See No Evil Robert Baer The CIA severely declined in capabilities and adopted a confused mission and corporate

climate following the end of the Cold War. The once-mighty European stations were allowed to atrophy to almost nothing. The CIA failed to change its mission to fighting the growing threat of Islamic extremism following the end of the Soviet Union. Europe had become a hotbed of Islamist activity in the 1990’s [and remains so today], but CIA offices on the continent often had few or no Mideast linguists. The success of the 9/11 attacks was due to multiple failures on the part of the U.S. government, not any one blunder. Baer is critical of the CIA’s DCI’s in the 1990’s. He believes the problem is that all of them were bureaucrats who were detached from the mechanics and needs of the spy business. During the 1990’s, some Mideast countries were only covered by two CIA agents Baer was part of a secret CIA team operating in northern Iraq during the mid 90’s. In 1995, he was called back to Washington and questioned by the FBI for his supposed role in a plot to assassinate Saddam Hussein. Executive Order 12333 [signed by Ronald Reagan] makes it illegal for a CIA agent to kill a foreign leader. Ahmad Chalabi started the trouble when he met with Iranian government representatives and showed them a forged letter from the NSC stating that the U.S. was prepared to kill Saddam. Chalabi thought it would strengthen his own planned rebellion against Saddam if the Iranians got on board. Somehow, the news of the fake letter leaked, along with claims that Baer was connected to the plot. Baer says that conspiracies and lies like this make the Middle East go round. The CIA has become increasingly risk-averse and favors signals intelligence, aerial reconnaissance, monitoring of publications, and getting human intelligence from foreign intel services over recruiting and utilizing its own human intel. Baer led a very transient lifestyle as a child. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother took him on road trips all over Europe, teaching him languages, history and philosophy. Baer developed into an impulsive and highly adventurous young man, prone to major pranks and stunts and obsessed with skiing (at which he became proficient). He graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in 1976 and held a few odd jobs before applying to the CIA on a whim at age 22. To his surprise, Baer got a positive response. A recruiter spoke with Baer and explained the organization of the CIA and what jobs were available. The recruiter steered him towards the “Directorate of Operations”—the part of the CIA that gathers human intelligence in the field. The CIA sends Americans such as Baer overseas as handlers. Handlers have real, non-CIA jobs in foreign countries as a cover. But in their spare time, handlers perform their real function: Recruiting and debriefing agents—locals who wish to spy for the U.S. Handlers are taught to be social and to single out people with alcohol problems, anger towards their government, money problems, or pro-U.S. attitudes as potential CIA agents. After a protracted period of testing and interviews, Baer was accepted into the CIA. He underwent extensive paramilitary training—a holdover from the WWII OSS days when the agency made use of such skills. Today, the CIA is extremely averse towards using its personnel for fighting of any sort.

Baer then went for a second round of more cerebral training at “The Farm,” located outside Williamsburg, VA. A large amount of time was devoted towards teaching countersurveillance—evading enemies who are following you. Even when being carefully watched, there are always brief moments during a typical daily routine in which a person is completely out of sight. It is during these moments that the spy must do their work. A spy must spend large amounts of time exploring different travel routes and places to find if they are useful for doing clandestine activities, and much time must also be spent moving around just to shake enemy observers off. During the late 70’s, Baer had his first field assignment in India. America’s primary espionage objectives there were to track India’s nuclear program [India detonated its first nuke in 1974] and to obtain information on Soviet weapons systems (the Soviets exported cutting-edge equipment to India). Baer’s first big break came when an Indian agent managed to get copies of Soviet T-72 tank manuals for two hours from the Indian military. The two split up and agreed to meet at a tennis club later. Baer headed back to his office and made copies of the manuals. As he was driving to the meeting to give them back, a number of cars full of Indian security personnel started following him. A car chase ensued, and Baer tossed a suitcase full of the manuals out into the bushes outside the club, where the agent grabbed them and ran away. Baer then grabbed his tennis bag, ran into the tennis club’s lounge, sat down next to a rich-looking Indian man he didn’t know, ordered drinks for them both, and began a friendly conversation. Shortly afterwards, the Indian officers burst in and assumed that Baer had