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Pentagon's Plan to Create Large Spy Network Scaled Back

RIA Novosti

11:08 02/11/2014

MOSCOW, November 2 (RIA Novosti) – The US Department of Defense has backed away from an earlier planned project to assemble a large espionage network after the proposal failed to secure enough support from the US Congress, the Washington Post reported.

The initial proposal to increase the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) program found opposition in Congress. The Senate Armed Services Committee said the project "lacked details necessary for effective review and implementation", according to the Washington Post.

After the revision, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) will now train up to 500 undercover officers and send them to various locations overseas. This is nearly half the size of the original proposal which had aimed to deploy as many as 1,000 undercover spies to work for the CIA, the Washington Post reported.

However, neither budget nor an exact number of overseas positions were known, as Pentagon officials declined to discuss new details of the DCS project, the Washington Post said.

The revision was done to keep the project small, but highly effective, a former senior US intelligence officer said under the condition of anonymity, as reported by San Antonio Express News.

He also added that the undercover agents would be sent to "very difficult places around the world", focusing primarily on gathering intelligence for the Pentagon, San Antonio Express News reported.

The DIA is not authorized to perform covert operations, such as drone strikes or political sabotage. Instead, DIA case officers carry out secret operations overseas, trying to gather secret information or persuade foreign nationals to become American informants, the Washington Post said.

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