Bengaluru: “Intelligence agencies need to develop a ‘sixth sense’ to predict with accuracy critical inputs on security in today’s shifting world order and geo-political dynamics,” said former national security advisor to Government of India and former governor of West Bengal M.K. Narayanan, while speaking on ‘Reimagining Intelligence’ at the ongoing ‘Synergia Conclave 2017’ on security, in the City.
He said that India has had a “fair share of success” in accurate inputs by its Indian Intelligence agencies. However, there is a need for intelligence services across the world to be more versatile and conversant with latest technology in collection and analysis of critical data. “Technology has come in handy for converting noise into signals, and Meta data helps in providing precise prediction of Intelligence inputs and deeper penetration in the world of digital language. The role of covert Intelligence is bound to increase and technological advancements like quantum computing will further redefine Intelligence predictions,” he said. Mr. Narayanan added a word of caution on the risk of “retrospect scrutiny” that Intelligence officers may be subjected to, and said that any cut on investments in the Intelligence machinery will prove costly to the country. “Prediction of accurate Intelligence is not easy anymore,” he said.
Former national security advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a top spy in Mossad – the ace Israeli Intelligence agency, Uzi Arad, said that the games of war have changed and the role of Intelligence services has become more difficult than ever before. Arad, who has worked for a quarter of a century with Mossad before he changed his role into a policymaker, said, “Fluctuating landscapes and fast accelerating advancements in technology are posing huge challenges to the Intelligence services across the world.
Technology is being used for disruptive purposes. We are in the midst of a revolution and are caught in the battle of wits. Nobody knows who is going to have an upper hand. The surprise element is huge. Look at the bewilderment in the USA on the role of Russians in its Presidential elections last year. Today it is not the governments alone that can play mischief (with their enemy countries). The entrance of private entities has made the work of security agencies more complex. Too many Intelligence agencies have become politicised and the political masters are no longer consistent and calculating leaders. The work of Intelligence agencies has become enormously complicated,” he said. On a lighter vein, he said that two weeks ago, he had gone to the USA and the Americans asked him if he could predict what their present head (President Donald Trump) is likely to do. “We are living in tumultuous times and accuracy in Intelligence prediction is not an easy task anymore,” added Arad.
Former chief of India’s top external spy agency Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) P.K.H. Tharakan said 98 percent of Intelligence inputs are available in open domain and agencies should use their human and technology resources to tap them. “Intelligence is no longer a government affair. The CIA has partnered with a private firm for its operations,” he said. The former R&AW chief added that in the current scenario, Intelligence agencies should share inputs with the general public for improved security and multi-agency co-operation. “They should let people know part of what they know,” he said.