Position Paper – Assassination or Exploitation?
Position Paper – Assassination or Exploitation?
Fast forward to mid 2012. With a beleaguered President, and many new congressmen and senators, there is tremendous pressure to make progress in Afghanistan. The senior US military organization in Afghanistan is now the Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTFA). The commander is a three star, his J3 (Operations) is a two star, and his J2 (Intelligence) is a one star. You have just been assigned to the J2 Section with duties not determined as yet. Your attendance at AMU and the number of intelligence and counterterrorism courses you have taken is known to your boss, the Assistant J2, Colonel (Col) George A. Custer IV. (Yes, he is the lineal descendant of “Old Yellow Hair”. He is the oldest Lieutenant Colonel on active duty, and was recalled to active duty because of his experience in the Phoenix/Phung Hoang program in Vietnam.)
Col Custer has just called you in to his office, and after swearing you to secrecy, relates the following: He has just returned from the US Embassy where he attended a meeting chaired by the US Ambassador, and attended by, among others, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Chief of Station (COS), the Defense Attaché (DATT), the Commanding General (CG), JTFA, his J3 and J2, and various other members of the American Embassy, to include the Political Counselor, Chief, Political/Military Branch, Chief, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chief, United States Information Service (USIS).
The Ambassador has called this meeting at the direct order of the Commander in Chief. It seems that a Pakistan Colonel, a longtime member of the Pakistan Intelligence Service (the ISI), now assigned to the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, as a Military Attaché (MA), has made the following confidential approach to the US Defense Attaché (DATT): The Pakistan MA claims to know precisely where Ayman al-Zawahiri is in the Afghan/Pakistan border region. He knows this from his long-term association with an Afghan member of Al Qaeda, whom he personally recruited many years ago when the Afghan was a senior Taliban personality. The Afghan source has told his handler, still the MA, that he knows that al-Zawahiri now requires that his heart condition be monitored weekly. Currently there are three separate locations where al-Zawahiri has these tests. The specialized heart monitoring equipment are of German manufacture and were supplied by a Pakistan representative of the German firm. The machines must be inspected at least monthly. A Pakistan technician, known to the Pak MA, travels to the three locations for these inspections. The CIA has the technology to covertly install a Global Positioning System (GPS) machine in the monitoring equipment that will send a very brief “burst” transmission indicating, each time that the equipment has been put into use, and its exact location. When the above information was received by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Commander in Chief, in Washington, there was almost instant disagreement over what reaction should be taken. The Pakistan MA wants the entire posted award, USD 25 million, for his information, and assistance in recruiting the [dialysis] technician for the heart monitoring equipment who would install the CIA-supplied GPS device. (The posted reward assumes capture or killing of al-Zawahiri.) Not everyone in the NSC, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Intelligence Community (USIC) thinks this a good idea. Some argue for EXPLOITING the information by recruiting the Pakistan MA who would, through his penetrations of Al Qaeda (at least two individuals, the Afghan and the Dialysis Technician), be able to provide almost continuous information on al-Zawahiri and Al Qaeda. Others want a TARGETED KILLING OR CAPTURE, if possible, as assumed by the posted reward.
The CG, JTFA, expected to be recalled by the Ambassador for a second Country Team meeting within the next two weeks, has tasked the J3 and the J2 to give him a pro and con document (a Position Paper in essay format) of the various options, in 1,500 to 2,000 words, by the end of next week, fourteen days. Your boss has passed this on to you, to prepare a pro and con document (a Position Paper in essay format) on the question of what should the US reaction be to the information provided by the Pakistan officer, now an MA in Kabul. You should “role play” and understand that your Position Paper will be the primary source material used by the Asst J2, your boss. To be realistic this Position Paper should be in essay format, rather formal, and not “conversational”.
– You must play the role here, and prepare your Position Paper so that Col Custer is adequately prepared to brief the J2 and J3. Remember, you must work with the information provided.
– Keep in mind that, it has gone all the way from the Defense Attache Office (DAO) to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to the White House, and back from the President to the US Ambassador. It would be highly inappropriate for you to say you can’t do anything until more is learned about the Pakistan MA and his offer. (You also do not need to try to tell the eventual action agency how to do their job!)
– The President is telling the Ambassador to make a recommendation, based on the inputs of those at the meeting. Your memo is to help the J2 and J3 prepare the CG, JTFA, to give his evaluation of the situation to the Ambassador, and make a recommendation to the Ambassador if the Ambassador wants one (and he will!).