Mali-US: For the record. US Africa Command announced that on 20 April three US soldiers and three civilians died in an automobile crash in Bamako. One was from the Army’s intelligence and security command and two were from special forces – Special Operations Command. The civilians were not identified, but almost certainly were clandestine agents.
Comment: This announcement is the first US admission since the government overthrow that US military and government civilians are present and active in Mali. The US has sent military and apparently civilian intelligence personnel to assist and improve the counter-terrorism capabilities of several Sahelian African states, including Mali.
Some people in Mali will interpret this announcement as confirming early news service accusations that US military personnel encouraged the US-trained Mali Army captain to overthrow his government.
Phi Beta Iota: People don’t die in car crashes in Mali — especially six at a time. Dover AFB has been getting body bags from all over the world for some time now. We have to say this: the only thing stupider than CIA doing a “Khost Kathy” all over the place is DIA trying to get into the spy business. CIA has been living immunity and a lack of accountability to include ignoring all DoD requirements for anything outside any capital city. CIA is not a spy service. It is a bureaucracy that begs at two tables: the foreign liaison table and the US legal traveler table. It has survived (kept the myth alive) on foreign liaison hand-outs and the use of secrecy to conceal gross ineptitude. DIA spying–apart from being totally unnecessary–must by definition get into the provinces. There are four solutions, but no one at DIA or INSCOM (or CIA for that matter–CIA has no bench) has the depth of understanding and experience to get it right, so General Flynn is going to blow his entire tenure dealing with kindergarten kids playing dress-up. Here are the four solutions:
1) Implement the Open Source Agency as DIA/DO. Create the Multionational Decision Support Centre and global grid.
2) Multiply the FAOs by 100 and keep them in the FAO track, rotating into analytic, foreign, and international organization positions.
3) Recruit such DoD “spies” as are “must have” (Vickers does not know what he does not know, neither does Flynn, this is going to be a big problem for DoD, but it is not insurmountable) from prior service and reserve/retired in the 40-60 age group, with existing covers built unwittingly that can now be re-purposed. If these people are badly managed they will be blown. Think 10% of their time, no more. Nothing CIA or DoD have now in the way of training will do — CIA teaches the bureaucratic version of spying, and DoD teaches “push-ups done silently.” As Charlie Beckwith said when he created Delta Force, to be special you have to be unmilitary. No one in DoD really “gets” that — those with past claims to fame were securely inside the massive global DoD cocoon — spying under non-official cover in the middle of an armed camp is completely different from force recon or the cocktail/FAO circuit.
4) Create multinational clandestine field stations for each sub-region (e.g. North Africa, Tri-Border, etcetera). This is the DEA model and it works — the team learns loyalty to the team, not their respective lying inept Headquarters. Do not allow CIA or FBI in the door BUT include CIA and FBI in the national-level multinational clandestine collaboration team. In the field, local nationals do the street work, with the best of the best becoming “principal agents” under US management. Learn to share everything possible from technical means, forget about the satellites, start doing a great deal more close-in technical with locals responsible for the path loss audio path, the listening post, and the transcription, with quality control after the fact. Use MASINT, SIGINT, and Cyber as the bill-payers, in that order.
At a larger national scale, we repeat premise #1: you cannot have smart spies in a dumb nation. Education, intelligence, and research all have to come together under coherent adult leadership permeated with integrity to the bone.
2011: Inteligencia Empresarial y Estrategia Competitiva en Mercados Internacional – Contexto y Desafio [Commercial Intelligence and Competitive Strategy in International Markets – Context and Challenge]