CIA-DNI turf war enters new phase

Dennis Blair

The CIA may have won a lengthy turf battle against the office of the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but the war between the two agencies continues. As intelNews reported last July, the dispute started when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still-classified directive that his office, and not the CIA, as has been the case for over 60 years, should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of senior US intelligence representatives in foreign cities. A few days ago, when the White House finally came down in favor of the CIA, the imbroglio appeared to be ending. But now the DNI has hit back by announcing it will be evaluating all “[s]ensitive CIA operations overseas” including all of the CIA’s active paramilitary and espionage operations abroad. According to The Los Angeles Times, which carried the story on Tuesday, the surprise move “marks an attempt by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to assert greater authority over clandestine operations at a time of mounting bureaucratic frictions between the CIA and Blair’s office”. It’s nice to see that the CIA and DNI have their hands full with important procedural business, instead of worrying about side issues, like safeguarding US national security.

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

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