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[] George Friedman zu Intelligence-Problemen,
Hier ein interessanter Beitrag desünders. Hauptthese:
Egal, ob die Informationen des US-Geheimdienstapparates von Informanden
oder von Abhörstationen kommen - jemand muss sie am Ende auch lesen und
verstehen. Das bedeutet zweierlei Man braucht mehr Analysten und die
Möglichkeit für diese, an alle vorhandenen Informationen auch
ranzukommen (das geht klar gegen "Compartmentalization of Intelligence"
- ein traditionelles Mittel, Infos geheim zu halten). Laut Friedman ist
es müssig, jetzt im Nachhinein zu sagen, man habe Informationen über die
Anschläge gehabt. "Ein Buch zu besitzen und zu wissen, was drin steht,
sind zwei völlig verschiedene Sachen."

The Intelligence War 

By George Friedman


Attention is turning to the need for an intense, covert war in which the
American intelligence community will play a leading role. At the same
time, there is a crisis of confidence concerning the ability of the
intelligence community to wage that war. The most important and
frequently neglected part of intelligence analysis thus far has received
scant attention. Without increased resources and freedom directed toward
the intelligence analyst, a quantum increase in operational
effectiveness will not be possible.


Throughout the day Sept. 16, the tenor of the Bush administration's
public discussions shifted subtly away from conventional military
options toward waging a covert war against terrorists. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld referred to a long "shadow war" that would have
to be waged against those suspected of involvement in the Sept. 11
strikes at the Pentagon and World Trade Center and against other
organizations that might be planning future attacks. Secretary of State
Colin Powell referred to a war that would last as long as anyone might
imagine. Discussions intensified over lifting the ban on political
assassinations and ending restrictive controls on those whom the
intelligence community might recruit as spies.

At the same time, congressional voices led by Alabama Sen. Richard
Shelby, the ranking republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee,
blasted the CIA and its director, George Tenet. Shelby said: "This was
on his watch. If we didn't have a clue, then something's wrong. If we
had a clue and didn't act, then something's worse.'' We know Shelby has
had a long, running feud with Tenet, and there is personal animosity
involved. But the fact that the administration is turning to the
intelligence community to lead this fight while the leading Republican
Senate committee member is calling for the CIA director's head, points
to serious trouble -- and we do not mean normal Washington political

Shelby clearly has a point. On Dec. 8, 1941, when everyone was calling
for the head of Adm. Husband E. Kimmel --then commander in chief,
Pacific -- the issue wasn't just that the country wanted a scapegoat.
That was a factor, but there was also a deeper issue. Multiple failures
of intelligence and prudence happened at Pearl Harbor. Most of all,
"business as usual" in communications and responses led to the fleet's
devastation. The question was whether the commanders who had the watch
at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 could be expected to wage a winning war.

There are striking similarities between Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11,
2001. In both cases, there were extensive discussions of impending
actions by an identified enemy. In both cases, the precise action that
would be taken was unanticipated. In both cases, warnings that were
clear in retrospect were obscure at the time. In both cases, a strong
case could be made that senior field commanders had their hands tied by
higher command authority. Kimmel did not have timely intelligence from
Washington. Tenet did not have the authority to hunt and kill Osama bin
Laden nor to recruit members of his gang who may have committed
terrorist acts or human rights violations -- which is the same as saying
that he could not recruit spies in bin Laden's camp.

