Skip to comments.Chronic Underfunding of US HUMINT Plays Role in Intelligence Failures
Posted on 09/12/2001 7:01:30 AM PDT by tellw
In the aftermath of the carnage in New York and Washington, DC, hundreds of questions will be asked as to how such an audacious and co-ordinated attack could have happened.
This latest act of terrorism, although the most horrific to date, is not the first time that the US government has been caught unaware. Indeed, the subject of "asymmetric warfare" the use of terrorist methods to strike at weaknesses in the societies of western countries -- has been a significant worry for strategic planners in the US for most of the 1990s.
One possible contributing factor to this failure of the intelligence and security system could be the lack of resources the US has devoted to human intelligence (HUMINT) capabilities throughout the past decade. While national technical means continued to receive high levels of funding for surveillance satellites, signals intelligence flights, and other eavesdropping technologies, human-based intelligence capabilities have withered. Areas such as analysis, linguist skills, cultivation of agent networks, and "tradecraft" were all of paramount importance during the Cold War, particularly before the advent of space-based intelligence assets, but have suffered a lack of resources of late. This shortfall has been exacerbated by the growing demand that increased emphasis on technical intelligence has placed on the people who must process the vast amounts of resulting data and prioritise it.
Key US leadership, in fact, has been calling for a re-assessment of Washington's intelligence investment priorities. Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said 11 September that the US needs to focus greater attention on increasing its HUMINT capabilities, while investing to assure maintaining a technological edge in intelligence matters. Moreover, Senator Graham noted, the US intelligence community must work to close the gap between the amount of raw intelligence it can gather and the quantity it can process, analyse, and disseminate. The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, passed by Sen. Graham's committee earlier this month, calls for greater investments in HUMINT, re-capitalisation of the National Security Agency (NSA), improving intelligence analysis and dissemination, and improving intelligence science and technology. Though the exact figure is classified, the overall US intelligence budget for FY02 is estimated at about $30 billion.
US intelligence about terrorist activities, particularly in the Middle East, has experienced shortfalls for many years. In 1983, two suicide bombers eliminated the US military presence in Lebanon. In August 1998, the destruction of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania also took the US intelligence community by surprise. In August 2000, the USS Cole was taken out of action by terrorist action in Yemen.
Indeed even US technical means have been "fooled" by those determined to avoid them. Indias nuclear detonations in June 1998 were timed to escape detection by US surveillance satellites through a sophisticated deception programme. The timing of Indias arrival as a new nuclear power caught the intelligence community by surprise.
While shortages in manpower in the intelligence community have been well documented, particularly in several key HUMINT areas, the technically-orientated National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO) has continued to receive funding for high-priced systems--most recently the Future Imagery Architecture. To provide advanced warning against, and to help avoid, the kinds of attacks that happened in New York, a long-needed overhaul of US intelligence capabilities may be forthcoming
Of course, Slick Willie didn't do anything to try to re-establish covert observation in other countries. We need to get our spy network set up again.
Entire new police-state bodies will be created, every appendage of the military-industrial-congressional complex will get huge increases in budget and power, huge tax increases will be welcomed by a brainwashed, supplicant populace crying for - I don't know what exactly- More Arab immigrants?
Liberty is History.
The "war on Terrorism" is made to order for tyranny: a perpetual war (for perpetual profits) that can by definition never be won, and never be lost, but can now- ever be used to justify the increase in government and the decrease of Liberty
(Random folks flagged.)
Echelon is aimed at you and me not bin Laden anyway.
Did you happen to catch CNNs Judy Woodruff interview withTom Clancy on the evening of 9/11?
Tom brought up the subject of the CLINTON decimation of US HUMAN INTELLIGENCE capabilities that going all the way back to Sun Tsu, SPIES are a necessary part of the information gathering process. He mentioned that if wed had a few spies and spooks out there in this increasingly dangerous world, we MIGHT have gotten one of them close to the perpetrator and been able to interdict the MURDER of perhaps 15,000 Americans in the incredible tragedy we witnessed this morning.
I think its safe to say that Clancy knows a bit about the subjects on which he writes.
Tom then tagged CNN by name as one of the news agencies that greeted Clintons decimation of the intelligence community with approval, continuing to say that they COULD have spoken out TO OPPOSE HIM but failed to do so. Toms rather clear implication was that CNN played a role in todays catastrophe.
Judy VISIBLY RECOILED and quickly concluded the interview. Her expression made it clear that she was NOT happy with Tom.
Clancy was RIGHT ON THE MARK and until we DO beef up those assets, its gonna happen again and probably sooner than later.
And do you suppose there is some sinister significance to the fact that this happened on 9-11 (911!)? Are these people THAT sick? Dont bother responding as that was a rhetorical question.
Lets all pray and shed a tear or two -- for the lost firefighters, police officers, innocent citizens and their families. Until this is behind us, we must put aside as many of our partisan differences as our principles will allow.
And we must also pray that our precious Constitution does not become one of the first victims of this SICKENING and senseless act.
THE HORROR! THE H O R R O R!!!!!!!!!!
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