come there to meet the rich man. [Baer does not tell how the incident ended.] Baer then went to the Mideast even though he knew nothing about the region. He admits it was a very impulsive decision he didn’t understand at the time. [He clearly has an impulsive personality.] Baer underwent extensive Arabic training before deployment. On April 18th, 1983, the U.S. embassy in Beirut was hit by a car bomb, killing 63 people. The CIA was especially hard-hit, losing eight people, including a top director, Robert Ames. The bomb was massive, and the investigation revealed that the entire job had been extremely professional. A mysterious group no one had heard of called the “Islamic Jihad Organization” claimed responsibility and then disappeared for a time. The truck had actually been owned in America before being shipped overseas. In the Middle East, the CIA recruits clans and families, not individuals. Baer was next deployed to Lebanon. He had a bad boss who was very risk-averse and turned down Baer’s requests for operations because they risked upsetting diplomatic relations or the boss’ superiors. The Lebanon boss was obsessed with making sure all paperwork was in order. Baer says he didn’t realize it at the time, but this man was “the face of the new CIA.” [CIA’s decline began before the end of the Cold War.] Baer learned where Abu Nidal lived and wanted to have an agent rent an apartment next to his so a CIA team could secretly come in, drill a hole through the wall, and put microphones in Nidal’s place. The boss rejected the idea. During the Lebanese Civil War, the Iranian Pasdaran established a strong presence in the country, using its own personnel for terrorism and providing training and resources to other Islamic terrorists. The Pasdaran took over the Sheikh Abdullah barracks and converted it into its headquarters for several years. Foreign hostages, including Americans, were kept here secretly.


Kidnappings of Westerners were common in Lebanon. Iran was behind many of them and did this primarily through proxies. Baer became friends with a member of the Moussaui clan. The man had terrorist ties within his family, and told Baer that a group intended to kidnap a high-ranking American soon. Shortly afterwards, on March 16th, 1984, CIA station chief Bill Buckley was kidnapped in Beirut. He was secretly held until being killed in 1991 and dumped on a street. At the time, the CIA also had a very valuable agent inside of an Islamic terrorist organization. The CIA allowed him to bomb one of its compounds, with secret precautions being taken first to ensure no casualties, so he could impress his bosses. The ploy worked and the terrorist group remained convinced that the agent was loyal. In the Middle East, all events and groups are connected. It is an extremely intricate and multilayered place. Baer joined Dewey Claridge’s new CIA Counterterrorism Center (CTC) in the mid-80’s. Baer describes the CTC headquarters as a place of frenetic activity, with hundreds of people working in a single, large room. Dewey’s operation quickly ran into problems. First, it had a bad shortage of Mideast linguists. Second, regional CIA departments were unwilling to allow CTC operations within their zones for fear of upsetting host governments (i.e.—German government becomes upset when it finds out CIA has been spying on German Muslims without giving notice). Baer met with some members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were trying to kill Qaddafi. Syria has been under a secular, Baath Party dictatorship since 1966 when General Hafez alAssad seized power in a coup [he died in 2000, and his son Bashar took over the Presidency]. The Islamic Brotherhood of Syria wanted to kill Assad and they knew that America hated the man too since he supported terrorism in Lebanon and Israel. So, the Islamic Brotherhood approached Baer and held a meeting with him in Germany (the group had a presence there) where they asked the CIA to help in an assassination attempt. The group had smuggled AA missiles near the Damascus airport, and needed American intelligence to tell them when Assad’s plane was flying out. Baer had to decline because it was illegal for the CIA to assist in assassinations. The Iranian presence in Lebanon actually scared Syria because the Iranians backed all Islamic terrorist groups except those with Syrian ties. Aerial reconnaissance photos, Baer’s own disguised visit to the site, and interviews with an escaped American prisoner gave the CIA much more information on the Sheikh Abdullah barracks, and convinced Baer it was staffed with Iranians and was where American hostages were being held. After the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy to Lebanon, the staff was relocated to a new embassy building in a safer location in East Beirut. Security measures were also increased, but on September 20th, 1984, another suicide bomber managed to plow his vehicle into the building and blow it up, killing 22 people and again forcing the embassy to be moved to a new location. Baer visited the third U.S. embassy and described it as a low building in the middle of ten acres of flat land, all covered with barbed wire and obstacles and with antimissile nets strung overhead. The security presence was also extremely heavy. Embassy personnel still lived off-site, and had to move around in convoys of heavy vehicles full of armed men. But in a warzone such as 1980’s Beirut, everyone has automatic weapons and explosives, so fighting your way out of trouble was often not an option. Baer instead says that the best way to stay safe in such a place is


