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Do we need Intelligence Agencies?

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posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:51 AM
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As quoted from the Wikipedia page

An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering (known in the context as "intelligence") for purposes of national security and defense. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources. The assembly and propagation of this information is known as intelligence analysis.

Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.

* provide analysis in areas relevant to national security;
* give early warning of impending crises;
* serve national and international crisis management by helping to discern the intentions of current or potential opponents;
* inform national defense planning and military operations;
* protect secrets, both of their own sources and activities, and those of other state agencies; and
* may act covertly to influence the outcome of events in favor of national interests

Intelligence agencies are also involved in defensive activities such as counter-espionage or counter-terrorism.

There is a distinction between "security intelligence" and "foreign intelligence". Security intelligence pertains to national security threats (e.g. terrorism, espionage). Foreign intelligence involves information collection relating to the political, or economic activities of foreign states.

Some agencies are accused of being involved in assassination, arms sales, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.


CIA, FBI, NSA, MI6, Mossad, ASIO, ASIS, ISI, SND, CIO and the list goes on. When you have a long, hard think about it, do we actually need these Intelligence Agencies? If one looks over history, these agencies have tended to create much more trouble and agitation than they have security and productivity.

Well ATS members, what do you think?

EDIT: Just wanted to make it clear that my opinion is that we do NOT need these Intelligence Agencies. Nevertheless, I am interested in discussing this issue with other ATS members and finding out their views on the topic at hand.

[edit on 19/7/2010 by Dark Ghost]




posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:14 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost

CIA, FBI, NSA, MI6, Mossad, ASIO, ASIS, ISI, SND, CIO and the list goes on. When you have a long, hard think about it, do we actually need these Intelligence Agencies? If one looks over history, these agencies have tended to create much more trouble and agitation than they have security and productivity.



I think you might have already made up your mind on the issue. That said, I'm going to take the (probably unpopular) stance that we do, indeed, need intelligence agencies. My reasons follow.

First, the simple fact of 'information overload'. The President (insert name of your country's leader, if different) is in the same impossible situation as any CEO of a large company. In order to do his job well, he has to know a great deal about a great many things...more information on more subjects, in fact, than any single person is really capable of keeping up with. The solution is to have other people condense and summarize the raw data into briefings on key issues, which are then presented to the President. Even if you don't call those 'people' an 'intelligence agency', they are one by default, and the more complex and fast-moving the world is, the more needed they will be.

Second, the 'National Security' argument, while not very popular, and often abused, is a valid one. There are distinct tactical, operational, and strategic advantages that derive from having a capability that your potential adversaries don't know that you have...and an equally distinct set of advantages to knowing the capabilities of a potential adversary before a conflict starts. So long as either of those statements remains true, there will be a need for some group of specialized people who maintain the secrecy on your side of the table, and for a group of people who penetrate the security of other nations. As above, call them whatever you will, they are a de facto intelligence agency.

Third, the 'Counter-Terrorism' argument is much like the 'National Security' argument...not popular, open to abuse, but in spite of that, still valid. Regardless of your views on individual events (Oklahoma City, 9/11, etc.), there is terrorism in the world today (The piracy problem off Somalia springs to mind). Gathering intelligence on such operations is vital, as is securing the information that you do have against unwanted access. While not, in a legal sense, 'counter terrorism', this argument also applies to criminal investigations...you need ways of collecting information on criminal enterprises, and ways to restrict those same criminals' ability to gather intelligence concerning law enforcement. Yet again, call such an organization whatever you will, it's an intelligence agency.

Given the above, I've got to say that we need them. You might get a more interesting argument by asking how many we need, or what scope each should have, but we need some form of intelligence agency, whether we like the idea or not.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:22 AM
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right now? yes

the world is a %¨% place, thats the reality

If there was a way to change the world, and change everybody's view so we can live in peace, than I would say we wouldnt need these agencies, but since we cant do that, now its too late, you have to have these people working

BUT some of these agencies are responsible for criminal acts and that shouldnt happen: one thing is for you to gather intelligence for defense, other is for you to create wars for profit!



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:25 AM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Thanks for your response. I have edited the OP to make it clear where I stand on the issue, which was never meant to be a secret.

You raise some valid points and I agree there are definitely genuine benefits that come from having Intelligence Agencies (IA). My point of view is more along the lines of the number of negatives far outweigh the positives. Therefore, one has to question whether it is worth using taxpayer's money to fund something we have such little input or control over.

What bothers me most is the "secrecy" involved when discussing anything specific about the IA budget or overseas operations. Most activities are "classified" to the point where they can take part in events that harm their own country without citizens of their country even knowing!

[edit on 19/7/2010 by Dark Ghost]



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 03:19 AM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


So I see you firmly believe that the CIA serves the president and not the other way around. Clearly what you say goes for yourself as well.


I think you might have already made up your mind on the issue.


