NATO official: US spy work lacking in Afghanistan
Eight years into the war, the U.S. intelligence community is only "marginally relevant" to the overall mission in Afghanistan, a senior intelligence official for the international forces wrote in a report released less than a week after seven CIA employees died in a suicide attack, AP reported.
In a stinging assessment of U.S. intelligence work in Afghanistan, U.S. Maj. General Michael Flynn wrote: "U.S. intelligence officers and analysts can do little but shrug in response to high-level decision makers seeking the knowledge, analysis and information they need to wage a successful counterinsurgency."
The 26-page report, released on Monday by the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, recommends sweeping changes to focus the intelligence community less on the enemy and more on the Afghan people.
Because the U.S. has focused most of its collection efforts and analysis on insurgent groups, the intelligence network is unable to answer key questions about situations troops face on the ground, Flynn and two other intelligence advisers wrote.
"The U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy," they wrote.
The report said U.S. intelligence officials and analysts were "ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the power-brokers are and how they might be influenced, incurious about the correlations between various development projects ... and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers."
"The vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade."
The dismal assessment of the U.S. intelligence apparatus in Afghanistan follows the Dec. 30 suicide bombing at Camp Chapman, a highly secured CIA forward base in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official and a foreign government official confirmed Monday that the bomber was a Jordanian working as a double agent who had been invited to the base because he claimed to have information targeting Osama bin Laden's right-hand man. The bombing killed four CIA officers and three contracted security guards working for the spy agency. A second former U.S. intelligence official said a Jordanian intelligence officer, Ali bin Zaid, also was killed.
The CIA has declined to comment on reports that the bomber was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year-old doctor from Zarqa, Jordan, who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence.
CIA officials could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment on Flynn's report.