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KurtColville

"Bush reportedly rejected Israeli plea to raid Iran"

14 posts in this topic

Story here. %@!&ing altruistic coward. How about some of those Marine words, Ray? :D

Marines are given a lexicon filled with wonderful words to use in situations like this. But, this is a public, "G," rated site, so I will control myself, as hard as that may be. :D

Seriously, this is a huge blunder by us and a slap in the face to our only real ally in that area, no matter what Bush has to say. But, this problem has been growing since the early 1990's by the budget cuts that were put upon intelligence gathering commands such as the CIA and the DoD. When the cuts were put upon the intelligence commands they moved away from the most productive result producing form of intellignce, that being Human Intelligence (HUMINT). These commands were forced to use other forms of intelligence gathering such as satellites (SIGINT) of which there are two sub-categories; electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT). But, none of these forms are as result producing as HUMINT, which America's intelligence gathering commands were forced to cut back on.

Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is most productive when the people in these commands mentioned above infiltrate their enemies and neutralize those enemies. But, this type of work requires people with an immense amount of training and skills that also requires large amounts of time and money. When the CIA's budget was cut they started passing the responsibilities to the DoD, which also had their budgets for covert operations cut. Our Allies, Israel, still rely heavily on HUMINT and we should be taking their words on the situation. As a matter of fact, Israel probably has the best Intelligence gathering people and commands in the world.

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That bastard Bush deserves to be impeached for treason.

He's already taxed us to send aid to North Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Palestinian terrorists, etc. etc. etc.

As the story at Fox News observed, the Bush administration is morphing into the Obama administration.

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Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is most productive when the people in these commands mentioned above infiltrate their enemies and neutralize those enemies. But, this type of work requires people with an immense amount of training and skills that also requires large amounts of time and money. When the CIA's budget was cut they started passing the responsibilities to the DoD, which also had their budgets for covert operations cut. Our Allies, Israel, still rely heavily on HUMINT and we should be taking their words on the situation. As a matter of fact, Israel probably has the best Intelligence gathering people and commands in the world.

This is not to excuse the cutbacks or to question the value of HUMINT, but Robert Clark argues in Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach that HUMINT, especially clandestine sources you mention, are sometimes wrongfully considered to be the most valuable sources simply because of their cost and risk and that open sources are generally undervalued just because "the 'good' material is classified." He argues that many intelligence successes were due to skillful use of open sources, an example of which was the discovery of German refineries for Allied bombers through the geospatial modeling of published freight tariffs. And really, the basic problem of the "war on terror" is that all of the publicly available evidence of threats from Islamic groups has been undermined by the administration's ethic of self-sacrifice. Also, people will ignore intelligence they don't want to hear (that we have barbarians at the gate). No amount of intelligence gathering is going to solve either of these issues. It's not the data that's the problem, it's how the data is used. The US actually has the largest and most advanced intelligence collection system in the world. If anything, we suffer from information overload. What we need is not a bigger budget, but 1) a president who will act on intelligence and 2) an intelligence system focused on answering the right questions.

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Bborg, I had never heard of Robert Clark until your mentioning of him, but with just a quick glimpse into his past and statements I am not impressed. From his bio on his publisher's website he does not seem to have spent much time (or maybe none at all) in the field collecting intelligence. As a matter of fact he seems to have spent most of his time in schools earning degrees that have little to do with intelligence collecting as he has a bachelor degree in science, a Ph.D. in engineering and a JD. While he was in the Air Force he was an electronics warfare officer (which means he dealt with communications) and an intelligence officer making it to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Now, with all that time spent in schools when could he possibly of had the time to get real intelligence gathering experience? Here is an example of what Mr. Clark thinks about his own book and intelligence gathering in general, "Intelligence Analysis guides readers through the art of target modeling and organizational analysis, as well as quantitative and predictive techniques."

