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Former CIA official says US overrun with foreign spies

The Americas Post - Hank Crumpton says the United States is infested by foreign espionage

A higher number of foreign spies are active on U.S. soil today than there were during the Cold War, according to a former top CIA officer.

Hank Crumpton, former deputy director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center who led the U.S. response to 9/11, told the CBS news documentary program “60 Minutes” that China is the largest source of espionage agents operating in the US.

“If you look at the threat that is imposed upon our nation every day, some of the major nation states — China in particular — [have] very sophisticated intelligence operations, very aggressive operations against the U.S.,” Crumpton said.

“I would hazard to guess there are more foreign intelligence officers inside the U.S. working against U.S. interests now than even at the height of the Cold War,” he said. “It’s a critical issue.”

In the  interview that aired Sunday, Crumpton, 55, discussed on his 24 years in the CIA, including the time spent hunting Osama bin Laden before and after 9/11 and the CIA-led mission to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan.

During his time in Afghanistan and North Korea, Crumpton said he discovered America’s enemies had at least one thing in common: They loved pornography.

“I never met a North Korean that did not like pornography,” Crumpton said, adding that it was common for CIA spooks to exchange X-rated material for intelligence on Kim Jong Il’s regime.

“Supplying porn to a North Korean official to entice them to spy for America, along with money or whatever else it might take. Well, for me the answer was yes, I was willing to do that.”

Crumpton also described leading a special unit tasked with finding bin Laden five years before 9/11.

In late summer 1999, the team had the former Al Qaeda leader in its sights — but President Bill Clinton missed the opportunity to take him out.

Describing an early Predator spy drone mission, Crumpton said, “We saw a security detail, a convoy, and we saw bin Laden exit the vehicle, clearly.”

“We immediately alerted the White House, and the Clinton administration’s response was, ‘Well, it will take several hours for [the cruise missiles\] launched from submarines, to reach that objective. So, you need to tell us where bin Laden will be five or six hours from now,'” he said.

“The frustration was enormous,” he added.

Though Navy SEALs took bin Laden out a year ago this month, Crumpton said he was still worried about the danger posed by Al Qaeda’s affiliates in North Africa.

“I’m particularly concerned about al Qaeda in Yemen, which is fractured as a nation state,” he said. “The Sahel [region\], if you look at al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, they pose a threat, and in Somalia. Those are the places I’d be concerned [about].”