OODA OriginalUncategorized

Opportunity (Update)

Iraq’s national security adviser said Thursday a “huge treasure” of documents and computer records was seized after the raid on terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s hideout, giving the Iraqi government the upper hand in its fight against al-Qaida in Iraq. […]

When asked how he could be sure the information was authentic, al-Rubaie said “there is nothing more authentic than finding a thumbdrive in his pocket.”

A tremendous opportunity to have a real impact on the insurgency and old-school AQ. Unless you write fiction for a living, there is precious little that is “fake” on your computer. Imagine the content you have put on the box you are viewing this page through now; now imagine it in the hands of someone who wishes you ill. Imagine everyone who ever did business with you finding out very publicly that all those “private” conversations are not so private anymore.

Now, to break the triage paradigm and apply some real forensic capability . . .

Update: Reader SG asks for clarification:

“Triage” means what in this context? Can you stop with the militarese-speak please?

Let’s just say that after wiping the blood off of Zarqawi’s thumb drive (“That’s not a thumb DRIVE!”) and the gore off of his laptop, it was handed over to some fellows with varying degrees of talent to in essence scan the headlines and search for the box scores. Given the state of technology today I find the practice to be a horrendous waste of time when there are much more effective ways of doing the job. Effective not just in a technical sense, but in the sense that the scope of immediate post-bombing actions could have been much larger and could have reached well beyond the physical borders of Iraq. Not that such things aren’t in the works – 452 raids is a nice start – but let’s not kid ourselves about how far the tendrils reach. Time is of the essence and TDY-ing vaguely qualified people and telling them to read the manual on the flight over is no way to run an exploitation mission. After all, it is through exploitation that you find gems like this. A front-to-back reading of the Zarqawi take is unlikely for several months and it probably won’t be done by people sitting in the sandbox.

Then again, maybe some dramatic progress on this front has been made in the last year that I’m not privy too . . . maybe monkeys will fly out of my fourth point of contact . . .

More at Tom Joscelyn’s, ThreatsWatch and Captain’s Quarters.

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.