Tags: Garry Reid | Pentagon | intel | Edward Snowden

Top Intel Official: US Faces 'Unprecedented' Worldwide Threats

By    |   Thursday, 26 February 2015 04:48 PM

The U.S. is facing an "unprecedented" array of threats around the world — from growing Islamic jihadism to increased aggression by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sophisticated technological advances that once were the domain of this country, according to a top Pentagon intelligence official.

"We're sitting on top of the most powerful military arsenal … ever assembled," said Garry Reid, a top deputy to Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, but most "conventional forces and strategic forces are barely applicable to any of these problems.

"That is quite a vexing scenario," Reid told a meeting of current and former special operations personnel in Florida on Wednesday, Foreign Policy reports.

He said that these global challenges will keep U.S. intelligence and special operations forces extremely busy for years to come.

Reid, who joined the Defense Department in 2007 after serving in military special operations for 28 years, cited how satellite imagery has become more commercially available.

"Where once you could assume that only you had the bird's-eye view of the target area, now just about anybody can have [it]," he said, according to Foreign Policy.

The development of "quite challenging" commercial encryption technologies threatens U.S. dominance in cracking into telecommunications networks worldwide, Reid added. "It's not as easy as it once was to exploit adversary communications."

In addition, Reid hinted that other technological advances were affecting U.S. undercover operations.

"Global biometrics, identity management, and the ability to track people [using] your electronic signature around the world becomes a challenge for us," he said.

Reid acknowledged that leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have exposed many ways the agency intercepts foreign communications, adding that "despite leaks and despite exposures, [the U.S.' ability to tap overseas phones and computers] continues to be an area of dominance," according to Foreign Policy.

But the U.S. is having some success, Reid said, including the Stuxnet Internet virus that seriously damaged Iran's nuclear program.

Others include a huge increase in the Pentagon's aerial surveillance efforts and the NSA's improved skills in code-breaking and hacking, Foreign Policy reports.

Reid stressed, however, that the United States faced its own threats.

"We're looking at and developing a methodology for defeating insider threats and that includes leaks [and] espionage cases," he said, according to the report.

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The U.S. is facing an "unprecedented" array of threats around the world, according to a top Pentagon intelligence official.
Garry Reid, Pentagon, intel, Edward Snowden
Thursday, 26 February 2015 04:48 PM
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