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CIA creates new counter-proliferation center

The CIA announced plans Wednesday to create a counter-proliferation center that would combine analysts and operatives in an effort to bolster the agency's work against the spread of dangerous weapons technology.

The new center would be modeled on the counter-terrorism office that the CIA created more than a decade ago, and expanded dramatically in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But a CIA-run counter-proliferation center could also overlap with a similar, multi-agency organization that was set up in 2005. The National Counterproliferation Center describes itself as "the primary organization within the intelligence community" for coordinating U.S. efforts against the spread of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said the agency's aim is to allow analysts and case officers to "work side-by-side," providing "precise, comprehensive" support to agency-led operations overseas.

The CIA has led covert U.S. efforts to disrupt Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons technology, and has also been involved in tracking al-Qaeda's efforts to acquire chemical and other banned weapons.

But the agency also played a major role in the erroneous assessments that Iraq had stockpiles of illicit weapons - judgments used by the Bush administration to make the case for the 2003 U.S. invasion of that country.

The agency's new center will combine two organizations that had until now functioned separately within the CIA's headquarters - the counter-proliferation division of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out overseas operations, as well as the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center, or WINPAC, which is part of the CIA's analytic branch.

"Our greatest achievements as an agency are the product of close collaboration among operations officers, analysts, targeters, technical specialists, and support officers," Panetta said.

By Greg Miller  | August 18, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
 
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Comments

Greg Miller, WaPost: "The agency's new center will combine two organizations that had until now functioned separately within the CIA's headquarters - the counter-proliferation division of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out overseas operations, as well as the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center, or WINPAC, which is part of the CIA's analytic branch."

Certainly nothing wrong with this objective since a WMD attack affects the well being of all Americans. The issue, unfortunately, might involve a need to physically merge different organizations BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO COOPERATE dynamically over modern communication mechanisms. That is an issue that is very wide spread in the Intel Community and has been very costly in the past. Just look at the Intel apparatus distributions shown in WaPost's recent Intel Community article and it is a wonder anyone can connect the dots even with a 500 megabit per second fiber link. There should be some secure AI interface or DBMS on that link that does relevancy checks on information being collected in the name of Common Defense by some dedicated people. Of course, this merger is dealing with not only Common Defense and General Welfare, but also with Crimes against Humanity (Criaghum) and the ante goes up accordingly when all three are involved.

Posted by: arjay1 | August 18, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I though that's what ACIS (Arms Control Intelligence Staff)in the 90's was supposed to do, this is just shuffling chairs again and making new letterhead when will these clowns get their act together?

Posted by: jkwynnyckyj | August 18, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The real conflict will be in deciding which deputy director of CIA is in charge. As I understand it, there is one for Analysis & one for Clandestine Service. If not the Dep Dir for Clandestine Service, then will you have some people in a particular country under one Dep Dir and others under another Dep Dir?

Posted by: cyberfool | August 18, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Another government entity that will spend hundreds of millions and give nothing in return.

Posted by: SSTK34 | August 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh goody more "top secret" wasting of the taxpayers money.

Posted by: metroman76 | August 18, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Posted by: whocares666 | August 18, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

.
I think Mr. Panetta needs to focus.
He needs to get a better exploding cigar, and fast, before Fidel takes his dirt nap of natural causes.

WMD and an Iranian "Curveball" can wait.
.

Posted by: BrianX9 | August 18, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Whenever the CIA announces some new directorate, like the 600 ton coastwise freighter surveillance system, (which in fact we really ought to have) in spite of the U.S. Navy having its own civilian maritime ships surveillance and interdiction program, (which it has but doesn't call it that) you never know if it is actually setting up a program to track cargo trucks in Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan, or map electricity grids in outer mongolia, or actually begin tracking small coasting freighters that would be ideal for shipping in tactical nukes stolen from Pakistani arsenals, to some port, like Mumbai or Calicut, to detonate and really devastate one of those towns.

BUT, if it is a real counter proliferation section, it will be a r"real" CIA function, in that it will collect intelligence and analysis from extent agencies actually collecting the data and doing first and second echelon analysis as to its meaning. It might even perform yeoman service in collecting and evaluating diverse information evaluating the existence or non existence of WMD programs.

And the Nest George W Bush we get as president, it will all be quite worthless.

When the President refuses to listen to the professionals, as Bush did, and instead listens only to his own self proclaimed intelligence experts, who decided what their intelligence ought to be telling them and rejected any thing that contradicted what they wanted to hear, knowing that Sadaam didn't have WMD's wont matter, because George the next will simply decide that HE believes Sadaam has WMD's and HE is the decider.

I hope this directorate is in fact a valuable asset to our intelligence gathering capability, but I haven't any faith at all that it can prevent another Iraq, especially because, having been erected in a Democratic administration, it is automatically suspect by the Republican parallel CIA made up of Feith, and Pearl, and Wolfowitcz, and Rumsfield.

Until the Republican Party accepts that Intelligence professionals working for the government do in fact know what they are doing, and are not, in fact, traitors working for those nasty socialist, communist, Democrats, nothing the Intelligence community can do is worth one fresh Sunday spread of Terry and the Pirates.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 21, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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