Saturday, May 17, 2008

Covert Action

Two members of a U.S.-led covert operations team stand in front of a downtown store in Kandahar, Afganistan in March, 2002. AP

Chapter 12 - Covert Action

Most U.S. presidents have made use of covert action as an instrument of foreign policy; under appropriate and limited circumstances, it serves as a more subtle and surgical tool than acknowledged employment of U.S. power and influence.

In the future, when the threats of proliferation and terrorism loom large, covert action may play an increasingly important role.

The Commission conducted a careful study of U.S. covert action capabilities, with attention to the changing national security landscape and the special category of missions that involve both CIA and U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Because even the most general statements about the Intelligence Community’s capabilities in this area are classified, the Commission’s assessments and four specific findings cannot be discussed in this report.

The Commission has, however, incorporated the lessons learned from its study of covert action in all of our recommendations for reform of the Intelligence Community.

Excerpt from Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction -- Report to the President, March 31, 2005. (PDF 3.3 MB ) or read chapter by chapter at

This report includes discussions on: China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea Russia and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.


DD877 said...

Right on the Money..

Keltin said...

When you believe the administration in power is moral and ethical enough to do what is right for the country, I have no qualms.

Thinking about what may happen this January, though, makes me feel queasy, at the very least.