Special Activities Division
This article is about the military division of the CIA. For other uses, see sad (disambiguation)
See the list of Special Activities Division Operations, the following overview articles of operations, or specific pages for individual operations
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations from WWII through Viet Nam
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations from 1975-2002
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations in Afghanistan
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations in Iraq since 2003
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations in Pakistan
- CIA: SAD and SOG operations worldwide since 2001
- Political Action Group Political influence, psychological warfare, economic warfare, and cyberwarfare. The source of the Economic Hitmen as detailed in the book Confessions of an economic hit man
The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) National Clandestine Service (NCS) responsible for covert operations, black operations and other "special activities". These include covert political action and paramilitary special operations. Within SAD there are two separate groups, one for paramilitary operations and another for political action. The Political Action Group within SAD is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has added cyberwarfare to their mission. A large covert operation usually has components that involve many, or all, of these categories, as well as paramilitary operations.
Special Operations Group (SOG) is the element within SAD responsible for paramilitary operations. These operations include collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the government of the United States may deny all knowledge.
SAD activities have grown in pace and begun to include more overt missions since the end of the Cold War. In the second Iraq War, SAD personnel fought alongside army units in a feint that drew Iraqi forces away from the main tank thrust. SAD still runs covert missions however, as the sabotage and aiding of anti-Iranian groups in Iran may prove to be.
- See Special Activities Division Operations for a list of SAD operations
SAD provides the President of the United States with an option when overt military and/or diplomatic actions are not viable or politically feasible. SAD can be directly tasked by the President of the United States or the National Security Council at the President's direction. This is unlike any other U.S. special mission force. However, SAD/SOG has far fewer members than most of the other special missions units, such as Special Operations Detachment-Delta or SEAL Team Six. As the action arm of the NCS, SAD/SOG conducts military direct action missions such as raids, ambushes, sabotage, targeted killings  and unconventional warfare (e.g., training and leading guerrilla and military units of other countries in combat). SAD/SOG also conducts special reconnaissance, that can be either military or intelligence driven, but is carried out by Paramilitary Operations Officers when in "non-permissive environments". Paramilitary Operations Officers are also fully trained case officers and as such conduct clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) operations throughout the world. SAD/SOG officers are selected exclusively from the most elite U.S. military units.
The political action group within SAD conducts the deniable psychological operations, also known as black propaganda, as well as "Covert Influence" to effect political change as an important part of any Administration's foreign policy. Covert intervention in a foreign election is the most significant form of political action. This could involve financial support for favored candidates, media guidance, technical support for public relations, get-out-the-vote or political organizing efforts, legal expertise, advertising campaigns, assistance with poll-watching, and other means of direct action. Policy decisions could be influenced by assets, such as subversion of officials of the country, to make decisions in their official capacity that are in the furtherance of U.S. policy aims. In addition, mechanisms for forming and developing opinions involve the covert use of propaganda.
Propaganda includes leaflets, newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and television, all of which are geared to convey the U.S. message appropriate to the region. These techniques have expanded to cover the Internet as well. They may employ officers to work as journalists, recruit agents of influence, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places it is hoped it will come to public attention, or seek to deny and/or discredit information that is public knowledge. In all such propaganda efforts, "black" operations denote those in which the audience is to be kept ignorant of the source; "white" efforts are those in which the originator openly acknowledges himself; and "gray" operations are those in which the source is partly but not fully acknowledged.
Some examples of political action programs were the prevention of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from winning elections between 1948 and the late 1960s; overthrowing the governments of Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, and Indonesia in 1957, as well as providing funds and support to the trade union federation Solidarity following the imposition of martial law in Poland after 1981.
