Longstanding rumors about the imminent demise of the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity's (CIFA) seems to be finally proving themselves to be true. The New York Times reports today that the Department of Defense Deputy Director for Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, has recommended dismantling CIFA. CIFA was involved in controversial domestic spying programs.
The NYT neglected to mention that CIFA is the government's most heavily outsourced intelligence agency. Over 30 corporations provide 90% of CIFA's staff--that's a blue green ratio of 1:9. CIFA's prime contractors are the usual suspects such as SAIC.
The DoD Inspector General has found inconsistencies between CIFA's procurement practices and procurement regulations that have resulted in overpayment for office space. CIFA was involved in further "inconsistencies" between procurement law and its multimillion dollar contracts with MZM, a benefactor of former Congressman Duke Cunningham.
The center piece of CIFA's domestic intelligence programs was the TALON database which logged unconfirmed reports of "suspicious" incidents within the US. These suspicious incidents have included various protests by peace groups, including Quakers. The Pentagon announced in August 2007 that it was shuttering the TALON program, effective the following month. Without the TALON data to sift through, it's unclear what CIFA contractors have been doing in the interim.
One possibility is noted by the NYT is mentioned in documents obtained by the ACLU:
Newly declassified documents released on Tuesday shed more light on another activity coordinated by the Pentagon’s counterintelligence office, issuing letters to banks and credit agencies to obtain financial records in terrorism and espionage investigations.
Despite its rather verbose mission statement, CIFA's purpose has been nebulous since its creation by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Many consider CIFA to be the largest boondoggle in the Intelligence Community.