WASHINGTON — The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.
Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.
“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”
Phi Beta Iota: We can only shake our heads in sadness. There are a few extraordinary Non-Official Cover (NOC) officers, but they are the exception rather than the rule. CIA is incompetent at clandestine and covert operations. This has been known since at least 1992, but has only become more and more evident since 9/11. CIA is not only addicted to official cover as a simple bureaucratic solution totally at odds with its mission, it is demonstrably incapable of learning how to do non-official cover. Of the 21 companies it created when it was flush with money (so flush it now pays domestic housing allowances and reportedly also gives SES bonuses on a quartely basis), it has been forced to close 20 of them. Our internal view is that CIA was taken out as a Mossad initiative, and more CIA stations will be rolled in the Middle East in the next few months, always via false flag attacks. CIA has no Plan B. DIA is incapable of being Plan C, and SOCOM’s “push ups done silently” are frightening in their naivete. CIA, DIA, and SOCOM still do not “get it.”
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