America’s Secret Police?
Intelligence experts warn that a proposal to merge two Pentagon intelligence units could create an ominous new agency.
By Mark Hosenball, Newsweek, April 12, 2006
April 12, 2006 – A threatened turf grab by a controversial Pentagon intelligence unit is causing concern among both privacy experts and some of the Defense Department’s own personnel.
An informal panel of senior Pentagon officials has been holding a series of unannounced private meetings during the past several weeks about how to proceed with a possible merger between the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), a post-9/11 Pentagon creation that has been accused of domestic spying, and the Defense Security Service (DSS), a well-established older agency responsible for inspecting the security arrangements of defense contractors. DSS also maintains millions of confidential files containing the results of background investigations on defense contractors’ employees.
The merger was initially suggested by a government commission set up to recommend military base closures last year. The commission said that the Pentagon could achieve some savings by relocating both CIFA, now housed in a building near Washington’s Reagan National Airport and DSS, headquartered in nearby Alexandria, Va. The panel suggested moving the two agencies to the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., where FBI training and laboratory facilities are also based.