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"Common ene i no o common" (Voltaire)
Intelligence is different from information-processing. It's not the sort of brain intelligence, or
small-letter i intelligence that psychologists study. Intelligence is "ece knoledge of an enem,
he kind of knoledge hich and independenl of he mean b hich i i obained and he
poce b hich i i diilled" (Troy 1991). Intelligence is the same as "foeknoledge, a kind of
pophec-like caf, hich i ala on ale, in ee pa of he old, oad fiend and foe
alike" (Dulles 1963). Intelligence is never an end in itself, but always directed toward other ends,
such as winning a war, coming out ahead of the competition, or aiding the investigation of crime, in
which case the title "intelligence analyst" is practically synonymous with "crime analyst."
Intelligence is also a social science, since it tries to analyze and predict political, economic, and
social behavior. Social science is value-free, and intelligence is somewhat similar in trying not to
be completely partisan or political. Like criminology, intelligence tries to be policy-relevant as
"he collecion and anali of inelligence infomaion elean o a goenmen' fomlaion
and implemenaion of polic o fhe i naional eci inee and o deal ih hea fom
acal o poenial adeaie" (Shulsky & Schmitt 2002). Intelligence can be thought of as a
PROCESS (the means by which secret information is collected, analyzed, and disseminated), as a
PRODUCT (the analyses, reports, and briefings that are useful or actionable), and an
ORGANIZATION (a collection of units or agencies that carry out intelligence work). As a
process, intelligence is illustrated below:
In law enforcement as well as government in general, the way it's usually put is by saying
intelligence is a aff, no a line fncion. Organizational theorists might call it an aide-de-camp
function. This means that intelligence is almost always an add-on, luxury item for most
organizations. It also means that intelligence organization usually involves a community of equals
or loose confederation of agencies trying to work together on common priorities. Hence, the word
"community" instead of "system" is frequently encountered, as in the entity known as he
inelligence commni (IC), consisting of about 15 agencies that try to work together (see graphic
below). Criminal justice, has of course, always strived to work as a system, and it's ironic that
people-processing organizations tend to organize in terms of systems while information-processing
ones do not.
Centralized or systematized intelligence is of fairly recent origin. It also remains fairly elusive.
The "central" in CIA was never intended to be "central" in the sense of supporting ALL
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interdepartmental and intergovernmental goals. It was only intended to be the place which looked
at things no one else was looking at. The problems with implementing a system characteristic play
out in the problems with how to head the agency. For many years, the systemic aspects were
personified by a DCI (Director of Central Intelligence, head of the CIA), but since the 9/11
Commission, a new position of DNI (Director of National Intelligence) was established to ensure
greater inter-agency coordination. Traditional management responsibilities include the
responsibility of providing intel to policymakers and commanders (mid-level desk officers are also
included), and this is primarily accomplished via the coordination of NIEs (National Intelligence
Estimates) and other intelligence products. The preparation of NIEs is supported by a NIC
(Naional Inelligence Concil), a group of senior analysts who are substantive experts from the
public and private sector. Within the NIC, some senior analysts are known as NIOs (National
Intelligence Officers) and are in charge of various topics, like Africa, East Asia, Economics and
Global Issues, Europe, Intelligence Assurance, Latin America, Military Issues, Near East and
South Asia, Russia and Eurasia, Terrorism, Transnational Threats, Warning, and Weapons of
Mass Destruction and Proliferation. NIOs work for the DCI (or DNI) in the latter's capacity as
head of the IC, not as head of the CIA. NIOs do not require Senate confirmation and come from a
variety of backgrounds, such as from academics and the private sector.
The CIA of yesteryear is gone. The DCI position was established to be the Presidents principal
advisor with regards to national security intelligence since the 1947 National Security Act. It
placed the DCI in charge of the CIA and made him the titular head of the U.S. intelligence
community. Over the years, the CIA was an easy target of criticism, being accused of everything
from AIDS to crack cocaine to missing the breakup of the Soviet Union (all untrue). However, it
did fail to predict the attacks of 9/11, incorrectly assessed Iraqs WMD program, and more
recently has suffered from leaks and petty jealousies. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act of 2004 removed the DCI from a prominent role, and replaced him with a Director
of National Intelligence (DNI), who not only has the Presidents ear, but also has budgetary control
over the Intelligence Community (something the DCI never had).
Additional capabilities and responsibilities exist within a number of agencies which provide
strategic intelligence or carry out what might be called "security studies." For example, under the
National Foreign Intelligence Program, there are several tactical military intelligence and security
organizations, as well as those responsible for security responses to transnational threats, including
terrorism, cyber warfare and computer security, covert proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, narcotics trafficking, transnational crime, and international organized crime. In fact,
some 56 government bureaus exist which produce intelligence reports related to national security
and/or foreign policy; some 50 agencies have some kind of jurisdiction over protecting the nation's
vital interests; and some 46 agencies are producers or consumers of homeland security intelligence
"fused" with foreign intelligence. All in all, intelligence is a vast enterprise which spends at least
more than thirty billion dollars a year trying to be successful at staying one step ahead of any
Intelligence is infomaion fo acion, in its most basic form, consisting of: (1) strategic foeign
inelligence, or information relating to the capabilities, intentions, and activities of foreign powers;
(2) coneinelligence, which is information or activities conducted to protect against espionage
and the penetration of US assets by foreign intelligence services; and (3) coe acion, which are
clandestine activities designed to influence events abroad without the role of the United States
being apparent. Intelligence plays a crucial role at achieving national security goals. For example,
as Silver et. al. (2005) point out, intelligence can help maintain world peace and order by reducing
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the risks of international conflict. It can also help the United States better compete, politically and
economically. It can greatly assist diplomatic and military efforts to stop the spread of
unconventional weaponry. And finally, it plays a self-evident role in defending or protecting the
United States and its allies by combating the threats of terrorism, transnational crime, and other
sources of international violence.
