Eric Schmitt

M - Z


Schmitt. Eric. "Mapping Unit Failures Laid to Reorganization." New York Times, 12 May 1999. []

Formation of NIMA "from parts of the Pentagon and the CIA three years ago ignited an uproar among intelligence officials.... [M]any senior CIA photographic analysts perceived their new assignments to the mapping agency as drudge work, and they either retired or sought transfers to other government jobs....

"The agency is a hybrid of eight defense and intelligence agencies, principally the Pentagon's Defense Mapping Agency and the CIA's National Photographic Intelligence Center.... [C]ombining the two organizations has been a bumpy process.... The cadre of scientific and technical experts who analyzed the satellite data dwindled through resignations and retirements, intelligence experts said, and was gradually supplanted by a younger work force steeped more in political science than scientific testing.

"As a result, the intelligence analysts responsible for interpreting spy satellite photographs are less skilled and less experienced than their predecessors of 10 years ago.... NIMA officials insist the criticism is unfair and say that as trouble spots erupt around the world, their analysts are being asked to analyze more and faster, while Congress in recent years has kept cutting the agency's budget."

[GenPostCW/90s/ChiEmb; MI/NIMA/90s]

Schmitt. Eric. "New Teams Connect Dots of Terror Plots." New York Times, 30 Jan. 2010. []

Intelligence officials said on 29 January 2010 that the National Counterterrorism Center "is creating new teams of specialists to pursue clues of emerging terrorist plots as part of a rapid buildup that will sharply increase its analyst corps, perhaps by hundreds of people over the next year."


Schmitt, Eric. "Pentagon Admits Its Maps of Belgrade Are Out of Date." New York Times, 11 May 1999. []

According to government officials on 10 May 1999, "[i]n confusing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade for a Yugoslav arms agency, the CIA relied on old maps and educated guesses rather than on first-hand information." NIMA, "the Pentagon agency that drew up the map of Belgrade," also "prepared the maps for the Marine Corps jet that struck a ski-lift cable last year near Aviano, Italy. Defense lawyers contended that the crew was not to blame because the cable did not appear on the Pentagon map....

"[I]ntelligence experts said [that] a decision made in 1996 may have contributed to the problem of reading [airborne reconnaissance] photographs: The CIA photographic intelligence center, which analyzes reconnaissance photographs, was folded into the Pentagon's mapping agency, prompting many of the government's most experienced photographic analysts to leave." See also, Bradley Graham, "The Explanation in Washington: U.S. Analysts Misread, Relied on Outdated Maps," Washington Post, 11 May 1999, A17.

[GenPostCW/90s/ChiEmb; MI/NIMA-NGA/90s]

Schmitt, Eric. "Spying Furor Brings Vote in Senate for New Unit." New York Times, 22 Jul. 1999. []


Schmitt, Eric. "U.S. Drones Crowding the Skies to Fight Insurgents in Iraq." New York Times, 5 Apr. 2005. []

Military officials say that "the number of remotely piloted aircraft -- increasingly crucial tools in tracking insurgents, foiling roadside bombings, protecting convoys and launching missile attacks" -- has increased in the skies over Iraq "to more than 700 now from just a handful four years ago."

[MI/Ops/Iraq; Recon/UAVs]

Schmitt. Eric. "U.S. Drones and Yemeni Forces Kill Qaeda-Linked Fighters, Officials Say." New York Times, 22 Apr. 2014, A4. []

"American drones and Yemeni counterterrorism forces killed more than three dozen militants linked to Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen over the weekend in one of the largest such attacks there in months, officials from both countries said" on 21 April 2014. "The precise role of the United States in the airstrikes and ground operations was not immediately clear. American officials said the airstrikes had been carried out by drones operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.... Other officials said American Special Operations military personnel had supported the Yemeni operations on the ground with intelligence and possibly logistical assistance."