The real job of the CIA is to uncover the capabilities and intentions of America's enemies. The real job is not to worry about the "art of target modeling" so that we might hope that the CIA operatives can come to a good prediction. Here is one of the CIA's last great predictions, given to the Senate Select Commitiee on Intelligence (SSCI) from their lack of HUMINT in our enemies countries, from the Washington Post of June 26, 2001; U.S. Has Bin Laden 'On the Run,' Sen. Shelby says. "Back from a six-country tour of the Persian Gulf, [sSCI vice chairman] Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) believes U.S. counterterrorism officials are winning the war against Saudi extremist Usama Bin Laden...". And as I mentioned earlier some of this has to do with funding but some other critical items, such as proper leadership, play a large part in the CIA's lack of efficiency in their job. A leadership that has been running away from spying since the late 1970's and possibly longer.

The Director of Operations of the CIA should be willing to be aggressive toward uncovering the capabilities and intentions of America's enemies by taking potentially risky, but valuable operations. This cannot be done by a person that has no understanding of the field which means no qualities worthy of being followed in this field. Most of this type of change can be traced back to Stansfield Turner (1977-1981) and some of his successors, Judge William Webster (1987-1991) and Robert Gates 91991-1993). Each one of these directors had a hand in the changing of the underlying fundamentals of the CIA. Mr. Turner is known to have disliked the idea of spying which caused a lot of senior operatives to leave the CIA leaving very little in the way of experience for those that stayed. Let us also look at those since Mr. Gates; John Deutch (1995-1996) was a former MIT professor. Mr. Deutch's executive director Nora Slatkin was a former assistant secretary of the Navy. Mr. Deutch's deputy director George Tenet was a former congressional staffer and National Security Council aide. None of these people had any experience in clandestine operations. And the situation did not get any better after Mr. Deutch as David Cohen, a career intelligence analyst similar to Robert Gates took chage as the Director.

An example of just one mission that was never approved might give a glimpse into why HUMINT is the most productive form of intelligence gathering. In Kazakhstan there was a former Soviet nuclear site that had the capability to hold large amounts of nuclear warheads. The objective was to find out exactly how many nuclear warheads could be held, which had been estimated (the art of modeling and predicting) to be thousands below what was suspected. The CIA had an inspection team that was supposed to be lead by a Kazak national who had been recruited by the CIA station in Almaty. This Kazak national was to lead the team in and out without detection so that they could record exact capabilities. The mission was cancelled, the real capabilities of our enemies was not found and the Kazak national has never been seen again, most likely dead.

America might have the largest and most advanced intelligence equipment in the intelligence community, but their leaders, including the preisdent, do not have the real world experience in the field to use the equipment to their benefit and our's.

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America might have the largest and most advanced intelligence equipment in the intelligence community, but their leaders, including the preisdent, do not have the real world experience in the field to use the equipment to their benefit and our's.

Just so I am not misunderstood. I did not mean that our president needs to have specific experience in the intelligence field to lead. What I meant is that the president should be leading the way by backing the CIA and it's primary role by choosing a director worthy of people that are willing to follow.

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From his bio on the book:

Robert M. Clark has been an intelligence analyst for 36 years, currently serving as an independent consultant assessing threats to U.S. space systems. He helped develop and is a faculty member for the Intelligence Community Officers' Course. Clark is the former president and CEO of the Scientific and Technical Analysis Corporation. He served in the United States Air Force as an electronic warfare officer and intelligence officer, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and in the CIA as an analyst and as the chief of the Directorate of Intelligence's Analytic Support Group. Clark holds an SB from MIT, a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, and a JD from George Washington University. He is a presidental interchange executive, a member of the Virginia state bar, and a patent attorney.

I wouldn't get hung up on his educational background, as intelligence analysts typically come from many fields. Engineering is actually is good area of expertise in intelligence. He is clearly quite experienced in intelligence. Also, I don't understand your point in using his quote about the book. His purpose for writing the book was to introduce a model of intelligence to get the client, collectors and analyst working closely together to create a more accurate "target model". The so-called ideal intelligence process, which I have seen described several times by multiple sources, is one where the collector hands off data to the analyst, who "collates" it, who hands it to the client, who reviews it to see if it contains what he needs and if necessary puts it back through the cycle. Clark quite properly criticizes this process for being time-wasting and inefficient. The book introduces the many sources of intelligence, how models are constructed, and how professionals should relate to each other during this process. Your uninformed dismissal of the book to the contrary, it's actually a fascinating read.

