In Iraq, “The violence is making it far more difficult for the CIA to operate. A CIA directive requires case officers to travel only with armed bodyguards, making it nearly impossible to conduct discreet meetings with Iraqis on their own turf, according to intelligence experts briefed on the Iraq mission. The agency operates from more than half a dozen bases around the country. ‘How do you do your job that way? You can’t,’ said one former CIA official who recently returned from Iraq. ‘They don’t know what’s going on out there.’ The agency is training a private security firm that employs former Special Forces troops to teach them to be less conspicuous when they accompany CIA officers. As an additional safeguard, and because of a shortage of CIA paramilitary personnel, the agency has also hired private security firms to protect bases and personnel. ‘We don’t have enough people with skills required,’ one senior intelligence official said.”

 – Dana Priest, “Violence, Turnover Blunt CIA Effort in Iraq,” The Washington Post, March 4, 2004