Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 05, 2021

CIA Laments About Loss Of Spies In Russia And Elsewhere

The CIA's counterintelligence unit was recently sufficiently shocked to send a 'hair on fire' letter to its case officers all over the world.

The New York Times reports today (emphasis added):

Captured, Killed or Compromised: C.I.A. Admits to Losing Dozens of Informants

WASHINGTON — Top American counterintelligence officials warned every C.I.A. station and base around the world last week about troubling numbers of informants recruited from other countries to spy for the United States being captured or killed, people familiar with the matter said.

The message, in an unusual top secret cable, said that the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or most likely compromised. Although brief, the cable laid out the specific number of agents executed by rival intelligence agencies — a closely held detail that counterintelligence officials typically do not share in such cables.

The cable highlighted the struggle the spy agency is having as it works to recruit spies around the world in difficult operating environments. In recent years, adversarial intelligence services in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have been hunting down the C.I.A.’s sources and in some cases turning them into double agents.

I know of no organization that would send this kind of letter out of the blue and without immediate cause. 'Hair on fire' letters are usually send after some recent incident happened that had relative grave consequences. So what had happened immediately before this letter went out? I can only think of one recent incident.

A week back, on September 29, this news item made the rounds:

Russia arrests founder of cybersecurity firm Group-IB for high treason

Authorities in Russia have arrested the founder and chief executive officer of prominent cybersecurity company Group-IB Global Private Ltd. on accusations of high treason.

Ilya Sachkov, who founded the company in 2003, was arrested today on a warrant issued by Moscow’s Lefortova district court. The arrested followed a raid on the office of Group-IB on Tuesday.
...
Bleeping Computer notes that the company has assisted law enforcement organizations, including the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and the International Criminal Police Organization, with information, expertise and statistical data that helped combat cybercriminal endeavors. However, there is some claim that the company refused to cooperate with Russia’s Federal Security Service outside official contracts or on political issues.

According to TASS the arrest of Sachkov took place on Tuesday, September 28:

"The Lefortovo District Court of Moscow ruled on September 28 to choose custody for a term until November 27 as a measure of restraint for Ilya K. Sachkov suspected of committing a crime stipulated under Article 275 of Russia’s Criminal Code (‘High treason’)," the source said.

Earlier, media outlets reported that law enforcement officials raided the Moscow office of Group-IB on Tuesday. The company’s press service noted that the law enforcement officials left the office in the evening of the same day. The company added that it had no information regarding the reason for the investigation.

Another TASS report quotes an anonymous official about the alleged crime:

Group-IB founder Ilya Sachkov, arrested earlier over charges of treason, worked for foreign intelligence and handed them classified information on cybersecurity, according to the investigation, a source in law enforcement told TASS.

"The investigation suspects Sachkov of handing over classified information on cybersecurity to foreign intelligence agencies," the source said.

According to the source, Sachkov could have been "employed" by intelligence agencies of several countries, but they will not be named in the interest of the investigation.

"The Federal Security Service (FSB) military counter-intelligence has joined the investigation," the source said.
...
In 2016, Sachkov was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is an associate professor of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University IT Security Department, and a member of Russian State Duma and Foreign Ministry expert committee.

A Russian cybersecurity expert with international contacts and with insight into Russian cybersecurity issues would certainly be a target of CIA recruitment efforts.

He wasn't the first one:

In 2019, a court sentenced a former top FSB cyber security official to 22 years on treason charges for passing information along to the US. A former senior executive at Kaspersky Lab, Russia’s top cyber security firm, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in the same case, details of which were not made public.

The New York Times report notes that the CIA's problem is partitally caused by giving the wrong incentives to case officers. Misaligned incentive structures are a typical problem in U.S. human resource management:

Recruiting new informants, former officials said, is how the C.I.A.’s case officers — its frontline spies — earn promotions. Case officers are not typically promoted for running good counterintelligence operations, such as figuring out if an informant is really working for another country.
...
The loss of informants, former officials said, is not a new problem. But the cable demonstrated the issue is more urgent than is publicly understood.

Russia's counterintelligence will surely have had a close look at Sachkov. Unfortunately it is unlikely that it will reveal how it has caught him.

Posted by b on October 5, 2021 at 18:00 UTC | Permalink

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the empire is getting incompetent and others r catching up at the same time

Posted by: A.z | Oct 5 2021 18:11 utc | 1

I am going to speculate that Sachkov was part of a Russian honeypot operation and it is not just him that is being taken out here (for protection?) but perhaps many others who have been associated as well.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 5 2021 18:38 utc | 2

Another example of (suspected) intelligence failure

I guess this is a good place to add my previously-stated suspicion that Roman Protasevich was a Russian double agent, either starting our or 'turned'/compromised.

His behavior after the Ryanair flight was diverted to Minsk and he and his girlfriend were captured is just bizarre for a supposedly committed activist.

While Western news focused on Roman's capture, I think it was actually his girlfriend that was a bigger target, if not 'the' target. Her 'outing' of Belarus security personnel was likely much more damaging/concerning to Lukashenko's government than Roman's activism because if a strongman government is only as good as the confidence of the thugs that protect him.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 5 2021 18:43 utc | 3

thanks b... maybe i am naive in thinking the cia is an outdated and unnecessary arm of the usa... they have been responsible for so much of the mayhem and craziness that defines usa foreign policy today and for the past 50 or more years... how much of it has been relevant or on target?? 'not much' is my read... 9-11 is another example to the point people like me see it as an inside set up to further a particular agenda.. unfortunately for the usa, until the completely get rid of the cia or have it set in a different way, i see the craziness continuing..

@ 3 jackrabbit.. sure.. that makes sense... hard to know, but it is easy to agree with your speculation..

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2021 18:52 utc | 4

ZeroHedge writes Senators Urge Biden To Expel 300 Russian Diplomats - Largest 'Retaliatory' Ban In US History

Strange, unless there is a connection to this story? Primitive retaliation because their main spies have been caught?

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 5 2021 19:25 utc | 5

Top secret cable running in the NYT? Like the NYT has been that competent in the last quarter century. Pull my other leg and it plays Jingle Bells. Or will the Head of the CIA demand people at the NYT be killed for leaking secrets?

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Oct 5 2021 19:33 utc | 6

@james | Oct 5 2021 18:52 utc | 4

"until they completely get rid of the cia or have it set in a different way, i see the craziness continuing"..
James when you read about the alleged rivalry between the US security agencies.
You suspect that there's a lot more energy spent on fighting each other, than real external threats.
Or heaven forbid exaggerated threat assessments to keep the funding.
It's all about protecting your manor.

Posted by: JPC | Oct 5 2021 19:54 utc | 7

I'm with BraveNewWorld @6 regarding the publication of such a story. Aren't such revelations why Assange is rotting in an English prison? Alternately, why would CIA want to leak such information? Perhaps the CIA spy was performing the hacking from Russia events thus lending credibility to those accusations; imagine getting such a confession.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 5 2021 19:58 utc | 8

Thanks b. Drug running, regime change, and wars are some of the activities that can be laid at feet of the CIA. Add to that the recently exposed plan to kidnap and possibly murder Julian Assange. This agency has also trained and supported terrorists that they use as proxy forces to create chaos around the world. Did not a former President once recommend smashing the CIA into a thousand pieces?