[Terrorism/ 10s/14]

Schmitt. Eric. "U.S.-Led Raid Rescues Eight Held in Yemen." New York Times, 26 Nov. 2014, A1. []

According to U.S. and Yemeni officials, about two dozen U.S. Special Operations commandos and "a small number of American-trained Yemeni counterterrorism troops" on 25 November 2014 "rescued eight hostages being held in a cave" in Hadhramaut Province near the Saudi border. The forces flew by helicopter to a location from which they "hiked some distance in the dark to a mountainside cave, where they surprised the militants holding the captives."


Schmitt, Eric. "$1.8 Billion Asked to Help Bolster Embassy Security." New York Times, 22 Sep. 1998. []

"The Clinton administration will ask Congress this week for $1.8 billion for emergency security improvements at most of the nation's 260 embassies and consulates worldwide.... That money, about twice the amount Congress has appropriated for diplomatic security since 1985, reflects the administration's conclusion that no country can be considered safe for U.S. diplomats following the fatal bombings in East Africa last month. But the request is far below the full amount the State Department has said is needed to modify or build embassies meeting the security standards established in the 1980s. In 1985, the department put the cost of converting or replacing all embassies at $3.5 billion."


Schmitt, Eric, and Mark Mazzetti. "Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid." New York Times, 14 Jun. 2011. []

According to American officials, Pakistan's top military spy agency has arrested "five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid" that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. "The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers."

[CIA/10s/11; OtherCountries/Pakistan/10s]

Schmitt, Eric, Mark Mazzetti, and Jane Perlez. "Pakistan's Spies Aided Group Tied to Mumbai Siege." New York Times, 8 Dec. 2008. []

According to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based group suspected of conducting the Mumbai attacks, "has quietly gained strength in recent years with the help of Pakistan's" Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). U.S. "officials say there is no hard evidence to link" ISI to the attacks. However, the officials said that "the ISI has shared intelligence with Lashkar and provided protection for it,... and investigators are focusing on one Lashkar leader they believe is a main liaison with the spy service and a mastermind of the attacks."

[OtherCountries/India & Pakistan; Terrorism/08]

Schmitt, Eric, and Scott Sayare. "U.S. Troops At Drone Base In West Africa." New York Times, 22 Feb. 2013. []

President Obama announced on 22 February 2013 "that about 100 American troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region." The new base is "located for now in the capital, Niamey.... A military official said the troops were largely Air Force logistics specialists, intelligence analysts and security officers." See also, Craig Whitlock, "U.S. Troops Arrive In Niger To Set Up Drone Base," Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2013.

[Recon/UAVs/10s; Terrorism/10s/13]

Schmitt, Eric, and Thom Shanker. Counterstrike: The Untold Story of Americas Secret Campaign Against Al-Qaeda. New York: Times Books, 2011.

According to Leebaert, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2011, the book "offers solid reporting of the wins and losses in a 10-year campaign. But it falls short on its promise to illuminate some creative U.S. strategies. In their analysis of the calculus of deterrence, Schmitt and Shanker neglect to assess the costs to one's own side." Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), comments that this is "an important book that puts the current terrorism threat in a real-world perspective." For Thomas, Military Review (Jul.-Aug. 2012), this book "reminds policymakers of the complexity of dealing with a nonstate enemy who picks battles on his terms."

[GenPostCW/10s/Gen; Terrorism/10s/Gen]

Schmitt, Eric, and Thom Shanker. "Hurdles Hinder Counterterrorism Center." New York Times, 22 Feb. 2010. []

According to a new congressionally financed study by the nonpartisan Project on National Security Reform, the National Counterterrorism Center "is struggling because of flawed staffing and internal cultural clashes." The result "is a lack of coordination and communication among the agencies that are supposed to take the lead in planning the fight against terrorism, including the C.I.A. and the State Department." The report "found that the center's planning arm did not have enough authority to do its main job of coordinating the White House's counterterrorism priorities."

The study called on President Obama "to issue an executive order to define the nation's counterterrorism architecture in order to address some of the problems and improve coordination. It also recommended giving the center's director,... a say in the choice of counterterrorism officials at other federal agencies, a step the 9/11 Commission had recommended but was not adopted."


Return to Schm