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Increased power of Pentagon

 
  

Project: US Military

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Shortly after September 11, 2001

       The Pentagon establishes what is later known as the Strategic Support Branch (SSB), or Project Icon, to provide Rumsfeld with tools for “full spectrum of humint [human intelligence] operations” in “emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia.” It is said that Rumsfeld hopes the program will end his “near total dependence on CIA.” According to Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell, a possible scenario for which the Strategic Support Branch might be called to action would be if a “hostile country close to our borders suddenly changes leadership.... We would want to make sure the successor is not hostile.” [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005] When SBB's existence is revealed in early 2005, the Pentagon denies that the program was established to sideline the CIA, insisting that its sole purpose is to provide field operational units with intelligence obtained through prisoner interrogations, scouting and foreign spies, and from other units in the field. [CNN, 1/24/2005; The Washington Post, 1/25/2005] As an arm of the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) nine-year-old Defense Human Intelligence Service, SSB operates under the Defense Secretary's direct control and consists of small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists who work alongside special operations forces. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005] However some SBB members are reported to be “out-of-shape men in their fifties and recent college graduates on their first assignments,” according to sources interviewed by the Washington Post. When the SSB's existence is revealed in 2005, its commander is Army Col. George Waldroup, who [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005 [b]] reports to Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). SSB's policies are determined by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone. [CNN, 1/24/2005] Critics say Waldroup lacks the necessary experience to run SSB and note that he was once investigated by Congress when he was a midlevel manager at the INS. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005 [b]] SSB includes two Army squadrons of Delta Force; another Army squadron, code-named Gray Fox; an Air Force human intelligence unit; and the Navy unit known as SEAL Team Six. According to sources interviewed by the Washington Post, the branch is funded using “reprogrammed” funds that do not have explicit congressional authority or appropriation, [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005] though this is denied by the Pentagon when the unit's existence is revealed. [CNN, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: Thomas O'Connell, George Waldroup, Delta Force, Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon, Donald Rumsfeld, Gray Fox, SEAL Team Six
          

March 2002

       Retired Lieutenant-General Brent Scowcroft leads a presidential panel which proposes that control of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency be transferred from the Department of Defense to the director of central intelligence (DCI). The plan is favored by the Congressional 911 joint inquiry but opposed by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. For years experts have argued that the US intelligence community's 13 disparate agencies— “85 percent of whose assets reside in the Defense Department” —should be consolidated under the DCI. [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002; The Washington Post, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Brent Scowcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney
          

June 21, 2002

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends his special assistant, Stephen A. Cambone, to the Armed Services Committee to deliver and explain a request that Congress create a new top-level Pentagon position—the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The proposal is quietly slipped into the fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill as an amendment and approved by the Senate on August 1, by the Conference Committee on November 12 and signed by the President on December 2. The move is seen by some as an attempt to preempt the Scowcroft Plan. [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002; The Washington Post, 8/19/2004; USA Today, 10/24/2004] US News and World Report calls it a “bureaucratic coup” that “accomplishes many Pentagon goals in one fell swoop” and notes that “members of Congress aren't even aware it is happening, let alone what it means.” [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002] Intelligence expert James Bamford warns about the implications of creating this new post in an October 24 op-ed piece: “Creating a powerful new intelligence czar under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could shift [the] delicate balance [between CIA and the DoD] away from the more independent-minded Tenet and increase the chances that intelligence estimates might be ‘cooked’ in favor of the Pentagon.... [I]f the Pentagon runs the spy world, the public and Congress will be reduced to a modern-day Diogenes, forever searching for that one honest report.” [USA Today, 10/24/2004] In 1998, then-Deputy Defense Secretary John J. Hamre had proposed a similar idea, but Congress opposed the suggested reform “in part from concern at the CIA that the new Pentagon official would have too much power.” [The Washington Post, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: James Bamford, John J. Hamre, Donald Rumsfeld, Stephen Cambone
          

July 2002

       President George Bush issues an executive order transferring control of the covert operation Gray Fox (it now has a new codename) from the Army to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa at the insistence of Rumsfeld's office. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld
          

