The chronology is entirely murky, but this week it became clear that in recent months three important spy rings operated by the CIA in Lebanon and Iran have been broken, and that dozens of "assets" working for the CIA have been arrested and probably executed.  --  On Monday, ABC News reported that "more than a dozen spies working for the CIA in Iran and Lebanon have been caught."[1]  --  Matthew Cole and Brian Ross reported that two double agents and "sloppy tradecraft" on the CIA's part permitted Hezbollah to "roll up" much of the Beirut network.  --  "At about the same time [in the spring of 2011?] that Hezbollah was identifying the CIA network in Lebanon, Iranian intelligence agents discovered a secret internet communication method used by CIA-paid assets in Iran," compromising perhaps dozens of U.S. "assets" in Iran.  --  The London Telegraph said the breaking of the two spy rings was "a serious setback to U.S. security."[2]  --  On Wednesday, Iran said that a third CIA network had been broken, one that was "operating in coordination with Israel's Mossad and other regional agencies, targeting the country's military and its nuclear program," and that twelve CIA "agents" had been arrested, the Associated Press reported.[3]  --  The Jerusalem Post said these last arrests were "linked to clandestine efforts by Tehran to disperse missiles around the country."[4]  --  But Iran said those arrested were not merely gathering intelligence but were bent on carrying out "espionage attacks."  --  On Friday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Iran's intelligence minister said that the arrested spied "worked at the highest levels of ''major firms involved in oil, gas, and nuclear industries."[5]  --  In Lebanon on Wednesday, "Hezbollah claimed victory in what it described as its 'intelligence war' with the CIA," the Beirut Daily Star reported.[6]  --  The Guardian noted that "in November, Iranian officials accused the U.S. of committing acts of terrorism in the Islamic Republic.  Iran said at the time that it had evidence showing the U.S. had been behind 'terror' operations in Iran, including the assassination of its nuclear scientists.  'We have 100 unbeatable documents on the U.S. role in directing terror and terrorists in Iran and the region,' the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed.  'By releasing these documents, we will dishonor the U.S. and those who claim to be the advocates of human rights and campaign against terrorism among the world public opinion.'  Iran claimed it had sent the documents to the U.N. but has so far not provided them to the media."[7]  --  The not always reliable website DEBKA, which is close to Israeli intelligence circles and sometimes participated in disinformation campaigns, claimed Thursday that "Both Iran and Hizballah are gearing up for war."[8]  --  The BBC noted that Iran "did not give the nationality of the alleged agents" arrested and in May said that the spy network it has broken "had operated out of American diplomatic missions in the Malaysia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to recruit Iranians as spies."[9] ...


1.

Investigative unit

The Blotter

Exclusive

CIA SPIES CAUGHT, FEAR EXECUTION IN MIDDLE EAST

By Matthew Cole and Brian Ross

ABC News
November 21, 2011

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cia-spies-caught-fear-execution-middle-east/story?id=14994428#.Ts_VfVbNR-G (includes embedded "Good Morning America" videoclip)

In a significant failure for the United States in the Mideast, more than a dozen spies working for the CIA in Iran and Lebanon have been caught and the U.S. government fears they will be or have been executed, according to four current and former U.S. officials with connections to the intelligence community.

The spies were paid informants recruited by the CIA for two distinct espionage rings targeting Iran and the Beirut-based Hezbollah organization, considered by the U.S. to be a terror group backed by Iran.

"Espionage is a risky business," a U.S. official briefed on the developments told ABC News, confirming the loss of the unspecified number of spies over the last six months.

"Many risks lead to wins, but some result in occasional setbacks," the official said.

Robert Baer, a former senior CIA officer who worked against Hezbollah while stationed in Beirut in the 1980s, said Hezbollah typically executes individuals suspected of or caught spying.

"If they were genuine spies, spying against Hezbollah, I don't think we'll ever see them again," he said.  "These guys are very, very vicious and unforgiving."

Other current and former officials said the discovery of the two U.S. spy rings occurred separately, but amounted to a setback of significant proportions in efforts to track the activities of the Iranian nuclear program and the intentions of Hezbollah against Israel.

"Remember, this group was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist group before 9/11," said a U.S. official.  Attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 killed more than 300 people, including almost 260 Americans.

