- Strategic Assessments Branch
The strategic assessments branch of the
Counterterrorist Center(CTC) of the United States Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) was established in 2001 to plug a gap in strategic analysis of the terrorism threat, particularly that due to al-Qaeda.
In late 2000 CIA chief
George Tenethad "recognized the deficiency of strategic analysis against al Qaeda". (No overall assessment of the terrorist threat had been made since the CIA's 1995 National Intelligence Estimate and its 1997 update.) The strategic assessments branch was "created" in July 2001. But it struggled to find personnel. The head of the new section finally took up his post on September 10, 2001.
The 1995 National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, and the 1997 update
The 1995 National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, prepared by the CIA for President Clinton's Cabinet, warned of the "new breed" of Sunni Islamist terrorist. Mindful of
Ramzi Yousef's truck bombing of the World Trade Centerin 1993, the Estimate warned that "national symbols" such as the White House and Capitol were at risk, as well as "symbols of U.S. capitalism such as Wall Street". The Estimate also warned of the vulnerabilities of the US domestic aviation system. It made no mention of Osama bin Laden.
The 1997 update reiterated the dangers, and briefly mentioned "bin Ladin and his followers", but made no mention of an organization called al-Qaeda. (This was in spite of the CTC's new
Bin Laden Issue Stationhaving produced evidence over the previous year that bin Laden was not just a significant terrorist financier, but a terrorist organizer too.) The update was the last national intelligence estimate on terrorism completed before the September 11, 2001 attacks. [ Steve Coll, " Ghost Wars", pp.279-80; "9/11 Commission Report", [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.pdf chapter 11] , pp.341-2 ( [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.htm HTML version] )]
etting up the branch, 2000-2001
"In late 2000
Director of Central Intelligence George Tenetrecognized the deficiency of strategic analysis against al Qaeda" says the "9/11 Commission Report". "To tackle this problem within the CTC he appointed a senior manager, who briefed him in March 2001 on 'creating a strategic assessment capability.'"
"In [an] early Spring 2001 briefing to the DCI", says the "Joint Inquiry Report", " [the] CTC requested hiring a small group of contractors not involved in day-to-day crises to digest vast quantities of information and develop targeting strategies. The briefing emphasized that the unit needed people, not money."
"The CTC established [the] new strategic assessments branch during July 2001." As Tenet later testified, "We created a separate analytic unit in July 2001 to assure that the demands for daily tactical support did not sidetrack our strategic analytic effort. The separate unit allowed us to isolate its analysts from the grind of daily crises to focus on the bigger picture. It also allowed us to better train and develop the analysts."
"The decision to add about ten analysts to this effort was seen as a major bureaucratic victory [says the "9/11 Commission Report"] , but the CTC labored to find them. The new chief of this branch reported for duty on September 10, 2001." ["9/11 Commission Report", [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.pdf chapter 11] , p.342 ( [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.htm HTML version] ); [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/part3.pdf Joint Inquiry Final Report] , p.387; [http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing8/tenet_statement.pdf Tenet statement to the 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004] , p.8.]
A strategic analyst on 9/11
"On the morning of
September 11, 2001, [John] Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building." So said an advance-publicity pamphlet for a security conference held in 2002.
A subsequent Associated Press report expanded on the statement, clarifying that the exercise occurred at the
National Reconnaissance Office, west of Washington. Officials at the Chantilly, Virginia, based NRO "had scheduled an exercise that morning in which a small corporate jet crashed into one of the four towers at the agency's headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure." The exercise was designed "to test employees' responses to a disaster, said spokesman Art Haubold".
The exercise was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. "The agency is about four miles from the runways of Washington Dulles International Airport", where American Airlines Flight 77 took off, to return and hit the Pentagon. "'It was just an incredible coincidence...', Haubold said." [" [http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/cia-simulation.htm On 9/11, CIA Was Running Simulation...] ", which quotes the AP report of Aug. 22, 2002.]
The simulation was out of the usual line of John Fulton's work. "25 years in the intelligence community has contributed to his recognition as an expert in risk & threat response analysis, scenario gaming, and strategic planning. He is on staff for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), currently  serving as Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office...." [" [http://web.archive.org/web/20030212092040/http://www.nlsi.net/hs-alc-info.htm America's Leadership Challenge] ", no date. The "story [was] first reported" by the "Memory Hole" website Aug. 14, 2002: " [http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/cia-simulation.htm On 9/11, CIA Was Running Simulation...] ".]
(It may well be wondered why the National "Reconnaissance" Office would have a Strategic Wargaming Division.)
Steve Coll, "", Penguin, 2005. (This is an updated version of the original, Penguin, 2004.)
* " [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htm 9/11 Commission Report] ", [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.pdf chapter 11] , pp.341-2 ( [http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch11.htm HTML version] )
* [http://intelligence.senate.gov/107351.pdf Joint Inquiry Final Report] (2002/3), p.387
* [http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing8/tenet_statement.pdf Tenet statement to the 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004] , p.8.
* John J Lumpkin, Associated Press, " [http://www.boston.com/news/packages/sept11/anniversary/wire_stories/0903_plane_exercise.htm Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building] ", "Boston Globe" online, no date. (This is the AP article of Aug. 22, 2002.)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Office of National Assessments — Agency overview Formed 19 October 1977 Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia Headquarters Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia Employees 145 (2011) … Wikipedia
CIA transnational anti-terrorism activities — This article deals with activities of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) related to terrorism. Especially after the CIA lost its coordinating role over the entire Intelligence Community (IC), it is impossible to understand US… … Wikipedia
Counterterrorist Center — The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency s Counterterrorist Center was established in 1986.Foundation and early yearsIn the face of international terrorist attacks, mainly by leftist Palestinians. The Reagan administration wanted to take the… … Wikipedia
Bin Laden Issue Station — The Bin Laden Issue Station (1996 2005) was a unit of the Central Intelligence Agency dedicated to tracking Osama bin Laden.Soon after its creation the Station developed a new, deadlier vision of bin Laden s activities. In 1999 the CIA… … Wikipedia
Central Intelligence Agency — CIA redirects here. For other uses, see CIA (disambiguation). Central Intelligence Agency Official Seal of the CIA Agency overview Formed September 18, 1947 … Wikipedia
George Tenet — Infobox Officeholder name =George John Tenet imagesize =200px small caption = order =18th office =Director of Central Intelligence term start =July 11, 1997 term end =July 11, 2004 president =Bill Clinton George W. Bush predecessor =John M.… … Wikipedia
Australian Intelligence Community — The Australian Government statutory intelligence agencies that constitute the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) are as follows: Contents 1 Governance entities 2 Primary entities 3 Secondary entities … Wikipedia
Defense Intelligence Agency — This article is about the United States agency. For other countries agencies, see Defence Intelligence Agency. DIA redirects here. For other uses, see Dia (disambiguation). Defense Intelligence Agency Seal of the DIA … Wikipedia
Counterintelligence — This article is a subset article of intelligence cycle security. Counterintelligence or counter intelligence (see spelling differences) (CI) refers to efforts made by intelligence organizations to prevent hostile or enemy intelligence… … Wikipedia
Counter-intelligence — This article is a subset article of intelligence cycle security. National intelligence programs, and, by extension, the overall defenses of nations, are vulnerable to attack. It is the role of intelligence cycle security to protect the process… … Wikipedia