US stepping up effort against rivals – CIA chief

WASHINGTON, CIA Director Gina Haspel said the US leadership has taken steps over the past year to improve CIA’s ability to tackle the many challenges posed by Russia, Iran and terrorist groups.

“We’ve devoted more time, money, and creativity to our effort against some our nation’s toughest adversaries,” she said in a speech to Auburn University on Thursday, noting, “Our efforts are beginning to pay off.” “Our Russia and Iran investment has been strengthened after years of falling behind our justifiably heavy emphasis on counterterrorism in the wake of 9/11. Groups like ISIS and al-Qa’ida remain squarely in our sights, but we’re honing our focus and resources on nation-state rivals.

“Additionally, we’re applying cutting-edge technologies and tradecraft to allow us to react more quickly to global developments-like targeting a terrorist organization wherever it arises and before it spreads,” Haspel pointed out..

“We’re making great strides with our foreign partners-those ties are stronger than ever. And let me tell you, our intelligence allies around the world can really open doors and get things done on behalf of our country.

“I frequently meet with my foreign counterparts, either in Washington or over there, and they’re generally very interesting characters-for whom I have great regard and even fondness. There’s one counterpart who’s especially fun to engage-very James Bond-like. “He worked his way up through his service, has great spy stories, and is definitely someone you want on your side.

And when you have partnerships this close and personal, you have colleagues who go out of their way to share with CIA their really good stuff-their best intelligence. And our country is tangibly benefitting from these relationships.

“We’re also sending more of our people to the field. Not only case officers, but analysts, technical experts, and others. It all comes down to this: if you have a bigger footprint overseas, you can get more done where it really counts,” she went on.

“Along with that bigger foreign presence, we’re placing a renewed emphasis on foreign language expertise and training. We want our men and women to be closely attuned to the cultures in which they operate and to speak the local language.

“And that aligns well with our push to strengthen diversity and inclusion at CIA. Our mission demands that we draw deeply from our nation’s rich and diverse talent pool. We just had our best recruiting year in a decade, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make the Agency an employer of choice for all Americans.

“Finally, no foreign challenge has had a more direct and devastating impact on American families and communities than the flow of opioids and other drugs into our country-a scourge that has killed more Americans than any terrorist group ever has,” she added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency