Who Is Paying for Dewey Clarridge’s Old Spy Novels?

Update: I’m wrong about this being buried–it will be in tomorrow’s NYT, so big coverage.

When Jeff Stein reported that Mullah Omar was rushed to a hospital for heart treatment, I was pretty sure the real story was about Dewey Clarridge’s Eclipse group, which the NYT had suggested before might be involved in a privatized PsyOp network. As Stein described,

Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack Jan. 7 and was treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency, according to a private intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

The intelligence network, operating under the auspices of a private company, “The Eclipse Group,” said its source was a physician in the Karachi hospital, which was not identified in the report, who said he saw Omar struggling to recover from an operation to put a stent in his heart.


The Eclipse Group is run by Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a former head of the CIA’s Latin American operations who was the first chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center; Kim Stevens, a retired U.S. diplomat who served in Bolivia and Italy; and Brad A. Patty, a civilian advisor to the U.S. Army’s 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team in Iraq from 2007 to 2009.

The Eclipse Group’s reports are available “by invitation only” on its Web site, Stevens said.

By all appearances, the Eclipse network is the just the latest iteration of a shadowy, Pentagon-backed operation that began contracting with former CIA and military operatives to supply intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. Amid adverse publicity last year, the Pentagon supposedly cut off its funding.

In one of those stories the NYT loves to bury in the Saturday news hole, Mark Mazzetti provides more detail of what Clarridge is up to.

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.


His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports — have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.


On May 15, according to a classified Pentagon report on the private spying operation, he sent an encrypted e-mail to military officers in Kabul announcing that his network was being shut down because the Pentagon had just terminated his contract. He wrote that he had to “prepare approximately 200 local personnel to cease work.”

In fact, he had no intention of shuttering his operation. The very next day, he set up a password-protected Web site, afpakfp.com, that would allow officers to continue viewing his dispatches.


When the military would not listen to him, Mr. Clarridge found other ways to peddle his information.

For instance, his private spies in April and May were reporting that Mullah Muhammad Omar, the reclusive cleric who leads the Afghan Taliban, had been captured by Pakistani officials and placed under house arrest. Associates said Mr. Clarridge believed that Pakistan’s spy service was playing a game: keeping Mullah Omar confined but continuing to support the Afghan Taliban.

Both military and intelligence officials said the information could not be corroborated, but Mr. Clarridge used back channels to pass it on to senior Obama administration officials, including Dennis C. Blair, then the director of national intelligence.

And associates said that Mr. Clarridge, determined to make the information public, arranged for it to get to Mr. Thor, a square-jawed writer of thrillers, a blogger and a regular guest on Mr. Beck’s program on Fox News.

Click through for details on Clarridge’s effort to undermine Hamid Karzai–including a plot to collect his beard trimmings to prove he’s an opium addict–and for descriptions of Clarridge funneling critical videos to Ollie North on Fox.

Now, I noted that the NYT had buried this–as they have other stories they’d rather just went away–in their Saturday paper. As Mazzetti has in his other reporting on Clarridge’s network, he describes the role the NYT’s contracting with Clarridge in December 2008 to help find reporter David Rohde had in giving Clarridge’s network credibility. What he doesn’t mention is that some of the stories Clarridge has been pushing–such as Karzai’s funding from Iran–have been reported on by NYT reporters–though I have no reason to believe those stories relied directly on Clarridge. All of which might provide a partial explanation for why this story is a Saturday snoozer rather than the lead story tomorrow or Monday.

[See correction above.]

All that said, Mazzetti doesn’t yet answer what I consider to be the biggest part of this story: Clarridge’s funders.

Several times, Mazzetti explains that after DOD cut Clarridge off last year, he has been funded by unknown private donors.

Who are the donors that would support efforts to get select information and disinformation into the hands of Ollie North, Glenn Beck, and a bunch of other paid propagandists? It’s the old Iran-Contra gang back together again, now magnified with the help of Fox News. So who’s paying for this latest incarnation of Iran-Contra?

  1. NoOneYouKnow says:

    Who’s funding Clarridge? Well, there’s an awful lot of opium in Afghanistan, and we have these good friends in Turkey ….

  2. john in sacramento says:

    Wait, what?

    Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack Jan. 7 and was treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency, according to a private intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

    Looks like they can be added to the list. About 3 and 1/2 years ago there was a story in Esquire on Thomas PM Barnetts Pentagon’s New Map of the World, at the time I dug up this link which talks about a private intelligence network (Enterra Solutions) being

    … a Resilient Enterprise when it unifies several functions – security, compliance, information integration and business process optimization – into a single system. The system is created by identifying critical assets, establishing the rules and best practices that support the assets, then translating the rules into executable code that runs on the organization’s information technology architecture. The resulting platform automates security and regulatory procedures and business actions, and enables senior managers to monitor processes and take direct action when needed ….

    In other words, a kind of corporate intelligence in the MIC

    Not the Eclipse Group, but close

  3. MadDog says:

    We’ve long acknowledged that there are many, many folks in the Repug batcave that are barking-at-the-moon batshit crazy. This includes more than a few who have had and have positions of real leadership and power.

