Govt. Seeks U.S. Clarifications on 'CIA Spies', Hizbullah Slams 'Aggression'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Information Minister Walid al-Daouq announced after a cabinet session on Wednesday that the government would seek "clarifications" from the U.S. ambassador to Beirut after Hizbullah said it had succeeded in exposing CIA operatives.
Earlier on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, who represents Hizbullah in the 30-seat government, told reporters during a break from the cabinet meeting that the government had "decided to summon U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly to question her on this issue."
"This is not the first aggression of its kind on Lebanon ... and cannot be divided from Israeli (spies)," Hajj Hassan said.
But Daouq clarified that Premier Najib Miqati asked Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour during the session to seek “clarifications” from Connelly about “media reports” that have raised the issue of CIA operatives, denying that the government had decided to summon the U.S. ambassador in person.
The cabinet’s decision and Hajj Hassan’s statement come hours after Hizbullah said it succeeded in uncovering Central Intelligence Agency operatives who had infiltrated its ranks and urged the government to take immediate measures against the U.S. embassy.
"Lebanese intelligence vanquished U.S. and Israeli intelligence in what is now known as the intelligence war," said Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah, who heads parliament's telecommunications committee.
"Our security apparatus ... has exposed several American and Israeli plots on Lebanon," Fadlallah told reporters outside parliament.
"We call on the Lebanese government to take immediate action ... and raise the issue with the United Nations and embassies, so that the whole world is aware of what the U.S. embassy in Lebanon is doing."
Wednesday's comments follow reports earlier this week which said Hizbullah had uncovered several operatives within the movement working for the CIA.
In the first acknowledgement of infiltration since the group's founding in the 1980s, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in June had said members of his group confessed to being CIA agents.
Nasrallah accused his arch-foe Israel of turning to the U.S. spy agency after failing to infiltrate his party, slamming the American embassy in Beirut as a "den of spies."
The U.S. embassy in Beirut dismissed the accusations as "empty."
More than 100 people in Lebanon have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel since April 2009, including military personnel and telecoms employees.
Lebanon and Israel technically remain in a state of war, and convicted spies face life imprisonment or the death sentence if found guilty of contributing to Lebanese loss of life.
Lebanon has protested to the United Nations over the busted Israeli spy networks.