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Brothers-in-Unethical-Arms: The American and Russian Intelligence Services

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Two of the largest foreign intelligence agencies in the world, the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Russian Federation’s Foreign Intelligence Service (FSB), ironically appear more similar in their organization, methods, and ethics than not.

Similar to the CIA, the Russian foreign intelligence service operates under different levels of concealment from foreign governments. Both foreign intelligence services use “official cover”, meaning they pose as government employees in the country’s embassy which offers diplomatic immunity if the agent is caught. They also both have “non-official cover” agents (NOCs), where the agents “typically pose as private business employees and are subject to less scrutiny and, in many cases, are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government.”” This role does not provide diplomatic immunity if caught (Bender 2015, and Finn 2003). The questionable ethical practices of both agencies have tarnished their names in the international public eye at times. Their politicization of intelligence, financing of insurgents or rebels in other countries, and the use of torture, have sparked international condemnation from many different corners.

Both foreign intelligence services have been accused of being too political. As noted by Robert Gates in his 1992 address to the CIA, discussing recent Congressional allegations of the agency’s politicization of intelligence:

“Almost all agree that [politicization of intelligence] involves deliberately distorting analysis or judgements to favor a preferred line of thinking irrespective of evidence. Most consider classic solicitation to be only that which occurs if products are forced to conform to policy maker’s views. A number believe politicization also results from management pressures to define and drive certain lines of analysis and substantive viewpoints. Still others believe that changes in tone or emphasis made during the normal review of coordination process, and limited means for expressing alternative viewpoints, also constitute forms of politicization” (Gates, 1992).

Similarly, the international community accused Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, of politicizing intelligence when he insisted that there were still serious grounds to believe the deadly chemical attack in Damascus was a ‘provocation’ staged by Syrian rebels, despite evidence in the United Nations report that seemed to suggest government forces were to blame (Mackey, 2013). In an April 2015 interview with retired Lieutenant General Leonid Reshetnikov, one can see a similar example of Russian politicization as he discusses how the United States ‘ditched Israel’ to work with Iran to ‘encircle Russia’, overthrow President Vladimir Putin, and divide the country (Chuikov, 2015). Both foreign intelligence services have done such things either to promote their own world view or to promote a particular agenda favored by the presidential administration in power. The problem with politicization is that it distorts information and thus leads to poor analysis and ultimately leads to skewed results rather than fair, balanced, and accurate assessments. Skewed intelligence hinders policy-makers and governments alike and prevents opportunities for understanding and collaboration.

Both the United States and Russia fund insurgents or rebels throughout the world. Currently, the CIA is funding the Syrian rebels against the government of President Bashar al Assad in Syria and ‘vetted rebels’ in Saudi Arabia against the Islamic State (Mazzetti, 2014). Similarly, both the United States and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have accused Russia of financing terrorism with respect to militarily arming rebels in Ukraine (Office of Foreign Assets Control, 2014 and EuroNews, 2015). Arming the rebels, however, in either case, is rarely done in a vacuum: this can lead to the arms or finances falling into the hands of other ‘unwanted’ extremist groups who wish harm the United States and/or Russia. In other words, the secret maneuvers often can backfire and strengthen the very opposition the CIA or FSB had hoped to defeat. As noted by President Obama, there aren’t many examples of pure success where the CIA [only] provided financing and arms to an insurgency (Mazzetti, 2014).

In addition to the politicization of intelligence and the financing of ‘rebels’ a third aspect where both the CIA and FSB are similar is in their use of torture to ‘confirm’ intelligence. In October 2012, during the 49th Session of the UN Committee against Torture, the United Nations reported that Russia’s intelligence services participated in torture, including beatings, removing finger and toenails, and sodomizing a subject with a bottle (United Nations Committee Against Torture, 2012, p. 4). Similarly, according to a previously released Senate Intelligence Committee report on the details of ‘harsh CIA interrogation techniques,’ the CIA has participated in torture including rectal feeding, sleep deprivation, insects, use of diapers, and mock executions. (Business Insider, 2014) Since the report’s release, the Senate Intelligence Committee has removed it from their site. However, several news agencies quoted the report:

“The CIA led several detainees to believe they would never be allowed to leave CIA custody alive, the report’s executive summary says. One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because we can never let the world know what I have done to you. CIA officers also threatened … to harm the children of a detainee … sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and … to cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.”

