Vincent Cannistraro

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Person.png Vincent Cannistraro   PowerbaseRdf-icon.png
(spook)
Vincent Cannistraro.jpg
Interests “terrorism”

Vincent Cannistraro is a former officer with the CIA's Directorate of Operations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Central America (1964-1984).[1][2] Cannistraro was appointed Director of Intelligence Programs for the United States National Security Council (NSC) from 1984 to 1987, and Special Assistant for Intelligence in the Office of the Secretary of Defense until 1988.[3]

As Chief of Operations and Analysis at the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, Cannistraro led the agency's "investigation" into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which resulted in the conviction in 2001 of the Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Originally listed as a prosecution witness, Cannistraro was not called to testify at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial which was held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.[4]

Background

Cannistaro has a B.A. and M.A. from Boston College. In 1989, he received the Secretary of Defense's Award for Meritorious Civilian Service. He has also received the CIA Medal for Distinguished Service.

Career

While at the CIA, Cannistraro ran the agency's Central American task force that supervised covert action in the region, including the Nicaraguan Contras (both the left wing guerillas in the South and the right wing contras in the North). He moved to the Reagan NSC by the direction of CIA Latin American Chief Duane Clarridge, who supported Colonel Oliver North. [5] The Contra program was transferred in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan to the NSC, [6] and Cannistraro was made Director of Intelligence there later that year.[7] As Director, he was responsible for monitoring the US intelligence community budget. [8] and coordinating the approval process for covert action. He also chaired the Afghanistan Working Group at the White House. [9]

Cannistraro also linked Iraq with Osama bin Laden when he alleged that Iraqi intelligence agent Farouk Hijazi had invited bin Laden to live in Iraq during a December 1998 meeting in Afghanistan, though he maintained that bin Laden refused the invitation and did not accept support from Saddam Hussein.[10]

He reported on the forged Niger "yellowcake" uranium documents as an attempt by some Bush Administration supporters to link Iraq with nuclear weapons development in order to increase public support for the Iraq war, and on the related disclosure of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.[11]

The front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, apparently also was used by other CIA officers whose work now could be at risk, according to Cannistraro.

Cannistaro runs IntelligenceBrief, a security and information service for private clients, including The Vatican.

September 11, 2001

On September 12, 2001, Cannistraro stated that five of the hijackers had entered the United States in Maine from Canada via Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and/or a remote border point near Jackman, Maine, several hundred kilometres southeast of Quebec City. A Canadian Intelligence officer declared that Cannistraro was wrong. "They didn't hijack Canadian planes, they got through airport security in the U.S., not here."[12]

Later activities

Since leaving the CIA in 1991, after 27 years with the agency, Cannistraro has worked as a consultant on "terrorism" and security issues for a number of corporate and government clients, including ABC News and the Vatican.[13]

Dismissal of LeWinter

Vincent Cannistraro insisted that Oswald LeWinter was never a CIA employee, stating "The guy is a chameleon. He can show up and pretend to be anyone."[14]

In the 1994 film The Maltese Double Cross - Lockerbie, LeWinter is identified as "CIA 1968-85" and gets his own back on Cannistraro, saying:

"What is that famous saying about 'putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop'? For Vincent Cannistraro to be put in charge of investigating Lockerbie would be funny if it weren't an obscenity."

9/11

Vince Cannistraro has stated that there was speculation that Urban Moving Systems may have been a front for an Israeli intelligence operation investigating fund-raising networks channeling money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He reported that the group may have been "set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists in the area, particularly in the New Jersey-New York area."[15] This is at odds with an alternative perspective that suggests that the group was involved in 9-11.

