Inside the Ring

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - Bill Gertz Rowan Scar­bor­ough

Prime tar­get

The dif­fi­culty of try­ing to re­build Iraq as in­sur­gents try to de­stroy it was ham­mered home by an in­ci­dent in Novem­ber.

The U.S. op­er­ates Camp Loy­alty, a for­ward op­er­at­ing base near Bagh­dad, and stores build­ing ma­te­rial there. In this case, they were hus­band­ing a huge amount of elec­tri­cal wiring and com­po­nents to help turn the lights on in Sadr City, the cap­i­tal’s Shi’ite slum.

Then, in­sur­gent mor­tar rounds hit the base stor­age yard. Ev­ery­one took cover. When the bar­rage ended, most of the sup­plies dis­ap­peared in flames.

“Me­dia there never cov­ers the fact that Iraqi bad guys are blow­ing up Iraq’s own re­con­struc­tion,” said a mil­i­tary of­fi­cial. “Congress is told sub­lim­i­nally by oth­ers that re­con­struc­tors are all crooks or po­lit­i­cal in­com­pe­tents.”

CIA on China threat

CIA Di­rec­tor Michael V. Hay­den spoke to CIA em­ploy­ees Jan. 4 for a town-hall-style meet­ing where he re­vealed the agency’s new “Strate­gic In­tent” re­port and out­lined some of the re­forms taken. They in­clude set­ting up a new op­er­a­tions cen­ter with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the col­lec­tion, anal­y­sis and tech­ni­cal ser­vices branches.

The re­port lists the long war on ter­ror­ism, arms pro­lif­er­a­tion and the rise of China and In­dia as part of the cur­rent “un­sta­ble and dan­ger­ous” strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment.

One ini­tia­tive: the cre­ation of a CIA as­so­ci­ate deputy di­rec­tor for coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence that sup­port­ers hope will give the agency some­thing it badly needs in the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment of ag­gres­sive for­eign intelligence ac­tiv­i­ties. “Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence is too crit­i­cal an is­sue not to have a se­nior mem­ber of our lead­er­ship team com­mit­ted to it 24/7,” Gen. Hay­den said in an­nounc­ing the post.

Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence at CIA has been a back­wa­ter sup­port func­tion since the ouster of mas­ter coun­ter­spy James Je­sus An­gle­ton in the 1970s. Mr. An­gle­ton over­saw an ag­gres­sive in­de­pen­dent coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence branch that con­ducted sev­eral mole hunts that up­set vet­eran spies.

The CIA still has not fully re­cov­ered from the decades­long be­trayal of CIA of­fi­cer Aldrich Ames, who gave Rus­sia the names and iden­ti­ties of vir­tu­ally all the CIA’s re­cruited agents work­ing against the Soviet Union. Ames was caught in 1993.

Other re­forms out­lined by Gen. Hay­den in­clude a “re­vi­tal­ized” covert ac­tion re­view group that will di­rect semi-se­cret CIA-spon­sored ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tions to paramil­i­tary forces.

The CIA also has a new Ex­ter­nal Ad­vi­sory Board that in­cludes for­mer Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. My­ers, for­mer Deputy De­fense Sec­re­tary John Hamre and for­mer Hewlett-Packard Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Carly Fio­r­ina.

Test run

The intelligence com­mu­nity would just as well for­get the flawed 2002 Na­tional Intelligence Es­ti­mate (NIE) on Iraq and work on mak­ing sure such a mis­taken anal­y­sis does not hap­pen again.

One new look is In­tel­li­pedia, a clas­si­fied form of the Wikipedia, the In­ter­net en­cy­clo­pe­dia where peo­ple can use the “wiki” soft­ware to add in­for­ma­tion on a given sub­ject.

In­tel­li­pedia de­buted in April on the gov­ern­ment’s top-se­cret net­work. To­day, there are more than 28,000 Web pages, over 13 mil­lion “hits” and 3,600 reg­is­tered users.

The Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional Intelligence is ex­per­i­ment­ing with that con­cept, via In­tel­li­pedia, to see if intelligence an­a­lysts col­lec­tively can pro­duce an ac­cu­rate NIE on var­i­ous sub­jects. An­other aim is to get rid of the “stovepipes” — the metaphor for an­a­lysts not shar­ing in­for­ma­tion with other an­a­lysts in dif­fer­ent fields but sim­i­lar sub­jects.

“With all ed­its be­ing at­trib­ut­able in In­tel­li­pedia, it ac­tu­ally kind of al­lows our of­fi­cers to be much more col­le­gial with one an­other, and it builds a com­mu­nity, which is what we’re try­ing to do,” Sean Den­nehy, a CIA an­a­lyst, said at a re­cent round-ta­ble dis­cus­sion.

In­tel­li­pedia will be a com­mu­nal site for all types of intelligence ar­ti­cles, which can be edited by other an­a­lysts, while keep­ing the as­sess­ment’s his­tor­i­cal thread. You can have an­a­lysts from U.S. Pa­cific Com­mand, the CIA and a satel­lite re­con­nais­sance of­fice talk­ing to one an­other at the same time on the same topic via In­tel­li­pedia.

The DNI is also do­ing an ex­per­i­men­tal NIE, the intelligence com­mu­nity’s crown jewel pro­duced by the Na­tional Intelligence Coun­cil. The ini­tial In­tel­li­pedia NIE will be on the trou­bled African na­tion of Nige­ria. In­tel­li­pedia will be the re­cip­i­ent of an­a­lysts as­sess­ments on that coun­try for use by the coun­cil to write the NIE.

Chang­ing Air Force

Gen. T. Michael Mose­ley, Air Force chief of staff, has made the war on ter­ror his top ser­vice pri- or­ity, fol­lowed by car­ing for air­men and their fam­i­lies, and buy­ing new com­bat air­craft and space as­sets.

A re­cent mes­sage from head­quar­ters shows how the Air Force is chang­ing. Last fall, the Air Force dropped its first small-di­am­e­ter bomb, the GBU-39/B, from an F15E Strike Ea­gle sup­port­ing troops in Iraq. The 250-pound bomb al­lows jet fight­ers to carry a larger bombs-to-tar­gets ra­tio, mean­ing a pilot can hit mul­ti­ple sus­pected ter­ror safe houses and re­duce col­lat­eral dam­age.

The Air Force this sum­mer also helped the Army by send­ing “sev­eral hun­dred” air­men to ground com­bat train­ing be­fore de­ploy­ing to Iraq or Afghanistan. The Army is stressed by fre­quent war de­ploy­ments. Pres­i­dent Bush an­nounced in De­cem­ber that he will ask Congress to in­crease the num­ber of sol­diers by an un­spec­i­fied num­ber. The mil­i­tary even has come up with a name for air­men chang­ing their tra­di­tional mis­sions. It’s called “in-lieu-of.”

The war on ter­ror is also putting an un­prece­dented de­mand on the Preda­tor, an un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cle that can spy on the en­emy and un­leash deadly Hell­fire mis­siles. The Air Force mes­sage called it “one of the most sought-af­ter weapons by com­bat­ant com­man­ders.”

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scar­bor­ough are Pen­tagon re­porters. Mr. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at bgertz@wash­ing­ton­times.com. Mr. Scar­bor­ough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at rscar­bor­ough@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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