Archive for March, 2012


March 29, 2012

The factors that could influence an Israeli decision to attack Iranian nuclear targets and the implications of such an act were assessed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.  The report surveys the multiple dimensions of the issue at length, though it does not appear to provide much new information or original analysis.  See Israel: Possible Military Strike Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities, March 27, 2012.

Other new or updated CRS reports that Congress has not made directly available to the public include the following.

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, March 23, 2012

Fact Sheet: The FY2013 State and Foreign Operations Budget Request, March 19, 2012

Foreign Assistance to North Korea, March 20, 2012

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, March 23, 2012

Cybersecurity: Selected Legal Issues, March 14, 2012

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, March 7, 2012

French spy agency denies Toulouse gunman was an informant

March 29, 2012

Mohammed Merah
France’s domestic intelligence agency has denied allegations, made by its former Director, that it employed as an informant the militant Islamist who recently killed seven people in Toulouse. Yves Bonnet, who headed France’s DCRI between 1982 and 1985, made the allegation in an interview with La Dépêche du Midi, one of France’s largest regional newspapers, headquartered in Toulouse. He was speaking about Mohammed Merah, the self-confessed al-Qaeda militant who died in a police assault on his flat last week. He was traced there after he murdered seven people, including three children and three soldiers, in three separate attacks. Speaking to La Dépêche on Tuesday, Bonnet said that Merah “was known to the DCRI, not especially because he was an Islamist, but because he kept contact with a correspondent [officer] in domestic intelligence”. By “correspondent in domestic intelligence”, Bonnet meant that Merah had a handler inside the DCRI, who met with him on a regular basis. But Bonnet’s claim was forcefully rejected on the same day by Bernard Squarcini, the current Director of the DCRI —France’s equivalent of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. Squarcini confirmed that Merah did in fact meet with a DCRI officer in November in 2011. But he said that the meeting was arranged so that the DCRI officer could interview Merah about his trips to Afghanistan, which he entered in 2010 and 2011 using a tourist visa. Squarcini denied that this meeting designated Merah as an informant, and specifically stated that the self-styled al-Qaeda militant “was not employed as an informant by the DCRI or by any other French intelligence agency”. Earlier this week it emerged that Merah’s frequent trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan had caused Washington to include his name on a no-fly list reserved for suspected Islamist militants. A host of French politicians and state officials have expressed support for the DCRI and its leadership, in light of criticism issued by the French media for the agency’s failure to capture Merah before he killed seven people in Toulouse. Late last week, French Minister of the Interior, Claude Geant, said that Merah was one of “a lot of suspects who are followed by the DCRI [because they are] involved in Islamist radicalism”, and argued that “expressing [radical] ideas or exhibiting salafist views are not in themselves sufficient to lead to detention” under French law.

Israel ‘conducts espionage incursions into Iran from Kurdish Iraq’

March 27, 2012

Kurds in the Iran-Iraq border region

Israeli intelligence services are routinely using an undisclosed base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch regular intelligence missions into Iran, according to The Sunday Times. The London-based newspaper cited unnamed “Western intelligence sources” in alleging that Israeli commandos and highly trained special forces members have been conducting cross-border operations from northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan province. But, says the paper, these risky intelligence missions have been intensified to an unprecedented degree in the past few months, as the Israelis are desperately seeking “smoking gun evidence” to convince the United States and the United Nations that Iran is actively constructing a nuclear warhead. The Israelis, according to the Times, deploy twelve-member fully armed teams into Iran on modified Black Hawk helicopters, which are able to fly for approximately 500 miles without needing to refuel. After landing into Iran, the Israeli commandos, who are usually in Iranian military uniforms, are transported to target locations in vehicles made to look like those used by the Iranian military. Their target destinations include Iranian military complexes such as that in Parchin, located 19 miles southeast of Tehran. The Times claims that the Israeli commando teams have also been to Fordow, near Qum, a heavily guarded former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base that houses an underground uranium enrichment facility. The article claims that, once they reach their destination, the Israeli commando teams use “sensitive equipment” to monitor levels of radioactivity and record the magnitude of any explosives tests that might be carried out at those locations. IntelNews has paid particular attention over the years to reports of alleged cooperation between Israeli intelligence agencies and Kurdish groups in Iraq and elsewhere. In September of 2010, Lebanese authorities arrested three members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near Beirut and charged them with spying for Israel. In January of 2011, leading French newspaper Le Figaro cited a “security source in Baghdad” who alleged that members of Israeli intelligence were operating in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. The source said that the Israelis, who were allegedly members of the Mossad, Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency, were actively recruiting Iranian dissident exiles in Kurdistan. Later that same month, Turkish intelligence agencies authored a report detailing Israeli assistance to Kurdish rebels. The report claimed that airborne intelligence collected by Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicles was being shared with PKK guerrillas.

