Monday, May 27, 2013

Today in Skye's Spies: CIA takeover Counterintelligence in the U.S.?

CIA takeover Counterintelligence in the U.S.?

Yeah...good luck with that.

Occasionally, I'll read an article that is as ridiculous as it is funny. In my daily edition of Skye's Spies, Robert Morton from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers wrote an article on the Rift Between and I quote "FBI (law enforcement) and CIA (counterintelligence) and suggested--brace yourself--that because of perceived FBI intelligence failures surrounding the Tsarnev investigation, the CIA should assume responsibility for Counterintelligence inside the United States.

First, I'm SO glad he's a FORMER intelligence officer.

Second, there is an organic tension in the FBI--CIA relationship, always has been, always will be. In a world of tit-for-tat retaliatory diplomatic actions, the investigative activities that help the FBI quell intelligence activity in the United States, ultimately make it more difficult for the CIA to operate overseas, especially in hostile environments, like Russia and China. FBI is defense and CIA is offense--we're all a part of the same team even though we have to play different games to win.

But Mr. Morton's argument to shift CI responsibilities to the CIA has more holes than a Swiss cheese farm. How many, you ask? Let me count the ways.

1. The CIA's primary mission is INTELLIGENCE, not COUNTERINTELLIGENCE. And Counterintelligence is a law enforcement function. While the CIA can conduct internal inquiries, once they have enough evidence to identify illegal activity they MUST refer their cases to the FBI for investigation.
2. The Tsarnev investigation was counterterrorism , not counterintelligence.
3. CIA has ZERO ZILCH law enforcement or investigative authority inside the United States or ANYwhere. They are intelligence collectors not law enforcement...and with good reason. They can't enforce laws they are trained to other countries. There's a reason why agencies were set up the way they are.

I could stop right there because that pretty much squashes the argument. But I'll go one more.

4. I just love all these armchair "BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT"  analysts and press organizations who have the kahunas to suggest that the FBI could have deterred attacks like that in Boston based on the limited intelligence available at the time.

Excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter.

Sadly, most Americans have NO understanding or concept of just how many tens of thousands of crackpot leads the FBI receives through multiple systems every single day. If they gave 100 new leads to every investigative resource every day, the FBI wouldn't get through them until maybe 2525. And there'd still be a backlog. Yes, it's overwhelming. They don't have the personnel resources or the technology infrastructure to handle, analyze, assign and investigate half of what they receive. Then Congress cuts the budget and says "Do a lot more with a lot less." While they won't sacrifice a sandwich to add a nickel to the budget. They won't even sacrifice their time to pass a budget.

Needless to say, this is ridiculous. You want to see more effective collaboration and operations, give the entire intelligence community the resources it needs. And while everybody's entitled to their own opinion, some folks should leave the analysis to the real analysts.

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