Cli­mate spy­ing?

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

The re­cent cre­ation of a CIA cen­ter to study cli­mate change does not mean the agency will be con­duct­ing es­pi­onage op­er­a­tions against green­house-gas emit­ters or spy­ing on pol­luted skies or rivers around the world.

“This small unit — which will en­gage closely with its gov­ern­ment coun­ter­parts and pri­vate­sec­tor ex­perts — is fo­cused solely on the po­ten­tial na­tional se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions of cli­mate change,” said CIA spokesman Ge­orge Lit­tle.

“Of course, in­tel­li­gence is pro­vided only to our gov­ern­ment,” he said. “This isn’t about de­ploy­ing clan­des­tine of­fi­cers to take air sam­ples in pol­luted cities or to mon­i­tor sea lions. It’s about de­vel­op­ing an­a­lyt­i­cal in­sights for pol­i­cy­mak­ers.”

The CIA an­nounced Sept. 24 that it had cre­ated the Cen­ter on Cli­mate Change and Na­tional Se­cu­rity, led by an­a­lysts within the Direc­torate of In­tel­li­gence and the Direc­torate of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy.

It will ex­am­ine the na­tional se­cu­rity im­pact of cli­mate-change phe­nom­ena, such as de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, ris­ing sea lev­els, pop­u­la­tion shifts and height­ened com­pe­ti­tion for nat­u­ral re­sources.

“De­ci­sion-mak­ers need in­for­ma­tion and anal­y­sis on the ef­fects cli­mate change can have on se­cu­rity. The CIA is well-po­si­tioned to de­liver that in­tel­li­gence,” said CIA Di­rec­tor Leon E. Panetta.

Much of the work will fo­cus on re­view­ing and de­clas­si­fy­ing satel­lite im­ages and other data that could be use­ful for sci­en­tists.

The cen­ter also will in­volve “out­reach” to aca­demics and think tanks. “The goal is a pow­er­ful as­set rec­og­nized through­out our gov­ern­ment, and be­yond, for its knowl­edge and in­sight,” the CIA state­ment said.

Bill Gertz cov­ers na­tional se­cu­rity af­fairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274, or at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton-

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