The Consequences of Eroding Human Intelligence Collection
TheCIPHERBrief, November 2, 2016 | Dan Harris
The U.S. Intelligence Community’s (IC) clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) services are experiencing an erosion of their core mission and values, with consequences to our current and future collection capability. . . . I believe the issue in the IC is not the need for a new service but the need for experienced mission-enablers, vice political loyalists, at the command level. . . . Former CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappas spoke poignantly of this condition when he said he could find 100 Agency officers willing to risk their lives in a war zone, but could find not one willing to risk his/her career.
ROBERT STEELE: Dan Harris, with 31 years experience of which perhaps a third was spent actually doing clandestine work overseas, the rest in Washington including a cross-over tour to spy on the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), makes many good points and I recommend his article be read in full. He does however, deceive by omission. The fact is that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has no bench and DIA does not know what a bench looks like. The military services play dress up, using enlisted men and women as “collectors.” Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is out of control and pathologically dysfunctional in the USA for lack of leadership with integrity across the board — on this I agree with Dan Harris 100%. The fact is that 90% of what CIA claims as clandestine intelligence consists of a mix of hand-outs from foreign liaison services that CIA is incapable of vetting; and legal traveler debriefings in the USA from the domestic collection division. CIA's Collection Requirements and Evaluations Staff (CRES) is the single most pathetic point of failure in the entire IC, a dysfunctionality partly rooted in the displacement of CIA as the central service for all-source collection management, and the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, (DNI), an office long over-due for abolishment. It is not possible to get clandestine HUMINT right without first getting all HUMINT (fifteen slices) right, and it is not possible to make the most of clandestine HUMINT and secret technical collection without first getting a grip on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) — something the DNI and CIA have refused to do for 25 years.
Below I offer seven “Trumpian” prescriptions for unscrewing national intelligence.
01 Create the Open Source Agency (OSA) on the South-Central Campus, inclusive of the Multinational Decision-Support Centre; the World Brain Institute inclusive of the secure but not secret local to global Open Cloud, the School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance, and the Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) Innovation Centre. This becomes the primary node for creating evidence-based decision-support (intelligence) for Whole of Government and Multinational Operations in the context of a publicly-established Grand Strategy. It also becomes the node for true cost economics helping to rapidly eliminate the 50% of the US federal budget that is fraud, waste, and abuse. It reports directly to the Deputy Director for Management (DDM) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and is part of the Executive Office of the President (EOP).
02 Eliminate the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and restore the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) position with absolute budget authority over all secret collection, processing, and analysis endeavors.
03 Eliminate the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Security Agency (NSA), and National Geospatial Agency (NGA); move the 20% worth saving from the NRO and NSA into a revitalized CIA responsible for all classified collection, and the 10% worth saving from NGA into the United States Geological Survey (USGS) — the latter as recommended by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in a report written by Arnie Donahue, former czar for C4I at OMB.
04 Eliminate the Cyber Command. Transfer its mission to the OSA's Information Bureau. Eliminate the Department of Homeland Security and all of the “fusion centers.” Implement the three million soldier home-based Army with no contractors, with the National Guard (able to hold both law enforcement commissions and foreign intelligence accesses) assuming all state and local security missions. Implement the “Smart Nation” concept developed by Robert Steele in the early 1990's with the National Guard operating the Citizen Intelligence Centers as envisioned with Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) and all government, law enforcement, and military elements migrating to Alternative C4I / open source (secure but not secret) information technologies in quick time.
05 Eliminate the Department of Education and consolidate oversight over all education, intelligence, and research & development (R&D) budgets under a decision authority in the office of the DDM/OMB. Mandate the immediate prioritization across all R&D endeavors of peace and prosperity engineering starting with free energy and unlimited water desalination. Treat Texas (whose ground water is almost gone) as the test-bed for a local to global OSEE stabilization & reconstruction campaign that scales to the world. This furthers the Smart Nation construct.
