Small Wars Journal

“Hybrid Warfare” at Home

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“Hybrid Warfare” at Home

Darren E. Tromblay

Russia’s actions in the Ukraine has brought new attention to the concept of “hybrid warfare”. The uptick of interest has been spurred by the waging of hostilities on multiple levels and specifically the seeming novelty of using irregular, political, and information operations in conjunction with more traditional coercion. Such tactics are meant to identify, exacerbate, and create divisions in societies that can then be exploited by an adversary seeking to advance an objective or at least constrain a state’s ability to act decisively.

While much of the scholarly discussion – when it is not focused on whether hybrid warfare is an actual development or simply a bundling of old ideas – has dealt with the implications for Eastern Europe, it is important to note that the United States has been targeted by foreign governments using aspects of “hybrid warfare” since the beginning of the Cold War and in some cases even prior to the commencement of that era. Not only the Soviet Union (by which Russia’s actions seem to remain so heavily influenced) but China and smaller states such as Cuba directed efforts at creating unfounded dissension and even violence within the United States.

Given the likelihood that foreign efforts to disrupt U.S. political discourse – in furtherance of stymying decisiveness about decisions regarding developments beyond its borders - will continue, it is worth examining the paradigms that a foreign government endeavoring to manipulate U.S. policy might attempt to create. First, a foreign power may seek to nullify voices which it perceives to be hostile to its interests and may use means as drastic as murder to do so. Reducing the impact of U.S. constituencies undercuts policymakers’ by giving them a seemingly diminished mandate to justify difficult decisions. While working to nullify certain voices, foreign governments attempt to unleash others that seek to undercut the legitimacy of the U.S. government. Of interest to foreign governments seeking to chip away at the U.S. government’s ability to act are voices which contribute to three broad categories of activity: lawlessness (i.e. those individuals and organizations that are an active affront to authorities); militant and extremist movements (e.g. Cuban collusion with leftist radicals during the 1960s and 1970s); fomenting distrust of the U.S. government (e.g. Soviet encouragement of conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy); and portraying the U.S. government as indifferent and weak when it comes to the needs of its population – a theme usually accompanied by the token gesture of a foreign government, such as Venezuela in its subsidized heating oil program.

Defamation of Dissidents

Authoritarian governments have a long history of attempting to silence dissidents who might contribute to heightened international pressure on their regimes. In the most drastic cases, a foreign government will seek out and kill or otherwise harm a specific figure of concern. The Soviet Union and its Russian successor is the most infamous of these, thanks to its assassinations of Georgiy Markov and Litvinienko, both in London, although decades apart. The KGB also engaged in psychological warfare against dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.[1] Beyond the Soviets and their successors, other states have directed activities at disrupting hostile voices that might bring unwanted attention from US policymakers. Cuban intelligence agents helped Havana to kill dissidents whose plane was shot down when it entered Cuban airspace. Iran, attempting, like Cuba, to preserve a revolution, attempted to silence anti-regime voices in the United States.  In 1980, shortly after the seizure of the US embassy, the New York Times reported that the Iranian government had recruited militant students and former convicts to attack critics of the Khomeini regime.[2] At least one exile leader was fatally shot.[3]

China has imported its totalitarian ethos into the United States, a behavior consistent with its perception its émigré of population as “overseas Chinese” (i.e. a population still beholden to Beijing). Its most blatant effort to exert influence was an initiative that China dubbed “Operation Fox Hunt” which was directed at pressuring Chinese expatriates to return to China.[4] It was implemented by agents of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security who entered the United States on tourist and trade visas.[5] Furthermore, according to a former Chinese consular, following the Tienamen Square events,  official representatives of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) directed diplomats responsible for consular and educational duties to monitor and harass Chinese students in the United States who displayed reformist or pro-democracy sympathies.[6]

