Collection Strategy: Iranian Nuclear Program

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One of America's greatest concerns is Iran with nuclear weapons. To better understand the threat, the US intelligence community gather information. This paper is a hypothetical multi-INT collection …

One of America's greatest concerns is Iran with nuclear weapons. To better understand the threat, the US intelligence community gather information. This paper is a hypothetical multi-INT collection strategy which evaluates potential methods of data gathering, as well as the risks and reliability of each method.

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  • 1. Collection Strategy: Iranian Nuclear ProgramGenii Grimsley30 August 2009INTL304Purpose:The purpose of this paper is to develop a collection strategy on the Iranian Nuclear Program(INP). The plan is to gather a complete picture of the INP through the utilization of the five maincollection methods: OSINT, HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT. Each collection method will usemultiple collectors to answer several questions. However, because of denial and deception (D&D)operations not all information will be completely reliable, which will be denoted in each case.Open Source Intelligence (OSINT):OSINT is overtly available to the general public and any intelligence agency. OSINT isespecially important in developing background knowledge. In the case of collecting intelligence on theINP, OSINT will not be able to gather much data. To collect OSINT data, intelligence collectors will usethe Web, news articles and journals.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityBiographical information of Scientific, Technical Staff,Military Personnel and Politicans involved in the INPWhat has the key personnel worked on?What decisions have personnel made in the past?WebJournalNews685List of Allies and Enemies Who are Iran’s political allies and enemies?Who are Iran’s military allies and enemies?WebNews55Iran’s views What are Iran’s views on America and their allies? WebNews55Nuclear tests Have there been nuclear tests in Iran? WebNews44D&D operations heavily focus on open source intelligence to protect the targets. Data gatheredwith this collection method should be considered highly suspect but not useless. Some useful informationthat can be gathered by OSINT is the biographical information about key figures in the INP, who Iran’sallies and enemies are, what Iran’s views are and if there have been nuclear tests in Iran.One will note that the reliability for each of these targets collection is low, especially in the caseof Iranian nuclear tests. The proliferation of nuclear weapons is considered illegal by the United Nationsand could potentially lead to negative reactions by other countries, especially neighboring enemy
  • 2. countries. Because of these reasons, all OSINT collected on nuclear tests may be considered affected byD&D operations.The biographical data of key personnel is more reliable, especially in the case of scientific andtechnical staff. While the majority of papers, past employment and education are available publically,information dealing with nuclear research maybe classified.Human Intelligence (HUMINT):HUMINT is a covert method of gaining intelligence from human sources on a multitude ofsubjects. All of the collectors are operatives that have direct access to information involving the INP,either as spies that are embedded in the military or political operations of the INP or defectors that havedirect knowledge and evidence of the INP.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityBiographical information of Scientific,Technical Staff, Military Personnel andPoliticians involved in the INPWhat has the key personnel worked on?What decisions have personnel made in the past?AcademicsDiplomatsMilitary Aides977Iranian Budget How much of the budget is being spent on the INP?How much of the budget is being spent on military projects?How much of the budget is being spent on energydevelopment projects?Political AidesMilitary AidesDefectors653Foreign Aid What foreign assistance is Iran receiving for the INP? Civilian contractorsDiplomatsPolitical AidesDefector6785Military operation of INP Who are there military agencies operating INP? Military AidesDefector75Political purpose and ramifications What is the political purpose and ramifications to the INP? DiplomatsPolitical Aides76Acquisitions What equipment and raw materials are being procured thatcould be used by potential INP?Where are the equipment and materials coming from?What is the grade of the nuclear material?Civilian contractorsScientific andTechnical staffMilitary Aide877Construction projects What military construction projects are underway or justcompleted?Civilian contractorsMilitary Aides87Nuclear testing Have there been nuclear tests in Iran?Are missiles being tested?Civilian contractorsScientific andTechnical staffMilitary AidesDefectors7765Evaluation What are the results of any nuclear tests in Iran? Civilian contractorsScientific andTechnical staffMilitary Aides665While spies can gather a large amount of information, they are not immune to D&D operations.With the use of cleared agents, classified information can be revealed. However not all agents arecleared, but agents such as academics and diplomats may gather pertinent information such as scientific
  • 3. and technical staff, foreign aide, or political purpose and ramifications. The risk to the agents is highthough as any INP site or information will be highly guarded by with tight security and could be a sourceof D&D. Additionally, any agent caught delivering information will cause significant political fall-out forAmerica and may cost the agent their life. The use of civilian contractors is a weakness of the INP thatcan be exploited by intelligence agencies to embed their own agent, and thus reduce D&D. D&Doperations are also successful if HUMINT agents are denied access to the information or deliverdeceptive information to the collection manager.Signal Intelligence (SIGINT):SIGINT is a combination of communication intelligence, electronic intelligence (ELINT) andforeign instrument intelligence. The collectors that capture communications are audio transmitters,telephonic surveillance, e-mails and money transfers. The collectors that capture ELINT are technical oroperational electronic intelligence.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityForeign Aid What foreign assistance is Iran receiving for the INP? Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-MailsMoney Transfers7678Acquisitions What equipment and raw materials are being procured thatcould be used by potential INP?Where are the equipment and materials coming from?What is the grade of the nuclear material?Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-MailsMoney Transfers8789Construction projects What military construction projects are underway or justcompleted?Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-Mails768Nuclear testing Have there been nuclear tests in Iran?Are missiles being tested?Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-MailsOperational ELINT6678Evaluation What are the results of any nuclear tests in Iran? Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-MailsOperational ELINT5468Military operation of INP Who are the military agencies operating INP? Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-Mails768Political purpose and ramifications What is the political purpose and ramifications to the INP? Audio transmittersTelephone surveillanceE-Mails768SIGINT can be more reliable when covertly gathering data on conversations and electronicintelligence than by HUMINT. All conversations gathered in the presence of an outsider may becontaminated with deceptive information, thus surveillance, wiretaps and intercepted communications
