Washington, Feb.26 (ANI): The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has in its first Economic Intelligence report has said that the current economic meltdown should be seen as a preeminent security threats facing the United States.
"We've seen the impact of a worldwide recession occur throughout the world," said CIA chief Leon Panetta.
The spy agency is following worrisome trends in many corners of the globe, from East Asia to Latin America.
In private meetings yesterday, Latin American intelligence officials were quoted by the Washington Post as warning their U.S. counterparts of a crisis spreading throughout the hemisphere, particularly in Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela.
"Clearly, it's related: What happens in the economy, and what's happening as a result of that, is affecting the stability of the world," Panetta said.
Other key intelligence officials have raised similar alarms in other settings.
The new director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a Senate panel this month that economic woes have largely replaced terrorism as the country's number one security challenge.
Blair repeated the theme yesterday in testimony before the House intelligence committee, noting that three European governments have fallen because of economic issues.
"Our analysis indicates that economic crisis increases the risk of regime-threatening instability if it continues for a one- or two-year period," Blair said.
"Instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order," he added.
The economic crunch adds to a formidable list of global concerns facing the new administration's security team. (ANI)