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The Counter Intelligence Community: Adequate Efficiency Within Our Ranks

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The Counter Intelligence Community
Adequate Efficiency within Our Ranks
American Military University
Rodolfo Ivan Bustamante
Professor Holden, Richard
February 26, 2013

Counterintelligence is adequate only to those not directly affected by its lack of efficiency. CI adequacy is difficult to measure and its very status seems to be politically protected in secrecy. The American people are allowed to view things from the outside and cannot accurately provide a direct measure nor possess the slightest understanding of what really goes on behind closed doors. Measuring adequacy and efficiency requires benchmarks and detail accounts of mission failure or success. Classified information cannot be utilized in the equation, but at least the definition of the words can provide a basic understanding and from there begin to analyze unclassified information on various cases.
Counterintelligence is defined by law as an embrace of both the collection of information and activities conducted to counter foreign intelligence threats (Cleave, 2007). In other words, it’s the ability to identify, assess, neutralize and exploit foreign intelligence out to cause harm to the United States of America and its citizens. Efficiency in general describes the extent to which time, effort or cost is well used for the intended task or purpose. It is often used with the specific purpose of relaying the capability of a specific application of effort to produce a specific outcome effectively with a minimum amount or quantity of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort. "Efficiency" has widely varying meanings in different disciplines (Merriam-Webster.com, 2013). When the meaning of the word “efficiency” is applied to counterintelligence, a grey area appears as unanswered questions hidden behind classified information. The only true way to measure counterintelligence efficiency is on a case by case basis.
The governments fight against foreign intelligence threats will never end. The threat may not always be a clear and the adversary not always wearing a t-shirt with the words “Bad Guy” printed on it. Foreign counter intelligent threats are devious and not always present themselves in obvious methods. Sometimes may be written in code hiding in dormant hardware, others may be citizens working within our government ranks. Even if force protection is raised to the point where no one can move an inch, adversaries would still find ways to exploit and find vulnerabilities. At this point of exaggeration, “efficiency” would not be a word to describe the intelligence community. The very purpose of counterintelligence is to identify the enemy threat, find adequate measures of protection and ultimately confront the enemy and engage offensively. The United States intelligence agencies such as the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense carry out their agendas to the letter and one cannot question their abilities to do their job when the time counts. Their methods may not always be efficient, but most often than not are proven effective.
Intelligence agencies not only struggle to provide solid proof in productivity, but also to get along inside their own politics thus limiting process to positively advance national security policies. One example are offensive strategic air strikes complements of American unmanned air drones. The White House level of discretion on their utilization on airstrike missions almost canceled the entire program. It is to the point where the C.I.A. cannot longer be effective and missions are halted by its politics. One thing is for certain, the government is good at covering any wrong doing by classifying information to the public in order to keep their job afloat. Combat air support provided by drones has proven effective, but their mission motives and aftermath results on a few unclassified cases make them questionable for future use. The White House has refused to openly share classified information involving the use of unmanned air vehicles and how the mission objective justified targeted killings (Scott Shane, 2013). The White House Administration rightfully refused to openly share the information and their motives behind all the air strikes. Prevention of government secrets is one way to keep ahead of the competition, but it seems to be more about self-preservation and looking out after themselves. The area is obviously gray, and the secrecy around the drone program keeps everyone mal-informed about its current role. The biggest question is, at what exact point does the use of unmanned air vehicles crosses over and violates human right laws and ethical boundaries? Either ways the CI community are forced to deal with the hiccups of its politics and are halted to openly proceed in their offensive attacks. “We have this drone war, and the American public has no idea what the rules are, and Congress doesn’t know much more,” said Virginia E. Sloan, president of the Constitution Project, a civil liberties group in Washington. “YouTube appearances and speeches are absolutely no substitute for having the actual memos in hand.” She said when referring to the president’s pre-recorded online appearances and remarks. Other comments stated the demand for transparency Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First, an advocacy group, expressed how she is not satisfied on the government’s version of transparency “President Obama and Mr. Brennan have both pledged transparency,” she said. “Let’s see it” (Scott Shane, 2013). Forced to deal with human rights advocates in reporting secrecy and meanwhile Elisa does not have the comprehension in just how important it is to maintain some things under water. One of the ways to apply a good counterintelligence offence is not to reveal the secrets of war tactics utilized on the enemy. The White House has the right idea in protecting our government secrets and handling matters internally.
