Title: Eye-Opening Experience in Haiti (part 2)

Release Date: 2017-04-24

Document Date: 2005-01-04

Description: The intelligence analysis intern deployed to Haiti describes how the SIGINT used by tactical forces on the ground is different from the product for most SID customers.


(U) Eye-Opening Experience in Haiti (part 2)
Intelligence Analysis Intern
Run Date: 01/04/2005

Here is part 2 (and final) of the story of one IA intern's deployment
(U//FOUO) Intern TDYs
to Haiti. If you missed it, see part 1 (S//SI)
(TS//SI) All this connectivity is fantastic and perhaps enough to
perform a satisfactory job, but the real combat multiplier is
augmenting this access with personal contacts on the ground. By
physically being in Haiti, I had regular access to US embassy
personnel, the CJTF-Haiti Marine J2 (Director of Intelligence),
Marine Radio Battalion operators doing tactical SIGINT, SOCOM*
planners and operators who were in charge of the missions going
against Haitian High Value Targets (HVTs), the Canadian SIGINT
personnel working the Haiti deployment in a camp right next to
ours, the TAREX** team sent to do surveys of Port au Prince and
Haiti, and the CJTF-Haiti Counter-Intelligence team that often
roamed the countryside working on leads. As a result, I was able to
act as a two-way transmission point for collection items from these
assets on the ground in Haiti back to the TOPI (Target Office of
Primary Interest).
(TS//SI) Two examples come to mind. On one occasion, the CJTF-H
CI team leader passed me some notes from a trip to the central
highlands of Haiti where they met with rebel leaders who controlled
the area. During this trip they had collected several telephone
numbers of these leaders and their associates. Within a week of my
passing these numbers to the TOPI, we began to see multi-page
reports of conversations between one important rebel leader and
his wife which provided insight into his negotiating position and
plans for control of the central highlands. One report was
immediately briefed to the CJTF-H J3 (Director of Operations) and
had a direct impact on our negotiations with the rebel leader. On
another occasion, the CJTF-H J2 passed to me a French-Creole
document that contained a list of the new Haiti police
commissioners and their telephone numbers. I was only too happy
to pass this on to the TOPI as well.

(U//FOUO) NIST personnel one week before returning home (the
author is on the right). The building in the background is CJTF-Haiti
(TS//SI) An eye-opening experience for both me and the TOPI
back here at NSAW was the realization that some customers are
looking for a different kind of product than what is produced for
most SIGINT customers. This takes some getting used to, because
often we are conditioned to pass on only the data that meets the
criteria for normal SIGINT reporting. One of the "surge" efforts
performed by the TOPI was to send out gists with a quick
translation of every HVT-related conversation, with the time of call,
etc. -- a simplified and streamlined KL, in effect.

1. Doing SIGINT in
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

(TS//SI) What I discovered is that the Special Forces operators
loved this kind of reporting because it allowed them to corroborate
SIGINT reporting with their own HUMINT access. One operator was
actually with a source in Haiti when the source received a
telephone call. Operators used the SIGINT gists to help corroborate
who and when calls were made between sources and HVTs. So,
while the call itself was of inconsequential value to the normal
SIGINT customers, there was a very high value to the tactical
customers on the ground.
(TS//SI) I received several emails from people who were
incredulous that a conversation between an HVT target and his
girlfriend was of any importance. The truth is that a lot of SIGINT
"leavings" that never make it into normal SIGINT reporting are
actually valuable intelligence items for tactical warfighters. In fact,
sometimes they are the most important elements of information
for warfighters. We may like the crusts cut off of our peanut butter
sandwiches, but that does not mean that others would wish the
(TS//SI) As for Haiti itself, it was both haunting and amazing. The
people are friendly and there is much to see. I had some of the
best food of my life while I was there. Having said that, the country
is in dire straits and the most impoverished sections of Port au
Prince are decrepit beyond words. The land has been so devastated
from deforestation that the nation is always one natural disaster
away from catastrophe, which I expect to be the cycle for the
foreseeable future.
(TS//SI) I was thrilled at the opportunity to drive around the city
and was amazed at how much fun I had behind the wheel in the
chaotic streets of Haiti, but it is bittersweet knowing that progress
there is haphazard, if it happens at all. I grew to love Haiti in my
short two months there, but that is little solace to those who live
there. Time will tell for Haiti.
(S//SI) I am ecstatic that I was able to participate in the
contingency NIST deployment to Haiti. This kind of experience is
something to keep in mind the next time a hot spot allows for the
opportunity to deploy forward on behalf of NSA.

(U) Goods on their way to market in Port-au-Prince, a common
sight in the crowded streets. It is amazing to see these hand carts
loaded to the gills with produce; they become very unwieldy.

(U) Traffic and a "Jesus-bus" in Port-au-Prince. These large,
colorful buses are so named by the US forces on the ground
because they are often painted with spiritual themes. They are the
public transportation for Haiti, along with the countless equally
colorful small pickup trucks with a cap and seats in the truck bed
(locally called "tap taps").
*(U) SOCOM = Special Operations Command
** (C) TAREX, or Target Exploitation, is a unique collection
program chartered under USSID 173 to collect information and
documentation of interest to the U.S. Cryptologic System.

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



Click to send permalink to address bar, or right-click to copy permalink.

Un-highlight all Un-highlight selectionu Highlight selectionh