Hayden seeks allies' help in countering terrorism

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The director of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, said today he is seeking increased collaboration between his agency and foreign security forces in the struggle against Islamic extremism worldwide because counterterrorism efforts bearing Washington’s signature alone are often ineffective.

A deep-rooted hatred of America in much of the Middle East has made it difficult for U.S. officials to influence what Hayden called the “war of ideas” inside Islam without help from other countries.

“Methods to counter terrorism work best when we are not the messenger,” the general said during a speech at the National Guard Association of the United States in Washington.

American society has yet to fully develop the cultural and language skills needed to keep the upper hand against violent Islamists, Hayden said. He said there are only few U.S. universities offering courses in Farsi, Urdu or Pashto, compared with the host of Soviet studies or Russian language programs offered during the height of the Cold War.

“We need experts [now] the same way we needed experts 60 years ago,” he said.

Hayden added that the military services should make the training and education of dedicated human intelligence officers a priority despite shrinking defense budgets. Some Defense Department employees taking the CIA’s case officers human intelligence training course have found it difficult to get permission from their superiors at the Pentagon to participate in the program, he said.

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