The Russians Are Not Amused

Remember Anna Chapman and the nine other Russian spies that were arrested last June? Well, it appears they were outed by a high ranking Russian intelligence officer who was also working for the United States. Needless to say, the Russians are not pleased about this huge embarrassment.

Russian Double Agent Betrayed Spy Ring in US

Russia’s spy scandal is flaring up again on the news that an intelligence service colonel betrayed the identities of 10 spies, then defected to the United States.

A high-ranking Russian double agent was behind last summer’s exposure and arrest of 10 Russian sleeper spies in the United States. The news was published in Kommersant newspaper Friday and later confirmed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Days before the arrests, a Colonel Shcherbakov, a branch leader of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, fled Moscow to join his daughter and son in the United States, according to the news report.

Gennady Gudkov, a deputy on the State Duma’s Security Committee, told Interfax that the colonel’s defection was a major blow to the “S” Directorate, which prepare deep cover agents for overseas work. He said internal alarm bells should have rung because the colonel’s daughter was a long-term resident in the United State and the Colonel declined a promotion last year, presumably to avoid taking a lie detector test.

Russia Hunts Double Agent Who Betrayed Spies, Newspaper Says

A Moscow newspaper reported on Thursday that the Kremlin has dispatched an assassin to hunt down a suspected double agent it blames for betraying the Russian spies arrested in June by the United States.

According to the report in Kommersant, an unnamed Kremlin official said that the former head of the Russian intelligence service’s “illegal” spying operations in the U.S., a Colonel Shcherbakov, had betrayed his colleagues and is now being actively sought out.

See also:
Spy Defection Roils Russian Intelligence Service
Mole in intelligence service betrayed Russian spies in US, says newspaper
Senior Russian official may have turned in spies to U.S., newspaper says
Russian official revealed spy ring
Dmitry Medvedev confirms traitor told US about Russian spy ring
Russian intelligence service identifies traitor in U.S. spy scandal
Anna’s Unfaithful Spy Boss
More Information Revealed On the Russian Spies In The US
Russian double agent helped US crack spy ring: lawmaker
Russian Newspaper Names Double Agent Responsible For Spy Ring Bust
Kremlin official issues death threat in Russian spy scandal. Is the KGB coming back?
Top Russian Spy Reportedly Defects After Betraying Anna Chapman, Other Agents in United States
Video: Top Russian Spy defects after betraying ring in the United States
Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki

Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

This is a major score for U.S. intelligence, high ranking defectors like this don’t come around very often. It’s a safe bet that the CIA got a lot more information out of Colonel Shcherbakov than just the names of the ten Russian agents.

/well played Colonel Shcherbakov, your new country thanks you, hopefully the CIA can keep you alive

A Tragedy Of Errors

What a shame, the CIA was warned ahead of time. Heads should roll, but no one is being punished. Since Leon Panetta can’t bring himself to mete out any discipline for seven preventable deaths, he should at least lead by example and resign.

CIA ‘was warned about bomber of Afghan base’

An internal inquiry into the attack at the Khost base on December 30, which caused the CIA’s worst loss of life in 27 years, found a string of communications breakdowns, Leon Panetta, the director of the agency, said yesterday.

Most notably it discovered that a US agent in Amman, the Jordanian capital, was given a warning by a Jordanian intelligence officer about the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.

However, he dismissed the tip-off because he suspected the Jordanian officer was acting out of jealousy of a colleague’s close relationship with Balawi, the inquiry found.

Balawai, 36, was introduced to the US by Jordanian intelligence after pretending to be an al-Qaeda defector willing to co-operate. He supplied the Americans with information from Pakistan and eventually a meeting at the base was arranged.

After being taken inside the base, however, he detonated a suicide vest while standing among a group of CIA officers.

The CIA inquiry found there had been serious security lapses at the base, Mr Panetta said. Balawi was not screened at the perimeter, and the large group of officers gathered to greet him because he was considered a reliable source.

The Jordanian officer even warned the American that Balawi “may be trying to lure us into an ambush,” Mr Panetta said.

The report also found that Balawai had not been sufficiently vetted from the start and that agency staff at the base lacked experience of working in war zones.

. . .

Mr Panetta said that he would not fire or discipline any officials involved, including the agent in Jordan who did not pass on the warning about Balawi.

See also:
Message from the Director: Lessons from Khowst
CIA Finds Widespread Security ‘Shortcomings’ Led to Afghan Attack That Killed 7 Agents
CIA admits errors led to Afghanistan bombing
US spies failed to vet insider who bombed Afghan base
Report: Key information on CIA base bomber wasn’t relayed
CIA acknowledges “missteps” led to officers’ deaths
Bomber who killed seven at CIA base ‘was not vetted’
CIA officer failed to warn bosses before Afghan base attack
Jordan Warned CIA About Bomber Of Afghan Base – Official
CIA Releases Report on Deadly Afghanistan Bombing
CIA Didn’t Vet Double-Crossing Suicide BomberBad OPSEC

Well, hopefully the CIA has learned some valuable lessons from this incident so that nothing like it ever happens again.

/however, with Panetta in charge, I’m skeptical

Did The CIA Get Punked By Iran?

