October 1, 2001
Reliance on spy satellites and other technological means of intelligence gathering has "left a painfully vulnerable gap" in U.S. antiterrorism defenses, Rand Corp. Vp-External Affairs Bruce Hoffman told a recently created House Intelligence Subcommittee. However, he said there was "conspicuous absence of an overarching national strategy" and it would be "inaccurate if not delusory to write off the tragic events simply as an intelligence failure." Hoffman told Terrorism & Homeland Subcommittee Sept. 26 that "entire national security infrastructure" needed to be reconfigured in order to detect and prevent terrorism: "Eight of the 13 agencies responsible for intelligence collection report directly to the Secretary of Defense, who also controls their budgets, rather than to the Director of Central Intelligence. It is not surprising, therefore, that America's human intelligence assets have proved so anemic, given a military orientation that ineluctably feeds on technological intelligence such as measurement and signals intelligence, electronic intelligence and signals intelligence collected by spy satellites orbiting the planet." John Pike, former project dir., Federation of American Scientists, recently took similar stance (SW Sept 24 p3) on nation's Cold War-era technical information collection architecture. However, he said "satellites are absolutely critical in planning" military strikes in retaliation for terrorist attacks. New subcommittee, which was created last month (SW Sept 24 p9) to investigate attacks, is exploring ways to bolster coordination of satellite and human intelligence to prevent future terrorist action.
Copyright 2001 Warren Publishing, Inc.