Former agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are using a facility near the Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi as a base to teach modern spy techniques to intelligence officers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to U.S.-based Foreign Policy news magazine.
The CIA also has a training center called “The Academy” near Abu Dhabi where the American security company Blackwater employees are located. At the center that includes a gun range and barracks, driving courses are given, as such in the Camp Peary, the CIA’s base in the Virginia State.
Ex-CIA and U.S. government authorities are attracted to the Gulf country with commitments of an “interesting job” and a “lucrative career.” A former employee, speaking to Foreign Policy, said that he earned $1,000 a day and lived at a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, adding that “The money was fantastic.”
According to multiple sources, former intelligence officer Larry Sanchez is behind the intelligence training operation. Sanchez is known for starting a controversial partnership between the CIA and the New York Police Department (NYPD) that envisaged tracking “potential terrorists” around New York.
Key US officers in UAE
Another remarkable figure in the region is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, which the United States used in Iraq’s occupation. The New York Times revealed in 2011 that Prince had dispatched a unit including foreign troops to the UAE to serve Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism czar, also assumed top assignments in the UAE; Clarke worked as a senior advisor to al-Nahyan as the Good Harbor Security Risk Management CEO.
British also involved
An Emirati company called LUAA LLC, managed by a former British Air Service official, undertook the establishment of the spying network. A third Emirati company, DarkMatter, was also highly involved in the process. DarkMatter works for the UAE government on cyber security and intelligence.
NSA takes a part in the process
In late 2011, U.S. government advisors and contractor troops helped establish the UAE version of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, of which its name was later changed to the National Electronic Security Authority and then the current Signals Intelligence Agency. Around the same time, Larry Sanchez and his team came to the UAE and started to teach “domestic surveillance.” As president of the low-profile intelligence contractor CAGN Global Ltd, Sanchez began to provide spying and paramilitary training operators in the UAE, with a team that mostly includes former police officers, retired Western intelligence officials and ex-soldiers.
Modeled on CIA tranings
The courses, which are modeled on the CIA’s trainings, are divided into various parts, including a “basic intelligence pipeline,” report writing, debriefing, note taking, a foreign intelligence external program, the FBI/law enforcement course and paramilitary training, as well as a boot camp training.
External surveillance courses are almost exactly the same as CIA trainings. In one course, former Delta Force operators give militia trainings such as driving and shooting, according to reports.
“Usually they’ll go to that course before or after being deployed to a place like Yemen,” one of the former instructors said.