Pentagon Gets Its Own Global Spy Agency

Defense Clandestine Service will snoop beyond battlefields

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2012 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Pentagon has created a new spy agency that will expand its intelligence gathering operations outside of current war zones. The new Defense Clandestine Service will work closely with the CIA, investigating targets unrelated to its current battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials tell the Washington Post; the paper speculates that agents might focus on things like nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and China's ascendency. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a former CIA chief, gave it the green light last week.

The Post identifies Michael Vickers, who ran the CIA's program to arm Afghan militants against the Soviet Union, as the "main force" behind the agency, which was created in response to a classified study last year. Many of its operatives will be drawn from the existing Defense Intelligence Agency. This "does not involve new manpower … does not involve new authorities," one official said, downplaying concerns that agency would step on the CIA's toes. But some congressional officials are concerned anyway, and seeking details.

In this Feb. 12, 2009 file photo, the Pentagon is seen from Air Force One.
In this Feb. 12, 2009 file photo, the Pentagon is seen from Air Force One.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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My question is, why?
What’s missing and
what’s going on? - An anonymous senior Senate aide who has been briefed on the new agency

If this were an attempt of the type we saw during the Rumsfeld years to consolidate human intelligence to have a better bulwark against what the CIA is doing, that would be a concern. But I don't think that's what's going on. - Another congressional staffer

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