The Washington Post reports:
The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said.
The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.
When the expansion is complete, the DIA is expected to have as many as 1,600 “˜collectors’ in positions around the world, an unprecedented total for an agency whose presence abroad numbered in the triple digits in recent years.
Greg Miller’s article includes this:
The sharp increase in DIA undercover operatives is part of a far-reaching trend: a convergence of the military and intelligence agencies that has blurred their once-distinct missions, capabilities and even their leadership ranks.
Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. At the same time, the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence work.
Writing at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum provides some analysis in “Military-Intelligence Boundaries Grow Ever Fuzzier.”
The Post’s sources, naturally, say that this won’t really change anything, but that’s just not true. Ever since 9/11, the executive branch has been steadily moving assignments around so that they’ll be carried out by whichever agency has the loosest rules and the least oversight. Don’t like military restrictions on drones? Assign them to the CIA. Don’t like congressional oversight of clandestine operations? Assign them to the military. The Pentagon’s new plans make these boundaries even fuzzier than before, and allow President Obama to pay even less attention to pesky oversight rules than he has in the past.
Honestly, at this rate I wonder if we should just make the CIA the sixth branch of the military and be done with it. At least then we’d know which rules applied to everyone.
(Defense Intelligence Agency Logo via DIA)