Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Media depicts how CIA used undercover informant to break Al Qaeda plot

ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer has a thorough story on how the CIA foiled an Al Qaeda plot to send someone (from Yemen) with an "improved" underwear device on an overeas commercial aircraft.  A CIA"double agent", perhaps the male equivalent of an Ashley Judd, joined a training camp in Yemen as a radical Islamist.  He managed to get the device transported to Saudi Arabia and turned over to authorities.

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The entire incident sounds like something from a Tom Clancy novel.

My own novel has a thirty-something male history teacher, ex-military intelligence, with an ordinary family, recruited back presumably to look at right wing bio-terror plots while keeping his teaching job and using more long term substitute teachers (sometimes working that way himself), under the guise of an old "Civilian Defense Reservist" program instituted in the 1980s.

Generally, the CIA would, for field operatives, would have to recruit people who can blend into specific populations and live "normally" with respect to those groups.  Ashley Judd's character in "Missing" is an exaggeration.

Here's what the CIA says about its CST, Clandestine Service program, and a "core collector" position, link.    There's also a "protective agent".  There's a need for linguists and language instructors (I actually know someone, to graduate from college this year if I've kept track, who would be the perfect fit, having been born in an Islamic country and grown up "everywhere" in the West.)   But the military looks for the same set of recruits, especially to attend service academies.

The US is looking at other dangerous plots, such as those that could take advantage of drought. These have been widely reported in detail in the major media. Other dangerous and over-the-top ideas include surgically implanted devices.  

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