Intelligence: The DIA Pays To Play

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August 19,2008:  The U.S. Department of Defense has admitted that its main intel operation, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) has successfully completed a two year test of allowing more DIA counter-intelligence teams to, well, details were not revealed. Normally, such overseas counter-intelligence operations involve feeding false or misleading information to enemy intelligence organizations, or finding out about enemy (or normally friendly nations) attempts to obtain American secrets.

The two year old test used the newly created Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) for these operations. The CIFA will now be merged in with yet another new agency, the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center. The DIA, and other Department of Defense inel operations (the army, navy and air force each have their own), have longed engaged in counterintelligence work. So why yet another such organization? The three services each have specific counter-intel needs. But this new DIA operation can concentrate on big picture operations. There is also the need for more counter-terrorism efforts in general, at least since September 11, 2001 and the apparent renewal of the Cold War. Pakistan's main intel agency (ISI), for example, has been a major target, because ISI harbors many pro-Islamic radical members. That means some people in ISI not only have more knowledge of al Qaeda and Taliban operations than they acknowledge, or share, with the U.S., but also pass on information to the terrorists.

DIA has long used U.S. Army Special Forces operators for all kinds of intelligence work, and that has increased enormously since September 11, 2001. Special Forces people have been getting more specialized intelligence training, and used as field operatives (out of uniform). The Special Forces are one of the largest pools of people who speak the language, know the culture, and are trained to deal with violent situations in exotic parts of the world. The DIA, and the rest of the intel community, has also been recruiting thousands of new intel operatives, and some of these have proved quite capable (most, alas, have not, but that is normal in this business.) The operators who have a talent for this kind of work are given more resources, and opportunities, which is apparently one of the reasons for the new DIA counter-intel operations. The DIA also has a lot more money for exotic and his risk ops. Unfortunately, it will be two or three decades before details of some of these operations become public. Some of these ops are stranger than fiction. But that's the norm when it comes to counter-intelligence work.

 


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