Monday, January 26, 2004

Intelligence reliability.
One key theme in the whole Kelly Imbroglio that we are unlikely to see resolved as touched on before here. Just how reliable is 'Intelligence' anyway. Some thoughts on this in the CIA Unclassified house journal ( Say what you will about the USA but its methods of handling Information are very different from the home life of our own dear Queen. Any sign of an equivalent resource in the UK?). Anyway, the journal has a regular review column 'The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf' and as an example this review was in January 2003:

No Room For Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran to Afghanistan. Col. John T. Carney, Jr., and Benjamin F. Schemmer. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2002. 334 pages.

review by Hayden Peake >>>>The title of this book will seem bizarre to anyone who has ever been associated with secret military operations, or civilian ones for that matter. The Desert One hostage rescue operation and the assault on Grenada make the point. Co-author John Carney was involved in both as part of the Air Force “Special Tactics Units” that he helped create, and which are the central focus of this book. Carney makes clear that Murphy’s Law applied in both operations. And he is candid about the blame in the case of Desert One: It did not fail because President Carter interfered, he writes, but because “the military hierarchy bungled it.” He goes on to tell how he came to form the Special Tactics Units—originally called Brand-X—and how they evolved to perform so well in Afghanistan with the Army’s Special Forces teams and the Navy’s SEALs. These were the elements that located and identified Taliban and al-Qaida targets, among other assignments. Before that, they participated in the Achille Lauro rescue in 1985, Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989, and the 1993 disaster in Mogadishu, Somalia. The authors discuss the reasons for these foul-ups, concluding that the main ones range from excessive compartmentalization to just plain human error. The reader may be excused for some confusion over the multitude of special units mentioned in the book, but that aside, the authors provide an interesting, though subjective, firsthand account of a mode of warfare that has had a crucial impact on military order of battle.<<< end review

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