Thursday, May 23, 2013

Today in Skye's Spies: FSB Plays Hardball, America's Got an Intelligence Problem?

Poor Fogle. You  know the guy that got arrested in Moscow with wigs, spy gadgets, money and the like. The arrest the mean old FSB decided to splash across the media KGB-style? Well, I was looking through my Intelligence Newsletter--Skye's Spies-- and some journalists have remarked that this is somehow a referendum on the decline of U.S. Intelligence. From my standpoint, most of America's intelligence problems lie with the Tea Party--not the CIA. But there are those who believe we're in trouble because the Moscow Chief of Station authorized one bad op. Okay a really bad op. In Moscow. Targeting arguably one of the most hostile foreign intelligence services to ever operate on Earth.

*shakes head*

Yeah, that was a bad bad bad idea.

Bad.

The Station Chief should've been on his way home right behind Fogle in my opinion. Poor decision-making is at the core of this arrest. And now that he's been outted by the FSB--another HARDCORE move by the KGB...I mean FSB--he probably won't be there much longer which is as it should be.

But boy does it feel like the 1970s-1980s.

On the whole, I don't think that this arrest in ANY way clouds the thousands of operations  that go RIGHT every day. You won't hear about those. Nope. You won't hear about the successful recruitments we do make every day. You won't hear about how the FBI put the screws to the Russians operating in the United States either. You're not supposed to. When intelligence goes right, it's mostly quiet. But this general air of covert silence makes the THUD from a bad op resound that much louder.

And that's what we have here.

The resounding thud from one bad op--because the FSB had its panties in a wad. It's true. It's all tit-for-tat. We'll hit back. They'll hit back. We'll hit back. It's been going on for decades--mostly in back channels.

Under the hardline leadership of Vladimir Putin, who is "ex"-KGB and bleeds crimson and gold--stuff like this is bound to happen.

But things are about to get UG-O-LY!

To quote myself from another blog (which inspired this post), "This was just a bad op. 1.000 operations go right and we don't hear about them. One goes wrong and the FSB decides to make a statement and all of U.S. intelligence has a problem? Nah, not so much. ... I will say that I would not have trusted this op...in Moscow. Nope. Poor decision-making. But one bad apple, in this case, doesn't spoil the whole bunch. More ops go right than wrong."

So, take this arrest for what it is...an embarrassing arrest which is the result of poor decision making. Now, the shift in America's relationship with Russians is a different story altogether. That's a story worth some discussion.

And that's all I have to say about that!

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