The CIA admitted in a memo last week that a disturbing number of its U.S. informants were being captured and executed or, in some cases, turned into double agents.
According to The New York Times, The CIA message sent through a top-secret cable included the specific number of agents killed by other intelligence agencies. In addition, it asked its front-line spies to step up security for their operations around the world.
The cable, sent by top U.S. intelligence officials to every agency base located around the world, focused on pointing out security deficiencies in those responsible for recruiting new informants.
As mentioned by the media, the CIA points out that the deaths of informants occurred because “mission over security” was placed, meaning that the informants were recruited without taking into account the counterintelligence risks.
Thus, the reasons stated in the cable pointed to placing too much trust in sources, without paying attention to potential risks, and underestimating the counterintelligence prowess of foreign agencies as the reasons they were losing agents.
In addition, the CIA emphasized the more sophisticated mechanisms used by foreign intelligence agencies to track U.S. agents. For example, the Times mentions artificial intelligence, facial recognition tools, biometric scans, and other hacking methods.
A breach in the classified communications system used by the C.I.A. helped expose the agency’s networks in China, further exacerbating the situation for U.S. agents.
Recently the agency announced the launch of a special task force created to address threats posed by China, stating that the Chinese regime represents “the most significant geopolitical threat” to the United States.
Some officials believe that traitorous U.S. intelligence officers have turned over information that led to the arrests and deaths of sources.
One of the events that came to light was Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former CIA officer, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for providing secrets to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
According to what prosecutors exposed, Chinese intelligence officials paid Lee more than $840,000 over three years since 2010 to release the names of human sources.
Meanwhile, former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt was charged with conspiring and handing over national defense information to the Iranian government after defecting to that country in 2013.
While the memo identified specific numbers of detained or killed informants, it said that the number who had turned against the U.S., who become double agents feeding disinformation to the CIA, were not fully known.
However, the report also suggests that other U.S. adversaries, including Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, have similarly increased their capabilities to track and eliminate U.S. spy networks.