Intelligence News YOU may have missed

March 27, 2012

Mohammed Merah

►►Ex-NASA scientist gets 13 years for spying for Israel. Former US government scientist Stewart Nozette was once on the cutting edge of space exploration, but he will spend 13 years in prison for trying to sell some of his country’s most closely guarded secrets. In 2009 Nozette sought to sell classified information to someone he thought was an Israeli Mossad officer but was in fact an FBI agent in an undercover sting operation. As intelNews explained back in 2010, Nozette was not simply a Mossad agent-wannabe, but had actually passed information to Israel in the past.
►►French intel under fire over Toulouse gunman. The French government went on the defensive last week amid questions over why its intelligence service had failed to deal with Mohammed Merah. The self-confessed al-Qaeda militant died in a police assault on his flat last Thursday, where he was tracked down after murdering seven people, including three children and three soldiers, in a series of attacks. With hindsight, Merah’s past appears to make him an obvious suspect —he had at least 15 criminal convictions, some with violence, had become a radical Islamist and travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. One press report said that in 2010 Merah forced a youth to watch videos of al-Qaeda hostage beheadings. When the boy’s mother complained, Merah allegedly attacked her, putting her in hospital for several days.

►►Ex-Mossad chief says Israel will know when Iran begins producing nukes. Former Mossad head Meir Dagan said he believes Israel will be aware when Iran moves to the stage of nuclear weapon production —for example, enriching uranium to a degree of 90 percent. Dagan said that at that stage Israel would have to attack the Iranian nuclear sites if the international community does not stop its program. Dagan said he believed the Israeli Air Force has the capability to significantly damage Iran’s nuclear sites, yet repeated previous warnings that such a strike will have serious repercussions.

James Bamford

►►NSA chief denies domestic spying allegations. In a rare break from the NSA’s tradition of listening but not speaking, National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander was grilled last week on the topic of eavesdropping on Americans in front of a House subcommittee. The questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) was prompted by Wired magazine’s cover story earlier this month on the NSA’s growing reach and capabilities. But author James Bamford (photo) and NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake insist that the NSA is quietly building America’s the largest spy center in Utah, as part of a secret domestic surveillance program codenamed STELLAR WIND.

►►NY police says it monitored Iran operatives taking photos. Speaking before the US House Homeland Security Committee, Michael Silber, director of New York Police Department Intelligence Analysis, said New York City Police have observed Iranian operatives photographing key

transportation sites at least six times since September 11, 2001. He gave an example of six men on an East River sightseeing cruise in 2005, who paired off with maps and cell phones while taking photographs and videos of the bridges over the river. The NYPD determined each was on the payroll of Iranian government, one employed at Iran’s mission to the United Nations.
►►Major Canadian Cold War era mole hunt operation revealed. Newly released archival records show that even the cream of Canada’s foreign service was not immune from scrutiny in a top secret RCMP investigation known as Operation FEATHER BED. The probe, which stretched from the late 1950s into the 1970s, saw RCMP security branch investigators pore over the backgrounds of possible Communist sympathizers in the public service and political sphere —including a future Mountie spy chief. There is no evidence the highly confidential investigation ever identified a Soviet agent.

Tactics 101: Reconnaisance, Part 1: the Foundations

March 26, 2012


The Foundations

“Single men in the night will be more likely to ascertain facts than the best glasses in the day.”

General George Washington

In our last article we shifted gears a bit and discussed NEO. Our goal was not to make anyone an expert, but to provide you enough detail so you would be conversant in the subject. With that said, we addressed the following: 1) Definition. 2) The possible environments you may face in a NEO. 3) The key players in a NEO. And our focus – the phases of a NEO (Predeployment, Deployment, Evacuation, Withdrawal, and Safehaven Operations). In today’s world, NEOs are becoming all too frequent and each brings its’ own unique set of challenges.


Our focus for the next several months will be on reconnaissance operations. We will dissect the subject in detail. This will include the fundamentals of recon, the planning of reconnaissance, the actions you should take to prepare for a recon operation, and executing reconnaissance. As you are all well aware, reconnaissance has been the difference between winning and losing in countless battles throughout history. We hope to provide you with some ‘nuggets’ that you can utilize on your battlefield. Let’s move out.

To begin our discussion, let’s start with what reconnaissance is:
Reconnaissance operations are missions conducted to obtain information in three areas:

1) the activities and resources or your enemy (or potential enemy),
2) the weather, water, or geographic characteristics of a particular area,
3) the indigenous population of a particular area.

This information can be obtained by several means:

1) passive surveillance (covertly or overtly),
2) technical means,
3) human interaction,
4) fighting for it.

Most aspects of tactics have some key fundamentals attached to them. Reconnaissance operations are no different. There are several key fundamentals that are characteristic of most successful recon missions. These should guide you through the planning, preparation, and execution of your reconnaissance missions. Let’s address each of these in detail.

