Table Speech

“What is intelligence (information)?” 

September 27, 2006

Mr. Ryuichi Teshima,
Journalist, Writer


 Yesterday, the Shinzo Abe Cabinet was formed. Prime Minister Abe has identified 2 items as new concepts. First is the establishment of a National Security Council. The other is an external intelligence agency. Japan is the only country that does not yet have an external intelligence agency, Among the G8 countries, Italy also finally established an external intelligence agency recently in the 1970’s.

 We have learned first hand from the Iraq War the fear of having the intelligence agency not function adequately. It has been alleged that the Bush Government intentionally fabricated intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; but what actually happened was that in the processing of inaccurate information regarding Iraq being passed from an intelligence agency in Italy to London, it was treated as though it was genuine information. This led the United States into the war, which was the situation then. This is a proto-typical example of how indirect information, at times, can invite death to an organization or a state.

 Last summer, when I completed my novel, “Ultra Dollar”, I received an email from ‘deep throat’ saying, “the secret service that you had been targeting will initiate something in Macao” but I did not change the draft. As the editor from the publisher pointed out that “what you wrote is coming true”, things began to move. The content of the book was slowly becoming reality. As a result, although “Ultra Dollar” was a fictional novel, it is placed in the non-fiction sections at bookstores.

 On August 10th of this year, the British authorities, for the first time, uncovered a large-scale aircraft terrorism plot before the fact. This was close to being miraculous. There are communities in England of British residence although of Pakistani nationality. JIC had extensive monitoring operations on those communities. The monitoring target is said to have exceeded 1000. The operation involved the use of wire-tapping, interceptions, analysis of cell phone conversions and placing double agents into the organizations, far exceeding the bounds of the normal rule of law and resulted in on focusing on 50 hardcore suspects.

 At the same time, information was exchanged with Pakistani military intelligence, and information that airline tickets were about to be purchased, and the entire outline of the plot of putting explosives in a contact lens container and detonating it with a cell phone battery, was obtained.

 Amalgamating enormous pieces of intelligence, it was determined that a serious event was to occur. Prime Minister Blair made a final decision to expose the crime, and contact was also made to President Bush, and on August 10th the raid was executed.

 Collecting the pieces and assembling them like a jigsaw puzzle and determining that certain events are about to occur will be the JIC, which belongs to the Cabinet. The JIC members are high ranking officials so they themselves will not be directly involved in the assessment of the pieces of the puzzle. Just 20 or so selected from various organizations will put an assessment report together and report an anticipated event directly to the government leaders. The key facet is that a great deal of authority was given to just 20 or so staff members, access to all intelligence will be allowed, and all responsibilities will be assumed by the government leaders.

 In the Abe version of the CIA concept, this core component is lacking. An organization can be created, but unless fully functional staffing is provided, it will not be functional. The key is to delegate authority to the select few and allow them to act in breaking down bureaucratic barriers. The Abe Cabinet is about to embark on difficult issues. But once started, it is my desire to see the establishment of a world-class external intelligence agency.