Sunday, September 18, 2011

The CIA: A Paramilitary Organization Which Engages in Targeted Assassination

September 14, 2011

The CIA has become a paramilitary organization, Washington Post reports

IN an article published September 1, by Greg Miller and Julie Tate, The Washington Post reports that the CIA has been transformed into a paramilitary organization, with the primary objective of killing targeted individuals.

Given this strategy, the agency has developed an anti-terrorist unit with the mission of locating Al-Qaeda targets in Yemen and has built a new secret runway on the Arabian Peninsula for its drone aircraft.

"When the missiles start falling, it will mark another expansion of the paramilitary mission of the CIA," says the article.

"In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 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.

"The shift has been gradual enough that its magnitude can be difficult to grasp. Drone strikes that once seemed impossibly futuristic are so routine that they rarely attract public attention unless a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure is killed," the article says.

With the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks drawing attention and the naming of General David H. Petraeus as CIA director, the agency's reorientation has become more evident, according to The Washington Post:

"The drone program has killed more than 2,000 militants and civilians since 2001, a staggering figure for an agency that has a long history of supporting proxy forces in bloody conflicts but rarely pulled the trigger on its own.

"The CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, which had 300 employees on the day of the attacks, now exceeds al-Qaeda’s core membership around the globe. With about 2,000 on its staff, the CTC accounts for 10 percent of the agency’s workforce, has designated officers in almost every significant overseas post and controls the CIA’s expanding fleet of drones.

"Even the agency’s analytic branch, which traditionally existed to provide insights to policymakers, has been enlisted in the hunt. About 20% of CIA analysts are now "targeters" scanning data for individuals to recruit, arrest or place in the cross­hairs of a drone.

"Critics, including some in the U.S. intelligence community, contend that the CIA’s embrace of "kinetic" operations, as they are known, has diverted the agency from its traditional espionage mission and undermined its ability to make sense of global developments such as the Arab Spring.

"Human rights groups go further, saying the CIA now functions as a military force beyond the accountability that the United States has historically demanded of its armed services. The CIA doesn’t officially acknowledge the drone program, let alone provide public explanation about who shoots and who dies, and by what rules."

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