2013 - 2015

Materials arranged chronologically.

Erwin, Marshall Curtis. Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 10 Apr. 2013. Available at:

"Senior U.S. intelligence community officials have conceded that the line separating Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and DOD intelligence activities has blurred, making it more difficult to distinguish between the traditional secret intelligence missions carried out by each."

Mazzetti, Mark. "New Terror Strategy Shifts C.I.A. Focus Back to Spying." New York Times, 23 May 2013. []

"[U]nder a new plan outlined by the Obama administration on [23 May 2013], the [CIA's] Counterterrorism Center over time would cease to be the hub of America's targeted killing operations in Pakistan, Yemen and other places where presidents might choose to wage war in the future." CIA Director John O. Brennan "is trying to shift the C.I.A.'s focus back toward traditional spying and strategic analysis, but that is not an easy task.... Some American officials and outside experts believe it could take years for a spy agency that has evolved into a paramilitary service to rebalance its activities....

"[A]dministration officials said ... that some drone operations would shift to the Pentagon, particularly those in Yemen, where the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command is already running a parallel drone program. And, they said, the 'preference' for the future is for all drone operations to be run by the Defense Department.... While C.I.A. officers and analysts will continue to play a role in any drone operations run by the Pentagon, the White House plan is for the Defense Department to assume control over all drone operations in less than two years."

Miller, Greg. "Lawmakers Seek to Stymie Plan to Shift Control of Drone Campaign from CIA to Pentagon." Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2014. []

According to U.S. officials, a measure included in the classified annex to the federal budget plan, which details funding for U.S. spy agencies, "would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon.... The provision represents an unusually direct intervention by lawmakers into the way covert operations are run, impeding an administration plan aimed at returning the CIA's focus to traditional intelligence gathering and possibly bringing more transparency to drone strikes."

Bennett, John T. "Analysis: Defense Clandestine Service Is Here To Stay." Defense News, 12 Feb. 2014. []

"Senior US officials and lawmakers are sending new signals that a fledgling cadre of military spies is a done deal, despite no real substantive public debate. The Pentagon last year proposed creation of the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS), saying the military needed its own team of spies to gather human intelligence across the globe.... [D]espite unresolved questions about operational and budgetary redundancy, Congress rubber-stamped the Pentagon's plans. And by approving the Defense Department plans as included in its last budget request, so did President Barack Obama."

Hirsh, Michael. "Washington's Drone Wars." National Journal Magazine, 22 Feb. 2014. []

"It's been more than a year since incoming CIA Director John Brennan signaled his intention to shift drone warfare to the Pentagon.... And President Obama endorsed his plan..., according to administration officials. But a funny thing happened.... According to intelligence experts and some powerful friends of the CIA on Capitol Hill,... the agency may simply be much better than the military at killing people in a targeted, precise way -- and, above all, at ensuring that the bad guys they're getting are really bad guys.... [T]he Pentagon's most recent botched hit in Yemen,... pointed up problems with the military-run program that have long worried detractors."

Miller, Greg. "Pentagon's Plans for a Spy Service to Rival the CIA Have Been Pared Back." Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2014. []

According tocurrent and former U.S. officials, Defense Department "has scaled back its plan to assemble an overseas spy service that could have rivaled the CIA in size, backing away from a project that faced opposition from lawmakers who questioned its purpose and cost.... Under the revised blueprint, the Defense Intelligence Agency will train and deploy up to 500 undercover officers, roughly half the size of the espionage network envisioned two years ago when the formation of the Defense Clandestine Service was announced."

Lamothe, Dan. "Mike Vickers, Longtime Senior Intelligence Official and Former CIA Strategist, to leave Pentagon." Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2015. []

The Defense Department said on 19 March 2015 that Michael G. Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, plans to step down from his post.... He has held the position since 2011.... [H]is departure ... is expected at the end of April."

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