The Central Intelligence Agency has received approval at least twice in the last several years to conduct an “information war” against several countries in the Middle East, including Iran, Lebanon and Syria, according to current and former intelligence officials.

In addition, the Bush Administration has been running operations out of the Defense Department that are not subject to Congressional oversight, intelligence sources say. These programs appear murkier, and have included support for an alleged terrorist group in Iran.

A recent ABC News report revealed that President George W. Bush had signed a presidential finding giving the CIA the authority to conduct “non-lethal” covert operations against Iran. Former and current intelligence sources tell RAW STORY, however, that there have been “at least two” presidential findings over the past few years which have empowered the agency to run an “open-secret” information war against Iranian interests, mainly leveraging resources and assets “within the United States and France.”

Although the resources – people, groups, organizations – were not identified, sources say that they are not terrorist organizations or groups using violent tactics to achieve their goals. “It’s a propaganda operation,” said a former intelligence case officer who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the information. “It is not new or aggressive,” the source added, explaining that the operation has been going on for some time and has Congressional funding and oversight.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano would not comment about the allegations made in the ABC report or discuss the existence of the presidential findings identified to RAW STORY.

“The CIA does not, as a matter of course, publicly discuss allegations of covert action, whether the assertions are wrong, right, or somewhere in-between,” Gimigliano said. “That’s one reason why the term ‘covert action’ still exists.”


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