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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare by Other Means > Spy Wars

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Spy Wars Reconnaissance, deception and intelligence are all vital aspects of warfare, ancient and modern - discuss these aspects here!

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  #1  
Old 16 Mar 17, 03:00
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How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part I

How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part I:

EXCERPTS:
...
The performance of our country’s intelligence service is the latest example of an issue exploding into the headlines and becoming a shouting match, while failing to clarify anything about the issue itself. This explosion was ignited last fall by allegations that the Russians hacked into Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Donald Trump win the election. The blast radius expanded after the election, when rumors surfaced that the Russians had deployed their nasty tactic of kompromat to undermine President Trump’s credibility by spreading rumors about his private behavior while in Moscow years ago. All this, on top of failures that had already wreaked havoc at the CIA and our other intelligence agencies—the 9/11 attacks themselves, the mess over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the weird 2007 National Intelligence Estimate whose key judgment was that Iran had abandoned its nuclear bomb program, Edward Snowden’s NSA espionage activities—has kept the issue of our intelligence service in the headlines.

But before addressing the question of why these failures have occurred, we need to define clearly the role and purpose of our country’s intelligence service, with a focus on how intelligence really works when it’s working properly.

But before addressing the question of why these failures have occurred, we need to define clearly the role and purpose of our country’s intelligence service, with a focus on how intelligence really works when it’s working properly.

Just utter the word “intelligence” and most people conjure up images of spies, secret satellites peering down on foreign cities and terrorist camps, and rooms full of young technocrats reading private emails and listening to private conversations. These images are accurate, but they reflect the tools and techniques of our intelligence service, rather than its purpose. To understand its purpose, think of a jumbo jet flying at night through turbulent skies—thunder clouds, lightning, other airplanes streaking in all directions and at all altitudes. To navigate through this, the pilot and his crew rely on their radar—the instrument that paints a picture of their environment, enabling them to see what’s going on around them and what lies ahead so they can chart a safe course. Radar doesn’t tell the captain and his crew what to do, but it gives them the accurate information they’ll need to make good decisions.

Our intelligence service is our nation’s radar. Its purpose is to provide the president and his national security team with an accurate picture of what’s going on in the world and what’s likely to happen in the days, months, and years ahead. The assumption is that if the president and his team have this information, they can chart a safe course for our country. And if they can see the distant future soon enough and clearly enough—and if they don’t like what they see—they can take steps to change the future before it happens.

Good intelligence is a combination of information and insight. Information is the raw material, while insight is the finished product. Sometimes this insight takes the form of a top secret report that alerts the president and his team to something that’s about to happen, such as a terrorist attack or the military invasion of one country by another. At other times it is a National Intelligence Estimate, whose purpose is to provide an overall assessment of a major issue—such as North Korea’s nuclear bomb program or the rapid growth of Africa’s middle class—along with a prediction of its future course.

The key to producing good intelligence lies in getting this combination of information and insight right. Intelligence work is like science. You don’t collect information randomly and then stare at it in hopes that something important will pop up. You start with a thesis—in other words, you decide what you want to know. Then you send your collectors out to get it. This is why the key to producing good intelligence lies in asking the right question, rather than in just poring over what’s been randomly collected in hopes that somewhere in the pile of reports and intercepts on your desk you’ll spot something important.

Let me give you an example of how this worked during the Reagan administration. ...
https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-i..._hsmi=44462166
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  #2  
Old 16 Mar 17, 03:14
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How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part II

How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part II
EXCERPTS:
...
When the collectors have done their work—when they’ve told the analysts what they want to know—the intelligence process shifts from gathering information to creating insight. It’s the difference between shopping for food in the supermarket and actually cooking dinner.

Insight is the product of knowledge, experience, and, above all, good judgment. You cannot say something insightful, or even something intelligent, on a subject or issue about which you don’t know anything. So the most senior intelligence analysts must be among the world’s most knowledgeable individuals in their fields of expertise—the Mideast, Russia, China, nuclear weapons, economic development, etc. And they must have that one elusive and unquantifiable skill that so often brings success in every venture: the ability to spot a pattern with the fewest possible facts—the ability to look at what’s known and combine this with their own knowledge, experience, and good judgment, to come up with a new idea or insight. This is the skill we see in great scientists like Albert Einstein, in great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, and in great intelligence chiefs like Bill Casey.

