Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) may have commenced preliminary investigations into reports on Tuesday that Imad Mesdoua, an official of Africa Matters Ltd is an undercover agent of the British government spying on Nigeria.
Following a report by Breaking Times on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, which exposed Imad Mesdoua alongside Baroness Lynda Chalker as spies of the British government, the NIA, The Trent gathered is already studying the situation, albeit proceeding with caution.
“An investigation is already going on on the matter. No one can really determine what the response of the Nigerian government will be if the allegations are verified,” a top security source who pleaded anonymity disclosed to our reporter.
According to reports, the very charismatic Mesdoua working under the guise of Africa Matters Ltd is actually an MI6 undercover agent. “His job is to penetrate African nations where he has been assigned to carry out his job forging relationships with influential young people, civil society organisations, business professionals and politicians”, an informed source disclosed to Breaking Times.
Further investigations have corroborated earlier reports about Mesdoua’s role as an undercover agent for the British government in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Imad has worked as an investigator at Mintz Group – an organisation that conducts discreet internal fraud investigations, due diligence background checks, and fact-gathering for antitrust cases among others. Mintz Group has conducted over 10,000 investigations in more than 100 countries since it was founded in 1994.
Imad’s profile from several security checks by The Trent establishes a parallel with similar undercover agents working for spy agencies like the CIA and Mossad in clandestine operations across the globe. A striking example is ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame whose career history shares similarities with Mesdoua.
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Plame served the CIA at times as a non-official cover or (NOC) operating undercover in (at least) two positions in Athens and Brussels. While using her own name, “Valerie Plame”, just like Mesdoua, her assignments required posing in various professional roles in order to gather intelligence more effectively.
Two of Plame’s covers include serving as a junior consular officer in the early 1990s in Athens and then later an energy analyst for the private company (founded in 1994) “Brewster Jennings & Associates” which the CIA later acknowledged was a front company for certain investigations. Africa Matters Ltd where Mesdoua currently serves as Client Manager for Nigeria, fits the profile of CIA’s Brewster Jennings & Associates.
A former senior diplomat in Athens remembered Plame in her dual role and also recalled that she served as one of the “control officers” coordinating the visit of President George H. W. Bush to Greece and Turkey in July 1991. After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the CIA sent her to the London School of Economics and then the College of Europe, in Bruges for Master’s degrees. After earning the second degree, she stayed on in Brussels, where she began her next assignment under cover as an “energy consultant” for Brewster-Jennings. The CIA confirmed her status as a NOC or “deep cover officer” and remarked that she was talented and highly intelligent.
— Imad Mesdoua (@ImadMesdoua) July 25, 2015
Observers reacting to Imad’s recent visit to Nigeria’s presidential villa where he met with President Buhari alongside Baroness Chalker have flayed Nigeria’s security agencies, wondering how a spy for a foreign governement beat the prying eyes of Nigerian security.
“Can you imagine what would happen if the United States discovered that a spy for a foreign government was granted access into the Oval Office to meet with President Obama? I hope the Nigerian government is really taking this matter seriously. This is not a joke,” Ikechukwu Jerry, a security analyst told The Trent on Wednesday.
Nicholas Ibekwe, an investigative reporter with Premium Times on Wednesday tweeted. “As an investigator I can boldly say the profile of Imad presented in that Breaking Times report fits those of classical undercover agents.” Many Nigerians like Nicholas have also expressed their concerns about how Mesdoua stayed so long in Nigeria as an undercover agent without recognition until now.
“How Imad, through his Africa Matters Ltd penetrated Nigeria may not be unrelated to his brilliance, charm and charisma warming his way into the hearts of his targets”, an informed source told our reporter.
The ensuing sour development may have also thrown up a series of posers that Nigerian security agencies may need to pursue. Is Imad in Nigeria in official capacity or as a tourist? Is Imad documenting and reporting findings from all his official meetings as well as those where he appears to be socialising but actually gleaning relevant information? Has any Nigerian Imad made contact with shared any information with him that is capable of compromising Nigeria’s national security in the short or long terms? Are such victims willing to speak anonymously with Nigerian security investigators?
Nigeria’s intelligence and security agencies certainly have their hands full on the outing of Imad Mesdoua.