Modern agents drink more and more often fail
Written by Grigory Yakovlev; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
Not one of the 16 intelligence agencies of the USA was able to predict the English exit from the European Union.
To recap, the intelligence services of the US Armed Forces are the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance of the Air Force (NAF), the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). After September 11, 2001, the National Counter-Terrorism Center, after a vote from Congress, became part of the CIA’s national centre. All the intelligence agencies, and there are 16 in the US (full listing at VPK, No. 45, 2009 (in Russian only)), were obliged to share information, including law enforcement on the ground. Previously this was forbidden, supposedly to protect the privacy of the Americans.
The Ambassador Directs All
Traditionally all US special services have close cooperation with Great Britain. In London, on a permanent basis, there are around 70 officers of American intelligence services. Basically these are the representatives of the military complex headed by the defence attaché, having direct access to top officials at the Pentagon and Whitehall and the military attachés of the three types of the armed forces of the US: Army, Air Force and Navy. The military attachés of the armed forces are the staff of their respective intelligence services.
The DIA residency (as is the CIA) is located in the US embassy in London in Grosvenor Square and primarily deals with contacts with their English colleagues and recruiting organisations. There are also two other intelligence offices. One is the regional centre of the CIA in Western Europe, directly in London, relocated from Paris at the early 1970s. The second is located in the suburbs and is the base for the training specialists to carry out subversive operations in Africa and the Middle East.
All the intelligence structures answer to the US Ambassador in the country, who, thus, appears as the direct leader and organiser of American activities of the cloak and dagger knights in the UK. He is always aware of special events and operations, which are carried out on the territory of Albion. The Ambassador receives all reports of intelligence data and the encryption of transmissions and information gathered by the diplomats passes through him. The most important reports are reviewed and signed by him personally.
The agreement between Great Britain and the United States allows the operatives of their various residencies, operating in both countries, to gather information, to process it and use it in its own and in partnership interests. It is no secret that, under the guise of cooperation, the Americans still interfere in British politics, which they did almost from the beginning of the creation of the CIA.
In the UK the gathering of intelligence is done by four agencies. The biggest is the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is responsible for collecting, processing and analysing intelligence information from electronic sources. It was established on the basis of the government school of codes and ciphers, which during the war years was located at Bletchley Park (Buckinghamshire) and was involved in deciphering codes. During the Second World War more than six thousand employees of the school were working on the German and Italian ciphers. Here was created the world’s first computer, used to read the coded messages. Operation ULTRA, which during its course managed to fully decipher the codes of the German machine “Enigma”, became the most successful. It is believed that Winston Churchill led military operations in North Africa only on the basis of information received from intercepted German data.
After the war, the GCHQ was relocated at first to Eastcote in North West London, and in 1953 to two complexes near Cheltenham. In the first, on the Oakley Priors Road, the administrative and computing centres are located and in the second, in Benhall Park, the main laboratories as well as the critical liaison with the NSA. The treaty of 1947 on electronic intelligence laid the foundation for the Anglo-American alliance in this area.
The GCHQ and the NSA occupy on the world stage the leading positions on the production of equipment for decoding and interception of communication channels and this position they intend to keep. Washington and London prohibit the export, if the manufacturer does not turn over all documents pertaining to the order to the authorities, which is an obstacle for acquiring cryptographic technology for developing countries. The administration of the GCHQ is carried out jointly by the British Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth office. The director of the GCHQ, as a rule, is the Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry.
The BBC Secret Service
The Directorate of staff of electronic transactions and the development of missions deal with messages intercepted by a network of tracking stations, located on the territory of the UK and abroad. Their exact number is unknown, only that they are in Germany, Turkey, Oman, Gibraltar and Ascension Island. All materials received are analysed to identify the source of each message and to establish new details of the situation, for example increasing military preparations. It is clear that many of the intercepted communications are encrypted and in such cases the material (copies) are directed to Division “N” of the GCHQ, which does the decoding.
The specialists of the centre developed a transmitter that works on the principle of “instant shot” which allows to very quickly send large quantities of information in a short period of time. Such transmitters are the standard equipment of Special Airborne Services (SAS) and used by MI-6 as well, and receive from GCHQ a variety of technical assistance.
In the British electronic intelligence units there are over ten thousand people working. At the GCHQ in Cheltenham alone there are close to eight thousand workers. The cost of maintaining the whole complex is around 500 million Sterling pounds per year. The centre provides information, essential for the planning and implementation of secret operations, as well as providing the units that study them the means of communication. Under international law almost all of the work of the centre is illegal.
However, the centre does not monitor the transmission of public radio stations, this is done by the BBC corporation, situated in Caversham Park, the largest organisation monitoring the airwaves of other countries. Such operations by the BBC started at the beginning of 1933, after the government requested detailed information about the broadcasts of Italian radio stations in Arab countries.
