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National Clandestine Service

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The National Clandestine Service (NCS) (formerly known as the Directorate of Operations) is one of the four main components of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

. Created in 2005, the NCS "serves as the clandestine arm of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the national authority for the coordination, de-confliction, and evaluation of clandestine operations across the Intelligence Community of the United States". The current Director of the NCS is John D. Bennett.

Creation of the National Clandestine Service


In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, a report by the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the United States Intelligence Community—the agencies and bureaus of the federal government of the United States who provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. The...

 and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is a committee of the United States House of Representatives, currently chaired by Mike Rogers. It is the primary committee in the U.S...

 and the 9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

 released by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
9/11 Commission
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was set up on November 27, 2002, "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks", including preparedness for and the immediate response to...

 identified serious shortcomings in the HUMINT capabilities of the US Intelligence Community ranging from the lack of qualified linguists to the lack of information sharing within the IC. These efforts resulted in the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 , , is a 236-page Act of Congress, signed by President George W. Bush, that broadly affects US federal terrorism laws. In juxtaposition with the single-subject rule, the act is composed of several separate titles with varying subject...

 in 2004 which created the position of the Director of National Intelligence and tasked the CIA Director with developing a "strategy for improving the human intelligence and other capabilities of the Agency.".

Going even further, in 2004, Senator Pat Roberts
Pat Roberts
Charles Patrick "Pat" Roberts is the senior United States Senator from Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he has served since 1997...

, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the United States Intelligence Community—the agencies and bureaus of the federal government of the United States who provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. The...

, drafted the 9/11 National Security Protection Act in which he proposed that the Directorate of Operations be removed from the CIA and established as an independent agency known as the National Clandestine Service. The creation of the National Clandestine Service was also recommended by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the "WMD Commission"
Iraq Intelligence Commission
The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction is a panel created by Executive Order 13328 signed by U.S. President George W. Bush in February 2004...

. The investigation by the WMD Commission
Iraq Intelligence Commission
The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction is a panel created by Executive Order 13328 signed by U.S. President George W. Bush in February 2004...

 found that HUMINT
HUMINT
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

 capabilities had been severely degraded since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and were ill-suited to targeting non-state actors such as terrorist organizations. The WMD Commission
Iraq Intelligence Commission
The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction is a panel created by Executive Order 13328 signed by U.S. President George W. Bush in February 2004...

 also noted that HUMINT
HUMINT
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

 operations were poorly coordinated between the various federal entities who conducted them and encouraged the development of better methods of validating human sources, in light of the revelations about the source known as Curveball
Curveball (informant)
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi , known by the Central Intelligence Agency cryptonym "Curveball", is an Iraqi citizen who defected from Iraq in 1999, claiming that he had worked as a chemical engineer at a plant that manufactured mobile biological weapon laboratories as part of an Iraqi weapons of mass...

.

Beginning its study of the Intelligence Community in 1995, a non-governmental group [no name cited], which included former Director of the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 Lieutenant General William Odom
William Eldridge Odom
William Eldridge Odom was a retired U.S. Army 3-star general, and former Director of the NSA under President Ronald Reagan, which culminated a 31 year career in military intelligence, mainly specializing in matters relating to the Soviet Union...

, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

 Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster
Harry E. Soyster
Harry Edward Soyster is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General.-Overview:He served as the Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command . Upon promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, Soyster served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at...

, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

 and current Director of National Intelligence Lieutenant General James Clapper
James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and is currently the Director of National Intelligence. He was previously dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alongside the position...

, and former General Counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 and the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, issued a report, first in 1997 and in an updated form in 2002, which recommended the creation of the National Clandestine Service.

The CIA announced the creation of the National Clandestine Service in a press release on October 13, 2005. Contrary to Senator Roberts' proposal, the National Clandestine Service would be a component of the CIA, rather than an independent executive branch agency.