Cuba, in addition to targeting the aircraft of dissidents, has also engaged in efforts to disrupt the anti-Castro, Cuban lobby in the United States. Consistent with intelligence collection being an early indicator of later efforts to influence a movement, Cuba has thrown resources at identifying groups and individuals, within the United States, who it believes to be enemies of the Castro revolution. The La Red Avispa network was a Cuban-sponsored intelligence operation that operated in Florida from 1992 until 1998, which, among other things, monitored Cuban exile organizations. Cuba’s DGI not only hoped to gather information but also sought to foment conflict and sow distrust within the émigré population.[7] Cuba had previously demonstrated its desire to neutralize the influence of US-based Cubans, when, in the late 1970s, the DGI developed “Plan Alpha”, which envisioned splitting the Cuban-American community, as part of a push for normalized relations between Washington and Havana.[8]

In addition to the above-discussed, entrenched totalitarian states, countries with precarious, authoritarian leaderships have also perpetrated intelligence activities directed at their critics in the United States. Iraq, in the 2000s, was the beneficiary of efforts Khaled Abdel-Latif Dumeisi - an agent in the United States - who gathered data about dissidents.[9] Pakistan, a sometime co-operant with the United States on counterterrorism matters, has nonetheless pursued clandestine activities within the United States directed at stifling criticism of the government in Islamabad. Officials warned Pakistani journalists and academics not to publicly discuss sensitive topics including the indigenous insurgency in Baluchistan and accusations of human rights violations by Pakistani soldiers.[10] Consistent with the role of collection in identifying targets of repression, representatives of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) appeared at multiple conferences, including an ISI operative who filmed a public discussion, hosted by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, regarding Pakistan’s tribal areas.[11]

Sponsorship and Exploitation of US Criminal Elements

Multiple countries and non-state actors have attempted to leverage criminal groups to their advantage. Often this represents an effort to expand control, as in the case of narcotics cartels that endeavor to develop a foothold in the United States through collusion with gangs. Similarly, terrorist groups may attempt to develop adherents to their ideology who will ultimately engage in destructive acts on behalf of the organization. Both of these are threats to sovereignty, as they create groups that not only owe their adherence to entities abroad but will engage in violence against U.S. society in furtherance of those entities. Finally, there have been instances in which a foreign government has endeavored to prompt criminal activity as a means of destabilizing society by sowing chaos, rather than directing efforts at any objective.

Not surprisingly, the country guilty of seeking to sow destabilization through inspiring criminal activity is Cuba, a state that from the outset has relied on guerilla tactics and the associated chaos to obtain power. According to a Cuban defector, operatives of the Cuban government engaged in narcotics trafficking, between 1980-1981, in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, with the intention of creating social unrest.[12] Substances of which Cuba facilitated distribution included cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Compounding this onslaught, Cuba, during the 1980 Mariel boatlift, which permitted mass immigration to the United States, released approximately 8,000 criminals amidst the emigrants. Fidel Castro, apparently recognizing the impact of this event, threatened, in 1994, to permit a similar mass exodus if the United States did not take more stringent measures to guard its coasts. The most explicit linkage of criminal behavior to political objectives was Cuba’s “Plan Bravo”. According to Cuban defector Genaro Perez, the DGI would implement Plan Bravo – which consisted of inciting Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans - if relations between the United States and Cuba were not normalized.[13] In 1981, during a meeting in Nicaragua, Fidel Castro claimed his operatives in the United States were so well-positioned that he could instigate a race riot at any time of his choosing.[14] Whether Castro’s resources were as efficacious as he believed (or bragged), his statement makes clear that he considered the instigation of violence to be a useful implement against the United States.

Cuba, although a lengthy perpetrator of criminal activity, is not the only country which has used such individuals or activities to its advantage. In 1971, the KGB forged communications, ostensibly from the Jewish Defense League (a fringe militant group), and arranged for their delivery to various African-American organizations.  These communications called for a campaign against African-Americans in response to their supposed violence against Jews. Apparently, to bolster the impression of an ongoing assault on African-Americans, the KGB arranged for letters, detailing supposed JDL atrocities and directed these to African-American groups.[15] In another instance of a foreign government seeking to instigate violent criminal behavior, Libya struck an agreement, in 1985,  a group called Al Rukn – which was founded by a Chicago gang member – to engage in mayhem on Libya’s behalf. For USD 2.5 million and asylum in Tripoli, Al Rukn would carry out attacks on U.S. police stations, government facilities, military bases, and passenger airplanes.[16] (Several decades later a member of an al-Qaida related conspiracy cited the leader of Al Rukn as an inspiration.[17]) Approximately a decade after its dalliance with Al Rukn, Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi connected with another US malcontent – the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan – and supposedly provided Farrakhan with USD 1 billion for political activities within the United States.[18] Finally, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Iran reportedly sent money and other aid to US-based supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini to help foment civil unrest.[19]