Reconnaissance is Continuous
There are no breaks in recon operations. Relax a bit and you have practically handed the initiative over to the enemy. Not only does it hurt you in executing your future operations, but it also greatly affects your security. Continuous reconnaissance means you conduct it before, during, and after any mission. During each of these periods, the focus of reconnaissance will change. Before a mission, you are collecting information which assists you in crafting a viable plan. During the mission, you collect information that assists the Commander in decision-making. After the mission, you continue recon so you maintain contact with the enemy. Breaks in contact result in surprises – bad surprises!
Conducting continuous recon can obviously place a burden on your assets. We will discuss in our next article ways in which you mitigate this.

Keep your Recon Assets Employed
One of the key fundamentals of reconnaissance is that you do not keep your assets in reserve. This is not to say that, depending on the type of asset, rest is not required. What we are saying is that if a recon asset is available and capable it should be utilized.

You must have an Objective
Your recon assets are extremely valuable. You do not send them out without a focus. This focus could be on the enemy, terrain or on the civilian populace. The Commander must determine this focus by providing recon assets objectives. These objectives should be tied to the Commander’s Priority Intelligence Requirements [2] (CCIR). In this case, the recon objective corresponds directly to an information requirement. A group of answered information requirements should enable the Commander to answer the CCIR. As you know from the highlighted article, CCIR is tied to one of the Commander’s key decisions. So let’s summarize this: recon objective >information requirement>CCIR>Commander’s Decision. This is why it is so important to provide focus to your assets.

Reconnaissance Information Must be Reported Quickly and Accurately
The term ‘time sensitive information’, is thrown out there quite often. Nowhere is this more pertinent than in reconnaissance operations. Unlike some things, recon information does not get better with age. In most cases, it loses its’ importance as each second goes by. This is because, as stated in the above paragraph, reconnaissance information is ultimately tied to a commander’s decision.

In regards to reporting accurately, this speaks for itself. An inaccurate report can have disastrous results. Again, recon info is ultimately tied to a commander’s decision. Inaccurate info leads to a poor commander’s decision and bad ramifications. Reports must be solely on what the asset sees on the ground. For example, there are 12 tanks idling in an assembly area located at Grid 12345678, time now. The recon asset does not provide any analysis. Let the people who do this for a living conduct the analysis.

Recon Assets Must Retain Their Freedom of Maneuver
One of the cardinal rules of scouts is don’t get decisively engaged. When this occurs, the scout turns into a maneuver unit. This is not good for the home team. Bad things happen when scouts turn into fighters. This includes: 1) The potential to suffer casualties. 2) The potential to have vehicles and equipment damaged. 3) The potential to have Soldiers and/or equipment captured. 4) The possibility that this combat could alert the enemy that future operations are imminent. 5) Of course, the loss of information that could be key in the commander’s decision-making process.

With all that said, it is imperative that recon assets retain their freedom of maneuver. So how do you achieve this? Well, there are several things that can assist in this. First, an understanding of the enemy is crucial. Knowing his tendencies and the equipment he possesses can assist you in retaining maneuver freedom. Second, an understanding of the terrain is critical. Obviously, there is terrain that is conducive to maneuver and there is some that is not. Third, utilize your multipliers to stay out of trouble. Thus, instead of getting decisively engaged with your assets; use indirect fires instead.

Gain Contact and Maintain it
This may seem like a contradiction to the above, but this is a very different fundamental. Gaining contact with the enemy does not mean physical contact. What it does mean is that you have eyes on the enemy. These eyes can be of the human variety or via technology.

When this contact is achieved; you must maintain it. Contact is not broken unless authorized by the Commander. Again, maintaining contact can mean breaking physical contact, but keeping surveillance via ‘eyes’. Of all the fundamentals, this is clearly one of the most challenging to achieve. Clearly, the better the unit, the better the ability to succeed in this fundamental. The poorer the unit, the more the likelihood that combat ensues when the attempt is made to break physical contact.

When a Situation Arises; Develop it Rapidly
Just as in most situations on the battlefield, it is critical that recon assets develop the situation rapidly. Split second decisions are the norm in recon operations. When a situation develops on the ground, the leader on the ground makes a decision with the information he has at his disposal. This is why in most units; the position of leading recon assets is highly coveted and highly competitive.

Obviously, this fundamental is tied to many of the previously discussed fundamentals. Developing the situation rapidly assists in reporting info quickly, maintaining freedom of maneuver, and gaining and maintaining contact.

Within reconnaissance operations, there are two techniques that are utilized. These are reconnaissance push and reconnaissance pull. The main difference in the two techniques is at what stage of operation reconnaissance is being conducted. We’ll discuss each below.

