The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) serves as the Pentagon’s top spy agency responsible for providing data on foreign militaries. DIA intelligence has been used extensively by military and civilian planners during crises, and in some cases, the agency has been implicated in recent scandals related to the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.
Before the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1961, the responsibility for gathering military intelligence fell to the armed services. Intelligence officers from the Army, Navy, and Air Force collected, produced and disseminated intelligence for each of their branches of service. Sharing information was not commonplace. This system resulted in duplicated efforts and proved to be both costly and ineffective, as each service provided intelligence to the Secretary of Defense, various military commands or other governmental agencies.
The Defense Reorganization Act of 1958 tried to correct this flawed system by establishing a unit under the Joint Chiefs of Staff called J-2, which was assigned responsibility for providing intelligence support to military commands. But J-2 alone didn’t resolve the problem of coordination between the services as well as the lack of a national focus in military intelligence gathering efforts. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed a Joint Study Group in 1960 to determine better ways of effectively organizing the nation’s military intelligence activities.
Acting on the recommendations of the Joint Study Group, President John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, decided to establish the Defense Intelligence Agency, tasked with developing a plan that would integrate the military intelligence efforts of all the armed services. The DIA reported to the Secretary of Defense through the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It collected, processed, evaluated, analyzed, integrated, produced, and disseminated military intelligence for the Pentagon. Air Force Lieutenant General Joseph F. Carroll became DIA’s first director and began operations with a handful of employees in borrowed office space on October 1, 1961.
A year after its formation, the DIA faced its first major intelligence test during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. While still organizing itself, the agency assisted the Pentagon as it tried to determine the extent of the military threat that Cuba posed to the United States. In late 1962, the agency established the Defense Intelligence School and later activated a new production center, which was formed from merging several intelligence elements within the Army, Navy, and Air Force. (Each branch continued its own intelligence operations, however.) It also added an Automated Data Processing (ADP) Center, a Dissemination Center and a Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate. The DIA assumed the staff-support functions of the J-2 and eventually accepted responsibility for the Defense Attaché System from the armed services.
http://www.dia.mil/history/40years/images/dia-history_bbldg.jpgDuring the 1960s, the DIA ran into opposition from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as the agency tried to assert its authority over Pentagon intelligence gathering operations. At the same time, the Vietnam War severely tested the fledgling agency’s ability to produce accurate, timely intelligence, including gathering information on American military personnel who were either missing-in-action (MIA) or became prisoners of war (POW). The decade saw DIA analysts focus on: China's detonation of an atomic bomb and the launching of its cultural revolution; fighting in Malaysia, Cyprus, and Kashmir; the Tet offensive in Vietnam; the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel; unrest in several African countries, particularly Nigeria; the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia; and North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo, a Navy spy ship.
The early 1970s were transitional years for the DIA, as the agency shifted its focus from consolidating management roles to being a producer of national intelligence. This proved difficult at first because of military downsizing that occurred as the U.S. gradually pulled out of Vietnam, causing the agency’s budget to shrink. It nonetheless conducted intelligence gathering on a variety of international developments, including the rise of Ostpolitik in Germany; the emergence of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East; growing arms control concerns; riots in Gdansk, Poland; civil wars in Jordan and Nigeria; the U.S. invasion of Cambodia from South Vietnam; Idi Amin’s takeover in Uganda; unrest in Pakistan; and the formation of Bangladesh.
In November 1970, the Pentagon created a new position, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) (ASD/I), charged with supervising DIA programs and working with the Director of Central Intelligence and other intelligence officials outside of the Department of Defense (DoD). Also in November, President Richard Nixon reorganized the national Intelligence Community (IC) and designated the DIA director as program manager for the General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP). The agency also established a Directorate for Estimates that same month.
