Monday, January 24, 2005

Pentagon Has Spies

"The Pentagon has created battlefield intelligence units to work on tasks that had been largely the province of the C.I.A."LINK

Some want to make this out to be a major turf war between the CIA and the DOD while others want to make it a political battle. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said that "the Senate Armed Services Committee would hold hearings on the intelligence units." The Senate does have an oversight role and the key members of the committee should discuss this in closed session. As an American, who lived through WWII, I am concerned with all of the public discussion of measures taken to assure the safety of and proper functioning of our military. As a citizen, I feel I have a right to know the how, what, why and when our government has taken actions, BUT I have no need to know all of the details prior to
specific goals having been met. I well recall the WWII phrase that "loose lips sink ships." The American public found out a lot of details after specific actions had taken place. Workers in the defense industry did not talk about their work. Our media did not investigate and seek out those who might leak information. We, as a nation, were in this effort together. We had elected leaders that bore the responsibility for making the decisions needed for us to be successful. Many mistakes were made, thousands of lives were lost, but we did not have the constant media challenging every decision made. Our news came from the print media and filmed updates of news shown in movie theatres. Today, with the global reach of all news reported within our country, I am concerned that too much information is being discussed for the safety of our nation and more importantly, our military in harm's way.

I have never been a member of the military or the intelligence committee, but think it would be absurd if the military did not have some intelligence functions. How would the military plan any type of action without some reliable intelligence. There has been much reforming of the intelligence agencies which failed the nation in regard to 9/11 and the WMD question in Iraq. It would seem that the CIA will become more efficient and more accurate in the future. I do believe the military needs on the ground intelligence for rapid response that can only be hindered if the CIA, Senate oversight committee and the media keep trying to micromanage the military efforts. Surely any additional commitments of troops or preemptive actions should be discussed by the congressional and executive branch of our government. Declaration of war should require congressional approval.
However, when we are engaged militarily, the troops need every advantage of on the ground intelligence in order to plan actions and to take actions against any identified dangers. Without such intelligence, all of our actions would become retaliatory after the enemy has launched it's actions. Congress must not get in the way of this.

A DOD spokesman said, "These front-line teams can be deployed more often, and closer to front lines, than other D.I.A. units called national intelligence support teams, which are groups of technical experts sent to commanders' wartime headquarters to provide analytical advice."
This makes sense to me.

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