National Geographic : Pakistan Undercover * Facts

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pakistan Undercover * Facts

Next Prime Time Airing Mon Aug 22

Founded in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency remains one of America's strongest defenses against terror and foreign threats. The attacks of September 11 focused the CIA on finding the persons responsible and preventing other attacks on the nation. Learn more about the origins of the CIA and how its operations today have helped protect us:

* The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the precursor to the CIA, formed during World War II.

* The colloquial term “agent” for members of the CIA conducting clandestine operations is a misnomer; the actual term is CIA Officer. Agents are foreign nationals who are recruited by an officer and are traitors to their own countries.

* The CIA headquarters are located in an area of Virginia that was once called Langley. Although this area was renamed McLean in 1910, the neighborhood surrounding the CIA is still referred to as Langley. Initial construction on the headquarters began in 1959 and was completed in 1961.

* The Security Service, frequently referred to as MI5 (Military Intelligence section 5), is the UK's intelligence agency. Established in 1909, it underwent four name changes before becoming the Security Service in 1931.

* Human Intelligence or “humint” is a critical component of espionage, in which information is gathered and provided by human sources.

* The function of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, has been likened to that of the CIA. It was formed in the early days of Pakistan's independence in 1948. There is evidence that ISI operatives have ties with militant networks working against Western interests. Some ISI members were allegedly involved in the planning of the 2008 Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul, a claim that Pakistan denies.

* The August 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US,” provides a substantive warning of threats posed by Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda a month before the attacks on 9/11. A redacted copy of the brief was made public on April 10, 2004. With the help of computer software programs, cryptographers at a conference in Switzerland suggested it was highly probable that the word ‘Egyptian’ was redacted in the following sentence: “An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [redacted] service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.”

* Rashid Rauf was reportedly killed in a UAV strike in 2008. However, British Intelligence sources question whether Rauf is really dead. Some sources insist that he was involved in the Easter Manchester bomb plot of April 2009.

* Waterboarding is not a new interrogation technique. In fact, the method was used as early as the Spanish Inquisition.

* Abu Zubaydah still remains in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To date, no formal charges have been brought against him.

* The CIA has a history of interesting but failed projects. One such endeavor involved psychics who attempted “remote viewing” of covert foreign military facilities. Another operation, “Acoustic Kitty,” hoped to develop a mobile listening technique by implanting trained cats with microphones. The first such cat was released and promptly run over by a taxicab.

* The technique known as “dead drop” allows two parties to transfer goods or information without meeting in person. Former CIA officer Aldrich Ames used the method to interact with the Russian foreign intelligence agency. He made specific chalk marks on a mailbox on 37th and R St. NW. in Washington D.C., to arrange a meeting.

* A false flag operation is an intentional effort to mislead either the public or a detainee. In one account of Zubaydah's interrogation, CIA officers allegedly tricked him into thinking he had been turned over to the Saudi Arabian government.

* Some of the CIA gadgetry that exists in the movies has a real life counterpart. In 2000, the CIA built a swimming robot catfish named "Charlie." Other gadgets of interest include a remote-controlled dragonfly and pigeons fitted with cameras.

* The “liquid bomb plot” that was thwarted in August 2006 exposed a lack of readiness and detection capability for that type of explosive and ushered in a new set of security restrictions for traveling with liquids.