The year 1972 saw DIA analysts focusing on problems in Lebanon; President Nixon’s visit to China; the formation of Sri Lanka; President Salvador Allende’s rise in Chile; POWs being held in Southeast Asia; détente between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and the development of arms control agreements between the superpowers; the Paris peace talks (Vietnam); the Yom Kippur War; global energy concerns; coups in Ethiopia and Portugal; and independence movements in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau.
http://www.dia.mil/history/40years/images/dia-history_corinto.jpgIn 1974 the DIA established a J-2 Support Office to better satisfy the intelligence needs of the Joint Chiefs and conducted a comprehensive overhaul of its production functions, organization, and management. Positions for Defense Intelligence Officers (DIOs) were also established, responsible for acting as the DIA director’s senior staff representatives on key intelligence matters.
During 1975-76 Congress conducted investigations into illegal spying by military intelligence officers during the Vietnam War. It was revealed that the Army had spied on war protesters and Army personnel who refused to fight in the war. The Rockefeller Commission discovered Army intelligence had compiled dossiers on between 2,000 and 5,000 individuals and numerous political organizations, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. Although DIA was not implicated in the scandal, the agency was affected by the turbulence surrounding the entire Intelligence Community. Legislation was passed to clamp down on any future domestic spying operations by federal intelligence offices. Within DIA, a report from the Intelligence Management Study Group led to a reorganization of all DIA production activities.
Between the spying scandal and the final withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1975, the DIA and other intelligence gathering operations found themselves on the budget chopping block. This forced the DIA to conduct numerous studies on ways of improving its intelligence products with fewer resources. The agency modernized the National Military Intelligence Center and centralized its activities. The ASD/I was designated Director of Defense Intelligence, a Defense Intelligence Board was established and the President set up a National Foreign Intelligence Board.
The fallout from the domestic spying didn’t settle until 1979 when President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12036, which restructured the Intelligence Community. For the DIA it meant reorganizing itself around five major directorates: production, operations, resources, external affairs, and J-2 support. The late 1970s also brought about several key failures by intelligence gathering operations. The agency and other spy offices did not forewarn American officials about the danger inside Iran, where a mass revolt toppled longtime dictator Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, or the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. The DIA blamed these failures on budget cutbacks that hampered intelligence operations throughout the Intelligence Community.
The DIA characterized the 1980s as a time when the agency “came of age” by focusing heavily on the intelligence needs of both field commanders and top officials in the federal government. The agency began providing intelligence support to the newly established Rapid Deployment Force during Operation Bright Star, an annual military exercise involving American and Egyptian military forces in Egypt. The agency also gained a valuable friend in President Ronald Reagan, who made defense spending a top priority in his administration. In fact, the Reagan administration’s massive arms buildup was predicated, in part, on information compiled by DIA about the status of the Soviet Union’s strategic and conventional military forces. In 1981, the agency published the first in a series of white papers on the strengths and capabilities of Soviet military forces titled, “Soviet Military Power.” Ten such booklets were published over the next 10 years to much acclaim…according to the DIA.
However, not everyone was convinced by DIA’s assessment of Soviet military might. Former high-ranking military officers working for the non-profit Center for Defense Information questioned the agency’s analysis, arguing the white papers exaggerated the capabilities of the Soviet Union. The DIA white papers were also refuted by Tom Gervasi, a former counterintelligence officer who published numerous articles and books on US military and spying operations, including The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy. Critics contended that the warnings by administration officials over Soviet military threats were overblown to justify an unprecedented rise in DoD budgets.
With increases in Pentagon spending came expanded opportunities for DIA. In 1981, the agency broke ground on the new Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C. DIA pitched the importance of its services to the military and DoD as a “force multiplier in crises,” arguing that its intelligence gathering could prove a huge advantage for American decision-makers during emergencies. The agency established a Research Crisis Support Center at the DIAC to provide a centralized, operationally secure, all-source, crisis management center to support top military and civilian leaders.
