Foreign Intelligence Liaison: Devils, Deals, and Details

  • Citation: Sims, Jennifer E. “Foreign Intelligence Liaison: Devils, Deals, and Details.” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 2 (August 2006): 195–217.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • foreign intelligence liaison
    • collection
    • intelligence services
    • symmetric
    • asymmetric
    • allies
    • cooperation

Given the difficulties of managing foreign liaison relationships, especially complex ones in which political or military deals are struck, the U.S. government needs to balance its dependency with a renewed commitment to collection assets in which it has a comparative advantage, such as space- based platforms, and new initiatives to develop unilateral human sources as well. Deep penetration agents require even tighter restrictions on divulging sources and methods in the intelligence-sharing process than currently exist. The post-9=11 emphasis on intelligence-sharing between agencies and governments needs to be accompanied by recognition of the difference between sharing secret assessments and sharing top secret sources, which are the most valuable and perishable of all. Serious thought must be given to a selective deepening of secrecy in the United States even as—or in order to ensure that—intelligence is more broadly shared.

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