US Seeks to Rein in Its Military Spy Teams
By Greg Miller
The Los Angeles Times
Monday 18 December 2006
Washington - U.S. Special Forces teams sent overseas on secret spying missions have clashed with the CIA and carried out operations in countries that are staunch U.S. allies, prompting a push for tighter rules for military units engaged in espionage, according to senior U.S. intelligence and military officials.
The spy missions are part of a highly classified program that officials say has better positioned the United States to track terrorist networks and capture or kill enemy operatives in regions such as the Horn of Africa, where weak governments are unable to respond to emerging threats.
But the initiative has also led to several embarrassing incidents for the United States, including a shootout in Paraguay and the exposure of a sensitive intelligence operation in East Africa, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter. To date, the effort has not led to the capture of a significant terrorist suspect.
Some intelligence officials have complained that Special Forces teams have sometimes launched missions without informing the CIA, duplicating or even jeopardizing existing operations. And they questioned deploying military teams in friendly nations - including in Europe - at a time when combat units are in short supply in war zones.
The program was approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and is expected to receive close scrutiny from his successor, Robert M. Gates, who takes over Monday and has been critical of the expansion of the military's intelligence operations.
Nothing like having our blood thirsty people roaming around not knowing who the 'good guys' are or who the enemy is. Chalk another one up for Rummy.
More at link.