Thursday, February 23, 2006

AL-QAEDA GOONS INFILTRATING U.S. INTELLIGENCE SERVICES

Great piece from the LA TIMES (of all places) about how Al-Qaeda is using our governments desperation for translators to infilitrate our intelligence agencies. This is highly worrisome. As the article states, "over 40" terrorists have attempted this spy-game over the past few months... How many have succeeded? This may be the reason Al-Qaeda has held off on any new attacks on our soil. They still need time to fully infiltrate our intel services...
As many as 40 possible terrorists may have attempted to infiltrate U.S. intelligence agencies in recent months, CIA expert Barry Royden reported at a national counterintelligence conference in March. If that news isn't sufficiently terrifying, consider this chilling paradox: Though the agencies caught the potential spies at the job application stage, post-Sept. 11 pressures to quickly boost staffing make it increasingly likely that a terrorist could sneak into the intelligence community's ranks.

Since Al Qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington four years ago, the Sept. 11 commission and other investigative bodies have criticized intelligence agencies for failing to hire enough qualified personnel. President Bush ordered the CIA to increase analytic and operational personnel by 50%.

In response, intelligence agencies have launched ambitious campaigns to attract new recruits, even enlisting advertising agencies and running glitzy commercials. But this scramble to hire leaves agencies vulnerable, as a woefully small number of security analysts attempt to vet the flood of applicants. Job seekers with the native language skills and overseas experience that much intelligence work requires are among the most difficult to screen for security.

This conundrum comes to light as intelligence agencies have finally recognized that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operate like traditional intelligence services. Terrorists spy before they terrorize. They case and observe their targets. They collect intelligence about their enemy's vulnerabilities from publicly available information and by eliciting secrets from unwitting sources. Like intelligence officers, terrorists also practice tradecraft — the art of blending seamlessly into a society's fabric for months or years before striking.