A CIA Contractor’s Christmas

Day One. Partridge in a pear tree:

During the night-shift at the NSA, Booz Allen contractors suddenly have their online Christmas shopping interrupted when Booz Allen proprietary counterterrorist data-mining algorithms note an unusual spike in internet chatter of “persons of interest” using the term “partridge in a pear tree.”  Their NSA Contracting Officer’s Technical Rep is alerted.

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Journo Deemed A U.S Terror Threat

Apparently, the pen is so mighty, that we can’t even risk certain foreign journalists flying in our airspace.

According to reports over the weekend, an Air France flight to Mexico was diverted because of one passenger, Franco-Colombian writer Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for the Le Monde Diplomatique, a left-wing French-based newspaper. Apparently, Ospina has written extensive critiques of the current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the U.S-fed drug war in Latin America. According to his publisher, he was on his way to Nicaragua, to research his current project, a book about the Central Intelligence Agency.

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DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff in 1983 For Waterboarding Prisoners

In 1983, the Department of Justice prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies for waterboarding prisoners to get them to confess to crimes.

The deputies were sentenced to four years in prison and Parker pleaded guilty to extortion and federal civil rights violations and received a 10-year sentence. Parker admitted that he had operated a “marijuana trap” on U.S. Highway 59, arrested suspects, and, according to court documents, subjected “prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions.

“This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning,” the complaint said, which referred to the technique as “water torture.”

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Government Document Archives Online

Over at Sources and Methods, Kristan Wheaton has published a list of online archives of declassified or otherwise released government documents. Some of the sites linked to – like the National Security Archive and the CIA’s FOIA Reading Room – are like old and dear friends. Others, like the EFF’s user-unfriendly document archive, were new to me.

There are a couple of valuable sites he missed, though…
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Legal U.S. Arms Exports May Be Source of Narco Syndicates Rising Firepower

More Than $1 billion In Private-Sector Weapons Exports Approved For Mexico Since 2004

Mainstream media and Beltway pundits and politicians in recent months have unleashed a wave of panic in the nation linking the escalading violence in Mexico, and its projected spread into the U.S., to illegal weapons smuggling.

The smokescreen being spread by these official mouthpieces of manufactured consensus is that a host of criminal operators are engaging in straw (or fraudulent) gun purchases, making clandestine purchases at U.S. gun shows or otherwise assembling small caches of weapons here in the states in order to smuggle them south of the border to the “drug cartels.”

The Obama administration is now sending hundreds of additional federal agents to the border in an effort to interdict this illegal arms smuggling to reassure an agitated middle-America that Uncle Sam will get these bad guys. The cascade of headlines from mainstream media outlets printing drug-war pornography assures us in paragraphs inserted between the titillation that the ATF’s Operation Gunrunner and other similar get-tough on gun-seller programs will save America from the banditos of Mexico.

To be sure, some criminal actors in the U.S. are smuggling small arms across the border. But the drug war in Mexico is not being fought with Saturday night specials, hobby rifles and hunting shotguns. The drug trafficking organizations are now in possession of high-powered munitions in vast quantities that can’t be explained by the gun-show loophole.

At least one report in a mainstream media outlet deserves credit for recognizing that trend.

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Glenn Beck and Penn Jillette on MIAC report

See also: The Radical Polarization of Law Enforcement

Meet the CIA’s Shrink

Meet Dr. David Charney, the Brooklyn-born, Virginia-based psychiatrist who’s been treating the CIA’s cloak-and-dagger set for nearly 20 years.

SpyTalk shares a fascinating St. Patrick’s Day lunch with Charney, who breaks down the issues that various spooks face. For analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence, the problem is  “obsessional,” like fretting endlessly over whether a safe has been locked.

“They start leaving and they think, ‘Did I actually close all the safes?’ Then they go back and check the safes and spin the dials and leave. And then they say, ‘Well, wait a minute — the safe was closed in the first place, so maybe when I spun the dials I actually opened it.’

“In other words, they have obsessional worries. They might think, ‘I have static electricity on my dress, and maybe a classified paper clung to my dress and I wasn’t aware of it when I walked out, and it dropped off.’ And then they’ll go back and check their pathway.”

Charney has interviewed the spies who’ve penetrated the American intelligence services, too — guys like Robert Hansen and Earl Pitts, the FBI-turned-KGB agents. “A spy is one of the loneliest people in the world,” Charney told Newsweek. “He is completely dependent on his handler.”

