Tuesday, March 6, 2007

News From the Shadow War - Location of bin Laden & an Iranian Intel Coup

Every so often, small news of a far larger clandestine war makes it into the public eye. Such is the case now. We have learned two bits of news recently that are uniformly good. The first is that we now have actionable intelligence as to the respective locations where bin Laden and al Zarqawi are believed to be in hiding. Further, we are flooding the area, which is reportedly in Pakistan, with numerous paramilitary troops. That is wonderful news. Let us hope that this time we finally have some success.

The second bit of news is particularly promising. It seems that we now have access to a significant Iranian intelligence asset, Gen. Ali Reza Asgari:

The mysterious disappearance of an Iranian general in Turkey in early February has led to speculation he either was kidnapped or defected.

. . . One respected analyst with sources in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard says Gen. Ali Reza Asgari has defected and is now in a European country with his entire family, where he is cooperating with the U.S.
. . . .
"This is a fatal blow to Iranian intelligence," said the source, explaining that Asgari knows sensitive information about Iran's nuclear and military projects. Iran called tens of its Revolutionary Guard agents working at embassies and cultural centers in Arab and European countries back to Tehran out of fear that Asgari might disclose secret information about their identities, according to the analyst.
. . . .
Asgari's years with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian defense ministry would make him an invaluable source of information. He was reportedly based in Lebanon in the 1990s and was in charge of ties with the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

At one point he was also in charge of military purchases at the defense ministry and exposed widespread corruption there which led to the arrest of a number of officials. Most recently, he worked as a consultant for the same ministry.
Now this one sounds very promising indeed. Either we have General and are debriefing him as fast as we can or, almost as good, the Iranians think that we have him and must proceed under the assumption that all he knows has now been compromised to the U.S. This could be a very significant event in either case.

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