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
Isn’t Woolsey a neocon? And even though he led the CIA for two years, he was never an insider, just a lawyer with experience in arms control, a tourist. It’s mox nix to me which agency was the main support. Everyone is going to claim a piece of a successful operation as Tacitus once said, or words to that effect. It is just when an op fails that nobody claims the lead. But I agree that the CIA does like to hog credit. In Nam half or more of the CIA personnel were TDY from the Army or Marines.
I would hope that the CIA would concentrate on Daeshi/al-Qaeda ratlines in and out of Turkey.
CENTCOM confirmed that the DNA analysis was done in a DIA lab.
Woolsey is a brown noser who always had (and still has apparently) his head up somebody’s backsides. That’s seems to be the trend regarding the NEOCONS like Woolsey and Bolton.
I’ve been saying for ‘years’ that IMO the CIA needs to be disassembled and all its ‘stuff’ transferred to DIA where at least the national interests trumps politics. The CIA is a political runner, no longer an Intelligence runner. Jut look at how Tenet (and when she was SecOState Hillary) left CIA agents out to dry, like the one recently brought back to our beloved U.S. by Gina (God Bless Gina’s soul).
There are a lot of good hard working devoted CIA agents, it’s the CIA bureaucracy IMO that has become dry-rot and needs to be disassembled.
Time for a cup-o-java with a whiskey chaser.
When this creep was DCI and I ran Defense HUMINT I spent half my time wheedling coordination/approval out of the CIA and they often lied and cheated claiming previous interest in sources that we were required to reveal to them for coordination. The worm has turned…
The great liberation occurred after 9/11 when the AUMF (essentially a declaration of war) removed Defense HUMINT from CIA oversight and interference.
Woolsey is an arch neocon, a member of the inner group of “gentlemen”. These guys have only feigned party affiliation and are loyal only to the neocon group. They spread themselves across both parties.
The original Woolsey statement was at https://www.foxnews.com/person/b/shannon-bream nine items down.
Is Neocon just a Euphemism for a World Government ideology?
Harlan, I consider a neocon to be a strident US nationalist totally committed to US world domination.
No. Neocons seek world domination under their rule. The US is just a tool for them.
Dear Colonel, … and Israel always seems to be a top neocon priority – often subsuming US interests.
The neocons see Israel as yet another tool.
Knowing nothing about the workings of intelligence agencies, I find this thread quite informative.
What popped into my mind is that somehow the “talking heads” of the media need to be made better informed about who should or should not be allowed to be “talking head” on the major stations.
As a largely uninformed person in these matter, living out here in the West, my idea of what “DIA” stands for is Denver International Airport. So, I am now happy to know that it can mean what it means to you on this blog.(it’s why I come to this blog, to learn things.)
I know we cant count on the organizations of CNN and its ilk to get it right, but at least maybe FOX can get a heads up about who should be considered an expert and who should not. I do know that with the likes of Hannity, FOX will always get a NEOCON perspective. Perhaps the people there can at least tell us openly that we are getting that perspective when we listen to some of their sources.
I am just finally feeling some relief that I no longer see much of Yosemite Sam Bolton.
I wonder if the definition must not also include ‘totally committed to Israel?’ Do u see the neocon record as having advanced US security interests in any meaningful way? Thinking of their record,I understand it to have not strengthened the Pax Americana.
It seems to me some of the neocons conflate Israeli national interests as perceived by the Likkud party and its allies as ipso facto national interests of the USA. e.g. Douglas Feith of the Bush 43 administration.
Mac, the overlap between neocons and Zionists is pretty remarkable, although I don’t see them as the same thing. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Neocons are stridently anti-communist, sharing that same disdain for pacifists. Although Colonel Lang and I disagree on this point, neocons espouse a warped authoritarian view of America and conservative American culture. They believe the entire world should either accept those views or be forcibly subjugated.
We agree on the overlap but, as you say, these are distinct groups. You seem to want to pin neoconism on the conservative side of US politics, but this is, in fact, an international movement with arms in the UK and Israel. In fact the neocon movement has Trotskyite roots. Do you see that somewhere in American conservatism?
