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CIA acquires new US clandestine leadership role
By David Morgan
Reuters
Thursday, October 13, 2005; 12:08 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA will lead a new clandestine service designed to coordinate all traditional U.S. spying activities overseas, including those of the FBI and Pentagon, top intelligence officials said on Thursday.

As part of an ambitious strategy to rebuild U.S. human intelligence after debilitating lapses over Iraq and the September 11, 2001, attacks, the new National Clandestine Service, or NCS, will operate out of the spy agency under a director reporting to CIA Director Porter Goss.

The new service will act as the national authority for the integration and coordination of human intelligence operations, which involve spying by people rather than satellites and other sophisticated technology.

Intelligence experts view the service, which won President George W. Bush's approval in recent days, as an effort to restore some of the stature which the CIA lost when congressionally mandated reforms largely stripped the agency of its community role last year by establishing the position of director of national intelligence, held by John Negroponte.

"I am confident that with the creation of the NCS, the U.S. government will have a more cohesive and truly national human intelligence capability," Negroponte said in a statement announcing the service.

"This is another positive step in building an intelligence community that is more unified, coordinated, and effective, and is better positioned to meet the increasingly complex intelligence challenges of the future," he said.

With the new clandestine service based at his agency, Goss will have a dual role as CIA director and "National HUMINT Manager." HUMINT is bureaucratic parlance for human intelligence.

Goss is also leading an effort within the CIA to expand the agency's global operations and build its ability to act alone in countries where U.S. spies up to now have been more likely to act in concert with foreign intelligence services.

The CIA, which orchestrated America's Cold War espionage activities against the Soviet Union, forfeited its leadership role in the intelligence community as a result of the reforms crafted to address weaknesses exposed by the September 11 attacks.

Still reeling from criticism over intelligence lapses, the agency has lost some of its most senior clandestine officers in recent months.

The announcement of the new clandestine service comes just weeks after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said the CIA was failing to lead U.S. human intelligence efforts and suggested Negroponte take a stronger management role.

The CIA reached separate agreements earlier this year for coordinating foreign intelligence activities with the FBI and the Pentagon. Both have stepped up their intelligence activities overseas since the September 11 attacks prompted the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

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... has anything at all to do with any of it. C'mon people. Don't be so dense.

For both Washington and Israel, the real enemy is not Islamic fundamentalism. It's Arab nationalism. For decades the ultimate target of Israeli foreign policy has been to sow disunion among Arabs. Secular Arab nationalism is the ultimate threat to Israel, thus to the US, in neo-con thinking. The crux is not religious. It's political.

Progressive, secular Arab intellectuals stress that Washington-Jerusalem will never tolerate united Arab lands. They stress that the Greater Middle East package is pure "strategic intimidation" designed to "eliminate any form of Arab or Muslim unity considered as a threat to the US strategy, and that of its strategic ally, Israel", as Mahua Daoudi, a Syrian intellectual and scholar at the CNRS think tank in Geneva, put it.

As for the US, only the interfering methods diverge, not the objectives. The neo-cons writing in the Weekly Standard keep assuring the faithful that the only solution is total war in the Middle East, with more troops in Iraq and the bombing of Syrian villages suspected of supporting the Iraqi resistance. Francis "end of history" Fukuyama - a NED administrator - and former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, president of the Democrat branch of National Endowment for Democracy (see above) for their part promote more docile methods.

There may be a debate raging within the American elites between the gung-go, armchair warrior neo-cons and the "exporting democracy" gang, but meanwhile the Greater Middle East concept keeps accumulating facts on the ground. The divisive project for the new Iraqi constitution, to be voted in the end of next week, is a mechanism to soften the partition of Iraq.

Pan-Arabism is a key target of Bush's Greater Middle East. Syria, the weak link, is the next Washington target for destabilization in the next few months. The reason is simple: Syria is still committed to non-sectarian Arab nationalism, apart from being the only country in the region which has not yet succumbed to US-Israel pressure. At the same time, Washington will dramatically step up the pressure on Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the end of 2005; the process might lead to a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of Bush's term. "Non-compliance" is the magic excuse - which Washington wants the IAEA to tell the UN Security Council - capable of justifying a pre-emptive attack.

The scenario has been immensely complicated by the election of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei-blessed Mahmud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran - which means, among other things, that Iran's nuclear program won't be shelved - and a simultaneous Iranian victory in Iraq in terms of strategic influence.

Both of these developments, in different levels, are repercussions of America's Iraq adventure. In real life, they also suggest that an invasion of Iran is totally impossible. An attack on Iran would bring immediate retaliation inside Iraq. Among the vast Iranian diaspora there is a certainty: Iran will inevitably become a nuclear power, no matter what the Americans do. And diplomats concur that its strategic influence over a Shi'ite-dominated Iraq won't go away.

Saudi Arabia has made it clear that in the event of Iran going nuclear, it will do the same. It should surprise no one if they're already making some preliminary moves in that direction. Al-Qaeda and the jihadi nebula could do worse than bide their time and try to take over a nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia.

Good luck to us all. We'll need it.

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