Intelligence: Selecting Syrians To Chat With


September 7, 2012: Turkey and Jordan have found themselves with an intelligence dilemma on their hands. That's because nearly one percent of the Syrian refugees to come across their borders in the last few months have some connection with army and police intelligence agencies. These guys know a lot about how things work inside the Assad dictatorship. Jordan, which has over 160,000 Syrian refugees so far, collected most of its intelligence service defectors into a special camp. There, these men are allowed to have their families with them and communicate with the FSA (Free Syrian Army, the main rebel group) but not with anyone else. These men have all been interrogated extensively and some have been allowed to go join the FSA.

In addition to collecting information about conditions inside Syria, the Jordanians are also looking for Syrian government spies who are posing as defectors. Several of these have already been caught. Jordan also knows that Syria has a spy network inside Jordan, with many agents who are still active.

Turkey is using a similar technique, of interrogating intelligence defectors and looking for useful data, and seeking out spies for the Assad government in Syria. As a member of NATO Turkey has access to the intelligence collection capabilities of other members and that makes interrogation results more useful. Jordan is also a close American ally and gets some of the NATO grade intelligence cooperation. But Turkey is where the FSA is based and there are more rebel interrogators available.

The large number of Syrian refugees (especially the ones who do not register as refugees) makes it impossible to question everyone about what they know. It's difficult enough just to find those who had been in the security services. A steady supply of these personnel has provided Jordan and NATO with a pretty accurate idea of the progress of the revolution.



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