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Oct 5 2021 20:01 utc | 9

Michael Crockett @10: "Did not a former President once recommend smashing the CIA into a thousand pieces?"

Yeah, and then they blew his brains out.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 5 2021 20:34 utc | 10

The New York Times is a mouthpiece for the CIA. Readers should be asking themselves why the CIA wants this issue broadcast to the world.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 5 2021 20:36 utc | 11

karlof1@9, lol, very nice what if, thank you.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Oct 5 2021 21:08 utc | 12

karlof1 #9

I'm with BraveNewWorld @6 regarding the publication of such a story. Aren't such revelations why Assange is rotting in an English prison? Alternately, why would CIA want to leak such information? Perhaps the CIA spy was performing the hacking from Russia events thus lending credibility to those accusations; imagine getting such a confession.

Thank you and while on the topic of Wikileaks and its persecution, I understand that the CIA desires absolute monopoly on intelligence matters and the reporting thereof. Here is a link to a recent NEO report that elaborates and perhaps brings in to focus some of the jigsaw pieces of this and related subjects.

“The relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are much deeper that they appear, like an iceberg, most of which is hidden from prying eyes.” These words of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev were contained in a telegram sent from the US Embassy in Baku to Washington, and became widely known following their publication by Wikileaks.

It is worth the short read for the light it sheds.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 5 2021 21:25 utc | 13

The US should really freak out about the obvious fact that they'll have a hard time recruiting any new informant or helper outside of the Western world, specially after the whole Afghan mess. Everyone can see they're totally unreliable and will drop you as soon as the going gets tough. Who will want to risk his life for few money and to help ungrateful assholes living on the other side of the world?

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Oct 5 2021 21:25 utc | 14

As Russian Izvestia reported recently:


It is possible that Group-IB's problems could arise due to too close contacts of its employees with Western intelligence services. From the materials of the American law enforcement agencies, it follows that in 2014, Group-IB's top manager Nikita Kislitsyn was interrogated at the American embassy in Moscow by an employee of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of an investigation initiated against him and his accomplices in the case of selling e-mail addresses and hash passwords of Formspring social network users in 2012. Kislitsyn claimed that he gave evidence with the consent of Ilya Sachkov in order to “settle the situation” and travel to the United States fearlessly.

Posted by: alaff | Oct 5 2021 21:30 utc | 15

BraveNewWorld @ 6 is the first cogent commenter here, seconded by karlof1 @ 9, and nicely topped off by WilliamGruff @ 10, 11.

I am wondering why B is taken in by this NYT-CIA bull excrement when he is usually so sharp.

Remember the CIA not only steals, cheats, lies? but they also create "new realities" for (gaslit) citizens to sttudy?

This one walks and quacks like a NewReality.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Oct 5 2021 21:33 utc | 16

I’ve known three persons interviewed by the US intelligence community for info about Russia. What they all said was the interviewers were impressively stupid.

First would be a childhood friend who was trying to do interlibrary loan with the Marx-Engels Institute in Prague. He had tracked down a file of an 1880s Bohemian language Chicago newspaper at the Institute. He never did see the newspaper (and when the wall came down rats and mold had ruined the Institute), he did have a visit by a committee of four. Two identified themselves as FBI, badges & ID. The other two were “You don’t need to know.” They were stupid as in did not know difference between Communist and Comintern. One of them thought Prague was perhaps a couple of subway stops from Moscow. My friend spoke with them freely as everything went straight over their heads and their report was certain to be unintelligible.

Another childhood acquaintance, an older neighbor, was a lifelong Party member and high school teacher. Strange to think that combo was once possible right here in US. When he retired he took the long awaited trip to the Socialist Fatherland. Strictly as a tourist. This would have been 1970s and I believe it was SOP to debrief all travelers to USSR. This was a crotchety old man and the debrief did not go smoothly. They spent a week of 9 to 5 with him. And got nothing. He said he’d had lots of students over the years with limited mental activity, the crew that worked him were real dullards.

Then my Russian history professor, James Cracraft. This is not anything he confided to me personally, all discussed freely in the classroom. His academic interest was the Russian Orthodox Church under Peter the Great. Didn’t matter to CIA, he was eyes and ears in places they did not easily go. All Soviet citizens automatically assumed any American academic was a spy. CIA assumed if you were clever enough to have a fellowship you were clever enough to know it could be cancelled, as could your visa. Cooperation was a given. Again, no reason not to cooperate as the intelligence agents were too plain dumb to learn anything. Lots of time spent spelling proper nouns for them, getting Cyrillic alphabet into Latin. Never anything useful and less than zero possibility a more clever analyst would glean something. There were no clever analysts.

No reason to worry anything has changed. Blind leading the blind.

Posted by: Oldhippie | Oct 5 2021 21:44 utc | 17

CIA leak to NYTimes coincides with this:

Senators Urge Biden To Expel 300 Russian Diplomats - Largest 'Retaliatory' Ban In US History

Congressional Russia hawks on both sides of the aisle are pushing to dramatically ramp up the diplomatic war with Russia, following Moscow issuing a blanket ban on the US Embassy's ability to hire local Russian citizens or even third-country staff. The prior Russian move forced the US Embassy in Moscow to lay off about 200 local staff.

... reported Tuesday by Axios: "The top-ranking Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees are calling on President Biden to expel 300 Russian diplomats if Moscow does not issue more diplomatic visas to make up for its ban on the U.S. Embassy hiring local Russian staff."

If enacted it would constitute the single largest expulsion of Russian diplomats in history, which would inevitably result in the Kremlin taking its own drastic action against the embassy and US consulates in Russia.

Ironically it comes months after the Putin-Biden June summit in Geneva, which aimed at restoring positive and open communications. But US-Russia relations have only continued to deteriorate since then, particularly as members of Congress have sought to ratchet the pressure campaign, citing Russia's human rights record and the recent crackdown on supporters of jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny.


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 5 2021 22:12 utc | 18

@6 BraveNewWorld The CIA is using the NYT's as a limited hangout. Take it to the bank that some Senate committee already knows about the decimation of CIA assets, and the committee members were planning to gain some Shock! Horror! glory for themselves.

Too late now: the CIA has stage-managed the news-cycle via its cutouts at the NYTs.

Wheels within wheels within wheels: if you can't kill the story then grab it in both hands and run with it yourself.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 5 2021 22:20 utc | 19

Posted by: Serg | Oct 5 2021 22:21 utc | 20

Posted by: Serg | Oct 5 2021 22:25 utc | 21

Max keeps barfing up the same talking points without regard for the actual topic. Dude, you are boring and predictable. Keep bolding the first line for emphasis, too!

Perceptive article, b.

There have been stories from China in the last few years about US espionage rings being liquidated.