Reconnaissance Push – In a reconnaissance push, the commander sends out his assets after he has decided on a plan. Thus, he is pushing his assets out in order to gain information that will assist him in fighting this plan. Within this plan, he may have some critical decision points that he will require information in order to answer. As stated earlier, this information should ultimately be tied to a commander’s decision.

Reconnaissance Pull – In a reconnaissance pull, the commander sends out his assets before he has decided on his plan. Thus, he is deploying his assets to pull information so he can craft his plan. In a reconnaissance pull, the situation is normally unclear or the situation is rapidly changing.

As a point of clarification, a particular recon asset could certainly execute both types of techniques during the same mission. For example, the asset could be initially deployed to garner information early in the planning process (reconnaissance pull). Later, once a plan is approved, the same unit could provide information to assist in decision-making (reconnaissance push). In a perfect world, the asset could stay in virtually the same location and not break contact with the enemy.

A Commander has several methods available to him to conduct recon. These methods are dismounted, mounted, aerial, and sensor .Certainly, the type of unit and the technology available have a large part in the particular methods available. Commanders who have all of these methods at their disposal will certainly utilize them all for redundancy, flexibility, and to capitalize on the strengths of each. Let’s address each of these. Our discussion will include when you would use this method and its’ advantages and disadvantages.

Dismounted –When detailed information is required and being stealthy is critical; then dismounted recon is clearly a preferred method. It is however, certainly the most time consuming of the methods.

So when would you utilize dismounted recon? Here are some reasons:

  • As stated before, when security and stealthyness are at a premium.
  • As stated earlier, when you want detailed information.
  • When you have time available to send out dismounted recon.
  • When the information you require is located at a fixed location, terrain feature, or is a stationary threat.
  • When the information you require is at a location in which mounted recon cannot maneuver to. This may be because of the terrain or the enemy threat.
  • When the information you require is at a location where sensors or aerial methods would not be effective.
  • When simply the other methods are not available, the old reliable dismounted recon should always be there for you.
  • If there are confirmed enemy near fixed locations or terrain features.


  • It is inherently a less aggressive method vice mounted recon. This can assist in survivability.
  • Can take advantage of certain types of terrain during maneuver to their objective.
  • If well-trained, dismounted recon can be extremely hard to detect.
  • Can get in much closer to an objective without detection than other methods.
  • Can conduct highly detailed recon.


  • If discovered, can have a challenge breaking contact against certain types of enemy.
  • It just takes longer to maneuver. Must always be a consideration.
  • May have communications challenges based on the distances and the equipment the dismounted assets possess.
  • Planning time can be significant (especially planning the maneuver to the objective).
  • During limited visibility, may have visual challenges in finding information.
  • If the maneuver to the objective is challenging, this may affect recon assets both physically and mentally. This can have a negative effect on their ability to find information.
  • If poorly trained, dismounted recon can be extremely easy to detect.

Mounted –
So when would you utilize mounted recon? Here are some reasons:

  • When time is clearly at a premium.
  • The maneuver distance to the recon objective is significant.
  • Stealthiness is not a prime consideration.
  • The terrain during the maneuver and near the objective is conducive to concealing vehicles.
  • The type of information required may not be as detailed as other types. As discussed earlier, detailed information is usually better found by dismounted means.


  • The vehicle can offer protection for soldiers.
  • The vehicle can provide additional firepower if needed.
  • The vehicles can be equipped with high speed navigation devices which can assist in getting to the recon objective.
  • The vehicles will normally have good communication devices.
  • Recon vehicles can be equipped with technology which can afford them to gain information farther from their objective than dismounted assets.
  • Mounted recon can gain the advantages of dismounted recon when soldiers dismount the vehicle once they get closer to the recon objective. Thus, you can get the best of both methods.


  • Detection is more probable than other methods. Detection can be visually, from noise, or even from a thermal signature which a vehicle can produce.
  • Vehicles add complexity to supply and maintenance operations.
  • Sometimes vehicles can give soldiers a false sense of security and make them take risks they otherwise would not have.
  • Mounted recon operations are more likely to result in combat than dismounted recon ops. As discussed earlier, you do not want your recon assets to get decisively engaged.
  • Terrain certainly has an impact on maneuverability and can make it challenging for a vehicle to get to certain locations.

Aerial – Before we get into the particulars of aerial recon, remember that within the category exist both manned and unmanned assets. As you know, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are truly a key asset in today’s environment.

So when would you utilize aerial recon? Here are some reasons:

  • When information is needed quickly.
  • The location of the potential information is too far for ground assets to maneuver to.
  • The ground recon assets (mounted and dismounted) are not available for the mission.
  • If you want to confirm information obtained from other methods.
  • To set the conditions for the other methods. Perhaps, this means flying over a route that ground recon wants to use.
  • The enemy threat is too dangerous for ground assets.
  • The location of the potential information contains terrain too complex for ground recon assets.
  • Weather is conducive for aviation.


