Support to Operation Iraqi Freedom

In fall 2002 the Intelligence Community began providing extensive analytic, collection, and other specialized intelligence support to policymakers and the military in preparation for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, during the course of the military campaign, and in post-combat peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts. 

The Intelligence Community worked closely with US Central Command (USCENTCOM) to provide its expertise and intelligence data on focused issues and to meet critical needs as they arose.

  • Supporting the planning for troop protection, another interagency effort sought to identify any oilfield hazards US forces might encounter upon entering Iraq through its southern and northern borders.  The effort identified possible locations of booby-trapped oilfield facilities and other inherent oilfield hazards such as the presence of hazardous gases and pressurized equipment.  The results such as these were incorporated into USCENTCOM's strategy for invading and rebuilding Iraq.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and USCENTCOM J2 formed and activated 13 crisis intelligence federation partnerships with supporting Commands to help USCENTCOM J2 provide crucial intelligence support to combat operations in Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  At the height of the combat, over 900 intelligence personnel at supporting Commands were committed to assisting USCENTCOM.

  • Prior to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, DIA's Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) deployed a Ballistic Missile Portal that contained pictures, descriptions, order of battle, infrastructure, technical parameters, and signatures unique to ballistic missiles.  The entire Intelligence Community, including warfighters, fed data to the portal, which allowed USCENTCOM operators to find and strike ballistic missile targets easily and effectively.
  • In response to DCI and other Intelligence Community requirements for fast-paced, relevant assessments of near-term Iraqi actions, DIA formed a RED CELL to replicate the inner workings of the Iraqi regime decisionmaking process.  The cell produced 20 "Policy Papers" presenting the views of the Iraqi leadership.  The series had a direct and immediate impact on US and Coalition planning and policy deliberations.

The Ace of Clubs from the Top 55 Iraqi Most Wanted Deck of Cards
    Qusay Saddam Husayn Al-Tikriti
    • DIA's Iraq Leadership Team led the Community in creating a comprehensive Iraqi Leadership Database—also known as the Black, White, and Grey List—of over 3,000 personalities.  Combining efforts from across the Intelligence Community and the National Security Council, the team created a sophisticated functional database that became the authoritative source on Iraqi political, military, intelligence and security, and WMD program leaders.  The effort was also the basis for the Top 55 Iraqi Most Wanted list and its well-known corresponding deck of cards.
    • Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) foreign materiel exploitation specialists and 12 analysts from DIA's MSIC participated in the Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Cell (JCMEC). The JCMEC provided the focal point for the identification, collection, assessment, exploitation, and evacuation of captured enemy materiel and weapons of strategic or intelligence value throughout the Iraqi theater of operations.  DIA personnel collected over $1 million worth of foreign short-range ballistic missiles, antitank guided missiles, and surface-to-air missiles.  The ONI team identified, analyzed, and packed over 150 tons of armored vehicles, torpedoes, naval mines, and anti-ship cruise missiles for transport to the United States.  Technical intelligence resulting from their efforts was immediately passed to operational force commanders.
    • US Coast Guard (USCG) intelligence analysts, working with interagency partners in support of Coast Guard Investigative Service special agents and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), examined the records of over 200,000 individuals who hold a US merchant mariner credential to identify potential terrorist links and detect document fraud.  As a result of the investigation, the USCG and FBI identified nine individuals with suspected ties to terrorism.
    • The multi-agency Iraq Survey Group (ISG) Fusion Center provided valuable analytic support to forward-deployed elements for exploiting suspect WMD hide-sites and captured documents.  The Fusion Center reviewed exploitation reports from hundreds of operations, which resulted in follow-on mission requirements and sites for future exploitation. 
    • DIA established a forward element, located in Baghdad, Iraq, that managed all ISG personnel accountability and reporting functions.  These efforts were performed under severe time constraints and partly in a combat environment, but enabled the ISG to focus its attention on its priority mission—finding evidence of the Saddam Husayn regime's WMD program.  The ISG submitted an interim report detailing its activities and preliminary findings in early October 2003
    • In March 2003, DIA made major improvements to its support to Coalition Forces engaged in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM by making its GEMINI Intelligence Portal available on the primary Coalition communications network.  The deployment of this portal allowed analysts and warfighters separated by both security and geography to retain a common view of key intelligence issues and improved dramatically the Coalition's ability to participate in operational planning.

    The FBI developed intelligence to counter potential Iraqi terrorist and counterintelligence threats to the United States in reaction to the war.

    • FBI analysts produced an assessment of Iraq's potential to launch terrorist attacks against the US Homeland in the event of war.
    • FBI analysts assessed the threat to the Homeland posed by terrorist groups opposing US intervention in the Middle East.
    • The FBI interviewed over 11,000 ethnic Iraqis in the United States with the assistance of the Muslim community.  Over 350 reports were disseminated to the military and Intelligence Community as a result of this effort.
    • The FBI worked with US forces to exploit intelligence on Iraqi regime activities in the United States.