International crises were in no short supply during the eighties. DIA analysts provided support to U.S. Southern Command as U.S. officials kept watch on the Sandinista government in Nicaragua (the agency was not implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal) and the war over the Falkland Islands between Great Britain and Argentina. The DIA also closely followed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon—although it failed to warn U.S. military officials about a planned attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 American personnel. Other key events the agency kept watch over included the Iran-Iraq War, Afghanistan resistance to Soviet military occupation, the Soviet downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, the civil war in Chad and unrest in the Philippines.
Indeed, 1985 alone was filled with key hijackings, bombings, kidnappings, murders, and other acts of terrorism, leading some to call it the “Year of the Terrorist.” Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger presented the DIA with its first Joint Meritorious Unit Award in 1986 for outstanding intelligence support during a series of crises, including the hijackings of TWA Flight 847 and the cruise ship Achille Lauro, fighting in the Philippines that threatened the regime of Ferdinand Marcos and counterterrorist operations against Libya.
Also at this time, the agency concentrated on the rapidly shifting national security environment, characterized by key issues such as changes within the Soviet Union from Mikhail Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika policies and counter-narcotics operations being conducted in support of the war on drugs. The DoD moved to improve its automated databases and apply additional resources to the monitoring of terrorist groups, illegal arms shipments and narcotics trafficking. Arms control monitoring also increased the demand for DIA intelligence support, thanks to the signing of the INF Treaty and the START talks. Within DIA, the National Military Intelligence Center was upgraded and renovated so it could connect with the National Military Command Center, allowing the two key centers to combine operations and intelligence during crises. Designated a “combat support agency” under the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act, the agency moved quickly to increase cooperation with military commands and to begin developing a body of joint intelligence doctrine.
http://www.dia.mil/history/40years/images/dia-history_bush.jpgIntelligence support to U.S. allies in the Middle East intensified as the Iran-Iraq War spilled into the Persian Gulf. The DIA provided intelligence support to Operation Earnest Will, the escorting of oil tankers by the U.S. Navy, while monitoring incidents such as the Iraqi rocket attack on the USS Stark, the destruction of Iranian oil platforms and Iranian attacks on Kuwaiti oil tankers. The “Toyota War” (so named because of the preponderance of Toyota pickups) between Libya and Chad and the turmoil in Haiti added to the agency’s heavy production workload, as did unrest in other parts of Latin America, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burma, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
http://www.dia.mil/history/40years/images/dia-history_clinton.jpgIn response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the DIA set up an extensive, 24-hour, crisis-management cell designed to tailor national-level intelligence support to the coalition forces assembled to push Iraq from Kuwait. By the time Operation Desert Storm began, some 2,000 agency personnel were involved in support of Allied operations, with more than 100 employees sent into the Kuwaiti Theater of operations to provide intelligence support as part 11 National Military Support Teams. The agency proudly pointed to its contributions during Desert Storm as the high-point in the agency’s history to date. The agency said assessments conducted after the war showed field commanders benefited greatly from the information provided by the DIA, which earned a second DoD Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its work. This commendation was awarded despite complaints by General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Allied military operations, which criticized the quality and timeliness of intelligence given his forces during the Persian Gulf War.
With the end of the Cold War, the DIA had to reevaluate its priorities and organization. DoD leaders decided to move the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) to DIA after being part of the U.S. Army. The agency also undertook one of the most profound reorganizations in its history in 1993. This restructuring essentially rebuilt the agency from the bottom up, bringing about a new level of integration among the DIA, military services, and combatant commands. This integration helped provide intelligence support to U.S. and United Nations forces involved in crises in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia and Haiti. In 1994, the DIA received a third Joint Meritorious Unit Award for intelligence support during these crises.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted in the deaths of seven DIA employees when American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. With the launching of the Global War on Terrorism by the administration of George W. Bush, the agency’s role only grew in significance. It provided intelligence used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003—intelligence that subsequently was criticized for lacking actual data about Iraq’s link to al Qaeda. The agency also has found itself swept up in controversies that arose as a result of the Bush administration’s no-holds-barred attitude in going after suspected terrorists, including the Abu Ghraib scandal (see Controversies).
