To understand the recent conflict between President Elect Trump and the Intelligence Community, we need to go back a few years. We could go way back to 911 but no need to rehash the CIA errors there. Lets start in 2012 with this report by the Defense Intelligence Agency under the direction of Lt.Gen Michael Flynn.
On Monday, May 18, 2015, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit.
While initial mainstream media reporting was focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.
Astoundingly, the report states that for “THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”.
The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.
The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.
While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.
Forensic evidence, video evidence, as well as recent admissions of high-level officials involved (see former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s admissions here and here), have since proven the State Department and CIA’s material support of ISIS terrorists on the Syrian battlefield going back to at least 2012 and 2013 (for a clear example of “forensic evidence”: see UK-based Conflict Armament Research’s report which traced the origins of Croatian anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters back to a Saudi/CIA joint program via identifiable serial numbers).
The DIA report makes the following summary points concerning “ISI” (in 2012 “Islamic State in Iraq,”) and the soon to emerge ISIS:
- Al-Qaeda drives the opposition in Syria
- The West identifies with the opposition
- The establishment of a nascent Islamic State became a reality only with the rise of the Syrian insurgency (there is no mention of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits; see section 4.D. below)
- The establishment of a “Salafist Principality” in Eastern Syria is “exactly” what the external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as “the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey”) in order to weaken the Assad government
- “Safe havens” are suggested in areas conquered by Islamic insurgents along the lines of the Libyan model (which translates to so-called no-fly zones as a first act of ‘humanitarian war’; see 7.B.)
- Iraq is identified with “Shia expansion” (8.C)
- A Sunni “Islamic State” could be devastating to “unifying Iraq” and could lead to “the renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.” (see last non-redacted line in full PDF view.)
The following is excerpted from the seven page DIA report (bold-facing is my own):
R 050839Z AUG 12
THE GENERAL SITUATION:
A. INTERNALLY, EVENTS ARE TAKING A CLEAR SECTARIAN DIRECTION.
B. THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.
C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.
(C) Al QAEDA – IRAQ (AQI):… B. AQI SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA…
4.D. THERE WAS A REGRESSION OF AQI IN THE WESTERN PROVINCES OF IRAQ DURING THE YEARS OF 2009 AND 2010; HOWEVER, AFTER THE RISE OF THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA, THE RELIGIOUS AND TRIBAL POWERS IN THE REGIONS BEGAN TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE SECTARIAN UPRISING. THIS (SYMPATHY) APPEARED IN FRIDAY PRAYER SERMONS, WHICH CALLED FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT THE SUNNI’S [sic] IN SYRIA.
(C) THE FUTURE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE CRISIS:
A. THE REGIME WILL SURVIVE AND HAVE CONTROL OVER SYRIAN TERRITORY.
B. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CURRENT EVENTS INTO PROXY WAR: …OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. THIS HYPOTHESIS IS MOST LIKELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DATA FROM RECENT EVENTS, WHICH WILL HELP PREPARE SAFE HAVENS UNDER INTERNATIONAL SHELTERING, SIMILAR TO WHAT TRANSPIRED IN LIBYA WHEN BENGHAZI WAS CHOSEN AS THE COMMAND CENTER OF THE TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT.
8.C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)
8.D.1. …ISIS COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.
The report, completed mid 2012 was distributed to the components listed in the report. The President requested the new DIA Chief, Michael Flynn, to do a rewrite of the findings. LT. Gen Flynn in his fashion, refused stating that the DIA reports facts and the facts have not changed, therefore the report will not change.
This caused chaos and resentment within the intelligence community and executive office but especially between the DIA and the CIA.
DIA Director Flynn would continue to report Intelligence in realtime and as it was instead of what the administration desired which would eventually lead to his dismissal by President Obama in 2014 and an attempt to downsize the DIA and restrict operations.
However before his dismissal, Director Flynn presented a plan to the President which would and could provide real-time HUMINT intel which was not being provided by the CIA.
Here is the proposal.
The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said.
The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.
When the expansion is complete, the DIA is expected to have as many as 1,600 “collectors” in positions around the world, an unprecedented total for an agency whose presence abroad numbered in the triple digits in recent years.
The total includes military attachés and others who do not work undercover. But U.S. officials said the growth will be driven over a five-year period by the deployment of a new generation of clandestine operatives. They will be trained by the CIA and often work with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, but they will get their spying assignments from the Department of Defense.
Among the Pentagon’s top intelligence priorities, officials said, are Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons transfers by North Korea and Iran, and military modernization underway in China.
“This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA,” the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, said at a recent conference, during which he outlined the changes but did not describe them in detail. “This is a major adjustment for national security.”