Assistance to Anti-Government Militant Movements

One step removed from fomentation of criminal activities as an end in themselves, foreign governments and non-state entities have latched on to elements within or originating from US society who have become violently disaffected with America. Countries which tend to pursue this approach – the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba – have a national identity that features a prominent ideological element. Arguably the clearly formulated articulation of a state’s supposedly monolithic worldview facilitates the attraction of adherents – albeit rigid, unquestioning ones – who need not bother with interpretation.  Furthermore, these countries also relied on the idea of communism as creating a worldwide movement into which they could tap for resources capable of destabilization or espionage. (China and the Russian Federation – successor to the Soviet Union – have more recently applied this perspective to their diaspora populations, viewing them as “overseas Chinese” and “compatriots” respectively.) Another similarity between these countries is that all have been employers of asymmetric warfare – a perspective which may make it easier for them to identify and utilize non-traditional resources that nonetheless can be used to degrade an adversary. This is especially apparent in the case of Russia and its use of “hybrid warfare” in Ukraine.

The first variant of foreign-sponsored militancy is propagandistic and involves providing anti-US government voices with platforms from which to spout vitriol and potentially incite violence. Robert F. Williams, who advocated violence in lieu of a more pacifistic civil rights movement, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and ultimately authored Negroes with Guns, fled the United State, in 1961, for Cuba and then China. In China and Cuba, Williams reportedly worked with guerilla warfare specialists.[20] The Revolutionary Action Movement, in the United States, looked to Williams, who was abroad meeting, at various times, with  Mao Tse-tung, Chou En Lai and Lin Piao, for guidance.[21]

Cuba and China provided Williams, the violent dissident, with platforms to purvey his anti-Americanism to broader audiences. In China he wrote propaganda for Beijing and produced a publication titled The Crusader, which attacked the United States, and made anti-American broadcasts from Beijing.[22] In Cuba, prior to his decampment to China, Fidel Castro had provided him with the resources to conduct broadcasts, called Radio Free Dixie, into Southern states.[23] Foreign governments have also provided dissident elements with resources that would allow them to engage in asymmetric conflict on US soil. Cuba, for instance, provided the fifth Venceremos Brigade (VB) with training in journalism, film, and radio.[24] The activities were meant to provide members of the VB with resources which they could use to promote the Cuban revolution and communism writ large within the United States.[25] China, similarly supported subversive organizations, funneling money into the United States via the Tanzanian Mission to the United Nations.[26]

Of course foreign governments likely expected assistance from these radicals once they returned to the United States. According to Congressional testimony on the Theory and Practice of Communism, the Cuban Mission to the United Nations maintained a close association with the leaders of the Venceremos Brigades.[27] A defector from the Cuban DGI described how VB members were tasked to provide telephone books of the United States with the objective of identifying and verifying the identity of certain people. VB members furnished these, including U.S. Senate directories.[28]

Foreign governments have also provided support and benefited from individuals who have attacked the US government through disclosures of information which they have attempted to portray as acts of altruism (rather than misguided ideology, arrogance, narcissism, or sheer stupidity). Until the era of Wikileaks, the most notorious turncoat was Philip Agee, a former CIA officer, whose book Inside the Company, named approximately 250 CIA officers. (This egregious act would inspire the passage of a law criminalizing such disclosures.) Both the Cuban DGI and the KGB provided guidance to Agee’s writing.[29] Subsequently, the KGB was an impetus for the founding of the Covert Action Information Bulletin (CAIB) by Agee and associates.[30] The KGB used this periodical as a vehicle for disseminating information intended to embarrass the CIA.[31] Agee eventually died, harbored by Cuba, in 2008.

