Not only did intelligence support help to identify targets, it provided critical force protection, enabled improved coordination among the services and between conventional and SOF, and between SOF and the intelligence community. The SOF/CIA partnership in Iraq led to the identification and location of Ba’ath party leadership. HUMINT provided to a Green Beret soldier led to the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriya. 48 Intelligence provided by SOF to conventional forces identified enemy operations and hazards along conventional forces routes. Military officials have stated that conventional forces would not have gone so far so quickly without the support of Special Forces.49
One unnamed senior U.S. intelligence official characterized Iraq as a “CIA and special ops playground” and stated that they were counting on special ops and agency (CIA) paramilitaries to do whatever it took to “crumble [Sadam’s] regime from the inside out.” 50 Special forces ranged across Iraq, securing oil terminals and the Haditha Dam, preventing possible ecological disasters. They also tapped into Iraq’s Chinese-built fiber-optic communications lines, which allowed U.S. forces to intercept the conversations of Iraq’s military and political leaders.51
LESSONS LEARNED All the satellites and Predators in the world weren’t going to find Bin Laden.
Major General Renuart
PROS AND CONS
As with any analysis depending entirely on unclassified sources, the reviews of the effectiveness of intelligence support to SOF are mixed. But, the consensus of available unclassified lessons learned is that OEF and OIF demonstrated the value of timely battlefield intelligence and the need for increased investment in special operations. “On the basis of early reports, it seems likely that SOF played an important role in enabling the persistent surveillance that made it so difficult for Iraqi forces to move without being detected and engaged.”52
Sweeping statements from DoD tout the glowing success of the SOF/CIA/IC partnership.
The intelligence was so up to the minute and accurate, Pentagon officials say, that it not only allowed U.S. military commanders to take action but was in many
commanders were able unintended damage or
to be efficient in using air casualties, by combining
power, while mostly avoiding high-confidence intelligence,
targeting called in by precise munitions.53
ADM Giambastiani, Commander of the US Joint Forces Command and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (NATO), cited special operations and special operations-