Note: the above graphic comes Irom the NIC website dated April 2004, and doesn't include the Coast Guard,
which would be the 15th agency listed between the Marine Corps and National Geospatial Intelligence. It also
doesn't reIlect the NID position or other reIorms added in December 2004 by passage oI S.2774. A more modern
graphic appears below:
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Although one can make almost anything out of organization charts, it should be noted that
there's nothing represented here which would suggest a strict chain-of-command. One should know
that some IC agencies were created by statute, others as cabinet-level agencies, and others as tied
to the military, and the whole thing is mostly run by Executive Orders. There is little to no proof
that the "Intel as tool of the Executive branch" thesis is true. The whole intelligence community
collectively works for the notions of national security and vital interests. The opposing notion has
little standing, although Chief Executives sometimes hold it dear, and often get in trouble for it, as
when a President says something like a NIE ought to be declassified -- true, they have that
authority -- but events like the Valerie Plume affair make it clear that sometimes -- to counter
leaks from elsewhere -- a President will violate one principle of intelligence to salvage another.
Executive privilege plays a big role in intelligence, but there are countervailing principles. One
such countervailing principle is that intelligence must never be classified or declassified for political
Many principles, or best practices, derive from the way intelligence officials (or workers in any
job) "read the minds" (so to speak) of their superiors. It doesn't take a genius to know what the
boss likes, especially when intuition is supported by strong patriotism. A common way for the
process to work is that word comes down (usually from the National Security Advisor or someone
on the Naional Seci Concil) that the President has directed or is thinking about planning to
detect the intentions and capabilities or what-have-you of some identified group which represents a
threat to our national security or vital interests. Hundreds of national security planners then go to
work devising plans based on the best intelligence that can be gathered and analyzed. All the
military-related bureaus tend to think along the lines of hard-line plans, and all the political bureaus
under White House jurisdiction tend to think along political lines. Bureaus like the CIA will think
along all the alternative lines, like what is in the best economic interests or has psycho-political
implications. After a period of time, about a dozen or so "good" plans emerge and come to the
attention of various supervisors. These plans must then go through three stages involving the
following suborganizations:
Stage 1 -- the Depie' Commiee, made up of the No. 2s, or Vice-Presidents of the main
national security agencies. This Deputies Committee or Council generally consists of people
with titles like "undersecretary," "deputy," or "chief of staff."
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Stage 2 -- the Pincipal' Commiee, made up of the U.S. Vice President, National Security
Advisor, head of the CIA (now ODNI), Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense.
Stage 3 -- the approval of the President himself, and it is incumbent upon the Vice President
to pass something along.
Only when a plan has passed all three stages is it signed off on, and if there is an actual "plan"
in the document, signoff will typically be accompanied by a Presidential Directive, Presidential
Decision Directive (PDD), or Executive Order as a fully "actionable" intelligence plan.
The process is regulated by all three branches of government: by the eecie banch via
Justice Department signoff (the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review) on IC agency
procedures; by the legilaie banch via select committee oversight, particularly the Senate Select
Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee (where the continuing controversy has
been whether these committees can compel the executive branch to release classified information);
and by the jdicial banch via FISA's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and judicial relief via
FOIA requests (although doctrine in Toen . US (1875) and the "state secret privilege" in US .
Renold (1953) tend to limit the judiciary from an active role in intelligence law). In addition,
whistleblowers and leaks tend to permeate the system, serving a type of regulatory function.
Personnel rules, regulations, and discipline also tend to be rather stringent for employees of
intelligence agencies.
A number of items fall under the definitional umbrella of national security, but what exactly
does the term mean? The U.N. Charter defines national security as "afe fom foeign coecion
o inimidaion." The Federalist Papers define it as "afe fom a aie of cicmance and
poecion of feedom-loing people eehee." The Constitution mentions it within the
international law of maritime regulation and law of the sea. History is replete with precedents, both
legal and otherwise, where the scope of Ameica' definiion of naional eci has evolved over
the years. For a better understanding, let's start with the classic statement of the Monroe
Doctrine (1823) where President James Monroe said:
"I i onl hen o igh ae inaded o eiol menaced ha e een injie o
make pepaaion fo o defene. The moemen in hi hemiphee ae inimael
conneced. We oe i o he old o declae ha e hold conide an aemp o
eend injio em o an pa of hi hemiphee a dangeo o o peace and
While true under the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. lays claim to all the Western Hemisphere, it is
further true the U.S. regards its security tied to world peace as a whole. The classic statement of
this is the Truman Doctrine (1947), which created a policy of containment when President Truman
asked Congress to fund Turkey and Greece in their fight against communist insurgents:
"Alhogh he UN pla a leading pa in making laing feedom poible, he US hall
no ealie i objecie, hoee, nle e ae illing o help fee people eehee o
mainain hei fee iniion again aggeie moemen. Toaliaian egime
impoed on fee people, diecl o indiecl, ndemine he fondaion of inenaional
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peace and hence he eci of he US."
Numerous other treaties and alliances spell out the nature and character of American national
security. Regional treaties, like NATO, SEATO, and CTO, consider an attack against one to be
an attack against all, and it was SEATO that provided the basis for unilateral "police action" in
Vietnam, as well as NATO and CTO which provided the basis for multinational force against
Yugoslavia and Iraq. Territorial-based notions of national security tend to operate under a
"domino heo" that if one country falls, neighboring countries will be next. Modern versions of
domino theory exist involving esoteric fields like geostrategic economics, which takes into
consideration airspace, water currents, meteorological uniqueness, as well as a number of other
globalization factors.
Another approach to national security relies upon claims to indispensable resources, "strategic
resources," or vital interests in other words. It is historically apparent that what America
considers "vital" is any resource, mineral or otherwise, for which shortage has military or
economic implications. These ideas are often expressed in the Inaugural Addresses of incoming
Presidents, such as with Kennedy (1961) and Carter (1980):
"Le ee naion kno, hehe i ihe ell o ill, ha e hall pa an pice, bea
an bden, mee an hadhip, ppo an fiend, oppoe an foe o ae he ial
and cce of libe."