The Agee story has parallels with the more recent Edward Snowden debacle. A flunky contractor who nonetheless managed to do incalculable damage through his disclosure of NSA information, Snowden, after making public the information that he had stolen, took up refuge in the Russian Federation. Moscow’s repeated attempts to undermine and embarrass the United States in multiple venues provides context for its harboring of Snowden (i.e. Snowden is just one more jab that Moscow can take at Washington). Even Agee’s Covert Action Information Bulletin has a modern corollary in Glenn Greenwald’s publication The Intercept, which was arguably enabled by the notoriety that Greenwald earned as the journalist to whom Snowden made disclosures. The Intercept has maintained the drumbeat against the US intelligence community that was set by the breaking of story after story with the release of new documents. However, it has become increasingly vacuous in its offerings – betraying its purpose as a cudgel to be wielded against the US government.

The interest which foreign governments demonstrated in US radical groups suggests that their goal was not limited to propagandizing. For instance, the Weatherman faction – which engaged in attacks on U.S. soil - of Students for a Democratic Society was a key constituency in the creation of the pro-Cuban Venceremos Brigades (founded in 1969 by a coalition of New Left groups) which illicitly traveled back and forth between the United States and Cuba.[32] The Weatherman faction maintained its own contacts with Cuban officials.[33] The infamous Bernadine Dohrn led a Students for a Democratic Society (from which the Weatherman faction emerged) on an extended trip to Cuba.[34]  Similarly, China, in 1971, hosted a lengthy visit by the Revolutionary Union, a militant organization.[35]

Cuba’s willingness not only to coddle groups prone to violence but to assist and incite violence within the United States was indicated by multiple pronouncements and actions. For instance, in the mid-1960s, an individual at the Cuban embassy in Montreal, Canada (Cuba did not have representation vis-à-vis the U.S. government until late 1970s) planned to provide a US individual with materials to conduct an attack in New York.[36] Furthermore, members of the Venceremos Brigade, while visiting Cuba, were told that it was their job to bring about revolution in the United States and that it was up to them to determine whether this would be brought about peacefully or through violent means. The Cuban government contacts with the Brigade members seemed inclined toward the latter route, in their suggestion that no empire would willingly relinquish its power.[37]

Perhaps Cuba’s most sustained effort at instigating revolution in the United States was its support for and possible creation of the violent Puerto Rico independence movement. The FALN, created in 1974 – and publicly endorsed by Fidel Castro, who proclaimed his government’s willingness to provide any assistance necessary - was reportedly organized by Cuba’s DGI, which used the Cuban Mission to the United Nations as a platform for operation.[38] A intelligence officer, posted to the Cuban mission provided training on aspects of explosives and urban guerilla warfare.[39] Prior to its creation of the FALN, Cuba had provided assistance, in the form of arms and training, to a FALN predecessor, the Puerto Rican Independent Armed Revolutionary Movement (MIRA) which launched its first attack in 1969.[40] MIRA’s leader, Ojeda Rios – who later founded the FALN, which was comprised of MIRA sympathizers - received Cuban tutelage in sabotage and spycraft before receiving Fidel Castro’s approval to form a group that would engage in mayhem directed at targets in Puerto Rico as well as the U.S. mainland.[41] Cuba also provided public praise for violent Puerto Rican separatists. When two leaders of the independence movement, who had attempted to assassinate President Harry S. Truman, were released from prison in 1979, they were feted in Cuba at the invitation of the Cuban Communist Party.[42]

Creating Distrust of the US Government

It is more difficult for the United States government to act decisively on the international front if it is beset by internal unrest. The threats of violence by criminal and militant elements are the most extreme forms of such unrest. However, foreign governments have and will likely continue to sow subversion meant to cast doubt on Washington’s trustworthiness and competency. According to 1987 FBI assessment of Soviet “active measures” (i.e. covert action meant to bring about political consequences) Moscow sought “undermine public confidence in U.S. leaders and institutions.”[43] The Soviet Union and its Russian successor have a lengthy history in this area – spreading conspiracy theories about everything from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to US responsibility for AIDS – but other foreign entities have also sought to create doubts in the minds of the American public about its government’s ability and willingness to meet its needs. Prominent among these have been Venezuela and Cuba, which gone so far as to offer services to supposedly overlooked sectors of the U.S. population, likely in an effort to cast Washington as either ineffective or callous. (One need only to look at the state of both Havana and Caracas to recognize that their charity would be put to better use at home.)

