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December 4, 2015 9:13 PM   Subscribe

The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 and has grown into one of the US government’s largest intelligence organizations. It employs 17,000 people, including thousands stationed overseas, and its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. On November 20, the National Security Archive posted a new sourcebook of over 50 declassified documents that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history.

Included:
  • The creation of DIA (Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
  • Early CIA-DIA relations (Documents 8, 9, 10).
  • DIA’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis (Document 44) and the Vietnam War (Document 46).
  • DIA’s 1978 intelligence appraisal of the Shah’s future (Document 14).
  • DIA studies on Chinese nuclear weapons programs (Document 13, Document 17).
  • DIA studies on locating Iraq’s short-range missiles during the first Gulf War (Document 24), its acquisition of aluminum tubes (Document 31), and its “reemerging” nuclear weapons program (Document 33).
  • DIA director Lowell Jacoby’s summary of the CURVEBALL case (Document 36).
  • DIA’s “psychoenergetics” activities (Document 18, Document 21).
  • The DoD Inspector General report on the case of Ana Belen Montes, who served as long-time agent of the Cuban intelligence service (Document 37).
The post also features dozens of issues of the DIA’s in-house publication, Communiqué: the DIA's unclassified, in-house magazine that was available not only to DIA employees but also to their families. The magazines contain significant information about the DIA that the agency often redacted from other documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. Issues are available from the following years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Publication of Communiqué was halted in 2013 following a directive from the agency's then director, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
posted by zarq (20 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nice.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:39 PM on December 4, 2015


If I remember correctly, they were very much skeptical of the idea that Iraq was building nuclear weapons the whole time. One of the few...anything...at the time to do so.
posted by destro at 9:44 PM on December 4, 2015


The DIA is also responsible for my absolute favorite FOIA document: 141 pages with nothing but the section titles left unredacted.
posted by Gilead at 10:40 PM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Document 21. My goodness that was an interesting read.
posted by iffthen at 11:25 PM on December 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I... honestly thought the DIA was something invented for Fallout 4 to give the Railroad somewhere to live. I am an ignorant Canadian.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:29 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I happened to know anything about the DIA, I'd be reluctant to speak of it directly.
posted by wotsac at 11:49 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


If I remember correctly, they were very much skeptical of the idea that Iraq was building nuclear weapons the whole time. One of the few...anything...at the time to do so.

DIA would have been captured or bypassed by the stovepiping Cheneycrats (Feith, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld), iirc. You may be thinking of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which did manage to get some skeptical assessments into the official record.
posted by notyou at 12:14 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


All ruling elites and all intelligence agencies were aware that Iraq was not any kind of military threat, nuclear or otherwise.
posted by colie at 2:10 AM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


All ruling elites and all intelligence agencies were aware that Iraq was not any kind of military threat, nuclear or otherwise.

I think it's implied that it's the saying something, not the thinking something, that is being discussed.
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:48 AM on December 5, 2015


the important thing to understanding US government intelligence agencies is that they exist wholly to aid their "customers" in the never ending war within the government between rival agencies, offices, and departments: there is nothing so precious within a bureaucracy (government or private) as information which no one else has.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:09 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


So are psychoenergetics activities still going on at Fort Meade? (Just askin'.)
posted by newdaddy at 4:16 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


nothing but the section titles left unredacted

And yet the fact that "talking points" is one of only two headings, taking up a third of the document by volume, speaks wonders.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:17 AM on December 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...secretly, it was being dictated instead by the needs of technology...by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that needed the energy-burst of war, crying, "Money be damned, the very life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake," but meaning, most likely, dawn is nearly here, I need my night's blood, my funding, my funding, ahh more, more.... The real crises were crises of allocation and priority, not among firms--it was only staged to look that way--but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft, and their needs which are understood only by the ruling elite..."

--Gravity's Rainbow, 1973
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:43 AM on December 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I love you zarq. My shopping is done, my house is cleaned: here comes the weekend!
posted by ouke at 6:23 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


So they notified everyone that Curveball was untrustworthy after the invasion and after Saddam was in custody? Horse, meet barn door.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:29 AM on December 5, 2015


Honestly, I only know about the DIA at all because they gave me a free lunchbox when they came to my college to recruit. True to form, they were maddeningly vague about what they were actually recruiting for.
posted by fifthrider at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


During the 80s when potential nuclear war was a concern, DIA used to publish Soviet Military Power with analysis of their nuclear systems. The FAS site also links some other documents, including pictures of military members excavating a MiG buried in the Iraq desert.
posted by hoppytoad at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2015


I just want my Delta Green Agent's Handbook declassified....
posted by mfoight at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of these documents is a power point presentation about psychic powers.

One of. These documents. Is a power point presentation about psychic powers.
posted by tracert at 1:33 PM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't open the 18, 21 psychoenergetic documents. My fingers keep disappearing.
posted by Oyéah at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


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