3:53pm UK, Sunday 02 December 2012
The Pentagon announces ambitious plans to form a new worldwide espionage network with as many as 1,600 “agents” around the world.
Defence chiefs want to establish a new intelligence network outside the CIA
The Pentagon has announced plans to assemble an espionage network large enough to rival the CIA in size, according to reports.
As part of the project, US military officials would send hundreds of additional spies overseas, the Washington Post reported.
It would also see the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) overhauled, away from a primary focus on activities related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When the expansion is completed, the DIA could have as many as 1,600 intelligence “collectors” around the world – far more than its current overseas presence which numbers in the hundreds.
That total would include military attaches and others who will not work undercover, the newspaper wrote.
But US officials said the plans also include deployment of a new generation of clandestine operatives to be trained by the CIA.
These new operatives would work with the US Joint Special Operations Command, but would be given their assignments by the Department of Defence.
The Pentagon’s top intelligence priorities are Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons transfers by North Korea and Iran and military modernisation underway in China, the newspaper added.