Get rid of intelligence agencies. When you think about it, intelligence agencies fight intelligent agencies when they are not working together fighting the people.

Or they could just honor their own jobtitle and come up with intelligent solutions to problems instead of coming up with intelligent ways to cause problems and then intelligently offer the solutions.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by Zamini
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


So I see you firmly believe that the CIA serves the president and not the other way around. Clearly what you say goes for yourself as well.


I think you might have already made up your mind on the issue.



I never said my mind wasn't made up on the issue...then again, I wasn't asking the question. I simply found it interesting that someone could simultaneously ask a question (and ask for public discussion of same) when they already had an answer.

As for my opinion about whether the CIA serves the President or vice-versa, that's not germane to the question at hand. The OP didn't ask "Do we need the CIA?" or even "Do you like the CIA?", The question was (unless I misread it) asking in the broad and theoretical sense "Do we need this type of organization?".



Get rid of intelligence agencies. When you think about it, intelligence agencies fight intelligent agencies when they are not working together fighting the people.

Or they could just honor their own jobtitle and come up with intelligent solutions to problems instead of coming up with intelligent ways to cause problems and then intelligently offer the solutions.


No. That is one of the *many* things an intelligence agency should *never* do. Full stop. "Coming up with intelligent solutions" is, in theory, why we have a body of elected public officials. The job of an intelligence agency (and God knows it's hard enough) is to provide intelligence to the people who will then (in theory) use that intelligence to come up with policy. The minute those who are to inform begin to formulate policy, they should be dragged out to the nearest washable wall, and removed from employment by the most expedient (and high velocity) method available. I find it ironic that in one paragraph, you put forth the idea that intelligence agencies are in conflict with the best interest of the people, and in the very next, you're suggesting that they should usurp the powers of the legislative and executive branches of government.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


What bothers me most is the "secrecy" involved when discussing anything specific about the IA budget or overseas operations. Most activities are "classified" to the point where they can take part in events that harm their own country without citizens of their country even knowing!

[edit on 19/7/2010 by Dark Ghost]


Valid point...and one that bothers me, as well.
Governments (at least the ones that are, in theory, accountable to their citizens) walk a very fine line, balancing the (justified) need for some secrets to be kept secret, and the (equally justified) fear that secrecy can easily morph into 'abuse of power'. Our current system, where the intelligence agencies report to select committees of Congress (who in theory represent the interests of the public-at-large) asks me to replace trust in an intelligence agencies collective morality (*shudder*) with trust in a Congressman's honesty (nah...that one is TOO easy). I'm not sure the current system works very well, and certainly not as well as it should, but I can't come up with a better one...at least not when short on sleep and recovering from a bout of the flu. Maybe after a few more cups of coffee?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 10:46 AM
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First off there is no intelligence involved.

Lack of trust breeds of the evils. Fear, Greed, etc;

These organizations are simply the guy/gal that does not trust their lover. From that moment forward they operate in an irrational manner that is void of intelligent thought.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 10:58 AM
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Yes we need them you’re basically saying that they often cause more trouble than they are worth, that’s only because you only ever hear about their failure and not their successes. If we in the UK abandoned our main 3 civilian intelligence agencies, MI5, GCHQ and the SIS we would be open to a multitude of threats. We would lose our counter espionage capability, communications intercepts, counter-terrorism intelligence, and all foreign intelligence. There have been a number of cases in the UK were the CONTEST strategy put in place by JTAC have done just that and prevented a terrorist attack.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 11:45 AM
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Imagine we are back in the Old West. Ten gunfighters have their pistols drawn, and they are all pointing their guns at each other. Someone says, "This is silly. Let's just all put our guns down and walk away."

Who puts their pistol on the ground first?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 11:52 AM
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reply to post by Truth1000
 


The dead man puts his gun down first.

Right?

What does that say about the nine others? That they can't be trusted right? So why do you trust them?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 11:56 AM
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Of course we need them. Do we need them this out of control with so little oversight might be a better question. Some might argue that their very nature requires this...but that would be a loaded argument.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


"Do we need Intelligent Agencies?"

Yes this would be a good idea.
Why hasn't anyone tried this before?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 12:03 PM
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reply to post by Zamini
 


If you are asking why I personally trust them you are misinformed. It is my goal to reveal reasons they CANNOT be trusted.

I just happen to be a realist. No major nation is simply going to say that this is stupid and shut down their intelligence services. Won't happen.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Thanks for your response. I have edited the OP to make it clear where I stand on the issue, which was never meant to be a secret.

You raise some valid points and I agree there are definitely genuine benefits that come from having Intelligence Agencies (IA). My point of view is more along the lines of the number of negatives far outweigh the positives. Therefore, one has to question whether it is worth using taxpayer's money to fund something we have such little input or control over.

What bothers me most is the "secrecy" involved when discussing anything specific about the IA budget or overseas operations. Most activities are "classified" to the point where they can take part in events that harm their own country without citizens of their country even knowing!

