Thursday, May 2, 2024

The CIA's Special Activities Center

Probably close to 10 years ago now, I had the opportunity to attend a short presentation by a member of our church stake (sort of like a diocese) who had served in the CIA paramilitary arm back in the 1970s and early '80s. It was aimed at the youth in the stake--one of those presentations where they have people come in to talk about their jobs--but parents were encouraged to attend. 

    Obviously he couldn't provide much in the way of specifics, but he talked a little about how he wound up being inducted into paramilitary work for the CIA, a couple examples from their testing/training regimen, and, although he couldn't describe any particular mission, presented and acted out a fictional mission to rescue a man and his family seeking to escape from behind the Iron Curtain and what could be expected in such a mission, including wearing the type of clothing he would use on such a mission and an equipment belt with the type of equipment he would carry with him (the pistol was fake, however). He also mentioned that a lot of his work involved electronic and other intelligence gathering along the border with or inside East Germany. 

    After leaving the service, he became a psychologist and apparently had a successful practice in this area. Funny enough, years after he left the service, he discovered that his brother had also worked for the CIA at about the same time and doing similar work in Europe.  

    I bring this up because I recently came across an article at SOFREP.com and it reminded me of that presentation a long time ago. The article is entitled: "The Secret World of CIA’s Elite Paramilitary Operatives." The author, Guy D. McCardle, discusses the CIA's general mission, some of the major sections or divisions with the Agency, before moving on to discuss the Special Activities Center and the different branches within the SAC and generally the types of missions they would conduct. He intersperses this with an example of specific operations carried out by a respective branch for which we have public confirmation (limited as it might be): e.g., the rescue of Jessica Lynch from Iraqi forces in 2003; the formation and operation of Air America and the failed Bay of Pigs operation; the September 2012 battle in Benghazi that Hillary Clinton doesn't think is of any consequence; and others. 

    He also raises some interesting points or tidbits of information in different sections, e.g.:

  • Discussing the CIA's overall mission:

    Unlike the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a domestic security service, the CIA has no law enforcement function and mainly focuses on overseas intelligence operations.

    The agency is supposed to be strictly an offshore organization, prohibited from conducting operations on US soil but SOFREP has had credible sources from within JSOC and the NSA  tell us that the agency routinely uses foreign business proxies to spy on US soil, essentially legally bypassing the restriction.

    What do we mean by this?

    Imagine a wealthy Indian hotel chain owner with properties within the US who is working as a CIA asset (what they call spies). This hotel owner is being paid millions of agency dollars to record audio and video footage from “guests of interest” (e.g., imagine a cheating spouse) and reports back these activities that could be used as leverage to gain information. But back to the mission…

  •  Discussing the Air Branch:

More recently white unmarked, with plain FAA N registration numbers, Boeing jets could be seen shuttling around agency operatives in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots globally. Like most of the branches within SAC they typically contract out these services to a number of US companies as a layer of protection and deniability.

  •  Discussing the Political Action Group:

    Perhaps the most shadowy of the SAC’s components, the Political Action Group (PAG) wields influence far beyond the battlefield. Specializing in the arts of psychological warfare, economic sabotage, and covert political influence, the PAG works to sway political outcomes in favor of U.S. interests without direct military intervention.

    By manipulating mainstream media and social media, financing opposition movements, or staging cyber-attacks, this group plays a crucial role in shaping the geopolitical landscape in a manner that is both subtle and profound.

    It’s well known within the agency that companies like Meta, Apple, and Google have contracts with the CIA and are allowed special access to data.

    Steve Jobs was a routine visitor to the CIA’s headquarters.
  • And in relating a bit about recruitment and training, the author states (underline added):
    The pathway to becoming a CIA paramilitary operative is arduous, with candidates undergoing a rigorous selection process for each branch. Usually, candidates have served in a Special Operations unit for longer than four years and have seen combat. Typically, they are recommended by existing operators for the job, and like Air Branch, the bulk of billets are filled by trusted private military companies (formerly Blackwater, Ogara Group, and MVM to name a few) who feed them qualified candidates who work on programs as green-badged security contractors.

    Green badgers are typically managed by senior paramilitary operators overseeing them who work directly for the CIA. These senior managers are called “blue badgers” by insiders, indicating the color of their agency security badge.

You might notice a common thread here: using private entities or persons in order to get around U.S. laws and Congressional oversight, including operations inside the United States. 

