CIA plans major reorganization and a focus on digital espionage

7 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CIA announces overhaul to respond to ‘modern threats’.

This will take the form of a streamlining of digital strategy which is currently spread across the agency and the creation of a new Directorate of Digital Innovation’. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File WASHINGTON — Director John Brennan has ordered a sweeping reorganization of the CIA, an overhaul designed to make its leaders more accountable and close espionage gaps amid widespread concerns about the U.S. spy agency’s limited insights into a series of major global developments.

He said the move comes after nine agency officers spent three months analyzing its management structure, including what deputy CIA director David Cohen called “pain points,” organizational areas where the CIA’s bureaucracy does not work efficiently. Briefing reporters with Cohen at CIA headquarters this week, Brennan said the changes are necessary to address intelligence gaps that the CIA is not covering. Competition between agencies has led to intelligence hoarding and the re-organisation aims to increase the flow of information which previously fell through bureaucratic cracks. He lamented that there is often no single person he can hold accountable for the spying mission in any given part of the world. “There are a lot of areas that I would like to have better insight to, better information about, better access to,” Brennan said. “Safe havens, denied areas. The CIA, along with other U.S. intelligence agencies, wrongly assessed the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002 and failed to anticipate the rapid collapse of Middle East governments during the Arab Spring in 2011, among other shortcomings.

The agency’s greatest public success of recent years — the 10-year effort to locate and kill Osama bin Laden in 2011 — may have taken longer than it should have, according to evidence made public in the recent Senate report on CIA interrogations. Under Brennan’s reorganization, the CIA would break down the wall between the operations and analytical arms, a system that typically has required the case officers who recruit spies and run covert operations to work for different bosses, in different offices, than analysts who interpret the intelligence and write briefing papers for the president and other policymakers. Under the new plan, each center would be run by an assistant director who would be responsible for the entire intelligence mission within that jurisdiction, including covert operations, spying, analysis, liaison with foreign partners and logistics. Critics of a blended approach have raised concerns that combining analysts with operators could compromise the objectivity of the analysts, who are tasked with coldly interpreting intelligence in which they have no stake.

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