Intelligence: October 10, 2001

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Several planned reforms for US intelligence will be accelerated due to the 11 September terrorist attacks. These include recruiting foreign sources who have tainted histories (criminals, human rights violators, and those with links to terrorism), allowing assassinations, allowing the CIA to conduct some domestic surveillance, allowing more wiretaps and searches, appointing a senior official to coordinate anti-terrorist efforts, and buying more and faster computers so the NSA can decrypt more intercepted messages in real time (instead of after some event draws attention to particular sources). The big problem is the lack of human intelligence in the Moslem world, an area which had not been a major focus until the Gulf War. The problem is that the CIA is unlikely to get anyone infiltrated into one of the small cells of terrorists (in some cells, the members are childhood friends). Just getting into the vast al Qaeda network could be difficult. No one gets into bin Laden's inner circle without years of dedication to the faith, combat in Kashmir or against the Northern Alliance, and participation in terrorist attacks. It might be more practical to infiltrate "vendors" who provide al Qaeda with supplies, weapons, or money.--Stephen V Cole

 


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