As President Obama pointed out in his recent speech, we’ve got a major problem with our ‘Intelligence Community’, in failing to connect the dots on the underpants bomber. Although he briefly mentioned the CIA tragedy in Khost, he didn’t dwell on it. I would posit that that tragedy was more of a problem systemic to our Intelligence Apparatus than the undies bomber…
Pat Lang points out three principles that were violated or ignored outright…
1- Never trust a recruited foreign asset (spy).
2- Never let the asset direct what is going to happen in the operation.
3- Never bring a recruited asset into any permanent operational facility, much less your base.
…Three Middle Eastern counterterrorism officials said 32-year-old physician al-Balawi was jailed for three days after he signed up for a humanitarian mission to the Gaza Strip with a Jordanian field hospital following Israel’s offensive there. At that time, authorities were aware that al-Balawi had posted fiery writings on militant Web sites, calling on Muslims to join a holy war against Israel and the United States… …The Jordanian Intelligence Directorate wanted al-Balawi, who was respected among al-Qaida and other militants for his Web writings, to help them and their CIA allies capture or kill al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, according to a counterterrorism official based in the Middle East… …Another counterterrorism official in the Middle East confirmed the account of al-Balawi’s jailing and said his allegiance was to al-Qaida from the start — not with his Jordanian recruiters or their CIA friends — and never wavered.
Former intelligence officials said they were aghast at Balawi’s ability to surround himself with CIA officers on a base.
"I have no idea how a potential hostile ends up standing next to at least 13 CIA personnel," said a former agency case officer. "It’s incredibly regrettable, the loss of life, but I have never heard of anything as unprofessional. There’s an old infantry rule: Don’t bunch up."
Traditionally, even informants who are assets of friendly countries are handled with caution, the former case officer said. "He is a potential hostile," he said.
…Al-Balawi was not searched for bombs when he got onto Camp Chapman, according to both former officials and a current intelligence official.
The former senior intelligence official said one of the big unanswered questions is why so many people were present for the debriefing – the interview of the source – when the explosive was detonated.
A half-dozen former CIA officers told The Associated Press that in most cases, only one or two agency officers would typically meet with a possible informant along with an interpreter. Such small meetings would normally be used to limit the danger and the possible exposure of the identities of both officers and informants.
As Obama said in his speech that he’s not interested in seeing finger-pointing and looking forward, I strongly disagree and in fact, heads should roll…
Who is the juvenile ass that was running this operation?
The CIA decided that the "take" sounded so appealing that they would bring this foreign espionage agent, recruited by the Jordanians but not a Jordanian intelligence man, into the CIA’s operating base near the Pakistan border for de-briefing? They did it because he wanted it that way? HELLO!! Anyone home here? Anyone? They drove him from Pakistan? From the Quetta area? Hello!!
First of all, if they could pick him up, then they could have taken him to another location in Afghanistan, the region, Jordan or ANYWHERE ELSE but the damned base where the field team was located. What were they going to do, stage a dinner in his honor at the base? Were they going to dress him up in some uniform (an old CIA trick) to make him feel good?
What would have been wrong with de-briefing him in some distant place with the team sitting in by VTR?
Heads should roll, those that are left among the people who had any part in these stupidities. pl
Ironically, it’s not just the CIA Apparatchik in Afghanistan that is a major fail…
… Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only "marginally relevant" to the overall mission, focusing too much on the enemy and not enough on civilian life, according to NATO’s top intelligence official.
The stinging assessment – released less than a week after a suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer in eastern Afghanistan – said field agents are not providing intelligence analysts with the information needed to answer questions asked by President Barack Obama and the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
U.S. intelligence officials and analysts are "ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced, incurious about the correlations between various development projects … and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers," U.S. Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn wrote in a 26-page report released Monday by the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington…
"These analysts are starved for information from the field – so starved, in fact, that many say their jobs feel more like fortune telling than serious detective work," said the report. "It is little wonder then that many decision makers rely more on newspapers than military intelligence to obtain `ground truth.‘"
Field intelligence officers should not limit their reports to diagraming insurgent networks, Flynn suggested. They also should provide information about meetings with villagers and tribal leaders, translated summaries of local radio broadcasts that influence local farmers and field observations of Afghan soldiers and aid workers.
Flynn suggested setting up one-stop information centers where unclassified information could be organized and made available to the military, donor nations and aid workers.
We need to truly rethink our strategy and our goals…
Unlike, the undies bomber, in which Obama says it’s not a failure to collect intel, it’s the failure to connect the dots… Well, we do have a problem in collecting intel, much less connecting the dots…!