This is not about the person of George Tenet. By all accounts, he has
been one of the more effective CIA directors. It is instead a question
of the institutional capabilities not only of the CIA, but of the
National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and a host of
other intelligence agencies that frequently compete with each other,
sometimes undercut each other and on occasion cooperate wholeheartedly
with each other. The issue is whether the American intelligence
community as a collective institution is capable of carrying out its

The heart of our intelligence community is its ability to collect
information -- from NSA's signals intelligence to the National
Reconnaissance Office's image intelligence to the CIA's human
intelligence. The amount of intelligence washing into these
organizations each hour boggles the mind. Computerized systems have been
created to sort through the mountains of intelligence that come in each
day. But even after the sorting -- and even accepting the dubious
assumption that the sorting does not lose as much valuable information
as it finds -- a mountain of material is left to read, think about and

But all the collection in the world has no value if there is no one to
connect pieces of information and from them draw intuitive insight. We
have no doubt that after the databases have been searched, it will be
found that U.S. intelligence had plenty of information in some highly
secure computer. The newspapers will trumpet, "CIA knew identity of
attackers." That will be only technically true. Buried in the huge
mounds of information perhaps once having passed across an overworked
analyst's desk, some bit of information might have made its circuit of
the agencies. But saying that U.S. intelligence actually "knew" about
the attackers' plots would be overstating it. Owning a book and knowing
what is in it are two vastly different things.

Analysis has been the stepchild of the intelligence community. Billions
are spent on technology while the numbers, morale and resources of the
analysts have been treated as an afterthought. To Tenet's tremendous
credit, he recently created the first school for analysts at the CIA.
Until that point, there was no formal training program for analysts. The
field operatives had numerous facilities in which to train. The
analysts, whose job it is to make sense of the situation -- to explain
what exactly is going on -- were simply hired and, if lucky, enjoyed
good apprenticeships with senior analysts. If unlucky, they were left to

The CIA is about to surge its collections. That's what it does best. But
stepping up its analytic functions is the key. The technicians who pull
in the signals from Afghanistan, the computer programmer who writes the
code for sorting through them, the cipher specialist who breaks the
code, are all vital, and huge amounts of money are spent on them. But
who is going to read and understand the material?

Tasking is equally as important as analysis. The analysts are the ones
who can best judge what they know and what they don't. They need to have
tremendous influence and even control over what information is pursued.
The collectors cannot keep collecting information in a way that vastly
outstrips the analytic community's ability to assimilate it.

There must be symmetry between collection and analysis. That means that
the quantity of collections cannot be the measure of effectiveness. The
quality and the timeliness with which they are delivered to the analyst
must be the measure.

The government must take a careful look at the degree to which the
intelligence community compartmentalizes intelligence.
Compartmentalization is an important tool in limiting the damage done by
espionage. Compartmentalization can also mean that very few people ever
get to see the entire picture.

The fact is that those who do get to see it -- senior analysts -- tend
to be the ones who are most assimilated to the system, least inclined to
rock the boat and most caught up in CIA and Washington group-think.
Younger analysts, who are capable of thinking out of the box and who
have, frankly, higher energy levels, are less likely to see the whole
constellation of data and therefore are least able to make the intuitive
leap. There may be a link between security and longevity, but it is not
self-evident. There is a cost. Fresh blood and the best data frequently
don't get a chance to meet.

We have no doubt that the United States will be able to improve its
human intelligence. Nor do we doubt that the CIA, using its own
personnel and the military's Special Operations Command, will be
extremely effective when launched into action. These are the matters
that are getting special attention in Washington today, along with the
standard Washington scalp-hunting.

We do not doubt someone's head will roll. We do not doubt the CIA will
reform itself on the fly much as the U.S. Navy did following Pearl
Harbor. But it is much less clear to us that the essential change will
occur. Adding more robust human intelligence to technical intelligence
capabilities is an obvious necessity. Loosening the chains on covert
operations is also needed. But the most fundamental shift necessary does
not have to do with collecting intelligence or conducting operations. It
has to do with understanding what it all means and identifying that
strange anomaly that might lead to identifying an attack on the United

Analysis is not sexy work. No movies will be made about it. But it is
the most important work to be done, and not enough money or attention is
paid to it. If reforms are going to be made, we would urgently hope that
they would be made in elevating the standing of analysis in the
intelligence community. 

George Friedman is the founder and chairman of STRATFOR.

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