A new lawsuit brought by a current CIA officer hints at the existence of a secret overseas paramilitary operation that triggered war crimes allegations, The Cable has learned.
On Friday, “John Doe,” an undercover paramilitary officer will file suit against the CIA for “unreasonable delay” of an Inspector General investigation into “alleged war crimes committed in an overseas location.” (The operation remains highly classified; details about when and where it occurred remain secret.)
According to his lawyer Mark Zaid, Doe was engaged in “offensive operations against individuals designated or viewed as enemies of the United States.” His client believes he did nothing wrong, according to Zaid, but witnessed events that “concerned him.” Zaid declined to outline what those concerning events might be.
The CIA’s paramilitary activities have come under heavy scrutiny in recent months. With the ascension of John Brennan to the top of agency, there have been renewed calls in Congress to rein in the CIA’s drone strikes and return Langley to traditional mission of gathering human intelligence. President Obama even took the unusual step in late May of publicly defending the agency’s targeted killing operations — while pledging to subject them to new constraints. Brennan himself has expressed his desire to scale back some of the agency’s traditional military activities. “While the CIA needs to maintain a paramilitary capability,” Brennan said in February, “the CIA should not be used, in my view, to carry out traditional military activities.”
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“You couldn’t tell the difference between CIA officers, Special Forces guys and contractors,” a senior U.S. official who toured through Afghanistan told The Post. “They’re all three blended together. All under the command of the CIA.” As a result of the overlapping roles, congressional committees covering intelligence and armed services often get an incomplete view of CIA paramilitary operations.
In any case, Zaid’s suit opens a small crack into the type of covert missions that rarely see the light of day. Whether more will be uncovered about this specific operation is yet to be seen. Below is a copy of the suit Zaid plans to file tomorrow:
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