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Air Force employee resigns over alleged spy ring
In his resignation letter, Furlong does note that his operation was caught in a grey area of intelligence operations, and he said he welcomed the changes in oversight that had since been put in place.
Those changes included the restructuring of how contractors gather what is known as “atmospherics,” like the tone of Friday sermons at a mosque, or the mood on the street of a village toward a local official or NATO. The paid tipsters, still employed by U.S. contractors, now collect information passively, by observing and sharing what they’ve heard on the street.
Those changes came too late for at least one of the other contractors Furlong employed under his multi-armed intelligence network. Tampa-based International Media Ventures (IMV) shut its doors, turned radioactive by association with the investigations, even as high-ranking Pentagon officials praised IMV’s work gathering social and civil data to map Afghan society — work that is now being carried out by another contractor.
Another one of the firms involved, Strategic Influence Alternatives, went back to the business of protecting corporate executives overseas.
Clarridge is now shopping his human-intelligence networking skills to other foreign intelligence agencies, and to U.S. agencies like the FBI, the defense officials say. Clarridge would not comment for this story.
Defense officials said Furlong told investigators he is confident he’ll be cleared.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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