"The oehelming dependence of Ween naion on ial oil pplie fom he Middle
Ea, and he pee of change in man naion of he deeloping old conie a
hea o global peace, o Ea-We elaion, and o egional abili and o he flo of
More recent Presidents have expressed their own doctrines. President Reagan, for example,
declared the support of backing anti-guerrilla forces throughout the world, and President Clinton
advocated a doctrine of isolating enemies from participation in the world community. It's far too
easy to dismiss these doctrines as rhetoric or as excuses for American imperialism. There are
fundamental values and ideals at stake. The principles that guide intelligence don't exist in some
legal shadow world. They come from the guiding vision of chief executives. In a very real sense,
what matters are the actions carried out in the name of principle, and the hard part is figuring out a
principled response to the degree of threat to vital interests, which might be referred to as national
security dangers. For classification purposes, such dangers can be grouped as follows:
A Rank Ode of Naional Seci Dange
Annihilation destroying whole societies
Devastation mass destruction or death
Domination controlling whole populations
Subversion making weak or corrupt
Intimidation aggressive movements
Deprivation Iorcing industrial shortages
Manipulation lowering morale
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Humiliation embarrassing leaders
Aggravation diIIerences oI opinion
No one would seriously advocate military attack in retaliation for embarrassment or differences
of opinion. However, no one wants to wait stoically for annihilation while weapons of mass
destruction are being stockpiled. Each nation is expected to use negotiation via its diplomacy
system to prevent aggravations, humiliations, and grievances from escalating, but only
democracies tend to honor this system, as a variety of other political systems ignore it. Islamic
groups tend to take action in the face of humiliation; and fascist or totalitarian groups are notorious
for acting militarily on differences of opinion. There is a need in intelligence for scaling the
aggressive intent of a foreign adversary, since aggressive movements may be indirect or
preparatory steps toward greater danger. There may also be a need to preempt threats before
they escalate.
Preventive preemption, or preemptive prevention (it doesn't matter which word comes first)
is the Bh Docine which comes from a speech at West Point on June 1, 2002 along with a
spreading democracy corollary which comes from his second Inaugural Address on Jan 20,
2005. Preventive preemption requires policymakers to assess threats, decide if conflict is
inevitable, and then make decisions about the level of risk the nation is prepared to accept and
whether it is better to fight now while the costs are relatively low, or wait and possibly confront a
more dangerous adversary later. Differences of opinion exist about legitimacy of the Bush
Doctrine (see Brownlie 1963; Byers 2002; or Ramraj et al. 2005). It is somewhat similar to a
notion of deterrence, but the correct terminology is dissuasion. Dissuasion refers to a situation
where there is only one superpower left in the world, called a hyperpower, and dissuasion
suggests that military strikes by this hyperpower will be so technologically and operationally
advanced, that potential competitors and enemies will abandon all threats. Dissuasion is, in many
ways, a hyperpower's way of playing asymmetric warfare. The spreading democracy corollary,
unless backed up by aggressive foreign policy, is simply a hyperpower's way of spreading hope.
PREEMPTIVE PREVENTION: The idea ha he be defene i a good offene, o nde
inenaional la, he docine of anicipao elf-defene o a peempie a ha aie hen
one ide decide hee i a e gea ik i adea ill aack ihin da o ho, and ha
he aack ill cipple i abili o defend ielf o ealiae.
SPREADING DEMOCRACY: The idea ha he be hope fo peace in o old i he
epanion of feedom in all he old, ih he limae goal of ending ann and dicaohip
in ee naion and cle.
NON-NEUTRALITY: The idea ha oda' eoi heaen all naion-ae a ell a
inenaional jice, and no neali can be pemied (o ae eihe ih o again );
ha ae ho ppo o ho eoi ae he de faco enem of he Unied Sae and can
face Ameican milia acion.
There have been 20 preventive wars launched by the great powers over the last three centuries.
Pearl Harbor, for example, was a preemptive strike. Democracies tend to avoid them, and
politicians are often concerned that voters will toss them out of office if they over-reach. The
current US-UN regime (if it could be called that) is based on the preferance for an alliance or
coalition, but America's history of unilateral action has also relied upon strategies of
destabilization, deterrence, and dissuasion. As Walzer (2000) puts it, first strikes can be justified
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before the moment of imminent attack if the point of "sufficient threat" has been reached. This
concept has three dimensions: "a manifest intent to injure, a degree of active preparation that
makes that intent a positive danger, and a general situation in which waiting greatly magnifies the
risk." This explanation highlights the connections between the notion of "threat" and the term
"vital interests." The following are the standard vital interests of any country, particularly the
United States:
Protecting the territory and population of the homeland
Preventing the emergence of a hostile coalition
Ensuring freedom of the seas, lines of communication, airways, and space
Ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources
Deterring and defeating aggression against allies and friends
There are many quaint customs regarding intelligence law, or the "law of silent warfare" as it is
sometimes called. Although the United States is fairly unique among nations in the statutory
establishment of civilian intelligence agencies, many intelligence activities are recognized as
military activities under international law. During wartime, intelligence is an accepted practice
governed by the laws of war as are any intrusions into foreign territory. It is safe to say that no
nation invites or permits spying against itself. Spie ae pnihed, no o mch a iolao of
inenaional la, b o make ha mehod of collecing inelligence dangeo, difficl, and a
ineffecie a poible. The Hague IV Convention (1907) and the Vienna Conenion on Diplomatic
Relations (1961) both recognize the legitimate right of nations to employ spies. Getting caught for
spying in peacetime is a criminal offense; getting caught for spying in wartime is a war crime
offense. These penalties exist to serve as disincentives to spying, not because spying is completely
banned or outlawed. In fact, Article 31 of the Hage Conenion actually prohibits conviction of a
spy for a previously successful mission if captured during a subsequent mission.
