1:12 PM 11/13/2017 – Is the FBI capable of handling the counterintelligence matters? – by Michael Novakhov 

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Is the FBI capable of handling the counterintelligence matters, in its present structure, and as a matter of personnel selection, their education, training, and the FBI’s institutional culture? The record does not look impressive.

Is there something structurally wrong? Would the new forms of the workforce organization be helpful? Should the Counterintelligence Services and Forces be grouped directly under the ODNI, and it’s central apparatus, and in greater collaboration with other related services? What should be the strategic directions? Rethinking, reconceptualization and the reorganization might be the more healthy alternatives to the present structure, which appears to be largely dysfunctional, for a number of reasons, still not formulated, analyzed, and comprehended properly. 

“Critics claim that the FBI’s law-enforcement structure is inadequate for twenty first century counterintelligence realities and should be replaced by a separate service staffed by counterintelligence officers, presumably with no law-enforcement powers.”

“The need for proactive and preventive approach, combined with a lesser visibility and a lesser emphasis on the formal law enforcement functions as compared with the counterintelligence functions proper, was advocated by the researchers:

“The third quality essential to counterintelligence operation is a preventive disposition. As Christopher Andrew has noted, a counterintelligence organization may be better evaluated by preventing spies from gaining any foothold than by the number of spies caught.(343) MI5 has always aimed to prevent threats from materializing. This is most evident in the Service’s
penchant for running double agents in general and in the Double Cross System in specific. Having double agents in place within target organizations can prevent any success on the part of
that organization and the strategic deception on D-Day obviated the bulk of Nazi forces and prevented countless allied casualties. The FBI’s most notable cases of preventive counterintelligence or counter-terrorism operation are more recent, particularly after Director Mueller’s concerted drive to push the Bureau in this direction.(344) The Bureau’s rise to the
challenge posed by terrorism will absolutely require it to become more preventive because the FBI cannot wait for terrorists to be successful before they apprehend them.

Finally, and most crucially, the Bureau must become more preventive and proactive in contrast to its established preference for reactive law enforcement.(345) This quality is at the heart of counterintelligence and counter-terrorism and will absolutely be the most difficult change for the
Bureau. If the FBI can make this cultural shift, it will be able to prevent and counter intelligence and terrorist threats just as well as any other organization, including MI5.”

And this is not to say that the MI5 is any more successful in its counterintelligence efforts (recently) than the FBI. 

By the way, and interestingly enough, the Russian Counterintelligence Services, starting from their very inception in 1920-s and the “Operation Trust“, emphasized and practiced the sophisticated and aggressive proactive and preventive approach, it was the matter of the very survival for them. It looks that their counterintelligence operations outgrew and expanded into the intelligence operations proper. The recent events might be the confirmation of this thesis, just like the recent expansion of the FSB mandate into the foreign activities and operations. 

How far will this approach take them eventually, and how successful it will be in the present circumstances, is very much the open question, projected into the future. This approach is the result and function of their deep historical insecurity. But it is quite effective apparently, and it should be studied, understood and comprehended, and reciprocated with the comprehensive multiplications. The resources are there, the resolve and will are needed, the qualities that apparently are lacking lately, after the ill-conceived and the counterproductive euphoria of 1990-s. 

Do catch their arrows and send them back to them, with the overwhelming force and the well thought out strategic determination.

Michael Novakhov 

11.13.17 

Links

FBI and Counterintelligence – 11.14.17

fbi-future

The Future of FBI Counterintelligence Through the Lens of the Past Hundred Years

Essay by Raymond J. Batvinis, PhD in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, edited by Loch K. Johnson, reprinted by permission


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