Washington, June 5 (ANI): The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is planning to reduce its presence in Iraq to less than half of wartime levels, American officials familiar with the development have revealed.
Officials claimed that the CIA's presence in Iraq would be reduced to 40 percent of wartime levels, when Baghdad was the largest CIA station in the world with over 700 agency personnel.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the move comes as a result of the challenges the CIA is facing while operating in a country that no longer welcomes a major U.S. presence.
The officials said that the CIA had already begun to pull back in Iraq since the height of the war, but noted that the drawdown, coming six months after the departure of American military forces, would be significant.
According to the paper, the plan would also reduce the U.S. intelligence presence in the region, as Syria appears to be verging on civil war.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is also sending fighters to Syria to battle the Assad regime, Pentagon officials claimed.
Meanwhile, proponents of the change said that the CIA could make better use of its personnel in other areas.
It could include emerging terrorist hot spots such as Yemen, home to the Al-Qaeda affiliate the U.S. considers to pose the greatest threat to the homeland, and Mali, where an unstable government has fanned concerns. (ANI)