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Chinese Influence in East Africa: Transcultural Connection as Foreign Policy Spur

Ecatarina Garcia

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Chinese influence in East Africa is a topic of growing debate and concern for Western nations and allies. In fact, this purported growing Chinese influence in the region continues to expand as a prominent issue for United States (U.S.). The desire for the U.S. to protect its national interests in the region is apparent. Specifically, this is a growing concern for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). CJTF-HOA is strategically located in Djibouti on Camp Lemonnier and has a diverse mission that includes conducting security force assistance, executing military engagement, providing force protection, and military support to regional counter-extremist organization operations with the goal of supporting allied regional efforts, ensuring regional access and freedom of movement, and protecting U.S. interests (CJTF-HOA 2018). CJTF-HOA also maintains an area of responsibility (AOR) that covers the East African nations of Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

CJTF-HOA respects the sovereignty of each of its AOR countries, even though many of its operations and engagements have as a major goal to maintain influence in the region. The task force is not the only group to partner with the various AOR countries: Chinese financial aid, diplomacy, and involvement has been heightened with the establishment of a Chinese Support Base just miles away from CJTF-HOA’s Headquarters. The Chinese base, built for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), has direct access to the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, a strategic maritime chokepoint on the Gulf of Aden into the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. This development begs the question: why did Chinese leadership choose Djibouti to build the first Chinese overseas base? Was this decision part of a larger strategic plan to increase influence within East Africa?

By financial figures, Chinese aid and investment in Africa has skyrocketed over the last decade. Perhaps this increase is part of the Chinese push for outgoing investment, termed the “Going out” or “Going global” strategy. According to the China Africa Research Initiative, between 2009 and 2012, “China’s direct investment in Africa grew at an annual rate of 20.5%.” Moreover, a white paper published by the Chinese State Council in 2013 indicated: China has become the largest trade partner of Africa, Africa has become a major importer of Chinese goods, Africa is the second largest construction project market (overseas), and Africa is China’s fourth largest investment location (China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation 2013).

China has also enhanced cooperation in agricultural production, both for importation and exportation. According to the Chinese State Council, “The Chinese government attaches great importance to its mutually beneficial agricultural cooperation with Africa and works hard to help African countries turn resource advantages into developmental ones and sustainably develop their agricultural capacities.” (China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation 2013) Moreover, the Chinese State Council indicated the significance of capacity building throughout the continent. Of note, the white paper highlighted that China aids African nations while avoiding any demands for changing political conditions. To further this point, the State Council demonstrates this example by providing support to nations such as South Sudan, Malawi, Djibouti, Guinea, and Togo, easing water issues and improving the conditions of local facilities. (China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation 2013)Redefining its focus in East Africa, China has concluded at least 15 bilateral deals and has even forgiven enormous sums of debt.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

The desire for a continued and growing Chinese partnership in Africa is visible through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit. During the 2018 FOCAC summit, the Chinese Premier offered a total of 60 billion dollars in trade and economic initiatives. The funds will be allocated to projects aligned to the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative, covering telecommunications, construction of roads, bridges and sea ports, energy, and human capacity development. The funding is broken down into several parts where 15 billion is categorized as government grants, 15 billion as interest free loans, 20 billion of credit lines, and 5 billion for financing imports from Africa. (Dube, 2016)FOCAC was formed in 2009 to establish closer Chinese ties and partnership with African nations. This strategy has been seemingly successful as Sino-African trade is estimated at 170 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, increasing drastically from only 10 billion dollars in 2000 according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. (KTLA 2018)

As China’s Belt and Road initiative starts to take hold in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, it might seem that its sole permanent military footprint outside of sovereign China may be getting overlooked by Beijing. However, China has now preserved a logistical hub exactly where it needed it.  China’s role as a resource extractor will almost certainly continue: China now not only has a large workforce in nearly every East African nation, it also has the ability to remove its gains one ocean-going barge at a time from its deep-water port in Doraleh.

