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‘Don’t worry, we got this’: For U.S., intelligence failures have become the rule

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines
by WorldTribune Staff, October 8, 2023

During a July 25 U.S. Embassy briefing in Niamey, the capital of Niger, American diplomats told U.S. media that, despite its reputation for government corruption, Niger was still far more stable than other West African nations.

A few hours later, the country’s military leaders overthrew the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Months before the coup, a team of American counter-terrorism officials visited the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, where the CIA station chief briefed them on the security situation. The visitors’ asked about the possibility of a military takeover in Niger.

“Not gonna happen,” the station chief assured them, adding: “Don’t worry, we got this.”

In an Oct. 4 analysis for SpyTalk, Jonathan Broder noted: It’s no surprise that the coup in Niger — the seventh country in Africa’s Sahel region to be taken over by the military since 2020 — blindsided both the CIA and U.S. diplomats. For years, the United States has seen Africa as a low strategic priority, posting relatively small numbers of diplomats, intelligence officers and troops there."

“Our intel is focused squarely on counter-terrorism,” Michael Shurkin, a former CIA Africa analyst, told SpyTalk. “We’re not spying on the military or the security forces. Though it’s well within their capabilities, the NSA is not listening in on the private phones of the Nigerien general staff and all of its general officers. They’re not focused on that. They’re focused on counter-terrorism.”

For the U.S. intelligence community in recent years, the development in Niger were not an outlier. Failures have become the rule.

Analysts are not surprised given the Biden administration has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority in the 18 agencies that make up the U.S. Intelligence Community. reported on Aug. 15 on a new strategy report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Avril Haines which states that developing a “diverse workforce” is the number two of six main priorities.

Taking a back seat to the administration’s woke ideology is counterintelligence.

“The strategy contains little emphasis on counterintelligence — the thwarting of foreign spy efforts,” security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in an Aug. 10 analysis for the Washington Times.

Counterintelligence is mentioned just once in the ODNI report and is contained in the last goal, which states that the intelligence community “must sustain its counterintelligence capabilities and expertise against espionage and other damaging intelligence activities conducted by our foreign adversaries.”

Counterintelligence within U.S. intelligence agencies was downgraded in the 1970s following the ouster of CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, who operated independently in seeking out foreign spy operations and penetrations of U.S. foreign spy agencies.

“Since then, U.S. intelligence has continued to repeat episodes of damaging spy penetrations and losses of recruited agents,” Gertz noted. “The most recent failure was the loss of more than two dozen of the CIA’s recruited agents working secretly in China beginning in 2010.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have also been called into question for going against their own medical group's conclusion that the Covid virus originated at a lab in Wuhan, China. reported on Sept. 5: "Despite virus experts from its own medical intelligence unit concluding that the Covid virus likely originated in a Wuhan, China lab, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) continues to concur with the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which says the virus was not genetically engineered. This is also the position advanced by the Chinese Communist Party.

"Scientists at the DIA’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) concluded that the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, was bioengineered based on its properties for infecting humans."

Rather than accept the NCMI’s conclusion, however, the political and media narrative promoted by Dr. Anthony Fauci based on a paper published in Nature Medicine was accepted by the ODNI and DIA. That paper, written by Kristian G. Andersen and four other scientists, concluded: “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

The NCMI experts argue in their paper, first disclosed by Sharri Markson, a reporter for The Australian, that Covid almost certainly spread from virus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Markson told The Washington Times that the final NCMI paper is secret but its findings are largely reflected in the working paper.

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