This is the start to a longer post, but I wanted to get a few things jump started. It also lets you know that I have not gone anywhere, but have been a bit distracted by life and a new owner.
The new owner is called Jenny, and came into my life via a rescue group after being dumped a couple of weeks ago. The picture is not great, but she tends to regard the camera as a bad thing... Sweet, between 5- and 7-years-old, and apparently in good health. When it comes down to deciding between fixing my blog and writing posts, or spending time with her, well, you know who wins.
Meantime, I wanted to put this out so that you can be thinking, and as a spur to me to finish a longer post on intelligence. A while back there was some good discussion and a number of good questions, and I think that understanding some of what is happening requires knowing a bit about intelligence operations.
Everyone has their favorite terminology, and we will explore that; but, in terms of collecting intelligence and analyzing it, things fall into three categories for me: Techint, Humint, and Boreint.
Technical intelligence is referred to as Techint. It includes everything from satellites to an old-fashioned direct-hook wiretap. Techint is great at collecting massive amounts of data of all types, in fact more than can be reasonably analyzed at any one time. The limitation to it, other than that, is that it can be spoofed. People can move or camouflage things, they can block signals, and it doesn't necessarily give you a great feel for the people involved. Advantages include items that can be verified, certified, and tested for authenticity. In the late sixties and through the seventies, the tech crowd came to dominate a lot of intelligence operations both because of this and the large amounts of data
Human intelligence is what many people think of when they think of intelligence activities. It is intelligence based on people, from moles in agencies to that gossipy person down the street. Working with people gives you a good feel for them, but it also can give you a lot of data that is biased, wrong, or not terribly timely. On the plus side, a good mole can provide lots of good information, data, manuals, and more. Human intelligence was de-emphasized in many quarters because not everyone who could be/was recruited was someone you would want to have attend the local church in Plains on Sunday. In fact, some of them were not/are not very nice people at all.
Boring intelligence is what I call the art of association. It is reading and/or listening to as much as you can, both from inside and outside that which is being studied. It is retaining that information, and being able to use little bits of data to put together a picture, or even a big picture of what is going on. To my mind, it is the heart of real intelligence operations, and you would be amazed at how much can be put together this way -- then again, maybe not as you read blogs and see this in action everyday. It is why security types often want you to not talk about something non-classified, as it can be put with other things to figure out something that is classified and/or operational.
Much to Jenny's dismay (she is coming to regard the computer as her chief rival for my attention), I've been putting spare time into some boreint. There is a lot of chatter, and a lot of things going on that could either add up to nothing, or to something bad. Pay attention to the leader of Iran; add in other things from Iran and Syra; add into it things like this statement by Lebanon's UN ambassador; and, add into it some other news items from Iraq and elsewhere, and... Well, as for me I see something I don't like. I see a time-frame running from the night of the 21st and ending the morning of the 23rd that appears potentially problematic.
Do the pieces all truly fit, or is it an illusion? Did the recent terror bust in England change anything? Did the attack on Hezbollah change anything or eliminate some options? Only time will tell, and that may well be the one universal constant of intelligence operations and analysis.
More soon, at least as soon as Jenny quits taking me on multi-mile walks...