Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to make a few things clear.
First, the brutal beheading of anyone is barbaric, unacceptable and tragic beyond description. Second, this piece is in no way intended to cause any harm or pain to the Foley family. Third, I don’t have any proof that James Foley was involved in covert intelligence work for the U.S. government.
All that being said, I do think it is important people understand he worked under USAID in Iraq only three years before he was abducted in Syria. As such, I believe the question as to whether or not he was more than just a journalist is a reasonable one to ask.
Writing in the Weekly Standard yesterday, David Devoss wrote the following about James Foley:
In the end, Jim Foley died just as he wanted to live, pursuing a story that mattered on the front line of hard news journalism. In Afghanistan, Libya, and finally Syria he recorded the horror, chaos, and occasional compassion that define the war on terror. But it was his gruesome killing on the barren sands of a foreign land that truly conveys the evil that envelops the Islamic Caliphate’s hooded assassins.
I got to know Jim Foley in 2009 when both of us worked on USAID-funded development projects in Baghdad. A former Teach for America instructor, Foley helped organize conferences and training seminars for a program designed to rebuild Iraq’s civil service, crippled by decades of isolation and autocratic administration.
Wikipedia notes the following:
Before journalism, Foley was an instructor for Teach For America. In 2009, he became an embedded journalist with USAID-funded development projects in Iraq, and in 2011, he wrote for military newspaper Stars and Stripes in Afghanistan, and GlobalPost in Libya, where he was captured by Gaddafi loyalist forces and held for 44 days.When he was captured in Syria the following year, he was working for Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost.
This guy has a resume that reads more like a James Bond film script than that of a journalist with a teaching background. He works for USAID in 2009 in Iraq, then he finds himself kidnapped in Libya two years later by Gaddafi forces. Then, after all of this, he finds himself captured in Syria, only to be beheaded two years later by ISIS (the terror organization funded by our ally Saudi Arabia).
While all these assignments to areas of intense geopolitical interest to the U.S., as well as his being captured twice in two years is interesting in its own right, what is particularly interesting is his connection to USAID. Why? Because the so-called human rights organization has been exposed as an intelligence front on several occasions within the past year alone.
In April, I highlighted the fact that the U.S. government had covertly created a “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime. The post was titled: Conspiracy Fact – How the U.S. Government Covertly Invented a “Cuban Twitter” to Create Revolution, and in it I noted:
In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government.
McSpedon didn’t work for the CIA. This was a program paid for and run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid.
Most recently, I composed a post titled: U.S. Government Caught Using Humanitarian HIV Program as a Front to Foster Cuban Dissent, in which I noted that:
According to internal documents obtained by the AP and interviews in six countries, USAID’s young operatives posed as tourists, visited college campuses and used a ruse that could undermine USAID’s credibility in critical health work around the world: An HIV-prevention workshop one called the “perfect excuse” to recruit political activists, according to a report by Murillo’s group. For all the risks, some travelers were paid as little as $5.41 an hour.
All of this should make us question whether or not James Foley was more than just a journalist. Was he knowingly working as a covert intelligence operative? If so, how many other journalists and people in other professions are actually in the paid service of U.S. intelligence agencies? While his beheading is tragic no matter what, these questions need answers in any country claiming to be free.