CIA Readies Iraq Drawdown

With US military gone, spies will drop to 40% wartime level
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2012 12:13 PM CDT
CIA Readies Iraq Drawdown
CIA Director David Petraeus testifies before the US Senate Intelligence Committee during a committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on January 31, 2012 on Capitol Hill.   (Getty Images)

The US military may have left Iraq six months ago, but the CIA is still there, at levels only slightly below its wartime high of 700 (when it was the biggest CIA office in the world). Now, however, the CIA is preparing to draw down significantly, to about 40% of its wartime level, reports the Wall Street Journal. Despite worries about a lack of intel about al-Qaeda's activities in Iraq, as well as neighboring Syria, the plan is to redistribute personnel to other areas where terrorism appears to be on the rise, such as Yemen and Mali.

"A further diplomatic or intelligence drawdown in Iraq could jeopardize US national security down the road if al-Qaeda in Iraq is able to sustain—or increase—its activity," criticized an analyst at Rand Corp. But supporters say the move will allow the United States to focus on other regions. "This is what success is supposed to be like," said a senior US official who supports the drawdown. "Of course we don't want to have the same number of people after all US troops go home that we had at the height of the war." (Read more Iraq stories.)

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