Keeping Us Safe: Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security (Praeger Security International)
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Intelligence Community in One more agency, the CIA, is also civilian in character, but is located outside the government's policy cabinet. More important still, it became the location where the Director of Central Intelligence DCI —the titular leader of all the intelligence agencies—hung his hat no woman has held that position , in a suite of offices on the seventh floor of the Agency's Old Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, adjacent to the township of McLean. James Woolsey, who held the position of DCI during the early years of the Clinton administration — , has described the role of America's intelligence chief.
As figure 1.
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The job of the case officer is to recruit foreigners to engage in espionage against their own countries, as well as to support the CIA's counterintelligence operations and covert actions. For this recruitment effort, case officers need to be gregarious individuals: charming, persuasive, and daring. The job of the analysts—the Agency's intellectuals—is to provide insight p. The Directorate of Support DS is where managers reside who conduct periodic polygraph tests on employees and otherwise ensure the maintenance of tight security.
All of the intelligence agencies exist to carry out operations at the request of the president and other senior policy officials. The most important of these operations—Mission No. Intelligence as Process. The initial stage of the intelligence cycle is critical. The world is a large and fractious place, with more than nations and a plethora of groups, factions, gangs, cartels, and terrorist groups, some of whom have a sharply adversarial relationship with the United States.
However much prelapsarians might have longed for the sunlit uplands of a new and peaceful era after the demise of the Soviet Union, realists properly anticipated a future still dark and filled with menace.
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At some point the degree of danger posed by foreign adversaries or domestic subversives becomes self-evident, as in the case of the Qaeda terrorist organization in the wake of its surprise attacks against the United States on September 11, Unfortunately, though, no one in the government—or anywhere else—has a crystal ball to predict exactly when and where danger will strike. Part of the dilemma stems from the fact that we live in a world filled not just with secrets but with mysteries.
By secrets, intelligence experts for example: Nye , Treverton refer to something that the United States might be able to find out, even though the information is concealed by another nation or group, say, the number of tanks and nuclear submarines in the Chinese military inventory. With the use of satellites and other surveillance methods, the United States can determine that number. Some secrets, though, are much harder to acquire, such as the whereabouts of terrorist leaders, or the precise vault in Tehran that contains Iran's nuclear weapons plans.
At least, though, there is a chance of gaining access to this information. In contrast, mysteries are things we are unlikely to know about until they happen, because they lie beyond the ken of human capacity to foresee. For example, no one can tell who will be the next chancellor of Germany, or what breakthroughs in the invention of new strategic weaponry the Chinese may achieve in the next decade. Rwanda provides an illustration of how difficult it can be to anticipate unfolding world events. Then, for several weeks, that's all I thought about.
After that, it fell abruptly off the screen and I never again thought about Rwanda. Similarly, two decades earlier in , who in Washington anticipated that within a year Vietnam would become one of the most important intelligence priorities for the United States, and would remain so for a decade? In , or again in , who placed Iraq at the zenith of America's security concerns, as it would become a year later in each instance? Important, too, are calculations about possible global opportunities for the United States. Bias and guesswork enter into the picture, along with the limitations caused by the inherent opaqueness of the future.
On which tier should one place China in the threat assessment? What about the Russian Federation, which is now less hostile toward the United States than during the Cold War, but still retains the capacity to destroy every American metropolis from Los Angeles to New York City in the thirty-minute witchfire of a nuclear holocaust? What about Cuba, benign enough to some in recent years, but for others still a pesky and unpredictable neighbor?
Around the Cabinet Room in the White House the arguments fly regarding the proper hierarchy of concerns, as senior policy and intelligence officials attempt to assess the world's risks and opportunities. This is not an academic exercise. The outcome determines the priorities for the multibillion-dollar spending that occurs each year on intelligence collection-and-analysis. It also pinpoints locations on the world map where spies will be infiltrated; telephones and computers tapped; surveillance satellites set into orbit; reconnaissance aircraft dispatched on overflight missions; and potentially lethal covert actions aimed.
Over the years, the United States has undertaken several major inquiries into the activities of the intelligence agencies. Each has concluded that one of the most significant flaws in the intelligence cycle is the failure of policymakers to clarify, during the initial planning-and-direction phase of the intelligence cycle, exactly what kinds of information they need.
So the right hand of intelligence often remains ignorant about the left hand of policy deliberations. Some staffers in the nation's top forum for security deliberations, the National Security Council NSC , have been on the job for a year or more and have never met—or even talked on a secure telephone—with experienced intelligence analysts working in their same areas of responsibility, whether arms control or global environmental issues Inderfurth and Johnson ; Johnson The ultimate question for planners is: how much intelligence is enough?