Not all spies are prosecuted. The most common defense is diplomatic immunity. Agents with
diplomatic status enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution. When diplomats get caught spying,
they are deemed peona non gaa, asked to leave, or sometimes kidnapped and exchanged under
some spy or diplomatic exchange program. Counterintelligence is a different ballgame where the
effort is to check on one's own people for leaks, moles, and double agents. As such,
counterintelligence creates the potential for more violations of civil and criminal law, such as
domestic eavesdropping.
Oversight committees exist in both houses of Congress over intelligence; i.e., the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. These
OVERSIGHT committees make it their business to see that funds are not specifically used to
overthrow the governments of other nations. Oversight also has some investigative authority to
force the President to turn over classified information not normally revealed to Senators or
Congressmen. There are also oversight mechanisms in place within the Executive Branch. Just as
the FBI is legally supervised by the Attorney General, other agencies, like the CIA and NSA, have
counterparts in the form of General Counsels or Inspector Generals. In addition, the National
Security Council and two other boards, the PFIAB (President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board) and PIOB (President's Intelligence Oversight Board), exercise oversight functions. The
NSC does this by considering many different points of view. PFIAB and PIOB audit IC agency
policies and procedures. Other laws exist which are related to terrorism and homeland security,
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but many of these are only indirectly related to intelligence law.
Secrecy and security are important. The intelligence community works with lists the same way
homeland security works with databases. Certain federal employees and certain employees in the
private sector are required to have security clearances because their job requires them to have
access to classified documents. A "need to know" must accompany the possession of a security
clearance, and in this way, information is not only controlled but channeled. The standard
intelligence community approach to security clearance involves an all-or-nothing "risk avoidance"
approach (compared to a risk management approach which might be found in homeland security).
Security extremes are the norm. Various work takes place in secured facilities by secured
individuals with secure documents. The occupant of any such job would be said to have much more
than a "sensitive" position, defined as "any position, by virtue of its nature, could bring about a
material adverse effect on national security." At any given time, there are about 3 million people
with security clearances. In addition, there are about 2 million security clearances in the hands of
private contractors and consulting firms. Contractors participate in what is called the industrial
security program administered by the Defense Industrial Securit Clearance Office (DISCO) which
is part of the 1oint Information Systems Technology (1IST), a military agency. Manufacturers of
technology (broadly defined as computer technology and anything that could be used for military
purposes) must abide by regulations set down by the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) which
maintain a number of lists: Commerce Control List (CCL), Entit List, Denial List, and Debarred
One out of every thirty Americans has some sort of security clearance. It has been estimated
that one out of every thousand can be expected to compromise the secrets they are entrusted with.
Some need money, some can be blackmailed, some are disgruntled, and some are just sloppy.
American industry is a prime target for espionage as well as domestic terrorism and white collar
crime. A security clearance is technically a license issued by a department head of a department,
division, or agency of the federal government, and the type of security clearance one can be
approved for also depends upon the department, division, or agency involved. Wikipedia has a
really good article on Classified Information Systems, with illustrations, and Wikileaks can be a
real eye-opener. Although there are dozens of different types of security clearances (see Security
Clearance Central for a complete list), the basic six are:
Sensitive (U//FOUO) - Unclassified, For Official Use Only
Top Secret
Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI)
The SENSITIVE label exists in a number of settings, particularly military, law enforcement, and
homeland security settings. Technically, it is a handling instruction, as opposed to a true
classification marking, but use of it does mean that the information is exempt from release under
the Freedom of Information Act. Generally speaking, sensitive material should be treated as if it
were classified CONFIDENTIAL. This means it cannot be discarded in the open trash, made
available to the general public, or posted on an uncontrolled website. It can, however, be shared
with individuals with a need to know the content, while still under the control of the individual
possessing the document or product. For example, anything stamped U//FOUO may be shared with
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family members and close friends, but such material should eventually be returned to the
appropriate office and be properly retained or destroyed. Wherever possible, U//FOUO
information should not be passed over unencrypted communications lines. Bowman (2007)
suggests that all the caveats at the SENSITIVE level be called "controlled unclassified," but he
does admit that there are many confusing practices out there.
The CONFIDENTIAL label is perhaps the most commonly encountered security classification,
and it is most often seen in military contexts or when there is some military-related aspect to the
information. It was George Washington himself who set up the confidential level of classification.
It is widely used in non-military contexts too. About the only difference between RESTRICTED
and CONFIDENTIAL is the shade of blue color used on cover sheets, with "restricted" usually
having a more "baby blue" color associated with it. Whereas other classifications will almost
always involve a background check by the Defense Investigative Service, clearance programs for
a confidential classification may be operated by the agencies themselves, like the FBI or the State
Department. Theoretically, then, any organization which does background checks on its people can
use the CONFIDENTIAL label. Sometimes one hears the confidential level referred to as
"ordinary secret," but once one gets into the truly "secret" levels, it's a whole other ball game.
The SECRET and TOP SECRET categories were added around 1950, and were originally
intended for non-military applications such as scientists working on government projects. Further,
these two levels were intended to allow quick upgrading and downgrading of information. Top
secret classifications almost always have some amount of military involvement in the clearance
process, as these types of licenses are typically found in agencies like the CIA or NSA. One of the
differences between secret and top secret is how "expansive" the background check is, i.e., how
far and deep the investigation goes (aka "full scope") into your dependents, friends, and relatives.
SCI classification is only cleared for a few people, and the background investigation process as
well as the continual monitoring is extremely intensive. The amount of time it takes to receive a
security clearance is usually 6 months to a year, if all goes well. Rarely if ever are temporary
clearances granted while waiting for the review process to conclude.
