Wasn't the U.S. defense budget supposed to be in for some belt-tightening by now? Whereas President Barack Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, waged war the old-fashioned way, with troops and tanks, Obama has been busy outsourcing the dirty work of protecting and furthering America's interests to CIA drones, private contractors, local mobs with ties to terrorists, and even the French.
It was looking as if the Department of Defense could pack up, because the administration didn't leave it with much to do. But this week, members of that department awoke to find that Obama's Good Ideas Fairy had left spy kits under their pillows! Out with the combat fatigues and rifles, in with tuxedos and martinis!
Officials have told the Washington Post that the Defense Department's intelligence branch, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), will add another 1,100 intelligence case officers overseas, which would triple the number of such officers over a five-year period.
To have so many official case officers on the payroll makes no fiscal or practical sense.
Here's how espionage works: Intelligence is collected not by an official agency G-man but rather by some civilian G-tool recruited to do the agency's dirty work (at great risk to himself). A single case officer easily can manage several G-tools. More case officers does not necessarily mean significantly more G-tools collecting more information, because there isn't a country anywhere that has a bottomless candidate pool for the role of treasonous, life-risking moron. Quality is more important than quantity anyway.
Moreover, U.S. officials say that the biggest challenge is finding adequate covers for all these new overseas officers, because they can't all fit inside the local embassies alongside the CIA. You don't say! You mean someone working for Defense intelligence -- whose job is to collect highly specific military information -- won't be able to pass himself off overseas as a run-of-the-mill businessman or professor and start digging around on-site for a precise number of nukes in North Korea's arsenal, for example?
It's hard enough for a CIA officer who doesn't deal in military intricacies to obtain covert intelligence, let alone a DIA officer with non-official cover and therefore zero diplomatic immunity in the event that his cover is blown.