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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/29/21

US Lacks Human Intelligence

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The latest example comes from our recent withdrawal catastrophe in Afghanistan. According to a BBC article from September 13, Secretary of State Blinken stated that "no US military or intelligence officials thought that Afghanistan would fall so quickly."

I call bullshit.

The Trump Administration had already made a deal with the Taliban in October, 2020, to hand over power and, very critically, they did not include the Afghan government in that deal. Common sense tells us that Trump's agreement proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US had no interest in helping the Afghan government. There was absolutely no reason for them to wait for the Taliban to kill them either in combat or in reprisal. H.R. McMaster, a former Trump national security adviser, said this: "Our secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban"

And don't give me that copout, "But Biden isn't Trump," bs. No one in Afghanistan sees any difference in US foreign policy based on the current resident of the White House. Don't forget that Obama was president during the surge in 2009 when we placed 100,000 troops there. The deadliest years for civilians were during his presidency. The Afghans haven't forgotten.


By definition, all intelligence agencies are primarily tasked with collecting information about potentially nefarious activities by people who wish to do harm to us regular folks. There are many ways to gather this information.

In this acronym-based world we live in, it has become popular to reduce all modern terms into a shortened and obfuscated replica which is primarily used to confuse the uninitiated and ensure higher salaries for the specialists. Thus, it is that intelligence gathering has been reduced to a suffix, -int, and a prefix consisting of the method of gathering involved. So technical intelligence gathering becomes TECHINT, signal intelligence becomes SIGINT, photographic intelligence becomes PHOTOINT (or IMINT, for image intelligence) and human intelligence, which includes common sense, becomes HUMINT. There's also COMINT, TELINT, ELINT, MASINT, OSINT, GEOINT and probably others.

The US has always prided itself on its intelligence gathering capabilities. We are constantly sending new and improved satellites into orbit to spy on everyone from outer space; laser microphones exist that can eavesdrop on conversations by listening to the vibrations on window panes; and there are devices that can connect to your phone without you knowing about it. We have created widgets for almost everything. There's a reason the US is known around the world as Gadgetland.

We are woefully ignorant in one type of intelligence gathering, however, and it has cost us dearly over the years. For some reason, the US, with all its money, power, sophistication and sageness, has never appreciated the most basic, fundamental and easiest of all collections, human intelligence, HUMINT. Our history is littered with failure after failure for underestimating the simplest of gathering technics, asking someone what's going on.

US sophisticated, college grad, trained specialist spy: "So tell me, what is our enemy planning?"

Foreign agent: "They have plans to do you in."

Spy: "And why should I believe you?"

Agent: "Because I can prove it. Here's how--

The above seems like a conversation that only occurs among intelligence agencies in all the other countries, not the US. Don't believe me. Then explain the following?

Korean War debacle

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66 year old Californian-born and bred male - I've lived in four different countries, USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela, and currently live in the Dominican Republic - speak three languages fluently, English, French, Spanish - have worked as a (more...)

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