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Jordanian spy agency replaces mossad as key ally

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Last update - 13:26 12/11/2005
Report: Jordanian spy agency replaces Mossad as key CIA ally
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate has become the CIA's most important and effective counter-terrorism ally in the Middle East, a standing once held by the Mossad, the Los Angeles Times reported in its Friday editions.

The newspaper reported that Jordan and the U.S. have cooperated in the interrogation of suspected terrorists, the methods of which have been subject to widespread media criticism due to the alleged use of torture.

The report added that the GID's ties with the CIA have grown intimately closer since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

"Jordan is at the top of our list of foreign partners," said Michael Scheuer, who resigned from the CIA and who recently led a unit responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden.

"We have similar agendas, and they are willing to help any way they can," he told the Times.

Scheuer and others interviewed in the story said that the GID is as qualified and professional as the Mossad despite the latter's reputation as the CIA's closest ally in the region. The GID even enjoys an advantage over the Mossad, seeing as Jordan, an Arab nation, is more effective in operating against predominantly Arab militant organizations.

"The GID ... has a wider reach [in the Middle East] than the Mossad," Scheuer said.

The Times also reported that in addition to the CIA's funding of a significant portion of the Hashemite Kingdom's intelligence budget, the agency runs technologically-trained intelligence officers in GID headquarters in Amman.

Jordan is also a partner to the controversial American policy of "extraordinary renditions," the extradition of terror suspects from U.S. custody to foreign intelligence agencies.

The CIA transfers the suspects to Jordan, where they are covertly interrogated by local intelligence to the point where they are "softened up" before being returned to American custody.

The policy has elicited fierce criticism from international media and human rights organizations who accuse the U.S. of employing the method in order to carry out secret interrogations and conceal the use of torture against suspected terrorists, a practice which American courts have outlawed.

Attorneys representing two terror suspects from Yemen claimed that their clients, who were arrested in Pakistan and Afghanistan, were subsequently flown to Jordan, where GID agents took them into custody, interrogated them, and used torture before turning them over to American intelligence officials.

Jordan receives annual military and economic aid from the U.S. totalling $450 million. Analysts believe the sum does not include the U.S. financing of Jordanian intelligence.

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