    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intelligence assessments on Iraqi military forces, tribes, and key individuals were used to plan the military campaign.  Order-of-battle work on Iraqi military and paramilitary forces was incorporated into USCENTCOM's own orders of battle, and ultimately used to assess enemy strengths and plan Coalition operations.

    • CIA developed and implemented a strategic plan for thwarting Iraqi-sponsored and inspired terrorism activities in reaction to the war.  The actions taken as a result of the strategic plan were effective in disrupting the surrogate and sympathizer groups' activities and thereby thwarting attacks by these groups during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
    • CIA developed new intelligence methodologies and designed new tools to support Iraq war planning and force protection.  These efforts included a hydrologist's assessment of Iraq's potential use of flooding and weather unit modeling of plume dispersion patterns of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) or hydrogen sulfide gas and smoke from burning oil fields.
    • Prior to combat operations, CIA worked independently and jointly with other US Government entities to collect actionable intelligence on suspect Iraqi WMD facilities as well as Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and missile programs.  Using open source Internet data, CIA produced two CD ROMs containing information on Iraqi WMD programs and scientists.  These and other prewar intelligence products are being reexamined in light of subsequent information and the ongoing efforts of the ISG.
    • CIA provided frequent assessments of the level of international support for US actions in Iraq and willingness to provide troops or other military assets to combat or post-conflict operations.  CIA provided a comprehensive country-by-country matrix to senior administration officials outlining the status of international commitment to contribute peacekeeping forces to Iraq.
    • CIA collected intelligence in advance of and during combat operations to identify Iraqi Intelligence Service officers or their agents, to discover ground truth on Iraqi resistance, and to identify and locate the financial holdings of the Saddam Husayn regime.
    • CIA provided round-the-clock analytic support to the Coalition military campaign.  The analysts provided assessments of Iraqi force locations and defensive plans; assisted in real-time targeting during the bombing campaign; and provided support to rescue operations.  CIA published a series of papers to support operations in Iraq and another series assessing Iraqi support for terrorism.
    • CIA produced a digital map of Iraq displaying all border crossings and detailed geographic data to assist intelligence and military planners.  CIA also produced weekly Media Guides summarizing developments in the chaotic post-Saddam Iraqi media.
    • CIA provided analysis on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, assessing living conditions and identifying actions needed to improve basic services, including electricity, water and sanitation, food, health care, and policing.  CIA support to policymakers during the early stages of planning for Iraqi relief and reconstruction helped mitigate potential hardships for the Iraqi people during and after the war, particularly their need for water and food.
    • CIA developed an economic model and database that provided policymakers with actionable analysis on the cost of Iraq's reconstruction and the impact of differing levels of aid.  CIA continues to use the model to give policymakers detailed assessments of Iraq's balance of payments, the potential for growth, and the outlook for employment.
    • CIA established an on-line, Iraq-focused collaboration forum that made much of CIA's Iraq reporting and analysis available to intelligence and military customers at the top-secret level.  In addition, a new secure website provided rapid delivery of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence (DI) products to the military and gave frontline troops direct access to DI finished intelligence at the secret level.

    The National Security Agency (NSA) through its worldwide Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) enterprise, provided clear and timely SIGINT and extensive direct support to all the combatant commanders engaged in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, which contributed to the destruction, disruption, or capture of enemy individuals and units throughout Iraq. 

    • NSA established a separate 24/7 operational cell to specifically manage and direct the support to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  It enabled NSA to respond to time-sensitive support requirements of its customers, such as providing critical information that supported the rescue of US soldiers.  NSA analyzed historical data that led to the provision of crucial information to the rescue team.

    Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) offices provided intelligence assessments and briefings, INR-produced maps, Geographic Information System (GIS) products, and polling data of direct relevance to policymakers involved in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

    • The results of INR polls helped policymakers better understand public opinion in countries with Muslim majorities prior to the start of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  Polling conducted after hostilities ended was used by the US Government and Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
    • INR's Office of Research provided extensive guidance and training to institutes in Iraq to build their capacity to conduct methodologically sound public-opinion research.  Results from the first seven-city survey as well as in-depth interviews were released in early fall.  INR continues to conduct surveys crafted to meet the needs of the CPA with plans for monthly polling.
    Preferred Political Systems for Iraq

    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), provided over 70 analysts as embedded support to USCENTCOM
    during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  These analysts helped provide timely and tailored products in support of military planning and combat operations.