These methods were often found to have achieved little to no actionable intelligence. For example, in an email titled “So it begins,” a medical officer wrote that a detainee gave “NO useful information so far,” but had vomited several times. “It’s been 10 hours since he ate so this is surprising and disturbing. We plan to only feed Ensure for now,” the officer said. (Business Insider, 2014) As noted by the Senate Intelligence Committee report, torture does not usually produce actionable intelligence. Veteran and former prisoner-of-war, Senator John McCain agreed: “I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering.” (McCain, 2014)

In conclusion, ethically speaking, both the United States and Russia’s foreign intelligence services are unfavorably similar to each other as both participate in practices that hurt their international reputation for little national security gain. Arguably, none of these activities provide their government with fair, balanced, or accurate intelligence and quite often the moral ambiguity encourages corruption and repression, let alone global condemnation. Thus, both intelligence services are similar in nature, organization, methods, and ethics – to their detriment. They are brothers-in-unethical-arms.

 

 


References

Bender, J. (2015, January 26). FBI Agent Explains How Russia’s Foreign Spy Operations Work. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-agent-how-russias-foreign-intelligence-service-works-2015-1

Business Insider. (2014, December 9). The CIA Torture Details Are Appalling. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-senate-is-about-to-release-the-cia-torture-report-2014-12

Chuikov, A. (2015, April 9). Interview of a senior Russian Foreign Intelligence analyst. The Saker. Retrieved from http://thesaker.is/interview-of-a-senior-russian-foreign-intelligence-analyst/

EuroNews. (2015, January 27). Russia is accused of ‘financing illegal armed groups’ – Council of Europe. EuroNews. Retrieved from http://www.euronews.com/2015/01/27/russia-is-accused-of-financing-illegal-armed-groups-according-to-council-of-eu-/

Finn, E. (2003, September 30). How Deep Is CIA Cover? Slate.com. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2003/09/how_deep_is_cia_cover.html

Gates, R. M. (1992, March 16). Guarding Against Politicization. The Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/volume-36-number-1/pdf/v36i1a01p.pdf

Mackey., R. (2013, September 17). Russias Foreign Minister Cites Questions Raised by Nun in Syria on Chemical Attacks. New York Times. Retrieved from http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/russias-foreign-minister-cites-questions-raised-by-nun-in-syria-on-chemical-attacks/?_r=0

Mazetti, M. (2014, October 14). C.I.A. Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://thesaker.is/interview-of-a-senior-russian-foreign-intelligence-analyst/

McCain, J. (2014, December 9). FLOOR STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPORT ON CIA INTERROGATION METHODS. Retrieved from ttp://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2014/12/floor-statement-by-sen-mccain-on-senate-intelligence-committee-report-on-cia-interrogation-methods

Office of Foreign Assets Control. (2014, December 19). Treasury Targets Additional Ukrainian Separatists and Russian Individuals and Entities. The Department of the Treasury. Retrieved from http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl9729.aspx

United Nations Committee Against Torture. (2012, October). ALTERNATIVE REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS (ICJ) TO THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE ON THE FIFTH PERIODIC REPORT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION UNDER THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OF PUNISHME. International Commission of Jurists. Retrieved from http://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/CATRussia-081012.pdf

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Intelligence

Indian Chronicle: Exposing the Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan

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In recent years Indian hybrid warfare against Pakistan has intensified manifold to malign Pakistan Internationally through disinformation and propaganda tactics. Hybrid warfare has mainly been described as achieving war-like objectives with the help of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda. The Objectives of Hybrid warfare are mostly to secure long term victory against the opponent. Similarly, India has launched massive hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which was uncovered by EU DisinfoLab in its report called “Indian Chronicle”.

