The federal government is expanding the spy network, this time by adding an intelligence agency at the Department of Defense. The Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) is now active and operating under the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). According to the organization’s website, DCS’s mission will be to conduct:
human intelligence (HUMINT) operations to answer national-level defense objectives for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and senior policymakers. The civilian and military workforce of the DCS conducts clandestine and overt intelligence operations in concert with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and our Military Services to accomplish their mission in defense of the Nation.
The basic idea is that the new spies will work in conjunction with their counterparts at the CIA’s National Clandestine Service to expand the scope of the federal intelligence community’s surveillance operations.
Re-tasking the DIA to a more CIA-like reliance on human intelligence gathering is part of this mission.
To successfully carry out this new covert program, the Pentagon has provided the DCS with plenty of staff. As noted by the Washington Post in December, "When the expansion is complete, the DIA is expected to have as many as 1,600 “collectors” in positions around the world, an unprecedented total for an agency whose presence abroad numbered in the triple digits in recent years."
As the Washington Post story reports, not all of the new “collectors” will work undercover. Over the next five years, however, DCS will identify and train many more operatives who will be assigned to deep-cover positions and will work with the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
It is this blending (convergence) of the civilian intelligence apparatus with the traditional military establishment that is not only worrisome and a threat to the Fourth Amendment, but may be a violation of the law, as well.
In the days since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the CIA has become nothing less than an armed unit of the U.S. armed forces. Routinely agents of this otherwise intelligence-gathering organization are deployed with special-ops soldiers on assignments in the “War on Terror.”
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Photo: the Pentagon