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US Spy Plane Crashed On Taliban Territory Afghanistan

by Oui Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 04:18:36 AM EST

Unconfirmed reports a high-ranking CIA officer was on board ...

More below the fold ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


US military plane crashes in Afghanistan, Taliban claim responsibility  | Dawn |

"The plane which was on an intelligence mission was brought down in Sado Khel area of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province," said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in a statement.

Mujahid did not say how fighters had brought the plane down. He said the crew on board included high ranking US officers. A senior defence official denied that senior American officers were involved.

The Taliban control large parts of Ghazni province. The militant group, which has been waging a war against US- led forces since 2001, often exaggerates enemy casualty figures.

Profile: Michael D'andrea, Trump's new head of the CIA's Iran operations | Baghdad Post - June 2017 |

Michael D'Andrea goes by many names. To those in the CIA, he's the Undertaker, the Dark Prince, Ayatollah Mike, according to NeewsWeek.

To Hollywood, he's the Wolf, immortalized in Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.

To the general public, he is nobody, as he is still undercover, a man who has spent 38 years toiling at the CIA.

People like Michael D'Andrea do not seek the spotlight. Though he joined the CIA in 1979, it was not until April 2015 that a New York Times journalist, Mark Mazzetti, finally outed him.

A month after D'Andrea left his post as director of the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC), Mazetti identified the man--known previously only as "Roger"--who had "presided over the growth of CIA drone operations" during nine years as CTC chief .

Two years later, D'Andrea has landed a new job within the CIA.

On June 2, the Times reported that "Ayatollah Mike" will be running the agency's Iran operations, in what amounts to a show of strength against the country President Donald Trump has branded "the number one terror state ."

Outing the CIA's 'Undertaker' Michael D'Andrea | Newsweek - June 2016 |

On the basis of this evidence, the CIA authorized a so-called "signature" strike on the compound. (Pakistan is the only country where the CIA can order a strike against a target without the president's knowledge.) Soon afterward, as CIA analysts reviewed the drone footage, the agency realized something had gone awry. Six bodies, not four, were dragged from the rubble and quickly buried, according to The New York Times. Among the dead were two hostages: Warren Weinstein, an American humanitarian, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker. It took the CIA several weeks to confirm that the two hostages had been killed in the strike. Afterward, the agency notified President Barack Obama, who then called the families and apologized.

The deaths of the two Western hostages succeeded in doing what the killing of thousands of innocent Pakistanis, Afghanis, and Yemenis in U.S. drone strikes had failed to accomplish. It prompted Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times to act. Frustrated with the lack of congressional oversight over the drone program, Mazzetti defied the CIA and published the name of the man, who as head of the agency's Counterterrorism Center (CTC), was a key "architect of the targeted killing program." His name is Michael D'Andrea.


Wikipedia: 2020 United States Air Force E-11A crash
430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron

A follow-up diary

US Ally Soleimani's Global Fight Against Terror

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by Oui on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 12:17:17 PM EST
The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides | M of A |

It beggars belief that the CIA would put D'Andrea on a BACN operations flight. The E-11A typically loiters over the service area by flying in circles tens of thousands of feet above shoulder-fired SAM range for several hours. It can collect electronic intelligence, but there is no reason for someone to sit in the back of the aircraft to 'listen'. Everything the E-11 hears is relayed back to a command center. An air conditioned command center with soda and snacks and bathrooms. That's where any CIA types would be listening if they were at all. People like D'Andrea don't do mundane chores like that - they get summary reports and clips of recordings provided by peon analysts.

The wreckage of the E-11 only shows engine damage on the starboard (right) engine from inside the engine - about where the turbine's compressor section is located. Turbine blade failure would look like that, but I have no idea if that was the cause of the crash or a result of the impact and debris. The exhaust cowling is not attached, but one video shows it in fairly good condition a few hundred feet earlier in the skid marks (= not blown off by a MANPADS at altitude). The other engine appears relatively undamaged except for the underside cowling probably opened during the initial impact.

None of that engine damage is typical of IR-homing MANPADS seeking on the hot exhaust side of a turbine engine.

There's a little air scoop (red?) opened on the right-side tail section that I think might be the E-11's Auxiliary Power Unit (APU - a small turbine generator). The APU is automatically activated a secondary power source if either engine's generator goes out. The APU intake air scoop opens whenever it runs. It could be further indication of and engine failure or some other kind of electrical problem related to the crash.

The Taliban certainly don't have any secret mobile SAM launchers or radars. We'll probably never know why the aircraft really came down, but 'technical difficulties' (= catastrophic engine failure) is at least a possibility here. At least as much of a possibility, I would argue, as the Taliban acquiring MANPADS from anyone.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28 2020 4:21 utc | 109

by Oui on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 02:02:48 PM EST
The E-111 is basically a small civilian passenger jet adapted for a military communications role acting as an integrator and repeater of various battlefield communication systems. I find it surprising how basic inter-aircraft communications in battlefield zones still are, but there is no need for senior or any CIA personnel to be on board as all the data it collects and integrated is relayed to remote command centres.

Also it is doubtful the Taliban have a missile capability to down an aircraft with a 50,000ft+ operational ceiling. So it was probably just an accidental crash killing crew and technicians on board. Nevertheless it is a useful propaganda coup for Iran seeking to avenge Suleimani's killing which has been described as thethe biggest US blunder since 2003 invasion of Iraq by no less authoritative a source than the Irish Times!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 06:14:37 PM EST
Amid official silence, netizens question whereabouts of ex-TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan  | Dawn Pakistan |

A day after an audio clip, purportedly recorded and released by former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan surfaced on social media, the question of whether one of Pakistan's most-wanted men had indeed escaped from military custody still hung in the air on Friday.

In the audio clip, Ehsan, who is a former spokesman of both the banned TTP and later its offshoot, Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA), claimed that he had escaped from the custody of Pakistani security forces.

Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader and MNA Mohsin Dawar echoed Babar's thoughts.

"Worrying news coming in that TTP's Ehsanullah Ehsan has escaped. In no way can this be a result of incompetence. @OfficialDGISPR should confirm or deny this news. We demand a thorough investigation into this incident. No one is listening to our warnings about regrouping Taliban," he tweeted.

[...]

Ehsan had claimed responsibility for the horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in which more than 140 people, most of them children, were killed in December 2014.

The banned TTP had also claimed responsibility for shooting then 14-year-old peace activist Malala Yousafzai in the head, with Ehsan later issuing a statement using Islamic Shariah to defend the attack.

Related events?

Key Pakistani Taliban leader killed in Afghanistan
Envoy Khalilzad lauds Pakistan's role in facilitating imminent US-Taliban deal

Related reading ...

Taliban founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, once hailed by Reagan as a "freedom fighter", dies in Afghanistan  
Bandar bin Sultan: Butcher of Christians and Shiites Speaks Out
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by Oui on Fri Feb 7th, 2020 at 10:43:00 PM EST


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