Back in January, when U.S. intelligence chiefs released an unclassified version of the briefing they gave to President-Elect Trump about Russian efforts to influence the November election, Americans learned a phrase that’s unique to the world of intelligence: key judgment. It was a key judgment that Russia had hacked into John Podesta’s email server, and a key judgment that Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. Since these key judgments understandably erupted into a nasty political brawl, let’s take a moment to understand what a key judgment really is. Simply put, it’s the conclusion reached by our most senior intelligence officials, based not only on the evidence they were able to collect, but also on the insights it enabled them to reach based on their knowledge and experience.

A key judgment isn’t the same as a jury verdict. A jury verdict is based solely on the evidence presented to it. In a murder trial, unless the prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, you must vote for acquittal. But in a National Intelligence Estimate, you reach a key judgment by starting with the evidence, then combining it with your own knowledge and experience to reach a conclusion.

Precisely because key judgments go beyond evidence, an intelligence service must be trusted by policymakers to be effective. Policymakers may not always like what they’re told—as when the obvious implication of a National Intelligence Estimate is that a favorite policy is heading for catastrophe—but if they trust the intelligence service, they will know that what they’ve been told is likely true. And this trust needs to be earned.

This is how it was during the Reagan administration, because ev*eryone from the President on down knew perfectly well that the intelligence official who not only had read the final version of an Estimate and signed off on it—but also played a major role in writing it—was the CIA director himself. Like every other member of the cabinet, Bill Casey was a busy man. But to Casey, being in charge of our intelligence service meant more than merely being its top administrator and dealing with budgets and bureaucracies. It meant that he himself was our country’s top intelligence analyst. When the final draft of an Estimate landed on his desk—more precisely, when I walked into his office and handed it to him—Casey would take that draft, pick up a pen and a yellow legal pad, and go through it word by word.
...

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-i...hen-it-does/2/
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  #3  
Old 16 Mar 17, 03:29
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How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part III

How Intelligence Works (When it Does) ~ Part III
EXCERPTS:
...
So why has our intelligence service suffered so many failures during the last decade or so, losing the trust of so many? Because it’s been run by career bureaucrats and administrators who rose to the top by managing intelligence rather than actually doing it. That’s like putting an airline executive with an MBA and a law degree into the cockpit of a jumbo jet.
And like bureaucrats and administrators everywhere, our recent intelligence chiefs focused on structure rather than on people. Of course all organizations, including intelligence services, need the proper structure. But especially in an intelligence service, good structure is worthless without the right people—in this case world-class analysts who are deeply knowledgeable about the Mideast, China, Russia, terrorism, and all the rest. Make a list of our country’s leading experts on these subjects. How many of them have held top-level jobs in our intelligence service during the last dozen or so years? How often have the leaders of our intelligence service reached out to these people to seek their advice? The correct answers are: none and rarely.

We are still in the early days of the Trump administration, but to borrow an overused Washington cliché, we should be cautiously optimistic about the future of our intelligence service. Neither Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats nor Director of Central Intelligence Mike Pompeo are professional bureaucrats. They’ve built their careers on substance rather than on management. Each of them has proven he can talk about the key issues that confront us with an impressive level of personal knowledge and insight. Each is capable of actually doing intelligence rather than merely overseeing it.

This will require restoring the correct balance between collection and analysis. Obviously, collecting information is crucially important work. Collecting information through technology—satellites, intercepts, and so forth—is intense to the point of exhaustion. Collecting information through espionage is dangerous and sometimes fatal. All of us owe these collectors a huge debt of gratitude. What they need now is guidance from the top—a clear sense of what to look for, rather than just being told to sweep in whatever information they can in hopes it will prove useful.
...
https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-i...hen-it-does/3/
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Old 16 Mar 17, 11:18
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In the Black world, the difference between covert and clandestine work is enemy (and the White world) know that an operation/action has taken place but they do not know who did it. A successful clandestine operation/action is pulled off without the enemy (and the White world) knowing not only who, but also what, when, and how.

