Lawmakers Block Pentagon Spy Plan

Lawmakers Block Pentagon Spy Plan

The Pentagon’s plan to expand its spy service isn’t going unnoticed on Capitol Hill these days.

The Senate is opposing a Defense Department effort to double the number of spies it sends overseas, questioning whether the program’s poor performance in the past justifies a funding increase, The Washington Post is reporting.

According to the Post:


A military spending bill approved by the Senate last week contains language barring the Pentagon from using funds to expand its espionage ranks until it has provided more details on what the program will cost and how the extra spies would be used.

The measure offers a harsh critique of the Pentagon’s espionage record, saying that the Defense Department “needs to demonstrate that it can improve the management of clandestine [human intelligence] before undertaking any further expansion.”

The action is a setback for the Pentagon’s main spy service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has embarked on a five-year plan to assemble an espionage network overseas that is more closely modeled on the CIA and would rival that agency in size.

Critics say the Pentagon has no business building up its spy game, especially when the nation’s financial woes threaten to gut the Pentagon with across-the-board spending cuts.

A Senate included a provision in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that blocks DIA from going beyond the number of human intelligence officers the agency had in place last April. It requires the Pentagon to produce “an independent estimate of the costs” of the new clandestine service, as well as a blueprint for where and when the newly hired spies would be deployed, the Washington Post reports.

The measure cites a litany of problems with existing Pentagon intelligence efforts, including “poor or non-existent career management” for operatives who have been trained but were given “unproductive” assignments overseas or were often transferred back to regular military units.

To be fair though, the CIA has had its share of setbacks over the years. In December 2009, a Jordanian triple agent working for al Qaeda managed to infiltrate a CIA outpost in Afghanistan where he detonated a bomb and killed seven agents.

The DIA has about 500 undercover operatives engaged in spying work overseas; the Pentagon wants to expand that to as many as 1,000 by 2018, according to the Washington Post. The new operatives would be trained by the CIA and coordinate their assignments with CIA station chiefs overseas but remain under DoD control.

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Interesting subject. I’m glad Matt Cox brought it up.

One factor not specified is the military is looking to beef up it’s intel capabilities because the CIA is often not resourced to get the type of intel the military needs e.g. MANPADS in an area or proliferation. (There’s also the issue on the CIA’s prioritization/responsiveness to DoD needs.)

From what I’ve read the CIA supports the growth though there aren’t a lot of diplomatic cover jobs available to support the increase in agents so the military spies would be susceptible to arrest/prosecution if caught.

Are DoDBuzz writers capable of independent reporting, or do they just paraphrase the Washington Post?

S.T.—-I am by heritage a Slovak—from Svt Mikulas and Bela and Mjava (sp?) areas—would like to correspond with you to get a Slovak/European opinion on politics, military matters and so forth. I was in US Army from 1965–1972—then went to serve with DIA as this topic talks about. Best to persobal email outside this forum—- I am at den_sog9@37.com. Hope to hear from you.

No more oxymoronic than journalistic ethics, popular culture, or community organizer.

Time for more “contractors” that are on the books but not on the human resources rolls.

I would be interested in hearing how productively you have been living your life Sir, since with your words you are publicly insulting a group of individuals for whom I have great respect. I am asking while fully aware that anyone with your obvious IQ may be over-challenged to coherently answer without using junior high “smack downs,”, and more than likely since you lack anything to report, you will just spew, or ignore my request for information. However, I can’t seem to resist asking.

It’s totally unrealistic to expect DoDbuzz to be the first one to report defenses news all the times. In contrast to ‘UN Palestine vote unlikely to change US ops’ which should have been renamed ‘we want a debate about Palestine’ this is totally on topics. Having their own intelligences services (one more?) is not something meaningless. That’s a big topic, with critical consequences.

Sometimes the Nytimes got the news first (i.e. Retired Admiral Mike Mullen have been victim of a cyber-attack), somtimes it comes from wired, and sometimes it comes from DoDbuzz.

Do you suggest that anything cyber-related should be the matter of a different website? They are all connected.

” In December 2009, a Jordanian triple agent working for al Qaeda managed to infiltrate a CIA outpost in Afghanistan where he detonated a bomb and killed seven agents.”

I don’t understand how having one more intelligences department would have avoided that. AFAIK Jordans were and are still a key allied in the middle east, the only differences would be that the victims would not be from the CIA. They have been caught with their pants down, that’s it.

If the CIA is ill-suited for the task, then they need to work differently. What are the advantages of a new services? All new all fresh magic powder dust?

I don’t expect DoDBuzz will break every news story. I just expect that their reporting will contain some shred of original content. This article is just an excerpt of the WaPo story. One of the first rules of thumb for PAOs is that journalists are lazy. This article certainly exemplifies the lowest common denominator application of that rule. I guess I’d expect an “Online Defense and Acquisition Journal” to be able to add some industry-oriented expertise or insider sources to stories broken by general news outlets like WaPo.

Both the DIA and the CIA are undermanned thanks to a former President who figured SATELLITES were the BEST thing since sliced bread. Satellites CAN NOT tell you what the OTHER SIDE is thinking, it can only show you PHYSICAL EVIDENCE of what has already taken place. With out BOOTS ON THE GROUND you CAN NOT get a feel for what is being THOUGHT!
The Russians (Soviets) and the Chinese have only increased their HUMINT (Human Intelligence) gathering capabilities, while WE CUT OURS and began DEPENDING ON satellites. BAD MOVE!!
PERHAPS IF we HAD had HUMINT in Iraq before Gulf War 2 we WOULD HAVE KNOWN that Sadam Hussein had sent his WMDs overland and by air to SYRIA!! Yes, HE DID HAVE THEM!!
WE NEED TO BUILD UP OUR HUMINT AGAIN!!

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