EU DisinfoLab is an independent organization working to expose and tackle disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union and its member states. The organization has claimed that the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005, “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.

In a recent investigation EU DisinfoLab has exposed a malicious Indian campaign against Pakistan. In the report, “Indian Chronicle” EU DisinfoLab has exposed the dubious use of media outlets, NGOs, and fake personnel by India to malign Pakistan. The disinformation campaign mainly targeted the United Nations and the European Union through more than 750 fake media outlets and 10 fake NGOs. According to the report, “uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. We could tie at least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.”

According to the report the disinformation campaign is supported by the Srivastava group. The Srivastava group has helped in “resurrected dead NGOs” to spread fake news. The report says that “Our investigation led to the finding of 10 UN-accredited NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, which our full report introduces at length. Their common trait? The fact that they all rose from the ashes of real NGOs. Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings,”.

Moreover, Asian News International (ANI), a major news agency in India has provided a platform for suck fake news campaigns. The aim of the Srivastava group and ANI media outlet is “to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings” in India, and “internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN”.

The report claim that the organizations funded by the Srivastava group-sponsored trips for European Parliament members to Kashmir. “The organizations created by the Srivastava Group in Brussels organized trips for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Some of these trips led to much institutional controversy, as the delegations of MEPs were often presented as official EU delegations when they were in fact not traveling on behalf of the Parliament,”. Such sponsored trips aimed to build a positive image of India, while spreading disinformation about the alleged claims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

Moreover, India has been actively involved in portraying Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state through its disinformation and fake news technique. For instance, India is lobbying strongly at FATF to put Pakistan on the blacklist.

India has also supported and sponsored Baloch separatist leaders and spread disinformation through their fake media outlets as mentioned in the EU DisinfoLab report.“These UN-accredited NGOs work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks and minority-rights NGOs in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them – like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House, and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) – were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,”one of the examples is Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy who was captured in Pakistan.

The Indian Chronicle report has exposed the dubious face of India and the administrative structure of the United Nations and the European Union. Indian involvement in the spread of disinformation and resurrection of dead people and NGOs has exposed its long-standing for Human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, the reports have also exposed the administrative structure of the UN and EU, as they failed to notice the activities of fake UN-accredited NGOs and spread of disinformation through their affiliated NGOs.

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Hybrid Warfare: Threats to Pakistani Security

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‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war’-Giulio Douhet

Hybrid threats are becoming a norm in Pakistan and if we want to move forward in this age of technological advancements, cybercrimes, and the use of social media, we must have a wholesome response mechanism.

Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs not only conventional forms of warfare but irregular with it as well. It involves propaganda, cyber-attacks, state-sponsored terrorism, electoral intervention, and many more means of multi-dimensional approaches towards war which are used by militarized non-state actors. The term ‘Hybrid’ came into use around 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars – Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) and became a hot-topic in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Using non-confrontational means can lead to internal struggles and crumbling of the target. What direct force won’t get you can be easily achieved by infiltration and multi-faceted resources. It’s neither character of war nor its outcome that defines it as a hybrid war, but the changing tactics (“State and Non-State Hybrid Warfare” 2018). In a world where everyone, from wealthy states to those caught in throes of hunger, is armed to the teeth, there are ways to achieve socio-political objectives through the use of violent and non-violent non-state actors.

Pakistan – A Target

Pakistan has risen to incredible heights despite it being a relatively young nation and this is only proved further by the interest international players have in its internal workings. Several factors contribute to the important stature Pakistan holds in the international community such as the Pak-China alliance, its geostrategic location, military aptitude, Russian interests in the Indian Ocean, Deep Sea Gwadar Port (One Belt One Road Project), neighbor to Afghanistan (a country existing as a battleground for proxies), etc. All these reasons make sure to keep Pakistan on the radar.

Though it may be secure militarily, Pakistan is still vulnerable to hybrid threats due to internal dynamics, numerous conflicting interests of nations in state-affairs, and increasing non-state actors. South Asian nuclearization has all but guaranteed that a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India is unlikely therefore the latter uses hybrid warfare to weaken Pakistan from within.

