March 8, 2006
At Last - Intelligence In the Intelligence War
Frustrated by repeated leaks and contrarian policies, the Bush administration must be wondering how it can fight a two-front war: one front abroad, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere in the world, fighting against jihadis... and the other domestically, against the Central Intelligence Agency, which has consistently demonstrated its determination not only to support but to control foreign policy.
Now, the New York Times reports that more and more battlefield intelligence, even strategic intel, is going to come from Special Ops military intelligence forces -- not the compromised and untrustworthy CIA.
The new mission could become a major responsibility for the military's fast-growing Special Operations Command, which was authorized by President Bush in March 2004 to take the lead in military operations against terrorists. Its new task could give the command considerable clout in organizing the nation's overall intelligence efforts.
The Special Operations command reports to Mr. Rumsfeld, and falls outside the orbit controlled by John D. Negroponte, the newly established director of national intelligence, who oversees all the nation's intelligence agencies.
These new teams, called Military Liaison Elements, are not just tasked with gathering intel but with acting upon it:
Special Operations forces include the Army Green Berets and Rangers, the Navy Seals, the Marines and special Air Force crews that carry out the most specialized or secret military missions. Their skills range from quick strikes to long-range reconnaissance in hostile territory, military training and medical care.
Needless to say, the CIA is fuming about this. They are outraged that for no apparent reason, apart from their five-year war against President Bush, the commander in chief is cutting their turf out from under them.
"The Department of Defense is very eager to step up its involvement in counterterrorism activities, and it has set its sights on traditional C.I.A. operational responsibilities and authorities," said John O. Brennan, a 25-year C.I.A. officer who headed the National Counterterrorism Center before retiring last year. "Quite unfortunately, the C.I.A.'s important lead role in many of these areas is being steadily eroded, and the current militarization of many of the nation's intelligence functions and responsibilities will be viewed as a major mistake in the very near future."
Mr. Brennan, now president of the Analysis Corporation, an intelligence contractor in Virginia, said that if Socom operations were closely coordinated with host countries and American ambassadors, "U.S. interests could be very well served."
But, he added, "if the planned Socom presence in U.S. embassies abroad is an effort to pave the way for unilateral U.S. military operations or to enable defense elements to engage in covert action activities separate from the C.I.A., U.S. problems abroad will be certain to increase significantly."
I think this is an excellent idea. The CIA has proven itself to be not only disloyal but extraordinarily fumble-footed... missing such big stories as the 1979 Iranian revolution, the nuclear detonations by Pakistan and India, the A.Q. Khan WMD-of-the-month club... and then first assuring the president that finding "large stockpiles of WMD" in Iraq was a "slam dunk"... and then eagerly participating in covering up the massive quantities of dual-use WMD we did find, labeling it "civilian" -- when quite clearly Iraq had no conceivable peaceful purpose for, e.g., massive quantities of Cyclosarin-based pesticides stored in camouflaged ammunition bunkers, right next to chemical-ready but unloaded munitions.
And they're still at it:
The Special Operations Command has not publicly disclosed the Military Liaison Element mission, and answered questions about the effort only after it was described by officials in other parts of the government who oppose the program.
We must undertake every opportunity to shift intel responsibility from an agency that wants peace at any cost to one that is at least willing to consider that sometimes, war really is the answer.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 8, 2006, at the time of 5:50 AM
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Frustrated by repeated leaks and contrarian policies, the Bush administration must be wondering how it can fight a two-front war: one front abroad, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere in the world, fighting against jihadis... and the other domest... [Read More]
Tracked on March 8, 2006 11:25 AM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
Hey, that's great idea--sabotaging the enemy overseas, instead of George Bush in the White House. Helping Republicans succeed does probably violate some government union contract or civil service rule though.
The following hissed in response by: AcademicElephant
This program seems an excellent idea and the only thing that bothers me is reading about it in the NYTimes--another retaliatory CIA leak?
The above hissed in response by: AcademicElephant at March 8, 2006 5:42 PM
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
"Another retaliatory CIA leak?" Is there any doubt?
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at March 8, 2006 7:35 PM
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
Dafydd, as I wrote here I couldn't agree with your last paragraph more. If it were up to me we'd do away with the CIA altogether and have all of our intelligence gathering and analysis done by people who understand we're at war.
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at March 8, 2006 7:49 PM
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