[edit on 19/7/2010 by Dark Ghost]


It might be better to call them information agencies. That's what they do. They gather information. For a group of people who always advocate finding the "truth", you would think you'd be on board with other truth gathering bodies. After all, what's ATS but a Alternative Intelligence Agency.

If they suppress things that might hurt their power base, who are you to criticize. How many "theories" are labeled bunk when they don't fit the worldview of people here?




It only seems like the negatives are outweighing the positives.

When they're working well, you don't even know that they're there. It's only when the agencies fail that you become aware of what they're lacking.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 05:00 PM
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no, we don't need them.

that is, if we give up war.

if we turn our back on our destructive and aggressive way of living in this world, we could become truly intelligent, all on our own, each of us!

we could be our on intelligent agencies!
not only that, if we all gave up war,
we could live in peace, all of us.
we could feed people who are dying of starvation.
we could give water to everyone who has to drink poison, mud, or just dust.
we could learn to get along and learn new things from distant lands as well as next door
we could quit buying so much pepcid, prozac, and valium
we could banish that demon named "fear"

we might could even learn to trust our government again!

funny thing i noted:
Intelligence Agency = IA
Artificial Intelligence = AI

IA [mirror] AI


hmmmmmm....


[edit on 7/19/2010 by queenannie38]



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 07:44 AM
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People often say "but think about all the threats we would leave ourselves open to", but isn't that what a country's armed military is meant to be for? The military should not be allowed to operate in foreign countries and all its resources should be concentrated on the home country. I know a lot won't agree with that, but think about how much sense it actually makes as opposed to Intelligence Agencies that do everything in secret.

Do we really need agencies whose main purpose is espionage and infiltration of foreign countries?

[edit on 1/8/2010 by Dark Ghost]



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost
People often say "but think about all the threats we would leave ourselves open to", but isn't that what a country's armed military is meant to be for? The military should not be allowed to operate in foreign countries and all its resources should be concentrated on the home country. I know a lot won't agree with that, but think about how much sense it actually makes as opposed to Intelligence Agencies that do everything in secret.

Do we really need agencies whose main purpose is espionage and infiltration of foreign countries?

[edit on 1/8/2010 by Dark Ghost]


The idea of restricting the military to domestic operations might work if (and it's a remarkably large 'if') the country in question was totally self-sufficient, totally uninterested in foreign trade, and either resource-poor enough or militarily strong enough to be an unattractive target for foreign invasion. Given the percentages of the US economy that are based on foreign commerce, and the percentage of our energy needs that we have to import, our military has no choice but to maintain some foreign involvement simply to secure trade routes. The debate about the level of such foreign involvements is an entirely different issue.

Even if the military was solely a 'domestic' operator, it would *still* need some form of intelligence organization...unless, of course, you want the armed forces to operate completely blind, which doesn't seem like a good idea. I'll also point out that such a 'domestic only' military would cause huge portions of the conspiracy community to have a complete and utter melt-down over the 'police state' / 'military dictatorship' / 'marshal law' (yes, I *know* it's 'martial', but that's not how it shows up in 90% of the threads!).

No matter how you slice it, and no matter what you call it, national law enforcement, military forces, and the national executive are going to need something that performs the functions of an intelligence agency. If it makes you feel better to call them 'unicorn ranchers', or 'prophets', or 'enlightened masters', feel free to label them as such...but the fact is, they'll be intelligence agencies.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 09:31 AM
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To expand on my first post here with my thoughts from another topic along these same lines...

Where do iintelligence agencies start and stop and where do other operations and organizations take over? I don't believe anyone knows the depth and breadth of all intelligence agency operations to even be able to make a determination as to whether or not they are needed. And that includes both the pros and the cons of them.

The agencies themselves are typically pretty compartmentalized, and I'm sure there are things that even those at the highest levels are unaware of the big picture.

Because of this, not knowing all of what they do or don't do, you have no way of knowing whether they are beyond redemption or should be terminated or not. Any judgment you would make here would be based on nothing but speculation and theory.

Yes, there are things we think we know but there are probably many more we don't know and will never know. Even operatives, agents, analysts, and officers who leave the services are typically only aware of the specific things they were privy to on a need-to-know basis.

It's natural to always think the worst of these agencies too. Being surrounded by questions and mystery and having people suspect them and speculate about what they do and exactly how, when, where, and why they do it is the nature of the beast.

If they were to be eliminated, who do you suggest would and could perform many of the critical functions they perform? The military? Gee what kind of check and balance would that be. The lines between the military and law enforcement are blurry enough without adding increasing their scope by this amount. Law enforcement is not the military's mission.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 11:07 AM
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yea just so they can tell us again that a foreign country has weapons of mass destruction and we can start another useless war...no thanks we can all become intelligent 'agencies' if we stop drinking flouridated water and eating processed foods and start critical thinking for ourselves



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