Robert Steele: Clandestine Operations 101 + Personal Comment

Advanced Cyber/IO, Ethics, Government, Intelligence (government)
Robert David STEELE Vivas

Clandestine Operations 101

Here's how to create a clandestine service that is not the laughing stock of the planet:

00  Stop confusing secure field operations with any need for access to official secrets.  The primary reason CIA is such a mess is the ascendance of security ignorance and myopia combined with sedentary overly fearful managers unable to do anything from outside an official cover safety net.

01  Recruit mid-career US citizens who have unwittingly created their own cover and access.  Do not assign them anything requiring more than 10% of their time.

02  Recruit mid-career non-US citizens, same as above, they never visit HQS or touch secrets not collected by themselves.

03  Get back in the business of Principal Agents (PA) from all countries, same selection concept as above (mid-career, have the cover and access desired).

04  Start doing multinational regional clandestine stations, using indigenous case officers (the Australians and Cambodians seem to have this down pat) while providing close-in technical, money, and leads from the constellation.

05  Be more aggressive (with appropriate caution) in doing what one of my mentors termed “it's just business.”  One time offers based on outcomes, no polygraphs, no approvals from HQS people  out of touch with reality, etcetera.


It has come to my attention that someone describing themselves as one of my classmates has said that I nearly killed people in El Salvador, had an accident, and was effectively non-operational from 1982 on.  Since half my class quit within five years, by my calculation there should be no more than one or two of my graduating class (I skipped interims and jumped one class, I remember no one from my EOD class.

Below are the facts, without any grudges.  What I learned from my experiences within CIA remains priceless and has informed my persistent efforts to reform US intelligence.

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Patrick Meier: Advice to Future PhDs from 2 Unusual Graduating PhDs – Blog Twitter Hybrid Teach-Consult Dissertation Focus

Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom, Collective Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Intelligence (government), Methods & Process, Officers Call
Patrick Meier

Advice to Future PhDs from 2 Unusual Graduating PhDs

Next week I will be attending my official graduation from The Fletcher School to receive my PhD diploma. It is—in a word—surreal. I've been working on my PhD for almost as long as I've known my good friend and colleague Chris Albon, which is to say, a long time. Chris is also a newly minted political science PhD and recently joined the FrontlineSMS team as the director of their Governance Project. Needless to say, our paths have crossed on many occasions over the years and we've had many long conversations about the scholar-practitioner path that we've taken. With graduation just a few days away, we thought we'd write-up this joint post to share our pearls of wisdom with future PhDs.

First: blog, blog, blog! The blog is the new CV. If you don't exist dynamically online, then you're not indexable on the web. And if you're not indexable, then you're not searchable or discoverable. You don't exist! Blog-ergo-sum, simple as that. Chris and I have been blogging for years and this has enabled us to further our knowledge and credibility, not to mention our of network of contacts. The blog allows you to build your own independent brand, not your advisor’s and not your program’s. This is critical. We've received consulting gigs and keynote invitations based on blog posts that we've published over the years. Do not underestimate the power of blogging for your professional (and yes, academic) career. In many ways, blogging is about getting credit for your ideas and to signal to others what you know and what your interests are.

Second: get on Twitter! Malcolm Gladwell is wrong: social media can build strong-tie bonds. Heck, social media is how I originally met Chris. If the blog is the new CV, then consider your Twitter account the new business card. Use Twitter to meet everyone, everywhere. Let people know you'll be in London for a conference and don't underestimate the synergies and serendipity that is the twittersphere. Chris currently follows around 1,200 people on Twitter, and he estimates that over the years he has met around half of them in person. That is a lot of contacts and, frankly, potential employers. Moreover, like blogging, tweeting enables you to connect to others and stay abreast of interesting new developments. Once upon a time, people used to email you interesting articles, conferences, etc. I personally got on Twitter several years ago when I realized that said emails were no longer making it to my inbox. This information was now being shared via Twitter instead. Like the blog, Twitter allows you to create and manage your own personal brand.

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Marcus Aurelius: The Pentagon’s New Defense Clandestine Service

Intelligence (government), Military
Marcus Aurelius

The Pentagon's New Defense Clandestine Service

American Thinker, 27 April 2012

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported a new intelligence initiative coming out of the Pentagon. We are constantly reminded that intelligence agencies have difficulty sharing their work, yet the Pentagon has decided to create another intelligence agency — the Defense Clandestine Service. Many professionals believe that this initiative is doomed to fail.

Since the technological revolution, intelligence-collection among human activity has swiftly deteriorated. Technology has superseded human intelligence (HUMINT) collection efforts with tools such as Signals Intelligence, Measures and Signatures Intelligence, and Open Source. Today, HUMINT has become an endangered species. The good news behind the newly formed Defense Clandestine Service demonstrates that America's HUMINT is like the bald eagle — it may be endangered, but it is making a comeback.

America's clandestine activities and HUMINT operations have been crippled by years of internal feuding dating back as far as the Carter administration. Creating additional organizations will not fix the problem; rather, pre-existing organizational resolve is needed. As one operative who spoke on condition of anonymity stated, “[y]ou don't just go out and buy a new car because you need an oil change and some new tires.” When it comes to intelligence, specifically HUMINT, we don't have the money to purchase an entirely new luxury, so we need to fix the one we have.

