The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency is gearing up for an unprecedented growth in the number of its field agents, according to a December 2 story in the Washington Post. The growth follows a pattern of similar surges for other major U.S. intelligence agencies, the NSA and the CIA, since 2001.
“The DIA overhaul,” the Post explained, “combined with the growth of the CIA since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will create a spy network of unprecedented size. The plan reflects the Obama administration’s affinity for espionage and covert action over conventional force.”
The purpose of gearing up the DIA staff may be to better target drone strikes around the world, according to the Post: “The DIA has long played a major role in assessing and identifying targets for the U.S. military, which in recent years has assembled a constellation of drone bases stretching from Afghanistan to East Africa.” The establishment Washington newspaper has noted that this increase in agents is genuinely noteworthy, despite the official talk of budget-tightening in Washington. “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA,” the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, told the Post at a recent conference, during which he outlined the changes but did not describe them in detail. “This is a major adjustment for national security.” Flynn predicted an “era of persistent conflict” globally in which the DIA is needed for providing on-the-ground intelligence, possibly for military strikes.
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