CIA has no comment on Hezbollah claim

Dec. 13, 2011 at 8:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency said it has no comment on a claim Hezbollah has released the names of agency officers working in Lebanon.

The militant organization is taking credit for identifying purported CIA officers whose names were broadcast by the Lebanese television station al-Manar, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said the agency does not "address spurious claims from terrorist groups."

"I think it's worth remembering that Hezbollah is a dangerous organization, with al-Manar as its propaganda arm," Youngblood said. "That fact alone should cast some doubt on the credibility of the group's claim."

While Youngblood declined to comment on the accuracy of the report, former CIA officials indicated at least one of the names mentioned -- that of the station chief in Beirut -- appeared to be accurate.

They said the move by Hezbollah was designed to intimidate.

"They want to dissuade people from spying in the future, show the world that they're a very capable organization," said a former CIA official. "They also want to embarrass the agency as much as possible."

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