The covert members were trained in Jordan in target identification, explosives and small arms at two secret bases. Weapons and equipment (including old Soviet Hind helicopters) were supplied by the CIA. Most members were recruited from the Iraqi exile community by Iraqi Kurds.
The original mission of the Scorpions was to foment rebellion in Iraq prior to the US led invasion. However, due to training delays, little of this mission was ever achieved. Following the war, the CIA began using the Scorpions in anti-insurgency roles, and for interrogations of prisoners.
The Scorpions have been implicated in the events that led to the death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush while in US captivity. These events included the use of physical and psychological torture under the auspices of a US CIA operative identified only as "Brian".
That the Scorpions original mission was to start, or give the appearance of a rebellion against the regime of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, makes their involvement in the death of Mowoush significant. It is not clear at what point the Scorpions became involved in the interrogation of US held prisoners. However, this appears to tie in with the US policy of extraordinary rendition.
- Before the War, CIA Reportedly Trained a Team of Iraqis to Aid U.S.
- Documents Tell of Brutal Improvisation by GIs