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Iraq 2003-?

The CIA received $3 billion out of the $87 billion Iraq appropriation approved by Congress in November 2003. The hidden $3 billion, spread over three years, was in the "Other Procurement, Aircraft" Air Force account that normally funds the CIA. The money increased the CIA's budget from about $4 billion a year to about $5 billion. The bulk of the money will cover operations in Iraq, with some money going to Afghanistan.

The CIA's Baghdad station has become the largest in the agency's history, larger than even the Saigon station during the Vietnam War. While CIA originally planned to have 85 staff in Iraq, by mid-2004 the 500 staff included 300 case officers running operations. Iraq is so dangerous that case officers seldom venture outside guarded compounds without large security escorts, complicating covert meetings assets.

The CIA station chief in Baghdad was replaced by a more experienced officer in December 2003 because of doubts about his ability to manage the complex operation. The new station chief was the third since Bush declared an end of major combat operations in May 2003.



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