CIA station chief warns that Venezuelan coup plotters were INFILTRATED by spies as Maduro government arrests a drug smuggler they claim was involved in plot and being operated by DEA
- Former CIA Station Chief Daniel Hoffman said Monday’s failed coup in Venezuela may have been infiltrated as they trained in Colombia
- Former U.S. special forces soldiers Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, were arrested Monday as part of the foiled attack
- Hoffman warns they may now be used as leverage by the Venezuelan government
- The attack was ‘horrifically bad judgement’, he claims
- Venezuela officials claim to have arrested a ‘DEA agent’ with ‘links to drug smuggling’ during the bungled coup
- Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented a video Tuesday from José Alberto Socorro Hernándeas who he claims is a ‘drug trafficker’
- The DEA has said they had ‘no involvement in this weekend’s events’
Published: 11:23 EDT, 6 May 2020 | Updated: 11:27 EDT, 6 May 2020
A former CIA Station Chief warned that Monday’s failed coup of Venezuela, which resulted in the arrest of two U.S. citizens, may have been infiltrated by Venezuela’s intelligence unit or military.
Daniel Hoffman told Fox & Friends Wednesday that the arrested men – veterans Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41 – could be used as leverage against the U.S. by Venezuela, warning that the foiled attack could ‘make it that much more difficult for us.’
Denman and Berry were arrested Monday along with six Venezuelans following the launch of a haphazard coup organized by ex-Green Beret Jordan Goudreau. It came after eight people were killed and two more arrested on Sunday also linked with the failed plot.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed the attack was an attempt to assassinate him, placing blame on the Trump administration, Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó and neighboring Colombia, all of which have denied any involvement.
Venezuela officials also claimed that one of the people arrested Sunday was a drug smuggler linked to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA has denied involvement in the weekend’s events.
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Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented a video Tuesday from José Alberto Socorro Hernándeas which allegedly includes an admission from Hernándeas that he works with the DEA. The DEA has denied any involvement in the failed coup in Venezuela
Eight people, including two Americans, were arrested Monday as part of the failed coup. Former CIA Station Chief Brian Hoffman has warned that the arrested U.S. citizens could now be used as leverage by the Venezuelan government against the Unites States
Speaking on Fox, Hoffman claimed that the coup had not been as large as Maduro was claiming but that those involved showed ‘horrifically bad judgement’ because of the ‘far greater impact’ it would now have on U.S. relations with Venezuela.
He warned that the group training for the coup in Colombia may have been infiltrated and that it would be ‘something for the United States to look at’.
‘This is not the coup that Nicolas Maduro is claiming it to be, roughly 60 Venezuelans and a couple of retired US special forces,’ Hoffman said, adding that there were three major ways that it would now affect relations.
Hoffman said that the reported links between Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and the attack would cause Maduro to reiterate his claim that Guaidó is a ‘puppet of the United States’, something he says is not true.
The United States has recognized Guaidó as the legitimatize leader of Venezuela and has led the cause to oust Maduro.
‘He [Maduro] will also try and use this as a scapegoat for Venezuela’s failing economy, look at the drop in oil prices which has significantly impacted the world but Venezuela as well,’ Hoffman added.
Former CIA station chief Brian Hoffman warned that Venezula’s allies in Russia, Cuba, Iran and China would be advising Preisdent Maduro as he used the arrested Americans as leverage
Brian Hoffman, a former CIA station chief (pictured right), appeared on Fox&Friends on Wednesday, calling the failed coup attempt ‘horrifically bad judgement’ from those involved
The former CIA station chief warned of the way in which the arrested American citizens may now be used as leverage by the Venezuelan government.
‘We have broken diplomatic relations with Venezuela and it’s going to make it that much more difficult for us,’ he said.
‘We don’t have an embassy in Caracas and we’ve got five Citgo employees who are also illegally detained.
‘Maduro is known, among everything else, not only for narco-terrorism but also for violating human rights and extrajudicial killings. This is going to be a tough situation for us diplomatically.
Luke Denman (right) and Airan Berry (left), both former U.S. special forces soldiers, were arrested on Monday as part of a failed overthrow of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro
Luke Denman (left) and Airan Berry (right): Two arrested US ‘mercenaries playing Rambo’ are paraded after failed attempt ‘to kill’ Venezuela’s Maduro in a failed raid, the president claimed
Two U.S. citizens arrested in Venezuela Monday are seen being taken into custody following a foiled plot to capture the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the socialist leader has claimed. The footage shows Venezuelan authorities catching the group as they attempted to land in a fishing boat and arresting them. Pictured is Airan Berry, a former U.S. soldier
‘Now, it’s over to Secretary Pompeo’s team to try to negotiate a way out and expect the FBI to deal with the ringleader from Florida who apparently organized this,’ he added.
Venezuela’s allies in Cuba Iran, Russia and China would also be advising Maduro, he cautioned.
‘Now our former Special Forces guys are going to be leveraged and there will be some negotiations and discussion about this,’ Hoffman said.
‘It may happen publicly because we don’t have relations with Venezuela. But, make no mistake that Maduro will try to use them as leverage — first for propaganda and second as leverage.
