[News] CIA officer holds mystery assignment at NYPD

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 19 11:13:43 EDT 2011


October 17, 2011 12:01 PM

CIA officer holds mystery assignment at NYPD

WASHINGTON - Three months ago, one of the CIA's 
most experienced clandestine operatives started 
work inside the New York Police Department. His 
title is special assistant to the deputy 
commissioner of intelligence. On that much, everyone agrees.

Exactly what he's doing there, however, is much less clear.

Since The Associated Press revealed the 
assignment in August, federal and city officials 
have offered differing explanations for why this 
CIA officer ­ a seasoned operative who handled 
foreign agents and ran complex operations in 
Jordan and Pakistan ­ was assigned to a municipal 
police department. The CIA is prohibited from 
spying domestically, and its unusual partnership 
with the NYPD has troubled top lawmakers and 
prompted an internal investigation.

His role is important because the last time a CIA 
officer worked so closely with the NYPD, 
beginning in the months after the 9/11 attacks, 
he became the architect of aggressive police 
programs that monitored Muslim neighborhoods. 
With the earlier help from this CIA official, the 
entire communities under the microscope based on 
ethnicity rather allegations of wrongdoing, according to the AP investigation.

cases of NYPD ethnic spying exposed
spied on Muslim anti-terror partners
infiltrated Muslim student groups for intel

It was an extraordinary collaboration that at 
times troubled some senior CIA officials and may 
have stretched the bounds of how the CIA is 
legally allowed to operate in the United States.

The arrangement surrounding the newly arrived CIA 
officer has been portrayed differently than that 
of his predecessor. When first asked by the AP, a 
senior U.S. official described the posting as a 
sabbatical, a program aimed at giving the man in 
New York more management training.

Testifying at City Hall recently, New York Police 
Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the CIA operative 
provides his officers "with information, usually 
coming from perhaps overseas." He said the CIA 
operative provides "technical information" to the 
NYPD but "doesn't have access to any of our investigative files."

(At left, watch Kelly provide to CBS' "60 
Minutes" a behind-the-scenes look at the nation's 
most sophisticated counter-terrorism squad in America's largest city.)

terrorism in New York City
police chief: We can shoot down airplanes
<http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7382317n>Video: Kelly's rise to the top

CIA Director David Petraeus has described him as 
an adviser, someone who could ensure that information was being shared.

spying in Muslim areas - with CIA's help

But the CIA already has someone with that job. At 
its large station in New York, a CIA liaison 
shares intelligence with the Joint Terrorism Task 
Force in New York, which has hundreds of NYPD 
detectives assigned to it. And the CIA did not 
explain how, if the officer doesn't have access 
to NYPD files, he is getting management 
experience in a division built entirely around 
collecting domestic intelligence.

James Clapper, the director of national 
intelligence, mischaracterized him to Congress as 
an "embedded analyst" ­ his office later quietly 
said that was a mistake ­ and acknowledged it 
looked bad to have the CIA working so closely with a police department.

All of this has troubled lawmakers, including 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman 
of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has 
said the CIA has "no business or authority in 
domestic spying, or in advising the NYPD how to conduct local surveillance."

"It's really important to fully understand what 
the nature of the investigations into the Muslim 
community are all about, and also the partnership 
between the local police and the CIA," said Rep. 
Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Still, the undercover operative remains in New 
York while the agency's inspector general 
investigates the CIA's decade-long relationship 
with the NYPD. The CIA has asked the AP not to 
identify him because he remains a member of the 
clandestine service and his identity is classified.

The CIA's deep ties to the NYPD began after the 
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when CIA Director 
George Tenet dispatched a veteran officer, Larry 
Sanchez, to New York, where he became the 
architect of the police department's secret spying programs.

While still on the agency payroll, Sanchez, a CIA 
veteran who spent 15 years overseas in the former 
Soviet Union, South Asia, and the Middle East, 
instructed officers on the art of collecting 
information without attracting attention. He 
directed officers and reviewed case files.

Sometimes, officials said, intelligence collected 
from NYPD's operations was passed informally to the CIA.

Sanchez also hand-picked an NYPD detective to 
attend the "Farm," the CIA's training facility 
where its officers are turned into operatives. 
The detective, who completed the course but 
failed to graduate, returned to the police 
department where he works today armed with the agency's famed espionage skills.

Also while under Sanchez's direction, documents 
show that the NYPD's Cyber Intelligence Unit, 
which monitors domestic and foreign websites, 
also conducted training sessions for the CIA.

Sanchez was on the CIA payroll from 2002 to 2004 
then took a temporary leave of absence from the 
CIA to become deputy to David Cohen, a former 
senior CIA officer who became head of the NYPD 
intelligence division just months after the 9/11 attacks.

In 2007, the CIA's top official in New York 
complained to headquarters that Sanchez was 
wearing two hats, sometimes operating as an NYPD 
official, sometimes as a CIA officer. At 
headquarters, senior officials agreed and told Sanchez he had to choose.

He formally left the CIA, staying on at the NYPD 
until late 2010. He now works as a security 
consultant in the Persian Gulf region. Sanchez's 
departure left Cohen scrambling to find someone 
with operational experience who could replace 
him. He approached several former CIA colleagues 
about taking the job but they turned him down, 
according to people familiar with the situation 
who, like others interviewed for this story, 
spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the department's inner workings.

When they refused, Cohen persuaded the CIA to 
send the current operative to be his assistant.

He arrived with an impressive post-9/11 resume. 
He had been the station chief in Pakistan and 
then Jordan, two stations that served as focal 
points in the war on terror, according to current 
and former officials who worked with him. He also 
was in charge of the agency's Counter Proliferation Division.

But he is no stranger to controversy. Former U.S. 
intelligence officials said he was nearly 
expelled from Pakistan after an incident during 
President George W. Bush's first term. Pakistan 
became enraged after sharing intelligence with 
the U.S., only to learn that the CIA station 
chief passed that information to the British.

Then, while serving in Amman, the station chief 
was directly involved in an operation to kill al 
Qaeda's then-No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri. But the 
plan backfired badly. The key informant who 
promised to lead the CIA to al-Zawahiri was in 
fact a double agent working for al Qaeda.

At least one CIA officer saw problems in the case 
and warned the station chief but, as recounted in 
a new book "The Triple Agent" by Washington Post 
reporter Joby Warrick, the station chief decided to push ahead anyway.

The informant blew himself up at remote CIA base 
in Khost, Afghanistan, in December 2009. He 
managed to kill seven CIA employees, including 
the officer who had warned the station chief, and 
wound six others. Leon Panetta, the CIA director 
at the time, called it a systemic failure and 
decided no one person was at fault.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. 
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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