Commentary

August 23, 2012

The Art of Intelligence:

Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service

Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff

I’m not a fan of fiction novels, and books like this one are a prime example of why real life is so much better.

Henry A. Crumpton’s memoir is an account of his 24 years as one of our country’s frontline clandestine warriors, from his beginnings recruiting operatives and collecting intelligence throughout Africa, to leading the Central Intelligence Agency’s initial push in Afghanistan, days after the attacks 9/ 11.

While you may think this is a “look at me, look what I did, I’m so cool” sort of a book, I assure you it is not. It is a rare look inside one of America’s most secret of societies, one of our most vital assets in today’s War on Terror. The CIA is an agency that’s business necessitates working in the shadows and avoiding the limelight while conducting their life saving and life altering deeds.

The vast majority of us will never comprehend how many times the CIA has saved American lives, including many in the CIA. It’s all compartmentalized for security reasons. This is one man’s story of how he and his team shaped the conflict in Afghanistan and pioneered the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles.

In January 2000, the National Security Council directed the CIA to locate and track Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In the risk-averse world before 9/11, neither the Pentagon nor the CIA’s leadership could fathom allowing even limited forces in northern Afghanistan or neighboring countries to carry out the directive. At the time, Crumpton and a small group of other CIA officials pushed “a reluctant and even suspicious interagency bureaucracy” toward the position that unmanned aerial vehicles could provide a viable solution.

The CIA found a Predator drone, which had seen some service over Bosnia, gathering dust at an Air Force base and moved it to a base in Uzbekistan. After a human source revealed bin Laden’s location near Kandahar, in a now-famous incident the Predator’s cameras zoomed in on a ‘tall man dressed in white.’ (Bin Laden was pretty tall, if that gives you a hint.) “Holy Mother of God,” said one of the operatives watching the video-stream, realizing who he was looking at. But this was before Predator was armed. It would take six hours for cruise missiles fired from the Indian Ocean to hit the target, and the Clinton White House balked.

That failure to strike led to a renewed fight over arming the Predator, and as Crumpton writes, “Many were resistant to the notion that the CIA should have such lethal capability and authority.”  As we now know, the Predator was eventually armed.

Crumpton admits that he often worked against the terrorists in a “barely bounded rage,” but who can blame him. He was working against Al-Qaeda before it was a household name.

The very title of the book is an homage to Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and former CIA director Allan Dulles’ “The Craft of Intelligence.” As Crumpton writes in the book’s forward, his purpose is to educate the public on the importance of intelligence in today’s unsure world, rife with threats from non-state terrorists. With current budget frustrations throughout the government, Crumpton makes a justifiable stand and valid point: We need intelligence.

This book is a worthwhile read to say the least, and will help readers better understand and appreciate America’s shadow warriors.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
sterling-yuma

Sterling Global Operations completes U.S. Navy project to clear munitions, firing range and target debris from Arizona Marine Corps Air Station range

Sterling Global Operations, Inc., in a two-year project for the U.S. Navy, removed or recycled some 5.9 million pounds of munitions, firing range and target debris from Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Ariz. Sterling Global re...
 
 

US Army, Raytheon achieve first inflight lethal intercept of low quadrant elevation rocket

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Raytheon successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. “Beginning only 18 months...
 
 

Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...
 

 

New Navy vessel named after Yuma

The U.S. Navy has decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary...
 
 
DoD

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...
 
 
DoD
WEBarmy-jltv2

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin