Secret report warns of US intelligence blind spots

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The panel, which includes Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and CIA director John Brennan, found that an emphasis on drone strikes and military operations in the Middle East following the Sept. 11 attacks had led the intelligence community to neglect possible attacks from China and other potential blind spots, according to The Washington Post.

The report, issued at the end of 2012, said the focus of spy agencies like the CIA and National Security Agency has been "distorted" by the threat of al Qaeda.

Former Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.), a member of the intelligence panel, told the Post that "the intelligence community has become to some degree a military support operation." He suggested that the balance between traditional espionage and operations "needs to be changed as dramatically as it was at the end of the Cold War."

The 14-member panel recommended an incremental recalibration of American intelligence agencies, in an attempt to both refocus priorities and step back from the increasingly significant involvement in lethal operations overseas.

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On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA would begin gradually shifting drone operations to the Pentagon's control, a move that is seen as both a response to criticism over the program's transparency and an opportunity for the intelligence agency to resume a more traditional role.

In confirmation hearings last month, Brennan told senators that the agency's involvement in paramilitary operations were "an aberration from its traditional role."