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Subject: US Intelligence Agencies
Shaka of Carthage    8/4/2003 2:03:12 PM
While I asked for appleciderus to make a new topic to discuss this, I decided to make it myself, since I feel the topic heading better reflects the issue. Basically, the US has a large number of intelligence agencies, with lots of money spent on them. Yet, as evident by 9/11 and some of the Iraqi issues, we don't seem to be able to get the job done very well. Here is what I feel the problem is. The various intelligence agencies we have function in certain ways. Call it company "culture", mindsets, whatever. But they learn to do things a certain way to perform the job they are tasked with and its very hard to deviate from that (unless you are a maverick and eventually the paper bullets will get rid of you). CIA ... these guys are collecting information in foriegn nations that is not easy to get. So every thing is very secretive and what is found out is not easily told to others outside the CIA unless they need to know. Maybe they could do thier jobs better, but the secrecy that goes with doing the job is not something you want to mess with. FBI ... Federal cops. Criminal investigators. You break a law and these are the guys who investigate. As they operate in the US, they can't violate US citizen rights so they have certain procedures they have to follow. Bank robbers, kidnappers, etc. DoD ... There are quite a few of these groups. In some ways, they replicate the above. The major difference, is that they provide the various military group(s) that they answer, with the intelligence answers. Everything is viewed from a military requirement or need. Homeland Security ... This is the new group that was formed. Took existing agencies and placed them here, like the Border Patrol and Coast Guard. Still trying to work itself out on how to function with everyone else. Here is my problem... Who is suppossed to deal with the terrorist threat inside of the US? CIA infrastructure is built for overseas. So if they are now suppossed to be doing it inside the US, don't they have a problem because its a new "country" for them, hence it takes time? Not to mention the issue of them operating inside the US like they would a foreign nation. FBI, despite Hoover, is a investigative agency. Not intellligence. Aren't most of the Agents lawyers or have judicial backgrounds, mainly because they are suppossed to operate inside of the law? Terrorists are not the Mafia or Drug Lords. So who is doing the intell work inside the US? I think some of the problems is that everyone is gathering information as part of the normal functions they perform, but no one is doing it full time. Both the CIA and FBI have groups inside of the organization that are suppossed to concentrate on the terrorist threat. But isn't that like the "task force" concept that police use to put resources on a major problem, but once its solved, they go away? Thats where I think the problem is. We blame the CIA for 9/11, but is it really there job to deal with the guys once they get inside the US? Soviet Union, paranoid as ever, didn't it have a specific agency that dealt with internal stuff? Doesn't the UK have MI-5? Isn't our problem that we are playing catch up?
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SGTObvious    RE:US Intelligence Agencies   8/4/2003 2:29:26 PM
Not to scare you, Shaka, but the most common background for an FBI investigator is ... accounting. That's how they nab most of the villains, up to now. Don't knock it too fast, that's how they took down Al Capone. Tax Evasion. We also have lots more intel agencies, to screw things up, though. We have the DEA, which seeks to capture those people the CIA is trying to pay off for info. State dept has its own intel group, whose function is to find contrary conclusions when State wants to follow an agenda independent from the white house. DOE and Commerce have intelligence sections with limited agendas, so does Treasury. And of course, the DIA and NSA. And there are others! Problem- how do you cut down on the sheer load of intel services without the "smaller" but still important clients gettign rooked every time there is a policy change or budget cut? It does help the nation for Commerce to be able to have information relevant to other nations' cheating on trade issues, for example. It becomes very important when the US goes into trade negotiations. How would you centralize and still ensure Commerce got what it needed even though it is a low priority in the overall scheme of things?
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swhitebull    RE:US Intelligence Agencies- COORDINATION nightmare   8/4/2003 3:37:52 PM
THIS IS the partial pictureo f what Tom Ridge or his successor has to deal with to coordinate activities. Each has ints own turf,its own rules, AND has competing factions even within their own ranks. A list of Federal Agencies that have either law enforcement or intelligence gathering responsibilities – If anyone is interested, I can provide a more detailed description FEDERAL AGENCIES: Dept of Air Force – Air Force Intelligence Air Force Office of Special Investigations [OSI] Department of Agriculture!!! – Foreign Agriculture Service Department of the Army – Army Intelligence & Security Command [INSCOM] Army Criminal Investigation Command [CIC] US Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID] Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Intelligence Division [OEE] Department of Defense, Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center Defense Investigative Service Defense Mapping Agency National Reconnaissance Office [NRO] National Security Agency [NSA] Central Security Service [CSS] U.S. Space Command [USSPACECOM] U.S Special Operations Command] Department of Energy, Intelligence Directorate Dept of Health & Human Services, Center For Disease Control & Prevention [CDCP] Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] (think Ghostbusters!!) National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] - our FIRST line Defense (uuurrrkkk) Office of the Attorney General US Marshals Service Department of the Navy Office of Naval Intelligence [ONI] Marine Corps Intelligence {MCI] Naval Intelligence Service [NIS] Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [ATF] Financial Crimes Enforcement Network [FinCEN] Infernal, ah Internal, Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division [CID] Us Customers Service US Secret Service Legislative Branch Federal Research Division, Library of Congress [FRD] Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement Office of the President Central Intelligence Agency National Security Council [NSC] State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research [INR] US Postal Service US Postal Inspection Service swhitebull
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swhitebull    RE:US Intelligence Agencies   8/4/2003 3:43:02 PM
..State dept has its own intel group, whose function is to find contrary conclusions when State wants to follow an agenda independent from the white house.. You mean - all of the time?? Unfortunately , it is the DUTY of State to undermine and destroy the policies of ANY sitting president. swhitebull
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American Kafir    RE:US Intelligence Agencies   8/4/2003 3:57:02 PM
I know, somewhat first-hand, that EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) agents carry guns. ;-) Here's a scary question - Is the most powerful person on Earth the person who screens Tom Ridge's phone calls?
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Thomas    RE:US Intelligence Agencies   8/13/2003 4:46:02 AM
Traditionally you set up an intelligence department with 2 sub departments: 1 for intelligence collection organised by intelligence collection methods (Sigint, hum int, ...) and 1 for intelligence analysis organised in areas (example Abwehrs desk: Fremde Heere Ost). This should give the US a problem, as it seems to be centered around the collection method! This means the pertinent information is not available in time for analysis. The second division is abroad and at home. Typically homeland security, counterespionage and so on is a police job. It takes a lot of flat feet walking around asking questions, letting bad guys know their real interest. Foreign intelligence seem to rely much more on cooperation of the informants, using allies for humint and so on. Homeland security is a typical police job - and don't knock accountants, they can extract amazing information from the flow of the thing we all need MONEY. The problem is that the terrorist know that and are taking great pains to be innconspicious : pay their bills on time, no domestic violence - NO TAX EVASION, no disgruntled employees, no scorned mistresses, no connection to criminals (needing to cut a deal). All of them normally very reliable sources of information. The money trail seems to be the best bet - allthough I could set up an untraceable money transfer through the stock-market. For US Homaland security the cooperation of foreign intelligence is vital, as so little will come to the surface in time in the US. Problem is that the intelligence from arab and eastern countries is not reliable, as they are not reliable allies. The turk and the israelies are probably the best sources. The up side is, that no selfrespecting terrorist wants to live without the amenities of civilised world. This means a lot of information from Europe with their ethnic minorities, that do cause trouble, is liable to turn up. My recommendation: In an FBI organsation set up a traditional intelligence service - working the wrong way! Intelligence gathering from AREAS - analisys from methods.I.e. terrorist methods.
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