Analysis: Why were CIA assassination squads canceled?



Despite all the razzmatazz surrounding the rumored secret CIA plan to set up assassination squads, several questions remain unanswered. IntelNews is among a number of websites that believe that something in the entire controversy doesn’t add up. The fact is, as I have mentioned before, the ongoing strikes by US unmanned drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan effectively amount to

deliberate assassinations of suspected terrorists, which are planned and implemented outside the framework of even elementary judicial oversight. Regardless of one’s feelings about terrorism, the democratic process […] explicitly forbids the circumvention of longstanding legal norms, which specify concrete judicial means of arrest, detention, trial and punishment of accused criminals.

So, if it is the case that the CIA is already following a policy of targeted assassinations –which often result in indiscriminate murder of civilians– then why all the fuss about the CIA assassination squad revelations? Moreover, why was the project reportedly canceled? Writing for The Los Angeles Times, Greg Miller provides a possible explanation. He cites “current and former US intelligence officials” who claim that the CIA found it impossible to solve even basic logistical requirements behind the project, such as “how to get [the assassination] teams close to their targets” and even “how to extract them safely” after carrying out their mission. It was therefore, Miller claims, logistical, not ethical reasons that led to the project’s purported termination. Miller also points to a crucial tactical aspect of the entire controversy, which is that, if true, the assassination squad revelations indicate an attempt by the CIA to “develop its own elite paramilitary teams”. The idea behind this effort is for the teams to reside fully within the CIA structure, thus enabling the US government to “deny involvement if a team were exposed or captured”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

3 Responses to Analysis: Why were CIA assassination squads canceled?

  1. Archie1954 says:

    What a joke (not haha) to mention ethics and CIA in one sentence. Don’t you know their mutually exclusive?

  2. B2School says:

    What is a joke is the way you simplistically bundle all of the CIA’s history and personnel together in your pointless note. As with every organisation, the CIA has ethical and unethical sides, ethical and unethical people.

  3. Archie1954 says:

    Really, if that’s the case how is it that we have so many years of duplicity emanating from that one organization? I personally believe it’s because the activity of the CIA is totally duplicitous, immoral and unethical as is any spy agency.

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