Based on 26 years in and around clandestine work, successful clandestine operations do not surface in the White world, if they do, then it is not considered a success.

Not sure how you can make your call on how intelligence works from the White world.
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Old 17 Mar 17, 20:12
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What is the Five Eyes intelligence alliance?

What is the Five Eyes intelligence alliance?

EXCERPTS:
The diplomatic spat between Britain and the United States, after the White House claimed that London's spies had snooped on Donald Trump, is just the latest incident to put focus on Five Eyes, an international intelligence alliance.
The White House insisted Friday that spokesman Sean Spicer had not accused Britain of spying on Trump but was "simply pointing to public reports," following a story broadcast by Fox News that indicated Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had used Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency for the wiretaps.
- Who are the 'Five Eyes?' -
A GCHQ spokesman labeled the wiretapping allegations as "nonsense," but the scandal revived focus on the intelligence network grouping Anglo-Saxon allies the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
...
The NSA and GCHQ cemented their collaborative efforts in 1946 under the UKUSA Agreement that provides for cooperation on signals intelligence, or SIGINT, between the services.
The three other countries added their "eyes" in 1955.
- Sophisticated surveillance platform -
Over the years, Five Eyes has developed a massive platform for espionage, interception, collection, analysis and decryption of communications. Each country shares with the other four information and a huge amount of data.
A former British spy recently told AFP that cooperation between the countries is so close that it sometimes becomes challenging to determine who does what.
...
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/...7KE?li=BBnbcA1
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Old 17 Mar 17, 22:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
In the Black world, the difference between covert and clandestine work is enemy (and the White world) know that an operation/action has taken place but they do not know who did it. A successful clandestine operation/action is pulled off without the enemy (and the White world) knowing not only who, but also what, when, and how.

Based on 26 years in and around clandestine work, successful clandestine operations do not surface in the White world, if they do, then it is not considered a success.

Not sure how you can make your call on how intelligence works from the White world.
From my experience in tel orgs deal (as do economic ones) with what good old Don called "known unknowns" when they should be looking towards "unknown unknowns" though the real threats come from outside both areas.
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R.N. Armstrong - IMHO, Military type 'Intelligence' has 'at least' four 'enemies'/issues to contend with:

1/ THE enemy.

2/ Soundness of source.

3/ The minds of those in charge.

4/ The 'armchair generals' known as public opinion.
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Old 22 Mar 17, 03:23
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Wrong.
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Old 22 Mar 17, 17:30
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Originally Posted by Wooden Wonder View Post
R.N. Armstrong - IMHO, Military type 'Intelligence' has 'at least' four 'enemies'/issues to contend with:

1/ THE enemy.

2/ Soundness of source.

3/ The minds of those in charge.

4/ The 'armchair generals' known as public opinion.
All I can say is--you don't know what you don't know.
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Old 22 Mar 17, 17:35
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To paraphrase Don ,there is known,Known unknown , unknown unknown and unknowable unknown. Although there is the qualification that there is some slight knowledge of the unknowable unknown',
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Old 22 Mar 17, 19:10
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Quote:
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To paraphrase Don ,there is known,Known unknown , unknown unknown and unknowable unknown. Although there is the qualification that there is some slight knowledge of the unknowable unknown',
KNOWN: With in the Laws of Science, and measurable** gauges of a "Nation's"/"Enemy's" capabilities;
*resources (natural/human),
*industry, culture/society(guv'mint),
*economy,
*and leadership.

UNKNOWN:
Mostly this would be within the realm of Leadership; specifically their background of education/indoctrination, overall knowledge, and INCLINATIONS.

INCLINATIONS
of Leaderships is the most unknowable of unknowables!
While there are some real world metrics that could guide on how a "Leader" was raised and educated; within that matrix is the realm of what he/she might consider and/or be willing to do. This I'd suggest is the hardest to gauge and plan around aspect of "Intelligence".

"What does the potential "ENEMY" Know and is willing to Think About/Consider Doing that "WE" need to allow for and plan to Deal With/Thwart?!"

