In late December of 2013 the Washington Post released a well-written and highly detailed report regarding a very successful CIA covert action program aimed at eliminating over two dozen rebel leaders associated with the world’s most (formerly) well-funded insurgency: Colombia’s FARC. While the report did not receive a lot of coverage from the mainstream media, it still remains an excellent current and ongoing example of the kinds of work the CIA performs today.

It is refreshing to see that although CIA clandestine HUMINT reporting and collection is declining in a more tech-savvy and globalized world as SOFREP previously reported, the CIA’s covert action programs are still capable of leveraging the innovative and vast resources at US disposal in pursuit of policy makers’ objectives.

CIA activity in Colombia, courtesy of the Washington Post

The Washington Post reports that the ongoing covert action program, which also “includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget.”  As SOFREP previously reported regarding the budget cuts to the CIA’s other multibillion dollar effort to bolster the capabilities of their non-official cover or deep cover officers, it is evident covert action programs will not be experiencing these same cuts.

The key to success in the CIA’s covert action program in Colombia is derived from two chief services: “real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.”

As the US has demonstrated through engagements with other various groups that threaten US interests or pose a threat to national security, the specific and deliberate targeting of leadership personnel is a labor-intensive but beneficial practice that allows the network to be dismantled.  As SOFREP has previously reported, this is a practice the CIA has solidified to a great extent over the years as well.

Alfonso Cano, former FARC leader killed in 2011, courtesy of latinamericanstudies.org

Read the full Washington Post investigative report here.

Thanks for listening.

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