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Subject: CIA Special Activities Division
Rebanonjin    3/28/2005 2:53:33 AM
I was wondering if any of you know about this DO division. Here is what I know: Recruits from SFOD-D, Seals and most other SF. You need to be an educated individual with combat service preferably abroad and be multilingual,have good writing skills and convince them you'll take all levels of crap for the US and that you can keep your mouth shut, Foreign travel and more stuff. John M. Spann was a member. What I want to know is if these people are the CIA's version of Special Forces or are they more like a Jason Bourne. I ask this because I read a story about 1 SAD operative who in the first Gulf War infiltrated Kuwait (under Iraqi occupation) and retrieved sensitive material from the US Embassy ALL BY HIMSELF. SEVERAL TIMES. It doesn't sound like something a single Special Forces or Seal member would be assinged. How would someone like this be trained? Is the CIA SAD just a Spec ops unit that has the advantage of not following military protocol or is it far more specialized than military spec ops.
 
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gixxxerking    RE:CIA Special Activities Division   3/28/2005 3:44:38 AM
Might I kindly suggest that you look elsewhere if you want accurate information...;) https://comm.cia.gov/cgi/comment_form.cgi
 
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Lanton    RE:CIA Special Activities Division   6/30/2005 1:50:12 AM
I'm guessing it's just the CIA's in-house special forces unit; with personnel drawn from the DoD's various special forces branches. The CIA's deniable operators are persons not officially connected to the CIA in any fashion, but on the CIA payroll nevertheless. For example, the SIS employs the SAS to carry out certain operations home and abroad, whilst the SIS also has it's own deniable operators.
 
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GOP    RE:CIA Special Activities Division   8/2/2005 12:35:01 AM
"What I want to know is if these people are the CIA's version of Special Forces or are they more like a Jason Bourne. I ask this because I read a story about 1 SAD operative who in the first Gulf War infiltrated Kuwait (under Iraqi occupation) and retrieved sensitive material from the US Embassy ALL BY HIMSELF. SEVERAL TIMES. It doesn't sound like something a single Special Forces or Seal member would be assinged." Sounds more like the CIA's own Sam Fisher
 
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Mr_Mystery       5/20/2007 10:03:03 PM

I'm guessing it's just the CIA's in-house special forces unit; with personnel drawn from the DoD's various special forces branches.

The CIA's deniable operators are persons not officially connected to the CIA in any fashion, but on the CIA payroll nevertheless.

For example, the SIS employs the SAS to carry out certain operations home and abroad, whilst the SIS also has it's own deniable operators.
As one esteemed gentleman once told me...."No one works for the CIA." The Company's forerunner, OSS, actually used the Mafia in WW 2 to get US personnel into Sicily, then on into Italy. I have no doubt that they would go to whatever well has the water type they need.

 
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I like string cheese       7/26/2007 9:56:00 PM
Rebanonjin,
 
It's difficult to guage the left and right boundaries of what's out there when the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, granted. Whether Matt Damon's characters, played well in the Bourne trilogy and even more so in Team America, or Robert Ludlum's original Bourne is what you're referring to, I have a simpler explanation for a one-man entry into the Iraqi occupied U.S. Embassy in the fall of 1990: the environment in which he was operating. The Iraqis, with notable individual exceptions, are not unassociated with profound buffoonery. Such a task simply becomes less amazing against the background of the Middle East. There are so many dimensions to this region's shared culture that make its security efforts laughable to to folks that apply our force there (and so many hidden dimensions that make our force's grand effects dissipate into nothing to the laughter of its residents), that it reduces the immediate task to doable by a third-world-street-savvy, confident, very skilled, and very gutsy operator. We as a nation, fortunately, have a lot of guys and a fair number of gals that meet that description. Returning to drama, Blackhawk Down portrayed an OD-D operator riding into Bakara Market in downtown Mogadishu (or is Bakara considered uptown?) on a mountain bike, wearing scruffy civilian clothes to accomplish his part in a VIP-snatch. The truth of the region makes remarkable exploits more akin to this portrayal than to, say, Tom Cruise dangling from the HVAC system by a piano wire, in black leotards no less. So not by any means to discount the tip-of-the-spear folks' abilities, whether SAD, Delta, or any of the other go-to guys, the left and right boundaries of their nature collectively fall less in the range of Jedi Knights and more in the range of just damned impressive fighting men. I hope that analogy is at least some of what you were looking for. (Sean Naylor's Not A Good Day To Die might further nail down the range of what's reasonable and what's not in the current milieu for you.) Beyond that, SAD is a matter of idle fascination for me too, or I wouldn't have reached your entry.
 
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I like string cheese       7/26/2007 10:00:12 PM
I apologise, my last entry should have been addressed to GOP's bullet.
 
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Nichevo    Who does the quiet type stuff?   7/27/2007 11:55:34 PM
Direct action and hearts-and-minds are all very well, so are CT, CSAR/PJ, FID.  But who does the stuff when you're never supposed to know they were there?  The black bag jobs?  Silent entry and exit with no traces?  Ultraclean assasinations, come to that?  Who taps the phones and cracks the safes and gets the telephotos of X in bed with Y's goat?

Would that be CIA SAD missions?  Police work?  Straight spy stuff?  I know NYPD had considerable expertise in some of these areas (the wiretapping more than the goat stuff or wet work).  Who does that for the nation?