Historical Predecessors of the NCS


The Directorate of Operations (DO) was the branch of the CIA that ran covert operations and recruited foreign agents. The DO reportedly employed 1,000–2,000 people and was headed by a deputy director for operations (DDO). This directorate consisted of, among other subdivisions, a unit for political and economic covert action (the Covert Action Staff, or CAS), for paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 (PM) covert action (the Special Operations
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

 unit), for counterintelligence (the CI staff, or CIS]), and for several geographic desks responsible for the collection of foreign intelligence. It was created August 1, 1952, as the Directorate of Plans and was renamed the Directorate of Operations on March 1, 1973.

The Directorate of Operations also housed special groups for conducting counterterrorism and counternarcotics
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

, for tracking nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

, and other tasks. Administrated by the DO, the paramilitary (PM) operations officers from the legendary Special Operations Group or (SOG) are maintained in the elite Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 (SAD). They are highly skilled in weaponry; covert transport of personnel and material by air, sea, and land; guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

; the use of explosives; assassination and sabotage; and escape and evasion techniques. They are prepared to respond quickly to myriad possible needs, from parachute drops and communications support to assistance with counter narcotics operations and defector infiltration. Special Activities maintains a symbiotic relationship with the Joint Special Operations Command, and is run largely by former members of JSOC. SAD/SOG is one of three special missions units. The other two are Delta
Delta Force
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

 and SEAL team six.

In the 2003 book, Special OPS: America's elite forces in 21st century combat, the author states:
"Highly classified, the SAD is regarded as the preeminent special operations unit in the world. Members are the elite of the elite; "the best period." This results from the sources from which the organization recruits its members: Special missions unit
Special Mission Unit
A Special Mission Unit , in the United States Armed Forces, is a Tier-One United States Special Operations Command asset. Under the control of the Joint Special Operations Command, they are specially selected and designated units which are tasked with "special missions", sometimes referring to...

s (SMUs); such as Delta Force
Delta Force
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

 and NSWDG (United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group , commonly known as DEVGRU and informally by its former name SEAL Team Six , is one of the United States' four secretive counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units .The vast majority of information about DEVGRU is highly classified, and...

)..."


For special operations missions and its other responsibilities, the Special Operations staff attempted to recruit people with the appropriate specialized skills, although the geographic desks remain the principal units involved in the recruitment of personnel in so-called denied areas (Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, etc.). Special operations also provided special air, ground, maritime and training support for the Agency's intelligence gathering operations.

The DO has been subject to harsh criticism in the media, and due to its covert and independent nature did not, or could not, effectively respond. Its capabilities had been in decline since the public outcry resulting from the revelations of highly questionable actvities by the Church Committee
Church Committee
The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

. Furthermore, the DO fought frequent "turf" battles amongst the Executive Branch bureaucracies, most prominently with the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

, State Department and the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

. This was one of the principal reasons that the NCS was formed.

Organization


The current structure of the National Clandestine Service, under the Director of the NCS, is as follows, according to the Official CIA Organizational Chart:
  • Deputy Director of the NCS
    • Counterproliferation Division
    • Counterterrorism Center
      Counterterrorist Center
      The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Counterterrorism Center was established in 1986. It is not to be confused with the National Counterterrorism Center, a separate entity.-Foundation and early years:...

    • Counterintelligence Center
    • Regional & Transnational Issues Divisions
    • Technology Support Divisions
  • Deputy Director of the NCS for Community HUMINT
    • Community HUMINT Coordination Center


A major headquarters element was the Counterintelligence Staff, most powerful when headed by James Jesus Angleton
James Jesus Angleton
James Jesus Angleton was chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's counterintelligence staff from 1954 to 1975...

. It was the principal US organization responsible for vetting potential new clandestine HUMINT assets
Clandestine HUMINT
Clandestine HUMINT includes a wide range of espionage sources. This includes the classic spy who collects intelligence, but also couriers and other personnel, who handle their secure communications...

, and for US offensive counterespionage and deception.

