CIA Fills Void in Iraq, Afghanistan
Agency expects to maintain large stations there for years
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 8, 2012 1:10 PM CST
A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at the CIA headquarters February 19, 2009 in McLean, Virginia.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – US troops may be leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, but the CIA isn't. The agency's stations in the two countries may see staffing levels fall off a bit, but they'll remain its biggest overseas locations for years, officials tell the Washington Post. The Obama administration is counting on the spies, along with Special Operations forces, to protect US interests as troops depart. "I would say the agency will be the last to leave," says one CIA veteran. "We were the first to get there."

In Iraq in particular, spies are shifting into the more familiar role of watching an increasingly hostile and turbulent government, while also suppressing al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the CIA will take on a more paramilitary role, actively combating the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and working more with Special Ops in the process. The agency also controls teams of Afghan counterterror forces that it funded and trained. Still, the agency's footprint will have to shrink; like all intelligence agencies, it's facing budget cuts.

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
Feb 9, 2012 12:51 AM CST
The CIA filling a void is like pumping in mustard gas where there's a shortage of oxygen. Go home!
Feb 8, 2012 6:40 PM CST
It's good a idea to leave some more targets.
Feb 8, 2012 2:30 PM CST
The CIA has been a busy beehive of provocateurs the last few years. They have managed to subvert another half dozen countries the past year. Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Pakistan. They must be quite full of themselves these days. Wait til the blowback hits. Duck and cover MoFos.