New CIA strategy towards China revealed
The CIA’s shift of focus to “great power competition” with China means that “money and resources will be increasingly shifted” away from counterterrorism (CT), the spy agency’s second-highest ranking officer has apparently disclosed.
Deputy Director David Cohen reportedly broke the news to leaders of the agency's CT branch at a meeting held some weeks ago behind closed doors, the Associated Press claimed on Monday, citing anonymous sources.
He apparently assured officials that fighting terrorists would remain a CIA priority to a significant degree, the report added.
The entire US intelligence community has been pivoting towards China under the current administration, with hundreds of officers reassigned, including from counterterrorism, according to the news agency. The CIA is also moving in that direction, hiring new officers fluent in Chinese and teaching the language to current employees, the AP said.
The realignment, which is being done under pressure from Congress, means inevitable cuts of funding and manpower in other areas, the news agency said. Lawmakers are particularly interested in cutting-edge technologies developed by China, including advancements in quantum science, artificial intelligence and other areas “that are likely to disrupt how future wars are fought and economies are structured.”
Last October, the CIA announced a major structural reform, which included the creation of two so-called mission centers. One is dedicated to China and the other to emerging technologies.
The AP’s report comes on the back of last week’s announcement of the CIA-led assassination of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed by a drone strike in Kabul, US President Joe Biden announced last Monday.
The agency noted that supporters of the White House say the strike showed the US can deal with terrorist threats despite pulling out from Afghanistan last year. Critics, meanwhile, have suggested that Zawahiri’s presence in the country indicated a resurgence of terrorism after the Taliban takeover. Afghanistan’s new authorities rejected US claims that the al-Qaeda leader had been granted protection and the green light to live in the capital.