The sharp increase in DIA undercover operatives is part of a far-reaching trend: a convergence of the military and intelligence agencies that has blurred their once-distinct missions, capabilities and even their leadership ranks.
Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. At the same time, the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence work.
The DIA overhaul — combined with the growth of the CIA since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will create a spy network of unprecedented size. The plan reflects the Obama administration’s affinity for espionage and covert action over conventional force. It also fits in with the administration’s efforts to codify its counterterrorism policies for a sustained conflict and assemble the pieces abroad necessary to carry it out.
Unlike the CIA, the Pentagon’s spy agency is not authorized to conduct covert operations that go beyond intelligence gathering, such as drone strikes, political sabotage or arming militants.
But the DIA has long played a major role in assessing and identifying targets for the U.S. military, which in recent years has assembled a constellation of drone bases stretching from Afghanistan to East Africa.
The expansion of the agency’s clandestine role is likely to heighten concerns that it will be accompanied by an escalation in lethal strikes and other operations outside public view. Because of differences in legal authorities, the military isn’t subject to the same congressional notification requirements as the CIA, leading to potential oversight gaps.
U.S. officials said that the DIA’s realignment won’t hamper congressional scrutiny. “We have to keep congressional staffs and members in the loop,” Flynn said in October, adding that he believes the changes will help the United States anticipate threats and avoid being drawn more directly into what he predicted will be an “era of persistent conflict.”
U.S. officials said the changes for the DIA were enabled by a rare syncing of personalities and interests among top officials at the Pentagon and CIA, many of whom switched from one organization to the other to take their current jobs.
“The stars have been aligning on this for a while,” said a former senior U.S. military official involved in planning the DIA transformation. Like most others interviewed for this article, the former official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the program.
The DIA project has been spearheaded by Michael G. Vickers, the top intelligence official at the Pentagon and a veteran of the CIA.
Agreements on coordination were approved by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, a former CIA director, and retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who resigned abruptly as CIA chief last month over an extramarital affair.
The Pentagon announced the DCS plan in April but details have been kept secret. Former senior Defense Department officials said that the DIA now has about 500 “case officers,” the term for clandestine Pentagon and CIA operatives, and that the number is expected to reach between 800 and 1,000 by 2018.
Pentagon and DIA officials declined to discuss specifics. A senior U.S. defense official said the changes will affect thousands of DIA employees, as analysts, logistics specialists and others are reassigned to support additional spies.
The plan still faces some hurdles, including the challenge of creating “cover” arrangements for hundreds of additional spies. U.S. embassies typically have a set number of slots for intelligence operatives posing as diplomats, most of which are taken by the CIA.
The project has also encountered opposition from policymakers on Capitol Hill, who see the terms of the new arrangement as overly generous to the CIA.
The DIA operatives “for the most part are going to be working for CIA station chiefs,” needing their approval to enter a particular country and clearance on which informants they intend to recruit, said a senior congressional official briefed on the plan. “If CIA needs more people working for them, they should be footing the bill.”
Pentagon officials said that sending more DIA operatives overseas will shore up intelligence on subjects that the CIA is not able or willing to pursue. “We are in a position to contribute to defense priorities that frankly CIA is not,” the senior Defense Department official said.
The project was triggered by a classified study by the director of national intelligence last year that concluded that key Pentagon intelligence priorities were falling into gaps created by the DIA’s heavy focus on battlefield issues and CIA’s extensive workload. U.S. officials said the DIA needed to be repositioned as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan give way to what many expect will be a period of sporadic conflicts and simmering threats requiring close-in intelligence work.
“It’s the nature of the world we’re in,” said the senior defense official, who is involved in overseeing the changes at the DIA. “We just see a long-term era of change before things settle.”
The CIA is increasingly overstretched. Obama administration officials have said they expect the agency’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda to continue for at least a decade more, even as the agency faces pressure to stay abreast of issues including turmoil across the Middle East. Meanwhile, the CIA hasn’t met ambitious goals set by former president George W. Bush to expand its own clandestine service.
CIA officials including John D. Bennett, director of the National Clandestine Service, have backed the DIA’s plan. It “amplifies the ability of both CIA and DIA to achieve the best results,” said CIA spokesman Preston Golson.
Defense officials stressed that the DIA has not been given any new authorities or permission to expand its total payroll. Instead, the new spy slots will be created by cutting or converting other positions across the DIA workforce, which has doubled in the past decade — largely through absorption of other military intelligence entities — to about 16,500.
Vickers has given the DIA an infusion of about $100 million to kick-start the program, officials said, but the agency’s total budget is expected to remain stagnant or decline amid mounting financial pressures across the government.