to try to blend in as much as possible, and to change apartments, cars, and daily routes every few days. Baer says he often went around unarmed or with just a pistol. [Baer goes into an extraordinary level of detail discussing how he tracked terrorist activities in Lebanon using human intelligence and analysis. It appears almost identical to police detective work. I am not interested in these specifics and have skipped it.] Baer concludes that Fatah orchestrated the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, and that Yassir Arafat knew beforehand and may have given the go-ahead. Agents who provide human intelligence are sometimes given CIA polygraphs to verify the truth of their statements. The polygraphs are conducted in-country at secret locations. Baer made it a personal side project to research the 1983 embassy bombing over the years. He was troubled by the fact that nobody was ever arrested. In 1987, he recommended to his superiors that several new suspects be arrested for the crime. This was denied, and Baer came to realize that his bosses were all bureaucrats who had never served in the field, did not appreciate the loss, and just wanted to move on. Baer reminds the reader that Yassir Arafat started out as an Islamic extremist before he turned to politics [he fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood against Israel in 1948, and later his first advisors were from the same group], and he never severed his ties with Sunni and Shi’ite terrorist groups even decades later. Baer was next assigned to Tajikistan in the early 1990’s, right after the breakup of the Soviet Union. At the time, the Russian army retained a strong presence in the former Soviet republics, and was fighting a war with Islamic radicals in Tajikistan. It was seriously feared that all of central Asia might fall to Islamic fundamentalism. [The Tajik civil war went from May 1992June 1997 and cost 50,000-100,000 lives. The secularists won with Russian help.] Boris Yeltsin alienated the Russian army in the aftermath of the August 1991 coup. Russian troops stationed in the former republics lived terribly: Many died in fighting against Islamists or other separatists, tours of duty lasted months or years in very remote locations, and bases were not resupplied. The central government sold military equipment and weapons to third parties legally and illegally, leaving the Russian army to rot. Some inside the Russian government were also involved in the drug trade. A plot to overthrow Yeltsin’s corrupt government formed among frontier military commanders, who had the best-trained units in Russia. They planned to tap Alexander Lebed as their leader. A Russian colonel in Tajikistan asked Baer how the U.S. would react to a coup, and Baer was ordered to say that America supported Russia’s democratically elected government. During Baer’s time in Tajikistan, the CIA office was actually located inside the Russian embassy to Tajikistan. It was a very bold statement of post-Cold War unity. The Pasdaran took advantage of the Soviet Union’s fall to spread agents throughout central Asia and to help Islamic fundamentalist groups trying to seize power. Baer took a break from his work for a hellish vacation along Tajikistan’s southern border to drive his truck out in search of an ancient civilization rumored to exist in one of the valleys. Along the way, he found more Russian border stations in terrible shape, with haggard, scared garrisons lacking supplies and decent leadership. Many still believed the Soviet Union existed. Baer describes the area as stunningly beautiful at points, but also extremely dangerous and impoverished. After two years of living in very poor conditions (no hot water, dirty water, eating Army rations, etc.), Baer decided he had had enough and wanted to leave Tajikistan. However, Baer couldn’t


find a qualified replacement since CIA personnel lacked the necessary language skills and since going overseas had become a bad career choice for those wishing to advance in the ranks. Said Abdullah Nouri was a warlord who headed Tajikistan’s Islamic Renaissance Party, which was fighting in the civil war against the government. The Russians and Tajiks begged America for help against him. The Saudi Royal Family, under the auspices of the “World Islamic/Muslim League of Saudi Arabia,” smuggled money and weapons to Nouri. Nouri connected al Qaeda to the Iranian intelligence services. In July 1996, he arranged for Osama bin Laden to meet an Iranian representative. It is suspected that bin Laden asked for terrorist assistance and proposed an alliance against the U.S. In 1995, Baer was in northern Iraq. His CIA teammate was a contractor—another