The U.S. official, speaking for the record but without attribution, gave grudging credit to the efforts of Iran and Hezbollah to detect and expose U.S. and Israeli espionage.

"Collecting sensitive information on adversaries who are aggressively trying to uncover spies in their midst will always be fraught with risk," said the U.S. official briefed on the spy ring bust.

But others inside the American intelligence community say sloppy "tradecraft" -- the method of covert operations -- by the CIA is also to blame for the disruption of the vital spy networks.

In Beirut, two Hezbollah double agents pretended to go to work for the CIA.  Hezbollah then learned of the restaurant where multiple CIA officers were meeting with several agents, according to the four current and former officials briefed on the case.  The CIA used the codeword "PIZZA" when discussing where to meet with the agents, according to U.S. officials.  Two former officials describe the location as a Beirut Pizza Hut.  A current U.S. official denied that CIA officers met their agents at Pizza Hut.

From there, Hezbollah's internal security arm identified at least a dozen informants, and the identities of several CIA case officers.

Hezbollah then began to "roll up" much of the CIA's network against the terror group, the officials said.

One former senior intelligence official told ABC News that CIA officers ignored warnings that the operation could be compromised by using the same location for meetings with multiple assets.

"We were lazy and the CIA is now flying blind against Hezbollah," the former official said.

At about the same time that Hezbollah was identifying the CIA network in Lebanon, Iranian intelligence agents discovered a secret internet communication method used by CIA-paid assets in Iran.

The CIA has yet to determine precisely how many of its assets were compromised in Iran, but the number could be in the dozens, according to one current and one former U.S. intelligence official.

The exposure of the two spy networks was first announced in widely ignored televised statements by Iranian and Hezbollah leaders.  U.S. officials tell ABC News that much of what was broadcast was, in fact, true.

Hezbollah's leader, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, announced in June of this year that two high-ranking members of Hezbollah had been exposed as CIA spies, leading U.S. officials to conclude that the entire network inside Hezbollah had been compromised.

In Iran, intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi announced in May that more than 30 U.S. and Israeli spies had been discovered and an Iranian television program, which acts as a front for Iran's government, showed images of internet sites used by the U.S. for secret communication with the spies.

U.S. officials said the Iranian television program showed pictures of people who were not U.S. assets, but the program's video of the websites used by the CIA was accurate.

Some former U.S. intelligence officials say the developments are the result of a lack of professionalism in the U.S. intelligence community.

"We've lost the tradition of espionage," said one former official who still consults for the U.S. intelligence community.  "Officers take short cuts and no one is held accountable," he said.

But at the CIA, officials say such risks come with the territory.

"Hezbollah is an extremely complicated enemy," said a U.S. official.  "It's a determined terrorist group, a powerful political player, a mighty military and an accomplished intelligence operation, formidable and ruthless.  No one underestimates its capabilities."

"If you lose an asset, one source, that's normally a setback in espionage," said Robert Baer, who was considered an expert on Hezbollah.

"But when you lose your entire station, either in Tehran or Beirut, that's a catastrophe, that just shouldn't be.  And the only way that ever happens is when you're mishandling sources."

2.

News

World news

North America

USA

CIA'S 'PIZZA' BLUNDERS LEAVE INFORMANTS FACING EXECUTION

By Jon Swaine

** More than a dozen CIA informants in the Middle East are thought to be facing execution after being caught by Iran and Hizbollah, due to a string of embarrassing failures by US spies. **

Telegraph (London)
November 22, 2011

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8905815/CIAs-pizza-blunders-leave-informants-facing-execution.html

Agents working for the U.S. in Lebanon and Iran are said to have been outed after their handlers used trackable mobile phones and used the code-word “pizza” when agreeing to meet at a Pizza Hut.

The breaking of the two spy rings -- one in the Beirut-based militant group that has killed hundreds of Americans, the other looking into the Iranian nuclear program -- amounts to a serious setback to U.S. security.  It may also make it difficult for U.S. spies to recruit local informants in future.

Robert Baer, a former CIA station chief in Beirut, told ABC News:  “If they were genuine spies, spying against Hezbollah, I don’t think we’ll ever see them again.  These guys are very, very vicious and unforgiving.”

Hizbollah counter-intelligence detected several mobile phones in Beirut that “were used rarely or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time”, according to the Associated Press.