The Soviet Union, almost from its outset, was a practitioner of deception via disinformation (perhaps not surprising, given Russia’s contribution of “Potemkin village” as a figure of speech) using operations such as the “Trust” (an operation, in the 1920s, that was directed at identifying dissidents through a fake opposition movement) to create false impressions and gain the confidence of skeptical audiences. On several occasions, Moscow applied these skills to casting the US government as a nefarious actor seeking to stymie political discourse, even to the point of assassinating its own elected leader. Following the Kennedy assassination in 1963, the Soviet Union began to capitalize on a public demand for answers, by subsidizing the works of conspiracy theorists. Carl Aldo Marzani, a publisher, received Soviet funds and brought out the book, Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy, in 1964.[44] Mark Lane, author of Rush to Judgment, which was published in 1966 received indirectly (and apparently not to his knowledge) KGB funds, due to his development of an argument that would support the narrative that the Soviet Union was attempting to develop.[45] Moscow’s handling of the Kennedy assassination also calls attention to its use of forgeries as a tool of disinformation campaigns. In this case, the KGB forged a letter appearing to come from Lee Harvey Oswald, to E. Howard Hunt (who had been implicated in Watergate), apparently seeking guidance prior to the assassination.[46] (Soviet-instigated disruption, using forgeries, has been an ongoing problem and one which has been facilitated by collection activities. In a 1987 assessment, the FBI noted that KGB operatives collected documents and information which subsequently surfaced in forgery and disinformation operations.[47])

The Soviet Union also attempted to create the impression among elements of US society that their civil rights and civil liberties were being violated by the US government. According to Vasili Mitrokhin and Christopher Andrew, the KGB, following the death of Martin Luther King Jr., propagated conspiracy theories that King’s death had been orchestrated by white supremacists, with the connivance of authorities.[48] Then, in 1980, the Soviets introduced a forged Presidential review memorandum that attempted to show that the US government was using the CIA against the African-American population in the United States  and that the government was attempting to sabotage relationships between Black groups in the United States and nationalist movements in Africa.[49] The Soviets also endeavored to portray Leonard Peltier, who killed two FBI agents, as a political prisoner.[50] This approach served double-duty in attacking the United States, since it not only was intended to discredit the U.S. government but also, tacitly, encourage the use of violence.

Soviet officials’ interest in fanning controversy within American society is further indicated by collection activities that seemed to focus on finding fractures. During a 1967 meeting between a Capitol Hill staffer and a Soviet First Secretary, the First Secretary inquired about the controversy surround the concept of a ballistic missile system.[51] As indicated above, the Soviet Union saw the civil rights movement – particularly the turmoil which surrounded it – as a phenomena that could be exploited to sow confusion and distrust. Consistent with this is a 1966 episode during which a Soviet official approached a House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee staffer claiming that his primary interest was the civil rights movement. Under this heading the Soviet official was particularly interested in the identities of the civil rights leaders who had attended a recent conference at the White House, as well as the identities of those who were not invited to the conference and the reason why they were not invited.[52] This type of information could certainly be exploited to exacerbate rifts in the civil rights movement, which, by the mid-1960s, was torn between peaceful protest and a more militant approach. The KGB was active in trying to discredit the former – notably in its efforts to marginalize Martin Luther King Jr. - and inciting the latter.

