Pentagon to Rival CIA by Doubling Size of Its Global Spy Network
December 4, 2012
Dominic Rushe / The Guardian & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
While Washington considers cuts to healthcare and social services as a means to reduce the federal debt, the US military is planning to send hundreds more spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan that will more than double the size of its espionage network. The Defense Intelligence Agency aims to recruit 1,600 intelligence "collectors" (up from the several hundred overseas agents employed in recent years) given the US the largest spying organization in world history.
Pentagon to Double Size of Worldwide Spy Network
Dominic Rushe / The Guardian
LONDON (December 2, 2012) -- The US military plans to send hundreds more spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan that will more than double the size of its espionage network, it was reported Sunday.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon's military intelligence unit, is aiming to recruit 1,600 intelligence "collectors" -- up from the several hundred overseas agents it has employed in recent years, sources told The Washington Post.
Combined with the enormous growth in the CIA since 9/11 attacks, the recruitment drive will create an unprecedented spy network. "The stars have been aligning on this for a while," an anonymous former senior US military official involved in planning the DIA transformation told the Post.
The news is likely to heighten concerns about the accountability of the US military's clandestine programs amid mounting concerns about the CIA-controlled drone program.
The United Nations said last month that it intends to investigate civilian deaths from drone strikes. The US has refused to even acknowledge the existence of a drone program in Pakistan. The US military is not subject to the same congressional notification requirements as the CIA, creating yet more potential controversies.
With the US pulling out of Afghanistan and operations in Iraq winding down, government officials are looking to change the focus of the DIA away from battlefield intelligence and to concentrate on gathering intelligence on issues including Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons trades in North Korea and Iran, and the military build up in China.
"It's the nature of the world we're in," said the senior defense official, who is involved in overseeing the changes at the DIA. "We just see a long-term era of change before things settle."
The DIA's new recruits would include military attachés and others who do not work undercover. But US officials told the Post that the growth will be driven a new generation of spies who will take their orders from the Department of Defense.
The DIA is increasingly recruiting civilians to fill out its ranks as it looks to place agents as academics and business executives in militarily sensitive positions overseas.
Officials said the sheer number of agents that the DIA is looking to recruit presents its own challenge as the agency may struggle to find enough overseas vacancies for its clandestine agents. "There are some definite challenges from a cover perspective," a senior defense official said.
The news comes as the Obama administration faces growing criticism about its use of CIA drones to target enemies overseas. The drone programme will continue under the aegis of the CIA. The DIA agents will concentrate on military intelligence, tracking aircraft development for example, and will report findings to the CIA.
The recruitment drive comes after a decade of enormous growth period at the CIA following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Since the 9/11 attacks the CIA's counterterrorism center has grown from 300 to over 2,000 agents.
But despite the hiring bonanza, officials said that the agency has become overstretched as its activities worldwide have broadened. Hundreds of military assignments are expected to be turned over to the newly arrived DIA operatives.
"The CIA doesn't want to be looking for surface-to-air missiles in Libya" when it's also under pressure to assess the opposition in Syria, a former high-ranking US military intelligence officer told The Post.
The plan does face opposition in Washington, where critics believe its terms are overly generous to the CIA. Turf wars broke out between the two intelligence agencies after previous efforts by the Pentagon to expand its intelligence role -- particularly during Donald Rumsfeld's time as defense secretary.
This time the project is being driven by former CIA agents including Michael Vickers, the top intelligence official at the Pentagon and a CIA veteran, and Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and the current secretary of the Defense Department.
'Ambitious' Pentagon Aims to Rival CIA's Spy Network
Another Leviathan Predicts Massive Growth
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 2, 2012) -- Founded in 1961, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has gotten bigger and bigger over time, with a focus principally on whatever wars the US happens to be fighting at the time, and the ones they might be fighting soon.
That seems laughably simplistic to the modern Pentagon, because of course the US is fighting across the entire planet, all the time, and near as anyone can tell forever. With that new global theater of operation in mind, Pentagon planners are seeking a massive increase in size for the DIA.
"The is a major adjustment for national security," noted DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and indeed the indications are that the long term goal is to make the DIA rival the size and scope of the CIA.
With the CIA well into a plan to downplay the whole "espionage" thing in favor of assassinations, moving into the Pentagon's turf of killing people abroad, it was perhaps inevitable that the Pentagon would respond by encroaching on CIA territory. In the end, this sort of "competition" could continue for quite some time, since both CIA and Pentagon can rely on massive budgets for the foreseeable future.
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