sign of where the agency was headed. The Arab leaders, who understood the effects of power vacuums in their regions, had opposed American plans to topple Saddam during the First Gulf War. After the end of the First Gulf War, the Kurds achieved a level of independence from Saddam and fell into their own civil war. While the civil war was really a disorganized clan war, by the time Baer got there, there were two main sides. Baer arrived in Kurdistan in January 1995 to recruit spies mainly in an effort to learn about Iraq’s WMD program. Since leaders are so far removed from their people, state decisions are made in secret, and the media is state-controlled, many Arabs rely on conspiracy theories and rumors for news and to form their world views. Iraq was no exception. Most Iraqis believed that the U.S. was actually keeping Saddam in power so that his presence would threaten the Gulf States into seeking U.S. protection, which would only be provided if they lowered oil prices. Iraqis saw the American failure to topple Saddam at the end of the First Gulf War and the weak retaliations against Saddam’s misbehavior as proof of this secret relationship. A high-ranking Iraqi military official approached Baer and revealed plans for a coup: Three divisions of tanks and mechanized infantry would stage a surprise attack against Baghdad. Saddam would flee to a fort outside of Tikrit, where a fourth tank unit would surround him and either capture or kill him. The coup would be over within a few hours. The coup force was not large enough to beat the entire Iraqi army and would depend on total surprise for success. The official told Baer about this for two reasons: 1) He was beholden to the conspiratorial view that the U.S. supported Saddam and that American permission was thus needed before the operation, and 2) fast U.S. recognition of the new Iraqi government would be critical to the plan’s success. Baer checked out the info. the officer provided him and discovered that the military official had named real Iraqi officers in charge of the correct units, and that they all did have connections to each other. But events unfolding in the Kurdish civil war threatened the coup plot. Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani led the two major Kurdish factions. Barzani was gaining a decisive edge in the conflict thanks to the fact that the main oil smuggling route to Turkey passed through his territory and he could “tax” the contraband, giving him money for arms and ammunition. This arrangement also meant that Barzani had developed a relationship with Saddam’s government, which actively supported the illegal oil smuggling. Talabani’s forces had become weak by comparison because no smuggling routes traversed their land. Talabani was becoming desperate, and there were signs he might gamble everything on a massive offensive against Barzani’s superior forces. Barzani, who put the power of his tribe and himself within it above all else,


might call in the Iraqi army in such an event and allow them onto his territory in Kurdistan (Talabani, by contrast, had a much broader worldview that went beyond his tribe and the Kurds, and he hated Saddam and wanted better for all of Iraq). This would mean that the coup units would move from the Baghdad area to northern Iraq, ruining the entire operation. It was during this same time that Ahmad Chalabi met Baer. Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress had a base in Kurdistan. Chalabi also wanted to overthrow Saddam (though he was ignorant of the Generals’ plot), but he wanted his group to constitute the new government. Baer thought Chalabi was a poor choice for an Iraqi leader for several reasons: -Chalabi was a Shi’ite, and Shi’ites had never ruled Iraq in its history. -Chalabi had no military experience, which would prove especially bad if the INC intended to take Iraq by force. -Chalabi came from a wealthy family that had fled Iraq when he was eight and moved to Lebanon. Chalabi thus spoke with a Lebanese accent. -He was educated in the U.S., which would have led many Iraqis to distrust him as an American lackey. -Because of these last two facts, Chalabi was widely viewed by Iraqis as a stateless exile. The INC also had no support inside of Iraq. There were also questions about Chalabi’s integrity since his biggest business venture—the Petra Bank—had failed spectacularly in 1989, losing investors hundreds of millions of dollars and leading to Chalabi’s indictment in a Jordanian court for embezzlement. Baer met Chalabi several times, both in D.C. and Kurdistan, and he also knew other government people who dealt with the man as well. Baer described Chalabi as being a highly intelligent, charismatic, manipulative man who cleverly assumed the form of Washington’s ideal Iraqi leader even though he lacked true substance, thus gaining strong support from some American politicians. [This would later explain why members of the Bush administration so strongly pushed for his leadership in 2003] Chalabi was concerned that the course of the Kurdish civil war would soon lead Barzani to invite Saddam’s army in, which would mean the end of INC activities