The discussion question was: What makes for the best intelligence gatherer? With the inherent problems inherent in counterintelligence, how do these problems affect intelligence gathering? How does technology affect the gathering of intelligence?
Student 1: “The best intelligence gather is one that can get accurate information utilizing various methods. This is obviously easier said the done but if you are great at networking and building relationships your chances of getting more intelligence on a certain issue are increased. Like one article I found stated you don’t have to be an expert on the capabilities of all types of intelligence collecting. This is because there is a Collection Manager (CM) assigned to the cases who will work with the client to build requirements which will go through the intelligence process in which the CM will be the advocate for the client.
I have found getting into the military and law enforcement the requirements for various positions is a tedious process so workers can despiser good and bad applicants. It takes time and in depth look at your life to determine whether you will even tell truth. Even then the goal is just hoping you do the right thing it doesn’t guarantee you will. The book talks about Edward Snowden who was a contractor for the NSA and leaked Top Secret information. This is significant because he was merely a contractor who had access to a lot of information, like the book says the irony of the case his background check was probably done by a fellow contractor (Lowenthal, p. 229). Government work especially is all about finances so if they can pay a contractor less money to do the same work their own employees should do the government will do that. The issue is there is a high amount of trust given with little training or information on the contractor themselves. A contractor is more prone to cut corners or do something illegal cause they are not held to the same standard the agency they are working for is”.
Hughbank, Richard J. and Githens, Don. “Intelligence and Its Role in Protecting Against Terrorism.” Journal of Strategic Security 3, no. 1 (2010) : 31-38. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1944-04184.108.40.206 Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol3/iss1/4
Lowenthal, Mark M. “Intelligence From Secretes to Policy” (2017). SAGE.
Student 2:”When asked what makes for the best intelligence gatherer, I immediately thought of spies and undercover agents behind enemy lines attempting to steal valuable information on weapons, technology, etc.… However, when looking into this topic even further, I found that I was wrong. What I have learned from our course textbook that makes for the best intelligence gathering can be argued as counterintelligence. The course text explains that counterintelligence can be defined as “information gathered, and activities conducted to identify, deceive, exploit, disrupt, or protect against espionage and other activities carried out by foreign states and non-state actors” (Lowenthal, 2017). This is explaining that counterintelligence is the protection against other intelligence enterprises. This makes for the best intelligence gathering because of the focus on catching intelligence efforts against our nation. Essentially, other nations, or non-state actors could be bringing the intelligence directly to us by trying to infiltrate right under our noses so to speak. With the current problems in counterintelligence including the possibility of lowering one’s guard on people that we work with every day. For example, members of the CIA, our most important intelligence agency. With working with the same people every day, just as our book states, a person’s guard could go down and they may not realize a once trusted colleague is an informant selling information or working for the enemy. This is aided by technology. What I mean is that a person willing to betray our trust while working in our intelligence sector can utilize the advancing communication technologies that are capable through the internet. VPN technology and anonymity are at an all-time high in our world. There are plenty of people who can utilize this to communicate information and intelligence”.
Lowenthal, M. M. (2017). Intelligence: from secrets to policy (Seventh Edition). Los Angeles, CA: CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE Publications, Inc.