It appears that Russia has, more recently, engaged in activities intended to exacerbates tensions and anxieties within the United States. The Russian Internet Agency, which reportedly has close ties to the Kremlin, created online posts intended to fuel outrage about the (nonexistent) shooting of an African-American woman in Atlanta, GA.[53] This disinformation capitalized on the scrutiny of police departments and the emergence of activist groups (e.g. #BlackLivesMatter) which could often be counted on to put an outraged narrative before the facts. The same Russian outfit also played upon uneasiness about homeland security to create concern. Operatives employed sophisticated social media campaigns to stir panic about nonexistent chemical plant and Ebola crises.[54] These activities are not isolated. The Russian government paid millions of dollars for the services of English-speaking Russians to post pro-Putin content on the sites of US media outlets including Fox News, the Huffington Post, and Politico.[55] Moscow is not alone in this area. Autocracies have taken to the internet, using “trolls” to sway social media trends.[56]

Sating Demands Unfulfilled by the US Government

Cuba, which spent the Cold War under Soviet tutelage, endeavored to embarrass the United States in the post-Cold War era, by offering to provide services that highlighted perceived inequities in US society. In 2000, Castro offered to provide medical scholarships for US students, at the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) following a dinner with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were visiting Cuba.[57] Castro stipulated that he would offer as many as 500 scholarships for U.S. students who agreed to serve impoverished U.S. communities but were unable to afford medical school.[58] Cuba’s ELAM has been assisted by a U.S. activist group, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which selects students and coordinates the program in the United States.[59] IFCO’s leader, Lucius Walker, attempted to violate US sanctions on Cuba and was arrested in 1996, for attempted to transport computers to the country without a license from the US Treasury Department.[60] Additionally, Cuba has a long track record of using its medical professionals for propaganda purposes. In 2005, following Katrina, Castro’s offer to send 1,100 doctors to assist the Gulf Coast was a disingenuous jab at Washington.

Apart from the cheap political points that Havana has attempted to score against Washington, Cuba may also be attempting to secure longer-term benefits through its influence activities. First, broaching the topic with the Congressional Black Caucus was likely a bid for additional political support that could lead to the change in U.S.-Cuban relations. The extent of the Congressional Black Caucus’s role is indicated by the role of its members, in processing early ELAM applicants.[61] Additionally, the Caucus successfully protested the U.S. administration’s demand, in 2005, that the American ELAM students return to the United States.[62] Previous to the ELAM episode, the Black Caucus was identified as an entity with which Ramon Sanchez Parodi, the head of DGI operations in Washington, DC, worked.[63] Furthermore, students in ELAM are a modern parallel to the Venceremos Brigades and, consequently, pose similar intelligence concerns. The DGI viewed the Venceremos Brigades, which were ideologically sympathetic to Cuba, as a venue to recruit individuals who might obtain elected or appointed office and would be able to provide the Cuban government with political, economic, or military intelligence.[64] Students studying at ELAM may not initially be ideologically beholden to the Cuban Revolution but after a mandatory year spent learning non-medical subjects including Cuban history and culture, which, especially in Cuba’s oppressive political environment, may inculcate sympathy for the regime. Just as an alum of the Venceremos Brigades –  former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who served from 2005 to 2013 – reached a position of influence, it is possible that US alumni of ELAM, subject to compromise, may reach similar positions of power.

Venezuela, another country which has explicitly sought to embarrass the U.S. government at home, derives much of its inspiration from Cuba. While president, Hugo Chavez drew on the iconography of the Cuban revolution to bolster his own image. For instance, in 2007, Chavez delivered one of his weekly broadcasts from Santa Clara, Cuba, where the remains of Che Guevara are kept.[65] This followed a 2005 episode, during the Summit of the Americas, during which Chavez led a protest rally, in Argentina, using a portrait of Che Guevara as the backdrop for his demagoguery.[66] More tangible Cuban inspiration has come in the form of assistance from Havana’s intelligence apparatus. Since at least 1999, the Cuban DGI had been attempting to infiltrate Venezuelan intelligence – then known as DISIP (it was renamed SEBIN in 2009). Cuban operatives gained direct access to Chavez, influenced training, helped to develop a national ID program, and assumed control of various border and immigration posts.[67]

Under Chavez, Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA, ran a pointed, politicized, and very public program of distributing subsidized heating oil to low-income American communities. In September 2005, Chavez visited the Bronx borough of New York City and met with 17 community groups. During this visit, he proposed selling heating oil at below-market rates as well as investing some of Venezuela’s oil revenue in health and environmental programs.[68] In 2007, Citgo made a commitment to donate USD 3.6 million to nine Bronx initiatives –under the umbrella of Petro Bronx - that would create jobs, foster community empowerment, promote environmentalism.[69] This brought the rampant populist pandering - for which Chavez was infamous - to U.S. soil. After it provided 12 million gallons of low-priced heating fuel to 40,000 Massachusetts households, it took the opportunity to take out full page newspaper ads touting Venezuela as “keeping the home fires burning” in the United States.[70] Furthermore, 62 beneficiaries of the program traveled to Venezuela traveled to Venezuela and several appeared as guests on Chavez’s weekly broadcast.

