Archive for January 3rd, 2013

Iran Spy Network 30,000 Strong

| January 3rd, 2013 | 1 Comment »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY BILL GERTZ

Iran’s intelligence service includes 30,000 people who are engaged in covert and clandestine activities that range from spying to stealing technology to terrorist bombings and assassination, according to a Pentagon report.

The report concluded that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, known as MOIS, is “one of the largest and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East.”

The ministry actively supports Iran’s radical Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) that has been involved in terrorist bombings from Argentina to Lebanon, according to the report produced by the Pentagon’s Irregular Warfare Support Program and published last month by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the 64-page unclassified report.

“MOIS provides financial, material, technological, or other support services to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), all designated terrorist organizations under U.S. Executive Order 13224,” the report said.

The spy service operates in all areas where Iran has interests, ... Read More

Venezuelans on edge amid shifting news on Chavez

| January 3rd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JORGE RUEDA & IAN JAMES

CARACAS, Venezuela – Supporters and opponents of President Hugo Chavez alike nervously welcomed the new year Tuesday, left on edge by shifting signals from the government about the Venezuelan leader’s condition three weeks after cancer surgery in Cuba.

With rumors swirling that Chavez had taken a turn for the worse, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised interview in Cuba that he had met with the president twice, spoken with him and planned to return to Venezuela on Wednesday.

Maduro said Chavez faces “a complex and delicate situation.” But Maduro also said that when he talked with the president and looked at his face, he seemed to have “the same strength as always.”

“All the time we’ve been hoping for his positive evolution. Sometimes he has had light improvements, sometimes stationary situations,” Maduro said in the prerecorded interview, which was broadcast Tuesday night by the Caracas-based television network ... Read More

U.S., Venezuela may be exploring post-Chávez thaw

| January 3rd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

While Venezuela’s announcement that President Hugo Chávez’s bout with cancer has taken a turn for the worse is making big headlines, there is another development in the Venezuelan drama that has gone almost unnoticed: high-level U.S.-Venezuelan talks preparing for a post-Chávez future may have already started.

Well-placed U.S. officials tell me that Roberta S. Jacobson, the top U.S. State Department official in charge of Latin American affairs, held a long telephone conversation with Venezuela’s Vice President and Chávez-designated heir Nicolas Maduro on Nov. 21, where the two discussed, among other things, the possibility of restoring ambassadors.

The talks, which were encouraged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, started with a U.S. diplomatic approach to Maduro’s office asking whether the vice president would take a call from Jacobson, the sources say. The answer was positive, and the telephone conversation took place shortly thereafter.

Asked whether she had talked with Maduro, Jacobson told ... Read More