ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign
The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005
Transition to a New Campaign
Intelligence and High-Value Target Operations
The Muhalla 636 Operation
One operation conducted by the 2d BCT, 1st AD, serves as an excellent example of how tactical-level units used intelligence operations to make a significant impact on the security environment in their AOR. In a high profile attack on 26 October 2003, insurgents fired 30 rockets at the Al Rasheed Hotel in northern Baghdad, a large building on the edge of the International Zone and the temporary home of diplomats and members of the press. The attack killed Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles H. Buehring and wounded a number of others. However, most of the occupants, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz who was visiting Baghdad, remained uninjured. The hotel was within the 2d BCT’s AOR, and Colonel Baker immediately ordered the Iraqi sources and contacts developed by the brigade’s subordinate units to begin collecting information about the attack.
Within 5 days, HUMINT pointed at an insurgent cell located in Muhalla (neighborhood) 636 in western Baghdad. After further developing its sources and information, the brigade had identified 22 individuals who were likely involved in the cell and determined their locations in the city.37 Baker then arranged for non-US personnel to confirm these locations, fearing the sudden appearance of Americans in the neighborhood would cause the alleged insurgents to flee. On 8 November, once surveillance confirmed locations and identities, the 2d BCT sent the Soldiers of two infantry companies, a cavalry troop, the brigade reconnaissance troop, and a battalion headquarters to raid 15 target sites. An FBI team accompanied the brigade units on these raids to gather critical materials, as did a brigade SSE team that included female Soldiers to search the Iraqi women who might be present on the objectives.
New Roles for the New Campaign
The 8 November operation yielded 36 suspected insurgents, 30 computers, and more than 100 boxes of documents that included fake passports and other identification cards. Brigade Soldiers also found weapons and materials to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs). After detention and questioning, brigade leaders determined that the operation had netted 7 members of the cell leadership, 7 Iraqis involved in financing the cell, 4 suppliers and recruiters, and 12 operators.38 In the 3 weeks that followed the raid, the brigade S2 section concentrated solely on interrogating the detained suspects, translating and analyzing the collected documents, and using link analysis—a proven police and intelligence technique of developing information on organized crime and insurgent organizations—to construct a picture of the insurgent cell and its relationships with external figures and agencies. Employing its organic intelligence Soldiers, an attached mobile interrogation team from the division, and daily coordination with the FBI and CIA, the brigade identified 12 additional alleged members of the cell.39 These suspects were picked up and further collection and analysis led the 2d BCT to determine that local businesses and mosques in the AOR had played a significant role in the activities of the insurgent network. A subsequent raid on one mosque, the Umm Tubal Mosque in Baghdad, yielded bomb-making material, insurgent financial records, and individuals suspected of having important roles in the insurgency.40
This intelligence operation, which essentially lasted for months following the initial attack on the Al Rasheed Hotel, had a significant impact on the security environment in Baghdad. The disruption of the cell led to an immediate decrease in IED and mortar attacks on American forces in Muhalla 636. In the long term, the operation greatly improved the 1st AD’s understanding of the organization, financing, and operations of insurgent networks in Baghdad. Colonel Baker’s Soldiers had accomplished these effects not with large-scale cordon and sweeps or other combat operations, but through their own carefully designed and synchronized intelligence operations.
Intelligence and the Transition to Full Spectrum Operations
The HUMINT Gap
Tactical Intelligence: The Paradigm Shifts
The Muhalla 636 Operation
The New Paradigm’s Growing Pains
Interrogation Operations in the Abu Ghraib Prison
Language and Culture
The Contributions of SIGINT and IMINT
High-Value Target Operations
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