Whitecaps

Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

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Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Intelligence and Law Enforcement

The concept of intelligence-led law enforcement is not new, but it has become more widespread after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In his May 8, 2006, article entitled Spies Among Us, U.S. News & World Report writer David E. Kaplan reports on the proliferation of law enforcement agencies participating in "intelligence" activities. He raises reasonable issues about how law enforcement agencies use the information they obtain.

In November 2004, Dr. David L. Carter, Michigan State University Department of Criminal Justice wrote a more scholarly and comprehensive work about law enforcement intelligence. His guide, Law Enforcement Intelligence: A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, produced by the US Department of Justices COPS program, was intended to educate and guide agencies considering formalizing their intelligence functions and to improve already-existing programs.

Both Kaplan's article and Carter's guide underemphasize the importance of analysis, the set of functions that turn raw information into finished intelligence ready for dissemination.

To get some idea of how complex and important analysis is to the intelligence production process, read Curing Analytic Pathologies: Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis by Jeffrey R. Cooper of the Central Intelligence Agency's Center for the Study of Intelligence. Then read Intelligence Analysis in Theater Joint Intelligence Centers: An Experiment in Applying Structured Methods, a paper presented by its author, US Air Force MSgt Robert D. Folker, Jr., to the Joint Military Intelligence College in November 2000. Analysis is not to be pooh-poohed.

Analysis of raw information is crucial if the final product is to be timely truth well-told. That is as true for law enforcement as it is for the US Intelligence Community. When law enforcement agencies use unverified raw information rather than taking the time to confirm and analyze to produce finished intelligence, they should not be surprised when articles like Mr. Kaplan's appear in national magazine.

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