News you may have missed #524 (analysis edition)

  • US intelligence shift shows change in Afghan war aims. American military intelligence officers were scrambling a year ago to collect and analyze the social, economic and tribal ins and outs of each valley and hamlet in Afghanistan. But the gradual scaling back of US operations (and ambitions) in Afghanistan is driving a shift away from that labor-intensive attention to detail. Now targeting insurgent leaders and their close support networks is seen as an important part of the US exit strategy (some would call this settling old scores before the US leaves the area).
  • Ex-CIA officer questions West’s motives in Syria. The European and American intervention in Syria is designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel and Lebanese Christians, not Syrian people, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer with direct experience in the region.
  • Will new CIA director rein in the drone war? When General David Petraeus takes heads to the CIA, he’ll put “relentless pressure” against al-Qaida, he told senators last week. But in a rare public discussion of the CIA’s drone war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Petraeus suggested it may not be his first counterterrorism option.

News you may have missed #494

  • David Petraeus tipped to be new CIA director. The Obama administration may tap CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. If this happens, then General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, may take over Panetta’s job at the CIA.
  • Reuters denies bureau chief had CIA contacts. The Reuters news agency has denied an accusation made on Cuban state television that its bureau chief Anthony Boadle helped arrange a meeting between an undercover Cuban agent and a US diplomat described as a CIA operative.
  • UK court grants Russian ‘spy’ aid to fight deportation. Katia Zatuliveter, who is accused by Britain’s MI5 of spying for Russia, has won legal aid to help fight her case against deportation, according to news reports.

CIA Director acknowledges, defends drone strikes in Pakistan

CIA Director Leon Panetta made an extremely rare public acknowledgement of the CIA unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan, while speaking recently before the Pacific Council on International Policy. Panetta was speaking in reaction to a May 17 article in The New York Times by David Kilcullen, former counterinsurgency adviser to US Army General David Petraeus, and Center for a New American Security fellow Andrew Exum. Kilcullen and Exum joined intelNews in its March 15 condemnation of the illegal and counterproductive CIA airstrikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have killed hundreds of civilians in recent months. Read more of this post

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