  • It can compensate for some of the disadvantages of the other methods. Thus, if used in combination it increases the effectiveness of your overall recon efforts.
  • Relatively unaffected by terrain. Although a smart enemy clearly understands how to camouflage itself from aerial view.
  • Can get information from locations that other methods cannot get to.
  • Are good at locating enemy assets in dead space.
  • Of course, UAVs do not run the risk of casualties.


  • If the enemy possesses a good air defense system, these assets can be destroyed.
  • An advanced enemy may possess technology which can degrade aerial capabilities.
  • Obviously, can be highly weather dependent.
  • May have challenges observing small stationary elements.
  • Can be significant coordination between ground and air elements.
  • May not get the detail in the information you need.
  • UAVs and manned aircraft are highly vulnerable to enemy attack when they are flying at lower altitudes.
  • High maintenance in manned and unmanned craft.

Sensor – Sensors have been around forever. In earlier years, they were primarily utilized in the security role. For example, stringing tin cans outside the perimeter to warn the unit of intruders was a rudimentary security action. With technology, sensors have moved as a viable recon method. They can be positioned nearly anywhere and can track maneuver and actions. Sensors can communicate images back to the commander. At one time, this was Start Wars stuff, now pretty ordinary, but still extraordinary!

So when would you utilize sensor recon? Here are some reasons:

  • If you do not have the other methods available to utilize.
  • When you want to observe a location for a significant period of time.
  • If you want a cue so you can then employ other recon methods.
  • If you want redundancy in certain key locations.
  • With the various types of sensors, some can be utilized to conduct reconnaissance of areas which you believe may be exposed to chemical or biological agents.


  • Is the longest duration method. Once in place, can be functional for an extended period of time.
  • Can greatly expand the coverage of your recon.
  • Economizes your other assets so they can be used in other areas or at the times that are critical.
  • They can take away the risk of sending soldiers to locations in which the enemy may be located.
  • Provides flexibility for a commander in his recon operations.


  • An enemy with the capabilities can seriously degrade the effectiveness of sensors.
  • Many types of sensors need to be placed by human hands. Thus, there are security concerns depending on where you want to emplace the sensor.
  • Related to above, with the ever changing environment; the location you originally emplaced the sensor may be no longer be where it is needed.


There are four forms of reconnaissance that a Commander can utilize. The key determination in what form to use is what type of information you are trying to gather. Let’s discuss each below.

Route – A route recon focuses on providing information on a specific route such as a trail, road, railway, or even a mobility corridor. These routes are almost always routes in which the unit will or plans to utilize in the future. This information includes things such trafficability, obstacles, bridge classifications, and any enemy or civilian activity on the routes. Within a route recon you will also require the asset conducting the recon to provide info on the terrain near the route which could influence maneuver. A route recon should include the following:

  • Report locations of all enemy forces that can impact maneuver on the route. (If it is within capabilities of the recon force, clear the route of those forces. As discussed earlier, forces cannot get decisively engaged – truly a fine line!).
  • Determine the trafficability of the route. Report if it can be utilized for maneuver or just as importantly, if it cannot.
  • Recon the route as if you were the enemy. With this mindset, you will report choke points, potential ambush sites, observation posts, drop zones, landing zones, etc…
  • Recon any built-up areas that are located along the route.
  • Recon any areas that you know or believe to be contaminated. If the unit possesses the capabilities, it should mark the contaminated area.
  • Bridges are critical in any maneuver. During a route recon, you must determine the classification of all bridges. In other words, determine what vehicles can use the bridge and what vehicles cannot.
  • Water obstacles along a route can be trouble. A route recon should first see if the water is fordable. If not fordable, determine if there are bypasses available for maneuver. Finally, if the first two are a negative, then report possible locations to construct a bridge (if feasible).
  • Locate obstacles (natural and manmade) along the route. Units may be tasked to breach and mark any obstacles.
  • Provide a sketch map (with pictures if feasible) of the route.

Area – An area recon is focused on obtaining information (on the enemy, terrain or civilian populace) on a certain area the commander dictates. An area could encompass many different things. It may be a town, an airfield/landing strip, potential drop zone/landing zone, a particular bridge, etc…. I think you get the idea that it can be almost anything. However, with a caveat that it is something that is important to the commander. After all, if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t expend the resources to obtain the information.

Within an area reconnaissance, you are basically conducting the same type of tasks as we discussed in the route reconnaissance. The main difference in the two is the perspective. Within the route recon, you are clearly focused on the maneuver aspects. Within the area recon, you are obtaining info on a particular area which will likely have major significance in the overall mission.

Zone – A zone recon is focused on obtaining information (on the enemy or terrain) on a particular zone dictated by the commander. The zone will be articulated by boundaries. This zone could contain a route or routes and an area/areas. Thus, it is the encompassing of all the forms of recon.