The Chinese Military in East Africa

In 2014, Beijing confirmed that it would build their first military base overseas, a PLAN logistics support base at Doraleh, Djibouti, thereby raising tensions for Western nations and allies in the region and abroad. The U.S., France, Italy, and Japan all have bases in the rather small East African nation. There are various assessments as to why China opened the base in Djibouti. There is likely not a single, one-dimensional answer, but multiple factors that made this location advantageous for this investment. First, Djibouti is a strategic location. The Bab el-Mandeb strait is only 18 miles wide at its narrowest point and is of vital strategic interest, as it connects to the Suez Canal. The strategic importance of this location is no different for China than for the U.S. According to the Chinese State News Agency, Xinhua, the establishment of the base ensures “China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia. (Al Jazeera 2017)In exchange for the PLAN’s use of its port, Djibouti’s government requested that China assist in the development of military capabilities, including patrol boats and airplanes, as well as the establishment of a civilian maritime complex. (Dube 2016)Interestingly, this construction of China’s first overseas base is a departure from their non-interference policy in African government affairs. Similarly, China has increased the number of soldiers it provides to the United Nations and African peace mission, notably increasing numbers in South Sudan. Aligning with Chinese interests, South Sudan is a major exporter of oil to China and perhaps catalyzed China’s shift away from their previous non-interference policy. (Council on Foreign Relations)

The military base will allow China to provide protection for its citizens in Djibouti and the greater Horn of Africa region, an ability that China currently lacks in other African nations. However, “experts warn that by relying too much on China’s infrastructure projects, Djibouti could become trapped and enter a state of quasi-dependence on Beijing.” (Dube 2016) While this warning heralds potential implications for Djibouti, this dependence could be a vital component of Chinese strategy. At the current juncture, over 80 percent of Doralehport traffic comes from Ethiopia, which has no coastline. Chinese investments, including the commissioning of the railway between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Djibouti, will strengthen the position of Djibouti as one of East Africa’s largest logistics gateways. By significantly increasing the share of port activities in Djibouti’s economy, Chinese projects will increase Djibouti’s vulnerability and dependence. However, as Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to smooth previously tense relations, Ethiopia is seeking to utilize Eritrea rather than Djibouti as a logistics hub. This potential move no longer only has implications for Djibouti, but China will now likely be a major player in the steering of this decision, as the port’s profitability has various implications for China’s continued success in the region.

Culture as a determinant of foreign policy

As one analyzes China’s increased involvement in East Africa, its culture is important and certainly impacts the evolution of its African foreign policy. According to Yaqing (2012), four major themes of Chinese culture are: contextuality, correlativity, complementarity, and changeability.  Yaqing describes contextuality as looking at decisions as a matter of context in the environment without thinking about the individual. Of note, contextuality begets the “shi” assumption. According to Yaqing (2012), “For policy makers, shi is judgment regarding the timing, the themes, and the trends within the context.” In a 2018 Beijing declaration at FOCAC, the following demonstrates how contextuality shapes China’s vision for increased partnership:

We believe that China and Africa are a community with a shared future. China is the largest developing country. Africa is the continent with the most developing countries. Sharing weal and woe, the Chinese and African peoples have forged a deep friendship rooted in our similar historical experiences, development tasks, and political aspirations. We agree to strengthen collective dialogue, enhance traditional friendship, deepen practical cooperation, and work together toward an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.

The next concept, correlativity, notes that all things relate to one another. This type of thinking is visible in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Using the aforementioned excerpt from the Beijing declaration at FOCAC, this diplomacy and fostering of a positive interconnection between 53 African nations is apparent. The choice of words like “deep friendship,” “similar historical experiences,” “collective dialogue,” and the phrase “stronger China-Africa community with a shared future” speaks to the collectiveness of nations to achieve shared goals through cooperation.

The third element, complementarity, describes the world as composed of two opposites. These opposites, the thesis and anti-thesis, “work as opposing forces to complete a transformation into this new synthesis.” (Yaqing 2012)While the Western world may remain wary of Chinese involvement in East Africa, this anxiety does not inherently wield conflict. In fact, China’s goal for stability and increased capacity building aligns with the American CJTF-HOA’s purported goals in the region.

Finally, changeability is a concept that contends that “seemingly irrelevant or even opposing objects can change, turn into each other, and become part of a combined whole.” (Yaqing 2012)It is this type of mindset that could explain why the Chinese started to invest and engage in Africa when other near-peers would not. They saw the promise of natural resources and the determination of the African nations to open up and do more globally.  The Chinese theory that everything constantly changes and that “misfortune can be a forerunner for fortune” lends itself neatly into the current East African sphere of politics and foreign policy changes. (Yaqing 2012) One could hypothesize that the Chinese cultural outlook on change, coupled with the ongoing change afoot in the region, created a perfect situation for the current Chinese foreign policy expansion in East Africa.  This has been shown by the amount of effort put into the recent FOCAC symposium by the African Union nations and also in the amount of money the Chinese are willing to invest into the area. The culture of any nation plays a role in determining policy. Some cultures drive initiatives and actions more aggressively than others. In this case, China is the nation that arguably has found an ability to successfully tie to its culture to the cultures of the East African region. If it continues to be successful in promoting this transcultural connection, then China will likely continue to outpace and outperform the United States in this critical global region.

