Second, if the CIA actually doesn't collect HUMINT in the UAE, it's not because we think they are unimpeachable in their conduct. It's because we don't need to put people at risk to get the information we need. By themselves the UAE isn't capable of very much. The UAE's power comes from money and they conduct their business out in the open. The intelligence community gets all the information they need by watching bank transactions and that leads them to the people they really need to spy on.
The UAE is different from Iran, which not only funds malign groups but actually trains and commands its own network. Iran's money and people need to be watched, but the UAE doesn't get its hands dirty, so we only need to watch their money.
Edit: rather than fix all my grammar, when I say "we" I mean the USA as a nation, not that I'm some CIA agent with spare time to comment on HN.
This is a Reuters article. Reuters has been a respected news agency for a very long time. Back during World War I, the British government asked Reuters to slip covert British government propaganda into their news stream. Reuters responded with a clear refusal to do any such thing without equally covert monetary inducement.
The people talking to journalists after they leave the CIA are looking to profit somehow, or they are disloyal or incompetent (or some combination of the above). They may also be good patriots spreading disinformation on behalf of the CIA.
None of the above scenarios are Reuters’ fault for publishing a story with multiple sources that were willing to go on the record. But that doesn’t mean we should doubt the truth of the sources. Why is this story being published? Who stands to benefit?
the Black Hat 2013 talk on this is a great watch: https://youtube.com/watch?v=bM0PmwOlifE
Also the article gets a bit more specific later:
>But the CIA does not gather “human intelligence” - the most valuable and difficult-to-obtain information - from UAE informants on its autocratic government, the three former CIA officials told Reuters.
Maybe they just don't have any valuable contacts ... at this time? Maybe everyone's phone is bugged and they don't need them?
I assume intelligence gathering involves a lot of shifting focuses and just random chance depending on any number of things. I'm not sure I buy into this article's premise that "doesn't spy".
I would take any statements by Baer with an enormous bag of salt. He has built his post agency career on the Vanity-Fair-ization of CIA. He doesn’t get much attention or sell as many books when the Agency is doing things right.
Regarding a lack of HUMIT in the UAE, I am reminded of a quote from the Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
What are the other 3, and what is the special type they collect? I can only just think of the military and FBI, where the FBI does federal law enforcement (crimes by Americans or on American territory that crosses state lines.) What were the 5 you had in mind? (Just based on public sources, not anything classified if you read it, even if you read it off of wikileaks or something.) Curious.
Each agency's specialty isn't always a type of intelligence, but sometimes a domain (for lack of a better word).
NRO- space domain (shares with relevant agencies, i.e. SIGINT collected in space is shared with the NSA)
NGA- GEOINT (significant presence in space as well)
DIA- military domain (involved when the intelligence is militarily relevant)
That's a very broad overview. The intelligence community is larger than the big five, and there are probably very few people who understand the relationship between which agency should do something vs. which agency actually does that thing.
The big ones are HUMINT, GEOINT, MASINT, OSINT, AND SIGINT.
In the US the responsibility typically falls like this:
CIA = HUMINT & OSINT
NSA = SIGINT & MASINT
NRO / NGA = GEOINT (& probably some MASINT)
edit: A lad below me has a better (and more complete) answer.
Yeah, I call BS on this. There's no way the US doesn't spy on those four (or UAE for that matter).
What makes you think we aren't? I suspect every intelligence agency views the Internet as a god-send. Much cheaper to watch people now than deploying shifts of teams to follow someone to determine if they are worth something.
- Every Spy
I firmly believe that if we spent 25% of what the USA spends on its military every year instead on cultural interchange, education and language programs, nobody would be needing to invade anyone. It is the back-room corruption - i.e. ALL SECRECY and the means by which it is maintained - which is at the core of it.
Shut the CIA, and build more schools.
I like what Sun Tzu says about it.
"Sun Tzu said: Raising a host of a hundred thousand men and marching them great distances entails heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources of the State. The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver. There will be commotion at home and abroad, and men will drop down exhausted on the highways. As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded in their labor.
Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy's condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver in honors and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.
One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present help to his sovereign, no master of victory.
Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.
Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men.
Hence the use of spies..."