CIA chief weighs unprecedented shake-up of spy agency

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WASHINGTON: CIA Director John Brennan is weighing a dramatic overhaul of the leading US spy agency that is likely to meet fierce opposition from veteran agents, current and former intelligence officials said Thursday.

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The reorganization would dismantle the long entrenched separation between spying and analysis divisions in the agency, possibly replacing them with units focused on geographic areas or specific threats, said ex-intelligence officials familiar with the review.

In a September 24 message to employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, Brennan said it was time “we take a close and honest look at ourselves” and examine whether the spy service needed to be restructured.

“I have mentioned several times over the past year that I have become increasingly convinced that the time has come to take a fresh look at how we are organized as an agency and at whether our current structure, and ways of doing business, need adjustment to ensure our future success,” Brennan said in the message, portions of which were released to reporters.

The shake-up being contemplated would be “by far the most sweeping change in the organization and culture of the CIA in its history,” said Bruce Riedel, a former agency officer.

“This would be a reorganization that fundamentally alters decades of how the organization has worked,” said Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Brennan in late September asked several experienced intelligence officers “to conduct an in-depth review to determine whether the agency is optimized for enduring mission effectiveness, specifically in the areas of integration, agility and resilience,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said.

Boyd said the officers carrying out the review are still “in the information gathering stage” and it was soon to say what possible options might be in play.

AFP

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