News you may have missed #798

Alexander LitvinenkoBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Britain to hold inquest over death of ex-KGB officer. Britain and Russia appear to be on a collision course over the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer who died in 2006 after ingesting polonium-210, a rare radioactive isotope. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service has accused Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, both former KGB agents, for the death of Litvinenko. Russia has refused British requests to extradite the two, leading to a row with Moscow and the tit-for-tat expulsion of Russian and British diplomats. Until now, the British Foreign Office had attempted to limit the scope of an inquest into the death of Litvinenko, fearing further diplomatic fallout. But coroner Sir Robert Owen said last week that he endorsed a previous ruling by his predecessor in the case, Andrew Reid, that there should be an “open and fearless” investigation into the matter.
►►Ex-CIA operative who illegally sold arms to Libya dies. Edwin P. Wilson, a former CIA officer who was convicted in 1983 for illegally shipping 20 tons of C4 plastc explosives to Libya, has died aged 84. In his trial he claimed he had shipped the weapons to Libya at the request of the CIA, because, as he said, the agency was trying to establish good relations with the Libyan government. But the court did not buy his story, so he spent over 20 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, until his release in 2004. He maintained his innocence to the very end.
►►Analysis: Libya an opportunity for CIA if it sticks around. The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including a US ambassador and two former Navy SEALs, has led Americans to vacate Benghazi for their safety, even though various militant groups continue their operations. It is a disaster for US intelligence efforts in the region, especially since the attack has made brutally clear how real the jihadi threat in eastern Libya remains. But there may be the smallest of silver linings to this black cloud, if American operatives are able to capitalize on it. The aftermath of the attack shows widespread displeasure with Benghazi’s jihadist groups, with thousands marching in protest. That is an opportunity the CIA could use to rebuild its intelligence gathering.

7 Responses to News you may have missed #798

  1. Natasha says:

    Re: “Libya an opportunity for CIA if it sticks around”. –

    Where normal diplomacy is generally impossible and where standard conventional warfare is not being waged, there is always room for CIA/collection/Analysis/and Paramilitary “solutions”
    Hence Iraq has been a great employment boost for CIA, as has Afghanistan/its region.

    Now Libya is looking “positive” with guaranteed Humint pickings for 5 years at least. But now CIA is increasingly threatened as other intel players – SOCOM-Intel-DIA – develop CIA-like modus operandi.

    CIA would do well to get essential White House level guidance as to whom, CIA, DIA and SOCOM does what. Without such guidance crucial issues such as accounting for all the manportable and larger SAMs stolen by Libyan gangs from ex Libyan military armories might “fall between the cracks”. That is fall between agencies like CIA, DIA and FBI (overseas). Such agencies might fall into the old habit of competing for budget allocations and political inflence rather than cooperating at the operational and info sharing levels.

    Also the many other NATO ally intel bodies that will/are growing in Libya need to be confident that the Multi-Intel-Actor US presence in Libya is cohesive and efficient.

    Pete and Natasha Plantagenet

  2. TFH says:

    I though CIA’s main emphasis was on technological way’s to get intelligence, hearing it from the horses mouth (by way’s of robotic ants behind the wallpaper) rather than as hearsay from someone it would have been able to recruit because that same had a grudge/ideological difference/other in regards to whomever intelligence was being collected on. That is the general collective information on the subject of how CIA collects it’s intelligence, that state sponsored office space with budget inf higher end of small countries. But then the only stuff I read relating to that subject is linked to from this excellent site.

  3. intelNews says:

    @TFH: Thanks for the kind words. The CIA is supposed to get intelligence not only through relatively distant technological means, but also via human intelligence (HUMINT) which directly involves living, breathing operatives and agents active on the ground. Some say the US Intelligence Community has in recent times developed an over-reliance on technological means of intelligence collection, which can be said to be not as accurate as HUMINT. Common sense would dictate that a balance between the two is essential in developing accurate intelligence collection methods. But many think that balance has not been established. [JF]

  4. Wumpis says:

    If you want to see excellent examples of some top-notch HUMINT, look no further than the various manifestations of the Cheka, or perhaps the exploits of the Mossad. Unfortunately Uncle Sam has always struggled in this department, or perhaps that is something that they would like you to believe? :)

  5. Natasha says:

    Hi Wumpis

    If by “Cheka”, you mean what after numerous name changes became the KGB (now FSB (internal-external) and SVR (external – perhaps specializing in non-Dip cover “illegals” ops):

    The KGB’s fortunately gross intel miscalculations may have been the main reasons for the fall of the Soviet Empire 1989-91.

    Most specifically the KGB, under Yuri Andropov’s stale mismanagement, ) saw a need (1979) to invade Afghanistan. The Sov’s wrongly believed thath the US was bent on annexing Afgh. Hence the Sov Military-Political Complex (including KGB) saw invasion as an “essential” measure to firmly control the strategically important territory of Afgh – resulting in war/demoralization that finished off the stumbling Soviet giant.


  6. Wumpis says:

    They were excellent practitioners of HUMINT and exceeded the United States in this respect. This is my opinion and I believe what history we do know supports this. The KGB indeed lacked analytical KGB and from what I understand primarily gathered raw intelligence for the party.

  7. Wumpis says:

    “The Sov’s wrongly believed thath the US was bent on annexing Afgh”

    I think their prediction was just off by about 20 years ;).

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