Ex-CIA officials helping UAE build spy force: report

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Source: News International

Former officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are helping the UAE build modern spycraft, the Foreign Policy (FP) media outlet reports.

According to the report, the details of the training are contained in an official course schedule reviewed by Foreign Policy and were described by former US intelligence officials who have been involved in the effort. The facilities and courses are part of the UAE’s nascent efforts to create a professional intelligence cadre modelled after the West’s.

Former CIA and government officials were drawn to the Gulf nation by the promise of interesting work and, perhaps even more importantly, lucrative careers. The reports cites a former employee as saying: “The money was fantastic. It was $1,000 a day — you could live in a villa or in a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi.”

The key figure behind this growing intelligence training operation, according to multiple sources, is Larry Sanchez, a former intelligence officer who helped kickstart a controversial partnership between the CIA and the New York Police Department that tried to pre-empt the radicalization of potential terrorists by tracking people — many of them Muslims — in mosques, bookstores, and other places around New York. Sanchez, a veteran of the CIA clandestine services, has been working for the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in the UAE for the past six years to build large pieces of its intelligence services from the ground up, six sources with knowledge of the matter tell FP.

According to the article, Sanchez is just one of many former Western security professionals who has made his way to the Gulf nation to provide security training. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, famously moved to the UAE to create a battalion of foreign troops serving the crown prince, details of which were first revealed by the New York Times in 2011.