CIA asks its case officers to focus more on security in ‘unusual’ message


IN A MESSAGE DESCRIBED by observers as “unusual”, the United States Central Intelligence Agency has warned its case officers to give priority to security when recruiting spies in foreign countries. Fictional treatments of espionage work usually refer to CIA personnel as “spies”. In real-life espionage work, however, this term is actually reserved for citizens of foreign countries who are recruited by CIA case officers to work as informants.

According to The New York Times, large numbers of these foreign CIA informants have been “captured or killed” in recent years. The number is reportedly so high that the CIA’s counterintelligence mission center sent “an unusual top secret cable” last week to every CIA station around the world, drawing attention to that fact. The cable was unusual in its candor and even went so far as to relay the precise number of informants who had been captured, killed or compromised in recent times. According to the paper, the cable made specific mention of informants who were neutralized in countries such as Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia.

The top-secret cable continued by highlighting the importance of placing security at the center of the CIA’s mission, especially when recruiting new informants, said The Times. Case officers —personnel in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, whose job is to recruit foreigners— are expected to recruit with consistency, and are promoted based on that consistency. But the top-secret cable “reminded CIA case officers to focus not just on recruiting sources, but also on security issues, including vetting informants and evading adversarial intelligence services”, according to The Times. The paper added that the language in the cable implied that CIA case officers have often underestimated the agency’s adversaries abroad.

The Times said it reached out to the CIA with questions about the top-secret memo, but “a CIA spokeswoman declined to comment”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 07 October 2021 | Research credit: J.S. | Permalink

5 Responses to CIA asks its case officers to focus more on security in ‘unusual’ message

  1. xenonman says:

    Do these informants merit a star on Langley’s “Wall of Death” ?

  2. Mike S Goodmann says:

    Unfortunately, the CIA’s methods of recruiting and hiring personnel are so screwed up that the mediocrities who make up many CIA officers are indeed likely to make errors of this type!

  3. Chess Tauren says:

    CIA has always treated foreign informants as disposable. What’s different today is the failure in Afghanistan made Americans realize that lack the hired spies simply do not trust to be protected by USA. They will simply turn coats at the earliest opportunity.

  4. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Reading between the lines of this Report results in a sickening feeling like “a kind of Kim Philby moment” – Is there a high level Mole in Langley or at a Major foreign CIA base ??

  5. Justin says:

    It’s difficult to imagine that so many people all suddenly became incompetent at the minimum requirement of their Job. This cable was sent out with other intent I suspect. It’s that there may be a mole involved or several. It also could be some kind of cyber exploit.

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