August 26, 2002

       The Defense Science Board authors a report titled “Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism” recommending an increase of more than $7 billion in the Pentagon's budget. It says the war on terrorism is a “real war” and describes the enemy as “committed, resourceful and globally dispersed ... with strategic reach.” The US will have to wage “a long, at times violent, and borderless war” that “requires new strategies, postures and organization,” it adds. The report includes suggestions to develop the capability to tag key terrorist figures with special chemicals so they can be tracked by laser; a proposal to create a special SWAT team charged with secretly seeking and destroying chemical, biological and nuclear weapons anywhere in the world; and a plan to establish a “red team” known as the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), which would conduct secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction. [UPI, 9/26/02; Los Angeles Times, 10/27/02; Asia Times, 11/5/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]
Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG) - The unit would provoke terrorist cells into action, perhaps by stealing their money or tricking them with fake communications, in order to expose them. The exposed cells would then be taken care of by “quick-response” teams. The US would use the revelation of such cells as an opportunity to hold “states/sub-state actors accountable” and “signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk.” The P2OG would require at least $100 million and about 100 people, including specialists in information operations, psychological operations, computer network attack, covert activities, signal intelligence, human intelligence, special operations forces and deception operations. According to the DSB, it should be headed by the Special Operations Executive in the White House's National Security Council. But according to sources interviewed by United Press International (UPI), people in the Defense Department want to see the group under the Pentagon's authority. [UPI, 9/26/02; Los Angeles Times, 10/27/02; Asia Times, 11/5/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Tagging terrorists - Intelligence operatives would penetrate terrorist cells and tag leaders' clothes with chemicals that would make them trackable by a laser. The agents would also collect DNA samples from objects and papers that are handled by the targets. Information about the terrorist's DNA would be kept in a database. The program would cost $1.7 billion over a 5-year period beginning in 2004. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Special SWAT team - The SWAT Team would consist of special forces soldiers whose specialty would be searching and destroying nuclear, chemical or biological weapons sites anywhere in the world. They would also be trained to offer protection to US soldiers operating nearby and be responsible for “consequence management,” like enacting quarantines. The program would cost about $500 million a year and would be headed by US Special Operations Command. To effectively detect the presence of such weapons, the DSB advocates allocating about $1 billion a year on the research and development of new sensor and “agent defeat” technologies. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Expanding US Special Forces - The panel recommends increasing the size of US Special Forces by about 2 percent a year. It also proposes that more special forces operations be conducted jointly with conventional forces. Its budget should be increased by “billions,” the report also says. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Panel to speculate on possible terrorist attack scenarios - A panel of roughly 24 creative, highly respected analysts would be convened to speculate on the nature of future terrorists attacks against the US. The report recommends allocating $20 million a year for the program. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Intelligence Reserve - A $100 million-a-year reserve program would be established that would put former intelligence retirees on call to assist with intelligence tasks and to participate in counterterrorism exercises when needed. [UPI, 9/26/02; Asia Times, 11/5/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Addition of 500 people who would focus on identifying characteristics of potential adversaries - $800 million would be spent on the addition of over 500 people to existing military and intelligence agencies who would “focus on understanding effects of globalization, radicalism, cultures, religions, economics, etc., to better characterize potential adversaries.” [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Increase budget of Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) and Joint Forces Command's net assessment center - $200 million more would be allocated to the Joint Warfare Analysis Center and Joint Forces Command's net assessment center. JWAC is a cell of about 500 planners and target analysts who work in Dahlgren, Va. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Increase surveillance and reconnaissance budgets - The panel envisions infusing $1.6 billion per year into intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance budgets over the next six years. Spending would be focused on tying together unmanned aerial vehicles, manned platforms, space-based sensors and databases. A portion of the funds would also be used to develop “a rich set of new ground sensor capabilities” aimed at the surveillance of small terrorist cells. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Urban Training Center - A dedicated urban training range would be constructed on the West Coast emphasizing “small unit action, leadership initiative and flexibility.” Relatively low-level soldiers would also be trained on how to determine the logistics of the back-up fire they need while they are in battle. The program would need $300 million a year for the next six years. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]

