Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Imitating Smuggler Networks

Victor Bout was recently arrested. The interesting part was how they arrested him. The DEA website has the details on how they did it. Quote from the article:

"According to court documents, between November 2007 and February 2008, Bout and Smulian agreed to sell to the FARC millions of dollars worth of weapons including surface-to-air missile systems (SAMs) and armor piercing rocket launchers. During a series of recorded telephone calls and emails, Bout and Smulian agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources (CSs) working with the DEA, who held themselves out as FARC representatives acquiring these weapons for the FARC for use in Colombia.

In addition, during a series of consensually recorded meetings in Romania, Smulian advised the CSs, among other things, that Bout had 100 SAMs available immediately and could also provide helicopters and armor piercing rocket launchers."

The imitation and cloning of networks is a powerful way to shut down other illicit networks. The question I'd like to raise is ... are such endeavours better than trying to infiltrate a singular node into the network? Is there any literature on network-centric theories of intelligence gathering as opposed to war like arquillas works? From Pablo to Osama by Kenney is great, but concentrates more on organisational learning and adaptation. What I'm wondering is if there is literature on penetrating networks written in a social network vernacular or perspective.


Ymarsakar said...

What I'm wondering is if there is literature on penetrating networks written in a social network vernacular or perspective.

Mao's treatises, Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, and various other revolutionary movements have spread such literature around.

Most of this stuff isn't new, it is just packaged for a certain movement. But that means there is no particular why it can't be adapted to serve other people's purposes. Like the FBI or the US military.

subadei said...

Hmm. Ymarsakar, interesting sources but they seem to entail the design and perpetration of social networks, rather than the penetration there of.
But, as you say, each could be adapted to suit the purpose.

Münzenberg said...

ymarsakar, thanks for your comment and suggestions, I have read Alinsky and a bit of Mao. Whilst I think they are useful, and could be thought of in terms of social networks, they don't necessarily use social network vernacular and concepts in the way that I want to read about. I'm looking for literature that is similar to Ronfeldts and Arquillas Networks and Netwars, but from an intelligence gathering perspective. Perhaps I should have been a bit more explicit in my post.