Review the video on Crumpton. Read your classmates response and acknowledge if you agree with their view or not. Tell why you agree or don’t agree with them.
Classmate Discussion 1 (JF)
While watching Mr. Crumpton’s speech and the questions he answered afterwards, I really felt that I was observing someone who had accomplished monstrously large tasks all in the employment of the United State government. I thought that his experience recruiting sources provides two key aspects sources in relation to Human Intelligence (HUMINT). The first being what information can the source provide? Mr. Crumpton said a source must provide information that is “…true, relevant, relevant, and actionable. That’s what intelligence is.” (Crumpton, 2012). Every facet that he described contributes to what can possibly drive future strategies as well as operations. In my opinion the most important aspect of information from a source would be actionable. Mr. Crompton even expressed, what I perceived to be, frustration when General Franks informed him that it would not be possible to send forces in to the mountains of Tora Bora. While the in reality the failure lies on the military, I feel that the HUMINT provided was valuable because it was actionable to have possibly accomplished a task.
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The other aspect that Mr. Crumpton discussed was the morality of espionage. While it is established that espionage is illegal in all countries, I thought it was interesting to focus on what could be a challenge when recruiting a source (Clark, 2014, p. 51). Mr. Crumpton says that “…if we do not have human sources then we are not serving our nation; and that requires some judgements, not just operationally, but morally.” (Crumpton, 2012). I struggle to imagine how difficult it must be to find a person who might be willing to risk their life for the benefit of another country, or possibly only for personal financial gain (Clark, 2014, p. 53).
Classmate Discussion 2 (JT)
One point that I found particularly salient while watching Mr. Crumpton speak was when he said, “The lifeblood of espionage is the recruitment of human sources.” I definitely agree with this statement. Time and time again in our readings the point has been hammered home that a source must be reliable and credible. Flimsy sources lead to flimsy intelligence. When defining source credibility recruiters are the first line of defense. Ultimately it is up to them to find good, credible candidates who are willing to spy, have reasonable access to the information that is sought after, are trusted by their peers, and can handle the psychological toll that espionage can take on a person (Clark, 2014). Unlike other sources of intelligence where a source is readily available, like Imagery Intelligence (IMGINT) or Communication Intelligence (COMINT), the sources used in Human Intelligence (HUMINT) must be spotted, assessed, recruited, and vetted (Clark, 2014). Understandably, finding a good source and developing a working relationship with that source can take a considerable amount of time and resources, but once one is found the information that they provide can be invaluable. For example, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was provided intelligence by a Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB that the nuclear arsenal held by the Soviet Union was much smaller than originally believed. With this valuable intelligence President Kennedy was able to make his foreign policy more aggressive, ending in the naval quarantine of Cuba (Clark, 2014). No other form of intelligence (especially during this time period) could have provided this kind of information to the Intelligence Community (IC).
Classmate Discussion 3 (KF)
The first point that struck me was that Mr. Crumpton only wound up in the position he did and was able to have as much of an impact on the ground in Afghanistan as he did was his tenacity in championing a point of view that at the time wasn’t necessarily popular. Prior to entering Afghanistan, during his two years working at the Counter Terrorism Center he advocated having a stronger collection activity, more covert action, and greater overt military presence. This wasn’t a “hunch” or a “gut feeling”, this was the application of almost two decades of experience to a developing situation. He not only stuck to his guns, but put in the work, research, and analysis so that when the time came he was prepared to do the work. His response was “I’m ready”, not “I told you so.”
The second thing that struck me was his candor when speaking about spy recruitment. The moniker “spy” is colloquially applied to a broad spectrum of personnel across the IC, but when used in its truest sense, our spies are the foreign nationals that for whatever reason have decided to put everything on the line to offer us timely actionable intelligence. Basically, clandestine collection involves case officers (who are employees of a clandestine service) conducting espionage by recruiting and running agents (who are not employees). (Clark, 2014). It’s hard for us to imagine the duress it might take to turn on one’s lifelong allegiances, harder still to imagine recruiting someone else to do so. To put it in perspective, I imagine it going the other direction. Remember, to us criminals like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen were traitors, but to the KGB and the like they were valuable, cultivated HUMINT assets.
The effort it must take to bridge cultural, lingual, and ideological boundaries in order to align another person or group to one’s own goals must be all encompassing. The ethics must be over-arching. The relationships Mr. Crumpton built with his Afghani counterparts were built on a type of trust that can’t be bought. It was built on following through on promises to give timely, relevant, actionable assistance that in turn garnered timely, relevant, actionable intelligence and cooperation.