Database providing 3-d view of most of the cities of the world - The report recommends developing a detailed database of most of the cities in the world which would allow soldiers to view a three-dimensional display of the cities including “buildings [doors and windows included],... streets and alleys and underground passages, obstacles like power lines and key infrastructure like water and communications lines,” the UPI reports. [UPI, 9/26/02 Sources: DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism, 8/16/2002]
Critics warn that the changes proposed by the report would allow the military to engage in covert activities currently handled by the CIA. However unlike the CIA, the military would not be subject to Congressional oversight. But William Schneider Jr, the DSB chairman, downplays those concerns. “The CIA executes the plans but they use Department of Defense assets,” Schneider says, adding that his board's recommendations do not advocate any changes to US policies banning assassinations, or requiring presidents to approve US covert operations in advance. He also insists that such changes would not preclude congressional oversight. [Asia Times, 11/5/02]
People and organizations involved: William Schneider Jr., Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Science Board
          

December 2, 2002

       US President George Bush signs the 2003 Defense Authorization Act. [White House, 12/2/2002] One of the act's provisions creates the new Pentagon post of undersecretary of defense for intelligence. [Sources: 2003 Defense Authorization Act, Sec. 901]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 4, 2003

       US President George Bush announces his intention to nominate Stephen Cambone to the new Pentagon position of undersecretary of defense for intelligence. [White House, 2/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Stephen Cambone
          

March 7, 2003

       The US Senate confirms the nomination of Stephen A. Cambone as undersecretary of defense for intelligence, a new Pentagon position that was created by the 2002 Defense Authorization Act. [Department of Defense, 4/15/2004] Cambone now oversees “assets that used to belong elsewhere, most notably a secret intelligence organization [code-named ‘Gray Fox’] that specializes in large-scale ‘deep penetration’ missions in foreign countries, especially tapping communications and laying the groundwork for overt military operations.” Asked by the Washington Post about the transfer of Gray Fox a few months later, Cambone responds, “We won't talk about those things.” [The Washington Post, 4/20/2003] Cambone is not well-liked among the military and civilian intelligence bureaucrats in the Pentagon, “essentially because he [has] little experience in running intelligence programs,” New Yorker magazine will later report. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Cambone
          

(late March 2003)

       Stephen Cambone, the new undersecretary of defense for intelligence, acquires control of all of the Pentagon's special-access programs (SAPs) related to the war on terrorism. SAPs, also known as “black” programs, are so secret that “some special-access programs are never fully briefed to Congress.” SAPs were previously monitored by Kenneth deGraffenreid, who unlike Cambone, had experience in counter-intelligence programs. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004 Sources: Unnamed former intelligence officials]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Cambone, Kenneth deGraffenreid
          

Shortly after the 2004 election

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meets with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tells them that George Bush's reelection demonstrates the American public's approval of the administration's neoconservative policies. He also makes it clear that the administration will keep US troops in Iraq and that there will be no second-guessing. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

Fall 2004

       At the request of Donald Rumsfeld, President George Bush issues an Executive Order on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) authorizing the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets, including certain al-Qaeda network members, al-Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. The order was cleared by the national-security bureaucracy. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

October 29, 2004

       President Bush signs the 2004 Defense Authorization Act which contains a provision giving the Pentagon authority for US special operations to give cash, equipment and weapons to foreign fighters and groups who are willing to ally themselves with the US on certain military operations. Under the new piece of legislation, US Special Operations Command will have as much as $25 million a year to spend on supporting “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals.” Commenting on Congress' generous appropriation, retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing tells the Associated Press, “For the kind of stuff they want to do—buy AK-47s, pick-up trucks, stuff like that—this is a lot of money. If they can slip someone $100,000 to buy information or buy support (from foreign individuals or groups), then that would be very useful.” Until now, these types of operations were restricted to the CIA—but only when authorized by a presidential directive. This new provision imposes no such restrictions on the Pentagon's special operations. Some observers have expressed concern that this will lead to problems. They fear that special operations will end up funding and arming unsavory foreign elements that later turn against the US, as has happened on countless occasions during the last half-century. Others say the measure is part of Rumsfeld's strategy to make the defense department more autonomous so its activities will not be subject to the oversight of other agencies. [Associated Press, 10/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Wayne Downing
          

