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    Don't Like the UN? How About GAC? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 84 comments | Search Discussion
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    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
    Worldwide Presence vs. Worldwide Capability
    by Anonymous on Monday August 22 2005, @08:20AM (#16027)
    http://iwar.org.uk/pipermail/infocon/2005-July/002 737.html

    Worldwide Presence vs. Worldwide Capability

    Within the Agency in the early 1990s, two contrasting schools of thought
    arose about the number of overseas stations the DO should maintain. One
    school of thought is that the DO should be on the ground as a permanent
    presence in as many different locations as possible. Another school believed
    the DO should conserve its resources, have a permanent presence in only a
    few key locations, and then be prepared to surge into other geographical
    locations on a temporary as needed basis. These competing premises are ones
    upon which reasonable people can disagree. The Agency opted for the
    worldwide capability model and during the following years, many DO stations
    were closed overseas. I believe there is a qualitative difference in the
    effectiveness and reliability of collection operations that are based on a
    permanent presence.

    I have participated in "surge" operations to cover breaking intelligence
    targets, and they are inherently risky, from both counterintelligence and
    reliability standpoints. They are also very expensive in personnel and
    money. In a "surge," operation you are trying to create in days what would
    normally take years of careful work. This is done by throwing money and
    personnel at the problem. You can get a way with this from time to time, but
    eventually this is going to turn around and bite you. I would much prefer to
    take the long view and carefully vet my collection operations. I believe
    intelligence collection is about quality, and quality operations take time
    and preparation. (Attempting to cover this gap by using foreign liaison
    services creates another set of problems, which will be addressed in part 2
    of this article.)

    A second reason that I prefer a worldwide presence is the stark fact that
    many of the Agency's best sources over the years have been volunteers of one
    sort or the other. It is human to believe that talent and hard work will see
    you through, but sometimes you can also get lucky. In the past, simply put,
    the Agency was not very hard to find. Most embassies had a DO officer
    immediately available and extensive preparations had been set in place to
    securely handle the genuine volunteer with valuable intelligence. With the
    closure of many stations, this is simply no longer the case in many places.
    To win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. In this case, the price of a
    ticket is a station on the ground.

    http://iwar.org.uk/pipermail/infocon/2005-July/002 737.html
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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