Richards J. Heuer, author of Psychology of Intelligence Analysis also argued that one should not undervalue open sources. Content analysis of local newspapers, political speeches etc. are invaluable. The book was commissioned by the CIA, and Heuer worked for the CIA for 45 years. (Incidentally his background was philosophy!)

Again though, my point is not to say that HUMINT is unimportant, but from what I have read it is usually resorted to after the obvious sources have been exhausted. You begin with data that has already been collected for classified and unclassified reports already written, and then move to open sources. Only then do you talk to collectors, and there are as you mentioned many collection sources, HUMINT being only one. You allude to spies, but other HUMINT includes liasons, eliciting information from diplomats (although there is high risk the information is tainted), emigres and defectors, polling, and materiel acquisition. COMINT and SIGINT are heavily used as well. The type of collection you want will depend on the information you need. And I would say if you become too invested in one source of intelligence, this will become a weakness for your enemy to exploit. (One aspect of counter-intelligence is protecting your intelligence process.) I just don't see how you can make such a statement that HUMINT is "the most productive form of intelligence gathering." It is very productive if used appropriately, but the same is true of every other source. Each source has its costs, risks (particularly the risk of deception) and advantages. There is no "best" or "most productive" source except if considered within the context of a specific intelligence problem.

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Bborg, please explain to me how an engineering degree, or many other degrees for that matter, is a good field for someone that is going to be sneaking and peaking into our enemies highly classified secrets? I also have not dismissed the book, I stated that I was not impressed with Mr. Clark's background, of which I prefaced by stating my knowedge of him. A person does not have to read a whole book to gather a premise of what the authors ideas might be.

I would offer that ELINT and COMINT are at most supplements to HUMINT and nothing more as so many attempt to make them. You seem to think that HUMINT is nothing more than gathering some information, you are mistaken, and I would offer that you do further research into the totality of this subject. Human Intelligence/spying includes many things of which here are a few; having local spies from a certain district, internal spies that are part of the enemies government, double agents who employ the enemies spies, expendable spies that are employed to spread incorrect information and living spies that bring back the information. Can ELINT and COMINT do all these things? Can the other types of information gathering incorrectly route our enemies to give us the upper hand? Can you tell when you are reading "open sources" whether or not you are being lied to? With COMINT can you tell what is real and what is not? I have to say, NO. So, unless you can overcome all these obstacles, I stand by my statement that HUMINT/spying is the most productive form of intelligence gathering. And when attempts are made to subjugate it to the other forms we end up in the situation we are now. In other words HUMINT is the fundamental and every other form follows.

I am not impressed by Mr. Heuer (as of yet) as being backed by the command that has moved away from HUMINT gathering will of course make sense if that is what he is promoting also. In other words the CIA's upper management/directors are not going to come out backing someone that disagrees with the direction they are headed. And, if I might add, the CIA Directors have not done a very good job, although I think there are hard working people within the CIA.

Lord Nelson is supposed to have stated "Before a naval officer can aspire to high command, he must first know the duties of a seaman."

It seems you have discarded or overlooked my statements on experience and it's values. I will attempt to give you some more information that will highlight why I think there is no replacement for experience when it comes to leadership. While Chesty Puller was a Captain in the Marine Corps he was sent to the Army's Infantry School for officers. Chesty Puller had already been in the Marine Corps for 13 years (he actually enlisted as a private in 1918, but was quickly selected to become an officer) with most of his education/experience coming from being in the field. While at this school Chesty Puller found that his instructors had been picked from the ranks of schoolteachers and lawyers, and that combat was not a factor. Puller also found these men lacking with knowledge when pressed with unexpected questions and he also found that their knowledge was limited to that gained from books. Later during this school, Puller found out that the instructors stated that they had no answers for his questions. As a matter of fact, Puller took over many of the classes with his stories of real situations and how he overcame them. Like Lord Nelson, Chesty Puller thought that the best way to lead properly was by being there, leading your men and gaining the experience first hand.

