A multi-billion-dollar program launched by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after 9/11 to spy on terrorists and rogue nations is a “colossal flop” plagued by “financial irregularities,” according to senior agency officials cited in a mainstream newspaper exposé on the scandal-plagued initiative.
It took the government more than a decade but it’s finally—and quietly—pulling the plug on the failed experiment, which was supposed to collect intelligence on terrorists and nations considered enemies of the United States. Nevertheless, the damage has been done. American taxpayers are out at least $3 billion with little to show for it and Uncle Sam is finally cutting the cash flow.
The anti-terrorism program is known as NOC because it gives CIA operatives, often posing as business executives, non-official cover, presumably to delve deeper and gather more intelligence. The goal was to get the agents, who usually pose as diplomats abroad, out of embassy offices and into foreign businesses, universities and other local operations, the news story reveals.
The reporter evidently attended a NOC forum in which CIA agents spoke of their cover jobs, false identities and how they were protected. The general consensus was that the initiative was a disappointment that gathered no valuable intelligence. A senior officer exchanged a note with a colleague that read: “Lots of business. Little espionage.” A former senior CIA official said “it was a colossal flop.” The sentiment was echoed by a dozen former colleagues, the article says.