Bush Orders CIA Paramilitary Review
President Bush has ordered a 90-day review of the feasibility of the Pentagon taking over responsibility for paramilitary operations now conducted by the CIA, senior Pentagon and administration officials told CNN Tuesday. The proposal was one of the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks. Several senior Pentagon officials said the move was unlikely to happen and that the review’s sole purpose was to demonstrate that the Bush Administration is taking the commission recommendations seriously.
An administration official said Bush ordered the review last week and declined comment when asked about the likelihood of the transfer. The official said the study would involve the offices of the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Defense Department and the State Department.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been unenthusiastic about making any change, as have several senior military officials.
For a variety of political and bureaucratic reasons, this likely won’t happen. It’s a shame, though. The CIA needs a Directorate of Operations to handle spying but the relationship between paramilitary operations and “intelligence” is one that has never seemed to mix well. Indeed, the predecessor of that CIA function, the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) came under the purview of the Joint Chiefs.