Evolutionary Nature of War

There was truth to Heraclites’s words when he claimed that change is the only constant in our world. The social theory of evolutionary change tells us that individuals, communities, societies, and states are always in a state of motion, continuously evolving according to the era. War is born from man, it is only fair that if a man changes, so shall war. It has become more complex; the stakes have raised from territorial boundaries to the maintenance of world order and preservation of state sovereignty. Wars are no longer fought on the borders, skirmishes aside, the real destruction takes place within. Due to the paradigm shift after the Cold War (Ball 2018), there rose a need for legal, economical, socio-political, and informational means of warfare. It is used as a way to undermine other nation-states in pursuit of national power; the international system is not only a race but also a way to tear others down.

Threats to Pakistani Security

To secure Pakistan from all sides, we must first analyze the threats it faces from all sides. Conventional Warfare used to be seen as one dimensional and it only perceived assault to be done through the land, air, or sea channels. However, now it is fought in various intangible zones.

·         External

India

India is a budding regional hegemon due to its political and economic growth including hidden agendas. Pakistan is perceived to be a direct threat to India especially after the launch of the CPEC project, perceived to be undermining its hold over the region, which is why it is employing stratagems of hybrid warfare to internally weaken Pakistan. Till now India has used State-Sponsored terrorism, funded insurgencies, operated terror cells, and even sent fighter jets into Pakistani Airspace as an attempt to ruin its reputation in the international community.

Afghanistan

There has been growing instability in Afghanistan which has led to mass migrations across the porous border into Pakistan, with around 1.4 million registered Afghans (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2018) and 1 million unregistered (“Amnesty International” 2019). India has its claws in Afghan matters as well and will use it to exploit Pakistan’s weaknesses even after US forces leave the arena. Afghan Government’s poor administrative capability especially after the return of DAESH (Tribune 2020) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan are threats to Pakistan as well as regional peace and are a major cause of lawlessness in the country and has a spillover effect for its neighbors.

Iran

Ideologically speaking, Iran is a sectarian threat to Pakistan and its Port Chahbahar stands to lose active traffic once CPEC is fully functional which means it stands as an instigator of hybrid warfare and it would be a risk to overlook it based on past good relations.

USA

Even after the Cold War, strategic rivalry and animosity between the powers including Russia, America, and China still exist. The emergence of China as an economic superpower is perceived as a threat to the US due to which there is a major shift in its defensive posture towards the region.

The US has shown significant interest in Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location but not all interest has yielded positive results. They carried out a surgical strike for the capture and assassination of Osama-Bin-Laden. Such a breach of sovereignty and security is a hybrid threat.

·         Internal

Sectarian

There are several lobbies in Pakistan all vying for their own cause. The Iranian lobby has sectarian undercurrents. Sectarianism has always been one of the leading factors of the divide in the Muslim civilization and is the rising trend of terrorism.Such conflict itself is volatile and is deepening the rift between different sects(Shia-Sunni) of Pakistan, causing unrest.

Economic

Rising prices of commodities such as flour and sugar can lead to social unrest and discord. Such industries and their stocks are under the thumb of a select few, the elites. With the right bribes and conditions, even they would agree to sell out society.

Non-State Actors

Non-state actors are groups or organizations that have influence in the state but work independently and have their socio-political agendas (“Towards a Typology of Non-State Actors in ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Proxy, Auxiliary, Surrogate and Affiliated Forces” 2019). They work on political opportunities and mobilized grievances. Groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are some of the major actors. Pakistan needs to focus on curbing Jihadist Terrorism as it is keeping it from leaving the grey list of FATF.

·         Technological

Information

It refers to the spread of miscommunication. Propaganda and circulation of false news through social media are a relatively common way to cause turmoil in a community. Once a rumor is circling, there is no way to erase it. India claims that Pakistan is spreading the false narrative of ‘Islam being in danger’ to justify its actions, although untrue, is something that the Indians fully believe now. That Pakistani Intelligentsia is made solely to create narratives under which to attack India. Such beliefs further antagonize the states against each other.