Two Hizbollah double-agents, meanwhile, discovered the pizza restaurant where genuine informants were being met by pretending to work for the CIA, according to ABC News.

The leader of Hizbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, alleged in June that two high-ranking members of his group had been caught spying for the CIA, but the claims were denied by the U.S. embassy.  Iranian authorities also claimed to have discovered 30 Israeli and U.S. agents in May.

The apparent blow comes almost two years after a suicide bomber posing as an informant killed seven CIA employees and wounded six others by gaining entry to a U.S. base in Khost, Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment on operations.

3.

REPORT: IRAN LAWMAKER SAYS 12 CIA AGENTS ARRESTED


Associated Press
November 24, 2011

http://www.thestate.com/2011/11/24/2057900/report-iran-lawmaker-says-12-cia.html

TEHRAN, Iran --
Iran has arrested 12 agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency, the country's official IRNA news agency reported, quoting an influential lawmaker.

Parviz Sorouri, a member of the powerful parliamentary committee on foreign policy and national security, said the alleged agents were operating in coordination with Israel's Mossad and other regional agencies, targeting the country's military and its nuclear program.

"The U.S. and Zionist regime's espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services," Sorouri was quoted as saying Wednesday.

"Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit," Sorouri said.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program, a charge Iran denies.

The lawmaker did not give the nationality of the alleged agents nor when or where they were arrested.

The CIA declined to comment on the report.

Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged U.S. or Israeli spies, and often no further information is released.

The latest claim follows the unraveling by Lebanon's Hezbollah of a CIA spy ring in that country. Hezbollah has close ties to Iran.

Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted in June on television he had unmasked at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of the organization.  Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon denied that, American officials conceded that Nasrallah was not lying and that Hezbollah had subsequently methodically picked off CIA informants.

4.

'IRAN CIA AGENT ARRESTS LINKED TO MISSILE TESTING'

By Yaakov Lappin

** Senior Iran analyst tells Post that Tehran moving missiles "that would form first response" to Israeli strike on nuclear sites. **

Jerusalem Post

November 24, 2011

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=246913

 
Iran’s claim to arresting 12 CIA agents in its territory is linked to clandestine efforts by Tehran to disperse missiles around the country, a senior Iran analyst in the US told *The Jerusalem Post* on Thursday.

Professor Raymond Tanter, adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and founder of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee, said the Iranians were moving and testing missiles “that would form the first response” to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites.

“The rollup of alleged Western spies in Iran involves the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” Tanter said, adding that this organization “operates all of Iran’s Scud missiles and provides the military leadership for Iranian missile production.

“Events in Iran concern surreptitious testing and movement of missiles at an IRGC facility during mid-November to harden and hide them from surprise attack,” he added.

Referring to a mysterious and powerful blast that rocked a missile base on the outskirts of Tehran earlier this month, killing Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, the architect of Iran’s missile program, and at least 16 other Iranian officials, Tanter said, “The accident in Iran is consistent with statements by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that Tehran seeks to create a ‘zone of immunity,’ which spreads missile sites around the country.  The goals are to increase the costs of an Israeli first strike, lower the likelihood of success, and decrease the time window of opportunity for Israel to attack Iran.”

Earlier on Thursday, Iran’s IRNA official media outlet said the supposed agents were planning to attack Iranian targets.  The report quoted a senior Iranian security official as saying that the alleged spies were planning to carry out espionage attacks to “damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services.

“Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit,” said the official, named as Parviz Sorouri, a member of Iran’s foreign policy and national security committee.  Sourouri also said the alleged agents were working with “the Zionist regime.”

Tanter said that “there is a humongous need for human intelligence from inside Iran,” adding, “The best source to complement Western intelligence on the IRGC is the main Iranian opposition organization, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MeK), which is under siege in Iraq but still maintains an effective intelligence network in the Iranian national security establishment.”

On Tuesday, unnamed U.S. officials were quoted by Reuters as saying that Hezbollah too “succeeded in identifying and arresting informants within its ranks who were working for the CIA,” and described the development as an apparent “serious setback for U.S. intelligence.”

“Some former U.S. officials said that the CIA informants, believed to be local recruits rather than U.S. citizens, were uncovered, at least in part, due to sloppy procedures -- known in the espionage world as ’tradecraft’ -- used by the agency,” Reuters said.

