A Step Ahead of the U.S.The Los Angeles Times has a good article today on U.S. efforts to capture Iraqi insurgency leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, who not only has managed to elude US forces but even expanded attacks to outside Iraqi, with the recent bombings in Amman, Jordan (see "In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of U.S.).
Here's an except:
"Officials from several U.S. agencies said Washington had dramatically intensified its effort to catch Zarqawi over the last year as his network, which he calls Al Qaeda in Iraq, had launched a series of deadly and audacious attacks against civilian and military targets...
At least two top-secret, multi-agency commando teams have been assigned solely to track Zarqawi and mobilize quickly to pursue him into the most unstable areas of Iraq where he is believed to be hiding, several U.S. officials familiar with the units said. One of them is called Task Force 626, which was established last year by the Pentagon.
There are also dozens of special forces commandos and military intelligence gatherers looking for him. The CIA has deployed dozens of case officers and analysts, the FBI has flown in special agents and bomb experts, and forensic money-trackers from the Treasury Department are trying to monitor the flow of illicit funds into and out of Iraq as a way of of cornering Zarqawi and his top aides, those officials said in interviews.
Eavesdropping satellites, unmanned drones and even U-2 spy planes are gathering intelligence on the insurgency, some of them specifically watching for Zarqawi, the officials confirmed..."
This is a good description of how technology may aid fights against insurgencies, but is no substitute for human intelligence, as U.S. forces are also seeing with the plague of improvised explosive devices in Iraq (see "No Silver Bullet for IEDs"). After a decade or so of emphasis on electronic means of gathering intelligence, military planners and intelligence chiefs are quickly seeing the need for more fully "multidisciplinary" approaches.
For more on this, see "Promises, Promises" and "Intel Community Ineffective, Experts Say."