israeli intelligence services.

He said that any information gathered by the CIA agents would be sent to the Israelis. Fadlallah called for implementing the law on punishing spies working for Israel and foreign countries.

U.S. officials said last month a group of CIA informants in Lebanon had been captured earlier this year by Hezbollah, damaging agency operations against the organization labeled a terrorist group by Washington, and raising concerns that spies who had spent months or years on the CIA’s payroll could be tortured or killed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 10, 2011, on page 1.
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