Washington’s spooks are returning to their old methods, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency has claimed
The US government is considering whether to assassinate the leaders of the new military administration in Niger, who seized power in late July, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has said.
While the White House is “not satisfied” with events in the former French colony, it does not want to rely on military intervention by Niger’s regional neighbors, the assessment released by the SVR on Thursday claimed. Washington considers that a ‘wetwork’ solution by a proxy would be preferable to military action by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Russian agency said.
ECOWAS has threatened to invade Niger to restore its ousted president Mohamed Bazoum to office, but has yet to act. French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that his nation would support military action by the bloc.
“Representatives of American special services are directly discussing with partners who could carry out killings” in Niger, the SVR alleged. The preferred candidates would be people who have received “special training from the Pentagon’s schools” and belong to the transitional leaders’ inner circles.
The CIA has a record of attempted assassinations on foreign soil. Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba and Cuban leader Fidel Castro were targets of multiple US murder plots, as revealed by the Church Committee in the 1970s.
President Gerald Ford explicitly banned employees of the US government from participating in political assassination plots in a 1976 executive order. President Jimmy Carter expanded the ban in 1978, adding people “acting on behalf of” Washington to the order, while President Ronald Reagan removed “political” from the wording in 1981.
“It looks like the White House has decided to resort to old and, as they say, time-tested solutions, after facing what it perceives as a surprising and unpleasant geopolitical awakening of Africa,” the SVR assessment claimed.
The Russian agency suggested that the US government would frame any action against Niger’s administration as “strengthening democracy.