16 November 2011

Sneaking Around HOA, Looking for Terr's

Back to Somalia? And with great effect and no media coverage.

Starting in 2003, small teams of U.S. operatives would clamber aboard a civilian turboprop plane at a Nairobi, Kenya, airfield to embark on one of the most dangerous missions conducted by U.S. personnel in Somalia since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The teams combined CIA case officers and “shooters” from a secretive special operations unit sometimes called Task Force Orange, said an intelligence source with long experience in the Horn of Africa. “There were always at least two CIA case officers, and there were always at least two shooters,” the source said. “Everybody was armed.”

Those first secret missions were all about gathering human intelligence — “collecting information, validating information,” said the source. But they soon expanded to include working with warlords to hunt al-Qaida members, tapping cellphones, purchasing anti-aircraft missiles and, ultimately, developing a deeper understanding of al-Qaida’s East African franchise and how it fit into the wider al-Qaida network.

The Mogadishu missions became one of the most successful U.S. intelligence operations in the Horn.

By: Brant

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