Gulf Intelligence Draws Complaint by Schwarzkopf (by Michael Wines, New York Times)
A key component of the DoD, the DIA serves as the Pentagon’s top spy agency responsible for providing data on foreign militaries. As discussed in its strategic plan, the DIA provides information for a range of stakeholders, from military field commanders to intelligence experts outside of DoD to officials in the White House, including the President. The kind of intelligence that the agency produces can include details on foreign military and paramilitary forces, their capabilities and intentions; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; threats of international terrorism; international narcotics trafficking; and defense-related foreign political, economic, industrial, geographic, and medical and health information.
DIA Centers: The DIA is headquartered at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., with major operational activities at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) in Washington D.C., the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) in Frederick, Maryland, and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) (pdf) in Huntsville, Alabama.
NCMI is the sole DoD producer of medical intelligence. The center provides intelligence on foreign infectious diseases and environmental health risks, foreign military and civilian health care systems, as well as “infrastructures and foreign biomedical development and life science technologies of military medical significance” (read: biological warfare). The Missile and Space Intelligence Center keeps watch on foreign missile systems, both surface-to-air and ballistic missiles with ranges less than 1,000 km. MSIC determines characteristics, capabilities and limitations of foreign military systems, including data about related weapons, weapon system material, research, development, test, evaluation, and production.
Intelligence Gathering Systems: The DIA performs its work using essentially two kinds of intelligence gathering methods—humans and machines. A major component of the agency is the Defense HUMINT Service, a global network of “intelligence operatives” (i.e., spies) who collect information that is not attainable through technical means.
The agency also employs several technology-related systems for spying on foreign countries’ military means. These are Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), all of which utilize data that has been ascertained from spy satellites and other high-tech instrumentation operated by the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Other DIA Operations: To support DoD’s role in the global war on terrorism, the DIA established the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism (JITF-CT), which consolidates terrorism-related intelligence from DIA sources and other members of the Intelligence Community.
The National Intelligence University (NIU), a principal component of the DIA, is a fully accredited educational institution authorized by Congress to award a Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in intelligence. With a student body of 624, NDIC has students from federal agencies and all branches of the U.S. Armed Services. All students must be employed in the federal government and hold Top Secret security clearances.
The DIA also manages the Defense Attaché System, which has military attachés assigned to more than 135 embassies overseas. Defense attachés perform duties ranging from information gathering to diplomacy.
The Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHI) was set up by DIA in 2008 to run covert offensive operations at home and abroad against people known or suspected to be foreign agents or connected to international terrorist activities. Overseen by a small group of specially selected people, the unit’s overall mission is to gather information from targeted foreign operatives and to thwart enemy plans. According to reports from the BBC and The New York Times, the center provides operatives to Task Force 714, an elite counter-terrorism brigade, to interrogate high-value detainees at a classified interrogation facility inside Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. News accounts claim that prisoners who had been held at the site reported abuse, such as beatings and sexual humiliation, to the Red Cross. That charge was denied by Vice Admiral Robert Harward.
The DIA also works with the Intelligence Community’s Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Analytic Cell (pdf). This unit helps to locate missing, isolated, evading or captured U.S. military and government personnel.
Joint Focus Sought In Personnel Recovery: Pentagon urges service leaders to combine rescue, intelligence efforts (by Elizabeth Book, National Defense Magazine)
Rebranding the DIA (pdf)
From the Web Site of the Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) conducts its contracting business through the Virginia Contracting Activity, also known as VACA. Through VACA, the agency acquires products and services required to support its combat support mission. According to FedSpending.gov, VACA distributed more than $4.7 billion in contracts to 1,120 companies from 2000-2012. Spending on ADP (automatic data processing) and telecommunications services represented the largest expenditure, nearly $1.2 billion.