Week of November 14, 2004

       President George Bush issues a presidential directive establishing an interagency group to consider whether it “would best serve the nation” to give the Pentagon complete control over the CIA's elite paramilitary units. [New York Times, 11/23/2004; New Yorker, 1/24/2005; Associated Press, 11/22/2004 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant] The units carry out the government's most sensitive covert operations including “training rebel forces; destabilizing governments and organizations through violence; and directly attacking enemy targets and individuals.” [Associated Press, 11/22/2004] CIA paramilitary activities are conducted under presidential directives called “findings.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] The panel will consist of representatives from the State and Justice Departments, the Pentagon, and the CIA. Critics of the proposal, including veteran members of special operations branches, note that CIA units operate “under a different set of findings and carry different legal protections than the military, in particular for cases in which they are ordered to conduct the most extreme clandestine operations,” the New York Times reports. Other critics say the move, which is based on a recommendation by the 911 Commission, is part of a Pentagon strategy to wrest control of covert operations from the CIA. Thomas W. O'Connell, the assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, denies this, telling the New York Times, “I have heard it said that there is a conspiracy within the Department of Defense to go and rip off the agency's capabilities, and I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] However, former CIA officers tell investigative reporter Seymour Hersh a few months later that they believe otherwise. They feel the study's conclusion has already been made. “It seems like it's going to happen,” Howard Hart, the former chief of the CIA's Paramilitary Operations Division says. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: Howard Hart, George W. Bush
          

Between late 2004-January 2005

       A Pentagon memo states that agents recruited as part of the Strategic Support Branch (see Shortly after September 11, 2001) “may include ‘notorious figures’ whose links to the US government would be embarrassing if disclosed.” [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005]
People and organizations involved: Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon
          

Between late 2004-January 2005

       The Defense Department considers plans to create a Pentagon-controlled espionage school, which would duplicate the CIA's own Field Tradecraft Course at Camp Perry, Va. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005]
          

December 2004

       The House approves the intelligence reform bill 336-75 after a two week stand-off instigated by House Speaker Dennis Hastert on behalf of the White House and Pentagon, which publicly professed support for the bill. A compromise was not reached with the Republicans until the intelligence reform bill was altered to reduce the power of the new national intelligence director so that the Secretary of Defense could maintain his “statutory responsibilities.” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005; CNN, 11/24/2004; CNN, 12/8/2004; Los Angeles Times, 11/21/2004; The Washington Post, 1/23/2005] “Rummy's plan was to get a compromise in the bill in which the Pentagon keeps its marbles and the CIA loses theirs,” a former high-level intelligence official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. “Then all the pieces of the puzzle fall in place. He gets authority for covert action that is not attributable, the ability to directly task national-intelligence assets” including US spy satellites. “Rumsfeld will no longer have to refer anything through the government's intelligence wringer,” the former official continues. “The intelligence system was designed to put competing agencies in competition. What's missing will be the dynamic tension that insures everyone's priorities—in the CIA, the DOD, the FBI, and even the Department of Homeland Security—are discussed. The most insidious implication of the new system is that Rumsfeld no longer has to tell people what he's doing so they can ask, ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What are your priorities?’ Now he can keep all of the mattress mice out of it.” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 2004

       Intelligence Brief, a newsletter published by former CIA officers Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, reports that the White House has given the Pentagon permission “to operate unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of a clear and evident terrorist threat,” including Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Malaysia, [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] and Tunisia. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh] The operations' chain of command will include Donald Rumsfeld and two of his deputies, Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin. Under these new arrangements, “US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems,” New Yorker magazine reports. “In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying out combat operations, or even terrorist activities.” Describing how the operations would be conducted, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker reports: “The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ ... [a] former high-level intelligence official asked me.... ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon's commando capabilities, said, ‘We're going to be riding with the bad boys.’ ” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, William Boykin, Stephen Cambone, Vince Cannistraro, Philip Giraldi, Donald Rumsfeld
          

(Early January 2005)

       A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that the Bush administration has been consolidating control over the military and intelligence communities' strategic analyses and covert operations, and transforming the role of the CIA into mere “facilitators” of the administration's policies. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed source interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration
          

