National Clandestine Service

Spooks in Wolf’s Clothing

We’ve known for some time that the military was rolling out its new-and-improved HUMINT function, the Defense Clandestine Service. But this article–laying out the ambitious goals of the program–is all the more interesting given several events that transpired since the NCS announcement: specifically, the Benghazi attack and the Petraeus resignation.

Part of the logic behind the move, the article explains, is that CIA is already overstretched; this will allow CIA to task DIA resources with the collection driven by military, rather than policy, needs.

The project was triggered by a classified study by the director of national intelligence last year that concluded that key Pentagon intelligence priorities were falling into gaps created by the DIA’s heavy focus on battlefield issues and CIA’s extensive workload.

Over and over, the article suggests the CIA is so busy in part because of its involvement in the drone program.

Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone.

[snip]

The CIA is increasingly overstretched. Obama administration officials have said they expect the agency’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda to continue for at least a decade more, even as the agency faces pressure to stay abreast of issues including turmoil across the Middle East. Meanwhile, the CIA hasn’t met ambitious goals set by former president George W. Bush to expand its own clandestine service.

If the drone program has sucked up CIA’s time, the agency doesn’t appear to be complaining about it. On the contrary, the recently-departed David Petraeus demanded more drones, not more resources for HUMINT.

The suggestion, then, is that CIA is too busy to collect HUMINT because it is so busy being a paramilitary organization. 

But look at the topics DIA is said to be focusing on.

Among the Pentagon’s top intelligence priorities, officials said, are Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons transfers by North Korea and Iran, and military modernization underway in China.

[snip]

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, said a former high-ranking U.S. military intelligence officer who worked closely with both spy services. Even in cases where their assignments overlap, the DIA is likely to be more focused than the CIA on military aspects — what U.S. commanders in Africa might ask about al-Qaeda in Mali, for example, rather than the broader questions raised by the White House. [my emphasis]

With the argument thus laid out, Greg Miller might well have said, “DIA needs the DCS to avoid another Benghazi.” Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @Will_Bunch Awe come on man, that was the most informative WH briefing in years.
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @TyreJim The best @JasonLeopold can do is get legal fees for @_LightLaw, I think.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Notorious “FOIA Terrorist” Jason Leopold “Saves” FBI Over $300,000 https://t.co/qnJLk3MCWg
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @adamjohnsonNYC: ICYMI bullshit racists are still a thing https://t.co/88GCoN9Fvb
30mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel MSF: "lack of meaningful accountability" in Kunduz attack "unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations" https://t.co/LA3Hjda9tt
42mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Meh. Those guys are very reclusive. Probably only came out because we are now the driest we've been all spring.
58mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Apparently coral snake fangs are pretty short so they are reluctant to take on large foes with thick skin/fur.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska See this : https://t.co/BepCVGaEnf See my pic and compare to links for scarlet kingsnake and scarlet snake. Def. coral in house.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Yes, but this one was the real deal, yellow between red and black. In the safe ones, red touches black. And heads diff colors.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Yeah, they used up several lives today.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska The cats have brought in a number of harmless corn snakes before. This is the first nasty one.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charlie_savage The way in which they've hidden the 2009 shut-down, though, is equally significant. That was still the same STLW dragnet.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2016
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930