Certain countries and entities within countries are barred completely from receiving any
information of vital interest to the United States. These "lists" are similar to lists of parties which
have been denied export of technology from the U.S. They are effectively under an EMBARGO,
and some obvious examples include Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Syria. Suspect countries which
require a permit to do business with are called Tier 3 countries. Tier 3 designation lists are put out
by State (for human rights violations), Commerce (for economic violations), and a number of other
cabinet agencies. The names of known spies are routinely included on a Denied Persons List, and
an even more interesting list is the Entit List, which are essentially organizations a little too
closely linked to foreign intelligence services. A sample of the Entit List appears below:
1. Beijing Institute oI Control Devices
2. Northwestern Polytechnical University (Shanghai)
3. Xiangdong Machinery Factory
4. Bhabha Atomic Research Center (India)
5. Ben Gurion University (Israel)
6. Allied Trading Company (Pakistan)
7. ANZ Importers and Exporters (Pakistan)
8. Pakistan Institute Ior Nuclear Science and Technology
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9. Baltic State Technical University (St. Petersburg)
10. GraIit (Moscow)
11. INOR ScientiIic Research Center (Moscow)
Secrecy and security can be dysfunctional if taken to extremes. Information in the possession of
the federal government is frequently stovepiped and/or jealously guarded. Bowman (2007) is
typical of those who have taken the intelligence community to task for this. The basic problems
involve over-classification and overly-long duration of classification. A good deal of information
that is classified is legacy (or old) information that would harm little more than the reputation of the
United States if it got out. Other information is "born classified" which means that no classifying
authority needs to act upon it to make it classified. Examples include the so-called "Q" clearance
used by the Energy Department with atomic weapon information. In a post-9/11 era where the
emphasis is upon "sharing" intelligence, it would seem that fundamentally new methods of
classification should be looked into.
The Central Intelligence Agency's primary mission is to collect, evaluate, and disseminate
foreign intelligence to assist the President and senior US Government policymakers in making
decisions relating to the national security. The Central Intelligence Agency may also engage in
covert action at the President's direction in accordance with applicable law. The CIA carefully
selects well-qualified people in nearly all fields of study. Scientists, engineers, economists,
linguists, mathematicians, secretaries, accountants and computer specialists are but a few of the
professionals continually in demand. Much of the Agencys work, like that done in academic
institutions, requires research, careful evaluation, and writing of reports that end up on the desks
of this nations policymakers. Applicants are expected to have a college degree with a minimum
GPA of 3.0. Some 95% of CIA employees are technicians and academics ("nerds" and "buffs").
Only 5% of CIA personnel ("spooks") are engaged in what is traditionally seen as spying and
covert operations. "Nerds" (about 50% of CIA personnel) tend to the electronic data-gathering
equipment. "Buffs" (about 45% of CIA personnel) are experts in various kinds of information; for
example, if you were an expert on Siberian geography, Indonesian politics, undersea topography,
microwave propagation, etc., then the CIA would be interested in recruiting you.
The number of employees and budget of the CIA cannot be publicly disclosed. However, the
budget was $26.6 billion in fiscal year 1997 and $26.7 billion for fiscal year 1998, two years in which
those figures leaked out. The Central Intelligence Agency does not give public tours of its
buildings, except limited ones for academic and civic groups. The CIA releases millions of pages of
documents each year. Much of this is material of historical significance that has been declassified
under Executive Order 12958 (a presidential order outlining a uniform system for handling national
security information) or the Freedom of Information Act. The Agency handles thousands of cases
each year and maintains the CIAs Electronic Document Release Center at www.foia.ucia.gov to
release this information to the public and to provide guidance for requesting information. Some
released information of significant public interest or historical value is also available at the
National Archives and Records Administration. Specific copies of any previously declassified
records are available directly from the CIA office. Many documents, including the CIA World Fact
book, reports on foreign economic or political matters, maps, and directories of foreign officials are
also available in hard copy. Most CIA publications are classified, however, and are not publicly
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By law, the CIA is specifically prohibited from collecting foreign intelligence concerning the
domestic activities of US citizens. Its mission is to collect information related to foreign intelligence
and foreign counterintelligence. By direction of the President in Executive Order 12333 of 1981
and in accordance with procedures issued by the Director of Central Intelligence and approved by
the Attorney General, the CIA is restricted in the collection of intelligence information directed
against US citizens. Collection is allowed only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example,
if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist
activities. The CIA's procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed,
and, depending on the collection technique employed, the sanction of the Attorney General and
Director of Central Intelligence may be required. These restrictions on the CIA have been in effect
since the 1970s. Likewise, only the president can direct the CIA to undertake covert action, and
such actions usually are recommended by the National Security Council when the NSC judges that
foreign policy objectives may not be fully realized by normal diplomatic means and when military
action is deemed to be too extreme an option. Once tasked, the Director of Central Intelligence
must notify the intelligence oversight committees of the Congress. With terrorism, the CIA works
with friendly foreign governments and shares pertinent information with them. The CIA also plays
a crucial role in combating drug trafficking by providing intelligence information to the Drug
Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Department
The CIA is organized as follows. The Directorate of Operations (DO) is involved in travel and
the study of different cultures, although in late 2005, a White House plan was approved creating a
new National Clandestine Service (NCS) which will incorporate the agencys Directorate of
Operations and supervise the CIA's HUMINT operations and coordinate, but not direct, similar
activities undertaken abroad by other parts of the IC, including the FBI and DoD agencies. This
new unit within the CIA (the NCS) will have at least two deputy directors; one responsible for
managing the CIA's own clandestine service; a second DD/NCS will coordinate overseas
operations and ensure that agencies do not overlap one another in recruitment or operations, and
also supervise establishment of common standards for training all HUMINT collectors in
tradecraft, including recruitment, vetting and handling of assets. The NSC unit will also have a
special unit responsible for covert operations and another branch responsible for providing
scientific and technological support. This change is supposed to streamline the relationship
between ODNI & DCI, beef up HUMINT, and allow the FBI & DOD to do more of their own
thing. Other major directorates include the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) which
is involved with technology that is always ahead of being state of the art. The Directorate of
Intelligence (DI) is involved with analysis and writing reports. The Directorate of Administration
(DA) employs specialists as well as generalists of many different talents. The CIA divides its
geographic responsibilities among three regional offices. They include: the Office of Asian, Pacific,
Latin American, and African Analysis (APLAA), Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis
(NESA), and the Office of Russian and European Analysis (OREA).