Troops deployed in combat areas are fed up to date information about their area of operation. The information may include anything deemed important to their current mission objectives. Some of the information is collected through unmanned air drones and often proven vital. When operating in combat zones, the windows for air support are very small and even nonexistent. For example, a “set” may have an operation which lasts for several days. The windows for air support are very specific in when and where troops are available to access the assets. Any sort of setbacks will push the troops out of these windows and will be forced to handle enemy encounters without air support. Ever since drones started to operate in combat zones, these air windows have become more accessible and in some months even operate around the clock around forward operating bases. Even though Air Drones do not carry air strike capabilities, the eye in the sky provide troops with important reconnaissance information. The role of the drone has progressed from a recon/patrol asset to an offensive strike weapon. Unfortunately combat mission friendly casualties and tragedies become high profile within the world media. Mission success often relies on judgment of inexperienced combat troops or government agents. To save face, the chain of command has to maintain a political balance and even forced to waste their time to defend their actions and even maintain afloat their long careers. The lack of focus within counterintelligence tactics and operations, more often than not, causes a waste of time and strain on governments vital resources.
Foreign Intelligence threats take advantage of any gray area, and may utilize high profile mistakes. The enemy utilizes these kinds of unfortunate events not only to force Americans to reveal their secrets, but also to publically embarrass and sway the public against its own government. The offensive efforts against the United States are aggressive and tactically sophisticated. Government agencies are under constant surveillance and penetration attacks and have had to defend against spies working within their own ranks. Even foreign partners have fallen prey to attacks from foreign intelligence in an attempt to sway and intimidate important classified information from them. How exactly does counterintelligence adequacy begin to balance itself or provide any sort of ranking system in order to measure the level of performance? The grey area remains and no one really knows except that the answer lies on the shoulders of a few top ranked individuals.
Some of the problems to adequately measure counterintelligence efficiency may be in direct connection on how the leadership roles are structured (Hass, 1996). The intelligence community top leadership structure is often considered to be more of an influential role instead of an executive authority figure. The Director of Central Intelligence is the main adviser to the president on matters of intelligence. Other key intelligence organizations consider the DCI more of a colleague than a boss, thus his only tool to provide leadership to other intelligence leaders (NSA, DIA, and so on) is a persuasive approach. The efficiency comes all these leaders come together to decide how to control, utilize, spend resources and provide new policies (Hass, 1996). Leaders within the Department of Defense are considered priority for these kinds of assets, and naturally possess most of the influence and are often biases on their decisions to receive most of those benefits. Leaders from the intelligence community end up to be advisors and colleges among one another without anyone having direct power on anyone else. This sort of leadership forces CI leadership into a more influential political role.
The American Government preaches about checks and balances, but true realization reflects the opposite. There is an imbalance of power within our own leaders (Hass, 1996). A constant struggle to get that piece of the pie has always been a problem for everyone involved. In the end, efficiency from the intelligence community may not be measured by its successes and failures, but by the power to sway decisions, policy and political influence.

References;
Merriam-Webster.com. (2013). Retrieved January 03, 2013, from Efficiency: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/efficiency
Cleave, M. V. (2007, June 12). CIA.com. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from Strategic Counterintelligence: What Is It and What Should We Do About It?: http://cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol51no2/strategic-counterintelligence.html
Hass, R. N. (1996, January). The Future of U.S. Intelligence. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from FAS.org: http://www.fas.org/irp/cfr.html#organization
Scott Shane, M. M. (2013, February 13). White House Tactic for C.I.A. Bid Holds Back Drone Memos. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from NYTimes.com: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/us/politics/strategy-seeks-to-ensure-bid-of-brennan-for-cia.html?pagewanted=1&ref=centralintelligenceagency…...

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