The DIA’s overseas presence already includes hundreds of diplomatic posts — mainly defense attachés, who represent the military at U.S. embassies and openly gather information from foreign counterparts. Their roles won’t change, officials said. The attachés are part of the 1,600 target for the DIA, but such “overt” positions will represent a declining share amid the increase in undercover slots, officials said.
The senior Defense official said the DIA has begun filling the first of the new posts.
For decades, the DIA has employed undercover operatives to gather secrets on foreign militaries and other targets. But the Defense Humint Service, as it was previously known, was often regarded as an inferior sibling to its civilian counterpart.
Previous efforts by the Pentagon to expand its intelligence role — particularly during Donald H. Rumsfeld’s time as defense secretary — led to intense turf skirmishes with the CIA.
Those frictions have been reduced, officials said, largely because the CIA sees advantages to the new arrangement, including assurances that its station chiefs overseas will be kept apprised of DIA missions and have authority to reject any that might conflict with CIA efforts. The CIA will also be able to turn over hundreds of Pentagon-driven assignments to newly arrived DIA operatives.
“The CIA doesn’t want to be looking for surface-to-air missiles in Libya” when it’s also under pressure to assess the opposition in Syria, said a former high-ranking U.S. military intelligence officer who worked closely with both spy services. Even in cases where their assignments overlap, the DIA is likely to be more focused than the CIA on military aspects — what U.S. commanders in Africa might ask about al-Qaeda in Mali, for example, rather than the broader questions raised by the White House.
U.S. officials said DIA operatives, because of their military backgrounds, are often better equipped to recruit sources who can answer narrow military questions such as specifications of China’s fifth-generation fighter aircraft and its work on a nuclear aircraft carrier. “The CIA would like to give up that kind of work,” the former officer said.
The CIA has agreed to add new slots to its training classes at its facility in southern Virginia, known as the Farm, to make room for more military spies. The DIA has accounted for about 20 percent of each class in recent years, but that figure will grow.
The two agencies have also agreed to share resources overseas, including technical gear, logistics support, space in facilities and vehicles. The DIA has even adopted aspects of the CIA’s internal structure, creating a group called “Persia House,” for example, to pool resources on Iran.
The CIA’s influence extends across the DIA’s ranks. Flynn, who became director in July, is a three-star Army general who worked closely with the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. His deputy, David R. Shedd, spent the bulk of his career at the CIA, much of it overseas as a spy.
Several officials said the main DIA challenge will be finding ways to slip so many spies into position overseas with limited space in embassies. “There are some definite challenges from a cover perspective,” the senior defense official said.
Placing operatives in conventional military units means finding an excuse for them to stay behind when the unit rotates out before the end of the spy’s job.
Having DIA operatives pose as academics or business executives requires painstaking work to create those false identities, and it means they won’t be protected by diplomatic immunity if caught.
Flynn is seeking to reduce turnover in the DIA’s clandestine service by enabling military members to stay with the agency for multiple overseas tours rather than return to their units. But the DIA is increasingly hiring civilians to fill out its spy ranks.
The DIA has also forged a much tighter relationship with JSOC, the military’s elite and highly lethal commando force, which also carries out drone strikes in Yemen and other countries.
Key aspects of the DIA’s plan were developed by then-Director Ronald L. Burgess, a retired three-star general who had served as intelligence chief to JSOC.
The DIA played an extensive and largely hidden role in JSOC operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending analysts into war zones and turning a large chunk of its workforce and computer systems in Virginia into an ana-lytic back office for JSOC.
The head of U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. William H. McRaven, who directed the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, has pledged to create between 100 and 200 slots for undercover DIA operatives to work with Special Forces teams being deployed across North Africa and other trouble spots, officials said.
Here is what the Administrations’ Reaction to the proposal yielded
Flynn was fired in August 2014. The New Director appointed by Obama, David Shedd (A “former” CIA Officer,) Quickly nixed the DIA Plan to provide critically needed intelligence to the U.S. intelligence community..
The Pentagon has scaled back its plan to assemble an overseas spy service that could have rivaled the CIA in size, backing away from a project that faced opposition from lawmakers who questioned its purpose and cost, current and former U.S. officials said.
Under the revised blueprint, the Defense Intelligence Agency will train and deploy up to 500 undercover officers, roughly half the size of the espionage network envisioned two years ago when the formation of the Defense Clandestine Service was announced.
The previous plan called for moving as many as 1,000 undercover case officers overseas to work alongside the CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command on counterterrorism missions and other targets of broad national security concern.
Instead, the training schedule has been cut back, and most of those involved will be given assignments that are more narrowly focused on the DIA’s traditional mission of gathering intelligence for the Defense Department.
