Thai-ASEAN News Network - Intelligence and National Security Intelligence and National Security
UPDATE : 22 February 2012 The alleged botched bomb plot targeting an Israeli dignitary in Bangkok by Iranian terrorist suspects has come under the global spotlight. Both local and foreign media sent out their correspondents dig do the bottom of the incident, what the Thai authorities are doing and collect information to provide timely and first-hand reports to their respective local and international audiences.
Even the intelligence and security agencies of the international super powers also dispatched operatives to gather info in Thailand as the threat of terrorism is seemingly on the rise in this particular nation that has long been considered as a potential 'soft' target for terrorism.
The media, in a way, can serve as a channel through which locals can provide clues and accounts relating to the incident that could be useful for the investigation. Intelligence bodies may join in coordinated efforts and exchange findings so that they can patch together all the clues and bring the truth to light in a timely manner. With effective intelligence work, a country is somewhat already secure against any threats.
In the past, Thai intel officers usually took the easy route by obtaining information from the media instead of going out into the field to search for first-hand info. That is why the quality of intelligence has been very poor. There are now a few field operatives and more technicians who favor wiretapping or using available technologies to filch information from other sources or agencies. Skillful detectives and intelligence officers are hard to find. This is apparent in the case of the southern unrest, in which insurgents have always been several steps ahead of the authorities.
As terrorism has become more rampant and violent, a nation with weak intelligence capacity can be highly vulnerable to the threat. The Thai authorities may have captured a number of terrorist suspects, but it must be noted that most arrests were successful only with the help from international intelligence bodies and other external sources. Thai intelligence agencies must stop relying on luck or the help of other parties.
They must improve their performance and be more than just a political tool. The government has the duty to invest in improving intelligence service and producing more competent professionals to fight the growing threat of terrorism and prepare for the advent of the ASEAN Community. Editorial, Kom Chad Luek, Page 4, February 22nd, 2012
Translated and rewritten by Wacharapol Isaranont