Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Counterintelligence (CI)
Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Counterintelligence (CI) serve as a key intelligence collection discipline. Additionally, these disciplines have received a significant amount of focus since the 9/11 attacks.
Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Counterintelligence (CI) serve as a key intelligence collection discipline. Additionally, these disciplines have received a significant amount of focus since the 9/11 attacks. For this week’s discussion posting: Categorize the challenges facing the HUMINT and CI communities and analyze some of the implications of these challenges for the future. Ensure you place your discussion within the context of the literature.
Assignment: Response to at least two classmates.
Due Dates: Main Posts are due and responses to classmates are due. Feedback to students after the assignment grading period will not be assessed.
On a weekly basis, we find ourselves reading about the implementation of technology and what it continues to do both, for and against our nations collection efforts. A big thing that stuck out to me in the reading was the “digital world” (Lowenthal, Clark 2016, 74). This dimension makes it more difficult for officers to develop a cover and hide their identity. When our HUMINT collectors are asked to enter another country and collect, the nation is facing the challenge of dealing with foreign CI services. Due to globalization, many countries now have a “persistent and information technology savvy foreign CI service” (74). Because of this, HUMINT collectors are challenged with covert operations. It is harder to fly beneath the radar, undetected, and still obtain the information needed to answer RFIs. Because of this, HUMINT collectors will be forced to work with technology more in the future. More countries are popping up that are using biometrics to monitor their travelers as well as using more video surveillance (75). This can challenge HUMINT collectors as they will be limited in their interactions with key players while on the ground. Other INTs, such as SIGINT and GEOINT, will also have to work more closely with HUMINT because countries are beginning to use “enhanced denial and deception techniques” to conceal their sensitive materials (75).
Remaining on the technological topic, CI is challenged with the uprising of social media. An adversary can now create “fictitious volunteers” with the intent to occupy our CI services, which can prevent our CI officers from finding and working with legitimate volunteers (Lowenthal, Clark 2016, 75). If an adversary can tie up our resources, then they are able to conduct their collection efforts with one less thing to worry about.
NSAs are beginning to populate more on the blotter and is posing a significant challenge for the CI department. NSAs pose a unique challenge in the sense that they are a difficult target to locate but they are willing to share information across organizational boundaries. CI is facing an increased number of penetrations by NSAs, which is a breach to national security. With a successful penetration, NSAs can understand our capabilities and see where we are vulnerable. If this gets out, it will be shared with our adversaries (Harber 2009). That could then trigger a series of actions, whether it be a bombing attack, a terror attack, or disruption operations. In the future, the nations CI department will have to maintain a balance between sharing what we know and with whom. We will have to protect our assets while also sharing information on threats of mutual interest with other governments.
Harber, Justin R. “Unconventional Spies: The Counterintelligence Threat from Non-State Actors.” Taylor & Francis, March 12, 2009. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08850600802698200
Lowenthal, Mark M., and Robert M. Clark. “Chapter 3.” Essay. In The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection, 74-75. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press, 2016.
Heuer’s (1999) Psychology of Intelligence Analysis is a good book. It has limitations though. The research for it was done in the 1970s, and knowledge of psychology, heuristics, and biases has advanced quite a bit since then. At the CIA conference in 2000 when the book was published, Heuer did say the research needed to be updated. And that was almost 25 years ago. So its a good book, but is dated at this point.
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