Suffice it to say, my wife’s practice in the Bronx is a wee bit different.

Accused CIA Rapist’s Alleged Victims Did Not File Local Charges

Interesting tidbits continue to shake out from the strange case of Andrew Warren, the erstwhile CIA station chief in Algeria accused of date rape.First is the overlooked statement of Algeria’s interior minister that the two “local” Muslim women who complained to U.S. embassy officials that Warren spiked their cocktails for nonconsensual sex hold “dual citizenship,” presumably American and Algerian.

That could at least partly explain why the women did not file local criminal charges against Warren, the other reason being that the CIA’s top man in Algeria worked under State Department cover, theoretically giving him diplomatic immunity.

Another factor is that in Muslim countries where the legal code adheres more or less to Islamic sharia law,  women face prohibitive hurdles against filing rape charges, including a requirement to come up with as many as four male witnesses.  It’s also not uncommon for victims to be punished.

But Interior Minister M. Noureddine Y. Zerhouni said last month that “the agent [Warren] is subject [to] an investigation which is still ongoing,” according to an Algerian news site.

Zerhouini also said “that the sexual scandal of the CIA man in Algeria could be connected to the U.S. intelligence framework of recruiting the victims to work with the CIA,” according to the report.

And not just in Algeria.

Egypt compiled a list of names of women who frequently visited the American institutions in Egypt at the time, to investigate if they were recruited for the CIA,” it said.

U.S. investigators have reportedly found more than two dozen videotapes that Warren allegedly made of his sexual escapades.

Meanwhile, Warren’s steamy novel of sex and terrorism set in – you guessed it – Algeria, has gotten its first bad reviews.

See also:

CIA Man Accused of Rape Claimed to Be FBI Agent in Parking Row

CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

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The Radical Polarization of Law Enforcement

The Radical Polarization
of Law Enforcement

Patriots, Christians and concerned citizens are increasingly in the cross hairs of the U.S. intelligence community, and battle lines are being quietly drawn that could soon pit our own law enforcement and military forces against us.

A February 20 report entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” was issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) that paints mainstream patriotic Americans as dangerous threats to law enforcement and to the country. Operating under the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the MIAC is listed as a Fusion Center that was established in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

Because authenticity of the report was questioned by some, this writer contacted Missouri state Representative Jim Guest (R-King City) who had personally verified that the report had indeed been issued. Rep. Guest is chairman of the Personal Privacy Committee and is a prominent leader in the national Blowback against the Real ID Act of 2005 that requires states to issue uniform driver’s licenses containing personal biometric data. (See Guest warns against Big Brother, Real ID)

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CIA Man Accused of Rape Claimed to Be FBI Agent in Parking Row

Andrew Warren,  the former CIA officer accused of date rape in Algiers late last year, caused such a ruckus over parking dispute at a Washington, D.C. hotel three years earlier that the matter was referred to the FBI.

Multiple sources said Warren flashed official credentials and claimed to be an FBI agent during the dispute, which took place in late 2004 or early 2005 when he was escorting Egyptian intelligence officials on an official visit to the CIA.

Warren was a senior CIA operative in Egypt at the time, said the sources, which include two senior former spy agency experts on the region, who demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing the matter.

Warren’s claim to be an FBI agent prompted a hotel manager to send a security video of the incident to the FBI, said two of the sources.

FBI officials said they could not recall such an incident.

See also: CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

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Foggo Addendum: In Their Own Words

Court documents released this week in advance of Thursday’s sentencing of former CIA Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Dustin Foggo provide a remarkable glimpse into the mindset of the key players in a sordid drama involving corruption that reached the highest levels of the CIA and touched the agency’s most sensitive and secret covert operations [1] in the war on terror.

Depositions show that Foggo had his sights set on succeeding Randy “Duke” Cunningham in Congress, even after the former war hero and champion of defense spending had fallen from grace, bilking – for years – the very same defense budgets that he defended passionately from the well of the House. They show that Foggo was appointed to the CIA’s No. 3 post despite a checkered history with the agency. And they show that even as Foggo was defrauding the government the agency gave him three monetary performance awards worth a total of $24,280.

Here is a link to documents [2] filed in Foggo’s case. The depositions can be found here [3]. But if you don’t have time to read all the depositions, here is a trail of illuminating highlights:

See also: Disgraced Senior CIA Official Heads to Prison Still Claiming He’s a Patriot

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Wikileaks cracks NATO’s Master Narrative for Afghanistan

Wikileaks has cracked the encryption to a key document relating to the war in Afghanistan. The document, titled “NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative”, details the “story” NATO representatives are to give to, and to avoid giving to, journalists.

