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Monday, 19 June 2017

Joseph Assad, Egyptian ex-CIA at the center of East-versus-West spy games in Montenegro

Meet Joseph Assad, the Egyptian former CIA agent at the center of East-versus-West spy games in Montenegro: Former CIA agent Joseph Assad’s trip to Montenegro ahead of an alleged coup there is the focus of a congressional inquiry on whether he was part of the plot. Russia has been accused by both the Montenegrin government and US officials of having tried to pull off a coup to unseat the current pro-NATO government, allegations which the Russians have denied, write Julian E. Barnes and Drew Hinshaw for the Wall Street Journal.

Prosecutors in Montenegro are investigating whether Assad — a US citizen born and raised in Egypt — was hired to help the 14 suspects accused of masterminding the alleged coup, in addition to advising on an escape plan for members of the pro-Russia opposition calling for a referendum into the country’s membership into NATO. Assad has denied the accusations, saying he had been there to help advise a friend, a political consultant to the opposition, on security there. Some officials speculate that Russia might have used a former CIA agent to give it deniability.

The plot gets especially juicy considering that Assad and his wife had been celebrated in the US media for helping evacuate and rescue Iraqi Christians from Daesh-held territory there (the Times of Israel has an extensive report on his role in the operation). We smell a Ramadan Mosalsal in the making here.

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