Friday, July 15, 2016


            My new book, A Handbook For Intelligence And Crime Analysis, was published July 14th.

            It was a long time in the making but was worth it. There are 18 chapters in the book, but it contains two important chapters I am especially proud of—one on the Corruption of Intelligence and the other on Deception Analysis.

            The first should be of interest to everyone because the attempts to manipulate and distort intelligence by our elected officials have reached epidemic proportions. Unfortunately, a significant number of elected Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Party members do not think twice about trying to skew intelligence. I believe the objectivity, integrity, and honesty of intelligence products are vital keys to the preservation of our form of representative government.

            Indeed, perhaps the most valuable service intelligence analysts can perform is to tell policymakers what they don’t want to hear—analysis that differs from their bias, prejudices and, in some cases, their policies.

            The second should also be of interest to a large number of readers because it looks at deception in all its forms as developed and practiced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Terrorists, human and drug traffickers, and a wide variety of enemies of this country have adopted the principles of Soviet-style deception. And remember, Vladimir Putin is a former KGB intelligence officer, so I am sure deception is a major tool in the arsenal. 

Deception comes in many forms and is an every day problem intelligence and crime analysts face. Most texts on deception concentrate on deception as carried out in a military or political context, failing to recognize self-deception is a major cause of intelligence failures. A friend of mine, with over 40 years experience in intelligence, tells his classes that no analyst can come to a problem or situation with a clean slate. He or she will always have preconceptions or assumptions.  The assumptions may be correct, but the analyst often does not step back and reevaluate when dealing with a new problem. Judgments, he says, tend to get firmer in analysts minds and they rarely revisit them.

Sometimes self-deception and deceptive practices of the opposition come together and result in devastating consequences. This textbook reminds, and in some cases, alerts analysts (and interested non-professionals) to the pitfalls of deception in all forms.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


            On July 1, 2016, two new firearms laws went into effect in Virginia making some progress toward keeping weapons out of criminals’ hands. The new laws are a minor step forward despite lifting restrictions on reciprocity involving concealed-weapons permits from other states.
            The first law states the holder of a valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permit or license issued by another state may carry a concealed weapon in Virginia. The Virginia law, however, requires that:
1.    The holder of such a non-Virginia license or permit must be at least 21 years old.
2.    The permit or license holder must carry a photo identification issued by a government agency of any state or the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State.
3.    The permit or license holder must show that identification to law enforcement officers upon demand.
4.    The permit or license holder reciprocity does not extend to persons who previously have had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked.
The new law does not require other states recognize Virginia permits in order to have a state’s permits recognized in Virginia.
The second law requires the Virginia State Police to be available at all gun shows to do background checks. The law stops short of making the background checks mandatory but is a step forward in ensuring that guns are transferred only to people who are lawfully eligible to possess weapons.
            Private citizen’s participation in these background checks is strictly voluntary. There is an incentive for sellers to have the check done, however, because it documents the seller’s diligence in trying to prevent the illegal transfer of guns.