The encrypted document, which is dated October 6, and believed to be current, can be found on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) website oneteam.centcom.mil.

[UPDATE: Fri Feb 27 15:18:38 GMT 2009, the entire Pentagon site is now down--probably in response to this editorial, parts of the site can still be seen in google's cache ]

The encryption password is progress, which perhaps reflects the Pentagon’s desire to stay on-message, even to itself.

Among the revelations, which we encourage the press to review in detail, is Jordan‘s presence as secret member of the US lead occupation force, the ISAF.

Jordan is a middle eastern monarchy, backed by the US, and historically the CIA‘s closest partner in its extraordinary rendition program. “the practice of torture is routine” in the country, according to a January 2007 report by UN special investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak.[1]

The document states NATO spokespersons are to keep Jordan’s involvement secret. Publicly, Jordan withdrew in 2001 and the country does not appear on this month’s public list of ISAF member states.[2]

Some other notes on matters to treat delicately are:

  • Any decision on the end date/end state will be taken by the respective national and/or Alliance political committee. Under no circumstances should the mission end-date be a topic for speculation in public by any NATO/ISAF spokespeople.
  • The term “compensation” is inappropriate and should not be used because it brings with it legal implications that do not apply.
  • Any talk of stationing or deploying Russian military assets in Afghanistan is out of the question and has never been the subject of any considerations.
  • Only if pressed: ISAF forces are frequently fired at from inside Pakistan, very close to the border. In some cases defensive fire is required, against specific threats. Wherever possible, such fire is pre-coordinated with the Pakistani military.

Altogether four classified or restricted NATO documents on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) site were discovered to share the ‘progress’ password. Wikileaks has decrypted the documents and released them in full:

Now that’s progress.

Notes

  1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/30/AR2007113002484_pf.html
  2. http://www.nato.int/isaf/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat.pdf

Disgraced Senior CIA Official Heads to Prison Still Claiming He’s a Patriot

A judge wrapped up one of the most sordid and sprawling congressional scandals in American history Thursday when he sentenced Kyle “Dusty” Dustin Foggo, formerly the No. 3 official at the CIA, to just over three years in federal prison for defrauding the government.

Foggo is one of eight people who have pleaded guilty or been convicted — and now sentenced — in a scandal that emanated from the bribery spree of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who has the distinction of being the most corrupt congressman ever caught, at least in terms of the amount of bribes he admitted to taking –- more than $2.4 million.

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The CIA Family Jewels

Agency Violated Charter for 25 Years, Wiretapped Journalists and Dissidents

Full Report Now Available and Full Text Searchable

CIA Announces Declassification of 1970s “Skeletons” File, Archive Posts Justice Department Summary from 1975, With White House Memcons on Damage Control

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 222, Edited by Thomas Blanton

For more information contact: Thomas Blanton – 202/994-7000

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Ecuador says expelled diplomat was ‘CIA chief’

The US diplomat Ecuador expelled from the country earlier this week was a CIA station chief, President Rafael Correa said on Saturday.

“Last week we expelled the US embassy’s (Mark) Sullivan from the country. He was, let’s be clear, the director of the CIA in Ecuador,” Correa told his weekly radio and television show.

Sullivan– who was listed as first secretary at the US embassy in Quito — was given 48 hours to leave the country on February 18.

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Iranians don’t “hate us because we have freedom”

Iran is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its historic Islamic revolution after three decades of siege warfare by the western powers. To understand why relations between Tehran and the West are so bitter, we must understand their historical context.

Iran’s jagged relations with the West began during World War II. In 1941, the British Empire and Soviet Union jointly invaded and occupied the independent kingdom of Persia, as it was then known. This oil-motivated aggression was every bit as criminal as the German-Soviet occupation of Poland in 1939, but has been blanked out of western history texts.

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The Missing Memos

The Bush administration’s controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping were underpinned by legal memoranda. While some of those memos have been released (primarily as a result of ACLU lawsuits), the former administration kept far more memos secret than has been previously understood. At least three dozen by our count.

The decision to release them now lies with President Obama. To help inform the debate—and inject an extra dose of accountability—we’re posting the first comprehensive list of the secret memos. (The ACLU first compiled a list, which ProPublica verified and expanded on.)

