Actually, story is reasonably well known within USG in DC area. Scott Carmichael, DIA CI SA, wrote pretty good (and approved) book on case. But unfortunate facts remains that (1) DGI recruited her and ran her in place for a long time using reasonable standard of tradecraft and (2) she beat polygraph. DIA has now joined CIA and NSA in requiring polygraphs for all employees or assignees with staff-like access.)
Ana Montes has been locked up for a decade with some of the most frightening women in America. Once a highly decorated U.S. intelligence analyst with a two-bedroom co-op in Cleveland Park, Montes today lives in a two-bunk cell in the highest-security women’s prison in the nation. Her neighbors have included a former homemaker who strangled a pregnant woman to get her baby, a longtime nurse who killed four patients with massive injections of adrenaline, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the Charles Manson groupie who tried to assassinate President Ford.
But hard time in the Lizzie Borden ward of a Texas prison hasn’t softened the former Defense Department wunderkind. Years after she was caught spying for Cuba, Montes remains defiant. “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in, but some things in life are worth going to prison for,” Montes writes in a 14-page handwritten letter to a relative. “Or worth doing and then killing yourself before you have to spend too much time in prison.”
Like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen before her, Ana Montes blindsided the intelligence community with brazen acts of treason. By day, she was a buttoned-down GS-14 in a Defense Intelligence Agency cubicle. By night, she was on the clock for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing encrypted files to handlers in crowded restaurants and slipping undetected into Cuba wearing a wig and clutching a phony passport.
With a tip of the hat to Marcus Aurelius, who flagged this, we have loaded an original document summarizing the lessons learned on leadership from the “Black Hawk Down” engagement (19 hours of intense combat) and list the highlights below. Click below for the full document (5 pages).
White House gutted the mission before it started by limiting the force to 450 instead of the normal 600, meaning they went in with 25% less ORGANIC strength and skills than they trained with.
White House gutten the mission before it started by forbidding AC-130 Gun Ships, the absolute core air fire support element of all Ranger missions.
In Afghanistan, Americans should deploy Pvt. Social Worker and Maj. Sociologist.
PBI: The conclusion first:
“You have to learn to discriminate if you’re going to win,” said Villalobos. “And in Afghanistan, that’s the problem. You don’t know how to do that. You don’t speak the languages; you don’t understand the cultures. And then you have two other problems. First, you are the invader, the outsider.” And that’s not going to change. “And second, you add to this the problem with your own record of human-rights violations.” Villalobos mentioned the Iraq horror picture show at Abu Ghraib in 2004 and the long history of abuses at the Bagram military base.To achieve anything in that sort of environment, soldiers have to be willing and able to move around among the public. But the “force protection” that is at the heart of so many U.S. military tactics and procedures makes that awkward if not impossible. You can’t convince the people you can protect them from the insurgents, after all, if you look like you’re not sure you can protect yourself. They just ask why you’re there in the first place. And that question is increasingly hard to answer.
PBI: Now the middle meat:
“Afghanistan,” said Villalbos, “is super complicado.”
“In the old days, your problem was to defeat the enemy, and it didn’t matter which way you did it,” the veteran guerrilla told me. “We had rural societies that were cut off from each other; you could eliminate your enemies without people seeing, and you could create a long peace that way. But in a world that is more interconnected, the idea of human rights has become more universal, and there has developed a direct relationship between human rights and military effectiveness.” Is McChrystal reading Villalobos? They seem to be very much on the same page.
As Villalobos sees it, the power to intimidate is much more limited than it used to be, and the risk of too much intimidation is that you will scare civilians right into the arms of your enemies. (Indeed, this was one of Al Qaeda’s big mistakes in Iraq.) “Too much discussion about human rights has been about ethics,” said Villalobos, “and it’s not only an ethical problem, it’s an operational problem. The army of the future needs officers that are sociologists and soldiers that are social workers.
PBI: Read the beginning and other bits by clicking the Newsweek logo.
+++++++Marcus Aurelius Comment+++++++
Quite possibly, much of the force protection problem can be traced to a terrorist attack on a US bus Honduras in the late 1980s. That influenced future Southern Command (Latin America) commander GEN George Joulwan who later was European command commander during the Balkans interventions. GEN Joulwan’s very robust view of force protection arguably set the tone for much of what our forces are doing today in the CENTCOM AOR.