in Iraq. Chalabi was pressured to act, and formed his own coup plans, which he shared with Baer. Chalabi supposedly knew Kurdish and Shi’ite leaders whom he could convince to start uprisings against Saddam in Iraq’s north and south, respectively. But he needed the CIA to convince Barzani and Talabani to work together to fight Saddam’s northern forces in order for the plan to succeed. Barzani, who was comfortable with the status quo, refused Baer’s request to fight against Saddam. The State Department, which was growing concerned over the unstable situation in Kurdistan, sent an envoy to speak with the various sides. Baer says the envoy was very unfriendly towards him and had the view that the CIA had somehow caused the problem. [Example of U.S. government turf wars] The envoy promised to give the Kurds $2 million to stop fighting, but said they could get the money from the CIA via Baer. Baer had not been informed of this, and had to make the embarrassing revelation to the Kurdish leaders that the money could not be given because such an exchange was illegal. With the option of a negotiated peace gone, Talabani was pressured to act on his own to escape his bad situation. He shared with Baer a bold plan to withdraw all troops from the front with Barzani and to throw everyone into a southward attack against Saddam’s entrenched V Corps. [Presumably Saddam’s front line of containment against the Kurds] Baer was shocked: V Corps consisted of tanks, artillery and infantry and was several times the size of Talabani’s force. The


attack would also leave Talabani’s territory completely exposed to Barzani’s forces. However, Talabani believed that V Corps was in fact very weak because its troops were demoralized and badly led, and that Barzani would be killed as a traitor if he dared attack another Kurdish tribe while that tribe was in the middle of fighting against a superior Arab force. Baer agreed that most of Saddam’s army was in very bad shape. He knew this from speaking with Iraqi deserters of all ranks who fled to the north and described units lacking food, fuel, ammunition, and all other supplies. Thus, in early 1995, three different groups of Iraqis had all hatched plans to overthrow Saddam. Chalabi and the generals agreed to work together. Barzani refused to participate in the uprising. Talabani said he might help. Baer had been in direct contact with CIA headquarters and the State Department during all of this. The U.S. had been noncommittal the entire time, and on the eve of the coup, National Security Advisor Tony Lake sent a telegram to Baer stating that the U.S. government neither supported nor opposed the plan. The operation began on March 4th, 1995. Baer visited the INC headquarters to find it a communications nerve center abuzz with activity. He also received news that the tank unit around Tikrit had armed itself with stolen shells. However, the plan quickly failed. Barzani arrested one of the coup generals as he was transiting Kurdish territory and imprisoned him for six critical hours. Saddam also got word of the plot and arrested several other generals. Chalabi got spooked and the entire INC packed up and went to a secret location elsewhere in northern Iraq, abandoning the whole coup. Talabani did not attack. Baer’s analysis of satellite reconnaissance showed that none of the Iraqi units that were to have taken part in the coup did anything unusual around the time of the planned coup. It was at this time that Baer was first informed by his CIA boss that he was under investigation because of the supposed connection to the forged Chalabi letter that stated CIA support for Saddam’s assassination. Baer was ordered to return to Washington in a week for an FBI interview. It was at this critical moment that Talabani staged his attack against V Corps. They scored major victories and Talabani’s assessment of V Corps’ weakness proved correct: Entire units surrendered with little or no resistance. Thousands of prisoners were taken along with tons of weapons and supplies. During the first day, Talabani’s forces even beat back a Republican Guard counterattack meant to relieve the crumbling regular army, inflicting heavy losses. Baer and his CIA contractor loaded up their truck and set out to find Talabani. On route, they saw the results of the battles. When they found Talabani, he was in good spirits and was planning to take Tikrit and then to drive all the way south to Baghdad to depose Saddam. Baer contacted the CIA with news of the new developments. However, since satellite surveillance and signals intelligence had failed to show evidence of the uprising, no one believed Baer’s claims that Talabani was tearing apart the Iraqi army. Requests for U.S. support were also denied. Baer was forced to return to Washington in the middle of all of this for the criminal investigation. He and his contractor left in early March 1995 and were replaced by a different CIA team. Baer says the CIA officials and FBI agents treated him badly during the investigation. As soon as he passed a polygraph test proving his noninvolvement with the assassination plot, the investigation was dropped.


