Lebanon News

Hezbollah MP hails capture of spies, urges government action

Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah. (Archive Photo/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah Wednesday hailed Hezbollah’s summer capture of U.S. spies in Lebanon, and called on the Cabinet to take action against what he called a U.S. spy attack.

Speaking outside Parliament, the lawmaker said U.S. officials had confirmed Hezbollah’s apprehension of CIA informants over the summer, calling this a dangerous violation that “requires immediate action by the Lebanese government."

Fadlallah asked the Cabinet to place the issue of American spying at the top of its next Cabinet session, and publicize it to the U.N, and other international groups and embassies in Lebanon so that “the whole world will know of a number of American practices against our country."

The Associated Press reported Monday that current and former U.S. officials told the agency that Hezbollah captured at least two CIA informants in its ranks over the summer, contrary to official denials by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon at the time.

The Los Angeles Times ran a similar report Sunday, saying the arrests had damaged the U.S.’s intelligence system in Lebanon.

In June, Hezbollah’s leader Hasan Nasrallah announced the capture of two members of the group who were said to be working for the CIA, and a third who was working for an unidentified foreign entity.

Nasrallah said the two spies had been in contact with the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, which he called “a nest of spies recruiting [spies]."

At the time, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson denied Nasrallah’s claims. “These are the same kind of empty accusations that we’ve repeatedly heard from Hezbollah,?? the spokesperson said, “there is no substance to them."

Although Fadlallah called U.S. intelligence activity in Lebanon “dangerous" and an attack on Lebanese sovereignty, he also hailed the captures as a resistance victory. The apprehension of the spies “reveals the size of the achievement accomplished by the resistance through its persistent work to protect national security and fight American and Israeli spying," he said, adding that U.S. Embassy denials in June after Nasrallah’s announcement were an attempt “to hide their defeat until they finally admitted and they themselves announced that it is a disaster for the CIA."

“The testimony of the enemy has clearly shown that the Lebanese mind has defeated the American and Israeli minds in the battle of minds," he said, and “have proved the credibility of what Hezbollah announced over the summer.

Fadlallah called the “official American acknowledgment" of CIA activity in Lebanon “a clear and dangerous acknowledgment of violations of Lebanese sovereignty, national security, international law and the U.N. charter, especially as the CIA center takes the U.S. Embassy as its headquarters. It is run by American officers who take on the diplomatic facade and move around in diplomatic vehicles."

In calling for Cabinet action against CIA spying, Fadlallah said it should “take security and legal measures to stop this spy attack and stop this center from working and take apart its structure, including spy listening devices."

When asked about the lack of official U.S. confirmation that spies were captured in Lebanon or that the CIA’s operations here were damaged, Fadlallah said the lack of U.S. comment was telling: “If this was untrue they would have at least denied it," he said.

The U.S. labels Hezbollah as a terror group. The party last fought a devastating war with Israel in the summer of 2006 during which it fired missiles deep into Israel. At least 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed during the war.

Nasrallah’s June speech was the first time Hezbollah admitted that spies had penetrated its ranks. – The Daily Star

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 24, 2011, on page 2.




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