CIA sending more analysts overseas: Report

The Central Intelligence Agency is gearing up to send more analysts to its global outposts rather than having them at its headquarter here, a media report said on Friday.

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2010, 15:25 PM IST

Washington: The Central Intelligence Agency is gearing up to send more analysts to its global outposts rather than having them at its headquarter here, a media report said on Friday.

"One US intelligence official said `hundreds` of analysts are already in overseas assignments, a number that is expected to grow under a plan unveiled this week by CIA director Leon Panetta," said The Washington Post in its news report.

In a speech to the agency workforce, Panetta said there would be "more co-location of analysts and operators at home and abroad" over the next five years, and that the fusion of the two "has been key to victories in counter-terrorism and counter proliferation.”

"The deployments mark a significant change from the agency`s practice of relying on a small army of analysts at CIA headquarters to make sense of the information gathered by case officers abroad," the daily said.

"Altering that arrangement creates logistical challenges as well as security risks, particularly as the agency ramps up the rotation of analysts in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan," it added.

CIA Officials said foreign assignments have been crucial to accelerating the training of analysts, giving them a deeper understanding of the countries and subjects they cover in a shorter amount of time, it wrote.

The daily quoted a US intelligence official as saying that work from overseas teams of analysts and operators has been crucial in a number of recent cases, including disruption of a 2006 airliner plot and the discovery of Iran`s undeclared uranium-enrichment facility last year near the city of Qom.

Early this week, Panetta unveiled a new blueprint for the agency`s future which rests on three pillars: investing in people, investing in technology and maintain its global presence.

"It`s our responsibility to get out in front of any problems, and CIA 2015 will help us do that," Panetta said in his message to the CIA staff.

Outlining CIA 2015`s three pillars, he said the first is investing in people. The agency will recruit, train, and retain a highly talented and diverse workforce with the strengths to tackle any mission that arises.

"Bolstering the Agency`s foreign language capabilities is essential to that objective. The plan doubles the number of clandestine officers-and triples the number of analysts-enrolled in language training," he said.

The CIA will enhance its use of more flexible and innovative deployments overseas, including new approaches to cover-paving the way for even better intelligence collection.

Backing the plan Panetta said, "It boosts the CIA`s potential for human-enabled technical collection and provides advanced software tools to help Agency officers tackle the huge volume of data they encounter in their work."

The third pillar is to achieve a new level of agility in maintaining the Agency`s global presence and surging for emergencies. CIA will transform its support platforms around the world and consolidate certain business functions.

PTI