Hizbullah boasts it has succeeded in exposing CIA operatives in Lebanon, urges government to take measures against U.S. embassy.
BEIRUT - Hizbullah boasted last Wednesday that it has succeeded in exposing CIA operatives in Lebanon and urged the government to take immediate measures against the U.S. embassy near Beirut.
Separately, counterintelligence officers in Iran also succeeded in uncovering the identities of at least a handful of alleged CIA informants, the officials said.
"Our security... has exposed several American and Israeli plots on Lebanon," Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah told reporters outside parliament.
"We call on the Lebanese government to take immediate action... and raise the issue with the United Nations and embassies, so that the whole world is aware of what the U.S. embassy in Lebanon is doing," he added.
Fadlallah, who heads parliament's telecommunications committee, said the Lebanese Shiite militant group, which is also backed by Syria, had succeeded in uncovering Central Intelligence Agency operatives that had infiltrated Hizbullah.
"Lebanese intelligence vanquished US and Israeli intelligence in what is now known as the intelligence war," Fadlallah said.
"The resistance blinded American intelligence eyes."
The MP's comments came days after reports emerged that Hizbullah had uncovered several operatives within the movement working for the CIA.
Some former U.S. officials said that the CIA informants, believed to be local recruits rather than U.S. citizens, were uncovered, at least in part, due to sloppy procedures - known in the espionage world as "tradecraft" - used by the agency.
But Bob Baer, a former CIA operations officer whose books inspired the Hollywood movie Syriana, said that Hizbullah's counterintelligence capabilities are formidable and should not be underestimated.
"Hezbollah's security is as good as any in the world's. It's the best. It's better than that of the KGB," the former Soviet spy agency, Baer said.
Baer said one reason Hizbullah has been successful in rooting out spies is that it is so powerful it has forced Lebanese government security forces to hand over sensitive communications and spy gear supplied by the U.S. government. Hizbullah then used this U.S. equipment to identify and track down CIA informants.
In the first acknowledgement of infiltration since the Shi’a group's founding in the 1980s, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah in June said members of his group had confessed to being CIA agents.
Nasrallah accused his archfoe Israel of turning to the U.S. spy agency after failing to infiltrate his party, slamming the American embassy in Beirut as a "den of spies."
The U.S. embassy in Beirut dismissed the accusations as "empty".
More than 100 people in Lebanon have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel since April 2009, including military personnel and telecoms employees.
Lebanon and Israel technically remain in a state of war and convicted spies face life imprisonment or the death sentence if found guilty of contributing to Lebanese loss of life.
Lebanon has protested to the United Nations over the alleged spy networks.