Today the functions of the BBC’s tracking services consist of listening transmissions of foreign radio stations and writing reports about their content. Of the 400 hundred odd employees, working in Caversham Park, about 120 are engaged in wiretapping. Every day they monitor about 400 news reports, commentaries and messages from more than 34 countries. The main efforts in the past were directed towards the transmissions from the Warsaw Pact countries and today they are towards Russia and her allies. There are few developing countries under its watchful eye still. Before the Iranian revolution and the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan the tracking services of the BBC used four monitors who monitored the broadcasting in Farsi, Dari and Pashto. Then the number increased to 12, and Iran got the same status as Russia, its broadcasts are listened 24 hours a day.
A while back the Pentagon started to reform the military intelligence. First of all it entails the increase of number of the DIA abroad. Over the next five years their numbers, including undercover (primarily diplomatic), will be increased to about 1600 people. Today the DIA has around 500 operatives abroad.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is preparing to provide closer interaction with the DIA with the CIA and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The main priority will be the surveillance of Islamist groups in Africa and the Middle East, shipments of armaments from North Korea and Iran to other countries and the modernization of the Chinese armed forces. In fact we are talking about a rapid transformation of the military intelligence agencies into a special intelligence network of agents. This agency is often hiring people from universities’ teaching staff or business people from strategically important fields for the military. The staff of the CIA dramatically increased in the last eleven years as the department on the war on terror expanded from 300 to 2000 people. But unlike the CIA, military intelligence activities are not actually controlled by Congress.
The funds for the DIA expansion are included in the total expenditures of the US DoD. But there are plans that the Pentagon does not advertise. There is talk, in particular, about the increase in the number of spies and the division of tasks between the CIA and DIA. This is primarily caused by poor preparation of the military intelligence personnel, where they often fail operations or fulfil them only on paper. The byword became a bad habit: the American James Bonds abuse alcohol, have poor foreign language skills, really do not know how to recruit agents to analyse documents.
Lately at the CIA training base in the state of Virginia training is given for the new division of the DIA, Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). After graduation the recruits are sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, to countries in crisis in Africa and Latin America. In the next five years the DCS will become one of the leading departments of the DIA.
From January 2012 the US operates on a document titled Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. It says in the documents that the strengthening of China in the long-term perspective can influence the economy and security of the USA. The key points in the military strategy adopted by the USA are reduced to a relative decrease in the number of American armed forces while simultaneously concentrating budget resources on the development of satellites and drones. It also assumes a reorientation of resources on the Asia-Pacific Region (APR). We can conclude that the document reinforces the presence of the USA in the APR and the DIA reforms are links of the same chain. Now China is the main enemy of the United States.
Stabbed by Clinton
The National Security Agency stands out. This is the division of radio and electronic intelligence. It was created on November 4th 1952. From the number of military service personnel and civilians, according to the budget, it is the largest of the intelligence agencies of the USA.
The NSA is responsible for the collection and analysis of information by technical means, monitoring electronic communications and recording network traffic. They solve specialised tasks by obtaining information from communication networks of foreign governments by electronic and radio intercepts, interpreting using computer technology. The NSA is responsible for protecting communication networks of the US government agencies against unauthorised access by electronic intelligence services of other countries. The stab with the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails is on its conscience.
The Central Security Service (CSS), a department of the US DoD, was created to develop measures for the security of electronic networks communication and cooperation between the NSA and the Service Cryptologic Elements of the DoD. The director of NSA and chief of the CSS is also the head of the operational headquarters of psychological warfare and electronic warfare of the US Armed Forces. Since 2009, these positions were held by General Keith Alexander (NSA director since 2005). The NSA’s activities are limited to radio electronic intelligence and electronic warfare; the agency does not conduct intelligence work abroad.
The official job category of the head of the NSA, a senior member of the Department of Defense of the USA, is a military person with a rank of Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral. The deputy head of the NSA can be replaced with civilian specialists of the US DoD. The number of workers and annual budget of the NSA is a government secret. The State headquarters is estimated at between 20 and 38 thousand people. Nearly 100 thousand specialists of electronic warfare, psychological warfare and cryptology work on US military bases around the world.
The training of specialists for the NSA is carried out at the National Institute of Cryptography. This educational institution prepares the cadres not only for itself but also for a few other divisions of the US DoD. The NSA also pays for its employees training in leading American colleges, including military and universities.
After Britain decided to “divorce” from the EU, American officials are trying to rethink their strategy. According to them, the most urgent task is the search for new reliable and congenial partner among the European capitals. However few are capable, or even willing, as London was, of influencing Brussels during domestic disputes, to defend American interests. Now this quiet diplomatic pressure, including forcing NATO members to increase spending on defence, suddenly declined. Even if the UK eventually will regain their former influence on the continent, which is quite controversial, it will be preoccupied with itself for a long time. In addition, Brexit happened during a complicated time, when the United States with their allies discuss what to do with Russia, how to infuse new life into NATO, how to cope with the migration crisis. There is also the threat from the Islamic State (banned in Russia). In the war against terrorists joint intelligence is of crucial importance. But now with the British stunt, long-term plans of strengthening their influence on the EU in this region and the Middle East were threatened. Brexit caught America by surprise. The new president will have to rethink relations with Europe and he will have to deal with this for many years. Will the intelligence services of the USA help him – that is a big question.
Grigory Yakovlev, Major General, Ret.