Note: Our list is quite inclusive, but we have chosen to leave off some documents, such as early drafts of later memos.

[ click on image to view ]

Retiring CIA Inspector General Faces Suit Over Conduct of Office

John L. Helgerson, the CIA‘s controversial inspector general, may be finally leaving the spy agency after three decades, but he will not be fading back into the shadows.Helgerso, who has been at the center of some of the agency’s most difficult moments related to terrorism and pre-war intelligence about Iraq, is leaving the CIA in 30 days, according a CIA announcement made quietly over the weekend.

Among other investigations, Helgerson has conducted inquiries into agency officials’ destruction of interrogation videos. He also bumped heads with recently departed CIA chief Michael V. Hayden over his investigation of “erroneous renditions,” or the seizures of persons who were wrongly identified as terrorists.

But Helgerson will not be free of controversy when he concludes his 37-year long CIA career, most of which was spent on the analytical side of the spy agency.

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Guatemala apologizes to Cuba for Bay of Pigs

HAVANA – Guatemala‘s president has apologized to Cuba for his country’s having allowed the CIA to train exiles in the Central American country for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Alvaro Colom says he wants to “officially ask Cuba for forgiveness as president and head of state, and as commander in chief of the Guatemala army.”

He made the apology Tuesday during a speech at the University of Havana.

About 1,500 Cuban exiles trained under CIA guidance in Guatemala before invading the island in April 1961 in an unsuccessful bid to overthrow Fidel Castro‘s communist government. The Bay of Pigs invasion ended after three days with about 100 invaders killed and another 1,000 captured by Cuban forces.

During his official visit to Cuba, Colom was awarding Guatemala’s highest honor to Castro. It was unclear if the ailing 82-year-old former president would receive the medal in person or if it would be delivered to him later.

Castro met in recent days with two other visiting Latin American presidents, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and Chile‘s Michelle Bachelet. Photographs of him with each of the presidents were later released by their respective governments.

Of Children and “Cyber Wars,” Another Witchhunt to Fund

February 17, 2009: The U.S. Department of Defense tries to keep track of countries that have established Cyber War organizations, or just capabilities. Now Germany has joined the ranks of countries with a formal Cyber War organization. Germany is putting together a Cyber War unit. It is small, with less than a hundred personnel. But Germany has a large number of Internet technology experts, and many civilian resources for a Cyber War unit draw on.Many of these Cyber War capable nations are trying to develop tools and techniques for attacking American military and civilian targets, via the Internet, in the future. In some respects, these Cyber Wars have already begun. In the last few years, the number of intrusion attempts on Department of Defense computers has grown to over 500 a day. The actual increase may be less than that, because as the Department of Defense increases its Internet defenses, it becomes better able to detect intrusion attacks. The number of intrusions that succeed, or at least the ones that were discovered, has been going down. But even a few successful intrusions can result in the loss of enormous amounts of valuable data.

A lot of information on the Cyber War against the United States is kept secret, since if the attackers know which of their operations are being observed, or even known about, they will take steps get their work back into the shadows. Half the battle in Cyber War is knowing you are being attacked. The best attacks, especially to steal information, or set up monitoring programs, work best, if at all, if they are undetected.

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The US military and its cult of cruelty

In the week that George Bush took to fantasizing that his blood-soaked “war on terror” would lead the 21st century into a “shining age of human liberty” I went through my mail bag to find a frightening letter addressed to me by an American veteran whose son is serving as a lieutenant colonel and medical doctor with US forces in Baghdad. Put simply, my American friend believes the change of military creed under the Bush administration – from that of “soldier” to that of “warrior” – is encouraging American troops to commit atrocities.

From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to Bagram, to the battlefields of Iraq and to the “black” prisons of the CIA, humiliation and beatings, rape, anal rape and murder have now become so commonplace that each new outrage is creeping into the inside pages of our newspapers. My reporting notebooks are full of Afghan and Iraqi complaints of torture and beatings from August 2002, and then from 2003 to the present point. How, I keep asking myself, did this happen? Obviously, the trail leads to the top. But where did this cult of cruelty begin?

See also: Iraq to re-open Abu Ghraib prison

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CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

The CIA‘s station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

The suspect in the case is identified as Andrew Warren in an affidavit for a search warrant filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. by an investigator for the State Department‘s Diplomatic Security Service.

Click here to read the affidavit.