Of the $3.5 billion allocated in contracts to 998 companies by VACA between 2000 and 2007, approximately half of it went to the DIA’s top 10 contractors:
The $3.5 billion does not include a new initiative launched by DIA in 2007 to
pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years. The amount would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the agency. The announcement came only a few months after then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden caved under pressure from Congress to cut his agency’s hiring of outside contractors—which stood at 35%—by at least 10%.
According to USASpending.gov, the DIA also spent more than $26 million on 151 contractor transactions between 2002 and 2012. The top five types of products or services purchased by the agency were engineering and technical services ($34,103,432), electronics and communications R&D ($30,362,816), aircraft maintenance and repair ($15,561,341), professional engineering and technical support ($13,004,480), and other ADP and telecommunications services ($9,557,891).
The top five recipients of DIA contractor spending during that period were:
1. Northrop Grumman Corporation $30,564,506
2. CACI International Inc. $26,402,616
3. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. $15,457,558
4. Lockheed Martin Corporation $13,004,480
5. SAIC Inc. $8,488,000
A story in Military Information Technology magazine described the DIA “as one of the largest collectors of information on the planet” and “responsible for amassing and analyzing all sources of human intelligence in the field from all information types in a multitude of languages.” Thus, the agency is in need of lots of computer systems and advanced databases. According to the Federation of American Scientists, contractors who have provided Information Technology (IT) for DoD’s Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) include:
Defense Agency Proposes Outsourcing More Spying: Contracts Worth $1 Billion Would Set Record (by Walter Pincus, Washington Post)
New technology is helping defense intelligence analysts sort through huge volumes of data (by Cheryl Gerber, Military Information Technology)
Cuban Mole in the DIA
Eleven years after the fact, the worst espionage case in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) history continued to reverberate in 2012.
Ana Belen Montes was arrested in 2001 for spying while serving as a senior analyst within the DIA. Her work as a mole for the Cuban government began in the mid-1990s. She pleaded guilty to spying and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, plus five years of probation.
Montes became the highest-ranking Cuban spy ever imprisoned by the federal government, according to Chris Simmons, a former counterintelligence officer who publishes the blog Cuba Confidential.
Simmons complained in 2012 that the DIA had thoughtlessly left a press release online that dealt with an assessment Montes had authored, which, in effect, soft-pedaled Cuba’s military and intelligence capabilities. They took down Montes’ document, but left their press release posted. “The fact that this material remains on line at the Pentagon — without context — is offensive and embarrassing,” he wrote.
Secretary Cohen Forwards Cuban Threat Assessment to Congress (U.S. Department of Defense News Release)
The Ghost Of Castro Super-Spy Ana Belen Montes Continues To Haunt the Pentagon (by Alberto de la Cruz, Babalu)
Ana Montes (Wikipedia)
FBI 100: The Case of the Cuban Spy (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Launch Effect: Ana Belen Montes : The Chronicle of an American Spy for the Cuban Government (by Manuel Cereijo, The Americano)
The Ana Belen Montes’ Case (Latin American Studies.org)
DIA Blocks Publication of Book
The Department of Defense objected in 2010 to the publishing of a former intelligence officer’s book after the DIA claimed it contained information that could jeopardize national security.
The focus of the controversy was the memoir Operation Dark Heart, written by
Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who was stationed in Afghanistan in 2003. The account included stories about U.S. operations targeting Al Qaeda and a secret data-mining project called Able Danger.
The latter was especially sensitive because it revealed that the U.S. government knew about key 9/11 player Mohammed Atta, the year before the attacks happened.
Before publishing his book, Shaffer had the U.S. Army review the content. Army analysts apparently didn’t look at it too closely and okayed it, without passing it on, which gave Shaffer’s publisher, St. Martin’s Press, the green light to proceed.
