‘Skir­mish line’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

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.”

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CIA Di­rec­tor Michael V. Hay­den cred­its “in­te­gra­tion” for sev­eral suc­cesses in Iraq — the in­te­gra­tion of agents, troops, tech­nol­ogy “and more.”

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