    This is a major theme in the recent article from Conservative Treehouse/The Last Refuge: "The Intel Agencies of Government Are Fully Weaponized". In that article, the author "explain[s] how the Intelligence Branch works: (1) to control every other branch of government; (2) how it functions as an entirely independent branch of government with no oversight; (3) how and why it was created to be independent from oversight; (4) what is the current mission of the IC Branch, and most importantly (5) who operates it." It is a lengthy article, but in line with the CIA article from SOFREP, it notes that "[t]he modern Fourth Branch of Government is only possible because of a Public-Private partnership with the intelligence apparatus. You do not have to take my word for it, the partnership is so brazen they have made public admissions."

    The biggest names in Big Tech announced in June [2021] their partnership with the Five Eyes intelligence network, ultimately controlled by the NSA, to: (1) monitor all activity in their platforms; (2) identify extremist content; (3) look for expressions of Domestic Violent Extremism (DVE); and then, (4) put the content details into a database where the Five Eyes intelligence agencies (U.K., U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand) can access it.

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft are all partnering with the intelligence apparatus. It might be difficult to fathom how openly they admit this, but they do. Look at this sentence in the press release (emphasis mine):

[…] “The Group will use lists from intelligence-sharing group Five Eyes adding URLs and PDFs from more groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and neo-Nazis.”

Think about that sentence structure very carefully. They are “adding to” the preexisting list…. admitting the group (aka Big Tech) already have access to the the intelligence-sharing database… and also admitting there is a preexisting list created by the Five Eyes consortium.

    Obviously, who and what is defined as “extremist content” will be determined by the Big Tech insiders themselves. This provides a gateway, another plausible deniability aspect, to cover the Intelligence Branch from any oversight.

    When the Intelligence Branch within government wants to conduct surveillance and monitor American citizens, they run up against problems due to the Constitution of the United States. They get around those legal limitations by sub-contracting the intelligence gathering, the actual data-mining, and allowing outside parties (contractors) to have access to the central database.

    The government cannot conduct electronic searches (4th amendment issue) without a warrant; however, private individuals can search and report back as long as they have access. What is being admitted is exactly that preexisting partnership. The difference is that Big Tech will flag the content from within their platforms, and now a secondary database filled with the extracted information will be provided openly for the Intelligence Branch to exploit.

    The volume of metadata captured by the NSA has always been a problem because of the filters needed to make the targeting useful. There is a lot of noise in collecting all data that makes the parts you really want to identify more difficult to capture. This new admission puts a new massive filtration system in the metadata that circumvents any privacy protections for individuals.

    Previously, the Intelligence Branch worked around the constitutional and unlawful search issue by using resources that were not in the United States. A domestic U.S. agency, working on behalf of the U.S. government, cannot listen on your calls without a warrant. However, if the U.S. agency sub-contracts to say a Canadian group, or foreign ally, the privacy invasion is no longer legally restricted by U.S. law.

    What was announced in June 2021 is an alarming admission of a prior relationship along with open intent to define their domestic political opposition as extremists.

July 26 (Reuters) – A counterterrorism organization formed by some of the biggest U.S. tech companies including Facebook (FB.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) is significantly expanding the types of extremist content shared between firms in a key database, aiming to crack down on material from white supremacists and far-right militias, the group told Reuters.

Until now, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism’s (GIFCT) database has focused on videos and images from terrorist groups on a United Nations list and so has largely consisted of content from Islamist extremist organizations such as Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Over the next few months, the group will add attacker manifestos – often shared by sympathizers after white supremacist violence – and other publications and links flagged by U.N. initiative Tech Against Terrorism. It will use lists from intelligence-sharing group Five Eyes, adding URLs and PDFs from more groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and neo-Nazis.

The firms, which include Twitter (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube, share “hashes,” unique numerical representations of original pieces of content that have been removed from their services. Other platforms use these to identify the same content on their own sites in order to review or remove it. (read more)

    The influence of the Intelligence Branch now reaches into our lives, our personal lives. In the decades before 9/11/01 the intelligence apparatus intersected with government, influenced government, and undoubtedly controlled many institutions with it. The legislative oversight function was weak and growing weaker, but it still existed and could have been used to keep the IC in check. However, after the events of 9/11/01, the short-sighted legislative reactions opened the door to allow the surveillance state to weaponize.

    After the Patriot Act was triggered, not coincidentally only six weeks after 9/11, a slow and dangerous fuse was lit that ends with the intelligence apparatus being granted a massive amount of power. The problem with assembled power is always what happens when a Machiavellian network takes control over that power and begins the process to weaponize the tools for their own malicious benefit. That is exactly what the installation of Barack Obama was all about.

    The Obama network took pre-assembled intelligence weapons we should never have allowed to be created, and turned those weapons into tools for his radical and fundamental change. The target was the essential fabric of our nation. Ultimately, this corrupt political process gave power to create the Fourth Branch of Government, the Intelligence Branch. From that perspective the fundamental change was successful.

Both articles are interesting, so be sure to check them out.

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