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Tue Dec 31, 2019, 12:29 AM

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Prepare to Pull Back Officers From Africa [View all]

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Prepare to Pull Back Officers From Africa

An expected withdrawal of military forces would lead the C.I.A. and other agencies to reduce their presence, leaving some officials and experts fearful of a gap in stopping terrorist threats.

By Julian E. Barnes at the NY Times

Dec. 30, 2019, 1:35 p.m. ET

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/us/politics/intelligence-cia-africa-terror.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

"SNIP......

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies face a significant reduction in their counterterrorism collection efforts in Africa if a proposed withdrawal of United States military forces is carried out by the Pentagon, intelligence officials said.

The new planning to pull back intelligence officers deployed in Western Africa and other parts of the continent has been partly driven by the troop deployment review, which is expected to reduce American forces in Niger, Nigeria and other countries in the region.

The presence of American troops allows intelligence officers to travel far from traditional diplomatic outposts. The troops also provide protection in the event of spreading chaos or instability. Stark evidence of the risk was seen in the lethal 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and increased security was ordered for those outposts.

If service members are soon pulled out of Africa, the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies simply would not be able to safely deploy their officers far beyond embassy walls, officials say.

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