Oversight on the Legislative side is conducted by the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). These two
committees, along with the Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, and the Armed Services
Committees, are responsible for authorizing the programs of the CIA and other intelligence
agencies and overseeing their activities. The CIA also works with the Appropriations Committees.
On the Executive side, it is answerable to the National Security Council, the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board, and the Intelligence Oversight Board. The National Security Council,
like the CIA, was established under the National Security Act of 1947. The NSC advises the
President on domestic, foreign, and military issues that relate to national security and provides
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guidance, review, and direction on how the CIA gathers intelligence. The President, Vice President,
Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense are permanent members of the National Security
Council; the Director of Central Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are its
advisers. Members of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) are men and
women from the private sector who are appointed by the President on the basis of their
achievements, experience, and independence. The Intelligence Oversight Board, established in
1976, ensures intelligence collection is done properly and responsibly. Its members assist the
President in guaranteeing that any highly sensitive intelligence activities are legal and in accord
with presidential directives.
Prior to creation of the ODNI position, the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) was the
primary adviser to the President and the National Security Council on national foreign intelligence
matters. He or she is the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and of such other staff elements
as are required for the discharge of his Intelligence Community responsibilities. It appears under
recent reforms that the DCI (sometimes abbreviated D/CIA) is in charge of day-to-day operations
while the ODNI is in charge of strategy. The various deputy director offices are described next.
The Dep Dieco of Cenal Inelligence (DDCI) acts for and exercises the powers of the
Director in his absence or disability. The Dep Dieco of Cenal Inelligence Commni
Managemen (DDCI/CM) develops the budget for collection, and also overseeing analysis. The
Eecie Dieco (EXDIR) is the Agency's Chief Operating Officer, and manages the CIA on a
daily basis. The Aociae Dieco of Cenal Inelligence fo Milia Sppo (ADCI/MS)
coordinates with the various Joint Force commanders. The Chaiman of/and Naional Inelligence
Concil concentrate on the substantive problems of particular geographic regions of the world such
as economics and weapons proliferation by producing National Intelligence Estimates. The Dep
Dieco fo Adminiaion (DDA) is the senior business manager. The Dep Dieco fo
Inelligence (DDI) manages the production and dissemination of all-source intelligence analysis on
key foreign problems. The Dep Dieco fo Opeaion (DDO) has primary responsibility for
the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence, including human source intelligence, but in late
2005, it appears the DDO is being incorporated into a DD/NCS (Deputy Director of National
Clandestine Service). The Dep Dieco fo Science and Technolog (DDS&T) is responsible
for creating and applying innovative technology to meet today's intelligence needs. The Geneal
Conel serves as the legal adviser to the DCI and is responsible for the conduct of all the
Agency's legal affairs. The Inpeco Geneal promotes efficiency, effectiveness, and
accountability in the administration of Agency activities.
In 1952, President Harry Truman attached his signature to a seven-page presidential
memorandum, and the National Security Agency was born. Everything about it, including its name
(No Such Agency), was initially ultra-secret and classified. Gradually, power, money, and influence
came its way, mostly on account of opportune budget requests. By 1980, the NSA was the largest
agency in the Intelligence Community, employing more people (70,000) than all the employees in
the rest of the agencies combined. The modern NSA develops and uses "bleeding edge"
technology, surveillance and intercept equipment that is supposed to be at least 5 years ahead of
anything found in the corporate sector.
The NSA is relatively (not completely) free from legal restrictions because it wasn't established
by Congress like the CIA was with the National Security Act of 1947. That the NSA was created
through an executive order rather than by Congress is purely a constitutional issue. The NSA
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never needed approval from Congress because the purpose of the NSA is a function of the
executive branch in terms of national security. Had Congress wished to create the NSA, they
would have had no constitutional basis to do so. The NSA is guided by a series of executive orders
called United States Signals Intelligence Directives, or USSIDs. USSIDs are classified, some
more than others, but none are releasable to the public. NSA employees, whether military or
civilian, are strictly monitored to prevent the possibility of intelligence collection on U.S. citizens.
The only two people who can authorize the collection of intelligence on any U.S. citizen are the
Attorney General and the President. The NSA is also directed in its operations by the CIA, its
major customer for information outside of the military services. Ten units comprise the NSA
organizational structure.
