CIA chief announces sweeping reorganisation of US spy agency
Director John Brennan has ordered a sweeping reorganisation of the CIA, an overhaul designed to make its leaders more accountable and close espionage gaps amid widespread concerns about the US spy agency’s limited insights into a series of major global developments.
Brennan announced the restructuring to the CIA workforce on Friday, including a new directorate devoted to boosting the CIA’s computer hacking skills. He said the move comes after nine agency officers spent three months analyzing its management structure, including what deputy CIA director David Cohen called “pain points,”organizational areas where the CIA’s bureaucracy does not work efficiently.
Briefing reporters with Cohen at CIA headquarters this week, Brennan said the changes are necessary to address intelligence gaps that the CIA is not covering. He lamented that there is often no single person he can hold accountable for the spying mission in any given part of the world.
“There are a lot of areas that I would like to have better insight to, better information about, better access to. Safe havens, denied areas. Whether because we don’t even have a diplomatic presence in a country, or because there are parts of countries that have been overrun and taken over by terrorist groups and others,”Brennan said.
The changes come against a backdrop of evidence that the CIA’s focus on hunting and killing terrorists since the Sept. 11 attacks has led to an erosion of the espionage and analytic capabilities the agency built during the Cold War. The CIA, along with other US intelligence agencies, wrongly assessed the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002 and failed to anticipate the rapid collapse of Middle East governments during the Arab Spring in 2011, among other shortcomings.The agency’s greatest public success of recent years, the 10-year effort to locate and kill Osama bin Laden in 2011, may have taken longer than it should have, according to evidence made public in the recent Senate report on CIA interrogations.
Internal CIA surveys have cited bad management and bureaucratic frustration as factors in driving talent away from the agency. Under Brennan’s reorganisation, CIA would break down the wall between operations and analytical arms, a system that required the case officers, who recruit spies and run covert operations, to work for different bosses, in different offices, than analysts who interpret the intelligence and write briefing papers for the president and other policymakers.
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