 
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GOP       7/28/2007 3:15:45 AM

Direct action and hearts-and-minds are all very well, so are CT, CSAR/PJ, FID.  But who does the stuff when you're never supposed to know they were there?  The black bag jobs?  Silent entry and exit with no traces?  Ultraclean assasinations, come to that?  Who taps the phones and cracks the safes and gets the telephotos of X in bed with Y's goat?

Would that be CIA SAD missions?  Police work?  Straight spy stuff?  I know NYPD had considerable expertise in some of these areas (the wiretapping more than the goat stuff or wet work).  Who does that for the nation?


"Black bag jobs" - typically intel agents working for the CIA.
 
"Ultra-clean Assasinations" - If the US is involved, then whatever JSOC/SOCOM unit who calls in the JDAM. However, CIA SAD could be used if we need absolute deniability (ie: they set up a car bomb). Most likely scenario: CIA pays enemy group or supplies them with the resources to pull of the mission.
 
"Phone taps, etc" - FBI, CIA, Police. Usually counter-intel/countersuervaillance agents depending on whether its inside or outside the country, if outside then intel agents.
SAD does alot of different tasks. There is very, very little on them, and I don't think anyone in the know should be discussing what they do in detail on an open public forum. Ever seen the movie "Munich"? Now, I'm not insinuating that SAD does that, as I do not know. However, that is the nature of the intel business. That kind of ultra-secrecy and deniability is accurate. I don't think we should discuss this anymore for OPSEC reasons, because if some loose cannon comes in here with some inside info and starts posting then it could put lives in danger and put our nation and it's goals at risk.
 
 
 
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Nichevo       7/28/2007 4:08:23 AM



Direct action and hearts-and-minds are all very well, so are CT, CSAR/PJ, FID.  But who does the stuff when you're never supposed to know they were there?  The black bag jobs?  Silent entry and exit with no traces?  Ultraclean assasinations, come to that?  Who taps the phones and cracks the safes and gets the telephotos of X in bed with Y's goat?

Would that be CIA SAD missions?  Police work?  Straight spy stuff?  I know NYPD had considerable expertise in some of these areas (the wiretapping more than the goat stuff or wet work).  Who does that for the nation?



"Black bag jobs" - typically intel agents working for the CIA.




 Agents meaning foreigners, recruited by CIA officers?


"Ultra-clean Assasinations" - If the US is involved, then whatever JSOC/SOCOM unit who calls in the JDAM. However, CIA SAD could be used if we need absolute deniability (ie: they set up a car bomb). Most likely scenario: CIA pays enemy group or supplies them with the resources to pull of the mission.



Like with Castro?  What I question is the talent pool of free agents

a) skilled trained experienced and committed enough to pull off something really difficult, like not only penetrating a security perimeter and making the touch but making it look like natural causes, an accident, heat stroke, old age, heart failure, suicide, overdose, flu, random auto accident/mugging/rape, etc.

b)  willing and trustable to keep their mouths shut

The Mafia, if indeed they were engaged by JFK's administration to whack Castro, failed miserably.  You cannot go out on the street and whistle for a Jackal (a Charles Calthrop not a Carlos) quite so easily, I would think. 

By ultraclean, I mean to not be known as as an assassination.
 

"Phone taps, etc" - FBI, CIA, Police. Usually counter-intel/countersuervaillance agents depending on whether its inside or outside the country, if outside then intel agents.


Yes, domestically, there are known authorities with known skill sets.  NYPD and FBI, to name two, have squads that can enter a well-locked and -alarmed apartment or home, search the place, remove or plant evidence, tamper with phones, computers, etc., open safes, and leave without a trace.  Again, for foreign ops, who would we go who can offer such skills for hire?

Maybe I've seen too much Mission: Impossible (it's out on DVD now).  But again I think you have to depend upon sworn officers, unless instead of hiring the Jackal you can hire the Pink Panther.


SAD does alot of different tasks. There is very, very little on them, and I don't think anyone in the know should be discussing what they do in detail on an open public forum. Ever seen the movie "Munich"? Now, I'm not insinuating that SAD does that, as I do not know. However, that is the nature of the intel business. That kind of ultra-secrecy and deniability is accurate. I don't think we should discuss this anymore for OPSEC reasons, because if some loose cannon comes in here with some inside info and starts posting then it could put lives in danger and put our nation and it's goals at risk.
   


As you say it may not be safe to discuss, and it might cast aspersions to suggest that we do, or have done for us, such things.  Personally, if they're having trouble finding people, they should drop me a line.  But I trust, or hope, that someone is attending to these reqs - for reqs, I think, they are. 

Perhaps it would be easier to approach it from another direction.  Who does this type stuff for the Russians?  For the UK?  For France?
 
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Horsesoldier       7/28/2007 10:33:49 AM

   


But who does the stuff when you're never supposed to know they were there?  The black bag jobs?  Silent entry and exit with no traces?

There's a lot of redundancy in US capabilities.  A perusal of open source literature out there would suggest various agencies, uniformed and not, can do these sorts of jobs as needed.
 
Ultraclean assasinations, come to that?
 
That would be a violation of US law, which is probably all that needs to be said about that.
 
Who taps the phones and cracks the safes and gets the telephotos of X in bed with Y's goat?
You'd probably have to start by asking who needs said information before you could guess at who does the job.
 
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