+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++
“Force Protection” is code for “Friendly Casualty Aversion” as well as the US Army’s old mind-set of not allowing commanders any latitude in the way of mistakes–zero tolerance paved the way for micro-management and micro-reporting, and that is how the US Army trains, equips, and organizes. It became effective at killing indiscriminately and very ineffective at winning and holding ground and the hearts and minds on that ground.The Battle of Jutland and the “Rules of the Game” lessons learned and not learned by the British Empire apply equally to the American Empire.What this boils down to is that the Americans have substituted technology for thinking and doctrine for strategy.There is no good strategic reason for being in Afghanistan, nor is there a good strategic reason for continuing to spend $1 trillion a year on a 1950’s force structure model, and now toward $90 billion a year on a secret intelligence community optimized to cover Soviet communications and little else. At the same time, between partisan ideology, Wall Street special interests, and bureaucratic corporatism, US foreign policy can safely be said to be–we quote Madeline Albright–the equivalent of “gerbils on a wheel.” See the other book below by Morton Halperin, a book that includes as one of the “rules of the game,” “Lie to the President if you can get away with it.” With a lack of integrity so prevasive, America is her own worst enemy.
Marcus Aurelius, whose works remain most relevant for all Whole of Government planning, programming, and budgeting (as well as operaitonal campaign management), is in this instance a pseudonym for a Special Operations field grade officer with decades of experience in deep HUMINT within ungovernable areas.
Our policy is to point to the original full sotry online whenever the source offers a persistent URL that does not require registration. Below are extracts from Tom Friedman’s “The Class Too Dumb to Quit,” as flagged by Marcus Aurelius, pseudonym for a Special Operations officer with decades of HUMINT abroad.
This scene is a reason for worry, for optimism and for questioning everything we are doing in Afghanistan. It is worrying because between the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are grinding down our military. I don’t know how these people and their families put up with it. Never have so many asked so much of so few.
The reason for optimism? All those deployments have left us with a deep cadre of officers with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, now running both wars — from generals to captains. They know every mistake that has been made, been told every lie, saw their own soldiers killed by stupidity, figured out solutions and built relationships with insurgents, sheikhs and imams on the ground that have given the best of them a granular understanding of the “real” Middle East that would rival any Middle East studies professor.
. . . . . . .
Early in both Iraq and Afghanistan our troops did body counts, à la Vietnam. But the big change came when the officers running these wars understood that R.B.’s (“relationships built”) actually matter more than K.I.A.’s. One relationship built with an Iraqi or Afghan mayor or imam or insurgent was worth so much more than one K.I.A. Relationships bring intelligence; they bring cooperation. One good relationship can save the lives of dozens of soldiers and civilians. One reason torture and Abu Ghraib got out of control was because our soldiers had built so few relationships that they tried to beat information out of people instead. But relationship-building is painstaking.
And that leads to my unease. America has just adopted Afghanistan as our new baby. The troop surge that President Obama ordered here early in his tenure has taken this mission from a limited intervention, with limited results, to a full nation-building project that will take a long time to succeed — if ever. We came here to destroy Al Qaeda, and now we’re in a long war with the Taliban. Is that really a good use of American power?
. . . . . . .
The bad news? This is State-Building 101, and our partners, the current Afghan police and government, are so corrupt that more than a few Afghans prefer the Taliban. With infinite time, money, soldiers and aid workers, we can probably reverse that. But we have none of these. I feel a gap building between our ends and our means and our time constraints. My heart says: Mission critical — help those Afghans who want decent government. My head says: Mission impossible.
Does Mr. Obama understand how much he’s bet his presidency on making Afghanistan a stable country? Too late now. So, here’s hoping that The Class Too Dumb to Quit can take all that it learned in Iraq and help rebuild The Country That’s Been Too Broken to Work.
+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++
“Relationships Built” versus “Body Count” is a major step foreword. However, the management of “Full-Spectrum HUMINT across the US Government is so inept as to be virtually criminal. Within the Department of Defense, the Human Terrain System (HTT) and the lack of linguists also able to write coherently in English stand out as sucking chest wounds.
With respect to Viet-Nam, click on the cover below to read our review of Triumph Forsaken. There is absolutely no question in our mind but that IF the U.S. Government were to find its integrity, strategic center of gravitas, and the will to restore the Constitution and the Republic, that Whole of Government operations could not only create a prosperous world at peace, but we could also wipe out our multi-trillion dollar deficits within a decade. INTEGRITY. One word, one world, one outcome.