The subsidized fuel program was certainly a Chavez bid to win points with U.S. politicians. In 2005, Representative Jose Serrano joined Chavez during his Bronx visit. Serrano had been responsible for reaching an agreement with Chavez which stipulated that Citgo would provide eight million gallons of heating oil, at a 40 percent discount, to thousands of low-income, South Bronx residents.[71] In a similar deal, Representative Bill Delahunt  brokered a deal whereby Massachusetts’ Citizens Energy Corporation and the Mass Energy Alliance would become distributors of Chavez’s malignant magnanimity.[72] Delahunt’s ties to Chavez reportedly date to at least 1999, the year that Chavez became Venezuela’s president.[73]

However, while Venezuela might have curried favor with a couple of politicos, its overarching strategy was one of embarrassing the U.S. government, rather than developing support within it for preferred policies. In 2005, Chavez, while at the United Nations, explicitly attacked the US government for not doing enough for impoverished residents of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.[74] Subsequently, in 2006, the Venezuela Information Office, a propaganda apparatus for the Venezuelan government, claimed that the Chavez government was offering fuel to the United States for “humanitarian” reasons.[75] (Such rhetoric implies that the measure was meant to remedy a shortcoming which the United States was unable to address.)

Venezuela’s intent to undermine the U.S. government’s efficacy was apparent in its fostering of movements toward autonomy and even separatism. During a 2014 speech at the United Nations, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro articulated a belief in Puerto Rican independence.[76] Previously, Caracas’ efforts at appealing directly to autonomous groups were apparent in its provision of heating fuel to Native American communities.[77] Even in Alaska, where Citgo could not provide fuel, since it did not operate in the state, it nonetheless provided financial assistance to approximately 150 villages of indigenous inhabitants.[78] Venezuela has also linked aid to the development of cooperatives, a step toward self-sustaining entities that have little need or reason to respond to the U.S. government. Venezuela’s projects in the Bronx included multiple cooperative ventures.[79] The non-profit, CASA of Maryland, implemented a Citgo-funded program to encourage the formation of worker-owned cooperatives.[80] Alarmingly, in 2007, CASA’s then-executive director, Gustavo Torres expressed his hope that Venezuela’s then-ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, would encourage the Venezuelan government to do more in assisting local social programs.[81]

In the context of Venezuela’s attempts to exploit autonomy as a means to undercut the US government, it is not surprising that Caracas would target its aid and interest toward specific, seemingly disenfranchised segments of society that likely feel little connection with Washington. In the National Capital Region, Venezuela provided free heating oil to various homeless shelters[82]; in Maryland, through CASA, it funded programs for immigrant workers[83] and a representative from the Venezuelan embassy actually attended a Washington, DC, rally for domestic workers.[84] As energy analyst David Goldwyn pointed out to Congress, “On the days when U.S. oil companies are here testifying about how Congress needs to deal with low income heating assistance programs, what does President Chavez do? He decides to provide heating oil to Northeast communities. It’s clever.”[85]

Part of Venezuela’s exploitation of marginalized populations has been its attempts to coopt the advocacy groups which represent them. During Chavez’s visit to the Bronx in 2005, he was accompanied not only be Serrano, but by Jesse Jackson, who had also appeared on Chavez’s weekly television and radio broadcast.[86] The handling of the Citgo allotments to the Bronx was done via three housing non-profits.[87] Citizens Energy – which produced the infamous 1-877-JOE-4-OIL commercials – was initially responsible for distributing Citgo fuel in Massachusetts but, as of 2006, had taken on duties for 16 states. (That same year brought controversy to Citizens, when reporting became public that Citgo had underwritten the group’s overtly pro-Venezuelan advertisements.[88]) As noted, CASA of Maryland collaborated with Venezuela on programs in the National Capital Region. It also assumed an overtly political role when Torres, in 2007, expressed his eagerness to introduce Bernardo Alvarez to the local immigrant community.[89]