Posted by: Ringo | Oct 5 2021 22:32 utc | 23

I find it appallingly amazing that so many Outlaw US Empire politicos's minds remain polluted by the lies told to fuel the Anti-Communist Crusade. IMO, that in itself is indicative of how relations with Russia, China and the emerging Eurasian Bloc will progress until those minds are finally buried. But the state of the newer, what ought to be less polluted minds, doesn't appear very promising. In her ongoing Congressional testimony today, Yellen tried to further motivate the Rs to do the right thing and extend the debt limit by threatening the likelihood of a recession occurring if they didn't. Well, I've got news for Yellen--the USA's been in Recession for many years now, at least since 2008, Depression being the more apt descriptive term.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 5 2021 22:46 utc | 24

"I know of no organization that would send this kind of letter out of the blue and without immediate cause. 'Hair on fire' letters are usually send after some recent incident happened that had relative grave consequences."

Hahaha, b is missing the humor here. C.I.A. has a dog whistle way to say "I need more money." It is just like a kid staring at a candy and cries "Mom, I am hungry."


Posted by: d dan | Oct 5 2021 23:21 utc | 25

@William Gruff(11):
> Yeah, and then they blew his brains out.
Nixon was also pissed off but he got no bullet:
"Get the CIA jerks working on Cambodia--I don't see this ..."
https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v06/pg_827
Read it from p.826:
https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v06/pg_826
At this time Opium came from Golden Triangle near by. Nearly nothing changed after 50 years the drug source only. Both failed now caused strong short of money for the CIA?

Posted by: Wolle | Oct 6 2021 0:06 utc | 26

This looks to me like a simple ass covering in wake of the complete failure of intelligence on Afghanistan, and (surely) soon upcoming letdowns on Russia, China and Iran. CIA - just like all other branches of US government - is quickly turning into a total joke. It's fully woke now, hiring mostly people of color, women, LGBTQ and whatever other minority they can think of. Professionalism and competence are way far back in the criteria considered. It's going to be an object of constant ridicule from here on, until the whole thing disappears from the face of the Earth, along with the U.S.A itself.

Posted by: Venom | Oct 6 2021 0:12 utc | 27

d dan @Oct5 23:21 #26

Yeah. Biden's 3.5 trillion dollar spending plan goes poof.

The faux populist progressives have already caved-in to debt ceiling baloney and are now pretending that they can wrangle more than the lowball $1.5 trillion number that has been floated by Manchin. This RED SCARE may put the kibosh on that effort.

You can't have nice things . . . because debt limits! and foreign menace!

<> <> <> <> <>

P.S. Shades of Obama betrayal via Fiscal Cliff bullshit.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 6 2021 0:19 utc | 28

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2021 18:52 utc | 4
Posted by: JPC | Oct 5 2021 19:54 utc | 8

The CIA is, in fact, completely unnecessary to the actual safety of American citizens and (most) American companies/corporations. However, it's both a giant make-work program both internally and abroad. Internally, of course I mean career spooks and those who transition into the comfy and profitable world of private contractors to whom the CIA and other agencies outsource certain functions. Abroad/externally it's about financing its own existence (through drug running, arms sales, etc.) and de-stabilizing "hostile" or not-compliant-enough regimes and foreign owned banks and companies so that there will "need" to be future military interventions, which of course are highly profitable to US/UK/French/German banks and "defense" contractors.

Hence, the CIA exists to facilitate and grow its own existence and to ensure there's enough chaos in the right parts of the world to keep the gravy train going. A giant self-licking ice cream cone that should have been shattered into a million little pieces but for the convenient demise of one former U.S. president.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Oct 6 2021 0:21 utc | 29

Nothing new still murdering thugs

Posted by: jo6pac | Oct 6 2021 0:35 utc | 30

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 5 2021 20:36 utc | 12

Exactly. They want more funding and to justify their existence (and growth) by exaggerating "threats" and "losses" via the NYT which has long been captured by the "intelligence" community.

This story made the rounds way back when. Not sure if b also wrote a piece about it, but I don't think so.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/25/new-york-times-admits-it-sent-story-to-government-for-approval/

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Oct 6 2021 0:36 utc | 31

@jo6pac(31): Correttamente! ;-)

Posted by: Wolle | Oct 6 2021 0:39 utc | 32

Back in the 1980s I used to have an economics lecturer with a Harvard PhD who told my class once that he had worked for the CIA as an analyst. Although he was of Polish descent, he didn't know Polish but he was put in the section where he had to read and research Polish-language newspapers and print media and listen to Polish-language radio stations. There were others like him working in the same section whose knowledge of Polish was equally sketchy. A colleague he knew who was fluent in German was put to work in the Bulgarian section.

The lecturer's recollections might tell you something of the culture of the organisation, that it would put people to work in those areas where they were least qualified and not in those areas where their knowledge and experience would be useful.

My classmates and I were stunned to hear this stuff because the lecturer was not kind of fellow we imagined would work for the CIA even in a back office position. He was very disorganised - I used to pass his office at uni and it always looked as if a tornado had been through it. He had a great intellect and knew his stuff but he was not cut out even for a lecturer position, he was better off doing academic research as long as someone could help him sort out stuff and put things together.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 6 2021 0:56 utc | 33

Regarding those US Senators demanding the US expel 300 Russian diplomates, there are only in fact only about 100 Russian diplomats assigned to the various Russian embassies in the US. The only way to get 300 Russians diplomates to expel would be if the Senators are including Russian diplomats assigned to the UN in New York as people they want expelled from the US. The US has often restricted Iranian and Libyan UN diplomates, but this would be a huge (and of course illegal) escalation if the US tried to ban Russian diplomats from the UN.

Posted by: Kadath | Oct 6 2021 1:07 utc | 34

@ JPC | Oct 5 2021 19:54 utc | 8 / Tom_Q_Collins | Oct 6 2021 0:21 utc | 30... well, we are all seeing this much the same way! reading the book 'has china won?' it says much the same... the usa has become very rigid and not able to change, let alone learn from any of its mistakes... it is now like the ussr prior to breakup and china is acting like the usa here... it is an interesting set up which seems to me is more of the beginning of the end dynamics.. cia - fbi - nsa, nsc, and etc. etc. - all working off the same playbook and none of them serving the best interests of the usa, but more their own narrow self interests.. that can't sustain a country... in fact, it will be the downfall of the usa if nothing changes... and for the record - i see nothing changing.. civil war maybe...even then i am not sure how this wreck is going to end...

@ kiwiklown | Oct 5 2021 21:33 utc | 17... yeah, b really is the naive dupe here, ,lol... and you on the other hand are brilliant!! if it hasn't occurred to you, most every poster who posts at moa knows the nyt is the mouthpiece for the cia... and of course b knows this too, lol! so maybe the story b gave was about something more then what you think it was about?? a quote from the article - "I know of no organization that would send this kind of letter out of the blue and without immediate cause. 'Hair on fire' letters are usually send after some recent incident happened that had relative grave consequences. " that is the thrust of this article and speculation..

@ jen 34 - great story... quite funny in fact and sounds about right! thanks..