Indian Chronicles are a prime example of information warfare being waged against Pakistan.

Cyber

Channels such as Cyber-Jihad and Dark Web come under the purview of cyber warfare and are a threat to the fabric of society and its security in Pakistan.

Given the above discussed bleak prevailing internal security situation, Pakistan needs to formulate a short to mid and long-term response that curbs all external and internal parties alongside proxies from infiltrating and influencing the working of the state and affecting the masses.

For a full-spectrum approach, all domains should be covered such as diplomacy, defense, internal and external security, economic, informational, cyber, and media security.

There are steps to be followed through for active and effective quelling of hybrid threats. First, a strategy must be put for, then tactical action should be taken and lastly, the implementation process should be supervised and fully followed through.

The main focus of the state should be on deterrence towards, protection from, and prevention of hybrid threats to the state.

One must not forget that Hybrid war is a mix of both unconventional and conventional warfare, therefore a nation-wide response should include the intertwined operational capabilities of armed forces alongside political actors. Pakistan sees its security being threatened both by internal factors and external hostile/proxy elements. This is hampering state development. State-building and nation-building must go hand in hand if counter and deter such threats effectively.

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The Impact of Management in Information Security

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mahdi Mohammadi

Due to the increasing role of information security in the management of any society, public and private organizations and institutions are inevitably required to provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. In addition to material resources, management techniques also have a great impact on the optimal and successful implementation of information security management systems. The recording of management standards in the field of ICT information security can be designed in a planned way to change the security situation of organizations according to the needs of the organization and ensure security in terms of business continuity and to some extent at other levels (crisis management and soft war). Despite extensive research in this area, unfortunately for various reasons, including the level of security of the issue for governmental and non-governmental institutions or the direct relationship of the field with their interests, clear and useful information on how to implement and prioritize the implementation of a system over the years. The past has not happened until today.

The protection of the organization’s information resources is essential to ensure the successful continuation of business activities. The fact that information and information assets play a key role in the success of organizations has necessitated a new approach to protecting them. Until now, risk analysis and management has been used to identify the information security needs of the organization. After analyzing the risks, security controls were identified and implemented to bring the risks to an acceptable level. But it seems that risk analysis is not enough to identify the information security needs of the organization. Evidence of this claim is that risk analysis does not take into account legal requirements, regulations and other factors that are not considered as risk, but are mandatory for the organization.

Identifying, assessing and managing information security risks is one of the key steps in reducing cyber threats to organizations and also preventing the unfortunate consequences of security incidents that make organizations more prepared to face cyber risks. The risk assessment process, which is the first phase of a set of risk management activities, provides significant assistance to organizations in making the right decision to select security solutions. Risk assessment is actually done to answer the following questions: * If a particular hazard occurs in the organization, how much damage will it cause? * What is the probability of any risk occurring? * Controlling how much each risk costs. Is it affordable or not? The results of risk assessment can help in the correct orientation in choosing solutions (which is to eliminate the main threats) and can also be used in formulating and modifying the security policies of the organization. Risk management is a comprehensive process used to determine, identify, control, and minimize the effects and consequences of potential events. This process allows managers to strike the right balance between operating costs and financial costs, and to achieve relevant benefits by protecting business processes that support the organization’s goals. The risk management process can greatly reduce the number and severity of security incidents that occur in the organization. Risk management has 5 steps, which are: 1. Planning: At this stage, how to manage potential risks in the organization is determined and completed by developing a risk management plan. This plan defines the risk management team, defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the criteria for assessing identified risks. Documented. 2. Identification: At this stage, team members gather around each other, identify potential hazards, and record them in the organization’s risk list. Arranging group brainstorming sessions is a good way to identify hazards 3. Assessment: In this step, the assessment of identified risks is performed using the criteria defined in the risk management plan. Risks are assessed based on their probability of occurrence and possible consequences.

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