In Friday’s Washington Post, the paper published a must-read study tracing the evolution of the Central Intelligence Agency from an intelligence-collection and -analysis operation to a new shadow military force.
In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the agency has undergone a fundamental transformation. Although the CIA continues to gather intelligence and furnish analysis on a vast array of subjects, its focus and resources are increasingly centered on the cold counter-terrorism objective of finding targets to capture or kill.
At the core of this evolution, we discover, is that for the first time in its history, the CIA has secured control of a state-of-the-art weapons system named as Drone.
The drone program has killed more than 2,000 militants and civilians since 2001, a staggering figure for an agency that has a long history of supporting proxy forces in bloody conflicts but rarely pulled the trigger on its own.
The agency’s Counterterrorism Centre, which controls the drone fleet, now has 2,000 staffers, outnumbering current estimates of Al Qaeda’s membership.
Though the reports focus on the CIA’s new drone operation in the Arabian Peninsula with its new under construction base in Yemen, the Agency is also managing the war effort on the Pakistan side of the Durand Line separating that country from Afghanistan, which the Obama Administration made clear from the outset would be the central theatre of its military campaign. The CIA’s mission there is plain: not simply to collect intelligence on a hostile (military) force, but to target and eliminate it. We see that under the current transformation under taken by CIA; the proxy Pakistan is finding itself abruptly abandoned and its financial support curtailed.
OBL Abbotabad raid operation is one such example where CIA carried out operation without the information of her proxy Pakistan. The target OBL was not taken as prisoner but was killed cold blooded with the aim to escape the allegations which would follow in the run of his case in courts or of detaining him in Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp etc. On spot killing was done on the behest of US President Obama who was in direct contact with the Raiding Seals team on live video links. Here even a President is an accomplice to a cold blooded killing of a person who was not armed.
Such efforts have nothing to do with the CIA that was born under the National Security Act of 1947. The Agency has adopted responsibilities that were formerly the preserve of the uniformed military. “We’re seeing the CIA turn into more of a paramilitary organization without the oversight and accountability that we traditionally expect of the military.” Says Hina Shamsi former UN advisor on Extra Judicial killings.
Supposedly; the American military is trained to operate under the laws of armed conflict. It has professional officers sworn to ensure adherence to those laws, and a Uniform Code of Military Justice that provides a tool for enforcement. The CIA has no such checks. In fact, its culture has for decades been built on the notion that it operates outside of the laws of war.
The Agency’s transformation points to changes in the inner dynamics of the American national security establishment and its relationship to government. Institutions grow out of their initial boundaries and assume previously forbidden functions via a process of aggressive self-assertion. Such shifts — and the hundred-billion-dollar commitments of public resources that they entail — were once subject to public discussion and congressional deliberation. Not so in the unconstrained national-security state that is one of the most deeply entrenched legacies of 9/11.