November 22, 2011
Dozens of spies working for the CIA were captured recently in Lebanon and Iran, current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press and ABC News on Monday.
The CIA’s operations in Lebanon have been badly damaged after Hezbollah identified and captured a number of the U.S. spies, officials told The Associated Press.
|In photo released by Lebanon army, a spying system camouflaged to look like a rock is seen after it was discovered by the Lebanese army near the southern city of Tyre on March 17, 2011.|
|Photo by: AP|
Hezbollah’s longtime leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted on television in June that he had rooted out at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group closely allied with Iran. Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon officially denied the accusation, current and former officials concede that it happened and the damage has spread even further.
According to a report by ABC News, there were two distinct espionage rings targeting Iran and Hezbollah in which spies were recruited by the CIA.
Current and former U.S. officials said the two different spy rings were discovered separately but both caused a significant setback in U.S. efforts to track Iran’s nuclear activities and Hezbollah actions against Israel.
ABC reported that according to U.S. officials, the CIA used the codeword “Pizza” when discussing where to meet with the informants.
Other former officials said CIA case officers met several Lebanese informants at a local Beirut Pizza Hut branch, which helped Hezbollah identify the spies helping the CIA.
U.S. officials, however, deny any allegations that their agents were compromised at Pizza Hut, ABC reported.