A couple of days ago, Colonel Lang asked a question about HUMINT support to SFOD Delta in light of the recent raid on Barisha.
PL> Woolsey just said on Fox that CIA was the main support for the raid. Do the two of you agree with that?
TTG> I personally think Woolsey is talking out his ass. DoD and JSOC in particular has developed a lot of capability in this area. DIA was doing the same. We had people integrated into the various task forces in Afghanistan and Iraq for years. CIA is still involved, but not to the extent it was decades ago.
I listened to the Woolsey comment today. I am now even more convinced he was talking out his ass. He represents the old CIA attitude of undeserved superiority and misplaced disdain for military intelligence. It’s a common attitude for a lot of these old fossils. I’ve seen it many times. It was annoying. Well, times have changed. As I told Colonel Lang, military intelligence has changed dramatically in recent years. I witnessed a lot of these changes first hand working at DIA. I will be careful about what I say since many of the details of these changes remain classified. I will say only what I can find in unclassified, printed documents. Here are three documents you can review yourselves at your leisure.
The first document is the culmination of a multi-year struggle by DIA and USD(I) to provide better and more timely HUMINT support to the commands and task forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. We created a new category of controlled collection operations called military source operations (MSO). The most significant change wrought by the creation of MSOs is that ultimate approval/coordination lies with USD(I) for the most sensitive category of MSOs. Other MSOs are approved at lower DoD levels. Prior to this, all controlled collection operations required CIA coordination/approval. CIA didn’t like this change, but DIA, the Army and the combatant commands loved it.
The remaining two documents are Army publications. They discuss a new prominence for HUMINT operations at the combatant command and joint task force (JTF) levels. A robust J2X is established at these levels to oversee and control HUMINT operations. In addition to controlled HUMINT operations, the J2X controls debriefing and interrogation operations. DIA also began to emphasize this full range of HUMINT in support of joint commands in Afghanistan, Iraq and other regions where JTFs operated. This included various JSOC JTFs.
Now back to Woolsey’s comments. He was fishing for nice words from Trump for his old CIA. He still lives in a world where CIA dominated the HUMINT world, a world where everyone only thinks of the CIA when HUMINT is mentioned. I still see this. People look at me cross eyed when I tell them I worked for DIA. They say, “What’s DIA? Do you mean CIA?” At least we got a mention from Woolsey. He did say, “I’m sure there were other agencies involved, Defense and so forth, too, but the CIA pulled the main strings on human intelligence there and it was brilliant.” Shut up, old man. I don’t buy it. I’m sure the CIA was represented in the J2X and had collectors and analysts involved, but HUMINT support to these JTFs are now a DoD affair.
So who did provide the key HUMINT support to the raid on Barisha? According to Polat Can, it was the YPG. Polat Can is a senior adviser to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and former Representative of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to the International Coalition. I wouldn’t be surprised if my old unit was involved with the YPG Huminters. We did a lot of that kind of liaison work in support of Delta and ST6. We often passed ourselves off as CIA when he did so. It saved a lot of questions.
Here’s Polat Can’s account on twitter:
@PolatCanRojava SDF Senior Advisor (28 August)
1- Through our own sources, we managed to confirm that Al Baghdadi had moved from Al Dashisha area in Deir Al Zor to Idlib. Since 15 May, we have been working together with the CIA to track Al Baghdadi and monitor him closely.
2 – One of our sources was able to reach the house where Al Baghdadi was hiding. Al Baghdadi changed his places of residence very often. He was about to move to a new place in Jerablus.
3 – Our own source, who had been able to reach Al Baghdadi, brought Al Baghdadi’s underwear to conduct a DNA test and make sure (100%) that the person in question was Al Baghdadi himself.
4- More than a month ago, the decision was made to eliminate Al Baghdadi. However, the US withdrawal and the Turkish invasion prompted us to stop our special operations, including the pursuit of Al Baghdadi. The Turkish invasion caused a delay in the operation.
5- All intelligence and access to Al Baghdadi as well as the identification of his place, were the result of our own work. Our intelligence source was involved in sending coordinates, directing the airdrop, participating in and making the operation a success until the last minute
6 – All armed groups and elements surrounding the village of Barisha were Daesh (ISIS) terrorists, operating under various names. In the airdrop operation, all their military posts and positions were targeted.
7- Terrorist Abu al-Hassan was on a special mission to Jerablus to secure Al Baghdadi’s transfer to his new home. There was a plan B to target Al Baghdadi in his new home if he had moved before the planned strike in Barisha. Abu al-Hassan was closely monitored by SDF intelligence