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Cloak and Dagger Inc.

The U.S. military, despite reports to the contrary, has continued to rely on a secret private spy network, akin to a Blackwater with brains, that has provided a stream of intelligence to military forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than a year.

Government officials earlier this year admitted existence of the program but indicated that it had been shut down. But new information has come to light that shows the complexity of the program and the proximity of contract operatives to military commanders.

The U.S. military is largely barred from conducting operations inside Pakistan, and Pentagon rules forbid the Army to hire private contractors for spying. –JCL

The New York Times:

Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to American officials and businessmen, despite concerns among some in the military about the legality of the operation.

Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began.

But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence.

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