Newly Available Documents Trace Evolution of Spy Units through Obama Administration

On April 20, 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta formally established a new Department of Defense spy organization — the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). That memo marked yet another in the multiple starts, stops, and reversals in the human intelligence activities of the Department of Defense and the military services. The defense community’s rocky history of involvement with HUMINT includes both war-related and non-war missions, overt and covert programs, conflicts with Congress over the lack of transparency, and inevitable bureaucratic tensions among the uniformed services.  Today, the National Security Archive updates its 2001 Electronic Briefing Book, The Pentagon’s Spies, adding thirty-five new documents that bring the history of military HUMINT activities up to the year 2015.

In addition to the Panetta memo (Document 50), this update contains records concerning:

  • The House Permanent Select Committee’s discovery of the existence of the U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity (Document 8, Document 10)
  • The role of Admiral Bobby Inman in the disestablishment of Task Force 157 (Document 40)
  • Operations of two Air Force human intelligence organizations – the 1127 Field Activities Group and the Air Force Special Activities Center (Document 3a,Document 14a)
  • Defense HUMINT Service activities in operations other than war (Document 30)
  • The work of the Iraq Survey Group (Document 37)

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