Pentagon establishes Defense Clandestine Service, new espionage unit
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: May 8th, 2012
The Pentagon is planning to ramp up its spying operations against high-priority targets such as Iran under an intelligence reorganization aimed at expanding on the militarys espionage efforts beyond war zones. The newly created Defense Clandestine Service would work closely with the CIA ... in an effort to bolster espionage operations overseas at a time when the missions of the agency and the military increasingly converge. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who signed off on the newly created service last week, served as CIA director at a time when the agency relied extensively on military hardware, including armed drones. Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the main force behind the changes, is best known as one of the architects of the CIAs program to arm Islamist militants to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s. He is also a former member of U.S. Special Operations forces. Despite the potentially provocative name for the new service, the official played down concerns that the Pentagon was seeking to usurp the role of the CIA or its National Clandestine Service. The new service fits into a broader convergence trend. U.S. Special Operations forces are increasingly engaged in intelligence collection overseas and have collaborated with the CIA on missions. The blurring is also evident in the organizations upper ranks. Panetta previously served as CIA director.
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