5.

IRAN RAISED STAKES WITH CLAIMS IT HAS NETTED 12 U.S. SPIES

By Damien McElroy

Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald
November 26, 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/world/iran-raises-stakes-with-claims-it-has-netted-12-us-spies-20111125-1nz6g.html

Iran has claimed a blow against U.S. spying efforts on its nuclear program and strategic industries with the capture of 12 CIA "assets."  U.S. officials acknowledged its spy network targeting Iran had suffered a setback and expressed fears its contacts would be executed by the regime.

The Iranian Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, said on Thursday the alleged spies worked at the highest levels of ''major firms involved in oil, gas, and nuclear industries."

Parviz Sorouri, a member of Iran's national security and foreign policy committee, said the arrested spies were on a mission to cripple Iran in vital sectors with military and security links.

On Wednesday, IRNA state news agency quoted an Iranian official as saying the spies had been gathering intelligence from security and military units as well as its sensitive nuclear program.

"The main mission of this act of espionage was related to Iran's progress in the fields of nuclear technology and also military and security activities," Mr. Sorouri said.  "The U.S. and Zionist regime's espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services.  Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit."

Mr. Sorouri's comments follow reports on Monday that Iran and the Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah, had identified alleged CIA informants, including a network based in a Pizza Hut.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said in June his group had uncovered at least two CIA informants within its ranks but his claims were met with scepticism at the time.

The U.S. embassy in Lebanon denied the accusation but officials conceded Hezbollah had methodically picked off CIA informants in recent months.

Former U.S. officials told Reuters this week those arrested were indeed working for the CIA.  The officials claimed the agents were "believed to be local recruits" working for the CIA rather than U.S. citizens.

Iran did not specify the nationality of the individuals it has arrested and the CIA has declined to comment on the recent reports, saying "it does not, as a rule discuss allegations of operational activities."

A former CIA chief in Beirut, Robert Baer, told ABC News the arrests were "catastrophic" and amounted to a demonstration American had "lost its touch" in Middle East espionage.

The arrests further raise tensions in Iran's already strained relationship with the U.S.  U.S. authorities said last month factions inside the Iranian regime had conspired to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Iran denied the allegations and one Iranian diplomat told the *Guardian* the U.S. had resorted to an "entrapment technique" in order to smear Tehran in the eyes of the world.

U.S. allegations were met with scepticism because of the sloppy nature of the alleged assassination plot and the limited evidence provided by the U.S.

In a tit-for-tat reaction this month, Iranian officials accused the U.S. of committing acts of terrorism.  Iran said at the time it had evidence showing the U.S. had been behind "terror" operations in Iran, including the assassination of its nuclear scientists.

6.

Politics

HEZBOLLAH, AMAL URGE GOVT. TO COUNTER ESPIONAGE BY CIA


Daily Star (Beirut)
November 26, 2011

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Nov-25/155175-hezbollah-amal-urge-authorities-to-counter-espionage-by-cia.ashx#axzz1ek8j4248

BEIRUT -- Hezbollah and the Amal Movement slammed Washington Friday for allegedly spying on the resistance group in Lebanon and urged authorities to counter espionage by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

A joint statement at the end of a meeting between local Hezbollah and Amal officials in Nabatieh, south Lebanon, condemned the “flagrant assault on Lebanon’s sovereignty by U.S. intelligence.”

It said spying by the CIA in Lebanon was no “less dangerous” than Israeli intelligence work and that the two were “complementary.”

The statement called on the Lebanese government to take the “necessary legal and security measures” and task Lebanese security services to counter the alleged CIA network.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press -- citing current and former U.S. officials -- said the CIA’s operations in Lebanon had been badly damaged after Hezbollah identified and captured a number of U.S. spies.

In recent months, CIA officials have secretly been scrambling to protect their remaining spies -- foreign assets or agents working for the agency -- before Hezbollah can find them, the AP said.

The Cabinet discussed Wednesday reports that the CIA had operatives working for the agency in Lebanon.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour before Cabinet meeting amid reports that she had been summoned in connection with the alleged CIA spying network in Lebanon.  Connelly did not speak to reporters after the meeting.