Under an assortment of names, such as Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

, there is a paramilitary function that may enter and prepare an area of operations before United States Army Special Forces
United States Army Special Forces
The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and...

 enter in a more overt military role. This may or may not include psychological operations, especially black propaganda
Black propaganda
Black propaganda is false information and material that purports to be from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. It is typically used to vilify, embarrass or misrepresent the enemy...

; paramilitary and psychological functions have split and joined under various historical reorganizations.

Various groups provide support services, such as cover documentation and disguise. A technical services unit, sometimes in the clandestine division and occasionally in the Directorate of Science and Technology, contained both espionage equipment development and sometimes questionable research, such as the MKULTRA mind control program.

NCS Officers


The National Clandestine Service consists of six different types of officers :

Below are brief descriptions of these six types of officers. For a more detailed description, visit the CIA website.

1) Operations Officers:

Operations Officers (OOs) are focused full time on clandestinely spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting, and handling individuals with access to vital foreign intelligence on the full range of national security issues.

2) Collection Management Officers:

Core Collector-certified Collection Management Officers (CMOs) oversee and facilitate the collection, evaluation, classification, and dissemination of foreign intelligence developed from clandestine sources. CMOs play a critical role in ensuring that foreign intelligence collected by clandestine sources is relevant, timely, and addresses the highest foreign policy and national security needs of the nation.

3) Staff Operations Officers:

Based out of CIA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Staff Operations Officers (SOOs) plan, guide and support intelligence collection operations, counterintelligence activities and covert action programs.

4) Targeting Officers:

Officers in this career track will directly support and drive complex worldwide NCS operations to develop actionable intelligence against the highest priority threats to U.S. national security.

5) Paramilitary Operations Officers:

Qualified candidates can expect to focus on intelligence operations and activities for U.S. policymakers in hazardous and austere overseas environments.

The National Clandestine Service's primary action arm is the Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 (SAD), which conducts direct action
Direct action (military)
In the context of military special operations, direct action consists of: "Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and which employ specialized military capabilities to seize, destroy,...

-like raids, ambushes, sabotage, assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

s, unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare is used to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing...

 (e.g. training and leading guerrillas), and deniable psychological operations, the latter also known as "covert influence." While special reconnaissance
Special reconnaissance
Special reconnaissance is conducted by small units of highly trained military personnel, usually from special forces units or military intelligence organisations, who operate behind enemy lines, avoiding direct combat and detection by the enemy. As a role, SR is distinct from commando operations,...

 may be either a military or intelligence operation, these usually are executed by SAD officers in denied areas. Paramilitary operations officers are chosen mainly from the ranks of: the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group , commonly known as DEVGRU and informally by its former name SEAL Team Six , is one of the United States' four secretive counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units .The vast majority of information about DEVGRU is highly classified, and...

 and other SEAL teams; the U.S. Army's Combat Applications Group
Delta Force
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

 (Delta Force), Army special forces, and U.S. Army Rangers; the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations battalions (MARSOC); and the Air Force Combat Controllers and Air Force Pararescuemen. SAD operatives are the most specialized because they combine the best special operations and clandestine intelligence (spy) capabilities in one individual. They operate in any environment (sea, air, or ground) and with limited to no support. They originate in the Special Operations Group (SOG) of SAD, considered one of the most elite special operations units in the world. Paramilitary operations officers are the primary recipients of the coveted Distinguished Intelligence Cross
Distinguished Intelligence Cross
The Distinguished Intelligence Cross is awarded by the Central Intelligence Agency for "a voluntary act or acts of extraordinary heroism involving the acceptance of existing dangers with conspicuous fortitude and exemplary courage." This award is the CIA's equivalent to the Medal of Honor and like...

 and the Intelligence Star
Intelligence Star
The Intelligence Star is an award given by the Central Intelligence Agency for a "voluntary act or acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk." The award citation is from the Director...

, the two highest medals for valor in the CIA. Not surprisingly, the majority of those memorialized on the Wall of Honor at CIA headquarters were covert operatives.