My observation is that the American Conservative Blog provides some of the most radical challenge to ruling neo-con orthodoxy and by so doing is fulfilling a role of small c conservatism.
If I have understood correctly a principle concern of the Colonel and his correspondents is the sustaining of Constitutional order in the operation of power within the United States, something those living outside the United States also have more than a passing interest in.
Well, some chat has it that Bolton will be called to testify in the “impeachment inquiry”, so he is still playing his role in undermining Constitutional order. Surprise!
“I wonder if the definition must not also include ‘totally committed to Israel”?
I certainly do!
Both John Brennan and John McLaughlin have openly bragged on camera regarding their treason to the U.S.:
Time that AG Barr arrested both Brennan and McLaughlin, and made them do the perp walk.
TTG – I remember it being said on SST in the past that one of the problems was that Human Intelligence – which I take to mean anything from a cocktail party at the Embassy to penetrating organisations – had lost out to Signals Intelligence. The former sort risking embarrassing blowback, whereas the second was comparatively risk free.
It was rumoured on some sites that the reason the Russians managed to swap their forces around in the Crimea unnoticed was that the orders didn’t go out by means of normal channels. Typewritten messages sent by motorbike rather than encrypted communications – that type of communication giving no hint, by an increase of signals traffic etc, that anything was about to happen.
If that’s so there’d have been no one from any Western Intelligence agency standing around at some quayside thinking “Rather a lot going on here. Something must be up.” Instead, dozens of people sitting at computer screens noticing nothing much amiss. And one assumes the Russians were similarly careful in advance of the extraordinary moves they made in Syria.
Your article is, I think, more about Intelligence for local operations in the field than in Intelligence on a wider scale, but presumably the same applies there. Given that highly skilled experts are two a penny when it comes to anything to do with IT, whereas it must be difficult to get trained and experienced personnel for HUMINT in the field, does this not indicate a lack when it comes to field operations as well? Not in the case you’re discussing, obviously, but generally?
Setting aside moral considerations the various Western interventions one reads about all have one thing in common. They are incredibly ham-fisted. “Designed to fail”, in retrospect, when one looks at the results and at the little information that comes out about how they were done. Is the shift from HUMINT to SIGINT one reason for that?
In addition to that, the Israelis are reckoned to be strong in HUMINT. Many linguists, exceptional local knowledge, not too bothered by the ROE’s that are set out in the documents you link to. There will also presumably be French and UK agencies who’ve retained at least some of the links they had in the area from colonial days and who have built on those links since.
Any information from such sources could well be tailored to suit the objectives of those passing the information on. Could this also account for Western interventionist operations often looking, as said, ham-fisted in retrospect?
There is a deep underlying tension between SIGINTers and HUMINters in the business. The barons of the IC of course don’t care about that. They don’t do the work. They just politic for budget and promotion. The US government and media prattle endlessly about the need for really good HUMINT but the business itself is mysterious and somehow repugnant to Americans. CIA was repeatedly purged of skilled HUMINTERS from the time of Carter on, and the institution has never really recovered its skills in recruiting and running foreign penetrants. Military Intelligence, long struggled in the HUMINT field against the CIA’s belief that MI was “the real enemy,” rather than the USSR but they have grown stronger and stronger and as I said the post 9/11 AUMF was the great moment of liberation. Before that DIA ran good operations at the strategic level but it was a continual struggle to deal with Langley.
The Israelis are not as strong in HUMINT as they try to make the world think they are. They’re good propagandists when it come to touting their own horn.
EO, what you are describing is good OPSEC practiced by the Russians. It’s designed to defeat enemy HUMINT, SIGINT and any other INT. It’s a basic yet complicated art requiring great discipline and ingenuity. I salute the Russians for being good at it. We were once very good at it ourselves. We practiced all manner of battalion level maneuvers including defensive operations and night assaults using radio silence, cover and concealment, stealth and meticulously detailed planning and timing.