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2021 1:34 utc | 35

whatever twist and turn, aka interpretation, one puts on this story doesn't per se make the news itself false.

of course in the US that the CIA is having its ass handed to it means they need more money.

one might just as well conclude that a failing enterprise should be defunded. they should close shop, study their competitors, rebrand themselves with a new product. but we are talking about capitalism here. even though no one knows for sure the budget of the CIA, can there be any doubt that it needs more money?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Oct 6 2021 1:34 utc | 36

Give them nothing, let them bleed. They are as bankrupt as Fantasia. Once were Evergrand but then they started smoking their own opium and got hacked. Good riddance to every last one of them and their flock.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 6 2021 1:53 utc | 37

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Oct 6 2021 1:36 utc | 40

Hahaha! You made me laugh. And before I read your last post I was about to write: "You can say that again. And again."

T-Mobile?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Oct 6 2021 2:15 utc | 38

@Jen
That reminds me of a story I heard in Poland about 30 years ago. It concerned a certain CIA recruit who was, apparently, the most talented and promising agent ever to train at Langley. In all subjects, he was at the top of his class. But since he showed a particular aptitude for the Polish language it was no surprise to him to be posted to that country, dropping by parachute into a rural area in the dead of night. Unfortunately, by morning his cover was blown, and he was expelled.

Posted by: Platero | Oct 6 2021 2:32 utc | 39

@19 Jackrabbit That article is a classic example both of the amateurism of US "diplomacy" and the deliberate misrepresentation of facts by American media outlets.

The ZH article (and the Axios article it pilfers from) has the sequence of events as:
a) Biden expels 10 Russian diplomats
b) Putin retaliates by banning the US Embassy from hiring local workers.

Shock! Horror! That's OUTRAGEOUS! Utterly OUTRAGEOUS!!!

No, it isn't outrageous and, no, it isn't accurate.

The true sequence of events is this:
a) Biden expels 10 Russian diplomats in April
b) Putin (as you would expect) expels 10 American diplomats in May
c) The USA responds by refusing to process any visa applications post-May other than in "life-threatening" circumstances.

The State Department obviously expected the Russians to follow suite, which is no big deal because more Russians need US Visas than Americans need Russian Visas.

Only.... the Russians Judo throws the USA to the mat: they ban any Russian locals from working in the US Embassy.

The USA now has to fill those jobs with State Department staff, who will need Russian Vis..... oh, shit, those crafty Russians!

That's why Little Marco and Where's-my-bribe-Mendendez are having their fissy-fit.

The Russians have thoroughly outmaneuvered the Americans, and the *sensible* move now is for both sides to back down and agree to process the Visa applications of the other.

But Washington doesn't do "sensible". Certainly Rubio and Menendez are far too dim to understand how big a hole the USA has dug for itself, and so they are urging Biden to Keep On Digging!

Mental pigmies. But you wouldn't know that from reading ZeroHedge, or Axios, because neither is telling the complete story.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 2:57 utc | 40

They want Artificial Intelligence. Bought from you know who.
Because they have a hard time keeping human agents.

Posted by: Bond | Oct 6 2021 3:53 utc | 41

@45 Bond "They want Artificial Intelligence. Bought from you know who"

Tony Stark?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 4:27 utc | 42

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 5 2021 19:25 utc | 5

ZeroHedge writes Senators Urge Biden To Expel 300 Russian Diplomats - Largest 'Retaliatory' Ban In US History

In response, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that there aren't that many Russian diplomats in all of Washington, DC, for the US to expel.

LOL

US Senators "numerically challenged?" If the Senators are of this calibre one can only guess as the calibre of the average CIA recruit.

Posted by: Sushi | Oct 6 2021 4:29 utc | 43


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 5 2021 22:12 utc | 19

If enacted it would constitute the single largest expulsion of Russian diplomats in history . . .

You bet it would be the largest single expulsion of Russian diplomats in history. Also the most improbable. See my # 47

Double LOL

Posted by: Sushi | Oct 6 2021 4:40 utc | 44

Yeah, Right @Oct6 2:57 #44

You are not seeing the con that I described @Oct6 0:19 #29. Let me explain ...

Sure, they got themselves into a 'pickle' with Russia. But 1) they pushed knowing full-well that Russia would push back (so the 'pickle' was pre-arranged); and 2) before fixing the mess (if indeed they have any desire to fix it) they are making use of it for 'RED SCARE' publicity that highlights the foreign menace (OMG!) and force the phony progressives to back down in budget negotiations because the last thing fake progressives want is to be labeled unAmerican/unpatriotic (these fake progressive will then tell their constituents that backing down was necessary).

We've seen this patriotic litmus test used to squash the progressives before. And we've seen US debt used to squash social programs (Obama's "Fiscal Cliff" farce). But when you OWN the controlled opposition AND the media, you are free to rinse and repeat.

So the set-up for failure is clear to anyone paying attention:

  • FIRST Biden/Pelosi pretend that the progressives are a force to be reckoned with so they MUST create a 'kitchen sink' financial package that seeks far too much while (secretly, LOL) also telling the progressives that they will not get everything (backing-down is a feature of their oh-so-smart strategy for success/sarc), then
  • they cave in the face of bi-partisan consensus that debt is a problem while pretending that they can still 'win' by playing 11-dimensional chess (which Obama was famous for), then
  • WHAM! they are hit with a 'RED SCARE' that forces them to back down once again.

There may be some truth to CIA failures but hyping them (via NYTimes) is just a political maneuver. And it conveniently comes at just the right time for maximum impact in the budget negotiations.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 6 2021 4:49 utc | 45

What sort of "top secret cable" is reported in the New Dork Crimes?

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Oct 6 2021 4:54 utc | 46

@49 Jackrabbit You are giving them way, way too much credit.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 5:50 utc | 47

Re:'misaligned incentive structures', i'm reminded of a book by Reinhard Sprenger I read long time ago which pleaded that any reward system is misaligned. I'll just pass on this anecdote: in his neighbourhood there was a group of youngsters who were always harassing an old man. One day Sprenger engaged them an promised them 5DM each if them would harass tho old man that day. And so they did and they were rewarded, and they agreed to do the same the next day. Then Sprenger started to lower the reward to 2DM , and then down to 1DM. And within a week they had decided the reward was too little and they stopped harassing the old man.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Oct 6 2021 6:58 utc | 48

@44
The genius of the Russian move not to allow Russians to work for the American embassy/consulates is also that the American diplomats are used to the cushy life of expats - most of the diplomats have drivers, cleaning staff, even cooks. They live in apartments within proximity from the American embassy complex in Moscow, spend their working days within that complex, or the Anglo-American school, and if they don't their need for a driver is even higher (traffic in Moscow is beyond US understanding). So with one fell swoop, not only has Russia reduced the US embassy and spy operations, it has totally undercut the lifestyle the expats have carved out for themselves.

In contrast, Russians diplomats in the USA are much more used to take out their own garbage.

Posted by: Josh | Oct 6 2021 7:10 utc | 49

Yeah, Right @Oct6 5:50 #51: You are giving them way, way too much credit.

I don't think so.

The facts are clear:

  • Political betrayal

    Centrist Democrats like Obama, Biden, and the Clintons (esp. Obama) have worked for the establishment not the people. They even call themselves "progressive" (Hillary: "I'm a progressive that gets things done!").