The OFFICE OF SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE (DDO) encompasses the entire spectrum of
signals intelligence, from intercept to cryptanalysis, and traffic analysis (diplomatic systems,
telephone, Internet). It monitors all communication, from friend or foe. Employees in the DDO unit
are scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who work in one of the four areas of signals
intelligence. The NSA is the world's largest employer of mathematicians. All kinds of signals are
collected: 1. Communications Signals Analysis -- studies any emission that transmits information;
2. Electronic Signals Analysis -- the study of ELINT and RADINT; 3. Telemetry -- signals back
and forth between projectiles and bases; 4. Signals Conversion -- determining the location of
signals disguised by such techniques as spectrum-spreading or frequency-hopping. Once a signal
has been "netted", classified, and reconstructed, it goes to the cryptanalytic division if it is
encrypted. The NSA employs a number of crypto-linguists to decipher at least ninety-five
languages. Computers are programmed to flag target words, including those on a "watch list", and
count the frequency of particular words or characters. The NSA operates a worldwide network of
listening stations (ESCHELON), in cooperation with Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand,
which is capable of scanning e-mails, faxes, telexes, and telephone calls, searching for particular
principles, and equipment to protect any classified U.S. communications, including command and
control, voice, data, teletype, and telemetry. It furnishes and maintains the scrambler phones and
crypto machines found in government offices and limousines. The OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND
ENGINEERING (R & E) is responsible for pushing the limits of technology so that the NSA stays
at least 5 years ahead of the curve. They are constantly performing experiments and tests on such
innovative things as using the salt in the atmosphere as one big antennae, or advances in quantum
supervises probably the greatest concentration of supercomputers the world has ever known,
headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland. NSA computers are all linked together in what is called
a "brute force" network, and are capable of spitting out solutions in nanoseconds. This unit also
guarantees the functionality of CRITCOM, designed to flash intelligence warnings to the President
within no less than ten minutes of a critical world event. The OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION is
a recruiting office which goes from college to college, looking for engineering wizards,
mathematicians, and language majors, who may be promising employees. The OFFICE OF
INSTALLATIONS AND LOGISTICS manages all outside contracts the NSA makes with builders
and corporations. The OFFICE OF PLANS AND POLICY (DDPP) is essentially a staff and
support position. The OFFICE OF PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES (DDPR) assists with public
relations and the needed diplomacy and tact in dealing with conflicts and power struggles between
the branches of the military, and other U.S. organizations that are consumers of intelligence. The
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CRYPTOLOGIC SCHOOL is regarded by many as the most selective institution of higher
education in the country, offering a wide range of certificate and degree programs. Other NSA
organizations include the Crypto-Mathematics Institute, the Computer Information Sciences
Institute, and the International Affairs Institute.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 to coordinate all the intelligence
activities of the military services. The DIA serves as the intelligence agency for the Joint Chiefs
of Staff as well as the Secretary of Defense, but during war, takes on a more active role in
providing battlefield intelligence to theatre commanders. The DIA relies extensively on the NRO
(National Reconnaissance Office) for satellite information, the NSA for cryptoanalysis, and the
CIA for human intelligence. Traditionally, the DIA has lived within the shadow of the CIA, but in
1995, it was authorized to operate its own agents and actions overseas. The DIA is always headed
by an admiral or general. Its HQ is the Pentagon, and the main Analysis Center is at Bolling Air
Force Base. Since 1991, the DIA has operated its own television network, a closed circuit,
encrypted telecast only available at about 1,000 offices around the world, including all military
bases. The telecasts are similar to a CNN news channel. The DIA has also in recent years been
involved in providing assistance to U.N. peacekeeping forces and to U.S. antidrug agencies like the
DEA and FBI. About 60% of DIA staff are civilians, and it has become a good entry-level job area
for college students interested in intelligence work.
The DIA is organized into 4 units: The National Military Production Center -- responsible for
threat assessments to aerospace, maritime, and ground establishments; The National Military
Intelligence Collection Center -- responsible for the military attach system and HUMINT; The
National Military Intelligence Systems Center -- responsible for information services, reference &
libraries, computer support; The Defense Intelligence College -- responsible for postgraduate
education in intelligence curriculums (MS in strategic intelligence), training of attaches, and
seminars. Renamed the Joint Military Intelligence College in 1993.
The DIA is a rather large collection of many organizations, some of which are high-profile. They
generally release their intelligence in the form of CD-ROMs which often contain spectacular
artwork and graphics. Besides the weapons capability of enemies, the DIA is also involved with
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), Geographic Imagery, Zoology, Entomology, and handbooks on
Poisonous Snakes, Small-Caliber Ammunition Identification Guide, Paraphysic R&D,
Parapsychology Research, Controlled Offensive Behavior, and identification of Global Threats and
The FBI is part of the Intelligence Community, but not normally an intelligence gatherer. It's
mandated by federal law to be the "lead" or agency out in front during any investigation of
espionage. It is therefore America's premiere counterespionage agency, which is similar to the
CIA's counterintelligence function abroad. The difference is that the FBI use law enforcement
mechanisms to prevent secrets from falling into the hands of enemy agents, and do not use
deception, disinformation, or other countermeasures to feed false secrets into the hands of enemy
agents. The FBI can arrest people, but typically not outside the United States. The CIA, on the
other hand, cannot arrest people, but can operate outside the United States. The ban on
geographical jurisdiction is not applied very strictly. For the FBI, the restriction has been lifted to
allow FBI agents to operated in foreign embassies as "attaches", and certain FBI agents are
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allowed to make arrests overseas and bring the suspect to trial in the United States.
The Bureau's involvement in intelligence work goes back to World War I, when it assisted Army
Intelligence in rounding up spies and saboteurs, as well as establishing a system of informants
known as the Protective League, which consisted of American citizens (vigilantes) who spied and
snitched on suspected German infiltrators. The Bureau then had remarkable success at recruiting
"Junior G-men" during Prohibition. The FBI had an excellent snitch system in place to deal with
bootleggers and the rise of organized crime, but there was a growing law enforcement movement
over in Treasury, so the duty of enforcing Prohibition did not really fall in the FBI's lap. As the
story goes, a young file clerk named J. Edgar Hoover made a name for himself as a zealous
pursuer of anarchists, radicals, and subversives. In 1924, he became director of the FBI, and never
ceased to zealously pursue such people until 1972. In the hands of Hoover (and reportedly, also
with the approval of President Roosevelt), the FBI became a counter-subversion agency. Such
domestic intelligence (or internal state security) activities are basically incompatible with a
constitutional democracy.