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NSA Whistleblower Tells More on Illegal Wiretapping of US Citizens (videos)

On January 21, former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice appeared Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show. Tice, who helped expose the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, told Olbermann government programs designed to spy on the American people are more extensive and far reaching than previously admitted. “The National Security Agency had access to all Americans’ communications — faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications,” Tice said. “It didn’t matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications.”

[ click "Read more" for videos and related links ]

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Guide to Using Declassified Documents and Archival Materials on U.S. Foreign Policy

David N. Gibbs

Associate Professor of
History and Political Science
University of Arizona
PhD, 1989, M.I.T.

General Sources

When searching for primary documents pertaining to U.S. foreign policy, a good place to begin is with the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. This is a huge collection of declassified documents from multiple agencies, which is edited and published by the Office of the Historian of the U.S. State Department. The series begins in 1861; the most recent volumes contain documents from the early 1970s. Generally, these volumes are published with a 30 time lag (e.g., volumes containing documents from the 1970s are only being published now). The complete series comprises many hundreds of volume (for a complete list of all FRUS volumes, click here). This series is very easy to use: It is well organized and clearly typeset, with detailed indexes. There are annotations to explain the significance of events and persons. The series is available at most major research libraries….

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White House Lied About Iraqi Yellowcake Buy According to New Report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales misled Congress when he claimed the CIA in 2002 approved information that ended up in the 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq’s alleged effort to buy yellowcake (uranium) for its nuclear weapons program, a House Democrat said Thursday.

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Al Qaeda is More of a U.S. Propaganda Campaign than a Real Organization

Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote:

Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Senate that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”.

And see this Los Angeles Times Article, reviewing a BBC documentary entitled “The Power of Nightmares”, which shows that the threat from Al Qaeda has been vastly overblown (and see this article on the people within the U.S. who are behind the hype).

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The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere. It’s time to stop the mission creep

We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.

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CIA helped shoot down 15 planes

With the help of CIA spotters, the Peruvian air force shot down 15 small civilian aircraft between 1995 and 2001, ostensibly as part of the US-abetted war on drugs, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee revealed Thursday. Many of the shoot-downs were made without warning within two to three minutes of the planes being detected.

See:

Family Racked by CIA Cover-Up

CIA lied about shoot-down of missionary plane, report says

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Former CIA Employee Zawahri Threatens America


Al-Qaeda’s alleged number two Ayman Al-Zawahiri has called for new attacks to be launched against “criminal America,” which is somewhat odd considering the fact that he once fought on behalf of the CIA and was granted U.S. residence by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Indeed, Al-Zawahiri has reportedly been captured twice before, so the fact that he is still releasing video tapes via the Pentagon-allied IntelCenter organization and playing the role of boogeyman so Obama can continue bombing sovereign countries in the name of the war on terror strikes us as a little fishy.

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Interrogation Drugs at Gitmo Alleged


President-elect Obama has re-affirmed his intention to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This will come as a relief to many who have been concerned about some of the ethical issues involved and exactly what has been going on there. While much has been made of so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques (especially waterboarding), the question of chemically-assisted interrogation has received almost no attention at all.

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Family Racked by CIA Cover-Up


Former Poquoson resident Gloria Luttig learned this week that her daughter’s and granddaughter’s deaths were shrouded by a CIA cover-up.

“My daughter was murdered. My granddaughter was murdered,” Luttig said during a phone interview from her home in Pace, Fla., outside Pensacola.

Veronica L. “Roni” Bowers, 35, was aboard a small floatplane April 20, 2001, flying with her husband and two children from Brazil to their houseboat on the Amazon River in Iquitos, Peru, where they lived and worked as missionaries.

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CIA 2008 World Factbook


In order to help policymakers understand the nature and global dimensions of the current financial crisis, The World Factbook has added five new fields to the Economy category.

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CIA lied about shoot-down of missionary plane, report says


An investigation by the agency’s inspector general finds that officials covered up details of the 2001 incident over Peru that killed two Americans and wounded three other people.

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Spy drone ‘Predator,’ reflects what US has become


TUCSON — The bad news is that the US Border Patrol has four drones flying out of Fort Huachuca over the US/Mexico border for surveillance. One drone has already crashed near Nogales and these unmanned aerial planes, provided first by Israel’s Apartheid spy technology maker, Elbit Systems, are a risk to the lives of those on the ground in Arizona.

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CIA, NI directors expect to lose their jobs: report


WASHINGTON: The current chiefs of National Intelligence (NI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) expect to be replaced when Barack Obama takes over as US president on January 20, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

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