It depends, as well, on the global interests a nation may have Johnson Colby p. We are a big power and we've got to worry about all of the world. The second stage in the intelligence cycle is collection: going after the information that planners and policymakers designate. During the Cold War, the highest intelligence priority was to learn about the locations and capabilities of Soviet weaponry, especially nuclear devices Goodman This was sometimes a dangerous endeavor, as underscored by the more than forty U.
The world is simply too vast. Through their use of satellites and reconnaissance aircraft, both ideological encampments could confidently spy on the missilery and armies of their opponents. As a consequence, a Pearl Harbor—like surprise attack became an unlikely possibility and this transparency allowed a relaxation of tensions in Moscow and Washington. Moreover, intelligence guides today's high-tech, precision weapons systems to their targets, by providing accurate maps, as well as data on weather and terrain contours.
Keeping Us Safe: Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security (Praeger Security International)
Each of the U. Best of all would be a reliable human asset close to top decision-makers in another country, perhaps a staff aide or a mistress. Is there information in the public domain about airplane runways in Rwanda and whether they can support the weight of a U. C, or must CIA agents acquire this data from secret sources? What about the density of the sand in the deserts near Tehran: is it firm enough for the landing of U.
This was an important intelligence question in , when the Carter Administration was planning a rescue of U. I was asked to take charge of a new section that had been organized to cover everything from Afghanistan right through southern Asia, southeast Asia, Australia, and the Pacific…. That was literally the resources of G-2 on that vast part of the world a year after the war in Europe had started. Since the end of the Cold War, roughly 90 percent—some say as much as 95 percent—of all intelligence reports are comprised of osint. A contemporary example of useful osint are Iranian blogs on the Internet, which offer revealing glimpses into that secretive society.
No organizations in Washington are better equipped and experienced than the intelligence agencies for the melding of this secret and public information—quickly and in a readable, bound form. Here the methodology involves testing for the presence of telltale gases, or other chemical and biological indicators, that might reveal the presence of illicit materials, say, waste fumes in a factory that point to the production of the nerve gas sarin.
Or electronic emissions from a weapons system that might disclose its specifications, perhaps revealing the presence of nuclear materials inside the metal casing of a bomb. The vast majority of monies spent on collection goes into techint. Understandably awed by the technological capabilities of spy machines, officials were inclined during the Cold War to readily approve appropriations for their construction and deployment; Washington policymakers and their military commanders in the field wanted photographs of Soviet tanks and missile silos, and transcripts of telephone conversations between officials in communist capitals.
Less sexy were humint assets, whose identities remained concealed from budget officials, and whose yield is comparatively meager—no hundreds of photographs a day, as produced by U. This fascination for intelligence hardware has continued into the Age of Terrorism.
Edited by Loch K. Johnson
The United States devotes just a single-digit percentage of the annual intelligence budget to humint Millis , A Spy machines are costly, while human agents are inexpensive to hire and sustain on an annual stipend. One of the ironies of American intelligence is that while the vast percentage of its annual budget goes into expensive intelligence hardware, especially satellites, the value of these machines is questionable in helping the United States understand such contemporary global concerns as terrorism or China's burgeoning economic might.
Cameras on satellites or airplanes are unable to peer inside the canvas tents, roofed mud huts, or mountain caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan, where terrorists gather to plan their deadly operations, or into the deep underground caverns where North Koreans have constructed atomic weapons. Further, many of the best contributions from spy machines come not so much from pricey satellites as from the far less expensive UAVs.
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On occasion, though, sigint satellites do capture revealing telephone communications, say, between international drug lords. Moreover, the photography that imint satellites produce on such matters as Russian and Chinese missile sites, North Korean troop deployments, Hamas rocket emplacements in Gaza, or the secretive construction of nuclear reactors in Iran, are of obvious importance.
In the case of terrorism, though, one would prefer to have a human agent well situated inside the Qaeda organization. For America's security, such an asset could be worth a dozen billion-dollar satellites. Yet, humint has its distinct limitations, too. It is worth stressing that inside closed societies like Iraq in , or North Korea and Iran today, local spies are difficult to recruit—especially since Americans have focused for decades on the communist world and largely ignored the study of languages, history, and culture necessary to recruit and operate spies in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
How many Americans speak Pashto, Arabic, and Farsi well? How many can comprehend the nuances of slang and various dialects in those regions of the world? The answers are: very few. And how many are willing to serve as operational officers for government pay in perilous locations, trying to recruit local assets?
Again, few. Moreover, even if successfully recruited, indigenous assets can be untrustworthy. They are neither Boy Scouts nor nuns, but often the dregs of society, driven by greed and absent any moral compass.