Topics: National News

Officials say Iraq pullout hurt US spying

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Photo - FILE - In this May 19, 2007, file photo, a portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad. In 2014, by contrast, CIA officers have been largely hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011, current and former officials say, allowing a once-rich network of intelligence sources to wither. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this May 19, 2007, file photo, a portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad. In 2014, by contrast, CIA officers have been largely hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011, current and former officials say, allowing a once-rich network of intelligence sources to wither. (AP Photo)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Current and former officials say CIA officers in Iraq have been hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011.

They say that's a big reason the U.S. was caught flat-footed by the recent offensive by a Sunni-backed, al-Qaida-inspired group that has seized a large swath of Iraq.

As one former CIA officer puts it, "The U.S. taxpayer is not getting their money's worth."

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd says it's offensive to suggest that CIA officers "are sitting behind desks ... or otherwise taking it easy back at the embassy."

Boyd says the intelligence community provided plenty of warning to the Obama administration that the insurgent Islamic State in Iraq and Levant could make a move on Iraqi cities.

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