Agents & Assets
See Chris Cobar Article List at bottom of page.
Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #22 –
In the old days under J. Edgar the First, the Bureau single-mindedly selected Irish Catholics, preferably Jesuit-educated, as their agents of choice. It was the king’s firm belief that no good Irish, Catholic boy would ever knowingly betray his country.
While this particular prejudice did not persist, others still remain firmly in place. For example, Chinese Americans are still looked upon with disfavour and distrust.
This might be fine for the traditional down-and-dirty domestic dastardly deeds like bank robberies, fraud, organized crime and meth labs, but it does little good for CI (Counterintelligence) or CT (Counterterrorism). I sincerely doubt that there are a bunch of Jesuit colleges out there which teach Arabic, Pashtu or Farsi and explore our post 9/11 brave new world.
For America, until sometime during the 1980s, the world was divided into 2 halves: the FBI handled everything inside the American boundaries and the CIA handled everything outside the borders. This changed when the Bureau’s charter was amended to include all terrorist activities within the US and responsibility for the investigation of all terrorist acts committed worldwide against either American citizens or facilities.
It was also King Eddie’s edict that there would be no ‘specialization’ for any of his agents. Everyone would be a ‘generalist.’ If you had enough men, guns and time, you could always get your man. Again, this is fine for bank robberies, but it does not cut the mustard for CI or CT.
Equally deplorable and inconsiderate is the fact that our adversaries do not speak English as their primary language or in many cases any English at all. By definition, this means ‘specialization’ is mandatory since not every G-man speaks every known language.
It should be noted that the Bureau’s, or for that matter, the Agency’s, persistent paranoiac process for procuring agents has not smothered them in success, their highly vaunted ‘vetting’ be damned. To wit:
9 February 1994 CIA Official, Aldrich Ames, was arrested for spying for the Soviets/Russians.
16 November 1996 CIA Agent, Harold Nicholson, was arrested for spying for the Russians.
18 December 1996 Senior FBI Agent, Edwin Pitts, was arrested for spying for the Russians.
20 February 2001 Senior FBI Agent, Robert Hanssen, was arrested for spying for the Soviets/Russians
This is by no way all of them; others spied for Israel, Cuba and elsewhere. However it does give you a fair sampling. Let’s remember, these are only some of those whom we caught. Makes ya wonder about the others whom we didn’t catch.
Hello, intelligence community: to put it real simply, get off the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant/Catholic bit. We’re not at war with London or Dublin. Diversify and bring in some folk who actually speak the language and will pass for natives. You’ll find it immensely helpful.
Now we’re into the Asset phase of this article. This happens to be a favourite of mine, since I have been one for over two decades. I do personally prefer ‘asset’ to ‘snitch,’ ‘bait’ or ‘rat.’
In my particular case, after a few years of failed attempts, I was finally working and traveling in the Soviet Union. Through INS/Customs, this fact came to the attention of both the CIA and FBI. The CIA’s sales pitch stunk. So, as an insurance policy, I went with the FBI. The ‘Firm’ holds grudges. Despite all my less than complimentary comments about the Bureau, I do not regret my decision.
I had studied Russian and Russian history in school. The fact that I had studied tsarist Russian was not appreciated by the homeboys in Moscow. Our arch rival and nemesis had always fascinated me from the time as a tot when we had practiced diving under our desks at school in case of nuclear attack. (To this day, I have never understood what that was supposed to do.)
This was during the dying days of the USSR when ‘Glasnost’ and ‘Perestroika’ governed the Russkies and the concept of capitalism did not instantly earn you a bullet and a stone wall. The Soviet Union was running out of gas and money. At the time, besides being a traveling salesman, I also happened to be president of an international trade association. I have little doubt that this helped with my successful procurement of the Soviet visa.
While I had more than my fair share of KGB buddies following me everywhere and listening in on my phone calls, I enjoyed a lot more freedom of activity and movement than my fellow folk at the embassy. During one of my visits, Senator Kennedy showed up in Moscow. He had asked to visit a secret military city of roughly 1,000,000 people which did not show up on maps. He was denied. I was taken there; why I never knew and no one ever explained. For whatever reasons, it was way over my head.
Internationally, there is little-to-no separation between the public and private sectors. Generals are just as often businessmen. It is therefore not surprizing for traveling salesmen like myself to run into all sorts of ‘persons of interest’ (using the Bureau vernacular) who would normally avoid the government types. Simply put, we meet more folk with less supervision and a lot less suspicion than our DC denizens. Everyone’s interested in bucks; it breaks down a lot of barriers.
I know that I am not the only international businessman who cooperated with my government. I personally know of others, both American and foreign, who did the same thing.
As of last tally, there are approximately 450 international trade organizations in the United States, representing roughly 450,000 companies involved in international trade. After subtracting the freight forwarders, bankers, attorneys, freight insurers, there are still a sizeable number of traveling salesmen, who spend a lot of each year in their territory, working their turf. They probably know their area better than most of the embassy folk.
It would be a crime not to enlist them or at least ask for their assistance. They’ve already been there, done that and got the tee-shirt. Better still, they require little or no training and someone other than Uncle Sam is paying all the expenses. What’s not to like.
I’m damn sure that I’m not that unique.
Thanks for your comments, please keep them coming –
Please visit my new blog, www.terrorlog.com
P.S. For those of you who want more than a snappy synopsis of the whys and wherefores of 9/11, I refer you to www.intelwire.com. It is managed by a good friend, John Berger. He is a certified terrorist consultant, who documents his colons and commas. If it's there, you can take it to the bank.
Copyright 2010 Cook Communication