06 Implement the far-reaching clandestine operations renaissance envisioned by a former Directorate of Operations (DO) leader, with modifications by Robert Steele, and perhaps including domestic adjustments to be developed with national, state, and local law enforcement elements.
a) It's Just Business. One time payments (e.g. to a German manufacturer for inserting a beacon into a device going to North Korea).
b) Multinational Clandestine Field Stations. Bands of brothers and sisters who do not lie to one another (as national level services always do), US money and technology including locally-focused imagery and signals intelligence not now available from the national system*), indigenous personnel on the street.
c) Third Country Mid-Career Non-Official Cover (NOC). Previously called Principal Agents (PA), elevate these to career positions with retirement benefits and the option of a PL 110 resettlement citizenship in the USA. These positions hold Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearances within the narrow scope of their collection responsibilities, they never come into official facilities or use official C4I equipment other than their assigned clandestine communications devices.
d) US Citizen Mid-Career NOCs. Abandon the idea that we can recruit from a mediocre US educational system and “grow” clandestine Case Officers (C/O) who are culturally, historically, linguistically, and operationally competent for sustained operations in a world where local liaison can put a Geospatial Positioning System (GPS) device on every vehicle and follow every phone. Focus on prior military service and prior law enforcement service personnel as well as a cadre of exceptional independent information practitioners who have self-embedded in priority areas and avoid — with passion — any attempt to use a precious clandestine capability for something that OSINT can handle (“do not send a spy where a schoolboy can go”).
e) Lifers. Balance the MI-6 model — a leavening of elite university graduate with proven capabilities in history and languages — with a diversity spectrum that spots and recruits the best of the best from across all US demographics. Train them for life. Once past the seven year mark, retirement is not an option nor is resigning to join a contractor. These individuals will be the central nervous system for continuity of operations and the future-oriented clandestine service.
07 Integrity. At some point a new National Security Act is needed. Intelligence must be completely independent of policy while having a symbiotic relationship with EOP and OMB; intelligence must focus on decision-support for Whole of Government (the outputs) rather than secret collection that is not processed and is often not worthy (the inputs); intelligence must be central to restoring the integrity of the government in relation to the US Constitution and the needs of We the People. The new craft of intelligence will make counterintelligence against all domestic enemies (religious, ideological, and financial) the first priority; the establishment of holistic analytics, true cost economics, and OSEE as the acme of skill for the craft our second priority; and public service — not regime change, drone assassinations, rendition & torture, or insider trading and political blackmail — our third priority.
There is no place in 21st Century clandestine operations for contractors or covert operations that seek to displace legitimate governments or propagandize with lies any unsuspecting public. There is a place for covert operations against dictators — 42 of them best pals of the US Government today — as well as secret societies and transnational criminal networks including major corporations that flout national sovereignty — once a Grand Strategy establishes that waging peace and prosperity for all, to include exit strategies for all dictators (rooted in Truth & Reconciliation) is our national purpose.
ANSWERS: Robert Steele for Brandi Sling (P) on CIA John Brennan’s Re-Organization One Year On…
Reflections: Philosophy of Intelligence
Appearances & Publications by Robert Steele
* The national system — I used to sit on the Foreign Intelligence Requirements and Capabilities Plan (FIRCAP) Committee — is totally hosed. A capital city that is full of terrorists and human traffickers and drug movements is not “covered” by the national system. I know from personal experience what a bottle of scotch can buy from the local manager of signals intelligence. The national “priorities” system is still skewed toward 2-3 “hard” targets and is so badly managed it is incapable of meeting local needs with excess capacity — it is an all or nothing system that processes less than 1% of what it collects while providing, “at best” 4% of what a top-level commander needs. No one holds anyone accountable for failing to meet collection objectives — I failed every CIA Chief of Station (COS) in 1986 for failing to focus on the Nicaraguan target — Bill Casey loved the report card, everyone else hated it — “grading” people for incompetence is just “not done” at CIA or the NRO or NSA or anywhere else in the US Government.