To fly into Mogadishu's dilapidated airport is to enter into a lawless environment—Somalia is effectively without a government or a state and as The Nation's Jeremy Scahill recalls from having just returned from the country, "everyone has a gun." Militias roam the capital city's streets, controlling various aspects of a country devoid of any unified authority. Against this backdrop of poverty and violence, Scahill discovered during the time he was in the country that the CIA is becoming increasingly involved in "counterterrorism" operations against Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.
In this Nation Conversation with executive editor Betsy Reed, Scahill describes his experience as an independent journalist traveling to Mogadishu and reporting on the CIA's secret sites in Somalia. For more, read Scahill's piece, The CIA's Secret Sites in Somalia , and view the slideshow of exclusive images from his investigation .
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—Anna Lekas Miller