Washington: The Pentagon may review allegations Monday that a defense department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to track and kill suspected militants.
The New York Times reported Monday that the official, named as Michael Furlong, had set up the network under the guise of an information-gathering program.
Citing unnamed military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States, the Times said Furlong hired contractors from private security companies employing ex-CIA and Special Forces agents.
These contractors were then supposed to gather intelligence on suspected militants and their hideouts which was fed to military units and intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan for use in possible strikes.
Some US officials told the Times they were concerned Furlong could be running an unofficial spy operation, adding they were not sure who condoned and supervised his work.
“That story makes some serious allegations and raises numerous questions that warrant further review by the department,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
But he refused to confirm the Times report that the Pentagon had already launched an investigation into the matter.
The New York Times said it was seen as illegal for the military to hire contractors to be covert spies.
Furlong may have improperly diverted funds from a regional information-gathering program to his network, The Times added.