6) NCS Language Officers

Performing a critical and dynamic function within the National Clandestine Service (NCS), the Language Officer applies advanced foreign language skills, experience, and expertise to provide high-quality translation, interpretation, and language-related support for a variety of NCS clandestine operations.

Covert action


A covert action
Covert operation
A covert operation is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation...

 is defined as "an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly". A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation
Clandestine operation
A clandestine operation is an intelligence or military operation carried out in such a way that the operation goes unnoticed.The United States Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms defines "clandestine operation" as "An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental...

 in that emphasis is placed on concealment of the identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.

Covert operations include paramilitary and psychological activities. See Psychological Operations (United States)
Psychological Operations (United States)
Psychological operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.The purpose of United States...

 for a more general discussion of US psychological operations, including those operations for which the CIA is responsible and those that belong to other agencies.

Executive Order 12333 bans assassinations by persons employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government.

Clandestine Collection of HUMINT


Legal Authorities

A number of statutes, executive orders, and directives assign the task of conducting HUMINT
HUMINT
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

 operations to the CIA:

1) By federal statute, the Director of the CIA is tasked with the collection of intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means.

2) Executive Order 12333
Executive Order 12333
On December 4, 1981 President Ronald Reagan signedExecutive Order 12333,an Executive Order intended toextend powers and responsibilities of US intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S...

 states that:

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency shall coordinate the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence collected through human sources or through human-enabled means and counterintelligence activities outside the United States.

3) National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 5 (NSCID 5) provides that:

The Director of Central Intelligence shall conduct all organized Federal espionage operations outside the United States and its possessions for the collection of foreign intelligence information required to meet the needs of all Departments and Agencies concerned, in connection with the national security, except for certain agreed activities by other Departments and Agencies.

4) Intelligence Community Directive Number 340 designates the Director of the CIA as the National HUMINT
HUMINT
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

 Manager.

Tradecraft

Techniques for the clandestine collection of HUMINT
HUMINT
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

 are collectively known as tradecraft
Tradecraft
Tradecraft is a general term that denotes a skill acquired through experience in a trade.The term is also used within the intelligence community as a collective word for the techniques used in modern espionage...

. A discussion of many of these techniques can be found at Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques
Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques
The Clandestine HUMINT page deals with the functions of that discipline, including espionage and active counterintelligence. This page deals with Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques, also called "tradecraft". It applies to clandestine operations for espionage, and for a clandestine phase...

.

Very few statutes and publicly available regulations deal specifically with clandestine HUMINT techniques. One such statute forbids the use of journalists as agents unless the President of the United States makes the written determination to waive this restriction based on the "overriding national security interest of the United States.". In the Intelligence Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2002, Congress directed the CIA Director to rescind what Congress viewed as overly restrictive guidelines regarding the recruitment of foreign assets who had a record of human rights violations.

Camp Peary
Camp Peary
Camp Peary is a military reservation in York County near Williamsburg, Virginia. Officially it is referred to as the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity under the auspices of the Department of Defense, but it is widely believed to be the location of a covert CIA training facility known...

, often referred to as "The Farm", near Williamsburg, Virginia is purportedly a CIA training facility for clandestine operatives.

Clandestine technical collection


The Agency also may be responsible for developing communications systems appropriate for clandestine operations. In 1962, the Central Intelligence Agency, Deputy Directorate for Research (now the Deputy Directorate for Science and Technology), formally took on ELINT and COMINT responsibilities. "The consolidation of the ELINT program was one of the major goals of the reorganization... it is responsible for:
  • ELINT support peculiar to the penetration problems associated with the Agent's reconnaissance program under NRO.
  • Maintain a quick reaction capability for ELINT and COMINT equipment."


"CIA's Office of Research and Development was formed to stimulate research and innovation testing leading to the exploitation of non-agent intelligence collection methods....All non-agent technical collection systems will be considered by this office and those appropriate for field deployment will be so deployed. The Agency's missile detection system, Project [deleted] based on backscatter radar is an example. This office will also provide integrated systems analysis of all possible collection methods against the Soviet antiballistic missile program is an example."

