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January 10, 2014

HUMINT Snapshot: Working Through Deep Cover Roles

SOFREP recently reported  on a few of the problems that the CIA encountered while spending upwards of 3 billion dollars on a program designed to get our CIA officers to serve in successful non-official and deep cover roles abroad.  These problems are evident not only in the CIA but across the entire intelligence community, especially when considering today’s demanding fiscal climate and disproportionate emphasis on technical collection capabilities and not traditional human intelligence tradecraft.

Listing a few reasons for the CIA’s failure as “inexperience, bureaucratic hurdles, lack of language skills, and other problems,” the most disconcerting issue was that “only a few of the [deep cover] officers managed to recruit useful intelligence sources.” This revelation, while not a major issue when compared to the impressive technical collection capabilities the US intelligence community wields today, is still indicative of a weak intelligence discipline that requires much more emphasis by the US.  While this was recognized by the CIA several years ago and followed by a multi-billion, multi-year effort, its failure warrants further investigation and a quick re-attack.


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About the Author

is a junior active duty officer working ground intel and supporting an airborne-capable unit. Not SOF, just a regular guy. He holds a BS in Political Science with a German minor from a small engineering school in Colorado, where he loves the adventure found in the mountains. He strongly advocates admitting nothing, denying everything, and making counter-accusations. Nothing here is written in an official capacity or represents the positions of the USG; all work is his personal opinion alone. NFQ

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  • JTPattenBooks

    The complexities of global security, business, and socio-cultural nuances are beyond many of the current capabilities, budgets, and time tolerance for pervasive presence of discrete operations.  And unfortunately, many of the resources used to support clan platforms and support lack the needed know how for strong long stay covers and ops.  Its a matter of budgeting and the lack of appreciation by many in charge.

  • MR151

    JohnChristopher1 I'll take black lingerie girl, redhead(Anna?) and au naturel nature girl(bottom right). But also kinda intrigued by alpine skier girl, but would need to see more of her than just her face.

  • JohnPacheco

    intelligence on the ground first hand is something needed abroad and at home. I think the disconnect between the higher-ups and the ground levels guys is where good intel can be lost for something that's sounds concrete but leads to another rabbit hole.

  • jimmorris

    YankeePapajimmorrisflagg Thanks. We had our moments.

  • JohnChristopher1

    FYI, here may be something of interest: “Tinker, Tailor, Leaker, Spy: The Future Costs of Mass Leaks,” written by former CIA operations officer David Gioe. http://nationalinterest.org/article/tinker-tailor-leaker-spy-the-future-costs-mass-leaks-9644?page=show