Title: Assisting in the Hunt for al-Qa'ida Leadership

Release Date: 2017-04-24

Document Date: 2005-01-11

Description: An intelligence analysis intern deployed to Afghanistan for 90 days working as a geospatial metadata analyst at Bagram Airfield.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U) Assisting in the Hunt for al-Qa'ida Leadership
FROM:
Intelligence Analysis (IA) Intern
Run Date: 01/11/2005

describes her 3-month TDY to Afghanistan

SERIES:
(U//FOUO) Intern TDYs

(U//FOUO) As the plane quickly descended into Bagram Air Field
(BAF) in late June, I was finally beginning to realize the gravity of
the decision I had made to deploy on a 90-day NIST . What was I
getting myself into? Was I prepared for the work? The 12-hour or
more days? The 7-day workweeks? Who would I be living with?
Who would I be working with? All of these questions and hundreds
more were running through my head as the plane touched down.

1. Doing SIGINT in
Pakistan
2. The Only Game in
Town (part 1)
3. The Only Game in
Town (part 2)
4. Eye-Opening
Experience in Haiti
(part 1)
5. Eye-Opening
Experience in Haiti
(part 2)
6. Assisting in the Hunt
for al-Qa'ida
Leadership

Intern
(C)

(TS//SI) The Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) at Bagram is
comprised of teams from several different agencies to include NSA,
CIA, DIA, CENTCOM, and NGA*, and works to support Special
Forces targeting and operations directed against al-Qa'ida Senior
Leadership (AQSL) targets. My job was to serve as a geospatial
metadata analyst (GMA) in support of this mission. As part of this
duty, we were also charged with explaining SIGINT analysis to the
tactical forces so that they could conduct effective time-sensitive
operations. Never before was I able to immediately see the results
of my analytic efforts, and it is a very rewarding feeling to see
your work being used to fight anti-coalition militia or al-Qa'ida
fighters.

(U//FOUO) NSA team in Bagram (the author is wearing the yellow
helmet)
(U//FOUO) One of the highlights of the TDY was when DIRNSA
came out to visit in mid-August. While he was scheduled to be
there for meetings with the Commanding General and others in the
CENTCOM chain of command, he made it a point to stop by our
workspace to personally thank us for our efforts and to present us
with a coin.
(U//FOUO) Although we were not allowed off BAF unless it was to
go to Kabul, there were some interesting happenings. Every Friday
we looked forward to the bazaar, at which local vendors would
come in and set up shop to sell us anything from DVDs of the
latest American flicks, money, jewelry, carpets, or any other
trinket you can imagine. You could even get your picture taken on
a camel for $3 if you so desired. We also had "Surf n' Turf" on
Fridays, when the DFAC (dining facility) served your choice of
lobster, shrimp or crab legs and steak. It was a nice distraction
from the fact that you were in Afghanistan and while it wasn't 4star restaurant quality, it was always a welcomed meal.
(U//FOUO) There were also the camel races, an "invitation only"
event hosted by our Coalition friends. When I first heard of them I

thought they would be racing actual camels and wondered where
on BAF they could actually do that! They were, unfortunately, not
real camels. They were plastic camels that were auctioned off to
the highest bidder before each race, and then betting was open to
any and all, much like a horse race, and they moved by the roll of
dice that had the color of the camel and a number of spaces to
move. They were a welcome break from the 12-hour workdays and
the fighting going on throughout the country.
(U//FOUO) It wasn't until 90 days later, when I was trying to fall
asleep on a C-17 leaving Bagram for Germany that I could answer
all of the questions I had back on that day in June when I arrived
at BAF. I felt confident that I had provided the best support I could
to the GWOT (Global War on Terror). It was definitely the
experience of a lifetime, personally and professionally. I
recommend that anyone considering deployment take advantage of
the opportunity and experience if you can. I am looking forward to
the day that I can go back and do it all over again!

(U) one of many "mini-mart" type gas stations that are popping up
along the road from Bagram to Kabul.

(U) The author at Bagram Air Field near a marker warning of
mines.
* (U) Notes:
DIA = Defense Intelligence Agency
CENTCOM = U.S. Central Command
NGA = National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly known as
the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)).

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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