Sometimes in cooperation with technical personnel at other agencies such as NSA when the collection discipline is SIGINT
SIGINT
Signals intelligence is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether between people , whether involving electronic signals not directly used in communication , or combinations of the two...

, or DIA when the techniques come MASINT, or other appropriate agencies such as the United States Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

 for nuclear information, CIA may work to place technical collection equipment in denied territory. They have also cooperated in placing such equipment into US embassies. Emplacing and servicing such equipment is another form of clandestine operation, of which the adversary should not be aware.These include:
  • Research, development, testing, and production of ELINT and COMINT collection equipment for all Agency operations.
  • Technical operation and maintenance of CIA deployed non-agent ELINT systems.
  • Training and maintenance of agent ELINT equipments
  • Technical support to the Third Party Agreements.
  • Data reduction of Agency-collected ELINT signals.


See MASINT from clandestinely placed sensors. CIA took on a more distinct MASINT responsibility in 1987. The National Security Archive commented, "In 1987, Deputy Director for Science and Technology Evan Hineman established... a new Office for Special Projects. concerned not with satellites, but with emplaced sensors – sensors that could be placed in a fixed location to collect signals intelligence or measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) about a specific target. Such sensors had been used to monitor Chinese missile tests, Soviet laser activity, military movements, and foreign nuclear programs. The office was established to bring together scientists from the DS&T’s Office of SIGINT Operations, who designed such systems, with operators from the Directorate of Operations, who were responsible for transporting the devices to their clandestine locations and installing them".

Overt HUMINT


In addition they may produce HUMINT from overt sources, such as voluntary interviews with travelers, businesspeople, etc. Some of the latter may be considered open source intelligence OSINT and be performed by other agencies, just as reports from diplomats are another form of HUMINT that flows into the Department of State.

At times, this function may be assigned to CIA, because its counter-intelligence
Counter-intelligence
Counterintelligence or counter-intelligence refers to efforts made by intelligence organizations to prevent hostile or enemy intelligence organizations from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence against them. National intelligence programs, and, by extension, the overall defenses of...

 staff has biographical indexes that let them check the background of foreign citizens offering information. For example, there may be a name check on a business or scientific contact who meets either with CIA representatives or staff of the National Open Source Enterprise
National Open Source Enterprise
The National Open Source Enterprise is a United States Government organization that was established by Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Open Source , Eliot A...


Approval of clandestine and covert operations


The Directorate of Plans (DDP) was created in 1952, taking control of the Office of Policy Coordination
Office of Policy Coordination
The Office of Policy Coordination was a United States covert psychological operations and paramilitary action organization. Created as an independent office in 1948, it was merged with the Central Intelligence Agency in 1951....

, a covert action group that received services from the CIA but did not go through the CIA management. The other main unit that went into the Directorate of Plans was the Office of Special Operations, which did clandestine intelligence collection (e.g., espionage) as opposed to covert action.

Approval of clandestine and covert operations came from a variety of committees, although in the early days of quasi-autonomous offices and the early DDP, there was more internal authority to approve operations. After its creation in the Truman Administration
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

, the CIA was, at first, the financial manager for OPC and OSO, authorized to handle "unvouchered funds" by National Security Council document 4-A of December 1947, the launching of peacetime covert action operations. NSC 4-A made the Director of Central Intelligence responsible for psychological warfare, establishing at the same time the principle that covert action was an exclusively Executive Branch function.

Early autonomy of OPC


At first, the supervision by committee allowed the OPC to exercise
"early use of its new covert action mandate dissatisfied officials at the Departments of State and Defense. The Department of State, believing this role too important to be left to the CIA alone and concerned that the military might create a new rival covert action office in the Pentagon, pressed to reopen the issue of where responsibility for covert action activities should reside. Consequently, on June 18, 1948, a new NSC directive, NSC 10/2, superseded NSC 4-A.


NSC 10/2 directed CIA to conduct "covert" rather than merely "psychological" operations, defining them as all activities "which are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them".


