The CIA ignored vital intelligence on the rise of jihadist groups Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State (Isis) as they hijacked the Syrian revolution to seize control of swaths of Syria, a Free Syrian Army intelligence chief told Le Monde.
The spymaster, named only as M, said he had passed on information gathered by his intelligence network to his CIA handler for three years, as the jihadist groups increased their power. The trove of information included GPS coordinates, telephone numbers, maps, and even computer IP addresses, he said.
"From the moment Daesh (an Arabic pejorative acronym for IS) had 20 members to when it had 20,000, we have shown everything to the Americans. When we asked them what they did with this information, they always gave evasive answers, saying it was in the hands of decision-makers," he told the newspaper.
He said he had recruited 30 trusted men to serve as spies in cities where Isis influence was growing, including Raqqa, Jarablus, Al-Bab, and Tal Abyad. He said that he had requested $30,000 per month from the US to finance the spying operation, but received only $10,000.
Among his most important moles in Islamic State was a man who worked in the groups' financial affairs office in Manbij near the Turkish border. Documents seen by the paper showed payments of up to $74,000 (£52,426; €67,000) made by a Syrian parliamentarian named Radwan Habib to his brother Ali, an Isis emir in Maskaneh in Aleppo governorate.
He said he had also passed onto the CIA a detailed map of an Isis training camp for foreign fighters in northern Latakia, but got no response from the agency.
Free Syrian Army plans to oust Isis from Aleppo province in summer 2014 were also seen by Le Monde. Delayed several times by the US, the plan was foiled by a surprise attack by Al Nusra.
Formed by deserters from the Syrian army after the 2011 revolution against the government of Bashar al-Assad, the FSA received weapons, training and funding from the CIA. However the group says the support was not sufficient to halt the rise of jihadist rebel groups, or defeat the Syrian army, which is supported by Iranian and Russian forces.
During a recent ceasefire, Al Nusra has renewed its offensive against the FSA in northern Syria, seizing the FSA controlled town of Maarat Numan in Idlib province on March 13, taking several fighters prisoner, and seizing anti-tank missiles, armoured vehicles, a tank, and other arms from the division.