Seven Lockerbie questions

On 27 April 2010, Patrick Haseldine sent Vincent Cannistraro the following message on Facebook:[16]

Dear Mr Cannistraro,
On 15 March 2010, I asked former FBI agent Richard Marquise two questions:
Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson
1. Did the FBI 'establish antecedents' on Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson?
2. If so, will you publish the relevant FD402 report in full?
Later in March, I posed a further five questions for Mr Marquise and his Scottish counterpart, Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Henderson, to answer:
3. Could you please tell us about the previous attack on Bernt Carlsson’s aircraft?
4. Could you please publish DC Crawford’s report on Bernt Carlsson?
5. Does the fact that in December 1988 the diamond mining and trading company De Beers was facing prosecution under the UNCN Decree for illegally exploiting Namibia’s gem diamonds over a 20-year period (estimated value $18.7 billion) make Bernt Carlsson a PA 103 target?
6. Does the fact that in December 1988 the owners of the Rössing Uranium Mine were facing prosecution under the UNCN Decree for illegally exploiting Namibia’s uranium oxide over a 14-year period (estimated value $1.2 billion) make Bernt Carlsson a PA 103 target?
7. Does the fact that the Rössing Uranium Mine is part-owned by the Iranian government, who were clandestinely receiving shipments of Namibian uranium oxide in 1988-1989, make it likely that Iran targeted Bernt Carlsson on PA 103?[17]
Messrs Marquise and Henderson have so far been slow in answering these seven questions about Pan Am Flight 103's most prominent victim. Since you used to be the CIA's expert on the Lockerbie disaster (1988-90), are you now able to comment on the likelihood that Bernt Carlsson was the terrorists' target?
Regards,
Patrick Haseldine
HM Diplomatic Service
(1971-89)[18]

According to Patrick Haseldine, none of those seven Lockerbie questions has yet been answered.

See also

  • "Interview with Vincent Cannistraro", PBS Frontline.
  • "Witness biographies" (pdf), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, October 24, 2003.
  • "About Vincent Cannistraro", Intelligence Brief, Cannistraro's security and information service.
  • Diamond, John. "CIA cuts off more than 1,000 informants, many for criminality", Associated Press, March 2, 1997.
  • Ignatius, David. "Tale of Two White House Aides: Confidence and Motivation; North Viewed as a Can-Do Marine Who Went Too Far in Zealousness." The Washington Post. November 30, (1986): Sec. A1.
  • Kornbluh, P., and M. Byrne. "The Iran-Contra Scandal: The declassified history." New York: The New Press. (1993): xviii.
  • Priest, Dana. "The Slowly Changing Face of the CIA Spy; Recruits Eager to Fight Terror Are Flooding In, but Few Look the Part," The Washington Post, August 09, 2002.
  • Santos, Lori. "Walsh draws testimony from NSC officials." United Press International, June 15, (1987)

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
The Framing of al-MegrahiArticle24 September 2009Gareth PeirceIt is not difficult to achieve a conviction of the innocent


References

  1. Diamond, John. "CIA cuts off more than 1,000 informants, many for criminality", Associated Press, March 2, 1997
  2. Priest, Dana. "The Slowly Changing Face of the CIA Spy; Recruits Eager to Fight Terror Are Flooding In, but Few Look the Part," The Washington Post, August 09, 2002.
  3. "Interview with Vincent Cannistraro", PBS Frontline, undated, retrieved April 18, 2006.
  4. "Cannistraro not called to testify at the Lockerbie trial"
  5. Ignatius, David. "Tale of Two White House Aides: Confidence and Motivation; North Viewed as a Can-Do Marine Who Went Too Far in Zealousness." The Washington Post. November 30, (1986): Sec. A1.
  6. Kornbluh, P., and M. Byrne. "The Iran-Contra Scandal: The declassified history." New York: The New Press. (1993): xviii.
  7. "Interview with Vincent Cannistraro", PBS Frontline, undated, retrieved April 18, 2006.
  8. "Walsh draws testimony from NSC officials." United Press International, June 15, (1987)
  9. "About Vincent Cannistraro", Intelligence Brief, Cannistraro's website.
  10. "Analysis: Though Afghanistan has provided Osama bin Laden with sanctuary, it is unclear where he is now," National Public Radio, February 18, 1999
  11. "Witness testimony, Vincent Cannistraro" (pdf), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, October 24, 2003.
  12. Andrew Mitrovica (2009-04-24). "Former U.S. spy linked 9/11 terrorists to Canada". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  13. "Witness biographies" (pdf), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, October 24, 2003
  14. "Tinker, Tailor, Poet, Spy?"
  15. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1
  16. "Vincent Cannistraro on Facebook"
  17. "Flight 103: it was the Uranium"
  18. "Seven Lockerbie questions for the FBI, CIA and Scottish Police"