The revised aim is to “stay small but be highly effective,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military planning.
The Pentagon will still be placing dozens of undercover officers “in very difficult places around the world,” including parts of Africa and the Middle East, where al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have significant footholds, the former official said. But their espionage efforts will “focus on what Defense needs are.”
The shift represents a retreat by Pentagon officials who had sought to transform a spy service long seen as second string to the CIA, repositioning it for an era of more dispersed threats after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The overhaul was spearheaded by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers, a former CIA operative who has pushed to model the Pentagon’s spy service more closely on his former agency.
Aspects of that approach remain intact, including having members of the Defense Clandestine Service take part in the same instruction as their CIA counterparts at the agency’s training compound, known as the Farm, near Williamsburg.
Those who emerge from that training are expected to work in closer coordination with CIA station chiefs who have broad authority over U.S. espionage operations overseas.
But the initial scale of the plan has been reduced substantially, officials said, after it became clear that the proposal could not secure enough support and funding from Congress.
Defense Department officials declined to discuss details of the Defense Clandestine Service, including its budget or number of overseas positions, noting that such figures are classified. But the officials did not dispute that the plan for the DCS, as it is known at the Pentagon, has been scaled back.
“We did reevaluate the DCS program after initial discussions with Congress,” said Navy Cmdr. Amy E. Derrick-Frost, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon. Derrick-Frost emphasized that “it has always been a phased plan” that could take several years to implement and said that “there have been no significant changes” since a modified proposal was presented to Congress.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said the new numbers also reflect a different approach to the way officers in the Defense Clandestine Service are counted. He said initial projections included everyone who was considered part of the clandestine service, no matter where they were stationed. Now, he said, only those who are deployed overseas and gathering intelligence are part of the 500, meaning that those who are in assignments at headquarters or still undergoing training do not count toward that total.
“We don’t count people sitting at desks or people undergoing training,” the official said, meaning that the reduction in numbers is not as severe as it may sound because of the change in the way positions are counted. The official acknowledged that initial discussions for the DCS envisioned as many as 1,000 positions. “It was higher than where it is projected to be now,” he said.
The push to dramatically expand the DCS met almost immediate opposition on Capitol Hill, particularly from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, many of whom were particularly hostile to the idea, in part out of concern that the terms were too generous to the CIA.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the committee, and others raised concern that DIA officers would be used largely to fill in gaps in areas regarded as low priorities by the CIA, effectively doing aspects of that agency’s job at the Pentagon’s expense.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also found substantial problems with the DIA proposal. A report released by the panel last year said the plan “lacked details necessary for effective review and implementation.”
A senior Senate aide said Friday that the overhaul of the DCS “has been a continuing item of interest and careful review for the committee” even after the Pentagon’s revisions.
The struggle over the dimensions and direction for the Defense Clandestine Service has coincided with a turbulent time at the DIA, a sprawling espionage service that also has hundreds of analysts as well as defense attaches — embassy officials charged with gathering intelligence on foreign militaries — in more than 140 countries.
Former DIA director Michael Flynn — a retired major general who had held high-level positions in Afghanistan and Iraq — was pushed out of the DIA jobearlier this year, well before his term was scheduled to end.
Many expected him to be replaced by Lt. Gen. Mary Legere, until her potential nomination encountered opposition on Capitol Hill. The job is now expected to go to Marine Maj. Gen. Vincent Stewart, who would be the first African American to lead one of the main U.S. intelligence agencies.
The agency is being led in the interim by David Shedd, a former senior CIA official.
The DIA’s operations have suffered in recent years outside the war zones. The former U.S. intelligence official cited cases in which the agency had as many as four case officers in some locations that had often failed to produce meaningful intelligence reports.
But the agency has also made strides in other areas. The former official said that the DIA now accounts for as much as 25 percent of the content that goes into the President’s Daily Brief, the prestigious summary of national security developments presented each morning to the president.
Unlike the CIA, the DIA is not authorized to carry out covert operations such as drone strikes or political sabotage. Its case officers, who carry out spy work overseas, often come from military backgrounds and serve under military cover abroad, meaning they hold positions in traditional military units even while covertly trying to steal secrets or persuade their foreign counterparts to become American informants.
What may be on the horizon, and is indicated by the Trump appointment of Flynn as his National Security Adviser is a return to the DIA proposal and a probably change of the directives of the CIA. Naturally the CIA sees this as a direct attack on the agency and is undertaking all actions to avoid this. Thus their attack on the election of Trump. The last thing they want is Trump to take command.
Now the Major Media does not seem to see this. President Elect Trump has cut back his Security briefings by the CIA as they are a waste of time. This National Security Adviser and staff provides the security briefings ns the world really is.