inside story
Is the CIA losing Afghanistan?
Will the military operations be affected by the latest intelligence failure?
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2010 12:42 GMT

The reputation of US military intelligence is in tatters after al-Qaeda inflicted a devastating blow on the CIA in Afghanistan.

This week seven Americans working for the CIA were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. The dead bomber is now alleged to have been a double agent, working for al-Qaeda as well as the CIA. Jordananian intelligence have disputed this, however.

The fact troubling the intelligence community is that they were duped by a man they believed was a key asset, who apparently eniticed them with information relating to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of al-Qaeda.

On Tuesday a senior US military official issued a report that said intelligence networks were completely out of touch with the situation in Afghanistan. The report is authoured by Major-General Michael Flynn, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence for the US and its Nato allies in Afghanistan.

It states: "The vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which US and allied forces operate... [they are] ignorant of local economics and landowners... hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced... and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers."

The CIA retorted that the report was flawed by its abnormalities, and criticised the "unusual and irregular way to publish a document of this nature."

So is Washington losing the intelligence war there? And why? And how would that impact its ongoing military operations?
Inside Story, with presenter Sohail Rahman, discusses the matter with Andrew Black, Managing Director at Black Watch Global, Patricia Degennaro, a terrorism analyst and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute of Civil/Military Cooperation, and Phil Rees, a journalist who has spent time with the Taliban and authored Dining With Terrorists.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, 6 January, 2010.

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