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.