Nevertheless, his bosses at the CIA were concerned that he was a bit of a rogue element, and reassigned him from field duties to a desk job at CIA headquarters in 1995. There, he controlled a staff of 25 people. The arrest of Aldrich Ames in February 1994 led to terrible repercussions within the CIA, in large part because Ames managed to escape detection for years even though he had been spending impossibly high amounts of money given his CIA salary. Counterespionage responsibilities were turned over to the FBI. The FBI man in charge of this was overzealous and often hostile to CIA personnel. He reopened every suspected espionage investigation within CIA, and in the process of investigating this and other things, created a hostile, fearful environment within the agency. Everyone at the CIA who had ever had an unofficial or suspect contact with a foreigner was polygraphed. Baer believes that many honest employees were fired or resigned in embarrassment because they failed these polygraphs due to nervousness. Because of all the new investigative red tape that now came with speaking to foreigners, CIA field offices de-emphasized recruiting new agents and instead focused on paperwork and dealing with bosses. It was at this time that Baer came into contact with a man named Roger Tamraz. Tamraz was a very successful Lebanese-American businessman who, in the early 90’s, was in talks to build an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Turkey, passing through Azerbaijan and Armenia. However, at the same time an oil consortium including Exxon and BP was trying to secure rights to build the pipeline. The consortium had been burned by Tamraz in the past, and didn’t want to be outcompeted by him again. So, the companies used their political connections to their favor: The State Dept. and Dept. of Energy both called the Azerbaijani President to pressure him to give the consortium the contract. Baer first became involved with this when NSC Eurasian staffer Sheila Heslin contacted him and demanded CIA dirt on Tamraz. Baer searched his files and found that Tamraz had a secret relationship with the CIA going back to 1972. Heslin was part of the government effort to block Tamraz’s pipeline deal. Tamraz and Baer spoke often during this period. One day, Tamraz called Baer and told him several important things: 1) The Chinese had agreed to finance Tamraz’s TurkmenistanAzerbaijan-Armenia-Turkey oil pipeline, 2) Tamraz had sought American support for the project, and had illegally donated large sums of money to the DNC and Ted Kennedy’s family, for which he was rewarded with a stay in the Lincoln Bedroom and a promised one-on-one session with Bill Clinton, and 3) Tamraz had already convinced Boris Yeltsin to support the pipeline, and Yeltsin gave Tamraz KGB money to illegally funnel into Clinton’s 1996 campaign fund (Yeltsin liked Clinton). [Strange since Russia opposes Central Asian pipelines that bypass its own territory and hence don’t allow Russia to take a cut] In 1995, Saudi Hezbollah asked the Iranian government for help conducting terrorist activities. The Iranians eagerly agreed, and the Pasdaran create a terrorist training base in Lebanon for Saudi Hezbollah. The Pasdaran gave the terrorists extensive training and completely funded their operations. In November 1995, the group used a car bomb to kill five American servicemen and several Saudis, and in June 1996, Saudi Hezbollah used a truck bomb to attack a U.S. Air Force barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia (the Khobar Towers), killing 19 Americans. In 1995, an al Qaeda representative met with Iranian intelligence officials inside of Iran. In July of 1996, an Iranian intel officer traveled to Afghanistan and met with Osama bin Laden. It is believed that bin Laden asked for Iranian terrorist training and support—which al Qaeda badly needed—and proposed an alliance against the U.S. Baer states that a strong al Qaeda-Iran terrorist union would be extremely dangerous.


