News you may have missed #818 (USA edition)

Osama bin LadenBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►The real-life female CIA officer who helped track bin Laden. The Washington Post has a good article on the real-life career of a female CIA officer who helped the Agency track al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. It is disappointing, however that the article, authored by Greg Miller and Toby Warrick, is headlined “In Zero Dark Thirty she’s the hero; in real life, CIA agent’s career is more complicated”. The CIA employee in question is not an “agent”; she is an officer. In the CIA, agents are assets, people recruited and handled by CIA officers. Amazing that The Post, with its experienced journalists and editors would confuse such a basic operational distinction.
►►US spy agencies to detail cyber-attacks from abroad. The US intelligence community is nearing completion of its first detailed review of cyber-spying against American targets from abroad, including an attempt to calculate US financial losses from hacker attacks based in China. The National Intelligence Estimate, the first involving cyber-espionage, will also seek to determine how large a role the Chinese government plays in directing or coordinating digital attacks aimed at stealing US intellectual property, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a classified undertaking.
►►CIA begins LGBT recruiting. As part of the CIA’s efforts to diversify its workforce, the spy agency is reaching out to a group that once was unable to get security clearance: lesbians and gay men. CIA officials have held a networking event for the Miami gay community sponsored by the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the CIA. “This is the first time we’ve done a networking event of this type with any of the gay and lesbian chamber of commerces in the United States,” says Michael Barber, a self-identified “straight ally” and the spy agency’s LGBT Community Outreach and Liaison program manager.

3 Responses to News you may have missed #818 (USA edition)

  1. S says:

    I do find it strange that even now the media fails to see the difference between an agent and an officer when it comes to intelligence. I attribute this mainly to the fact that the media has to cater to the average reader, who thinks ‘agents’ are operatives of the federal government (i.e. FBI agents) and ‘officers’ work in police departments.

    Additionally, I wonder what exactly a ‘targeter’ does — I was under the impression that case (operations) officers both targeted and recruited assets. I thought that ‘targeters’ were DI/NCS analysts who targeted people for recruiting (or assassination) from Langley, not from stations (the Washington Post article reports that this female targeter at one point worked out of the Islamabad Station)…

  2. Peter says:

    I find it unamazing that a newspaper article written for the general public refers to a CIA employee as an agent, since an agent is the representitive of an agency, or one who represents or provides a service for another. The distinction between agent and officer is a lot more important inside the Agency than outside.

  3. intelNews says:

    @S: You are absolutely right about the questionable terminology for both ‘agent’ and ‘targeter’ in the Washington Post article. There may be some explanation for the latter, in that the post and description may have been created specifically for the CIA’s bin Laden Unit. Broadly speaking, however, there is nothing worse than a news article on an interesting subject that has its credibility weakened by the use of erroneous terminology. [IA]

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