NSC 10/2 defined the scope of these operations as: "propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberations groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world. Such operations should not include armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations."

Guerrilla warfare was outside this statement of scope, but such operations came under partial CIA control with NSC 10/5 of October 1951. See "Psychological Strategy Board" below. To implement covert actions under NSC 10/2, OPC was created on September 1, 1948. Its initial structure had it taking "guidance from the Department of State in peacetime and from the military in wartime, initially had direct access to the State Department and to the military without having to proceed through CIA's administrative hierarchy, provided the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was informed of all important projects and decisions. In 1950 this arrangement was modified to ensure that policy guidance came to OPC through the DCI. During the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 the OPC grew quickly. Wartime commitments and other missions soon made covert action the most expensive and bureaucratically prominent of CIA's activities.

"Concerned about this situation, DCI Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith was a senior United States Army general who served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief of staff at Allied Forces Headquarters during the Tunisia Campaign and the Allied invasion of Italy...

 in early 1951 asked the NSC for enhanced policy guidance and a ruling on the proper "scope and magnitude" of CIA operations. The White House responded with two initiatives. In April 1951 President Truman created the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) under the NSC to coordinate government-wide psychological warfare strategy."


Putting special operations under a "psychological" organization paralleled the military's development of United States Army Special Forces
United States Army Special Forces
The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and...

, which was created by a Pentagon unit called the Psychological Warfare Division. "NSC 10/5, issued in October 1951, reaffirmed the covert action mandate given in NSC 10/2 and expanded CIA's authority over guerrilla warfare" The PSB was soon abolished by the incoming Eisenhower administration, but the expansion of CIA's covert action writ in NSC 10/5 helped ensure that covert action would remain a major function of the Agency.

As the Truman administration ended, CIA was near the peak of its independence and authority in the field of covert action. Although CIA continued to seek and receive advice on specific projects ...no group or officer outside of the DCI and the President himself had authority to order, approve, manage, or curtail operations.

Increasing control by CIA management



After Smith, who was Eisenhower's World War II Chief of Staff
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

, consolidated of OSO, OPC, and CIA in 1952, the Eisenhower administration began narrowing CIA's latitude in 1954. In accordance with a series of National Security Council directives, the responsibility of the Director of Central Intelligence for the conduct of covert operations was further clarified. President Eisenhower approved NSC 5412 on March 15, 1954, reaffirming the Central Intelligence Agency's responsibility for conducting covert actions abroad". A series of committees, containing reprresentatives from State, Defense, CIA, and sometimes the White House or NSC, reviewed operations. Over time and reorganizations, these committees were called the Operations Coordinating Board
Operations Coordinating Board
The Operations Coordinating Board was a committee of the United States Executive created in 1953 by President Eisenhower's Executive Order 10483...

 (OCB), NSC 5412/2 Special Group or simply Special Group, Special Group (Augmented), 303 Committee, and Special Group (Counterinsurgency).

Controversy


Former Director of the NCS Jose Rodriguez was criticized for his role in the 2005 CIA interrogation tapes destruction
2005 CIA interrogation tapes destruction
The CIA interrogation tapes destruction occurred on November 9, 2005. The videotapes were made by the United States Central Intelligence Agency during interrogations of Al-Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002 at a CIA black site prison in Thailand.. 90 tapes were made of...

.

See also

  • CIA operations
  • Intelligence Community
    Intelligence community
    Intelligence community may refer to* Bangladeshi intelligence community* Croatian intelligence community * Israeli intelligence community* Italian intelligence community, see SISMI...

  • Special Operations
    Special operations
    Special operations are military operations that are considered "special" .Special operations are typically performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does...

  • "Wild Bill" Donovan
    William Joseph Donovan
    William Joseph Donovan was a United States soldier, lawyer and intelligence officer, best remembered as the wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services...

  • Office of Strategic Services
    Office of Strategic Services
    The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

  • Church Commission
    Church Committee
    The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

  • Special Activities Division
    Special Activities Division
    The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...


Sources



External links