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The CIA uses many specialists, including engineers, to assess enemy capabilities. Some analysts are "generalists" and some are specialists. I don't know what you envision "sneaking and peaking into our enemies highly classified secrets" to be, but it usually does not mean stealing from the enemy's secret file drawer. Most intelligence work is asking a question (such as, how close is the enemy to developing a nuclear weapon?), and searching for indicators of activity. For every question, different kinds of evidence are necessary, and often you need the help of experts (whether scientists, psychologists or whatever) to help in the search.

I posted to this thread with the point that the problem with this war is the administration and its use of intelligence, not our intelligence capabilities or funding cutbacks. If the client is unwilling to act on intelligence, it doesn't matter what sources you are using to provide it. Any thoughts on this?

As far as HUMINT, as I said twice already, I am not arguing that this source is not valuable. I am quite aware of the many advantages of using HUMINT. My only point in bringing up open sources is not to suggest that they can replace other intelligence sources, but that HUMINT is not the be all end all of intelligence work, nor is it even the most commonly used source. In fact, technology (in particular, satellite and radar) gives us opportunities for collection that simply did not exist a hundred years ago when HUMINT was utilized much more. Again, my point here is not anti-HUMINT, but the use of all sources when they present an advantage. And sometimes you want to use multiple sources for verification and to minimize the risk of deception.

And lastly, it occurs to me that although the discussion was regarding the CIA, you seem to be speaking more about intelligence work in the armed forces. Military intelligence is, as far as I understand, a different beast and one I will freely admit I know nothing about. But when talking about the CIA, I thought introducing to the discussion experts with experience in that organization would be helpful.

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I have a pretty good idea of who the CIA uses and for what reasons. But, as we can see through the last couple of decades, those choices have not worked very well for some of the reasons I have already mentioned.

Another fact is that the CIA works with (or at least they use to) the military on many different objectives. So, there really is no fundamental difference between the two and how they collect information. To be efficient in judging the capabilities of our enemies and their intentions any intelligence command will need to do at least three things, 1) Suvey the situation, 2) recon the area of interest, 3) gather the intelligence and analyze it, so that the command can come up with a strategy to overcome the enemy. To do the things that I mentioned above requires many groups of people working in many different fields to accomplish the mission whether in the CIA or military. But, one of the things that will always be needed is operatives within the enemies areas.

While in the Marine Corps I worked in a unit called 1st Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence Group. I will attempt to give a quick glimpse of some of the questions (non-classified) that were brought up in an attempt to survey the situation of 1990 and 1991:

1. Will Iraqi units conduct espionage, sabotage, subversion, or terrorist operations against Marine forces in Saudi Arabia? If so where, when and in what

strength?

2. Will Iraqi forces attack Saudi Arabia? If so where, when, how, and in what strength?

3. How, where and in what strength will Iraqi forces defend Kuwait?

4. Where, when and what type of mines, barriers and obstacles will Iraqi forces employ?

5. Will the Iraqi forces employ chemical munitions?

6. What targets will cause the greatest amount of damage to Iraqi forces in Kuwait?

To answer those questions a commander/director will send out recon units (of many forms*) to gather the information needed to formulate a proper strategy. But, as you should be able to recognize these questions cannot primarily be answered by anything but HUMINT.

Of those many types of recon or intelligence gatherers needed to carry out the objective here is quick list:

1. A Communications group which focuses on electronic information gathering.

2. A Remotely Piloted Vehicle group which concerns are primarily with battlefield surveillance and target acquistion.

3. A Reconnaissance group which primary mission was of deep reconnaissance, conducting clandestine intelligence gathering missions in denied areas of Kuwait and Iraq.

4. A Counterintelligence group primarily concerned with counterespionage, countersabotage, countersubversion and counterterrorism operations.

5. A Interrogation Translation group which is primarily concerned with the exploitation of refugees and prisoners of war in order to glean information that will be of importance to the commander in formulating a proper strategy.

I hope it is obvious that the last three examples of what information is needed by a commander is much larger on the HUMINT aspect than the other forms. And this would be would be the same whether a military or CIA operation. As a matter of fact some of the men I worked with worked directly with CIA operatives on joint operations.

