Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Pentagon may put special ops in Afghanistan under CIA control to meet 2014 pullout deadline.(MN).WASHINGTON -- Top Pentagon officials are considering putting elite special operations troops under CIA control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, sources told The Associated Press.The plan is one of several possible scenarios being debated by Pentagon staffers. It has not yet been presented to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the White House or Congress, the sources said.
If the plan were adopted, the U.S. and Afghanistan could say there are no more U.S. troops on the ground in the war-torn country because once the SEALs, Rangers and other elite units are assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.No matter who's in charge, the special operations units still would target militants on joint raids with Afghans and keep training Afghan forces to do the job on their own.
The idea floated by a senior defense intelligence official comes as U.S. defense chiefs try to figure out how to draw down troops fast enough to meet the White House's 2014 deadline. Pentagon staffers already have put forward a plan to hand over much of the war-fighting to special operations troops. This idea would take that plan one step further, shrinking the U.S. presence to less than 20,000 troops after 2014, according to four current and two former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.Pentagon spokesman George Little denied the idea is being discussed.
A CIA-run war would mean that the U.S. public would not be informed about funding or operations, as they are in a traditional war. Oversight would fall to the White House, top intelligence officials, and a few congressional committees. Embedding journalists would be out of the question.
Two senior defense officials said that neither the CIA nor Special Operations Command has put this plan forward officially to Panetta.The notion of longer-term assignments to the CIA does not sit well with some senior commanders, who want their units to remain autonomous in order to keep their troops under Defense Department legal parameters. If CIA-assigned troops are captured, for example, they are treated like spies, not protected by the Geneva Conventions.Hmmmm......"Nobel Peace Medal Winner"......Kinetic actions Mogul.Read the full story here