    • NGA analysts, collaborating with the Department of State, performed a detailed review and analysis of Iraq's international boundaries, in conjunction with boundary demarcation documentation.  These analyses were used by deployed forces, especially along contentious borders, to ensure force protection and accurate analysis of facilities and events in border regions.
    • NGA provided for Special Operations Forces high-resolution terrain data around strategic points in discrete areas in Iraq to support Forward Operating Base ingress planning. ArcView projects were created incorporating soil information, slope, and view-shed analysis.  NGA also produced mosaics of standard topographic line maps covering northern and western Iraq for USEUCOM, 3rd, 5th, and 10th Special Forces Group, 75th Rangers, 160th Special Operations Army Reserve, and Joint Special Operations Command.

    NGA Commercial Imagery Types

    • NGA intelligence analysts assessed the potential denial of Iraqi airfield use by Iraqi leadership.  NGA identified airfields useable for landing, and once US forces were in control, NGA analysts helped design the Iraqi airspace for arrivals and departures.
    • NGA exploited commercial imagery for operational military requirements, intelligence preparation of the battlefield and battlefield damage assessments, and the public release of information to support policy objectives.  NGA leveraged commercial imagery analysis and production in support of multiple intelligence gathering activities, US and Coalition partner military operations and deployments, homeland defense, public diplomacy and information, and humanitarian relief.
    • NGA provided multi-spectral imagery data to determine optimum deployment sites for forward-deployed Patriot anti-tactical ballistic missile batteries in the area of Nasiriyah, Iraq.  US military forces determined from the imagery data and the Iraqi tactical ballistic missile trajectories that deploying Patriot batteries in this area would improve the US military's ability to intercept and destroy Iraqi tactical ballistic missiles being fired against Kuwait, minimizing the potential danger to Coalition partners and the civilian population.

    NGA Commercia Imagery Support for Operation Iraqi Freedom

    • NGA provided USCENTCOM commercial imagery data for media release to demonstrate that battle damage from US aircraft and missiles was restricted to government buildings and military targets.  NGA led the development, production, and worldwide distribution of seven special reference graphics of Iraqi cities for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM that were used by public affairs offices and the media.  One such graphic was the Tikrit Reference Map, which was published in the Washington Post. NGA also worked directly with CBS News to determine the subject matter and style of the graphics used in its broadcasts.
    • NGA, working with the State Department and USCENTCOM military planners, provided commercial imagery data identifying medical facilities in eight Iraqi cities and civilian Iraqi infrastructure facilities.  These data were added to the "No-Strike" list for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. 

    At the request of policymakers and warfighters, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) produced multiple assessments and estimates before and throughout Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

    NGA Commercial Imagery Support for No-Strike List - Operation Iraqi Freedom

    • The National Intelligence Estimate Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, based on data and intelligence acquired and evaluated over a 15-year period, detailed the Intelligence Community's knowledge and analysis of Iraq's WMD capabilities prior to the deployment of Coalition forces to Iraq.  Information acquired during and after major combat operations has not changed the Community's assessment that Iraq was intent on reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.  Prewar intelligence on the scope and status of Iraq's other WMD programs, however, has proved less compelling than originally postulated.  Numerous teams continue the search throughout Iraq, interviewing scientists and workers, checking possible dumping grounds, and assessing captured documents.  Once the ISG has completed its task, the Intelligence Community will undertake a definitive examination of the evidence and methodologies that contributed to this estimate.
    • A series of NIC analyses addressed specific Iraqi military capabilities, potential military threats, Iraqi options, and the military implications of Iraqi technical capabilities.  The assessments looked closely at Iraqi defenses; likely tactics and strategy; and the potential for Iraq to obtain and utilize technology and equipment that could reduce the effectiveness of the US-led Coalition, the potential for Iraqi cyber warfare, and Iraqi ability to threaten US global positioning satellite (GPS) operations.
    • With the expertise of the Weapons and Space Systems Intelligence Committee (WSSIC), the NIC produced analyses of threats to US forces in Iraq by jamming, lasers, missiles, and UAVs.
    • Another NIC analysis discussed how regional repercussions of a war in Iraq would depend not only on the length and course of the war itself and on post-war developments within Iraq, but also on pre-existing conditions in the region.  The NIC also published a study examining the Iraqi internal dynamics that would shape policy challenges for any post-Saddam governing authority. 
    • The NIC produced an unclassified white paper entitled Putting Noncombatants at Risk:  Saddam's Use of "Human Shields," which laid out Iraq's previous use of civilians to manipulate domestic and international opinion and deter attack.
    • The NIC's Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC) prepared three key products on Iraqi denial and deception (D&D) issues in the months leading up to the war, including analyses of Iraqi D&D capabilities, the extent and implications of its underground facilities, and the implications of Iraqi battlefield camouflage, concealment, and deception.
    • After the end of major military operations the NIC produced assessments of the challenges posed by groups in Iraq opposing the Coalition and by the actions and inaction of neighboring states.  Other Intelligence Community efforts to support the rebuilding of Iraq continue.


    Posted: Apr 25, 2007 12:42 PM
    Last Updated: Jan 03, 2012 12:56 PM