Looking "in" from "outside" there are some workable matrices for what a Nation/Org.(potential enemy) might have in terms of;
1) Natural resources - mineral/metal ores, foodstuffs, etc.
2) Human resources -knowledge and skill sets of the subject populace
3) Industrial~Manufacturing/Economic~Trade access/assets
4) Cultural/Social/Government focus and agendas
BUT ...
The hardest to gauge and measure ~ Guess; is the motivation and inclination of current and prospective replacement Leadership! I'll provide a sample case in point in the next post.

** measurable within absolutes, inside, and outside/overhead data collection.
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Old 22 Mar 17, 20:02
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Let's take North Korea for an example ...

For the most part, we (the West, those outside of N.K.) can KNOW:
1) What N. Korean has as natural resources and what it has imported over the past century ... especially regards nuclear materials.
2) N. Korea's industrial base and technolgy level, both domestic and imported.
3) Details of it's weapons developments, especially if "WE" retrieved their test missile shots before they could ().
4) from both inside (HumInt) and outside we have some gauge on their intellectual and educational levels for tech support and growth ...

The potential "Unknowns" are;
1) How well might they have hardened their nuclear warhead tech to survive the rugged shaking of missile delivery systems - i.e. made such devices able to reliably detonate after transit and at terminal point, when and where desired???
2) Developed their missile tech to the point that it will reliably launch more than 75+% of the time and reach the target ???
3) Have a Leadership inclined to use such weapons ???
4) Have a Leadership inclined to use such weapons in a seemingly irrational manner/circumstance?

Those last two are the more critical. The first two mean that any "attack" could be a false move/start in its ineffectiveness. The later two are the gauges if/when/how to react ~deal with such, ineffective or not.
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Old 23 Mar 17, 03:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G David Bock View Post
KNOWN: With in the Laws of Science, and measurable** gauges of a "Nation's"/"Enemy's" capabilities;
*resources (natural/human),
*industry, culture/society(guv'mint),
*economy,
*and leadership.

UNKNOWN:
Mostly this would be within the realm of Leadership; specifically their background of education/indoctrination, overall knowledge, and INCLINATIONS.

INCLINATIONS
of Leaderships is the most unknowable of unknowables!
While there are some real world metrics that could guide on how a "Leader" was raised and educated; within that matrix is the realm of what he/she might consider and/or be willing to do. This I'd suggest is the hardest to gauge and plan around aspect of "Intelligence".

"What does the potential "ENEMY" Know and is willing to Think About/Consider Doing that "WE" need to allow for and plan to Deal With/Thwart?!"

Looking "in" from "outside" there are some workable matrices for what a Nation/Org.(potential enemy) might have in terms of;
1) Natural resources - mineral/metal ores, foodstuffs, etc.
2) Human resources -knowledge and skill sets of the subject populace
3) Industrial~Manufacturing/Economic~Trade access/assets
4) Cultural/Social/Government focus and agendas
BUT ...
The hardest to gauge and measure ~ Guess; is the motivation and inclination of current and prospective replacement Leadership! I'll provide a sample case in point in the next post.

** measurable within absolutes, inside, and outside/overhead data collection.
KNOWN.Enemy nation group of Individual.


Intentions
Capability
Organization
Etc
Etc
Etc
Etc
Etc
Etc etc etc etc
Regards.Grishnak.
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Old 19 Apr 17, 16:49
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Then there's the case when they don't work so well ...

U.S. intelligence agencies fear rogue insiders as much as spies these days

EXCERPT:
WASHINGTON
Forget about spies. It’s rogue insiders that cause heartburn at U.S. intelligence agencies these days.

Few spy cases have broken in the past decade and a half. In contrast, a proliferation of U.S. intelligence and military insiders have gone rogue and spilled secrets to journalists or WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group.

The leaks are as damaging as any major spy case, perhaps more so. And they have underscored the ease of stealing secrets in the modern age, sometimes with a single stroke of a keyboard.
...
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nati...145256784.html


Made worse when the leadership has an agenda ...

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

This is the open scandal that Congress should investigate.

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”
...
https://spectator.org/confirmed-john...a96c-104298097
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