Ecatarina Garcia is an Instructor in the Air Force’s Intelligence Officer Course where she instructs initial skills training on topics such as Signals Intelligence, Cyber, Human Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) foundations and applied ISR to the Air Force’s newest Intelligence Officer students. She has been a Network Fusion Analyst for the Air Force for 13 years and has supported various operations concerning Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Russia. She is currently a doctoral student in the American Military University’s inaugural Global Security and Strategic Intelligence doctoral program.

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9-11 Terrorist Attack: Defensive countermeasures of deter and detect

Bob Budahl

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On September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. an airliner slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m. a 2nd airliner slammed into the South Tower. The planes carried thousands of gallons of jet-fuel aboard in effect making them lethal weapons. Tens of thousands of people worked in these buildings daily and both buildings fell to the ground within 90 minutes. More than 2,600 people died in the World Trade Center tower attacks. Then at 9:37 a.m. a 3rd airliner rammed into the western side of the Pentagon. 125 people died in the Pentagon attack. And a 4thairliner was intended for attack in either the U.S. Capitol or White House but the heroics of passengers crashed the plane, hence thwarting the attack. A total of 256 people died in the four planes. The death toll even surpassed the Pearl Harbor attacks of 1941.

Those responsible for the horrific attack were 19 Arabs carrying out Islamist extremists plans. Their headquarters were located in Afghanistan. They were resourceful and some had lived in the United States for some time and four of them had trained to be pilots. They were not well educated. They carried out the terrible attacks with knives, cutters, mace, etc. And they had tried to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993 but failed however in the result killed six people and wounded a thousand. It was an effort led by Ramzi Yousef. Others including Omar Abdel Rahman who had plans to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and other New York City landmarks, but they were arrested. Ramzi Yousef and others had various other terror plans of which some succeeded and some fortunately did not.

Bin Ladin was known and thought to be a financier but not thought of as a terrorist leader until later. In 1998 Bin Ladin and four others issued a fatwa in which it was publicly declaring it was God’s order that Muslims should try to kill any American they could. Bin Ladin was a wealthy Saudi and had conducted jihadist activities against the Soviet Union. But he also held grievances against the United States such as a U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia. He recruited and trained followers in Afghanistan and continued carrying out acts of terror, including on the United States. His people attacked embassies, hotels, and even attempted to sink the USS Cole Navy Ship by a terrorist attack. His rhetoric is derived from Islam, history and the economic and political disorder in the area. He formed an alliance between the al Qaeda group he led and the Taliban. The Clinton administration had tried cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and tried to get the Taliban to force Bin Ladin to leave Afghanistan. The U.S. unsuccessfully utilized CIA paid foreign agents to try to capture or kill Bin Ladin and his group.

As early as 1998 or 1999 Bin Ladin had been contacted by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with an idea of using the planes as a method of attacking the World Trade Center and other targets. The original plans were for 10 planes to target both east and west coasts of the United States. The CIA did uncover some reports of Bin Ladin’s intent on attacks. The U.S. continued its disruption attempts globally and also utilized diplomacy with countries. The “predator drone” was eventually fitted with a missile should an attack on Bin Ladin provide an opportunity. Some of the reasons and connections to the actions of the perpetrators of the planned 9-11 terrorist attack became apparent after the attack. Unrest had come to the surface in the time before the attack as the Taliban leader opposed attacking the United States, in contrast to Bin Ladin’s wishes.

On 9/11 the terrorists were successful in hijacking the four planes. The planes were being used as terrorist weapons and confusion was present with air control. But eventually the FAA and NORAD who controlled airspace did receive a “shoot down order” but it was after the plane in Pennsylvania had been forced down by passengers in the only way to stop the plane from being used as a weapon.      

