Craig Whitlock

R - Z

Whitlock, Craig. "Remote U.S. Base at Core of Secret Operations." Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2012. []

Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is "the combat hub for the Obama administration's counterterrorism wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.... Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed [the camp] into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone.... About 300 Special Operations personnel plan raids and coordinate drone flights from inside a high-security compound at Lemonnier....

"Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa.... The U.S. military also flies drones from small civilian airports in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, but those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti. Lemonnier also has become a hub for conventional aircraft. In October 2011, the military boosted the airpower at the base by deploying a squadron of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets."


Whitlock, Craig. "Two Admirals Face Probe in Navy Bribery Scheme." Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2013. []

Navy officials announced on 8 November 2013 that Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, director of intelligence operations, "are under investigation as part of a major bribery scandal involving a foreign defense contractor." Both were have been placed on leave and their access to classified material suspended.


Whitlock, Craig. "U.S. Drone Strike in Somalia Targets al-Shabab Leader." Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2014. []

On 2 September 2014, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that on 1 September 2014 "U.S. drones and other aircraft destroyed a suspected al-Shabab compound as well as a vehicle nearby.... Somali officials said the strike took place near the port city of Barawe.... Kirby ... said no U.S. forces were on the ground." Michael Martinez, "Top Somali Militant Killed in U.S. Operation, Pentagon Says," CNN, 5 Sep. 2014, reports that Kirby said on 5 September 2014 that the target of the operation, al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, had been killed in the attack. See also, Luis Martinez and Dana Hughes, "Top Al-Shabab Leader Killed in Airstrike, Pentagon Confirms," ABC News, 5 September 2014.


Whitlock, Craig.

1. "U.S. Expands Secret Intelligence Operations in Africa." Washington Post, 13 Jun. 2012. []

"The U.S. military is expanding its secret intelligence operations across Africa, establishing a network of small air bases to spy on terrorist hideouts from the fringes of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator, according to documents and people involved in the project."

2. "Contractors Run U.S. Spying Missions in Africa." Washington Post, 14 Jun. 2012. []

The U.S. military "has largely outsourced" its "spying operation" in Africa "to private contractors. The contractors supply the aircraft as well as the pilots, mechanics and other personnel to help process electronic intelligence collected from the airspace over Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic."


Whitlock, Craig. "U.S. Has Deployed Military Advisers to Somalia, Officials Say." Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2014. []

According to three U.S. military officials, the Pentagon "secretly deployed a small number of trainers and advisers [fewer than two dozen] to Somalia in October, the first time regular troops have been stationed in the war-ravaged country since 1993." Their role is "to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia....

"Drones from a U.S. base in Djibouti ... conduct surveillance missions and occasional airstrikes from Somalia's skies. Elite Special Operations forces have also set foot on Somali territory on rare occasions to carry out counterterrorism raids and hostage rescues, but only in the shadows and for no more than a few hours at a time.... The CIA has quietly operated a base in Somalia for years and finances Somali security forces, but largely keeps its activities there under wraps."

[CA/Africa/Gen/Somalia; MI/Ops/10s/Gen]

Whitlock, Craig. "U.S. Military Drone Surveillance Is Expanding to Hot Spots Beyond Declared Combat Zones." Washington Post, 20 Jul. 2013. []

On 18 September 2013, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters "filmed the charred wreckage" of a U.S. Air Force Predator drone that crashed "near the Iraq-Turkey border.... [T]he crash drew back the curtain on Operation Nomad Shadow, a secretive U.S. military surveillance program. Since November 2011, the U.S. Air Force has been flying unarmed drones from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in an attempt to suppress a long-simmering regional conflict. The camera-equipped Predators hover above the rugged border with Iraq and beam high-resolution imagery to the Turkish armed forces, helping them pursue PKK rebels as they slip back and forth across the mountains."


Whitlock, Craig. "U.S. Secretly Backed Syrian Opposition Groups, Cables Released by WikiLeaks Show." Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2011. []

According to classified U.S. diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks, "[t]he State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel [Barada TV] that beams anti-government programming into the country." The "cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the [Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles,] since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria....

"The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama.... It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside at least through September 2010."

[CA/10s; OtherCountries/Syria]

Whitlock, Craig. "Warrants Issued for 13 CIA Operatives in Germany Kidnapping." Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2007. []

On 31 January 2007, German prosecutors filed arrest warrants in Munich for "13 CIA operatives suspected of kidnapping a German citizen in the Balkans in 2004 and taking him to a secret prison in Afghanistan" before releasing him several months later.

[CIA/00s/07; Germany/00s]

Whitlock, Craig, and Karen DeYoung. "Al-Qaeda Figure Is Killed in Pakistan: Senior Commander Blamed in Bombing at U.S. Afghan Base." Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2008, A1. []

According to Western officials and the Islamic radical Web site Al-Fajr Media Center, Abu Laith al-Libi, a "senior al-Qaeda commander[,] was killed this week in Pakistan.... The Western officials declined to give details of how Libi died. But there is evidence he was targeted in a missile strike that killed 12 people [on 29 January 2008] in a remote village in northwestern Pakistan."


Whitlock, Craig, and Barton Gellman. "U.S. Documents Detail al-Qaeda's Efforts to Fight Back against Drones." Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2013. []

According to a top-secret report, titled "Threats to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," provided to The Washington Post by Edward Snowden, the leadership of al-Qaeda "has assigned cells of engineers to find ways to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack U.S. drones.... Although there is no evidence that al-Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, U.S. intelligence officials have closely tracked the group's persistent efforts to develop a counterdrone strategy since 2010, the documents show."

[Recon/UAVs/10s/13; Terrorism/10s/13]

Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Jaffe. "U.S. Sending Weapons Directly to Kurdish Forces, Officials Say." Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2014. []

U.S. officials said on 11 August 2014 the the "U.S. government has begun to funnel weapons directly to Kurdish forces fighting Islamist militants in northern Iraq." Washington has opened a covert "pipeline to the Kurds via the CIA, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

[CIA/10s/14; MI/Ops/Iraq/14]

Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Assembling Secret Drone Bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Officials Say." Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2011. []

"The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said. One of the installations is being established in Ethiopia.... Another base is in the Seychelles.... The U.S. military also has flown drones over Somalia and Yemen from bases in Djibouti.... In addition, the CIA is building a secret airstrip in the Arabian Peninsula so it can deploy armed drones over Yemen."


Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Covert Paramilitary Presence in Afghanistan Much Larger Than Thought." Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2010. []

The CIA has trained and deployed in Afghanistan "a well-armed 3,000-member Afghan paramilitary force collectively known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams.... The existence of the teams is disclosed" in Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars. More broadly, however, "interviews with sources familiar with the CIA's operations, as well as a review of the database of 76,000 classified U.S. military field reports posted last month by the Web site WikiLeaks, reveal an agency that has a significantly larger covert paramilitary presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan than previously known."

CNN Wire Staff, "Official: CIA-Trained Force Targeting Militants in Pakistan," 22 Sep. 2010, quotes a "U.S. official" as saying: "You're talking about one of the finest Afghan fighting forces, which has made major contributions to security and stability." Kimberly Dozier and Adam Goldman, "US Official: CIA Runs Elite Afghan Fighting Force," Associated Press, 22 Sep. 2010: "Modeled after U.S. special forces, the Counterterrorist Pursuit Team was set up in the months following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 to penetrate territory controlled by the Taliban and al-Qaida and target militants for interrogations by CIA officials."

[CA/Afgh; CIA/2010s/2010; MI/Ops/Afgh/2010]

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