Of course this was before the era of personal cell phones. Those things are a pox on military and intelligence operations. Even the Russians have been suffering from this pox. I know it’s generational, but I can’t understand why troops are allowed to carry cellphones while in the field or deployed. And I’d rather skip down the street naked and covered in glitter than go on an intelligence operation with a cellphone. The conundrum now is that absence of a soldier’s or intelligence officer’s cellphone signal can also be an intelligence indicator and OPSEC violation.
I echo Colonel Lang’s comments on SIGINT and HUMINT. I’ll add that there will never be enough skilled HUMINTers to meet requirements. First one has to master the technical and artistic skills of the craft. In addition to that, one must have the moral and mental mindset to do this to our fellow human beings up close for extended periods of time… hard hearted empaths.
Interesting how guys like bagdaddy evolve.Maybe the humint and sigint and whateverint should take a look at their role in creating the very problems they are trying to solve
one can emphasize the Trotskyite part of the neocons evolutionary/biographical puzzle, no doubt. Personally I am not sure if it makes much sense, considering the biographies of some of the founding fathers and their later careers.
The US-UK-Israel triangle surfaced prominently as the economic angle on a web site devoted to neoconnism post 9/11. It has gone by now.
I am no economist. Thus, admittedly did not take a closer look at that triangle at the time, strictly moved forward to the basic publications on the neocons at that point in time.
Some, e.g. the Neocon Vision seemed to suggest a strong link between US economic thinking and the neocon vision on religion and economics, e.g. concerning the American (continent) South. …
If one learned Trotskyism from the age of “taking baby’s first steps”, one’s brain would be deeply imprinted. Even if one later decided that Trotskyism had failed in the most narrowly literal sense, one’s whole psycho-mental emotional perception and response mechanisms would still be Trotskiform. One would still be entirely Trotsky-esque about whatever one’s new political ideology happened to be.
So these people contracted a life-long case of Walking Trotsky-pneumonia.
As a strictly-civilian I can only try guessing why cell phones are permitted in military operation and intelligence operations. My only-a-guess is that the cell phone/ smart phone/ etc. are seen as such deep indicators and enablers of up-to-date modernity that one marks oneself as a primitive savage or a backward one-pig peasant if one doesn’t have at least a cell phone.
And if people raised with that cultural Prime Directive ( ” thou art Nothing without thy Cell Phone” ) followed its believers and upholders into the military, then such people will find it instinctively un-thinkable, and therefor not-even-thought-of, to ever go anywhere without their Sacred Holy Cell Phone.
When people ask me why I refuse to have a cell phone, I tell them: ” Cell phones cause cancer. You can believe me now, or you can believe me in twenty years”.
Cell phones are human cattle tags. Instead of putting a yellow numbered tag in their ears, they have a cell phone which does basically the same thing as cattle tags.
The Neocons and Zionist are both ordinary psychopaths.
But the Neos were nudged to become Neos by the Zionist who’s powerless past left them burning with the desire to be ‘powerful’….and the only way they could do that was thru the US power.
Their ideas of the US as the world ruler appealed naturally to would be Neos who could also be ‘important’ and lifted out of their mundane think tank and congressional assignments by endless wars for dominance’ for ‘freedom for all” Thank to C-span we can
watch their love affair as congress calls on the Zio think tanks to advise them on war and democracy spreading.
”Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”
– Michael Ledeen, holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute
Since psychopaths are not fixable brain wise the only cure for Neos and Zios is a wooden stake and holy water.
Biden says it would be a ‘gigantic mistake’ to condition military aid to Israel: ‘I find it to be absolutely outrageous’
On Thursday, by the Wall Street Journal’s Sabrina Siddiqui asked Biden whether he’d consider leveraging aid to Israel to curb settlement expansion. “Not me. Look, I have been on record from very early on opposed to settlements, and I think it’s a mistake,” Biden told the reporter, “And Netanyahu knows my position. But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous.”
There is also no cure for stupid.
umm . . that too. For people who wish to imagine themselves as wild and free and not tagged cattle at all, one could suggest that having a cell phone makes one tagged and trackable just like one of Marlin Perkins’s bears from Wild Kingdom.
you have some type of longterm solution on how in the present US kids can get get prevented to get for whatever reason on the wrong mental life path? Since it will shape them forever? Never mind what happens to them or in the world around?