The New York Times November 9, 2012
The sudden development came just days after President Obama won re-election to a second term. Mr. Petraeus, a highly decorated general who had led the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had been expected to remain in the president’s administration.
Instead, Mr. Petraeus said in the statement that the president accepted his resignation on Friday after he had informed him of his indiscretion a day earlier.
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Mr. Petraeus wrote. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A casual tally of the blue and green badges worn at CIA headquarters speaks volumes about the U.S. dependence on private security contractors, even in the most secretive circles.
Full-time staff sporting badges with a blue background are in the majority at the CIA’s “campus” in Langley, Virginia, just outside Washington. But many other workers have green badges — the kind used by contractors like Raymond Davis, now under arrest in Pakistan facing trial for murder.
The U.S. disclosure that Davis was secretly working for the CIA when he shot dead two Pakistanis — he says he acted in self defence — threatens to damage U.S.-Pakistan intelligence ties and possibly the larger war against Islamist militancy.
It also shines an uncomfortable spotlight on the expanded use of contractors by the U.S. intelligence community, and by U.S. government security forces generally, in the years following the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
“This will revive concern,” said Paul Pillar, a former CIA official now at Georgetown University.
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee in July 2009 said a 2008 study reported that contractors made up 29 percent of personnel employed by all U.S. intelligence agencies.
They also accounted for 49 percent of the intelligence community’s “total personnel budget” — which officials familiar with contracting say is partly because hard-to-find skills outsourced to the private sector cost more.
“The numbers are basically in the same ballpark. They may have changed a percent or two, that’s about it,” a U.S. official said, speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress last year that the intelligence community had been shrinking in the 1990s.
“Then 9/11 occurred … We had to rejuvenate and re-expand the intelligence community,” he said. “And of course, the obvious way to do that, to do it quickly, was through contractors.”
An investigative report by the Washington Post published last July counted 1,931 private firms working at the top-secret level for the U.S. government. Roughly a quarter of them came into being after 2001.
U.S. intelligence chiefs say they have already made some progress in scaling back the use of contractors but critics in Congress say they are moving too slowly.
Critics say contractors do not have the same level of accountability as official employees and point to events that tarnished the reputation of the United States, including a 2007 shooting in Baghdad involving guards from Blackwater Worldwide, later renamed Xe Services.
Davis had worked previously on contract as a security officer for Xe Services, according to sources familiar with the matter.
THE SAME FAMILY
Twenty-two stars have been chiselled into the CIA’s “Memorial Wall” at its headquarters since the 2001 attacks, honouring employees who died in the line of service.
But eight of the stars belong to contractors, not staff.
One former CIA director, retired General Michael Hayden, told Reuters he had been committed to minimizing the difference between the way the agency treated contractors and staff.
In the case of Davis, U.S. officials insist he be treated like anyone else with the U.S. embassy, saying he has diplomatic immunity.
Even critics of the U.S. dependence on contractors say privately they see no problem with Davis’ role as a CIA bodyguard, saying his background as a former special forces soldier made the job entirely appropriate for him.
But Islamabad is under pressure from its own people to let the case go to court.
Duane “Dewey” Clarridge — who was pardoned for his alleged role in the Reagan-era scandal by President George H. W. Bush in the waning hours of his presidency in 1992 — is using contacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to obtain information for the Pentagon, according to former government officials familiar with the current program.
They declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The Pentagon has launched an assessment of the roles of at least three contractor companies with more than $20 million in contracts, according to Pentagon officials
Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to know if bounds were overstepped.
He needs “a factual baseline from which to determine whether or not systemic problems exist,” and how to fix them if they do, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.
The two-week survey will be led by a small team of senior military and Defense Department officials, he said.
The assessment was prompted by an investigation — currently under way — into a program led by Michael Furlong, a Defense Department official who oversaw contracts aimed at gathering information about Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The program was meant to be limited to gathering what is known as “open-source information,” in which publicly available facts are gathered from, for example, local media and public events.
Some of the contractors with the program — retired CIA officers and former military commandos — may have instead hired local agents to gather information on the specific locations and movements of particular individuals and passed it along to military officials for possible lethal strikes, according to government officials and private-sector businessmen familiar with the investigation.
Federal laws and regulations generally prohibit contractors from directly engaging in intelligence collection because it is considered a crucial government function.
The Pentagon is seeking to find out both whether the law was violated and whether funds were inappropriately diverted to conduct these alleged operations.
Furlong has denied wrongdoing.
“This is something that I need to know more about, but we do have reviews and investigations going on to find out what the story is here, find out what the facts are, and if it’s necessary to make some changes, I’ll do that,” Gates said Monday.
Documents provided to CNN detail sensitive information that contractors gathered, including word of a meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother and Mullah Baradar, a top Taliban leader who was arrested weeks later in Pakistan. At another meeting with Taliban commanders, an audio message from the reclusive leader Mullah Omar was played, in which he directed who would lead operations after a key member was captured. Another document details the comings and goings at a safe house in Kabul, Afghanistan, used by suspected members of the Haqqani insurgent network.
Concern within the Central Intelligence Agency about the contract played a role in prompting the investigation, according to officials.
Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a spokesman for the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan, told CNN last week that elements of Furlong’s project were not clear.
“There was ambiguity about how they were going to collect information,” he said, and about whether Afghans were to be used to do the work, and how the information might be used.
“None of us were comfortable with what this contract meant. We wanted to know how they were going to glean information,” Smith said.
Smith said he subsequently terminated Furlong’s effort last year because of his concerns. He estimates $6 million to $7 million of the funds allocated were spent and does not know what happened to the balance of the contract money.
Clarridge, the former CIA official allegedly involved in the ad hoc spy ring, worked for the agency for 33 years, heading the agency’s Latin American and European divisions and setting up its Counterterrorist Center in 1986, according to a Publisher’s Weekly review of his book “A Spy For All Seasons.”
He was indicted in 1991 on federal charges of lying to Congress and the Tower Commission, which investigated the Iran-Contra affair, the review says. Investigators said Clarridge was the man who put then-Marine Col. Oliver North in charge of sending money and weapons to anti-Communist fighters in Nicaragua in the 1980s, in contravention of congressional mandates.
Clarridge always maintained he was innocent, referring to the scandal as “the Iran-Contra nonsense,” Publisher’s Weekly said.