|INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE|
In the case of classical intelligence methods and indications-and-warning intelligence, knowledge of enemy capabilities was the focal point of interest at the tactical level, while knowledge of the enemy’s intentions was paramount at the strategic level. Based on the need of the information intelligence requirements, order of battle intelligence and indications as well as warning indications and criteria were developed. But as regards to counterterrorism, this is not entirely applicable. Here we are interested in early determination of both the intention and capabilities of the terrorist group. Hence the skillful adaptation instead of adoption of classical intelligence methodology and indications and warning intelligence is the required need.
Terrorism is both a law enforcement problem and an intelligence matter. Whereas after a terrorist attack , post-incident investigations are useful in determining certain facets of the attack such as type of explosive used and the delivery medium - thus cross-referencing it with established patterns to infer the identity of the terrorist group, surveillance and monitoring of suspected elements by law enforcement agencies working hand in glove with intelligence agencies can unearth similar patterns of terrorist activity leading to the apprehension of the elements and preventing a terrorist act.
During the Cold-war period the purpose of intelligence operations and plans was to determine the plans and intentions of the enemy. But in case of the terrorist the basic intent is clear—that is to cause destruction in terms of life and property--to such an extent so as to terrorize the masses and generate wide publicity of the attack. What is needed to know about the terrorist/group is its capability to carry out its intention. If a suspected element or group, after conducting intelligence operations, is found to possess both the intent and capability to carry out an attack, then that element/group can be placed under monitoring/surveillance and at the right time and place a preemptive operation can be conducted successfully. Here is where the law enforcement and intelligence agencies can work in synergy to create a very hostile situation for the terrorist, thus forcing him to abandon his plans and finally apprehending or terminating him.
Successful prevention of terrorism depends on gathering accurate information and stopping something from happening. Law enforcement agencies can act on intelligence inputs coupled with their knowledge of the activities of local extremist groups with established records of advocating and carrying out violent acts, and of the players involved because of their past participation in terrorist activity, to deter any act of terrorism. Thus with the intelligence function in the lead the law enforcement agency can play a more proactive role rather than just be limited to a post-incident investigative authority. It is especially important to prevent terrorist attacks by interdicting the terrorists and their resources before they can reach their targets. The primary means of accomplishing this is through a combination of intelligence and law enforcement work.
HUMINT plays a major role in obtaining this intelligence input for the end users. HUMINT is the tasking of agents to obtain information and execute successful covert operations. Perhaps more than any other INTEL, HUMINT helps us to get a better insight into the enemy intentions which are extremely difficult sometimes to be discerned through other means. We are not confronting a conventional enemy state here whose resources to cause harm are vast and capable of being observed such as forward troop deployments, weaponry systems. The resources available to the terrorist for a simple attack are very limited and hence very hard to detect. Therefore we shift our focus from means to motives of potential terrorists. This is where HUMINT is indispensable.
Secrecy in operations and anonymity is the very nature of a terrorist group and to penetrate this layer of protection intelligence gathering and exploitation is indispensable. Secret informants (or “agents”) are probably the most effective tool in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. They can help us to access details of the organizations leader profiles, the membership, structure, plans and operations.
HUMINT activities consist of recruitment and exploitation of human sources, whether overt, covert, or clandestine. Recruitment, blackmailing or corrupting is one way of penetrating a terrorist group. Or by an indirect approach through organized crime channels as it is an established fact that a terrorist may well have been involved in drugs trafficking, or any other criminal activity, or might have been a drug/alcohol addict before reverting to terrorism. Besides penetration, liaison with foreign intelligence or by ‘’tailing’’ a suspect believed to be of intelligence value .i.e. keeping him under surveillance, are other methods to gain intelligence.
Tactical intelligence is also known as indications-and-warning intelligence. HUMINT, SIGINT and OSINT contribute to tactical intelligence. Of the three HUMINT assumes the greatest importance. An effective tactical intelligence mission leads to the proper initiative and surprise by the operational unit.
Psychological intelligence focuses on the terrorist group(s) propaganda, the coercive methods used by it for recruiting members.
The Counterintelligence mission targets are to penetrate National Security secrecy to collect sensitive information and plans, to detect and disrupt National Security operations, to acquire sensitive technologies, to achieve strategic deception, to infiltrate police, security agencies and institutions and to prevent penetration of terrorist cells by our intelligence operatives. Recruiting insiders (moles), planting sleeper agents, double agents and agent provocateurs and exploiting Muslim converts are some of the many targets of the terrorist counterintelligence apparatus.
With antiterrorist operations and military activities being conducted in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia there is a heightened need of intelligence personnel fluent in the local language and familiar with the culture. Although they may be recruited from among our citizens there is high probability that they have familial ties in the said countries and some semblance of loyalty. So they make good insider targets for terrorist Counterintelligence agents. Political or ideological recruitment methods are resorted to by the terrorists. They seek to convince the potential recruits that they are serving the interests of their common religious or ethnic identity by spying. The recruitment of human assets in the terrorist network is the most valuable tool for identifying moles in the Intelligence Community. The cooperation of an inside dissenter could be obtained, a low-level agent can be seeded or a member of the group being held in U.S. custody can be converted into a double agent.
State sponsorship of terrorist groups facilitates their access to the formers intelligence services thus enabling them to conduct their operations more efficiently. They use these intelligence methods to gather information, for recruitment and to run assets. They draw on the resources of these intelligence services in order to operate clandestinely by conducting pre-operation surveillance/planning, compartmented operations, covert communications and training. Hence we need a comprehensive counterintelligence strategy to counter these activities.
Determining the plans and intentions of the terrorist group is the objective of intelligence operations and analysis, whereas the purpose of counterintelligence is to determine the terrorist groups operations and exploit the same. We need to use a proactive counterintelligence strategy to identify their intelligence collection techniques and thus design an optimum plan to counter the terrorist group(s) objectives.
Terrorist counterintelligence aims at feeding us disinformation, use tactical deception, and deny us insight into their plans thus tarnishing the integrity of our intelligence which is so important for the formulation and execution of antiterrorist operations. Here is where counterintelligence assumes great importance as one of its key functions is to ensure the integrity of intelligence.
Counterintelligence enables us to do away with the false picture created by the denial and deception tactics of terrorist groups and expose their intentions their operations. Thus to have a very good intelligence capability against terrorists we must have a comprehensive counterintelligence strategy to ensure that the intelligence input is free from enemy induced corruption.