Archive for the ‘Intelligence’ Category

An interesting turn of events.

Shahram Amiri, the missing Iranian nuclear scientist, was probably some sort of double agent and the U.S. figured it out.  Basically, Amiri would have first given himself over to U.S. agents through the Saudis while posing as a nuclear scientist seeking a way out of Iran.

In reality, he would be an Iranian plant who was really trying to discover the depth and breadth of U.S. knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program and additionally, in attempting to deceive U.S. spies, scientists, and analysts with disinformation.

He or his Iranian handlers must have figured the jig was up.

Some tie-in with the Russians may be there as well.

Am I sounding too much like Warren Zevon?  If so, send lawyers, guns, and money via PayPal.

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from the Air Force Association on-line magazine:

“If it takes about 170 personnel today to operate one combat air patrol of MQ-1 or MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, how many are needed for a single high-flying RQ-4 Global Hawk CAP? Maj. Richard Johnson, Air Force spokesman for intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance issues, tells the Daily Report that the number is around 260 today, including some 160 imagery analysts.”

Wow.  I have seen the future and it is analysis.

Space News reports  House leader Dutch Ruppersberger thinks House and Senate plans to approve “exquisite” electro-optical imaging capability is likely.  That effort would support the White House’s plan and is in conflict with Senators Bond and Feinstein who want a more commercial-based capability.

Also dribbling out are a few details for the exquisite system which boost its desirability vis a vis a commercial system like GeoEye.  For example,  James Clapper (now sporting whiskers–part of his tactical deception program to look less “former military“?),  the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, said the aperture size would be 2.4 meters.  This could provide six inch resolution.  Fused with other systems or enhanced with software, that type of resolution could be expected to get better and not worse.  GeoEye-1 has around a 18-inch resolution.

Next, new NRO Director Bruce Carlson (via  DoD Buzz) pledged new NRO systems would be on-time, on-budget, and on-spec.  Personally, I think that’s a check he won’t be able to cash, but I hope I’m wrong.  Perhaps the NRO’s estimating and program management skills are now much improved, or at least more realistic.

Finally, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair went out of his way to praise the intelligence capabilities of our national technical means in finding Iran’s previously undisclosed nuclear facility at Qom.

So, going into the fourth quarter, “exquisite” has a significant lead, the ball, the wind at its back, and momentum.  I’m betting on exquisite, brought to you by Lockheed-Martin.

Piracy has been joined by intelligence in the fee-for-service realm. Anyone, or any nation-state, with a credit card now has an excellent chance to buy top-notch overheads. Add analysis in the form of people paying attention and bam! you have intel.

Fade To Black For The NRO?

Posted: July 1, 2009 in Intelligence, NRO

Colin Clark at DoD Buzz reports on the most recent blue-ribbon panel to review the NRO. While the panel has compiled their results and presented them to Dennis Blair, the DNI, it will be interesting to see if they opt for revolution or evolution. Many of the panel’s members have deep ties to the NRO and the intelligence community. Regardless of the panel’s recommendations, something well short of turning out the lights is likely.

History certainly favors evolution over revolution, and if so, things will likely only be changed in the margins–nothing dramatic. This will be useful in deflecting sustained criticism away from the NRO from Congressional overseers, as currently embodied by the Senate Intelligence Committee and its staff and in providing some cover to make incremental changes that will enhance the NRO’s effectiveness.