The enactment of the United States “Patriot Act” removed barriers that had impeded terrorism investigations in their outlay, scope and means. And in effect sped up the investigation and prosecution of the defendants. The FBI was point on the investigation that followed the attack and the operation was named Operation PENTTBOM. At one time more than half of the FBI’s personnel worked on the case. They followed through on more than one-half million leads. It was the largest crime scene in the FBI’s history.  Also in the time period following the 9/11 attack the Department of Homeland Security was created in March 2003, which brought together 22 separate agencies and offices into a Cabinet level department. The 9/11 Commission had made several recommendations and in this report some details are brought forward. These would be included under the defensive counterintelligence support mode of operation and include the principles of deter and detect within the countermeasures. It included recognizing 72 fusion centers throughout the country which acts as a focal point for receipt, analysis and sharing of threat related information. Also establishing related training and informational programs to deal with threats. One such example is the National Terrorism Advisory System. And the DHS developed and implemented a risk-based transportation security strategy. An action taken such as strengthening airline passenger’s pre-screening and targeting terrorist travel will deter terrorists as they become aware of increased security measures and thwart terrorists from attempting to board airlines for terrorist activities. The airliner’s cabin cockpit doors have been hardened post-911 and Air Marshalls are used appropriately as well as some flight crew being eligible to carry firearms. The TSA behavior detection officers use non-intrusive behavior observation to identify people who may be high risk. The TSA also utilizes detection methods such as canine teams to sniff for explosives on passengers and in luggage. Post 9/11 all cargo on U.S. planes is screened commensurate with their checked luggage. The flights coming into the U.S. from foreign countries are required to provide information prior to departure and checks all passengers against watch lists the government utilizes such as the Secure Flight Program. It also increases efficiency by allowing those cross-checked with biometrics to have expedited travel.

Today a significant defensive countermeasure post-911 is that airlines now screen all checked and carry-on baggage for explosives. The U.S. has increased security of U.S. borders and identification documents. Certain areas are closely watched and critical security improvements along the Northern and maritime are emplaced. The Dept. Of Homeland Security has taken aggressive action to enhance the security of the nation’s infrastructure and also cyber infrastructure and networks. There in a federal government system cyber intrusion detection system which includes EINSTEIN and the National Cybersecurity and communications integration center is the nation’s hub for organizing cyber response efforts. DHS and DOD are working together to protect against threats to military and civilian computer systems and networks. This is another example of defensive countermeasures. DNDO is affiliated with nuclear detection and back in 2003 only 68% of arriving trucks and passenger vehicles were scanned along the northern border with no system on the southwest border. But today the systems scan 100% of all containerized cargo and personal vehicles arriving in the U.S. through land port of entries and up to 99% of sea containers. Counter-proliferation of nuclear and biological threats is a high priority of the DHS. The tragic occurrence of 9-11 has brought about real focus on the danger of leaving vulnerabilities open to exploitation. The DHS also has importantly increased efforts to track and disrupt terrorist financing through programs such as ECTF or Electronic Crimes Task Force.

Another action taken post-9/11 was the creation of the National Counterterrorism Center or NCTC which was to serve 5 functions which were; Threat Analysis, Identity Management, Information sharing, Strategic Operational Planning and National Intelligence Management.

The U.S. Department of Justice charged ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI with numerous terrorism charges and indicates others involved in the terrorist acts. The United States Department of Defense obtained a video tape of Bin Ladin basically accepting responsibility of the 9-11 attacks and the DOD has a transcript of the video and a portion I will quote is as follows. UBL refers to Osama Bin Ladin: “UBL: The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them to go to America but they didn’t know anything about the operation, not even one letter.  But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.UBL: (…inaudible…) then he said: Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others.”

Bin Ladin, America’s most wanted terrorist was killed by United States Special Forces in a compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. The CIA had been involved in investigating Bin Ladin for years.      

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Counterintelligence Threat Brief for Turkey

Bob Budahl

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I will provide a Counterintelligence threat brief on traditional and non-traditional Counterintelligence threats to non-security cleared individuals who are traveling to Turkey as business travelers or for personal reasons. MIT, the official Turkey intelligence agency is active. And non-traditional threats also exist as Turkey includes diverse elements of persons from different Muslim nations. Some of which include terrorist groups with their main base of operation located in a different country but also operating within Turkey. As seen in EurAsia Review, conflicts that were usually based on national interests today are based typically on non-national interests such as ethnicity, religion and culture. Asymmetric warfare rather than having a clear issue now has several. And a weaker enemy will use it strengths against a superior adversaries weaknesses.

