The tradecraft is out of date, the approach to intelligence is comical against the modern and future threats, the pay scale insulting, the security restrictions oppresive, the operational limitations being accepted in the name of 'political correctness' asinine, the emphasis on current reporting exacerbates the information overload (aka, why open source is bad), compartmentalization is antithetical toward the process of real analysis, and the clients haven't a clue what to do with or how to understand the product, just to name a few points... but I don't want to get off on a rant... MW CIA hiring more spies New York Times WASHINGTON -- The CIA is beginning the largest recruitment drive for new spies in its history, in an ambitious effort to rebuild its espionage service, which has been severely damaged by spy scandals, budget cutbacks and high turnover since the end of the Cold War, officials say. With Congress already providing increased financing, the Directorate of Operations, the CIA's clandestine espionage arm, will hire record numbers of case officers -- spies -- beginning this year as part of a new strategic plan to repair the decaying espionage capabilities of the United States by 2005, officials said. In addition to expanded hiring, the CIA also plans to reopen several overseas stations that were closed in the early 1990s after the demise of the Soviet Union led Congress and the White House to reduce the CIA's budget sharply. The recruitment plan is a sign that the CIA recognizes that it has become far too dependent on so-called technical intelligence, or eavesdropping devices and spy satellites. Now, the agency wants to get back to espionage basics, by increasing its ability to place a spy behind enemy lines or inside the offices of a rival government. The spread of new technologies like encryption and computer networks has eroded the value of spy satellites and listening devices and has led the CIA to see the need for an expanded cadre of spies. Without having an agent in place, the CIA has found it much harder to gain access to secrets from rival governments, terrorists and international organized crime groups. As a result, in 1998, the CIA plans to hire more than five times as many case officers than it did in fiscal year 1995, when the agency hit its post-cold-war recruitment low, U.S. officials said. The agency plans to hire even larger numbers in 1999. The actual numbers of new spies and new stations are classified, and officials declined to comment on the precise figures. But other officials have said recently that there are well under 1,000 case officers working in the directorate. The expansion at the directorate has strong support in the House of Representatives, where Speaker Newt Gingrich pushed through supplemental financing for the CIA for fiscal 1998 to enable the agency to begin recruitment efforts. For 1999, the House leadership is again pushing for a sharp financing increase, while the Senate is proposing a smaller increase, congressional sources said. The exact amount of money involved is classified. Many intelligence officials have been complaining privately that the Directorate of Operations has lost much of its effectiveness, and that it has failed to conduct critical espionage missions around the world. In fact, the directorate has suffered a drain of talented senior and mid-career officers since the end of the Cold War, and many of those officers have left complaining about sagging morale and a heavy-handed bureaucracy that made it hard for American spies to take risks. A punishing series of scandals, including the spy cases of turncoats Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson, both Directorate of Operations officers who spied for Moscow, also sapped the spirit inside the agency. ``I think it is fair to say that the DO has lost a lot of its capabilities, and has been dangerously close to becoming paralyzed,'' said one American intelligence official. Officials emphasize that the number of officers resigning has declined in the past year, but acknowledge that the losses have been serious. ``We have lost disproportionately large numbers of case officers compared to people from other parts of the staff, and that has hurt our capabilities,'' one official said. ``The loss of the capabilities in the DO have been fairly serious since the beginning of the decade.'' Recently, when the CIA has tried to spy, its officers have often been caught. Since 1995, CIA officers have been embroiled in public accusations of spying by France, Germany and other nations, and agency officials now believe that part of the problem is that agents have failed to emphasize the basics of the espionage craft. The CIA's recent failure to accurately predict that India would conduct nuclear tests has underlined that something had to be done, both at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., and on Capitol Hill. Support among members of Congress to finance the directorate's expansion has increased since the India failure, congressional officials said. In May, the CIA was forced to admit that it did not have any agents who could have tipped the United States to India's plans, and that confession showed Congress just how badly the CIA's espionage network had eroded in recent years. Yet in the Senate, concerns over India have also been working against proposals for a large budget increase. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is wary of agreeing to the large budget increase proposed by the House, an aide to Shelby said. In part, Shelby's caution stems from a concern that the India controversy signaled management problems that cannot be fixed by simply throwing money at the agency, the aide said. While Shelby supports a budget increase, he is ``more concerned about quality, not quantity, at the CIA,'' the aide said. The CIA is recruiting case officers, and people to support them, with technical skills that spies have rarely been asked to learn in the past. ``As we tried to figure out our requirements for the future, we realized we needed to have greater technical support for agent operations,'' said one U.S. official. At the top of the list of requirements is computer expertise. The proliferation of global computer data networks, for example, has made it more difficult for the agency to slip into a country using false identifications. Only computer experts can defeat those local computer systems, and even developing countries routinely make sophisticated computer checks on passports and visas. The agency is recruiting on campuses, in the private sector and from among military officers. Agents are on the same pay scale as other federal employees and military officers. The CIA's decision to reopen some of its closed overseas stations is also driven by the new complexities of post-Cold War espionage. Many of the stations in the developing world were closed because the Cold War's end made unnecessary their chief mission to recruit and spy on Soviet diplomats and KGB. officers serving in the same countries. But now, officials say they realize that those remote stations will be important in the CIA's efforts to spy on terrorists and other international criminals who have sought haven in those countries.
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