CFA will be no more.

"It is unclear whether Mr. Clapper is also recommending tighter restrictions on Pentagon counterterrorism and counterespionage operations in the United States.

Some civil liberties groups said they worried that the change might be cosmetic and that the Pentagon might be closing the office to farm out its operations to other agencies that receive less scrutiny.

Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said the recommendation to close the office had nothing to do with its troubled history. The move is aimed, Colonel Ryder said, at “creating efficiencies and streamlining” Pentagon efforts to thwart operations by foreign intelligence services and terror networks.

Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called the decision long overdue.

Mr. Reyes said the office “was a Rumsfeld-era relic that triggered major concern about domestic intelligence gathering by the Pentagon against Americans.”

The work of coordinating the Pentagon’s various counterintelligence activities would remain important, Mr. Reyes said, but “vigorous oversight” would be needed under the new structure.

Some current and former Pentagon officials expressed concern that putting the mission of countering foreign intelligence services under the Defense Intelligence Agency could signal a decline in its priority. But Colonel Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, said the recommendation to close the counterintelligence office was intended to strengthen counterintelligence operations. "


The United States does not need a big, powerful military oriented counter-intelligence agency.  The FBI exists for the specific purpose of doing this kind of work under the aegis of the Justice Department.  The CFA was always a manifestation of Von Rumsfeld’s obsessions.  Rumsfeld, like his old pal the VP are devoted to the idea of centralized power and they trust no organization that they do not personally control.

Given the nature of the Washington power structure, an agency like the CFA will always grow if not reduced by fiat.  It will grow in power, scope of activity and budget.  Why?  Simple.  In any such organization the career formation of the personnel and the "urge to power" of the managers combine to make those involved obsess over numbers, function and access to the elected elite.  All those things come with demonstrated activity of a measurable kind.

Good riddance.  pl

This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to CFA will be no more.

  1. McGee says:

    Hi Pat,
    Ditto to the good riddance. Amazing (well, not really…) that CFA operated independent of DIA oversight and control. Recently read an interesting quote about Donald Rumsfled in Arthur Schlessinger’s just-published Journals. Schlessinger was having lunch with Henry Kissinger in the late 70’s and the conversation turned to the Ford administration. Kissinger, unsolicited, described Rumsfeld to Schlessinger as “the rottenest person he’d ever met in Federal service”. And this from Henry Kissinger, not exactly the cleanest knife in the drawer…

  2. jonst says:

    Maybe, just maybe, the professionals (adults)will have more of voice now. “Good riddance” indeed!

  3. Montag says:

    I interpret this as meaning that the CFA resembled the human appendix, in that the only two options were either to allow it to remain redundantly useless or grow to a size hazardous to domestic freedom. In either case a little preventive surgery was clearly in order.

  4. Andy says:

    RJ Hillhouse has some interesting additional commentary:

    The NYT neglected to mention that CIFA is the government’s most heavily outsourced intelligence agency. Over 30 corporations provide 90% of CIFA’s staff–that’s a blue green ratio of 1:9. CIFA’s prime contractors are the usual suspects such as SAIC.
    The DoD Inspector General has found inconsistencies between CIFA’s procurement practices and procurement regulations that have resulted in overpayment for office space. CIFA was involved in further “inconsistencies” between procurement law and its multimillion dollar contracts with MZM, a benefactor of former Congressman Duke Cunningham.

  5. mlaw230 says:

    With respect, I think that you are missing the point of CFA to begin with. When one couple s that office with the Admins legal theories on executive power, one can see that the goal was to create a domestic military intelligence branch it believed was immune from 4th Amendment restrictions.

  6. Paul says:

    CIFA is meeting its just rewards but I wonder who will inherit its central coordination mission – DIA — an attempt to create a CIFA equivilant inside DIA? I was no fan of CIFA but do find it interesting that Clapper – a key player in centralizing DoD HUMINT in the mid-90’s, may be trying to put some of CIFA authorities under DIA and can not help but wonder if he is playing by the same game book.

Comments are closed.