Using OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) to conduct my research I uncovered motive for Turkey seeking intelligence from the United States. Turkey is a NATO ally and an American ally. However, that is the crux of their relationship. It has never encompassed social and economic theology. They are predominately a Muslim country and have disagreements about many aspects of wars and conflicts that the US had interests in such as Iraq and Syria. Turkey targets Kurd fighters in Syria while we support them. And they opposed the action President Trump put in place of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capitol. There is a great amount of suspicion and mistrust regarding the failed coup of President Erdoğan. And Fethullah Gülen, the suspected leader of the attempted coup resides in the United States and refuses to extradite him. They believe Gulen is responsible for the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov. They have typically bought US military products and technology but have made a deal with Russia to purchase an advanced missile defense system. Andrew Brunson who is an American Pastor is being held and faces spying charges and thus far efforts to release him are unsuccessful. They are suspicious of everyone. They will not hesitate to leverage information acquired through their intelligence services from the United States or any source. Turkey has long been thought of as torn between the East and West. In Turkey if you access the internet via a local ISP they can install spyware on your computer that can control it. Charter Schools are being targeted by Turkey since Gulen was instrumental in them and that tie is enough for Erdogan to lash out. MIT-Turkey’s intelligence agency places agents in journalist positions as cover which often leads to someone divulging information that is considered private.

If Turkey has decided to spy on you it probably originates from passport screening. Some things that a US visitor should be aware of are to self-assess if you could be thought of as a terrorist, narcotics trafficker or criminal. Black market activity. Do not be caught with suspicious or incriminating luggage. Do not identify known associations that Turkey may find incriminating. They may utilize any of these ways to recruit you as an asset of theirs. Usually direct and indirect activities used in conducting their intelligence operations are non-threatening and unobtrusive. Beware of local laws and customs as one example is in Turkey derogatory comments regarding government and its leaders are prohibited. It may be illegal to use insulting language.

Information Turkey may covet and target from a target such as a defense contractor non-intelligence employee may include customer data, employee data, vendor information, pricing strategies, propriety information, technical plans, corporate strategies, financials, computer access protocols, acquisition strategies, investment date, business directories of phone and emails. They may be subtle and use elicitation to gain information slowly and by gaining your trust. Be alert for tips. Throw them off their own game by asking why they ask. Refer them to public sources if specifically targeted questions are posed. Or say you cannot discuss it or just do not know. Examples of things I would consider for combating their intelligence collection efforts are to use rental electronic devices. Disable the Wi-Fi. And on the flight travel with the device as carry-on luggage. Do not use foreign storage devices in your devices. Do not leave documents and information in your hotel room. Do not use the hotel safe. Select your own cab.

But sometimes harassment incidents are utilized and obviously are meant to intimidate or test a US citizen’s reactions. If harassment is selected to be used on a prospective recruit it can be used in a variety of means.

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Yom Kippur War Intelligence Failure

Bob Budahl

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The Yom Kippur War intelligence failures were broad and to the highest level of government and military within Israel. They misperceived themselves as being free and safe of attack from the Arabs, at least in the near and current future. The Israelis were confidant an attack would only occur along the perimeters in which they themselves perceived the Arabs may attack, which they believed to be in the distant future. Israel felt that such an attack was bound to fail and thus preventing the Arabs from initiating an attack. Israel had let down their guard and therefore were surprised by the timing of the attack, the method of attack and also the place of the attack. Few military parallels are found as great as the strategic surprise Egypt and Syria enjoyed on October 6, 1973.

Information divulged years later is that King Hussein of Jordan made a visit September 25, 1973 to Israel and met with the Prime Minister and gave his assessment that Egypt and Syria were about to attack Israel. Warning was not heeded as the attack took place October 6, 1973. And importantly Jordan itself had been involved in former wars itself with Israel so their motivation for informing them of an impending attack was suspicious from the Israelis’ view. Skeptics argue that Hussein disavowed giving warning to Israel during this visit. Hussein had hoped that the warning would influence the Israeli Prime Minister to make changes and progress with the Arabs and avoid a costly war. Israel’s intelligence officer dismissed Hussein’s claim and believed that the Arabs were too weak to attack. Also believed by the Israelis is that the Arabs would not fight a war they knew they would lose. This may be a key point as to misperception as the Arab’s initially in the war obtained their objectives and possibly in their view set the course right from the “1967 War” in which they lost territory. Egypt’s Sadat even made a trip to Saudi Arabia before the war and made a plea that if the United States resupplied Israel during the war for Saudi Arabia to emplace an oil embargo on the United States to exert influence. The CIA passed a report on September 30th to the Israelis which was sourced to King Hussein which elaborated on what he had previously told the Prime Minister. By September Syria had received Soviet SAM’s and other equipment and were ready for war. The Soviets removed dependents of advisors and diplomats from Egypt and Syria October 5th.Israel suffered 2,656 dead and 7,250 wounded in the battle.

