Sunday, December 2, 2012

Garrison State Update: US Expanding Its Secretive, Covert Military Operations

Majia here: We are seeing an unprecedented expansion of the US's covert military operations.

This expansion allows the US to conduct "war" surreptitiously without congressional and public oversight.

The expansion of secretive military agencies and operations is fundamentally a threat to democracy and the basic rights - including habeas corups - of citizens.

We see the expansion of the secretive military and paramilitary services with the drone warfare conducted by the CIA and now with the expansion of the Department of Defense's DIA, Department of Intelligence Agency:   

DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas. Greg Miller. Dec 1, 2012 Washington Post

[Excerpted] Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. At the same time, the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence work.

The DIA overhaul [ Defense Intelligence Agency — combined with the growth of the CIA since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will create a spy network of unprecedented size....

Unlike the CIA, the Pentagon’s spy agency is not authorized to conduct covert operations that go beyond intelligence gathering, such as drone strikes, political sabotage or arming militants.

...The expansion of the agency’s clandestine role is likely to heighten concerns that it will be accompanied by an escalation in lethal strikes and other operations outside public view. Because of differences in legal authorities, the military isn’t subject to the same congressional notification requirements as the CIA, leading to potential oversight gaps....

 ...The DIA project has been spearheaded by Michael G. Vickers, the top intelligence official at the Pentagon and a veteran of the CIA. 

...Even in cases where their assignments overlap, the DIA is likely to be more focused than the CIA on military aspects — what U.S. commanders in Africa might ask about al-Qaeda in Mali, for example, rather than the broader questions raised by the White House.

...The CIA’s influence extends across the DIA’s ranks....

....The DIA has also forged a much tighter relationship with JSOC, the military’s elite and highly lethal commando force, which also carries out drone strikes in Yemen and other countries.

Majia here: The CIA isn't subject to much, if any, congressional oversight, but it sounds from this article that oversight will be even less with the DIA. Furthermore, I find the close collaboration between the CIA and DIA worrisome. These two forces will be extraordinarily powerful, particularly given alignments among their top commanders. 

I contend that their fundamentally secretive nature renders them a serious threat to democracy.  

The American public is being denied the constitutional right to participate in the serious decision to go to war by the rise of these covert, war-oriented agencies.

Let us look for a moment at the drone warfare campaign being waged secretively by the CIA:

Obama 'drone-warfare rulebook' condemned by human rights groups. The Guardian. Karen McVeigh Nov 25, 2012

[Excerpted] President Barack Obama's administration is in the process of drawing up a formal rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, according to reports.

The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, said explicit guidelines were being drawn up amid disagreement between the CIA and the departments of defense, justice and state over when lethal action is acceptable.

Human-rights groups and peace groups opposed to the CIA-operated targeted-killing programme, which remains officially classified, said the administration had already rejected international law in pursuing its drone operations.

"To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn't already a rulebook" said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Center for Democracy. "But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war]."
New York Times reports administration attempting to set out circumstances in which targeted assassination is justified

...Two lawsuits – one by the ACLU and the other by the ACLU and the NYT – seeking information on the legal basis on targeted killing, are still pending....

Majia here: The rise of these secretive war - oriented agencies is alarming and the public should demand that war being waged by drones be subject to congressional approval.

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