  • 4. may gather better intelligence on acquisition, construction, foreign aid, military operations and politicalpurposes and ramifications. Information gathered through money transfers can be highly reliablesurrounding foreign aid and acquisition. When dealing with nuclear testing and evaluation though,communications is highly suspect for D&D operations. ELINT can gather better data that is lesssusceptible to D&D as the signals of missiles and nuclear tests cannot be altered easily. D&D may besuccessful if operations occur when collectors are not focused upon the operation.Imagery Intelligence (IMINT):IMINT gathers visually available information on targets. The collectors of IMINT are KHsatellites, spy planes, short-range photography and videography. The pictures and video that are collectedcan detail physical features and events of importance.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityAcquisitions What equipment and raw materials are being procured thatcould be used by potential INP?Where are the equipment and materials coming from?Satellite ImageryPlane ImageryPhotographyVideo7666Construction projects What military construction projects are underway or justcompleted?Satellite ImageryPlane ImageryPhotography765Electricity Where are the electrical lines running?Where is electrical output high?Satellite ImageryPlane ImageryPhotography876Nuclear testing Have there been nuclear tests in Iran?Are missiles being tested?Satellite ImageryPlane ImageryPhotographyVideo8877Evaluation What are the results of any nuclear tests in Iran?What is the distance of the missiles?Satellite ImageryPlane ImageryPhotographyVideo8778IMINT is fairly reliable at collecting information on the above-mentioned targets. IMINT is bestutilized on locating physical features and events such as electrical lines, nuclear test sites and constructionprojects. IMINT can be affected by D&D operations though. Deception may be utilized by theinstillation of fake electrical lines, moving fake equipment and covering or extending the destruction ofthe nuclear test grounds. Denial may be used by placing INP facilities and testing grounds underground.Denial may also occur by moving equipment or conducting tests when the collectors are not present,during the night or inclement weather.Measurement and Signal Intelligence (MASINT):
  • 5. MASINT collects scientific and technical data on targets through the use of specializedcollectors. These collectors include material intelligence, spectrometry, telemetry and nuclear sensors.While these collectors are not able to collect a wide amount of data, they are very effective in what theycollect.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityAcquisitions What equipment and raw materials are being procured thatcould be used by potential INP?Where are the equipment and materials coming from?What is the grade of the nuclear material?Nuclear sensorsMaterial intelligence78Construction projects What military construction projects are underway or justcompleted?Spectrometry 8Electricity Where is electrical output high? ElectromagneticsignalsSpectrometry98Nuclear testing Have there been nuclear tests in Iran?Are missiles being tested?TelemetryNuclear sensors89Evaluation What are the results of any nuclear tests in Iran?What is the distance of the missiles?TelemetryNuclear sensorsMaterial intelligence897The D&D operations for this type of intelligence are less effective than other methods ofintelligence, making this form of collection highly reliable. Electrical signatures can only be disguisedwhen turned off or placed in areas of high electrical output, such as urban areas. Nuclear sensors arespecific for nuclear materials and thus difficult to deceive. Material intelligence can test debris andemission for nuclear material refinement as well as weapon manufacturing.Conclusion:While D&D operations can hinder any intelligence gathered, there is generally a grain of truthembedded within. By collecting data for the same questions through multiple collection methods, D&Dcan be discovered and removed. With a reasonable amount of time to collect data, it is possible to gettrue answers on what is the status of the INP is and more importantly, what are the threats to America andour allies from the INP.Reference:Clark, Robert M. 2007. Intelligence Analysis: A target-centric approach. 2ndedition. Washington: CQPress.
  • 6. MASINT collects scientific and technical data on targets through the use of specializedcollectors. These collectors include material intelligence, spectrometry, telemetry and nuclear sensors.While these collectors are not able to collect a wide amount of data, they are very effective in what theycollect.Targets of Intelligence Collection Questions Collectors ReliabilityAcquisitions What equipment and raw materials are being procured thatcould be used by potential INP?Where are the equipment and materials coming from?What is the grade of the nuclear material?Nuclear sensorsMaterial intelligence78Construction projects What military construction projects are underway or justcompleted?Spectrometry 8Electricity Where is electrical output high? ElectromagneticsignalsSpectrometry98Nuclear testing Have there been nuclear tests in Iran?Are missiles being tested?TelemetryNuclear sensors89Evaluation What are the results of any nuclear tests in Iran?What is the distance of the missiles?TelemetryNuclear sensorsMaterial intelligence897The D&D operations for this type of intelligence are less effective than other methods ofintelligence, making this form of collection highly reliable. Electrical signatures can only be disguisedwhen turned off or placed in areas of high electrical output, such as urban areas. Nuclear sensors arespecific for nuclear materials and thus difficult to deceive. Material intelligence can test debris andemission for nuclear material refinement as well as weapon manufacturing.Conclusion:While D&D operations can hinder any intelligence gathered, there is generally a grain of truthembedded within. By collecting data for the same questions through multiple collection methods, D&Dcan be discovered and removed. With a reasonable amount of time to collect data, it is possible to gettrue answers on what is the status of the INP is and more importantly, what are the threats to America andour allies from the INP.Reference:Clark, Robert M. 2007. Intelligence Analysis: A target-centric approach. 2ndedition. Washington: CQPress.