Something’s seriously wrong with this picture.

Intrigue, But Few Facts, Surround Iranian Scientist

The case of Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri is what counter-intelligence officers like to call a “wilderness of mirrors.”

Facts are slim.

Depending on which version you read – and there are multiple ones – Amiri was kidnapped by U.S. intelligence agents a year ago while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, defected to the United States of his own free will, or simply decided to disappear for a while. The confusion was heightened when three different videos surfaced, all featuring a man who appeared to be Amiri, making different claim: that he had been kidnapped, that he was living freely in Arizona, and that he had escaped from U.S. custody.

The mystery deepened Tuesday when he suddenly appeared at the Iranian Interests Section of the Pakistan Embassy, saying that he wanted to go home. Iranian media say he was “handed over” to the Interests Section by U.S. officials.

For its part, U.S. officials say he was not kidnapped, not held against his will, not tortured, was living here freely, and has freely chosen to return to Iran,

So how did he get here? What was he doing here? Good questions, but ones U.S. officials are not answering.

Some reports say he defected and was giving the U.S. valuable information about Iran’s nuclear program. But some former intelligence officers say he might have been a false defector.

It has happened before.

See also:
Shahram Amiri: Iranian Nuclear Scientist Mystery Deepens [SYNOPSIS]
Pakistan Embassy Denies Harboring AWOL Iran Nuke Scientist
Shahram Amiri: new twist in mystery of nuclear scientist’s disappearance
Missing Iranian scientist surfaces in Washington
‘Abducted’ Iran scientist surfaces in US
Missing Iranian nuclear scientist turns up in Washington
Who wins propaganda war over Iran scientist?
Amiri’s abduction fresh scandal for US
Scientist Seeks to Return to Iran From U.S., Pakistan Says
Clinton: Iranian Nuclear Defector Is ‘Free To Go’
Profile: Shahram Amiri
Profile: Shahram Amiri, Iranian nuclear physicist who turned up in Washington
Shahram Amiri

Okay, let’s assume that Shahram Amiri is in the process of voluntarilly making his way back to Iran. First of all, if we was a defector, he’d be insane to want to return to Iran. Second, if he was abducted by the CIA and interrogated for a year before he “escaped”, would it be a smart idea to return to Iran? Why would they believe his story? Surely, at a minimum, he’d be subject to some very harsh interrogation, much harsher than any interrogation practiced by the CIA, as the Iranian intelligence agencies attempted to determine, to their satisfaction, whether he was abducted or whether he defected. The fact that the U.S. is insisting that Amiri is free to leave the United States at any time certainly doesn’t help bolster his abduction story.

/the only scenario that makes a whole lot of sense, at least to me, is that Shahram Amiri is a double agent/false defector and he knows that returning to Iran will earn him a hero’s welcome rather than probable torture or death

All Your Iranian Nuclear Scientists Are Belong To US

What’s the matter Mahmoud, did you lose some nuclear scientists? Bummer, little dude.

Where did two Iran nuclear scientists disappear to?

Two Iranian nuclear scientists disappeared over the past weeks and allegedly defected to the West, the London-based pan-Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.

According to the report, the first defector is Sharam Amiri, a scientist in Iran’s nuclear program who was likely tied to the recently discovered secret uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom.

Amiri disappeared in Saudi Arabia in July while he was on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Defection speculations have been gaining popularity in light of an announcement made by Iran’s foreign ministry that it had asked Saudi officials to help locate Amiri. This announcement is unusual because many Iranians go missing during the annual hajj pilgrimage, and in those cases, not only is there no foreign ministry announcement, usually there is no effort made to locate them, despite their families’ pleas.

The foreign ministry announcement indicates that Amiri may have a particularly sensitive position in the Iranian nuclear program.

The report regarding the second scientist is also strange. Asharq al-Awsat uses only his surname – Ardebili. He was allegedly arrested in Georgia a few weeks ago. Reports say that Ardebili worked in the Iranian nuclear program as well, but the Iranian foreign ministry fervently denies these claims, and maintains that Ardebili was a businessman who was extradited to the U.S. following his arrest.

If the report is correct and two scientists from Iran’s nuclear program indeed defected, it would be a harsh blow to Iran and its nuclear plans on the one hand, and a triumph on the part of Western intelligence on the other.

See also:
Iran Blames U.S. in Disappearance of Scientist
TWO IRANIAN NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS MAY HAVE DEFECTED
Disappearance of Iranian scientist creates mystery
Iran accuses US of seizing nuclear scientist in Saudi Arabia
Iran says U.S. behind Iranian disappearance in Saudi Arabia
Iran: US behind missing scientist
Iran sees U.S. role in researcher’s disappearance
‘US link’ to missing Iranian in Saudi
Iran sees US role in researcher’s disappearance
Iranian FM: U.S. Involved In Disappearance Of Alleged Nuclear Scientist

Missing Iranian nuclear scientists, what missing Iranian nuclear scientists? We don’t have any missing Iranian nuclear scientists!

/on the other hand, if it ever turns out that we do have some missing Iranian nuclear scientists, I sure hope Obama won’t prosecute the responsible intelligence agents for kidnapping