CIA to Spend Millions on Improving ‘Spying Techniques’

The CIA will spend millions of dollars over the next five years to improve intelligence gathering, upgrade technologies and enable analysts to work more closely with spies in the field.


The plan renews the agency’s year-old goal to increase the number of analysts and overseas operatives fluent in other languages.

The lack of bilingual agents has been a problem that has plagued military and civilian intelligence officers throughout much of the last decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

CIA Director Leon Panetta said the changes will help the agency battle emerging national security dangers better, including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and cyberthreats. US intelligence agencies have come under fire in recent months for perceived lapses that let a suicide bomber infiltrate a CIA base in Afghanistan and an alleged would-be bomber to board a US-bound flight on Christmas.

According to Mr Panetta, a major goal is to put more CIA analysts in the same location as the intelligence operatives, which has worked well for the agency in war zones. Historically, the two groups were separated, but that has been changing. By working in the same place, officials say, analysts and spies can exchange information and guidance more efficiently.

Currently analysts and operatives work together in war zones and in teams at CIA headquarters, but Mr Panetta said it should happen more widely. In their limited work together, the analysts and spies have combined on such critical issues as counterterror, counterproliferation and Iran.

Mr Panetta said the agency would double the number of clandestine officers enrolled in language training and tripling the number of analysts in that training. A year ago, fewer than a third of CIA analysts and overseas spies were proficient in a foreign language, and that percentage still holds today.

Officials have said that agents are lacking in key languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Pushto, Urdu and Persian.

Published: 7:00AM BST 27 Apr 2010

Source: The Telegraph

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