The Israeli armed forces were reliant on reservists which made up a large portion of Israel’s armed forces. In order to prove successful time was needed in times of attack to mobilize and move them from civilian life and emplace these personnel into a war-time theater of operation. As such, Israel put much effort into developing their intelligence services into the elite force for which much trust was given by the country to provide the warning it needs to prepare for war.With the failure of fore-warning to Israelis’ the Arab’s controlled the early moves in the war and brought initial success which they desired and in effect changed the balance of power within the Middle East away from Israel’s advantage.

Egypt and Syria’s attack on October 6, 1973 occurred at 14:00 hours which caught the IDF off guard and Israel’s military and political leaders did not understand a war was about to break out until 18:00, which was too late. The Commission investigating the intelligence failure indicated three reasons for the mistake. The first reason involved two assumptions in which Egypt would conduct air strikes deep into Israel against its air force before starting a war and the other assumption was Syria would not go full-scale war unless Egypt was in action against the Israelis already. The 2ndreasonwas a major mistake as Military Intelligence had guaranteed that they would be able to provide adequate advance warning of any attack and they did not do so. The 3rd reason is the intelligence services basically dismissed the adversaries’ forces buildups as either defensive or an exercise. Prime Minister Gold Meir and the Defense Minister Moshe Dayan concluded full mobilization was not necessary early on and they only placed the standing army on full alert.

To lend support to Israelis’ perception that attack was not probable at least not in the near future there is evidence and facts that the Arab’s did successfully employ deception methods on Israel as well as on the United States. The Arabs had been open to Dr. Kissinger’s peace negotiation in September 1973 and even planted items in a Lebanese newspaper about neglect and deterioration of equipment from the Soviet Union within the Suez Canal area. A very good synopsis which perhaps lends Israeli a sympathetic path is that estimating intentions are one of the most difficult and yet crucial element within intelligence. One may use hard evidence. If the evidence is incomplete it is more difficult to determine intention. Technology has advanced greatly in later years which makes a surprise attack much more difficult to achieve with the presence of advanced IMINT and SIGINT.

Is the current state of counterintelligence in the Intelligence Community adequate?

In regard to whether the state of counterintelligence within the Intelligence Community is adequate today one can best assume counterintelligence is a forever changing, evolving, assessment and reactive process of making sure our capabilities are up to date with the current world intelligence threat that exists in the world today. I do believe that counterintelligence is adequate as of today but that does not mean we do not need to improve. Much can be derived as to pre-9/11 or post-9/11 scenario. The intelligence officials and decision makers have to make sure that the IC is able to function strategically and operationally. Post 9/11 there exists “old” and “new” threats but clearly now we are primarily and immediately faced with “new” threats such as prevention of individual or small group acts rather than State actors. And because of this emphasis is placed upon utilizing human sources or spies, and interrogations of suspects or informants. The “old” threats still require IC collection, analysis and operations regarding State actors and these services are still intact and operating fully. The intelligence community may involve two ways in which it adapts to its external demands and when a perceived intelligence failure occurs then it reinvents itself to deal effectively. Or it may change proactively because of anticipating or observing environment changes.

There still exist threats from State actors in regard to our intelligence community and national decision makers and counterintelligence needs to be vigilant to deter, detect, exploit, neutralize and disrupt these attacks on an ongoing basis. National Security information as well as the US companies’ proprietary information will be targeted for collection. Some industries that may experience activity directed against them include the defense, finance, energy, dual-use technology, etc.  Insider threats will continue to be a closely surveilled item of interest of the counterintelligence agencies. And Russia is believed to remain a threat through cyber operations meant to influence or convey misleading information to encourage public opinion towards Russia’s best interests. Elections have been targeted and efforts are believed to continue. Increased and vigilant counter-cyber terrorism programs need to be fully conducted and expanded to the utmost ability the United States can exhibit and emplace.

Transnational criminal groups as well as terrorists are learning and utilizing advanced intelligence capabilities in technical, physical and cyber means. And “insider threats”, which is the oldest form of spying still exist in today’s world.

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