Human Intelligence – Problem Scenario – American Mafia

This paper discusses the American Mafia, which is an Italian-American organized-crime network that conducts its operations in various cities in United States, especially in Chicago and New York. Organized crime is an issue that has been in the society for long time, but it is only in the past two decades that U.S. federal law enforcement began realizing the evolving challenges that it was posing. Criminals organizing such crimes have, through time, leaned different techniques of avoiding encounter with the law thereby making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to suppress or control their activities. It is worth noting that the presence of an organized crime in any country poses a threat to its various facets; for instance, United States considers organized crime as a detrimental issue to its national security and economy. In fact it is for this reason that the need for reconvening the Organized Crime Council after a long time in order to address the continued threat realized the significance of this issue. From the recent past, organized crime has been assuming a transnational nature owing to factors such as internet expansion and increasingly open borders. This factors have provided opportunities for criminals to continue endangering the United States from within it and outside its borders. In this regard, it is essential to note that threats originate from various criminal organizations that may include, African, Middle Eastern, Balkan, Italian, Asian, and Russian syndicates. This can easily provoke the effectiveness of crime countering tools they may have provided the federal government with considering the evolving nature of contemporary risks.

The American Mafia and its Background                                           

The prohibition era of the 1920s provided an opportunity for the American Mafia to rise to power following its immense success in the trade of illicit liquor. Thereafter the Prohibition era, the group graduated to various other criminal ventures ranging from illegal gambling to drug trafficking. The group, also, considered formation of labor unions as well as participation in legitimate activities like New York’s garment and construction industry. The Mafia’s notorious characters like John Gotti and Al Capone, secret rituals, and violent crimes have continually captured the attention and interest of the public making it become an essential aspect of popular culture. Even though the government deployed anti-racketeering laws that weakened the Mafia through conviction of high-ranking mobsters, it continues operating its business activities to date.

The historical significance of the American Mafia dates back to immigration and Prohibition era. At the start of the 20th century, a lot of Italian civilians mostly unskilled laborers, craftsmen and farmers migrated to the United States with the hope of improving their economic situation. By 1910, New York City alone harbored more than 500,000 Italians and their numbers continued soaring, and statistically making them comprise one-tenth of the population of the city. Most of these Italian immigrants were people who obeyed the law, except that it is normal for huge groups such as this to harbor criminals who began forming criminal gangs in the neighborhood. In the 1920s, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S., which impose a ban on manufacture, scaling and transporting alcoholic beverages. This amendment influenced the Italian-American gangs to begin venturing into the bootleg liquor business that was booming at the time. They, later on, transformed into sophisticated criminal initiatives that enhanced their skills at money laundering, smuggling and bribing law enforcement officials as well as other public officials. The American Mafia, also, received moral support from Sicilian Mafiosi who had escaped from Italy due to the harsh conditions following Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The American Mafia strictly embraces some of the traditions that prohibit any form of corporation with any government.

Conventional law enforcement approaches and criminal justice systems do not often match powerful criminal networks such as the American Mafia. This implies that better intelligence techniques, especially human intelligence can be essential in providing a lasting solution to the issue of organized crime that has, lately, become transnational. The U.S. administration should ensure creation of more specialized units of law enforcement that require being equipped with modern technology.

Organization and Mission

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is one of the most appropriate HUMINT organizations that are chartered for and capable of conducting intelligence operations to address the issue of the American Mafia. The FBI’s mission is to ensure that all government officials, the National Security Council, and the president access the intelligent information that they need. It is an organization that receives budget allocation for various functions including HUMINT. People working at the FBI do not participate in policy recommendations; instead, they ensure that leaders access the most appropriate intelligence information enable them develop policies for the United States and other nations. The human intelligence section of the FBI will entail collection of information about the American Mafia and other organized crime groups by well-trained HUMINT collector. The mission of this HUMINT organization will entail identification of composition, intentions, elements, capabilities, personnel, equipment, tactics, dispositions, and strength that the American Mafia and other organized groups across the United States may be having.