Once review copies were circulated to media outlets, the DIA objected to portions of the manuscript, which resulted in the agency buying up 10,000 copies of the first printing for $47,000 and burning them. The recall brought more attention to the book and soon the 200 or so offending passages to which the intelligence community objected (including, inexplicably, the name of actor Ned Beatty) were being compared to the original ones for all to read on the Internet.
Memo (Defense Intelligence Agency)
Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book (by Peter Finn and Greg Miller, Washington Post)
Anthony Shaffer (Wikipedia)
Tony Shaffer (Operation Dark Heart.com)
DIA Moves to Block Controversial Afghan War Book (by Jim Garrettson, ExecutiveGov)
DIA and Privacy Concerns
Twice within a three-year span, the DIA was criticized for collecting information about Americans and others considered a threat to national security.
In 2007, the DIA was forced to shut down a repository known as TALON after it was revealed the agency had collected information on at least 186 Americans who were involved in peaceful protests against the military. Then, in 2010, the DIA announced plans to open the Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Operations Records (FICOR), which the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center would use to store intel (including even Social Security Numbers, passport numbers, and addresses) on individuals deemed a security threat.
Civil libertarians claimed FICOR shared similarities with TALON, and could lead to the government abusing the rights of its citizens.
“We’ve had many intelligence programs shut down only to be recreated under a different name and continue right along,” Mike German, policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent, told the Medill National Security Zone. “The problem is by the time these abusive programs are discovered, the damage has been done and getting them to shut down is a positive step but, trying to give people back their civil rights and their reputation is very difficult.”
Is the DoD Recycling Controversial System of Records? (by Amanda Bossard, Medill National Security Zone)
Pentagon Spies Build New Database on Foreign and Domestic Threats (by Mark Hosenball, Newsweek)
FR Doc 2010-14254 (Federal Register)
DIA To Open New Counterintelligence Records Unit (by Jeff Stein, Washington Post)
Pentagon to Rebuild Data Base on People “of Interest” (by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive)
Obama’s Expanded Military Spying and Torture Network (by Tom Burghardt, Global Research)
Pentagon Shutting Down CIFA
In April 2008 senior Pentagon officials said the DoD was planning to shut down the controversial Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) office. The move was part of a broad effort under Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to review, overhaul and, in some cases, dismantle an intelligence architecture built by his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld.
The CIFA was created by Rumsfeld after 9/11 as part of an effort to counter the operations of foreign intelligence services and terror groups inside the United States and abroad. But the office, whose size and budget was classified, came under fierce criticism in 2005 after it was disclosed that it was managing a database that included information about antiwar protests planned at churches, schools, and Quaker meeting halls.
The Pentagon’s senior intelligence official, James R. Clapper, recommended to Gates that CIFA be dismantled and that some of its operations be placed under the authority of the DIA. By August, the CIFA was shut down, and many of its functions were taken over by a new unit set up within the DIA: the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center.
Pentagon Is Expected to Close Intelligence Unit (by Mark Mazzetti, New York Times)
Secret DIA Interrogation Facility in Afghanistan
Within the massive U.S.-run Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, the DIA has operated a secret detention facility where some detainees claimed they were abused.
Media reports in 2009 said Bagram included a classified interrogation center referred to as the “black jail” for high-value detainees that was operated by DIA. Some of the prisoners reported to the Red Cross that they endured beatings and sexual humiliation from intelligence operatives and interrogators working for the DIA’s Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center. The only human interaction the prisoners had, they said, was in interrogation sessions.
The BBC reported that nine former prisoners said they were subjected to abuse, including being confined in frigid cells where the light was left on day and night.
