OODA OriginalUncategorized

What is in Store II

Prize-winner Dana Priest points out what some expect Hayden’s strategy to be:

Former and current intelligence officers say Goss never had a strategic plan for improving spying on terrorist networks. [former DDO Stephen] Kappes, on the other hand, had slowly begun to put his ideas, gained through 23 years of experience around the world, into action. Part of that plan called for deepening ties with foreign intelligence services.

As director of the National Security Agency, Hayden sought to enhance relations with foreign intelligence services.

The CIA, with the help of its foreign partners, has been responsible for capturing or killing nearly all the key al-Qaeda figures since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

I’m not qualified to go toe-to-toe on HUMINT with a guy like Kappes, but I have to wonder about characterizing as “new” any strategy that focuses on foreign liaison. If I’m not mistaken, it is foreign liaison that has (in part) gotten us into the situation we now find ourselves in (shallow in sources, weak in hard-target areas). When you are declared (or so obviously known) to the local service, you cannot run your own operations and sources; you are dependent on the locals to feed and care for your intelligence needs. They may technically be friends, but they most certainly are not countrymen. Their agenda, not ours, is paramount and the level of cooperation will vary accordingly. A positive spin was put on this situation by Priest last fall:

The CIA has established joint operation centers in more than two dozen countries where U.S. and foreign intelligence officers work side by side to track and capture suspected terrorists and to destroy or penetrate their networks, according to current and former American and foreign intelligence officials.

. . . but the bottom line remains that most of our allies take issue with C/Os running amok in their domains. Fair enough what with the whole “sovereignty” thing and all.

If I am not mistaken it was Goss’s intention to reduce liaison and boost unilateral operations. Such operations carry much more risk, but then if this isn’t a risky business, how valuable is it? I’m not advocating throwing C/Os willy-nilly into harms way, but the idea that we can penetrate, disrupt, and defeat our enemies without “diarrhea operations” is ridiculous.

Kappes is no light-weight and I haven’t found anyone who will say anything bad about him, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Let me reiterate though that speed is a virtue here. This may be the next “long war” but unlike the last long war MAD is not a factor and time works more to the enemy’s benefit.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.