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I have a pretty good idea of who the CIA uses and for what reasons. But, as we can see through the last couple of decades, those choices have not worked very well for some of the reasons I have already mentioned.

I still don't see how intelligence is to blame when the fundamental problem is decades of self-sacrifice and appeasement, and this is really my only major difficulty with your argument here. I just think it misses the point.

I hope it is obvious that the last three examples of what information is needed by a commander is much larger on the HUMINT aspect than the other forms. And this would be would be the same whether a military or CIA operation. As a matter of fact some of the men I worked with worked directly with CIA operatives on joint operations.

Thanks, that does make sense. And I should correct myself that Clark and Heuer did not argue that HUMINT in general was overvalued, only clandestine sources.

In any case, I'm going to have to give the issue more thought before continuing.

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Bborg, I also think that self-sacrifice and appeasement are a large part of the problem. But, I think that there are other problems that deal with epistemology and how people acquire knowledge and then apply that knowledge within the many fields under discussion that have also caused us to lose battles, men and possibly many other things in the future.

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It has been more than three years since anyone posted in this thread and I am doing so now to try and demonstrate my points from earlier. It seems quite often today that people think that they can gain knowledge of a subject just by sitting around and thinking things out without any perceptual observation, this is of course wrong and how people usually fall for either the analytic-synthetic dichotomy or rationalism vs. empiricism. I have tried to point this out in many fields/threads/post over the years but I thought because of the video I will be linking to that this was a very good place to demonstrate the false theories that can arise when people think that knowledge can be gained with out a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation. The example that bborg used when he referred the book and the author is a great example of a lack of knowledge on the subject that the author was discussing as he had never been an intelligence collector and hence no perceptual observation.

I am not condemning bborg, I was just using his example. And I still agree with what I stated in post 12 above.

I offer for those people that want to get a glimpse into what has been and always will be a primary tool used by intelligence gatherers is human intelligence to watch the video linked to below. If desired the first 2 minutes of the video can be skipped as it is from 2 minutes to about 5 minutes that the people in the video, which are people with years worth of perceptual observations, add further validity to my earlier statements.

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A man with vast experience of warfare was General Marcel Bigeard, the most decorated French soldier and a veteran of three of the 20th century largest wars (WWII, where he led commandos behind enemy lines and captured several thousand Vlassov SS with 20 men; Indochina, where he made Dien Bien Phu last 3 months instead of 5 days, and where he hunted the Viet bare footed hundreds of km behind enemy lines with kill to killed ratios of over 200 to 1; and Algeria, where he pioneered the use of helicopters for troop transport, and reversed the course of the Algiers rebellion, captured hundreds of bombs, and one of the three key leaders of the Algerian resistance, Ben M'Hidi). He also has experience in government as he was named Secretary of Defence by French President Giscard d'Estaing.

Bigeard has said in almost every single one of his numerous books on his experience on all battlefields that HUMINT is by far the best, and most crucial aspect of intelligence, especially against an enemy used to subversive warfare and terrorism (although he points out that back in the days, the Islamists didn't use suicide bombers; they are even more determined today). He believes that HUMINT will be the only way in which this war will be won and influenced Petraeus with whom he had discussions on Iraq strategy. By this he meant all kinds including clandestine operations.

A good book about HUMINT in practice is Ewan Bergot's "Commandos de Choc en Algerie" (unfortunately not translated), tracing back the use of intelligence services by the French against the Islamists during the war, and especially their actions in supposedly neutral territories like Switzerland and Germany which were free running grounds for the Islamists and their former SS weapons dealers. The French would collect evidence and then destroy key targets, including a ship in Hamburg harbour (alas in Kindle format, I cannot just search for the name of the ship and it escapes me). Another amusing anecdote was one subordinate asking his chief why they expensed a mink coat in New York; he said they bought a vote in the UN with it, that one UN delegate now had a happier wife; the subordinate answers "why not a sports car then" to which his chief responds "could have had the Soviet codes in Tangiers with an Alfa Romeo, but I already had them via other sources". Several weapons shipments to Algeria were destroyed or otherwise impaired because a French agent was engaged to the daughter of the most important weapons dealer.

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