Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the CIA more then two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies.
Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan.
Mr. Clarridge, 78, who was indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal and later pardoned.
His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports (spin, propaganda) — have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.
The private spying operation, which The New York Times disclosed last year, was tapped by a military desperate for information about its enemies and frustrated with the quality of intelligence from the C.I.A., an agency that colleagues say Mr. Clarridge now views largely with contempt. The effort was among a number of secret activities undertaken by the American government in a shadow war around the globe to combat militants and root out terrorists. The
Pentagon official who arranged a contract for Mr. Clarridge in 2009 is under investigation for allegations of violating Defense Department rules in awarding that contract.
Allegedly because of this investigation Mr Clarridge has been cut off from government funding and is relying on like minded "private donors" to pay his operatives and continue his work.
Which more then likely means money from the Penatagon (black budget?) has been rerouted through to private hands, and then onto Mr Clarridge.
Mr Clarridge makes an interesting comparison between his Operation called "Eclipse" and the OSS.
Mr. Clarridge declined to be interviewed, but issued a statement that likened his operation, called the Eclipse Group, to the Office of Strategic Services, the C.I.A.’s World War II precursor.
“O.S.S. was a success of the past,” he wrote. “Eclipse may possibly be an effective model for the future, providing information to officers and officials of the United States government who have the sole responsibility of acting on it or not.”
An indication of the mindset of Mr. Clarridge?!
Mr. Clarridge has been an unflinching cheerleader for American intervention overseas.Typical of his pugnacious style are his comments, provided in a 2008 interview for a documentary now on YouTube, defending many of the C.I.A.’s most notorious operations, including undermining the Chilean president Salvador Allende, before a coup ousted him 1973.
“Sometimes, unfortunately, things have to be changed in a rather ugly way,” said Mr. Clarridge, his New England accent becoming more pronounced the angrier he became. “We’ll intervene whenever we decide it’s in our national security interests to intervene.”
“Get used to it, world,” he said. “We’re not going to put up with nonsense.”
The use of private, state funded, completely unaccountable agencies is not anything new.
The Iraq war made the name BlackWater (Xe) and it's private mercenaries (killers for hire), household names.
A recent news story out of Britian makes mention of a group called Acpo. The state Peddlers of Fear must be brought to account.
Acpo- It now runs its own police forces under a police chief boss, Sir Hugh Orde, like a British FBI.
It trades on its own account, generating revenue by selling data from the police national computer for £70 an item (cost of retrieval, 60p). It owns an estate of 80 flats in central London.
As a private company, Acpo need not accede to Freedom of Information requests and presumably could distribute its profit to its own board. The whole operation is reminiscent of the deals set up by the Pentagon with private firms to run the Iraq and Afghan wars, free of publicity or accountability.
This group has been caught running an undercover operative, who was committing "eco-terrorism"