Pentagon Considering Plans Withdrawing Military Support to CIA Counterterrorism

The Pentagon is considering sharp plans to withdraw support for the Central Intelligence Agency’s counterterrorism mission as the US pivots from regional conflict in the Middle East to focus on Russia and China, ABC News reports.

Quoting former senior administration intelligence officials, that the Trump administration’s new hire, acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, notified CIA director Gina Haspel of the decision in a letter.

Furthermore as “surprising and unprecedented”, the review of the Department of Defense’s longstanding support of the CIA was first reported by Defense One.

Citing multiple current and former officials, Defense One says the review is the pet project of acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick, another new hire at the DOD following a purge of senior leadership at Pentagon in the wake of the presidential election.

Department has taken a look to better align its allocation of resources with the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s shift to great power competition.

Two decades of this century, and DOD simply is working with CIA to ensure that both DOD and CIA are able to jointly confront the national security challenges facing the United States consistent with the NDS,” Mr Orland said.  

“DOD also believes that discussions with our partners should proceed quickly.”

Former officials said it was a fair position for the Department of Defense to want its detainees to be involved in the higher-level missions as the US strategy shifts toward Russia and China.

“And they are  but it’s going to be very few, because there’s very few involved in those missions anyway,” one former administration official told Defense One. “If they go, ‘We don’t want to help you with the (counterterrorism) missions’ — well, somebody has to do it.”

The CIA calls on the military for transportation and logistical support of its counterterrorism operations through its Special Activities Centre.

Despite the reports of the looming breakup, CIA spokeswoman Nicole de Haay told ABC News said the relationship between the two agencies remains strong.

“That partnership has led to accomplishments that significantly advanced U.S. national security, and we are confident that DOD and CIA will continue this close collaboration for years to come,” she said.

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