2012-05-31 CIA codename "SIMO" disclosed in WikiLeaks cables

by Novinite.com & TAZ.de

The German edition Taz.de asks rhetorically whether Bulgarian PM, Boyko Borisov, would have remained in office if the US secret service CIA was to appear as key witness of the charges against him. Photo by BGNES

The secret cables of the US Embassy in Sofia, exposing Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, as participant in criminal activities, list a source SIMO, which is now being disclosed as a codename for the CIA.

The information has been revealed in a German investigative report.

The news was published Thursday by the German Deutsche Welle and the site for investigative journalism Bivol.bg, the official partner for Bulgaria of the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks, which released the said cables.

The German investigative report belongs to the online edition TAZ.de of the Berlin-based Tageszeitung. The journalists are adamant that US secret diplomatic cables are based on information from the CIA and that SIMO is a CIA pseudonym used internally. The latter has been confirmed by a former CIA Department Chief, saying diplomats are banned from using the name of the intelligence agency in cables.

Many cables, sent from other countries, also use information from the SIMO source.

One year ago, WikiLeaks and Bivol published a cable written by former US Ambassador in Sofia, John Beyrle, titled: BULGARIA'S MOST POPULAR POLITICIAN: GREAT HOPES, MURKY TIES. In it, the diplomat writes the following about the current Prime Minister of Bulgaria:

"Accusations in years past have linked Borisov to oil-siphoning scandals, illegal deals involving LUKoil and major traffic in methamphetamines. Information from SIMO tends to substantiate these allegations. Borisov is alleged to have used his former position as head of Bulgarian law enforcement to arrange cover for criminal deals, and his common-law wife, Tsvetelina Borislavova, manages a large Bulgarian bank that has been accused of laundering money for organized criminal groups, as well as for Borisov's own illegal transactions."

At the time, Borisov dismissed the cables as rumors, Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, snubbed them, saying they do not include enough grounds to presume any criminal activity, while the US Embassy in Sofia stated the cables were often "incomplete analyses."

Tageszeitung asks rhetorically: "Would Borisov have remained in office if the American secret service CIA had declared itself a key witness in the allegations against the Prime Minister?"

Below is the full text of the TAZ article in English:

Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks

The CIA as a Key Witness

Many of the cables published by WikiLeaks contain current, but coded by the CIA information. A Taz investigative report now reveals the secret service codename.

From J. Goetz & H. Burmester

BERLIN Tageszeitung

Diplomats do not have the reputation of being good entertainers. And rightfully so. They like to drown in meaningless phrases and shy away from clear opinions. But the now-legendary diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks has published in the late 2010 have revealed that they can also be different.

Thousands of internal documents prove that US embassy officials have quite the ability to bluntly tell the truth, even when it comes to politicians in the country where they are currently working.

One example of the above is the former Ambassador in Bulgaria, John Beyrle. In a secret cable, published by WikiLeaks, and labeled as classified and top secret, the career diplomat writes to Washington that Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov was involved "in serious criminal activity." This is an exciting assessment of Bulgaria, because Boyko Borisov is now the Prime Minister of the country.

When WikiLeaks published in 2010 the American diplomatic cables, the American assessment about the Prime Minister became known to the public. Borisov acted unmoved, saying that WikiLeaks released nothing but "rumors". The US Embassy in Sofia stressed that diplomatic cables were often "incomplete analyses".

The Codename SIMO

Would Borisov have remained in office if the American secret service CIA had declared itself a key witness in the allegations against the Prime Minister? Taz' investigation now shows that many WikiLeaks cables contain information about the CIA way of operating and provide insights into secret CIA information on foreign leaders. This information has been so far undetected because in diplomatic cables the CIA is referred to with the alias SIMO.

Thus, according to the Bulgarian cable from 2006, "information from SIMO tends to substantiate the allegations" against the current Prime Minister. The former Bulgarian Interior Minister (editor's note: the publication, as a number of other foreign articles, confuses Borisov's post; he was at the time Chief Secretary of the Interior) is linked to "oil-siphoning scandals, illegal deals involving LUKoil and major traffic in methamphetamines," writes ex-Ambassador Beyrle in May 2006 and refers to the findings of the CIA. Reportedly, as police chief, Borisov has also made sure that his wife was laundering money undisturbed. Moreover, he had Mafia connections.

A former Head of the CIA, confirmed for Taz that SIMO and the CIA are the same thing. "SIMO is an administrative term for the CIA, actually used only for internal purposes, and as such, it should not have been used in the cables."

Fidel's Health and Counterfeited Money

The revelation that SIMO and the CIA are the same thing gives more significant importance to the content of some US cables. The accusations against Bulgaria's Prime Minister Borisov are gaining focus. With the help of the CIA, the former Senate President of Haiti, Joseph Lambert, is exposed as illegal drugs dealer. For Venezuela, the CIA reported in 2006 changes in travel plans of President Chavez, and thus conclusions were made about the poor health of the Cuban Head of State, Fidel Castro.

Such mentions of SIMO are this spicy only in exceptional cases. The majority of cables, where SIMO is used as reference, only allow reverse conclusions about the security measures at US embassies, the cooperation of the CIA with foreign news agencies and the coordination with other US government agencies in the fight against terrorism.

The cables, where SIMO is mentioned, also contain absurd examples of the work of the CIA in foreign countries. For example, a cable from the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar reported in 2006 that a million dollars in cash had been taken from two North Koreans who entered the country. The men were either government employees or bank employees. SIMO or the CIA was asked to help to check the mountain pile of dollars for fake bills.

The Americans then flew in a hurry a team of the secret service. Meanwhile, the North Korean Embassy in Mongolia asked by a diplomatic note for the money to be returned. The bills proved to be genuine and had to be given back to the North Koreans.