Outsourced Intelligence

With the US military unhappy with the quality of CIA intelligence in Afghanistan it has been outsourcing its intelligence services to contractors. The Washington Post investigates.

"The headline read like something you might see in the conspiracy-minded Pakistani press: ‘Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants.’ But the story appeared in Monday's New York Times, and it highlighted some big problems that have developed in the murky area between military and intelligence activities… The outsourced intelligence operation described by the Times began in 2008, with a push from the Pentagon's Strategic Command, which oversees information operations. A Stratcom civilian named Michael D. Furlong began hiring former journalists to provide ‘ground truth,’ with an initial budget of $22 million. Another private intelligence effort was launched in November 2008, when a Boston firm called American International Security Corp. (AISC) was hired by the New York Times to free its reporter David Rohde, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban that month. The firm turned to Duane ‘Dewey’ Clarridge, a former CIA officer who launched the agency's counterterrorism center in 1986 and was an important figure in the Iran-contra affair. He set about building a network of informants who could help free Rohde."

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Flickr / 13winds
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