Military Operations in the 2000s

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Follow-On

2008 - 2013

Materials arranged chronologically.

Spiegel, Peter. "Pentagon Battle Breaks Out Over a Spy Plane." Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2008. []

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the Air Force to put nearly all of its unmanned Predator aircraft into the skies over the Middle East, forcing the service to take steps that officers worry could hobble already-stressed drone squadrons."

Best, Richard A., Jr. "What the Intelligence Community Got Right about Iraq." Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 289-302.

The U.S. Intelligence Community provided a "bleak description of likely postwar Iraq realities.... [B]ased on the assessments of the Intelligence Community, American policymakers were in a position to know what they were up against in a post-conflict Iraq. In this instance, intelligence analysts earned their pay."

Flynn, Michael T. [BGEN/USA], Rich Juergens [COL/USA], and Thomas L. Cantrell [MAJ/USAF]. "Employing ISR: SOF Best Practices." Joint Force Quarterly 50 (Third Quarter 2008): 56-61.

The airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi "was only a fraction of the effort to find and accurately target him.... Airborne ISR was a critical and necessary piece, but it alone was not sufficient to target Zarqawi. Instead, it was focused and directed by a robust all-source intelligence network employing human intelligence (HUMINT), detainee intelligence, and signals intelligence (SIGINT). This collection and intelligence analysis was part of a network of personnel, systems, and mechanisms woven into the daily operations of and directed by a joint special operations task force (JSOTF)."

Odierno, Raymond T. [LTGEN/USA], Nichoel E. Brooks [LTCOL/USA], and Francesco P. Mastracchio [LTCOL/USA]. "ISR Evolution in the Iraqi Theater." Joint Force Quarterly 50 (Third Quarter 2008): 51-55.

The ability of conventional units to engage in special forces-type operations is attributable to "the sudden increase in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), analysis, and exploitation assets delegated down to the brigade combat teams (BCTs). We have seen a significant metamorphosis of intelligence operations in Iraq."

Blackledge, Brett J. "CIA Officials Deny Fake Iraq-al-Qaida Link Letter." Associated Press, 5 Aug. 2008. []

"Two former CIA officers [on 5 August 2008] denied that they or the [CIA] faked an Iraqi intelligence document purporting to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11 bomber Mohammed Atta, as they are quoted as saying" in Ron Suskind's The Way of the World. The denials came from Robert Richer, former deputy director of operations, and John Maguire, head of the Iraq Operations Group in the fall of 2003.

White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto commented, "The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush [Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, Saddam's director of intelligence] to Saddam Hussein is absurd." Former DCI George Tenet "also denied CIA involvement in the supposedly fake letter," and added, "It is well established that ... CIA resisted efforts by some in the administration to paint a picture of Iraqi-al-Qaida connections that went beyond the evidence." See also Joby Warrick, "White House Denies Author's Accusations of Document Forgery," Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2008, A2.

Luxenberg, Steve. "U.S. Spied on Iraqi Leaders, Book Says: Woodward Also Reveals That Political Fears Kept War Strategy Review 'Under the Radar.'" Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2008, A1. []

According to Bob Woodward's The War Within, "[t]he Bush administration has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government.... The book also says that the U.S. troop 'surge' of 2007 ... was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence there during the past 16 months. Rather, Woodward reports, 'groundbreaking' new covert techniques enabled U.S. military and intelligence officials to locate, target and kill insurgent leaders and key individuals in extremist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Segell, Glen M. "Creating Intelligence: Information Operations in Iraq." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 22, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 89-109.

The author discusses the work of the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF) in Iraq. "The IOTF's specific information warfare was initiated through a media campaign essentially utilizing persuasion and dissuasion.... Specifically the IOTF was empowered to offer the Iraqi population alternatives more attractive than those offered by the insurgents and terrorists.... [I]ntelligence should not be limited to gathering and analyzing information"; "it can also create information aimed at 'winning the hearts and minds' of a population, while seeking to dissuade it from supporting an adversary."

Dale, Catherine Marie. Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategies, Approaches, Results, and Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2 Apr. 2009. [Available at:]

Strachan-Morris, David. "The Future of Civil-Military Intelligence Cooperation Based on Lessons Learned in Iraq." Intelligence and National Security 24, no. 2 (Apr. 2009): 257-274.

The author analyzes "the lessons learned during the creation of the intelligence interface between the US military and Private Security Companies (PSCs) in Iraq working under the auspices of the Department of Defense (DoD) or Department of State (DoS)."

Pincus, Walter. "High-Tech Balloon to Help Forces Keep Watch." Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2009. [http://www.]

According to U.S. and Afghan military officials, "[a] state-of-the-art observation balloon with round-the-clock video and sound surveillance capability has been installed several thousand feet above Kabul." The aerostat "has a full-motion video camera that can pan 360 degrees and provide nonstop, instant surveillance.... Aerostats have been used since 2004 at forward operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most have crews of five working in 12-hour shifts.... More than a dozen aerostats were used in Iraq to provide permanent surveillance over towns and cities, including Baghdad, and there are plans to install additional units in Afghanistan for better coverage of its cities and towns."

Filkins, Dexter, Mark Mazzetti, and James Risen. "Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll." New York Times, 28 Oct. 2009. []

According to current and former U.S. officials, "Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments" from the CIA, and "has for much of the past eight years." The CIA pays "Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.'s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar.... Ahmed Wali Karzai said in an interview that he cooperated with American civilian and military officials, but did not engage in the drug trade and did not receive payments from the C.I.A."

Risen, James, and Mark Mazzetti. "Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids by the C.I.A." New York Times, 11 Dec. 2009. []

According to former company employees and current and former intelligence officers, "[p]rivate security guards from Blackwater Worldwide [now known as Xe Services] participated in some of the C.I.A.'s most sensitive activities -- clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees.... Several former Blackwater guards said that their involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred."

R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick, "Blackwater Tied to Clandestine CIA Raids," Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2009, adds that "the involvement of Blackwater's officers in raids is likely to raise new questions about the degree to which deadly actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were outsourced to contract personnel who operated without direct contractual authority or without the kind of oversight and accountability applied to CIA and military personnel."

Gorman, Siobhan, Yochi J. Dreazen, and August Cole. "Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones." Wall Street Journal, 17 Dec. 2009. []

According to senior defense and intelligence officials, Iranian-backed Shiite insurgents in Iraq "have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.... U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights.... The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Digs in as Americans Withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan." Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2012. []

"The CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional U.S. troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two longtime war zones, U.S. officials said."

Return to MI Ops/2000s/Iraq Table of Contents