Islamic group was a front for CIA: Ex-Turkish intelligence chief

London, Jan.6 (ANI): A former Turkish intelligence official has claimed that a worldwide moderate Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s.

In revelations appearing in his memoir titled "Witness to Revolution and Near Anarchy," retired Turkish intelligence official Osman Nuri Gundes says the religious-tolerance movement, led by an influential former Turkish imam by the name of Fethullah Gulen, has 600 schools and four million followers around the world.

In the 1990s, Gundes alleges, the movement "sheltered 130 CIA agents" at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone, according to a report on his memoir Wednesday by the Paris-based Intelligence Online newsletter.

The book has caused a sensation in Turkey since it was published last month.

Gulen could not be reached for comment.

But two ex-CIA officials with long ties to Central Asia cast doubt on Gundes's charges.

The Guardian quoted former CIA operative Robert Baer, chief of the agency's Central Asia and Caucasus operations from 1995 through 1997, as saying that the allegations were bogus.

A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said Gundes's "accounts are ringing no bells whatsoever."

Likewise, Graham Fuller, a former CIA station chief in Kabul and author of "The Future of Political Islam," threw cold water on Gundes's allegations about Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

"I think the story of 130 CIA agents in Gulen schools in Central Asia is pretty wild," Fuller said by e-mail. (ANI)

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