A commander will decide a zone recon is needed when he requires more info on a zone in which he anticipates maneuvering in the future. At the present time, the commander has little information on the enemy and the terrain. Thus, the requirement for the zone recon.

As you can imagine, the zone recon can be extremely time consuming and resource intensive. It cannot be done on the cheap. If it is, it will likely result in not obtaining the information the commander requires and the potential for significant casualties certainly increases. Again, the overall tasks for units conducting a zone recon are basically the same as discusses above.

Reconnaissance in Force – A form of recon that is normally not considered a form is a reconnaissance in force. In a reconnaissance in force, a unit maneuvers a force in an offensive operation against his enemy. This force is normally at least battalion size in strength. This action is generated to assist in determining the enemy’s strength, disposition of his forces, and how he reacts to your initiative. This reaction can be invaluable in analyzing what the enemy’s future actions will be.

So when would you execute a reconnaissance in force? Obviously, this is a significant expenditure of resources. Yet, there are times when a commander should consider conducting a recon in force. These include: 1) If the commander just simply can’t obtain critical information he requires by any other means available. 2) Because of restrictive terrain, the commander does not feel he can deploy smaller units without fear that they will be ambushed and take heavy losses.

A recon in force must have clearly understood recon objectives. These objectives are almost always enemy related and not terrain related. Recon forces must be focused on these objectives. Certainly in an operation like this it is a challenge to not have this mission turn into an attack. If it becomes this, the results could be disastrous. Again, forces are there to obtain information on the enemy for the commander.

In this article, we strived to provide you the basics of recon operations. These basics included addressing the definition of reconnaissance, the key fundamentals of recon, the two techniques of conducting reconnaissance, the methods available (or potentially available) to conduct recon, and finally the four forms of reconnaissance. These basics will set the conditions for our next article.

With the conditions set, we will dissect the keys to planning, preparing, and executing reconnaissance operations. For those, who think you just send out assets on a whim you will be very surprised. There is much planning and preparation whenever you decide to deploy a recon asset. There must be because these recon assets can obtain information that clearly aids a commander in achieving his mission. We will discuss how you can make the most out of our reconnaissance efforts.

Intelligence News YOU may missed (analysis edition)

March 24, 2012

Tal Dekel

►►Egypt struggles to advance spy satellite program. Since Egyptian technicians lost touch two years ago with an observation satellite they hoped would help carry the country into the “space club”, the country has struggled to make progress in gaining intelligence satellite capabilities, but it remains committed to the program. This is according to Tal Dekel, a research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security. He said few are aware of the extent of Egypt’s satellite program: “People talk about the Iranians, but no one talks about Egypt’s program, which includes much more than a satellite”.
►►China spying on Taiwan despite thaw. When Taiwanese security personnel detained a suspected spy for China at a top secret military base last month, they may have had a sense of déjà vu. Four suspected spies have been detained in Taiwan during the last fourteen months. The cases show that China is seeking information about systems that are integral to Taiwan’s defenses and built with sensitive US technology. A major breach could make Taiwan more vulnerable to Chinese attack.

►►US intel says water shortages threaten stability. Competition for increasingly scarce water in the next decade will fuel instability in regions such as South Asia and the Middle East that are important to US national security, according to an intelligence report from the US Director of National Intelligence. The report, drafted principally by the Defense Intelligence Agency, reflects a growing emphasis in the US intelligence community on how environmental issues such as water shortages, natural disasters and climate change may affect US security interests.

Libya’s spy chief was lured by French-Mauritanian intelligence trap

March 24, 2012

Abdullah al-Senussi

The arrest of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s spy chief in Mauritania last week was the culmination of a carefully planned French intelligence operation, which was secretly aided by the Mauritanian government, according to informed insiders. Abdullah al-Senussi, Colonel Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, who used to head the Mukhabarat el-Jamahiriya, Libya’s intelligence agency, was captured at the Nouakchott International Airport in the Mauritanian capital on March 17. He was detained as soon as he arrived there on a chartered flight from Mali. He had previously entered Mali from Niger, and was reportedly under the government’s protection. But the ongoing uprising of the pro-Gaddafi Tuareg in the north of the country, which has now resulted in a military coup in Bamako, caused the former Libyan spy chief to seek refuge elsewhere. According to a well-researched article by Reuters news agency, al-Senussi was gradually convinced to travel to Mauritania by the al-Me’edani clan, a pro-Gaddafi nomadic tribe that had previously worked for the Libyan security agencies and whose members had been given Libyan nationality by Colonel Gaddafi’s regime. The clan, says the Reuters article, was persuaded to turn its back on al-Senussi as part of a behind-the-scenes agreement between French and Mauritanian intelligence agencies. The deal was struck after a high-level agreement between the Nicolas Sarkozy government in Paris and the Mauritanian government of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. A career soldier and high-ranking officer, Abdel Aziz assumed power in the country in a 2008 military coup that was widely condemned by international bodies, including the United Nations. But the military regime in Nouakchott was pleased to see Paris engineer a thaw in relations between the two countries in 2009. Ever since then, the French government has publicly praised the regime of President Abdel Aziz as a “key partner” in combating terrorism. Mauritania’s decision to help France capture al-Senussi was a repayment to the country’s former colonial master for its support after the 2008 military coup, according to Reuters. Following his arrest, al-Senussi is believed to be held at the headquarters of the Mauritanian intelligence service in Nouakchott. The question, of course, is who will get hold of the former Libyan spy chief, who is currently claimed by both Libya and France. According to an anonymous “senior Arab intelligence source” quoted by Reuters, French President “Nicolas Sarkozy will not be able to sleep in peace until he gets Senussi into France”. The reason is that al-Senussi is believed to be in the know about the alleged financing with €50 million of Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, by the Gaddafi government. The article cites “intelligence sources” who claim that Sarkozy is trying desperately to bring al-Senussi to French custody, in order to “prevent a public trial” that might reveal the bankrolling of his election campaign by the Libyans.