  • Guns vs butter

    Trump-Biden "modernizing" of the military with revamped/updated nukes, hyper-sonic missile programs, space force, etc. has been costly.

    I think it's a safe bet that Empire Managers want to direct money into military/intelligence as they prepare for a conflict with China or Russia. They don't really want to fund infrastructure (unless for military use) or social programs.

  • Intel/Mil Funding

    Intel/Mil is like insurance. No one likes to pay for insurance.

    They don't get added funding because they are successfully addressing threats, they get added funding because new threats have "emerged".

  • The UNpatriotic smear

    Before Trump, progressives were often accused of being unpatriotic.

    After Trump, the liberals/progressives have painted Trump followers as unpatriotic. They justify this by pointing to rumors of Trump's affinity for Putin and the Jan 6th "insurrection" as justifications. (Although unsubstantiated and/or exaggerated, many on the left believe these 'truths' that left-friendly media have spread.)


Biden/Sanders will get funding for their social programs (to save face and forestall protests) but it will be drastically less than they initially asked for and much less than what their supporters had hoped for. To make that 'magic' happen requires some subterfuge - like debt fears and the urgent(!) need to protect democracy from Putin-Trump mischief.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 6 2021 7:12 utc | 50

What real intelligence agency would run a whiny story like this? "Boo hoo, foreign counter-intelligence agencies have caught or turned our agents and we weren't smart enough to stop them!". Imagine if the SIS had written a letter to The Times complaining that their Head of Russian Section had turned out to be working for the KGB and defected to Moscow. In the real world, this would not be any sort of reason to give the CIA more money; it's like giving money to a construction company when all their building projects have either collapsed or been abandoned.

Imagine the FSB or the Chinese Ministry of State Security writing such a letter. I imagine anyone who sent out such a letter would be liquidated.

Posted by: MFB | Oct 6 2021 7:14 utc | 51

@55 MFB "What real intelligence agency would run a whiny story like this?"

One that wants to prepare the groundwork for blaming the field agents for operational failures, rather than admit that the entire organisation is not fit for purpose.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 7:58 utc | 52

Washington goes on about how important it is to split Moscow from Beijing for the coming conflict, but what to those morons do? Keep on bashing Moscow. A couple of times Putin has said he sees no point in pandering to Washington and its poodles but they were just a warning, but it now looks as if he is giving them physical evidence that he is. Washington can't say it wasn't warned.
Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, a Bellingcat wannabe is pushing a dubious claim that various institutions in Wuhan were buying large numbers of PCR test throughout 2019 before COVID-19 was made public. PCR tests are not exclusive to COVID-19 so there use just indicates there was a virus around that needed to be tested for.
At this point I came across a twitter thread from Ian Ricksecker that explains it better but essentially it turns out that African Swine Flu, a viral infection, was rampaging through China's pig population and the Chinese government ordered increased testing to assist it getting it under control.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 6 2021 8:19 utc | 53

RE: Posted by b on October 5, 2021 at 18:00 UTC | Permalink

“I can only think of one recent incident. “

Some social relations encourage focus on “events” rather than lateral processes facilitating the quote above, and necessitating “The CIA's counterintelligence unit was recently sufficiently shocked to send a 'hair on fire' letter to its case officers all over the world. “

“Unfortunately it is unlikely that it will reveal how it has caught him. “

In some social relations silence catalyses speculations which is not unfortunate for some other social relations as illustrated in Mr. Greene's title “The Quiet American”.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Oct 6 2021 8:39 utc | 54

In an unusual move, the message sent via a top secret cable included the specific number of agents killed by other intelligence agencies, according to The New York Times.

The guys who cannot keep the secrets I guess. Maybe the big bust was the Russians kicking Scientology out of the country.
Russia moves to ban 'undesirable' Church of Scientology groups

L Ron Hubbard must be rolling over in his grave if that is where they end up. All joking aside. The three letter boys routinely recruit at seminaries and any institution that sends people overseas on assignment.

Posted by: circumspect | Oct 6 2021 9:00 utc | 55

rjb1.5 @ 40:

I'm still waiting for Serg to repeat what he was trying to say @ 21 and 22.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 6 2021 9:58 utc | 56

Just reading circumspect 59 — do you suppose it was a hack? That this top secret cable with the number of agents killed was actually sent by another intelligence service? Like a cyber break-in, made to look like an authentic message from above? In that case, the NYT piece could be the CIA doing damage control.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Oct 6 2021 10:06 utc | 57

The CIAs NYT article was mainly about Pakistan:

While the memo identified specific numbers of informants that were arrested or killed, it said the number turned against the United States was not fully known. Sometimes, informants who are discovered by adversarial intelligence services are not arrested, but instead are turned into double agents who feed disinformation to the C.I.A., which can have devastating effects on intelligence collection and analysis. Pakistanis have been particularly effective in this sphere, former officials said.

The collapse of the American-backed government in Afghanistan means that learning more about Pakistan’s ties to the Taliban government and extremist organizations in the region is going to become ever more important. As a result, the pressure is once again on the C.I.A. to build and maintain networks of informants in Pakistan, a country with a record of discovering and breaking those networks.


Posted by: Antonym | Oct 6 2021 10:07 utc | 58

I guess mag na tam is a bot, a programmed thing that spews text based on previous posts.

What think you Gruff and the other guy?

Posted by: jonku | Oct 6 2021 10:12 utc | 59

After the last CIA asset communication system was rolled up by Iran and the tech details shared with China, maybe now the CIA's replacement system has also been rolled up. ...

I'm with BraveNewWorld @6 regarding the publication of such a story. Aren't such revelations why Assange is rotting in an English prison? Alternately, why would CIA want to leak such information?
Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 5 2021 19:58 utc | 9

Or maybe the CIA has already switched to a third communications system after the second was rolled up, and this is mis-direction ...

Or maybe frustrated by the ability to get new assets in China and Russia, they resorted to creating fake assets - planting fake incriminating information against key Chinese/Russian officials they couldn't recruit, to make their governments think those officials had been recruited ...

One fact is absolutely certain - the picture painted publicly by the CIA is mis-direction of some kind.

Posted by: BM | Oct 6 2021 10:54 utc | 60

I always thought of the CIA as on the one hand, intelligence gathering, and on the other hand - as the private army of the President of the USA.
An organisation that is both intelligence and action has conflict of interests built in.

Posted by: passerby | Oct 6 2021 10:56 utc | 61

Jen @ 34

Your story reminded me of another. A high school friend who got arrested driving 120mph with a revoked license, an underage girl, lots of cocaine. He was from a good family, strings were pulled, he got choice of prison or Army. He took Army. Army tested him as smart, sent him to language school where he learned Mandarin. Sent to Hong Kong with Army Intelligence to interview refugees from the mainland. Of course the refugees spoke various Cantonese dialects and he did not understand a word.

Didn’t matter. The job was telling superiors what they wanted to hear. Back then the US dollar allowed an American serviceman to live like a prince in Hong Kong, he stayed four years. Eventually he did pick up enough of the local language. By then it was darn clear that no report should ever include facts. The only thing anyone in chain of command wanted to hear was Horrors of the Cultural Revolution. That was what they got. Journalists and academics got that report too.

At higher levels in chain of command it was known the information developed in HK was pure BS. But it was the only information.

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 6 2021 12:41 utc | 62

BM @ 64

Actually this was one of my first thoughts...that yet another amateurish communications scheme with its agents worldwide had been compromised. But then I was thinking back, and as I remember the CIA was somewhat embarrassed about the first time that happened, and it only slowly dribbled out what had happened considerably after the fact. To have a major story in the completely controlled NYT, therefore, is more likely about something else. Potentially there has been a serious event in Pakistan or somewhere of that nature, but I lean more toward it being a combined distraction from the massive failure in Afghanistan, and the current budgetary/funding battles that others have mentioned above. Because of the highlighting of agents killed, I lean against it being tied to a failure in Russia, who generally doesn't kill agents. She turns them or jails them for later trade.

Posted by: J Swift | Oct 6 2021 13:08 utc | 63

Re: 43
Oh, yeah, I forgot the name: Bill Charny

Posted by: Platero | Oct 6 2021 13:30 utc | 64

Thus ya an excuse to buy Artificial intelligence from Israel. Israel is the leader in AI military hardware and software.
This is their fabricated excuse to get money from Congress.

Posted by: Bond | Oct 6 2021 13:34 utc | 65

So America's beloved state-terrorist organization, the Central Intelligence Agency, is getting its assets neutralized around the world.

Poor little snowflakes. Here's a big box of tissues for you all....

Obviously, the CIA needs to do a better job of recruitment.

In order to rectify this problem, I suggest pursuing job applicants that fit the profile of this charming fellow below, who is one of The Company’s most honored alumni.

Here's a brief summary of his amazing work accomplishments and job qualifications:

Bin Laden comes home to roost
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna3340101

Posted by: ak74 | Oct 6 2021 14:38 utc | 66

China cripples US spy ring:

"Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations - The New York Times" https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/asia/china-cia-spies-espionage.html

Posted by: Ringo | Oct 6 2021 14:48 utc | 67

You know, I wonder if the collapse in Afghanistan led to exposure of "assets", leading to this cleanup operation? Supposedly they got a lot of our secret stuff, and they are getting along well with China. I'm sure China would appreciate the information.

NYT is all over it too, so somebody wants us to know.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 6 2021 14:56 utc | 68

.
The "'Hair on fire'" expression reminds me that The Saker blog some time ago explained the Russian ideom "The thief's hat is on fire" (or: "Smoke comes from the thief's hat"):
.
A small town market place was plagued by things getting stolen. The elders of the town went to ask a local sage what to do. The sage came and attended the next market day and told the town elders to be on the alert and ready to catch the thief.
.
Suddenly the sage cried out: "The thief's hat is burning!" Several men threw away their hats in fright,
Thus, all the thieves in the district were caught in one swoop.
.
Does not the CIA now cry out by themselves -- tha thieves' masters revealing everything themselves?

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Oct 6 2021 15:03 utc | 69

@J Swift | Oct 6 2021 13:08 utc | #67

"... Russia, who generally doesn't kill agents. She turns them or jails them for later trade"

Russian citizens who are informants for foreign governments (aka traitors) are not treated more harshly than that?

Posted by: Billb | Oct 6 2021 15:17 utc | 70

"Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 6 2021 12:41 utc | 66

" The job was telling superiors what they wanted to hear. "


I have long had the feeling that many of the advisors , etc., have that as their policy.
That accounts for many of the dumb moves and the constant doubling down and the pay is steady.

Posted by: arby | Oct 6 2021 15:21 utc | 71

Hi,b you ve been a doing a pretty good work we practically dont find out elsewhere on a day-in-an-out basis.
But I m missing and a bunch of others need er.. an approach to what is happening in the Iranian northern border +armenia+ adzerbadjan=+turkey and certainly a few other usual suspects.
Could you please help us?

Posted by: augusto | Oct 6 2021 15:24 utc | 72

Posted by: augusto | Oct 6 2021 15:24 utc | 76

Joint press conference Lavrov and the new Iranian FM. The Iranian foreign minister openly mentioned foreign terrorists and zionists presence in neighboring Azerbaijan, Lavrov was a bit more diplomatic and proposed two new formats in order to achieve stability in the Caucasus, one between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, the other one with their neighbors, Russia, Iran and Turkey. He mentioned the need to achieve stability to open new routes that will develop the region and help to achieve development conducive to it. He urged for ratification of the Caspian treaty in which the presence of troops from countries not bordering that inland sea is prohibited. The Iranian minister sounded more worried and sent a warning to Azerbaijan. The Iranian FM's answers are on the video only, the text of Lavrov speech in Russian:

https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4881252

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 16:08 utc | 73

And talking Russia even though this is not an open thread, Putin today suggested that the energy crisis is a consequence of the Euro Commission's doing since it worked hard to avoid long term contracts and bet it all on the "free market", something to be avoided in energy generation due to the many variables that can affect it as we are seeing world wide and especially in Europe with gas prices reaching ridiculous heights.

http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66866

The International Space Station is the location for a new Russian film, the first filmed in space with the really nice looking -for my taste anyway- Yulia Peresild. Russian women, a force to be reckoned with. Here is to you b, in German which unfortunately I do not understand.
Does she have a good accent?

https://youtu.be/PMXG3fSpWAI?t=20

There is a film by the same director with Yulia and popular actor Mashkov, epic film about a Gulag camp, a bit Hollywood style but at a very good level, I think they're going to make a block buster up in space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNyqRT_FFBA

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 16:41 utc | 74

NATO to halve the size of the Russian mission to NATO. Apparently, there were 8 Russian intelligence officers in the mix.

https://tass.com/politics/1346483

And Lavrov spoke with Blinken (Blinken’s call, oct 6 - maybe wishing VVP an early happy birthday!)

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4880524

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Oct 6 2021 16:43 utc | 75

OK, I'll give some more hints.

They say "The pen is mightier than the sword." That can only be true so long as you are not trying to use your pen as a hammer and wreck the nib.

In the post U.S. Government Provides Another Trove Of Offshore Papers Of People It Dislikes our host mentioned some media organizations funded by Pierre Omidyar that work with US State Department controlled NGOs. These fake NGOs (USAID, NED, etc) are essentially extensions of the CIA, as everyone here knows. The poster S @58 quoted "MintPress News", which in turn paraphrased part of the mission statement of the "Omidyar Network", which is to "tackle the root causes of the global trust deficit". Obviously, the "trust deficit" mentioned is referring to the global decline in the credibility of the big corporate mass media.

Why is the big business mass media losing credibility worldwide? This should be obvious, particularly to readers here (except the resident bunny), but I will state it anyway: The establishment, and the Mockingbird mass media and its affiliates like Omidyar's groups in particular, have dramatically overplayed their hand. In the US they are trying hard to gaslight scores of millions of people to get them back into the groove of accepting the establishment narrative du jour and it is failing. The more force they use to try and get the population "thinking right" the more the population resists and the public skepticism spreads.

