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Pentagon to expand intelligence operations

(Xinhua)

16:47, April 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Department is planning to expand its intelligence operations against high- priority targets such as Iran under an intelligence reorganization approved last week by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, U.S. media quoted a senior defense official as saying Monday.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the newly created Defense Clandestine Service would work closely with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to expand espionage operations overseas as intelligence and military increasingly converge.

The defense official, who spoke in condition of anonymity, said the plan was developed in response to a classified study completed last year by the director of national intelligence that concluded that the military's espionage efforts needed to be more focused on major targets outside war zones.

The official declined to provide details on where such shifts might occur, but the nation's most pressing intelligence priorities in recent years have included counterterrorism, nonproliferation and ascendant powers.

The realignment is expected to affect several hundred military operatives who already work in spying assignments abroad, mostly as case officers for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which serves as the Pentagon's main source of human intelligence and analysis.

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