7.62x63mm (.30-06 Springfield)

March 23, 2012

The 30-06 Springfield served as the United States primary sniper round from WWI up through the first have of the Vietnam conflict when finally both the US Army and USMC standardized on the 7.62x51mm NATO. The ought-six offers good ballistics and served as an outstanding sniper round while in service. The use of the 30-06 for Law Enforcement needs to be carefully considered due to possible over penetration, but with the selection of the right ammunition it could be very capable in this capacity.  There are not a lot of factory made sniper grade weapons chambered in the .30-06, which is somewhat of a mystery as it is still a popular cartridge. It falls in between the .308 Win and the .300 Win Mag. and there has always been match grade ammunition produced by Federal and now there are several other loads available from other manufacturers. Some of these newer loads include heavier bullets where the 30-06 seems to come into its own.   I personally think this is a very capable military sniping cartridge, as it offers better ballistics then the .308 but yet does not punish the shooter or rifle like the .300 Win Mag does.

Recommendations: The .30-06 is highly recommended for military applications, but perhaps not so much for Law Enforcement use without proper research to find a good rapidly expanding load that may work well.

Military ApplicationsNote:We have chosen the HSM 175gr Match load for military use over the Federal 168gr due to the better bullet design of the 175gr Sierra Match King for long range use. This load could use another 50fps but as it is it is adequate. We have also listed the HSM 190gr SMK which is another excellent, and perhaps preferred load to the 175gr.

  • HSM 175gr = HSM Match – .30-06 175gr Sierra Match King at 2650fps
  • HSM 190gr = HSM Match -30.06 190gr  Sierra Match King at 2600fps

Bullet Drop (Inches)

100y 91m 200y 183m 300y 275m 400y 366m 500y 458m 600y 549m 700y 641m 800y 732m 900y 824m 1000y 915m
HSM 175gr +17.5 +29.4 +34.6 +32.3 +21.7 Zero -33.5 -80.6 -145.5 -229.7
HSM 190gr +17.4 +29.0 +33.9 +31.5 +20.9 Zero -32.4 -77.0 -136.3 -214.0

Energy (Muzzle – HSM 175gr – 2730Ft-Lbs.,  HSM 190gr – 2853)

HSM 175gr 2381 2069 1791 1542 1321 1129 962 818 699 601
HSM 190gr 2528 2234 1968 1727 1508 1315 1144 993 861 751

Wind Drift (Inches) 10 mph Crosswind

HSM 175gr 0.7 2.8 6.7 12.3 19.7 29.8 42.2 57.0 75.1 96.0
HSM 190gr 0.6 2.5 6.0 10.8 17.3 26.1 37.0 49.8 65.0 83.1

Law Enforcement ApplicationsNote: For law enforecement use you will want to reduce the penetration and mazimize the energy transfer. This can be done with a rapid expanding bullet and the ballistic tips and amax bullets tend to work well here. The 150gr ballistic tip round loaded by Federal could work well here to help reduced penetration. Some tests will need to be performed to see if penetration and excess fragmentation will be acceptible. It is highly recommended to test shooting through glass also, as the b-tip has a thin case that will probably strip when passing through glass. A Federal 165 and 180gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round is available and would probably make a great glass busting round, but with high penetration if the bullet stays intact. Of course, accuracy tests will need to be done as well to see if it meets criteria. There are other brands that have similar bullets that can be substituted if accuracy levels are not met.

Federal Premium .30-06 150gr Nosler Ballistic Tip at 2910fps

Bullet Drop (Inches)

50y 46m 100y 91m 200y 183m 300y 275m
150gr BallTip -0.2 Zero -3.3 -12.2

Energy (Muzzle: 2820 Ft-Lbs.)