Inside the Secret Interrogation Facility at Bagram (by Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)
Afghans Detail Detention in ‘Black Jail’ at U.S. Base (by Alissa Rubin, New York Times)
Red Cross Confirms 'Second Jail' at Bagram, Afghanistan (by Hilary Andersson,
DIA Seeks Relaxation of Domestic Law
In 2005 the agency tried to get Congress to loosen restrictions established in the 1970s on domestic intelligence operations. The agency insisted all it wanted was the ability for its agents to go undercover when they approach Americans who may have useful national-security information, rather than identifying themselves as intelligence operatives.
The provision, inserted in a wide-ranging intelligence bill, would have given the DIA officials latitude to meet U.S. citizens without pulling out their DIA badges and later sending a formal notice of their rights under the landmark 1974 Privacy Act. The act was passed in the wake of the intelligence scandals of the 1960s and 1970s, and civil liberties advocates raised concerns that the powers the DIA was seeking could be abused.
Agency Seeks Freer Hand To Recruit Spies in U.S. (by Douglas Jehl, New York Times)
Pentagon wants more leeway for undercover agents (Associated Press)
In April 2004, photographs surfaced that depicted abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. Some of the pictures depicted U.S. soldiers, both men and women in military uniforms, laughing and giving thumbs-up signs while posing with naked Iraqi prisoners made to stand, stacked in a pyramid or positioned to perform sex acts.
A criminal investigation by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command found numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. The systematic and illegal abuse of detainees was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company and also by members of the American intelligence community. Both current and former DIA officers were reportedly at the prison conducting interrogations, including Steven Anthony Stefanowicz, a former Navy reserve intelligence specialist at the Defense Intelligence Agency who was working as a contractor for CACI International.
The DIA countered with a memo, written by the agency’s director to a senior Pentagon official, which claimed two members of his agency witnessed the torture and were threatened and told to keep quiet by other military interrogators. The memorandum said that the DIA officials saw prisoners being brought in to a detention center with burn marks on their backs and complaining about sore kidneys.
In 2005, the DIA pushed for legislation that indicated the agency might have something to hide about Abu Ghraib. A provision in the Defense Authorization Bill would have exempted the DIA from having to comply with requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The exception would render records that document “the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations” of the DIA Directorate of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unreachable to the public. Opponents dubbed the Defense amendment the “Abu Ghraib Protection Act.”
Exposure: The woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib (by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, New Yorker)
The Gray Zone: How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib (by Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker)
Memos Say 2 Officials Who Saw Prison Abuse Were Threatened (by Neil A. Lewis, New York Times)
"Big Steve" and Abu Ghraib: Salon has uncovered more allegations against a civilian interrogator accused of abuse at the prison. Why has he never been prosecuted? (by Mark Benjamin and Michael Scherer, Salon)
DIA Intelligence Supported Iraq Invasion
When the Bush administration made its case in 2003 for going to war against Iraq, officials crafted their argument around two main points. First, Iraq was compiling weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and second, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda, whom Hussein would gladly supply with WMDs. This latter point was based on an intelligence assessment the DIA provided to the White House National Security Council.
But the assertion of a link between Hussein and al Qaeda proved to be “inappropriate,” according to the Pentagon’s Inspector General, who issued a report in 2007 criticizing DIA’s assessment. The IG’s office reported that the agency assessment of the Iraq-al Qaeda link ran contrary to other analyses within the Intelligence Community.
The DIA also had supported the White House’s claim of Iraq hiding WMDs. But in June 2003, CNN uncovered a DIA document that said the agency could not find evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq. CNN obtained an unclassified one-page summary of the DIA Operational Support Study, in which the agency said there was “no reliable information” that Iraq was producing new chemical weapons at the time.
Hussein-Qaeda Link 'Inappropriate,' Report Says (New York Times)
Pentagon: WMD report consistent with U.S. case (by Barbara Starr, Jamie McIntyre and Suzanne Malveaux, CNN)
The Department of Defense decided in 2012 to reorganize its intelligence operations and create a new office dedicated to more strategic espionage activities.
The new Defense Clandestine Service will work closely with the Central Intelligence Agency, which would be a departure for the Pentagon given that its Defense Intelligence Agency has long been considered a rival to the CIA within the intelligence community.
Defense leaders said the new office would help strengthen the Pentagon’s spy operations overseas and give it a more “big picture” approach to tackling serious threats from Iran and China.
The reorganization was prompted by a classified study produced in 2011 by the office of the director of national intelligence, which concluded that the military’s spying needed to look beyond the tactical considerations of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pentagon Establishes Defense Clandestine Service, New Espionage Unit (by Greg Miller, Washington Post)
The Pentagon's New Defense Clandestine Service (by Kerry Patton, American Thinker)
The Pentagon’s top spy agency, like the rest of the intelligence community, was roundly criticized for key intelligence failures in the run-up to the war in Iraq, including finding that Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and had close relations with al-Qaeda. It will soon be led by one of those critics, who recently published a trenchant critique of American intelligence in Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, an intelligence insider over his thirty-year career in Army intelligence, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Primarily responsible for providing data on foreign militaries, DIA is part of the Department of Defense.
Born circa 1959 in Middletown, Rhode Island, Michael Flynn is one of nine children of Helen and Charles Flynn, who was a small-town banker. Growing up, Michael Flynn worked at local restaurants and as a lifeguard, graduating Middletown High School in 1977. Flynn earned a B.S. in Management at the University of Rhode Island, where he participated in the ROTC program, in 1981. Flynn has since earned an MBA in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University, an M.A. in Military Arts and Sciences from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.
Commissioned an Army second lieutenant in 1981, Flynn became an intelligence officer, platoon leader, and then instructor in his early days. Flynn’s assignments included multiple tours at Ft Bragg, North Carolina with the 82d Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps, and Joint Special Operations Command, where he served in the 1983 invasion of Grenada and the 2005 invasion of Haiti. He also has served with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the Army’s Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Flynn served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from June 2001 and the Director of Intelligence, Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July, 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004, and was director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as the director of intelligence, United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008,and director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 11, 2008 to June 14, 2009. Flynn assumed duties as the Chief, CJ2, International Security Assistance Force, with the additional appointment as the CJ2, US Forces–Afghanistan on June 15, 2009. As such, he was NATO’s director of military intelligence.
Flynn’s years in Iraq and Afghanistan were not without controversy. Most notably, the horrific examples of torture and abuse of prisoners that were carried out at Camp Nama in Baghdad took place while Flynn was in charge. For reasons of secrecy, it is difficult to sort out Flynn’s role in the illegal and inhumane activities. He is given credit for cleaning up the most extreme practices; what is unclear is whether he did so because they were morally wrong or merely inefficient.
Flynn was also closely aligned with Gen. Stanley McChrystal at the time that McChrystal’s arrogant and snarky attitude towards others was exposed in Rolling Stone, leading to his removal by President Obama as the leader of military operations in Afghanistan.
Since September 28, 2011, Flynn has been assistant director of national intelligence for partner engagement at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C.
Flynn is married to his high school sweetheart, Lori Andrade; they have two sons. His brother, Charles A. Flynn, was promoted to Army Brigadier General in September 2011; Michael Flynn pinned the General’s Star on his brother. In honor of this, the State of Rhode Island and the Town of Middletown proclaimed it “Generals Flynn Day.”
Intelligence Aide Flynn re McChrystal: “Everyone Has a Dark Side” (by Jim White, Emptywheel)
Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan (by Michael T. Flynn et al, Center for a New American Security) (pdf)
Saluting A Family Legacy (by Jan Wenzel, Quadangles)
In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse (by Eric Schmitt and Carolyn Marshall, New York Times)
A 35-year veteran specializing in military intelligence, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Ronald L. Burgess, Jr. has served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency since March 2009. He also serves as commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JFCC-ISR). Burgess was Director of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time that U.S. troops were abusing and torturing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and in Iraq.