Intelligence: February 4, 2005


The Department of Defense now has the authority to pay bribes and other fees to foreign nationals who are assisting American troops in collecting intelligence, or conducting military operations. In the past, only the CIA was supposed to do this sort of thing. In practice, Special Forces would often find a way to work around the old prohibition, often through barter and the offer of various favors. The CIA could make a stink if they found out, and thought the Special Forces, or military intelligence, was poaching on their territory. With the new rules, the Department of Defense promptly authorized $25 million a year for the next few years, in order "to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals." The money is mainly intended for counter-terrorism operations. The new law was passed after strenuous Department of Defense lobbying for more freedom to perform counter-terrorist efforts. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has been given a prominent role in counter-terrorism efforts, but felt restricted because current regulations did not allow the use of cash as a weapon. Bribes, and the payment of rewards to informers has been a powerful tool in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere counter-terrorism efforts have been going on.


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