For example, Congress banned wiretapping in 1934, but the FBI continued to use it because
Hoover interpreted the law to not prohibit wiretapping per se, but the disclosure of information
obtained by wiretapping. The FBI also pioneered the use of blacklisting, or putting together
numerous "FBI files" on millions of people: celebrities, heroes, politicians, teachers, anyone in a
position of public influence. Hoover also authorized the use of surreptitious entry, or break-ins,
what in tradecraft is called a "black bag job" to obtain copies of files or materials or to plant bugs
and telephone wiretaps. Hoover got called on the carpet for this in 1966, and promised to stop it;
and of course, President Nixon got caught on it with Watergate in 1971. In a little known act by
President Reagan in 1981, the government re-established in itself the power to conduct black bag
jobs, provided that they had Attorney General approval. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court (FISC) also holds hearings to approve break-ins when considered necessary for national
security reasons.
Hoover seemed to have it out for two groups in society: college professors and black
revolutionaries. He also had a thing against Jehovah's Witnesses because they wouldn't salute the
flag. The FBI's COINTELPRO (for Counterintelligence Program) was launched in 1956 and was a
spying on college campuses operation (aka CODE NAME CHAOS) which collected the names of
over 7,000 students and professors suspected of being communist sympathizers. Many of these
professors were criminal justice professors, a discipline that was starting to emerge in the 1960s,
and Hoover apparently didn't want this discipline to emerge at all since he thought anything to do
with training or education in law enforcement needed to stay in the hands of law enforcement. In
1993, Congress authorized the FBI to go to Russia and help them fight organized crime using their
counterintelligence skills. In 1994, the FBI scored a coup with catching a spy in the CIA called
Aldrich Ames. In response, President Clinton immediately make the FBI the primary agency for
counterintelligence as well as counterespionage in a memorandum. The FBI was elevated to the
point where one of their representatives would be rotated in as head of the Intelligence Community
every four years. It is important to note that the FBI can operate overseas now.
From 1924 to 1972, Hoover (the Boss) a the FBI, and the most powerIul man in government,
with a dossier on every important person in society. He possessed a Bachelors and Masters oI law
degree Irom George Washington University, and was a bachelor who lived with his mother until her
death in 1938, and then lived there alone. Claims that he was a closet homosexual were never proven.
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Hoover had President Roosevelt's blessing Ior just about anything, but Truman stood up to Hoover.
Hoover constantly used the existence oI mistresses to pressure Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and
Johnson. The Nixon administration trusted Hoover at Iirst, but then developed its own apparatus, and
Hoover died in oIIice shortly aIter the Nixon reelection. Most oI his personal records were destroyed.
Hoover knew how to run an excellent publicity campaign. His name and by-line became synonymous in
the nations' newspapers and magazines as the relentless hunter oI spies and crooks. Many oI the
magazines we see today, like Popla Deecie, etc., are a remnant oI that era and the Hoover
legacy. As anyone who's seen the cover oI these things knows, they are especially lurid and appeal to a
sexy mystique about detective work that probably wouldn't be there iI it wasn't Ior Hoover. His ability
to leak inIormation to the press was the source oI his power. Hoover capitalized on August Vollmer's
success with crime labs, and Ior awhile, the FBI crime lab was the best in the world. Subsequent
directors have struggled with restructuring the agency.
Getting back to the definition of intelligence, it might be helpful to lay out what types of activities
intelligence is involved in. Shulsky & Schmitt (2002) make the case that there are four (4)
"elements" of intelligence: collection; analysis; covert action; and counterintelligence (or CI).
Collecion refers to the gathering of raw data, through espionage, technical means, other sources,
open sources, and any other manner. Anali refers to the processing of information to make it
useful to policy makers and military commanders. In the vast majority of cases, the information to
be processed is only fragmentary, so it is the job of the analyst to make judgments about the
capabilities and intentions of the enemy on the basis of partial information. To some extent, this is
the same as forecasting or estimation. A basic tenet or principle in intelligence studies is that you
keep your collection people separate from your analysis people because you don't want one group
biasing the other group.
Coe acion seeks to influence the politics, economics, or social phenomena of an enemy or
ally by influencing the course of events, either directly or indirectly. It can range from a planned
campaign of persuasion or propaganda to a full-fledged paramilitary operation. Covert action has
been described by many experts as "an activity midway between diplomacy and war." A basic
tenet or principle in intelligence studies is that your covert action teams should not be a regular
part of the intelligence community.
Coneinelligence seeks to protect a society (and especially its intelligence capabilities)
against any harm that might be inflicted by hostile intelligence services. Counterintelligence, or
CI, involves denying certain information to enemies. Counterintelligence is the broader term which
encompasses counterespionage. Counterespionage involves actions taken to apprehend or
neutralize enemy agents. Both CI and counterespionage are forms of security. CI also has two
other responsibilities: to engage in deception operations, which mislead the enemy or provide them
with false information; and two, to safeguard the integrity of the collection and analysis functions.
In this latter sense, CI acts much like an internal affairs unit in criminal justice.
Avoiding the Burden of the Carter Doctrine in Perspective
FISA and the Fourth Amendment
Is There a Clinton Doctrine of National Security
Loyola Univ.'s Strategic Intel Page
Project WhistleStop: The Truman Doctrine Archive
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Proposals for Reform within the Intelligence Community
The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
Website of the Rome Statute International Criminal Court
Crimes by the CIA
Philip Agee on the CIA
CIA Document Release Center
CIA Employment Page
CIA Publications
CIA Web Site Search
CNN In-depth Report on NSA
Eschelon Watch
Federation of American Scientists
Map of Eschelon Network
NSA Website
Defense Intelligence Agency
Joint Military Intelligence College
The FBI & National Security 1993-1998 Director's Report
FBI Employment Page
FBI Record System Classification Codes
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Last updated: July 05, 2011
Not an official webpage of APSU, copyright restrictions apply, see Megalinks in Criminal Justice
O'Connor, T. (2011). "What Is Intelligence," MegaLink in Ciminal Jice. Retrieved from
http://www.drtomoconnor.com/4125/4125lect01.htm accessed on July 05, 2011.