After the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon, SAD operations were allowed far greater exposure in the media, operated alongside regular troops, and operated with a much greater degree of assumed acceptance and openness. Whatever one might believe about the real source of the 2001 attacks, the net effect has been a working assumption by the CIA that was once repellent was now validated by the so-called "Global War on Terror". Beginning in autumn of 2001, SAD/SOG Paramilitary teams arrived in Afghanistan to hunt down al-Qaeda leaders, facilitate the entry of U.S. Army Special Forces and lead the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan against the ruling Taliban. SAD/SOG units also defeated Ansar al-Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and trained, equipped, organized and led the Kurdish peshmerga forces to defeat the Iraqi army in northern Iraq. Despite being the most covert unit in U.S. Special Operations, numerous books have been published on the exploits of CIA paramilitary officers, including Conboy & Morrison (1999) "Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia", 1957–1958 by Kenneth J. Conboy and James Morrison and Warner (1996) "Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos. Most experts consider SAD/SOG the premiere force for unconventional warfare (UW), whether that warfare consists of either creating or combating an insurgency in a foreign country.
In the 2003 book, "Special OPS: America's elite forces in 21st century combat", the author states:
- "Highly classified, the SAD is regarded as the preeminent special operations unit in the world. Members are the elite of the elite; "the best period." This results from the sources from which the organization recruits its members: Special missions units (SMUs); such as Delta Force and NSWDG (United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group)..." 
There remains some conflict between the National Clandestine Service and the more clandestine parts of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), such as the Joint Special Operations Command. This is usually confined to the civilian/political heads of the respective Department/Agency. The combination of SAD and USSOCOM units has resulted in some of the most notable successes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. SAD/SOG has several missions. One of these missions is the recruiting, training, and leading of indigenous forces in combat operations. SAD/SOG and its successors have been used when it was considered desirable to have plausible deniability about U.S. support (this is called a covert operation or "covert action"). Unlike other special missions units, SAD operatives combine special operations and clandestine intelligence capabilities in one individual. These individuals can operate in any environment (sea, air or ground) with limited to no support. These Paramilitary Operations Officers are from the Special Operations Group (SOG) of SAD.
 Special Operations Group
MAC-V SOG (Studies and Observations Group) (changed for cover purposes from SOG), was created and active during the Vietnam War. While CIA was just one part of MAC-V SOG, it did have operational control of some of the programs. Many of the military members of MAC-V SOG joined the CIA after their military service. The legacy of MAC-V SOG continues within SAD's Special Operations Group.
 Innovations in special operationsFulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS) is a system developed in the early 1950s by CIA paramilitary officers for retrieving persons on the ground from a MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft. It uses a harness and a self-inflating balloon that carries an attached lift line. An MC-130E engages the line with its V-shaped yoke and the individual is reeled on board. Operation COLDFEET was a very successful mission in 1962 in which two military officers parachuted into a remote abandoned Soviet site in the Arctic. The two were subsequently extracted by the Fulton sky hook. The team gathered evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.
Sergeant Major (SGM) Billy Waugh was a Special Forces soldier and paramilitary operations officer in SAD/SOG. During his time at MACV-SOG in Vietnam, he developed and conducted the first combat High Altitude-Low Opening (HALO) jump, "In October 1970, my team made a practice Combat Infiltration into the NVA owned War Zone D, in South Vietnam, for reassembly training, etc. This was the first one in a combat zone."  HALO is a method of delivering personnel, equipment, and supplies from a transport aircraft at a high altitude via free-fall parachute insertion. HALO and HAHO (High Altitude-High Opening) are also known as Military Free Fall (MFF). In the HALO technique, the parachutist opens his parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time to avoid detection by the enemy. Waugh also led the last combat special reconnaissance parachute insertion into enemy territory occupied by communist North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops on June 22, 1971.