Information Minister Walid Daouk denied that Connelly had been summoned at the Foreign Ministry over this issue.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told the Daily Star Connelly’s meeting with Mansour had been prescheduled, adding that the CIA issue was not addressed during the discussions.

Earlier Wednesday, Hezbollah claimed victory in what it described as its “intelligence war” with the CIA.

"Lebanese intelligence vanquished U.S. and Israeli intelligence in what is now known as the intelligence war," Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah.

"The resistance blinded American intelligence eyes," he added.

7.

World news

Iran

IRAN 'ARRESTS 12 CIA AGENTS'

By Saeed Kamali Dehghan

** Influential politician says U.S. spies had been gathering intelligence on military units and nuclear activities **

Guardian (London)
November 26, 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/24/iran-claims-arrests-of-cia-agents


Iran has arrested 12 people it claims were working undercover for the CIA inside the Islamic Republic, further raising tensions in its already strained relationship with the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Irna state news agency quoted a senior Iranian official as saying that the spies it claimed to have arrested had been gathering intelligence from Iran's security and military units as well as its highly sensitive nuclear program.

"The main mission of this act of espionage was related to Iran's progress in the fields of nuclear technology and also military and security activities," said Parviz Sorouri, a member of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, in quotes carried by IRNA.

Sorouri told the agency that the network had been uncovered by an operation involving the Iranian ministry of intelligence.  "The U.S. and Zionist regime's espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services," he said.  "Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit."

Sorouri's comments follow reports on Monday that Iran and the Lebanese Shia militia, Hezbollah had identified alleged CIA informants.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said in June that his group had uncovered at least two CIA informants within its ranks but his claims were met with scepticism at the time.  But former US officials told Reuters this week that those arrested were indeed working for the CIA.  The officials claimed the agents were "believed to be local recruits" working for the CIA rather than U.S. citizens.

Iran did not specify the nationality of the individuals it has arrested and the CIA has declined to comment on the recent reports, saying "it does not, as a rule discuss allegations of operational activities."

In October, tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated after U.S. authorities said military factions inside the regime have conspired to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. Iran denied the allegations and one Iranian diplomat told the *Guardian* that the U.S. had resorted to a so-called "entrapment technique" in order to smear Tehran in the eyes of the international community.  U.S. allegations were met with widespread scepticism because of the sloppy nature of the alleged assassination plot and the limited evidence provided by the US.

In a tit for tat reaction in November, Iranian officials accused the U.S. of committing acts of terrorism in the Islamic Republic.  Iran said at the time that it had evidence showing the U.S. had been behind "terror" operations in Iran, including the assassination of its nuclear scientists.

"We have 100 unbeatable documents on the U.S. role in directing terror and terrorists in Iran and the region," the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed.  "By releasing these documents, we will dishonor the U.S. and those who claim to be the advocates of human rights and campaign against terrorism among the world public opinion."  Iran claimed it had sent the documents to the U.N. but has so far not provided them to the media.

In recent years, Iran's nuclear program has experienced a series of dramatic setbacks after the assassinations of its scientists and the Stuxnet computer worm, which was designed to sabotage its atomic facilities and halt its uranium-enrichment program.  This month, an explosion at a military base near Tehran killed the architect of Iran's missile programme. Iran has pointed the finger at the U.S. and Israel for what has been widely seen as a covert war against the country's nuclear program and military capabilities.

8.

Breaking news

FOUR TRIGGERS FOR CIA SPY SCARES IN IRAN, HIZBALLAH


DEBKA
November 25, 2011

http://www.debka.com/article/21517/


First, Hizballah reported the unmasking of a CIA network in Lebanon.  Then, Wednesday, Nov. 23, an Iranian lawmaker Parviz Sorouri, a member of the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, claimed the capture of 12 CIA spies targeting Iran's military and its nuclear program with the Mossad and regional agencies.  Beirut and Tehran had clearly joined forces, DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report, to prove they were on top of their security and had smashed dangerous U.S. intelligence networks operating inside their armed forces.

Iran and Hizballah were driven into action by four pressing circumstances:

1.  Tehran needed urgently to erase the bad impression left by the explosion which wiped out Iran's entire missile command, including Maj. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, at the secret Revolutionary Guards base in Aghadir near Tehran on Oct. 12.

Despite the supreme effort the authorities made to persuade the public that the calamity was caused by a technical malfunction, it brought back memories of former assassinations of top Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Tehran blamed the CIA and the Mossad.

2.  The growing inability of Iran's leading ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, to put down the uprising against his rule is in itself a sorry reflection on Tehran's choice of allies, especially this week when the anti-regime Free Syrian Army raised its head and struck strategic targets in Syria and outside the country, singling out Lebanon.

Furthermore, DEBKAfile's intelligence and military sources report, the unexplained explosion at the illegal Hizballah arms dump in the southern Lebanese town of Siddiqin Wednesday, Nov. 23, was the work of the Syrian rebels' military arm, the FSA.  It struck a target representing Assad's ally which is moreover Tehran's Lebanese surrogate.

Graffiti left at the scene of the blast said it was revenge for Hizballah's aide to the Assad regime's crackdown in Syrian cities and promised more.

The Siddiqin explosion was a shock to high authority in Tehran, Damascus, and Beirut.

The Iranian Supreme Ruler's military adviser, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, had earlier warned that if Iran were attacked, it would not need to launch ballistic missiles at Israel "because all the Zionist cities are within the range of our ally Hizballah's Katyushas."

The weapons store explosion at Siddiqin has placed a large question mark over that threat. Tehran will have to take into account that the Syrian rebels can identify Hizballah's rocket hideouts and launching pads, in which Iran has invested huge sums, and may sabotage them before they can go into action.

Since the destroyed arms depot was lodged in a well-protected Hizballah stronghold, officials in Beirut and Tehran must assume that the saboteurs, who slipped in an out of the site undetected, had local aid.

3.  Both Iran and Hizballah are gearing up for war.  Under cover of a military exercise, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their Basij militia units last week began organizing in battle array in the various theaters assigned them in the country.

Hizballah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has been inspecting Hizballah units.  In his briefings to their commanders and men, he is warning them that war with Israel, and perhaps other Western armed forces too, is very near and they must be ready.

The difference between victory and defeat, he is saying, may hinge on their ability to detect double agents working in their midst for the Americans and Israelis.  Even willingness for sacrifice and superior weaponry are no match for the peril posed from within by these spies.

This was Nasrallah's first implicit admission of the inability of his and Iran's security arms to root out U.S. and Israeli penetrations of their forces, and their need to turn to ordinary soldiers for help.

4.  The alleged spy affairs Iran and Lebanon exposed this week are part of their response to U.S. and Western pressure of the past fortnight to halt Iran's nuclear progress.  They are also payback for Washington's allegation of an Iranian-led conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

9.

IRAN ARRESTS 12 'CIA SPIES' FOR TARGETING NUCLEAR PLANS


BBC
November 24, 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15879086


Iran has arrested 12 spies of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the official IRNA news agency reports.

Parviz Sorouri, an influential lawmaker, said the agents were targeting Iran's military and its nuclear program.

He said they were operating in co-ordination with Israel's Mossad and other regional agencies.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program, a charge Tehran denies.

Mr. Sorouri, a member of the powerful National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, did not give the nationality of the alleged agents, nor when they were arrested.

"The U.S. and Zionist regime's espionage apparatuses were trying to use regional intelligence services, both inside and outside Iran, in order to deal a strong blow to our country," he was quoted as saying.

"Fortunately, these steps failed due to the quick measures taken by Intelligence Ministry officials," Mr. Sorouri said.

SPY RING


The Iranian claim follows reports in the U.S. that Lebanon's Hezbollah has unravelled a CIA spy ring within the Shia militant organisation.  Hezbollah has close ties to Iran.

Reports quoting U.S  intelligence officials emerged this week appearing to suggest that a number of U.S. spies had been unmasked and that their lives were now in danger in Lebanon.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah M.P. Hassan Fadlallah said the reports were true.  "Lebanese intelligence vanquished US and Israeli intelligence in what is now known as the intelligence war," he told the AFP news agency.

In June the group's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said on TV that he had unmasked at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of the organization.

Although the U.S. Embassy in Beirut initially said there was no substance to the accusations, the Associated Press reports that American officials later conceded that Nasrallah had been telling the truth.

In May, Iran said it had arrested 30 people after breaking up a spy network run by the CIA.

It said the network had operated out of American diplomatic missions in the Malaysia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to recruit Iranians as spies.