April 21, 2102
Imagine a soldier, wearing mufti, traveling through Syria in a rattletrap taxi. He’s a spy, dressed in a suit, going to meet an agent who says he can offer rebels the Syrian government’s order of battle.
The soldier, an Army intelligence officer fluent in Syrian and Iraqi Arabic, has spent 18 months cultivating the source, a senior official in the telecommunications company owned by the brother of Syria’s president. The son of a general, the agent has grown disillusioned by two years of civil war and wants to help end his country’s agony. His information could help the rebels break the regime’s back.
That’s the kind of operation the Pentagon hopes its agent might be able to execute if they are given authority they’ve requested from Congress. It would substantially increase the Defense Intelligence Agency’s authority to build covers, create businesses and to run them for long periods.