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Defense official ran private spy operation in Afghanistan, Pakistan

By The Associated Press
March 15, 2010

(AP)

A Defense Department official is under investigation for hiring private contractors to gather intelligence on suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, The New York Times reported Sunday.

That information was then supplied to military units and intelligence officials, the Times said, citing anonymous military and business sources in the United States and Afghanistan. The scheme violated U.S. policy against using contractors as spies.

Michael D. Furlong was reported to have hired contractors from a private company run by retired Special Forces officers for what some of the Times’ sources described as an off-the-books spy operation. Some of the Times’ sources said the information gathered by the contractors was used by the military to track down and attack militants.

The officials who spoke to the newspaper said they were not sure who condoned Furlong’s operation, and it may have been funded by diverting money from a program intended to merely gather information about the area.

They also said the operation appears to have been shut down while Furlong is under criminal investigation by the Defense Department.

A Pentagon spokesman had no comment on the Times story Sunday night.

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3 Responses to Defense official ran private spy operation in Afghanistan, Pakistan

  1. Carl Nemo

    March 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Yep it’s time for another impotent Senate committee investigation followed by a loss of interest while using national security as an apologia for inaction. Then it’s on to other scandals, all to be unresolved ad infinitum ad nauseum, …!? / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Warren

    March 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    “The scheme violated U.S. policy against using contractors as spies.”

    That’s interesting. I doubt it violates “U.S.” policy. Maybe it violates Defense Department policy. Don’t the intelligence agencies systematically buy information anywhere they can get it? Did this unnamed “official” just piss off the wrong superior, or what? Doubt that any number of investigations will arrive at anything approximating the truth.

    —W—

  3. Almandine

    March 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    While I don’t really cotton to the wars we have going, I’ll be damned if it isn’t really, really crazy to have different sets of rules as to who can and who can’t spy for us. The smell of foul politics breaks on the morning wind.