Counter Terrorism

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Method of Intelligence Gathering to Counter Terrorism
CJ450 – Counterterrorism
Excelsior College

In recent years, there has been much debate in the intelligence community relating to the balance between human intelligence and technical intelligence in order to satisfy states’ intelligence requirements. This paper addresses the argument from both sides, and suggests that there has been an over reliance on technical intelligence in recent years, leading to inadequacies in intelligence gathering.

Method of Intelligence Gathering to Counter Terrorism
As noted by Carera (2005), the theme of intelligence reform is still fresh in the United States, and with the creation of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), we can appreciate how deep the concerns over intelligence failure in recent years have been. At the heart of this development lie issues of funding, structure and methodology, of which we are concerned with the last of the three. In order to address the issues surrounding the methodology of collecting intelligence for counter terrorism, we first look at definitions of the intelligence terminology referred to, along with an explanation of the current focus of the debate. We then identify how the modern terrorist threat differs from the traditional Cold War enemy, before suggesting reasons why over reliance on one form of intelligence gathering is wrong. We concentrate on a western perspective of intelligence, in particular, the experiences of the United States. This approach allows us to keep a focus on the issue without wandering into inappropriate areas of debate. It is my belief that the production of good intelligence should not support one method of collection over another, but should involve the considered application of all forms in order to produce the final intelligence product. Although it is noted that terrorist organizations are not the only current threat to the international community and that so called, ‘rogue states’ are a security issue, this discussion is focussed on the former, not the latter. Similarly, I note that human source and technical source are not the sole contributors to intelligence agencies and that in particular, the use of open source intelligence is as crucial. However, the debate surrounding the validity of open source intelligence should be seen as separate to our own discussion and therefore not explored for this reason. We can identify the two key collection methods as being human intelligence collection and technical intelligence collection. Human intelligence typically involves the “indentifying and recruitment of a foreign official” (Shulsky, 2002) who has access to information that is valuable to the intelligence agency. In this respect, it is in line with the popular view of intelligence as involving espionage. It can provide us with an idea of the inner workings of motivations of a target group by means of the recruited member, almost as if the agency were part of the organization itself. As Dupont (2003) proposes, “September 11 was a salutary reminder to the US that no amount of technological superiority can compensate for quality Human Intelligence.” In contrast, technical intelligence involves “a group of techniques using advance technology…to collect information.” (Shulsky, 2002) This entails the use of satellites, and progressively more, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to take photos, measure electromagnetic waves and intercept enemy communications. This monitoring of communications between known and suspected targets within the group can provide insight into activities, routines and structure of an organization and allows the formulation of models of association and behaviour, as utilized by Fellman (2003). In the case of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) procurement and production, the monitoring of contacts and scientists required by terrorist groups to produce weapons would also prove effective. As...
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