Counterintelligence Field Activity: Wikis


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Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) was a United States Department of Defense (DoD) agency whose size and budget were classified. The CIFA was created by a directive from the Secretary of Defense (Number 5105.67) on February 19, 2002.[1] On August 8, 2008, it was announced that CIFA would be shut down.[2]



A common purpose and a strong commitment to shared goals guide the work at CIFA. During the current fiscal year, these goals are:

  • To effectively and efficiently manage and oversee the Defense Department counterintelligence enterprise.
  • To synchronize Defense counterintelligence activities across the department, in coordination with the national intelligence community.
  • To manage priority counterintelligence plans and projects in fulfillment of national, department and combatant commander requirements.
  • To select and develop unique counterintelligence operational support capabilities and make them available to the wider intelligence community.
  • To serve as the primary source of career development and training for counterintelligence professionals.
  • To identify, develop and field advanced technologies for counterintelligence.
  • To create a joint, interoperable and synchronized approach to counterintelligence as a distinct intelligence discipline.
  • To assess the feasibility of a department-level joint operational element for Defense counterintelligence.[3]


As of December 2007, the Director of CIFA Col. James T. (Tom) Faust (ret.), U.S. Army[4] has announced he will be stepping down in order to accept a position with the U.S. Army assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence. Deputy Director John O'Hara will serve as acting director until a new director is named. Faust takes over his position with the Army in early 2008.[5]

The Director of DoD CIFA reports directly to DoD's Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

The offices of Chief of Staff, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the Inspector General report directly to the Director of CIFA.

CIFA is then broken into four directorates: Program Management, Information Technology, Operational Support and Training and Development.

Program Management is responsible for budgeting, management and accountability.

Information Technology is responsible for planning and managing special technology needs of the counterintelligence enterprise.

Operational Support plans, directs and manages counterintelligence activities and coordinates offensive counterintelligence campaigns.

Training and Development sets performance assessment standards and assures that defense counterintelligence training and education programs, as well as instructors, maintain accreditation and certification.[6]

Joint Protection Enterprise Network (JPEN) database

DoD's CIFA manages the database of "suspicious incidents" in the United States or the Joint Protection Enterprise Network (JPEN). It is an intelligence and law enforcement system that is a near real-time sharing of raw non-validated information among DoD organizations and installations. Feeding into JPEN are intelligence, law enforcement, counterintelligence, and security reports, information from DoD's "Threat and Local Observation Notice" (TALON) reporting system of unfiltered information, and other reports.

There are seven criteria taken into account in the creation of a TALON report:

  • Nonspecific threats.
  • Surveillance.
  • Elicitation.
  • Tests of security.
  • Repetitive activities.
  • Bomb threats.
  • Suspicious activities and/or incidents

Army regulation 190-45, Law Enforcement Reporting, states that JPEN may be used to share police intelligence with DOD law enforcement agencies, military police, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.

Privacy issues

The domestic collection of data by military agencies was strictly regulated in the wake of COINTELPRO by the laws such as the Privacy Act of 1974, which strengthened and specified a United States citizen's right to privacy as noted in the Fourth Amendment United States Constitution. In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States found in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) the right to privacy against government intrusion was protected by the "penumbras" of other Constitutional provisions. The DoD has reflected these in its own guidelines that have been in place since 1982[7].

CIFA's similar collection and retention of data on peace groups and other activists has promoted parallels to be drawn between the two programs by civil rights groups like the ACLU[8], and intelligence officials[9][10] who find the prospect of the military tracking peace groups again to be worrisome.

After ACLU filed multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding information gathering on peace groups and NBC did a report[11] citing a Quaker group planning an anti-enlistment action that was listed as a "threat", a review of CIFA activities was ordered by then Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone[12], who stated at the time that it appeared that there had been several violations.

A complaint requesting the expedition of the FOIA requests[13] by the ACLU was ruled in their favor by a federal court. The released documents showed that at least 126 peace groups' information had been held past required removal dates. The DoD has since stated that it has removed all improperly kept data.

The Bush Administration has broadly defended all of its domestic spying activities by stating that they are acting within the law as provided by the Constitution. Specifically, Article Two of the United States Constitution that suggests that the President has the chief responsibility to protect America from attack. In addition to Article Two, the President (and CIFA) may rely on Congress' specific Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists ("AUMF"), and the War Powers Resolution as foundation, though many Congressional representatives asked about this have stated that they do not support this interpretation, and that it was not their intention on signing the AUMF to give the Executive Branch the ability to conduct domestic spying outside of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Shut Down

On April 1, 2008, the Pentagon's top intelligence official (James R. Clapper, the undersecretary of defense) recommended the dismantling of the CIFA program.[14].

On August 8, 2008, it was announced that CIFA would be shut down and its activities would be subsumed by the Defense Intelligence Agency.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity." U.S. Department of Defense Directive Number 5105.67, 19 February 2002.
  2. ^ "Unit Created by Rumsfeld Shut Down." Gulf Times, 6 August 2008.
  3. ^ Counterintelligence Field Activity. "Strategic Goals."
  4. ^ CIFA Director biography
  5. ^ CIFA Director Selected As U.S. Army Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence,
  6. ^ Organizational Chart,
  7. ^ DoD 5240 1-R Procedures on Domestic Intelligence
  8. ^ Documents Shed New Light on Pentagon Surveillance of Peace Activists (10/12/2006)
  9. ^ Pincus, Walter. "Defense Facilities Pass Along Reports of Suspicious Activity." Washington Post, 11 December 2005, Page A12.
  10. ^ Freedom's TALON
  11. ^ Myers, Lisa et al. "Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?" MSNBC, 14 December 2005.
  12. ^ "DoD Orders Review of Anti-Threat Intel-Gathering System." DoD Press Release, December 2005.
  13. ^ ACLU Complaint
  14. ^ Warrick, Joby. "Intelligence-Gathering Program May Be Halted." Washington Post, 2 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Unit Created by Rumsfeld Shut Down." Gulf Times, 6 August 2008.


External links



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