Mar. 23, 2005 – The latest revelation of the US military's tactics against Iraqi insurgents suggests the Army may be using local criminals as spies.
The Independent on Sunday reported last weekend that an unnamed source in the Iraqi government confirmed an arrangement whereby US officials regularly release men suspected of violent crimes in exchange for promises to spy on rebel groups. The British newspaper cited documentation in one case where US military police took custody of two kidnappers arrested by Iraqi police, then later released the men.
"We are dealing with an epidemic of kidnapping, extortion and violent crime, but even though we know the Americans monitor calls on mobiles and satellite phones, which are often used in ransom negotiations, they will not pass on any criminal intelligence to us," said one senior Iraqi police officer according to The Independent. "They only want to use the information against insurgents." The officer accused the US of "allowing the breakdown of Iraqi society."