CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told a Business Executives for National Security gathering in downtown Washington that his agency’s network of spies are often out in front of U.S. troops and sometimes are the first to “engage” the enemy.
“President Reagan called CIA ‘the tripwire across which the forces of repression and tyranny must stumble.’ The term I like to use is ‘skirmish line.’ We move ahead of the main body of troops; we keep our eyes both on the distant horizon and on the enemy before us; and, at times, we are the first to engage,” Mr. Hayden said in remarks obtained by Inside the Beltway.
The press wasn’t on hand to hear the Air Force general, who is closing in on his second anniversary (May 30) as CIA director, stress the importance of “integration” in the intelligence community, identifying as one example “the operation in the summer of 2006 that killed Abu Musab alZarqawi, the former head of al Qaeda in Iraq. It was the merging of many sensitive data streams — from human sources, technical ops, intercepts and more — that culminated in two smart bombs gliding toward their target.”
Mr. Hayden said while working “side by side with the troops in western Iraq, CIA analysts picked up insights they otherwise wouldn’t have. That added dimension enabled our officers to play a key role in the engagement of Sunni tribal leaders, which was a real breakthrough in the conflict last year.”
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden credits “integration” for several successes in Iraq — the integration of agents, troops, technology “and more.”