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Inside Politics

Bush orders CIA paramilitary review

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CNN's John King reports on GOP opposition to Bush.

CNN's Ed Henry looks at stalled intelligence-overhaul bill.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Military Intelligence
George W. Bush

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has ordered a 90-day review of the feasibility of the Pentagon taking over responsibility for paramilitary operations now conducted by the CIA, senior Pentagon and administration officials told CNN Tuesday.

The proposal was one of the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Several senior Pentagon officials said the move was unlikely to happen and that the review's sole purpose was to demonstrate that the Bush Administration is taking the commission recommendations seriously.

An administration official said Bush ordered the review last week and declined comment when asked about the likelihood of the transfer.

The official said the study would involve the offices of the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Defense Department and the State Department.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been unenthusiastic about making any change, as have several senior military officials.

CIA paramilitary operations are often some of the most covert, sensitive actions undertaken by the agency and can include so-called direct action, which may include attacks on specific targets.

CIA paramilitary forces were involved in the earliest stages of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and also have operated secretly inside Pakistan searching for Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. military officials.

CNN's Barbara Starr and Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.

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