Famous paramilitary officers
See Wikipedia:Special Activities Division#Famous paramilitary officers
 See also
|This article contains content from Wikipedia. Current versions of the GNU FDL article Special Activities Division on WP may contain information useful to the improvement of this article||WP|
- Special Activities Division Operations
- List of military interventions of the United States
- Cold War covert overthrow of governments by the US
- Post-Cold War covert regime change by the US
- Private military corporations
- Extraordinary rendition
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 William J Daugherty (2004). Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency, University of Kentucky Press.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 American Foreign Relations tells you not to worry about the government, and especially not the CIA, and especially not the charter they were given by pres. Reagan
- ↑ Robberson, Tod (October 27, 2002). "CIA commandos remain covert". Dallas Morning News. http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/021027-cia1.htm.</li>
- ↑ Woodward, Bob (November 18, 2001). "Secret CIA Units Playing a Central Combat Role". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/CIA18.html.</li>
- ↑ Special Operations Forces (SOF) and CIA Paramilitary Operations: Issues for Congress, CRS-2</li>
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Southworth (2002)</li>
- ↑ (October 17, 2008). "Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms" (PDF). 512 United States Department of Defense. Retrieved on November 29, 2008. </li>
- ↑ Douglas Waller. The CIA Secret Army. TIME (Time Inc).</li>
- ↑ Mazzetti, Mark; Helene Cooper (February 26, 2009). "CIA Pakistan Campaign is Working Director Say". New York Times: p. A15.</li>
- ↑ Miller, Greg (July 14, 2009). "CIA Secret Program: PM Teams Targeting Al Qaeda". Los Angeles Times: p. A1.</li>
- ↑ "Al-Qaeda stalked by the Predator". The Times (London). November 10, 2002. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article826047.ece?token=null&offset=12&page=2. Retrieved March 27, 2010.</li>
- ↑ "U.S. kills al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen". USA Today. November 5, 2002. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-11-04-yemen-explosion_x.htm.</li>
- ↑ "CIA 'killed al-Qaeda suspects' in Yemen". BBC News. November 5, 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2402479.stm.</li>
- ↑ Mazzetti, Mark; Schmitt, Eric (October 27, 2008). "U.S. Takes to Air to Hit Militants Inside Pakistan". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/27/washington/27intel.html?hp. Retrieved March 27, 2010.</li>
- ↑ Mazzetti, Mark; Shane Scott (July 14, 2009). "CIA Had Plan To Assassinate Qaeda Leaders". New York Times: p. A1.</li>
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Coll (2004)</li>
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Waller, Douglas (2003-02-03). "The CIA Secret Army". TIME (Time Inc). http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030203/</li>
- ↑ US aggressiveness towards Iran. Foreign Policy Journal.</li>
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Bob Woodward (2004). Plan of Attack, Simon & Schuster, Inc.</li>
- ↑ Tucker (2008)</li>
- ↑ Conboy (1999)</li>
- ↑ Warner" (1996)</li>
- ↑ "Special OPS: America's elite forces in 21st century combat" By Fred J. Pushies, pg. 20 – Google Books</li>
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 Stone & Williams (2003)</li>
- ↑ Special OPS: America's elite forces in 21st century combat, Fred J. Pushies, MBI Publishing, 2003, page 20. http://books.google.com/books?id=TLu2K11cXSMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=</li>
- ↑ Vickers, Michael G (June 29, 2006). "Testimony of Michael G. Vickers on SOCOM's Mission and Roles to the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. </li>
- ↑ Shooting at the Moon by Roger Warner, The history of CIA/IAD'S 15-year involvement in conducting the secret war in Laos, 1960–1975</li>
- ↑ Ihttps://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol52no2/iac/seven-days-in-the-arctic.htmlnsert footnote text here</li>
- ↑ https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol52no2/iac/seven-days-in-the-arctic.html</li>
- ↑ http://www.specialoperations.com/Stories/MAG_BILLY_WAUGH.pdf</li>
- ↑ Ihttp://www.specialoperations.com/Stories/MAG_BILLY_WAUGH.pdf</li></ol>
- ↑ Woodward, Bob (November 18, 2001). "Secret CIA Units Playing a Central Combat Role". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/CIA18.html.</li>
- Coll, Steve (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, The Penguin Press.
- Conboy, Kenneth J; James Morrison (1999). Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia, 1957–1958, Naval Institute Press. — The history of CIA/IAD's paramilitary operations in Indonesia in the 1950s, detailing the activities of IAD's Ground Air and Maritime Branches, and highlighting the roles of legendary PMCOs Tom Fosmire, Anthony Posephny ("Tony Poe"), Jim Glerum and others.
- William J Daugherty (2004). Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency, University of Kentucky Press.
