The CIA’s operations in Lebanon have been badly damaged following Hezbollah identifying and capturing a number of U.S. spies recently, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, the intelligence debacle is especially disconcerting due to the fact that the CIA reportedly saw it coming. Hezbollah’s longtime leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted on television in June that at least two operatives who had infiltrated the ranks of the terrorist organization had been rooted out.
ABC News reported that authorities fear the spies, who were paid informants recruited by the CIA, will be executed or that they have already been killed.
“If they were genuine spies, spying against Hezbollah, I don’t think we’ll ever see them again,” Robert Baer, a former senior CIA officer, told the news outlet. “These guys are very, very vicious and unforgiving.”
Baer, who worked against Hezbollah while stationed in Beirut in the 1980s, noted that the group was known for its ruthless actions against any dissent, especially when individuals were suspected of or caught spying, according to ABC.