CIA spying base was destroyed in attacks

War against terror: Ground Zero
Click to follow
The Independent US

The CIA's undercover station in New York, which played an important role in many years of spying on the Russians, was destroyed on 11 September, it was reported yesterday.

The base was located in one of the smaller towers of the World Trade Centre, destroyed as the taller towers fell.

No staff were killed but intelligence operations were seriously disrupted, The New York Times reported. It described staff members hunting around in the rubble for their computers and paperwork.

The station was used mainly as a base to spy on the United Nations and recruit foreign diplomats working there. It was believed to be the largest and most important CIA station outside Washington. It also played an important role in tracking Russian intelligence officers, many of whom were allegedly at the UN in diplomatic posts.

The newspaper said that the CIA staff, with their undercover station in ruins, have had to find new digs at the American mission to the United Nations and in other federal offices.

The station's destruction may have deepened the agency's poor morale, the newspaper said. Critics have described the failure to anticipate the 11 September bombing as an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.

However, job applications to join the CIA are reported to have risen sharply since the 11 September attacks and Congress is pouring funds into counter-intelligence operations.