Baer wanted to bug a Pasdaran building in central Asia to obtain more information on the group, but he had to get permission from Sheila Heslin. At first, she forbid the operation, claiming that it might enrage the Iranians and cause them to retaliate by attacking Amoco personnel working on the pipeline in Azerbaijan. Amoco belonged to the consortium working to build a competing pipeline against Tamraz. Heslin had previously sought CIA dirt on Tamraz to use against him. Baer was sickened by what appeared to be Heslin’s ulterior motives interfering with her national security decisions, so he reported it to a superior. Heslin’s decision was subsequently reversed, and the building was bugged. In March 1997, Baer became sickened of the campaign finance scandal and decided to officially report the illegal activities he had observed. Baer first contacted the offices of Senator Richard Shelby because Shelby had begun the investigation into illegal funding of Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. When his office failed to respond, Baer made arrangements to speak with the Justice Department. When his superiors found out about this, they declared that Baer had gone “out of bounds” and they instead used their own people to debrief him. The CIA sanitized his testimony to ensure that none of it reflected badly upon the agency and it was then given to Justice. At this point, Sen. Shelby heard of Baer and asked him to attend a private meeting. Six people were present, including Baer and Shelby. It became clear that Shelby was really holding the meeting just to gather more dirt against Tony Lake, Bill Clinton’s nominee for the new CIA DCI who was being battered during Senate confirmation hearings. Baer was barely allowed to speak, but towards the end he blurted out the fact that Tamraz had illegally funneled KGB money into Clinton’s reelection campaign through Senator Kennedy and the DNC Chairman. At that, Shelby abruptly ended the meeting and left. Baer’s outspokenness on this issue now began to hurt him. He was called in to a meeting with two, unfriendly men from the CIA Inspector General’s office. They levied a number of accusations against him and ignored his denials: -They claimed he had destroyed an important October 1995 memo about Tamraz. Baer said this was false and that he knew the Deputy DCI still had a copy. -They claimed he had been bribed by Tamraz to expunge incriminating details about his activities from official CIA records. Baer denied this. -They claimed that Baer had threatened Sheila Heslin in an effort to get her to remove Tamraz’s name from the Secret Service’s blacklist of people who couldn’t meet the President. Baer denied this and pointed out that records showed he and Heslin had a friendly relationship at the time. Afterwards, the CIA Inspectors tossed Baer’s office, and intimidated and interviewed his staff. Most of them found jobs in other CIA departments as a result. Baer complains that the Justice Department investigation was also uninterested in exploring the Russian-DNC funding link and instead sought to discredit him, this time using against him the fact that Tamraz had offered him a job. Congressional hearings over the illicit funding issue also ended quickly. Baer believes that this was because members of both parties had taken illegal foreign contributions or had been involved with Tamraz in the past, so no one wanted to make any of the happenings public. Baer was never called to testify. Even after 15 years, Baer was still intrigued by the 1983 Lebanon bombings and wanted to know who did it. With his own years of research and working with an experienced CIA colleague, Baer concluded that the Pasdaran had been directly responsible for the bombings, and that the shadowy “Islamic Jihad Organization” was really just a dummy front used by Iran. Ayatollah


Khameni knew of the attacks in advance and may in fact have ordered them. A small, highly secret CIA team had investigated the bombings and determined Iran’s responsibility early on. Very high-ranking members of the U.S. government knew all this, but they chose to keep it quiet for fear of the international repercussions. All of the evidence was hidden and the public was led to believe that the case was unsolved. Later on, something similar happened when the U.S. government forbade intelligence analysts from using official channels to sound the alarm on the growth of Islamic fundamentalism inside Saudi Arabia because such an action would have upset the Saudi Royal Family. Baer criticizes the Clinton administration for ignoring the growing threat of Islamic radicalism, for its attitude that the next President could deal with it, and for the campaign finance scandal. Baer believes that al Qaeda had help from other Islamist groups for the 9/11 attacks. He points out that terrorist groups are not bound by the same bureaucratic inertia and infighting that democratic governments like ours are: The Islamists can operate with great flexibility and opportunism, and different groups can easily join for large operations or to exchange resources and training and then dissolve bonds. After leaving the CIA in 1997, Baer worked as a contractor for a private company in Lebanon. One of his clients was a man from a powerful Middle Eastern family. The man told Baer of how his government had given Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and another al Qaeda terrorist fake passports to escape once the government learned that the FBI wanted to arrest them. Baer reported this to the CIA but received no response. In 2001, one of Baer’s friends within the Saudi military told him that al Qaeda was planning “something big,” and he provided Baer with the names of hundreds of al Qaeda members in the Kingdom. The man also told the Saudi defense minister about this, but the latter refused to take any action. Baer believes that the U.S. should marginalize Osama bin Laden instead of publicly deriding him as “Public Enemy #1” because this makes bin Laden famous and drives angry Muslim men to listen to bin Laden’s ideas and seek him out to serve. Terrorists lack armies and territory, and therefore cannot be fought with conventional forces. Good intelligence is the only defense against them. Baer believes that in order to win the War on Terror, the CIA must recruit more field agents, cut down on the bureaucracy and red tape, and be more willing to engage in operations critical to U.S. security regardless of whether or not they upset the sensibilities of foreign diplomats.


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