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The Problem of Intelligence

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2002 – If military intelligence is to be good, it has to be secret and it has to be fast.

The United States is gleaning all sorts of intelligence information from Al Qaeda and Taliban sources in Afghanistan. U.S. Central Command personnel are combing through caves, houses, bunkers and a myriad of other sites examining everything from paper to computers to satellite phone records.

What U.S. personnel find in this search must remain secret -- at least until the usefulness is passed, according to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The fact that U.S. service members in City X found Item Y and are accessing it, tips off enemies that they or their plans -- are in jeopardy, Rumsfeld said at a press conference today.

"There are those that are so pleased with all that we're gathering, that they are anxious to say what they're gathering and they're anxious to say the numbers of things we've gathered, and the locations we gathered them from and who gathered them," he said. "I'm not. I'm much more interested in stopping terrorists.

"(While) laying all of that out is going to make us look like good gatherers, it does not begin to weigh as much as having us be good and successful in stopping terrorism."

Evaluating raw intelligence quickly is just as important. "To the extent that we can put (information) together even a day or two or five days faster we may very well avoid a terrorist attack involving not thousands, but more than thousands (of lives)."

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