“HUMINT is assuredly broken. A series of incapable DCI's and self-promoting Deputy Directors for Operations (now called National Clandestine Service) have converted what was once a stellar service into a cadre of messenger boys begging for scraps from foreign liaisons. This problem began long ago with Admiral Stansfield Turner[.]” -Robert David Steele

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Stephen Marrin: Evaluating the Quality of Intelligence Analysis: By What (Mis) Measure? With Comment by Robert Steele

Analysis, Intelligence (government), Methods & Process
Dr. Stephen Marrin

Stephen Marrin Post-revision draft18 July 2011. Original draft submitted to Intelligence and National Security on 4 February 2011. Accepted for publication on 24 May 2011 pending minor revision.

Evaluating the Quality of Intelligence Analysis: By What (Mis) Measure?<

Dr. Stephen Marrin is a Lecturer in the Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University in London. He previously served as an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency and US Government Accountability Office. Dr. Marrin has written about many different aspects of intelligence analysis, including new analyst training at CIA‘s Sherman Kent School, the similarities and differences between intelligence analysis and medical diagnosis, and the professionalization of intelligence analysis. In 2004 the National Journal profiled him as one of the ten leading US experts on intelligence reform.

Abstract: Each of the criteria most frequently used to evaluate the quality of intelligence analysis has limitations and problems. When accuracy and surprise are employed as absolute standards, their use reflects unrealistic expectations of perfection and omniscience. Scholars have adjusted by exploring the use of a relative standard consisting of the ratio of success to failure, most frequently illustrated using the batting average analogy from baseball.Unfortunately even this relative standard is flawed in that there is no way to determine either what the batting average is or should be. Finally, a standard based on the decision makers’  perspective is sometimes used to evaluate the analytic product’s relevance and utility. But this metric, too, has significant limitations. In the end, there is no consensus as to which is the best criteria to use in evaluating analytic quality, reflecting the lack of consensus as to what the actual purpose of intelligence analysis is or should be.

Evaluating the Quality of Intelligence Analysis: By What (Mis) Measure?

Evaluating the quality of intelligence analysis is not a simple matter. Frequently quality is defined not by its presence but rather by its absence. When what are popularly known as intelligence failures occur, sometimes attention focuses on flaws in intelligence analysis as a contributing factor to that failure.

Read full paper online.

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Chuck Spinney: US Senate Notices Next Atomic Disaster in Japan

05 Energy, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Proliferation, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Corruption, Earth Intelligence, Government, Intelligence (government), IO Impotency
Chuck Spinney

Warning Signs for the US

Counterpunch, APRIL 24, 2012

In the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world posed by the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site are far from over.   After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. Senator, it is sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins may have far greater potential offsite consequences  than the molten cores.

After visiting the site recently, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote to Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. stating that, “loss of containment in any of these pools could result in an even greater release than the initial accident.”

This is why:

Read full article.

Phi Beta Iota:  This is a classic illustration of how dangerously useless it is to have a massively expensive secret intelligence and “heavy metal” military, without capacity for global coverage, true cost economics, and so on.   Until governments make the shift toward future-oriented hybid governnance — embracing the core ideals of clarity, diversity, and integrity — it will not be possible to get a grip on the challenges and the possibilities facing the human species on Earth.  We have been here before: in the 1970's when Peak Oil, Peak Water, and AIDs were all briefed to the US Senate and to the White House.  The reality is that the corruption characteristic of those bodies then is still with us–there is only ONE serious approach to this and all other issues, and that is the creation of the World Brain and Global Game and a commensurate commitment to integrate true cost economics into every decision, and to make every decision as indigenous communities have done for thousands of years: future-oriented — Seventh Generation.

See Also:

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DefDog: Counter-IED Network Analysis – Works for Law Enforcement, Ignored by US Military

09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 10 Transnational Crime, Ethics, Intelligence (government), IO Sense-Making, Law Enforcement, Methods & Process, Military, Officers Call

When we worked on the Manhunting Project for SOCOM, the US Marshall's Service said that fugitive hunting was all about network analysis. The IC doesn't understand network analysis as the bean counters push for numbers….they focus on low hanging fruit and as a result there is always some guy out there ready to step up and take the foot soldier's place (not so much the upper echelons). Try to tell an IC drone that it is all about the network and you will get a deer in the headlight look….

The REAL Jack Bauer

Contributor:  Louis DeAnda

Police forces have spent decades combating organised crime with well-practised techniques, but can the same tactics be the key to defeating insurgencies on the front line? Former police officer, federal marshal, and JIEDDO FOX team member Louis J. DeAnda tells Defence IQ how we need to take a holistic strategy to IED network attack…

Phi Beta Iota:  Completely apart from the corruption at the top of both the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, this is an extraordinary–a gifted–contribution to the literature.  It is reproduced in full below the line to preserve it as a reference.

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Mini-Me: DoD “Spies” Will Die Often — Expect More “Car Crashes” All Over the World — and the Four Part Solution Clapper, Vickers, and Flynn Need to Consider

DoD, Intelligence (government), IO Impotency, Military
Who? Mini-Me?



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.


Pentagon increasing spy presence overseas

Defense Department Plans New Intelligence Gathering Service

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:

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