U.S. Military Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Questions About Its Legality

The U.S. military is continuing to operate a secret network of private spies deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, even though the military is largely prohibited from operating inside Pakistan, and is not permitted to hire contractors for spying. Earlier this year, government officials admitted the military had ben sending former CIA officers and retired special-operations troops into both countries to collect information used to track and kill suspected militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation, and it was hastily shut down once an investigation was started -- or so people thought. But not only are the networks still operating, but they are submitting detailed reports daily to top commanders about the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movement of enemy fighters in Afghanistan. A review by the New York Times found that contractors are being paid under a $22 million contract managed by Lockheed Martin and supervised by the Pentagon's office in charge of special operations policy. The contract expires at the end of May. The Pentagon's press secretary, Geoff Morrell, declined to answer questions about who approved the contract spy operation or why it continues, but said, "[W]e are committed to determining if any laws were broken or policies violated."