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In terms of the concise mission statement that defines the objectives and parameters under which the organization will operate, it is worth noting that the organization will concisely embark on collection of intelligence, analysis and counterintelligence in collaboration other law enforcement authorities at all levels. It should, also, be clear that fighting, disrupting and dismantling major national and transnational organized crime groups is an area where the FBI have a long standing record of success. However, in pursuing the concise mission, the organization will require to embrace a number of objectives in order to remain successful. The first objective will be following targets that may be having direct connections substantial international as well as national crime enterprises and dismantling them in a systematic manner.     The second objective will be employment of a strategy that can yield maximum impact for the organization based on the limited resources available.

In fighting organized crime enterprises such as the American Mafia, it is advisable to include both friendly and adversarial participants. In order to successfully combat organized crime, it the concerned federal agency should work in collaboration with both domestic and international efforts. At the domestic level, friendly participants will include the Department of Justice where the Organized crime council will be solely charged with the responsibility of establishing organized crime policy at the domestic level. Other domestic participants will include: the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; the Internal Revenue Service and Diplomatic Security. It is significant to note that despite the participation of all these other agencies, FBI is the primary agency whose involvement in fighting crime is crucial. At the international level, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime has been the most essential international tool for fighting organized crime.

Operations and Activities

In order to combat the American Mafia and their activities, the FBI will deploy HUMINT in a manner that matches the intelligence used by the adversarial group. The beginning point will be identification of activities that the group engages in. Having been in existence for almost a century, the American Mafia has continued their operations into activities that include corrupting public officials, drug trafficking, extortion, murder, infiltration of genuine businesses, pornography, prostitution, loan shaking, labor racketing, stock manipulation schemes, and tax fraud schemes. Having identified these activities, the organization will stage human intelligence in strategic places for purposes of deterring Mafia activities and apprehending the American Mafia criminals and their agents. The organization’s activities right from the beginning to the end will entail a number of activities. The first activity will entail prosecution of people involved in the American Mafia enterprise. Basing on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, which defines Racketeering in a broad manner that includes drug dealings, extortion, bribery, robbery, arson, gambling, kidnapping, and murder. The second activity will entail prosecuting the American Mafia kingpins, tracking money laundering and monitoring financial transactions, forfeiture and seizure of assets belonging to the American Mafia, Trusteeships, divestitures, and injunctions, and implementation of witness protection programs.

There are various HUMINT activities that the organization will engage in. One of the HUMINT collection strategies that the organization will embrace include debriefings. This entails questioning individuals in a systematic manner to procure information in order to respond to particular requirements of collection by both indirect and direct questioning approaches. The second HUMINT collection strategy is screening, which is the selection and evaluation process of media and human sources for the highlighted collection of information to support the IRs and PIRs of the commander. This technique prioritizes and categorizes information sources on the basis of the possibility of a certain source that may have priority information as well as the extent of difficulties that may be encountered in the extraction of such information from the source. Interrogation is another collection method that the organization will embrace. For persons that would be in the custody and in the presence of the questioning forces, interrogation would be the most appropriate method for procuring information. There are various issues that require coordination external agencies in order to overcome the American Mafia and other organized crime enterprises. Some of these issues include the costs and benefits of HUMINT cooperation, level of intelligence sharing, asymmetrical priorities regarding the cost of intelligence, and the last issue being intelligence itself.

In conclusion, this paper discussed the American Mafia, which is an Italian-American organized-crime network that conducts its operations in various cities in United States, especially in Chicago and New York. Organized crime is an issue that has been in the society for long time, but it is only in the past two decades that U.S. federal law enforcement began realizing the evolving challenges that it was posing. In regard to the American Mafia and its background, the prohibition era of the 1920s provided an opportunity for the group to rise to power following its immense success in the trade of illicit liquor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is one of the most appropriate HUMINT organizations that are chartered for and capable of conducting intelligence operations to address the issue of the American Mafia. In order to combat the American Mafia and their activities, the FBI will deploy HUMINT in a manner that matches the intelligence used by the adversarial group.

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