Several dozen spies working for the CIA in Iran and Lebanon have been caught, ABC News said, citing U.S. officials with connections to the intelligence community.
According to an exclusive ABC report on Monday, “the spies were paid informants recruited by the CIA for two distinct espionage rings targeting Iran and the Beirut-based Hezbollah organization.”
The officials, cited by ABC, admitted that the loss of the two U.S. spy rings in the Middle East represents “a setback of significant proportions in efforts to track the activities of the Iranian nuclear program and the intentions of Hezbollah against Israel.”
The exposure of the two spy networks was first announced in televised statements by Iranian and Hezbollah leaders in May and June, but these statements have been widely ignored by U.S. authorities and media.
ABC said Hezbollah’s internal security arm identified at least a dozen informants and the identities of several CIA case officers through two double agents, who tipped Hezbollah of a place in Beirut where CIA officers were meeting with their assets.
Almost at the same time, Iranian counter-intelligence “cracked” a secret internet communication method used by CIA-paid assets in Iran, leading to alleged arrests of at least 30 U.S. and Israeli spies.
Several sources cited by ABC believe that the loss of two spy rings was “the result of a lack of professionalism in the U.S. intelligence community,” while others say occasional setback are inevitable in such a “risky business” as espionage.
The U.S. authorities have not commented on the report.
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