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Mar 23, 2011 | 14:04 GMT

3 mins read

Above the Tearline: Libyan Diplomatic Missions as Terror Hubs

Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton discusses the diplomatic targets that intelligence agencies are watching in their efforts to disrupt terrorist plots.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

While the world is focused on the war in Libya, intelligence agencies like the CIA and MI6 are focused on Libyan diplomatic missions around the globe in an effort to disrupt terror plots. Libya has a long history of using their diplomatic missions as a hub for terrorist-related activity. Intelligence agencies around the globe will be focusing on three specific targets for the surveillance teams. The first is missions or the diplomatic facility. The second would be known or suspected intelligence officers. And the third would be diplomatic pouches. The first target for the surveillance team would be the official diplomatic mission, embassy, consulate or front company where some sort of clandestine action could be taking place. The focus of the surveillance team would be the individuals that are suspected intelligence officers of the Libyan government as well as people that may be walking into the embassy or front company. The surveillance team would maintain a log with photographs or video of the individuals, and an effort will be made to identify who these individuals are through in-country investigations. The second target set would be the Libyan diplomatic officers, with a laser focus on the suspected intelligence officers or known intelligence officers. You're going to have surveillance of individuals that are meeting with these individuals that spin off into various webs of activity, and there is going to be an ongoing effort to identify who those people are that are meeting with the Libyan intelligence officers. The purpose of this surveillance activity is to create an umbrella, a quick read of activity to indicate whether or not there is some sort of terror plot in the works. The third target set for the surveillance team would be Libyan diplomatic pouches. This is something that we learn through investigation of other terror plots: that the Libyans would utilize the diplomatic pouch to facilitate the transport of weapons, explosives, identity documents to third countries in an effort to carry out any kind of an attack. The interesting aspect of diplomatic pouches are that nations cannot search them, they don't get x-rayed, they're not opened, so you literally have no idea what's in the diplomatic pouch. These items are escorted by diplomatic couriers that also have immunity. Evidence has shown based on past specific acts of terrorism that I've personally investigated that Gadhafi uses his diplomatic missions as a center of gravity for terrorism activity, and it's also going to be a concern for what other surrogate groups he could be reaching out to to facilitate acts of terrorism all around the world.

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