‘And, you are right: Cuba Iran, and Russia – not to mention China – are key allies of Venezuela and they’ll be advising Maduro and helping him to gain maximum advantage over this ill-fated, poorly organized incursion attempt.’
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump denied all involvement in the failed coup in Venezuela that was established by a veteran who claims to have previously worked security for the president.
‘We’ll find out. We just heard about it,’ Trump said when asked about the incident and the Americans’ arrests.
‘But it has nothing to do with our government.’
Goudreau is said to have hatched the plan for the coup after he met with associates with opposition leader Guaidó. Keith Schiller (left), President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard, is also said to have attended the meeting but has since cut ties with Goudreau
A still from a video on Goudreau’s company website Silvercorp claims to show the ex-Green Beret working security at a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina in 2018. The website lists the President of the United States among its clients
It emerged that the ringleader Goudreau struck on the idea of a coup after meeting with Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller, who accompanied him to a meeting in Miami with activist Lester Toledo, then Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s coordinator for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The White House says Schiller cut off all contact with Goudreau after the meeting.
Venezuela on Tuesday pushed to highlight alleged links between the U.S. and Goudreau’s plot.
The Venezuelan government said one of the detainees who was arrested on Sunday worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration and was linked to drug smuggling.
The DEA said it had ‘no involvement in this weekend’s events’.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented a video Tuesday from José Alberto Socorro Hernándeas who allegedly states his part in the coup.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez (left) claimed U.S. involvement in the failed coup and presented information which he said linked the plan back to the American government. The U.S. government has denied all knowledge of the attempt led by ex-Green Beret Jordan Goudreau. Rodriguez added that one of those arrested was linked to the DEA
‘There is a very important testimony, that he is a DEA agent, he is a drug trafficker recruited by the DEA, something very common in the actions carried out by the Anti-drug Office of the United States of America,’ he says of Hernandez’ video.
Rodriguez claims that Hernandez would going to oversee the logistical parts of the attack once the group reached Venezuela.
‘In other words, it is an operation that uses two main elements, on the one hand, the drug trafficking embodied in Jose Alberto Socorro Hernandez, which in turn is the link with the government of the United States of America through the DEA,’ Rodriquez said.
He added a claim that the farm where the group trained and set off from is owned by a drug trafficker also linked to the DEA. Rodriguez said that on May 1, two boats set off from the farm of Elkin Javier ‘Doble Rueda’ Lopez Torres.
Elkin Javier ‘Doble Rueda’ Lopez Torres, an alleged drug trafficker who Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez claims is linked to the DEA and to the attempted coup
‘And on the other [hand you have] a famous drug trafficker from the La Guajira Cartel, Elkin Javier ‘Doble Rueda’ Lopez Torres. I remember that Doble Rueda’s farm in the Colombian peninsula of La Guajira is where the two boats departed to generate the armed terrorist incursion against Venezuela,’ Rodriguez said.
‘This is a branch that, as Jose Alberto Socorro Hernandez rightly says, quickly leads the DEA and [links] the DEA to the government of the United States of America and to the government of Ivan Duque [President of Colunbia] because according to his knowledge all the training activities and logistical provisioning of mercenaries and terrorists were carried out from his territory.’
Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau has claimed responsibility for the failed coup on Venezuela. He claims to have previously worked security for President Donald Trump
Doble Rueda is said to be a family member of Marta González, wife of Clíver Alcalá Cordones, the ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters who worked with Goudreau on a coup plot.
The Associated Press reported that Goudreau is believed to have met Alcalá in Bogota, Columbia, where the former Venezuelan general explained how he had selected 300 combatants from among the throngs of low-ranking soldiers who abandoned Maduro and fled to Colombia in the early days of Guaidó’s uprising.
Last month, Alcalá was indicted by U.S. prosecutors alongside Maduro as one of the architects of a narcoterrorist conspiracy that allegedly sent 250 metric tons of cocaine every year to the U.S.
Alcalá is now in federal custody in New York awaiting trial. But before his surrender in Colombia, where he had been living since 2018, he had emerged as a forceful opponent of Maduro, not shy about urging military force.
Venezuela has been in a deepening political and economic crisis under Maduro’s rule. Crumbling public services such as running water, electricity and medical care have driven nearly 5 million to migrate.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaking during a press conference on Monday in which he claimed that the coup was an attempt to assassinate him. He said that two U.S. veterans had been arrested and blamed the Trump administration for the scheme
The United States broke diplomatic ties with Venezuela last year amid heightened tensions, so there is no U.S. embassy in Caracas.
A coalition of nearly 60 nations backs opposition leader Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, saying Maduro’s 2018 election was a sham because the most popular opposition candidates were banned from running.
The United States has led the campaign to oust Maduro, increasing pressure in recent weeks by indicting the socialist leader as a narco-trafficker and offering a $15 million reward for his arrest in March.
In February, Guaidó appeared as a surprise guest at President Trump’s State of the Union address in which the U.S. President used his speech to support efforts to oust socialist Maduro.
Trump blasted Maduro as an an ‘illegitimate dictatorship’ and pledged to ‘stand alongside the Venezuelan people to ensure a future that is democratic and prosperous’.
In response, Maduro has called Guaidó a U.S. puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.
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