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U.S. spy agency answers Iraq Study Group report

December 14, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — To dispute one criticism by the Iraq Study Group, the Defense Intelligence Agency has disclosed the number of its analysts devoted to Iraq: more than 300, with 49 focused exclusively on the insurgency.

Last week's report from the study group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, said the agency had fewer than 10 analysts with more than two years of experience studying the insurgency.

"Capable analysts are rotated to new assignments, and on-the-job training begins anew," the 10-member bipartisan commission said.

In a statement, the agency said it wanted to correct the record.

"The Defense Intelligence Agency has more than 300 dedicated analysts focused on the many complexities of Iraq," the statement said. "They include a core cadre of 49 analysts focused exclusively on the insurgency, at least half of whom have more than two years experience working this issue."

Spy agencies rarely disclose how many people they employ, let alone how many are assigned to various missions, labeling such information classified. Rough numbers are revealed from time to time.

In April, National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte disclosed for the first time that the intelligence community was made up of 100,000 people worldwide working for 16 U.S. agencies.

Asked about the agency's statement, a spokesman for the Iraq Study Group said the information came from an individual who was promised confidentiality.

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