Friday, March 13, 2015

The Eclipse Group

A correspondent recently sent me a link to the following article, which escaped my attention when it was first published back on February 12, 2011.

What follow are excerpts from Morgan Cook's article entitled "EXCLUSIVE:  Retired CIA Spy Operates Private Agency from Home."  The "private agency" referenced in the title is known as "The Eclipse Group," and it just so happens to be located in North County, a region in the Northern area of San Diego county.  (Readers of CHAMELEO will immediately understand the significance of this.)

Feel free to tuck this article away in the "San Diego High Weirdness File":

After 33 years with the CIA, [Duane R.] Clarridge said he retired from the intelligence agency and moved in 1988 to North County to take a job in the private sector, marketing electronics for a Virginia-based defense and security company now known as BAE Systems.

He said he retired from his job at the company in 2002, and began pursuing interests such as [...] running a self-funded network of spylike operatives [...].
The network, which once was funded by a Pentagon contract, collects information about "topics of interest to the United States military," Clarridge said. He said the information has been sent to military officials who have used it in the past [...].
Clarridge [had a] career in the CIA, which was marked by great success before he was forced to retire amid an investigation of his role in the Iran-Contra affair. According to [a New York Times] article, Clarridge was indicted for lying to Congress about his role in the affair, but was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush [...].

As a noted expert on terrorism -- he helped found the CIA's Counterterrorism Center toward the end of his career with the agency -- Clarridge said he occasionally has been sought out for consulting work in the two decades since he left the agency.

[After losing a contract with the Pentagon in 2010, Clarridge and his associates] "decided to self-fund [his private spy] operation," he said. "The people involved contributed either by not getting a salary or putting up money."

He said the end of the contract also cut off established channels to military officials. So he set up an encrypted, password-protected website through which selected officials could access the network's information, he said [...].
[H]e can communicate safely with his agents and manage the network's information using tools available to pretty much anyone [...].
"People ask, 'How? How can you do it from North County?'" he said. "And the answer is very simple: Communications today have so changed where you can work from, that you can run major operations like this, which is major, from almost anywhere where you've got reasonable communications."
Clarridge said he uses "commercial encrypted communications" that are available to the general public to safely communicate with his network [...].
You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.

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