January 2005

       Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone issues a set of new guidelines reinterpreting the Pentagon's reporting requirements to Congress on its covert operations. The new guidelines were drafted by the Pentagon's legal counsel at the insistence of Donald Rumsfeld. The Washington Post reports: “Under Title 10, for example, the Defense Department must report to Congress all ‘deployment orders,’ or formal instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to position US forces for combat. But [the guidelines] ... state that special operations forces may ‘conduct clandestine HUMINT operations . . . before publication’ of a deployment order, rendering notification unnecessary. Pentagon lawyers also define the ‘war on terror’ as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat. Under Title 50, all departments of the executive branch are obliged to keep Congress ‘fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities.’ The law exempts ‘traditional . . . military activities’ and their ‘routine support.’ [The set of new guidelines] ... interprets ‘traditional’ and ‘routine’ more expansively than his predecessors.” Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell, who oversees special operations policy, explains to the Washington Post, “Many of the restrictions imposed on the Defense Department were imposed by tradition, by legislation, and by interpretations of various leaders and legal advisors.” He then asserts that over time these mechanisms unnecessarily watered down the Pentagon's authority. “The interpretations take on the force of law and may preclude activities that are legal. In my view, many of the authorities inherent to [the Defense Department] . . . were winnowed away over the years,” he says. In addition to its efforts to evade congressional oversight, the Pentagon also seeks to diminish its dependency on the CIA. According to written guidelines acquired by the Washington Post, the Defense Department will no longer await consent from the agency's headquarters for the human intelligence missions it “coordinates” with the CIA, instead it will work directly with agency officers in the field. The Pentagon will consider a mission “coordinated” after it has given the agency 72 hours. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005; The Washington Post, 1/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld, Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon, Thomas O'Connell
          

(Early January 2005)

       Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh interviews a former high-level intelligence official on the topic of the military's increased control over US covert operations, the waning power of the CIA, and the administration's plans to act militarily against Iran. According to the former official, the Defense Department has almost a free reign in the covert activities it oversees. “The Pentagon doesn't feel obligated to report any of this to Congress,” the official says. “They don't even call it ‘covert ops’ —it's too close to the CIA phrase. In their view, it's ‘black reconnaissance.’ They're not even going to tell the cincs [the regional American military commanders-in-chief].” On Iran, the former official is clear about the administration's intent. “This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign,” the former official says. “The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.” He says an invasion is not conditional in any way. “It's not if we're going to do anything against Iran. They're doing it.” The source suggests that the administration will present its intentions to the public much differently than it did in the case of Iraq. “We've got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We're not going to rely on agency pissants,” explains the former official. “No loose ends, and that's why the CIA is out of there.” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
          

January 23, 2005

       The Washington Post reports that according to “[f]our people with firsthand knowledge” the Strategic Support Branch (see Shortly after September 11, 2001) has “begun operating under ‘non-official cover’ overseas, using false names and nationalities” in missions that “skirt the line between clandestine and covert operations.” Under US law, “clandestine” operations are conducted in secret, while “covert” operations are more sensitive and are denied by the government if revealed. Covert actions require a written “finding” by the president affirming its necessity with prompt notification of senior congressional leaders of both parties. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005]
People and organizations involved: Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon
          

February 4, 2005

       Senior defense officials say that a preliminary study commissioned by the Pentagon has concluded that authority over the CIA's paramilitary units should not be transferred to the Pentagon. The study, conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Virginia, reviewed the 911 commission's recommendation that CIA paramilitary operations be consolidated under Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida. Booz Allen Hamilton's conclusions were based on a series of tabletop war games in which veteran CIA officers and Special Operations soldiers “explored how each agency's paramilitary units would respond to different contingencies, including threats involving terrorists and weapons of mass destruction and missions to train indigenous fighters or gain control of ungoverned territory,” the Washington Post reports. A senior defense official familiar with the study tells the newspaper, “If you take the very small paramilitary capabilities away from the CIA, in my view, it would limit their ability to conduct foreign intelligence activities which they are required by law to do.” Furthermore, he adds, “we don't have the legal authorities to be doing what the CIA does, so getting all those assets doesn't make any sense.” [The Washington Post, 2/5/2005]
People and organizations involved: Booz Allen Hamilton
          


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