150gr BallTip N/A 2420 2070 1760

Wind Drift (Inches) 10mph Crosswind

150gr BallTip N/A 0.7 2.9 6.8

US denies arms dealer’s release is part of swap deal with Iran

March 22, 2012

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

The United States government has denied that the quiet release and deportation of an Iranian arms dealer is part of a secret deal to swap imprisoned agents with Iran. A US State Department spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that Iranian citizen and convicted arms smuggler Amir Hossein Ardebili had been released from US custody and was on his way back to Iran. Ardebili was captured and abducted by US government operatives in the Republic of Georgia in 2007, during a controversial sting operation. His abduction was the culmination of a three-year-long sting operation, during which he allegedly tried to arrange a clandestine shipment of sensitive military technology from the US to Iran. He was eventually extradited to the US in 2008, and sentenced the following year to five years in prison, for operating as an “arms acquisitions agent for the government of Iran”. Last month, however, he was discretely released from prison in Minnesota and handed over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. US State Department spokesman Noel Clay said that Ardebili was on his way to Tehran via Europe, because he had “completed serving his criminal sentence and has no legal immigration status in this country”. The spokesman also pointed out that Ardebili’s five-year prison sentence was meant to include the nearly two years he spent in Georgian and US detention, prior to his 2009 trial. But some observers, including Laura Rozen at Yahoo News, speculate that there might be a connection between Ardebili’s deportation and the reversal earlier this month of a death sentence imposed by a Tehran court on a former US marine captured in Iran on spy charges. Tehran recently announced that Amir Mirzaei Hekmati (pictured), from Arizona, who was captured in Iran while allegedly on a CIA mission, is to have his death sentence voided, and will face a retrial. Considering that the Iranian government, in the form of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been pressing for Ardebili’s release, Rozen is among those who wonder whether the Iranian weapons dealer’s “swift transfer to Iran is meant to facilitate Hekmati’s release”. US State Department spokesman Clay insisted on Tuesday that Washington does not “see any link between this case and cases involving the unjust detention of US citizens in Iran”.

Intelligence News YOU may have missed…….

March 22, 2012

Cecilia Looström

►►Swedish official sent top-secret intel briefing via Hotmail. A high-ranking official at Sweden’s Ministry of Defense sent notes on highly confidential arms trade negotiations with a Saudi Arabian official through a Hotmail email address. The four-page-long email, which details a secret conversation with a Saudi General, was sent in 2008 from assistant Under-Secretary for Defense Cecilia Looström, according to a Swedish newspaper.
►►Russian diplomat won’t deny espionage activity in Canada. Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Georgiy Mamedov, has refused to deny that his country carries out spy activity in Canada. He told a Canadian television reporter that “I am neither denying nor confirming [Russian espionage in Canada]. I would be a fool […] if I would confirm that we are doing as much”. He said Russia conducts intelligence activities in other countries —although he didn’t specify which— but refused to give any details on what activities, if any, are conducted within Canada.
►►New Taiwan spy case raises concerns. A Taiwanese air force captain surnamed Chiang is believed to have passed intelligence to China. Reportedly, Chiang’s uncle, who operates a business in China, helped pass on the information allegedly obtained by Chiang, which is said to have included classified material on Taiwan’s early-warning radar system as well as E-2T/E-2K Hawkeye surveillance aircraft. The case has rocked the Taiwanese military, as it comes a little more than a year after a high-profile spy for China was caught and is now serving a life sentence.


Hilda Murrell

►►Diplomatic war over the arrest of Gaddafi’s spy chief. The Libyan authorities have confirmed the arrest in Mauritania of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, who was reportedly detained at Nouakchott airport. Senussi, 63, was Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, and has been described as one of his most trusted aides. But his arrest has kicked off an international row about which of his alleged crimes —ranging from terrorism to war crimes and mass murder— should take precedence in the pursuit of justice. The Mauritanians are now saying that they are willing to extradite al-Senussi, but this remains to be seen in practice.
►►Azerbaijan arrests 22 in alleged Iran spy plot. Azerbaijan has arrested 22 of its own citizens, on suspicion of spying for Iran. Weapons and ammunition were seized, authorities say, accusing the group of links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Their alleged targets included the US and Israeli embassies as well as Western-linked companies. Surveillance by the Azeri security services is reported to have helped foil the alleged Iranian-sponsored plot.
►►Was there MI5 link to murder of UK nuclear activist? One of Britain’s leading human rights lawyers, Michael Mansfield QC, has demanded a fresh police inquiry to establish what the British intelligence services knew about the murder of a prominent anti-nuclear campaigner. The lawyer said new evidence meant that an independent police force should be appointed to examine enduring concerns and inconsistencies relating to the death of Hilda Murrell, in March 1984.