December 13, 2011
Hezbollah has revealed the identities of CIA officers working undercover in Lebanon, a blow to agency operations in the region and the latest salvo in an escalating spy war.
The militant group made the names public in a broadcast on Friday night on a Lebanese television station, al-Manar. Using video animations, the station recreated meetings purported to take place between CIA officers and paid informants at Starbucks and Pizza Hut outlets. The officers met with informants at locations more than once, a procedure frowned upon because it risks exposure.
The disclosure comes after Hezbollah managed to partially unravel the agency’s spy network in Lebanon after running a double agent against the CIA, former and current US intelligence officials said. They requested anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.
In June, the Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, revealed his group had identified at least two spies working for the CIA. It is not clear whether one of those spies was the same double agent working for Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by the US. Nasrallah has called the American embassy in Beirut a “den of spies”.