Since a big part of what the CIA does involves perception management it is a big deal to them that their helpers in the corporate mass media are losing traction with the public. The credibility of the Mockingbird mass media needs to be restored, and that needs to start with the New York Langley Times. I often criticize the misnamed "intelligence community" for being stupid and delusional, but it doesn't take a genius to see that part of the problem with media credibility is that media's close ties to the misnamed "intelligence community". Before the Mockingbird mass media's credibility can improve the illusion of distance between the media and the CIA needs to be created.

Thus a couple high-profile articles in the New York Langley Times that appear to cast the CIA in a bad light (this one and the one about the plot to assassinate Assange). While the articles themselves might contain some truth, the important thing about them is that they exist at all. This is more about the New York Langley Times than it is about the CIA. This is the CIA trying to fix one of their most important tools. They are trying to sharpen the nib on the pen that they wrecked.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 6 2021 16:54 utc | 76

In the mid-ninetweninetees, the mother of my common-law wife during that descennium came visiting us here in Scandinavia. She had not cared to visit my girl.friend since the latter fled home to join the marines and later on soon moved to Europe.
Her mother was a recruiter and "Human relation specialist" in Langley, Virginia.(item est: the CIA)
I soon understood she came to assess me as a possible recruit, since I had studied in Commie China, worked with radar in Irân and in Palestine (that part falsely called Izraëll) and had been married to the defense chief General responsible to protect the Moscow Civil Defence in case of a nuclear attack by those US of North A-ist mass killers.
She gave up on me after finding me to queerly incomprehensible (although partly having like her grown up in (like me) in Little Dixie) and even more confused after meeting my father who had experienced attempts to recruit him when he was a Fulbright scolar in Michigan. It was all too strange for her to take in. So I let her take in quantities of Norwegian Linie Aquavit: THe kind that has twiced cross the aquator to Australia and back in oak cascets. She had never been a drunk until that time. My point is this: Likewise, it must have been a shock for Native White Americans to meet the real world outside Dixie and Yankee-stan: Give them instead some alcoholic sedative!!

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Oct 6 2021 17:13 utc | 77

Continuing from my previous comments ...

Manchin Digs In - Won't Budge On $1.5 Trillion Top-Line, Says No To Filibuster Carve-Out For Debt Hike

Democrats policing their own as "the adults in the room". Same as always: Lucy pulls the football from Charlie Brown.

And now, as if on que, Biden throws up his hands: In budget turning point, Biden conceding smaller price tag

<> <> <> <> <>

As psychohistorian says: the shitshow continues until it doesn't ... and it will continue as long as they can shit on dumbfuck sheeple that never seem to catch on to the game.

Joe Manchin whines about $3.5 trillion — but he spent $9.1 trillion on defense

Manchin voted for every single one of the military budgets over the last decade — in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. He voted for all $9.1 trillion. While he occasionally complained about wasteful military programs and asked for an audit of the Pentagon, these quibbles were never enough to get him to vote differently. He helped inflate the already-bloated war budget and regularly boasted about thus "supporting" the troops. This year, he did it again.

And no one talks about Saint Obama's/sarc 'sequester' that cut social programs via the farce known as the 'Fiscal Cliff'. The two-party system means that former Presidents are 'sainted'. This is particularly a problem with faux populist Presidents and politicians.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 6 2021 17:16 utc | 78

IMO - and as others above have mentioned - the real question is WHY this was printed in The Company's favorite paper.

Sachkov's arrest might explain the timing of the Hair On Fire cable, but I'm not convinced. I'm betting that increased cooperation between Intelligence agencies of the SCO countries is helping them all round up CIA assets.

But still, who gains - and gains what - by having this printed in the NYT?

Posted by: elkern | Oct 6 2021 17:38 utc | 79

elkern @Oct6 17:38 $79

IMO b is wrong to see it as a "hair on fire" impulsive release. IMO it is a limited hangout (CIA probably is experiencing some set-backs as adversaries up their game) for political gain.

It is part and parcel of the RED SCARE propaganda that paints Russia and China as existential threats.

And the timing of release wrt budget negotiations is so ideal that I think it is likely that it was the immediate target. How do you pressure/inspire Democratic Party legislators like Manchin to insist on defense spending over social spending? You claim that "undemocratic forces" (like Putin, Xi, and even Trump) are gaining ground.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 6 2021 18:07 utc | 80

Paco @73--

Thanks for the tip on the presser. I noted the need for more penetrating questions to be asked. As for the Iranian/Azerbaijani situation, Pepe Escobar's article in The Cradle examines the complex happenings there. Pepe shines a light on the fact that the recent escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia was about more than Nagorno‑Karabakh. For those unaware, Iran is conducting very large war games quite close to Azerbaijan. I'll let Pepe explain:

"The official explanation is that the drills are a warning to enemies plotting anything against the Islamic Republic.

"Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointedly tweeted that 'those who are under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide their own security, should know that they will soon take a slap, they will regret this.'

"The message was unmistakable: this was about Azerbaijan relying on Turkey and especially Israel for its security, and about Tel Aviv instrumentalizing Baku for an intel drive leading to interference in northern Iran.

"Further elaboration by Iranian experts went as far as Israel eventually using military bases in Azerbaijan to strike at Iranian nuclear installations.

"The reaction to the Iranian military exercise so far is a predictable Turkey–Azerbaijani response: they are conducting a joint drill in Nakhchivan throughout this week." [My Emphasis]

Given Iranian sensitivity to anything done by Occupied Palestine, the Azeris are clearly playing with fire. Pepe continues:

"But were Iran’s concerns off the mark? A close security collaboration between Baku and Tel Aviv has been developing for years now. Azerbaijan today possesses Israeli drones and is cozy with both the CIA and the Turkish military. Throw in the recent trilateral military drills involving Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan – these are developments bound to raise alarm bells in Tehran.

"Baku, of course, spins it in a different manner: Our partnerships are not aimed at third countries.

"So, essentially, while Tehran accuses Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of making life easy for Takfiri terrorists and Zionists, Baku accuses Tehran of blindly supporting Armenia. Yes, the ghosts of the recent Karabakh war are all over the place.

"As a matter of national security, Tehran simply cannot tolerate Israeli companies involved in the reconstruction of regions won in the war near the Iranian border: Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan.

"Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian has tried to play it diplomatically: 'Geopolitical issues around our borders are important for us. Azerbaijan is a dear neighbor to Iran and that’s why we don’t want it to be trapped between foreign terrorists who are turning their soil into a hotbed.'

"As if this was not complicated enough, the heart of the matter – as with all things in Eurasia – actually revolves around economic connectivity." [My Emphasis]

The "foreign terrorists" are presumably the Turks and Zionists. Fortunately, Pepe's article contains a very good map of the region in question. The entire article bears a full and careful reading along with map examination. Today's meeting between Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian had to discuss more than what was admitted at the following presser given Pepe's conclusion:

"The bottom line is that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants this to fester. There will be serious diplomatic moves ahead, as they both know the only ones to profit will be the usual NATO-centric suspects, and the losers will be all the players who are seriously invested in Eurasian integration."

