Pentagon wants own spy network
By LOS ANGELES TIMES
WASHINGTON - 3 March: The Pentagon is planning to assemble its own network of spies who will be posted around the world to collect intelligence on terrorist organizations and other military targets, moving squarely into a cloak-and-dagger realm that has traditionally been the domain of the CIA, according to Department of Defense officials familiar with the plans.
Officials said the aim is to form a deep roster of intelligence operators capable of handling a range of assignments — from reconnaissance for military operations to long-term clandestine work in which Pentagon spies would function like CIA case officers, working undercover to steal secrets and recruit informants.
The number of spies is expected to be in the hundreds, although officials cautioned it could be years before a force that size is in position.
The program would be managed by the Defense Intelligence Agency, a little-known Pentagon spy shop that mostly conducts intelligence analysis. Recruits would be drawn from all four branches of the military, with an emphasis on attracting those with special forces backgrounds. All would undergo the same training as CIA case officers at the agency’s southern Virginia training facility for its clandestine service, a facility known in intelligence circles as the Farm.
The effort stems in large part from frustration within the Pentagon over the extent to which the military was forced to rely on the CIA in the opening stages of the war in Afghanistan. It also reflects concern that there are too few CIA officers deployed around the world, and that they are not adequately focused on collecting intelligence that is useful to the military, several officials said.
“The CIA doesn’t have the number of assets to be doing what the secretary of Defense wants done,” said one Pentagon official familiar with the plans. “This is a capability the secretary wants the Department of Defense to have.”