    Therefore it should come as no surprise that our government organizations such as the Intelligence and Military communities are, and have long been, infested with the very same detritus. And no surprise that this also includes more than a few who have positions of real leadership and power.

    One of the reasons some parts of our government had no interest in Germany’s Curveball was the fact that we’re far more enchanted with our own Curveballs. And we grow our own like weeds.

  4. TheOracle says:

    Shadows, shadows everywhere.

    A shadow government, shadow intelligence groups, shadow financiers, shadow election donations, shadow prisons, shadow generated right-wing talking points, shadow security forces….

    Let there be LIGHT ! ! ! !

  5. eCAHNomics says:

    Isn’t torturing captives into false confessions (al-Libi) so much more efficient than this whole cockamanie set-up?

    Ooops. Bad on me. It’s not only about collecting the ‘intel’ the U.S. wants, but also about wasting as much money as possible.

  6. bmaz says:

    Ahoy there me skalawag Wheel mates; there be Trash Talk comin shortly with an ill wind.

    Aye, I see me pirate talk fits right in with the comment of the horizontal dragon.

  7. Mary says:

    Is it that case that Clarridge’s crew was operating as a part of/through Michael Furlong?


    This was something that was coming out last year very soon after Comey left as counsel for Lockheed. With a sequence something like, March 2010 NYT writes about a possible program, no Lockheed reference. June 2010, Comey bails from Lockheed. Oct 2010, NYT comes out with a Lockheed tie on the story.

    A senior Pentagon official broke Defense Department rules and “deliberately misled” senior generals when he set up a network of private contractors to spy in Afghanistan and Pakistan beginning last year, according to the results of an internal government investigation.

    That’s Furlong. The Oct article said he set up an “unauthorized” network in Afghanistan and Pakistan, info fed to Generals to use for strikes (so he may have been picking out some of “oops” strikes, or not) Supposedly Gates ordered an investigation after the March NYT article, then the investigation in Oct found further investiation was warranted and that there had been false and misleading statements given about what Furlong was doing.

    Pentagon rules forbid the hiring of contractors as spies. Military officials said that when Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the top commander in the region, signed off on Mr. Furlong’s operation in January 2009 …

    The story indicates that, while the investigation is classified, Furlong may have been stepping well over the line into traditional spying, or more. And Furlong is indicating that those interviewed in his investigation are playing CYA.

    Mr. Furlong’s network, composed of a group of small companies that used agents deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan to collect intelligence on militant groups, operated under a $22 million contract run by Lockheed Martin.

    One of the companies used a group of American, Afghan and Pakistani agents overseen by Duane Clarridge, a Central Intelligence Agency veteran best known for his role in the Iran-contra scandal. Mr. Clarridge declined to be interviewed.

    emph added

    What with Lockheed getting so many contracts, including contracts train lawyers, it would be a good place for someone seeking to bury a contract that they didn’t want to have much scrutiny.

    Supposedly the Furlong/Clarridge “contractors” were delivering reports via an encrypted email service to the military. Wonder if any of them are in what wikileaks has’nt put front and center yet?

  8. Mary says:

    Adding this Ackerman link that describes Furlong and former CNN exec Eason Jordan being on the opposite sides of accusations


    (or maybe they are – both seem to have so much psyops background that it’s hard to take anything said at face value)

    Earlier, Furlong had access to a 300 mill pretty “soft” budget


    A $300 million Pentagon psychological warfare operation … Run by psychological warfare experts at the U.S. Special Operations Command… The description of the program by Mike Furlong, deputy director of the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, provides the most detailed look to date at the Pentagon’s global campaign.

    With a background littered with black ops, big multinational military complex companies like Boeing and Lockheed, and big $ psyops operations through entities like SAIC and the Lincoln Group – plus all the revolving door General/Lobbyists – the actual money and nods could be coming from so many different places.

  9. Aeon says:

    The Clarridge op is pretty much the textbook definition of a circle jerk.

    The quality of the intel product is little better than the resulting limp biscuit.

  10. MadDog says:

    OT – Via the ACLU:

    Deaths of Detainees in U.S. Custody – Documents Released January 14, 2011

    On October 16, 2009, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the government seeking all records relating to the deaths of detainees in U.S. custody as part of the so-called “war on terror.” On January 14, 2011, the government released its first batch of documents consisting of 2,624 pages, which include approximately 124 autopsy reports and 133 Reports of Investigation by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. All told, the documents describe the death of approximately 190 detainees in U.S. custody under varying circumstances.

    (My Bold)

    Note: Some the documents the ACLU provides are very large. For example, the Autopsy Reports PDF is 1132 pages long and 63 MB in size.

  11. fatster says:

    Blackwater Contractors Want Closed Court During Appeal

    “Defense lawyers for five former Blackwater contractors who allegedly shot into a crowd during an incident in Baghdad’s Al Nisur Square in 2007 want the press and the public excluded from oral arguments next month, Politico reports.”