Almost sounds like another SCO Summit is required.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 6 2021 18:38 utc | 81

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 6 2021 18:38 utc | 81

It is customary for the MID site not to post the questions asked to the guest since they would have to be the translations, and that would be subject to inaccuracies. I watched the presser’s video and the Iranian FM was a lot more concerned about the situation on its border than Lavrov. Still I think Lavrov is proposing a very rational approach by forming working groups, Caucasus countries plus neighbors, and that would include Georgia which shows that diplomacy is welcome even with foes, since Georgian-Russian relations are not at their best right now even though historically have been quite deep, let us nor forget that Dzhugashvili was Georgian.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 18:55 utc | 82

WG @76, your analysis makes sense. Thanks for that.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Oct 6 2021 19:13 utc | 83

Karlofi, Paco

Turkey has just closed four frontier posts for Iranian vehicles.
*
Fighting over the BRI and it's N-S, E-W corridors is principally seen as a - "I win so you must lose" - situation by the Turks, Azerbaijanis, Israel and the US. The Russians and Chinese want ALL countries to be involved, the more the merrier, so Lavrov is "less" concerned at the moment. Presumably he hopes that negotiations will bring at least the local countries into making some sort of agreement. That win-win will prove to be the most attractive policy around?

However, Turkey is always a wild card and wants to be the principal hub for rail, Oil and Gas. It could also be one of the countries that Russia was referring to; about restraining missile technology (As per your other post Karlof1). Russia and others have seen the efficacity of Turkish Drone tech and should be taking steps to mitigate the impact on conventional forces.
Turkey now has also an updated version of it's drone.
****

I'm not guessing how this will play out, but it is clear that the US is trying to get a new toehold all around Afghanistan, (ie. they have asked the 'Stans) and would welcome finding places for bases. (Georgia springs to mind, but I am not sure they still have as much influence as before.)

Israel is the one to watch out for. At the moment they use "Iran, Iran" to cover their ongoing ethnic cleaning, so they will continue to play a part here in the Caucus until that is complete. I am not sure that a full scale war would be in their interest, as they might prefer to continue to use many murders and explosions, as the PR "effect" on the western public would last for a longer time. They also use "foreign fields" to test weapons and electronic gear.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 6 2021 19:44 utc | 84

@ jen 34 - great story... quite funny in fact and sounds about right! thanks..
@ james 35 it was amusing but I then was thinking of the complete waste of "human capital".
Shaw Cable (in Canada) used to want PhDs for the most basic roles. Mind you so does Starbucks.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Oct 6 2021 20:24 utc | 85

As far as the CIA is concerned in Canada we have a saying:

Get a real job.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Oct 6 2021 20:36 utc | 86

Since when has the NYT been anything but a conduit for CIA disinformation schemes. They would not have published this leak without permission.

Posted by: Rob | Oct 6 2021 20:45 utc | 87

Tony Stark? Posted by: Yeah @ 42
He's busy but don't worry. Elon Musk is coming to the rescue. He says "it's easy!". Everything is easy...

I jest but he has three viable projects. Cars, SpaceX, which is fairly competitive, and the AI/human interface projects.

In the later case there are many people working on this yet it gets little attention in terms of the risks this poses.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Oct 6 2021 20:50 utc | 88

@Paco, 74

Who is the director and what is the title of the film set in the Gulag in 1945? I don't speak Russian and there were no subtitles

Posted by: cirsium | Oct 6 2021 20:58 utc | 89

Posted by: cirsium | Oct 6 2021 20:58 utc | 89

The director is Aleksey Uchitel and he is the director of the first space filmed movie Вызов, Vyzov, it could be translated as The Challenge but movie names are frequently freely translated for marketing reasons. By the way, they are couple in real life, the director Uchitel and the actress now cosmonaut Yulia Peresild.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Uchitel

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 21:13 utc | 90

thanks Paco. The film looked interesting - pity it wasn't subtitled.

Posted by: cirsium | Oct 6 2021 21:37 utc | 91

Posted by: cirsium | Oct 6 2021 21:37 utc | 91

With subtitles.

https://sovietmoviesonline.com/adventure/kray

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 21:55 utc | 92

Posted by: cirsium | Oct 6 2021 21:37 utc | 91

That was a clickbait site, here seems to be complete:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7FmBYKbvOM

Posted by: Paco | Oct 6 2021 22:08 utc | 93

Paco @82--

Thanks for your reply! Pepe's article provided a look at Iran's temperament, particularly Khamenei's tweet. Iran distrusts the Turks for excellent reasons. Ultimately for the BRI/EAEU project to attain its goals all the wars must cease, terrorists exterminated and occupying troops removed from all locales.

Stonebird @84--

Thanks for your reply! Adding to my reply to Paco, the political activities within Iraq must also be scrutinized after the upcoming elections. If Iraq can completely regain its sovereignty, some significant regional changes might occur related to the ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations between Iran and the Saudis and Qataris.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 6 2021 22:20 utc | 94

Seems to me that some folks left behind in Afghanistan may have cut deals to get residence outside their former playground. Giving up their contacts in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan would lead to substantial attrition.

The knock on effect would include Uigurs and Chechens as well as Yemen and Armenia

Played right there might be peace for a decade

Posted by: Les7 | Oct 6 2021 22:22 utc | 95

Of course at the heart of it all would be Russia, which is why rumors of retaliation abound. Given the old testament leanings of the Republicans, is 300 the number of CIA casualties in central Asia??

Posted by: Les7 | Oct 6 2021 22:25 utc | 96

@87 Rob "Since when has the NYT been anything but a conduit for CIA disinformation schemes. They would not have published this leak without permission."

I don't think anyone disputes that the NYT was deliberately given this information by the CIA and told to publish it.

The only question is why the CIA would want this information coming out.

My guess is that this has been an open secret in Washington for a while, to the point where it is inevitable that congressional oversight can no longer ignore it. So the CIA has decided to use the NYT as a limited hangout in an attempt to get ahead of its critics and control the narrative.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 23:53 utc | 97

@70 Billb "Russian citizens who are informants for foreign governments (aka traitors) are not treated more harshly than that?"

Bill, how do you think that Sergei Skripal got to end up in a nice little house in Salisbury, before someone ruined his cozy retirement?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 6 2021 23:59 utc | 98

Thanks to those who added their own stories about the CIA to my original comment @ 33 or 34.

David Horsman @ 85, 86: At the time my old lecturer was working in the CIA, he needed a job and I don't think he had the aptitude or personality for anything else other than doing research and writing it up. Plus I would argue (and other MoA barflies may agree with me) that the CIA's money was better spent hiring him and others like him, and supporting their families, than splashing it on overthrowing elected governments in Africa and the Middle East and replacing them with monarchical despots.

I sometimes wonder whether the CIA was (and might still be) the junior branch of the British intelligence services, considering that in its early days as the Office of Strategic Services the CIA was much influenced by British intel. Replacing elected governments with individuals ruling as absolute tyrants would appear to be the dream of British political elites, not American ones, at least in the mid 20th century.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 7 2021 0:40 utc | 99

Bruised Northerner @ 57
The Solar Winds hack? Cannot find a good story on who was compromised but the intelligence agencies would probably never admit they were one anyway

Posted by: circumspect | Oct 7 2021 4:23 utc | 100

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