- Lynch, Grayston L. 2000. Decision for Disaster: Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs. Potomac Books Dulles Virginia ISBN 1574882376 ISBN 9781574882377
- Rodríguez, Félix and Weisman, John. 1989. Shadow Warrior/the CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671667211
- Southworth, Samuel A. & Tanner, Stephen. 2002. U.S. Special Forces: A Guide to America's Special Operations Units : the World's Most Elite Fighting Force. Da Capo Press ISBN 0306811650 ISBN 9780306811654
- Stone, Captain Kathryn and Williams, Professor Anthony R. (Project Advisor). April 7, 2003. All Necessary Means: Employing CIA operatives in a Warfighting Role Alongside Special Operations Forces, United States Army War College (USAWC).
- Tenet, George. 2007. At the Center of the Storm: My Life at the CIA. Harper Collins
- Triay, Victor Andres. 2001. Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 2506. University Press of Florida, Gainesville ISBN 0813020905 ISBN 978-0813020907
- Tucker, Mike and Faddis, Charles. 2008. Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War inside Iraq. The Lyons Press. ISBN 9781599213668
- P, Matt. 2010, Review of Hotel California: The Clandestine War inside Iraq. Studies in Intelligence. Volume 54 No. 2
- Warner, Roger (1996). Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos, Steerforth Press. — The history of CIA/IAD'S 15-year involvement in conducting the secret war in Laos, 1960–1975, and the career of CIA PMCO (paramilitary case officer) Bill Lair.
- Woodward, Bob (2004). Plan of Attack, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
- Wyden, Peter. 1979. Bay of Pigs – The Untold Story. Simon and Schuster. New York. ISBN 0671240064 ISBN 0224017543 ISBN 978-0671240066
 Further reading
- Air America and The Ravens- by Chris Robbins — Both are the history of CIA/IAD's war in Laos, providing biographies and details on such legendary CIA PMCOs as Wil Green, Tony Poe, Jerry Daniels, Howie Freeman, Bill Lair, and the pilots, ground crew and support personnel managed by IAD/SOG/AIR BRANCH under the proprietaries Bird Air, Southern Air Transport, China Air Transport and Air America—and the U.S. Air Force forward air controllers (RAVENS) who were brought in under CIA/IAD command and control as "civilians" to support secret combat ops in Laos.
- Raiders of the China Coast by Frank Holober — History of CIA/IAD paramilitary operations in the Taiwan Straits, 1947–1955, with details on such PMCOs as Ernie Tskikerdanos.
- Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Bowden, Mark (1999), Atlantic Monthly Press. Berkeley, California (USA). ISBN 0871137380 about operation Gothic Serpent
- Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw, Bowden, Mark (2001), ISBN 0871137836 about the hunt for Pablo Escobar
- Bush at War by Bob Woodward, 2001, detailing the initial invasion of Afghanistan and the role of SAD.
- First In: An Insiders Account of how the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan by Gary Schroen, 2005.
- Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and AL Qaeda: A personal account by the CIA's field Commander by Gary Berntsen and Ralph Pezzulla, 2005.
- Kill bin Laden, by Dalton Fury, St. Martin's Press, October 2008.
- Wild Bill Donovan: The Last Hero, by Anthony Cave Brown, New York: Times Books, 1982.
- Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars Of The CIA, John Prados, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2006.
- Inside Delta Force, Haney, Eric L. (2002), New York: Delacorte Press, 325. ISBN 9780385336031.
- Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, Naylor, Sean (2005), Penguin Group, New York about Operation Anaconda; details, among other things, the actions of SAD Paramilitary officers during this chaotic 2002 battle in Afghanistan.
- Seymour Hersh. Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran". The New Yorker.
- Orphans Of The Cold War: America And The Tibetan Struggle For Survival, John Kenneth Knaus, 1999 IBN 1891620851.
- Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan, Doug Stanton, 2009.
- Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces, Linda Robinson, 2004.
- The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11, Ron Suskind, Simon and Schuster, 2006.
- ''CIA Confidential, National Geographic online: Afghanistan and Pakistan
- American spy: my secret history in the CIA, Watergate, and beyond, E. Howard Hunt; with Greg Aunapu; foreword by William F. Buckley, Jr. (2007)
- Wilson, Jeremy. Seven Pillars of Wisdom – Triumph and Tragedy. T. E. Lawrence Studies. URL accessed on 2008-07-17.</small>
 External links
[[Category:Airborne units and formations][[Category:Military forces by operations]]