CIA Shifts Focus From Gathering Intelligence to Killing Targets

Via the Washington Post, there are now more agents in the CIA's counter-terrorism division than there are core members of al-Qaeda around the world (about 2400.). Not only that, the CIA's mission has changed since 9/11.

In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks, the agency has undergone a fundamental transformation. Although the CIA continues to gather intelligence and furnish analysis on a vast array of subjects, its focus and resources are increasingly centered on the cold counterterrorism objective of finding targets to capture or kill.

Even analysts are now being used to track targets for capture and kill operations: [More...]

20 percent of CIA analysts are now “targeters” scanning data for individuals to recruit, arrest or place in the cross hairs of a drone.

So here's the new CIA: A military force without accountability and oversight.

How do they view their accomplishments? According to one CIA veteran, a CTC leader told him:

"We are killing these sons of b*tches faster than they can grow them now.”

One reason for the lack of oversight:

Sometimes their missions are considered military “preparation of the battlefield,” and others fall under covert findings obtained by the CIA. As a result, congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view.

The CIA is more "kill" than "capture." And not very discriminate.

“It wasn’t always high-value targets,” [one military official] said. “They were trying to pursue and kill sometimes lower-hanging fruit.”

At least once, they killed the wrong target.

No one knows how many people the CIA has killed, because of its secrecy and the lack of review.

[H]uman rights groups say the death toll over the past decade from CIA-directed operations undoubtedly exceeds the casualty count associated with strikes from drones.

I'm filing this under "Things that don't make you proud to be an American."

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    Should give Petraeus something (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by oldpro on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 01:50:05 AM EST
    to concentrate on besides the rumors of a brewing division between his views and the analysts who see Afghanistan as developing into a stalemate...the opposite of Petraeus' view.

    So far Obama is sticking with the military view but there is trouble brewing if the analysts assessments are not independent of the boss'...

    These people are beginning to make my skin crawl.

    Petraeus (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:43:32 AM EST
    An unevolved guy masquerading as evolved, who has zero insight into human beings, who has zero imagination, but who has nonetheless risen to a high position by being uniformly wrong about almost everything.  And he is considered a vast imporovement.  Jaysus.

    The Phoenix Program lives on. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by caseyOR on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 02:19:32 AM EST
    The CIA was fielding assassination teams long before the Twin Towers fell. I suspect that in the hysteria that followed 9/11, the CIA felt less concerned about the possibility of public outrage.

    We Americans, despite what we like to tell ourselves, are a brutal and ruthless nation. Our persona in the world is that of a swaggering and arrogant bully, and yet we are shocked to find that  other countries hate us.

    And I am sure that neither the CIA nor this or maybe, sadly, any administration would hesitate to assassinate Americans here and abroad. It is shocking what our government is able to excuse and justify and rationalize.

    Really makes you proud to be an American, eh?

    Gosh, I'm glad those countries all hate us (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 06:06:25 PM EST
    I mean, just look at the illegal immigrants problem we have now! Just think what it would be if they liked us!

    That was a shameful post (none / 0) (#11)
    by Romberry on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 03:16:17 AM EST
    Completely inappropriate. I don't know what world you live in, but it seems to be warped.

    Time for Bertolt Brecht: (none / 0) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 09:05:49 PM EST
    Mankind is kept alive - by bestial acts...

    Well, not to worry (none / 0) (#1)
    by lambert on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:55:32 PM EST
    I'm sure none of these capabilities will be used domestically, any more than warrantless surveillance was. Oh, wait...

    Murder, Inc. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Andreas on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 01:14:50 AM EST
    Lyndon B. Johnson already called the CIA "Murder, Inc."

    It's a new type of war (none / 0) (#5)
    by koshembos on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 02:49:26 AM EST
    Abstract notion of human rights and the notion of movie wars when two armies clashed on some grass field in Virginia are no match to modern asymmetric wars the kind organizations such as Al-Qaida wage.

    The abstract evaluation of CIA action is morally wrong. Questions that should be asked are: what is the alternative to what the CIA does? Are those actions effective in reducing terror attacks, casualties and damages? What is the error rate? Why is it fine to kill Bin Laden but it is wrong to kill an unknown but dangerous major terror operative?

    We don't have answers to these questions. Rejecting CIA's activities based on vague and hardly applicable arguments doesn't help. Similarly, justifying the CIA based on intentions doesn't help either.

    Why is it wrong? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:47:27 AM EST
    Explain to me what history the CIA has of being right about anything in a savvy and forward thinking manner?  They have none.  When the CIA acts in this manner, it is a virtual guarantee they are wrong.  The people who run the agency, by their very nature, must be pathologically unimaginative, uninsightful, and lacking many sentient qualities that make the best human beings capable of thought and action that genuinely make the world better.  The CIA is as failed an institution as American can produce.  Its entire paradigm is fetid.

    The problem is (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 02:51:21 PM EST
    Explain to me what history the CIA has of being right about anything in a savvy and forward thinking manner?  They have none.

    You have no idea.  No one does.  Their successes are not publicized - only thier failures.  So while this particular story is a bit vile, we have absolutely no idea of the whole picture.