Venezuela’s broader international strategy provides the context for concern about its efforts to establish relationships with certain self-contained elements of American society. In 2005, Venezuela launched PetroCaribe, an energy assistance program for Caribbean and Central American countries.[90] Petrosur, a similar program, with Brazil and Argentina as partners, also began operating in 2005.[91] All of these programs were bilateral arrangements between Venezuela and other sovereign governments. However, in the United States, Venezuela attempted to apply the same model except that arrangements were not with other governments but with non-state actors. Venezuela was, therefore, treating various organizations as sovereign states and tacitly rejecting Washington’s authority to govern.  

A byproduct of Venezuela’s campaign against the U.S. government is the emergence of a dedicated activist movement espousing support for Caracas. These have organized under the framework of Bolivarian Circles, which Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez hoped would help to counteract negative perceptions about Venezuela.[92] The U.S. groups were modeled on the Bolivarian Circle concept that Chavez unveiled in 2001. In Venezuela, these entities were supposed to appeal directly to Chavez for help with financing various community programs.[93] Aside from consolidating Chavez’s autocracy via supplication, Bolivarian Circles were also a means to implement ideological and political indoctrination – further entrenching Chavez’s centralized power.[94]

Venezuela, like other countries attempting to sow divisions within the United States, would not be nearly as effective without proxies on the ground. The most prominent of these was Citizens Energy Corporation, which, as of 2014, according to the Congressional Research Service provided vouchers for up to 100 gallons of heating oil to half a million residents in 25 states and the District of Columbia and gave more than USD 20 million in heating grants to 60 Native American tribes ad multiple homeless shelters. These efforts were supported by the PDVSA subsidiary, Citgo.[95] Like the recipients of heating fuel, the Bolivarian Circles and others sympathetic to Venezuela have tacitly rejected – and perhaps even challenged – the sovereignty of the U.S. government, by seeking leadership from and propagandizing on behalf of a foreign demagogue. They have been seen as pawns by the Chavez regime, indicated not only by Alvarez’s statement but by the appearance of an Oregon Bolivarian Circle’s member on one of Chavez’s weekly broadcasts.[96] Venezuela, under Chavez, also became a stop on the ideologically-propelled tourism circuit. While the Venceremos Brigades went to Cuba to engage in manual labor, Global Exchange, which considers itself a human-rights group, organized trips to Venezuela that included visits to workshops and protest centers.[97] This section would not complete without a mention of the “radical chic” celebrity visits by the likes of Sean Penn (who seems to have never met a dictator – not to mention the odd narcocriminal – that he didn’t like) and Danny Glover.[98]

Espionage

All of the activities discussed above are external threats to the integrity of the U.S. government’s ability to act. Espionage, however, is an internal compromise. The loss of information – and the decision-advantage that it provides – to a foreign power potentially allows foreign state and non-state actors to anticipate U.S. decisions and constrain its options, resulting in the ability to influence policy. While motivations for espionage-related betrayals vary, foreign governments have exploited ideological affinities as a means of not only attacking the government externally, as in the examples above, but also of infiltrating it.  

While a variety of factors lead individuals to conduct espionage, ideological motivations – loyalty to a foreign government – are the clearest demonstration of how adversarial entities can turn disaffection into a threat against U.S. interests. The Popular Front movement of the 1930s gave rise to a flock of Communist sympathizers – including Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White – who reached positions of prominence in the U.S. government during the 1940s.  More recently, it has been Cuba that has managed to recruit individuals who have infiltrated the U.S. government for ideological reasons. The Montes and Myers cases both illustrated the persistence of ideology used in furtherance of damage to US interests. China has employed a similar unifying concept of cultural loyalty, looking to its diaspora of what Beijing calls “overseas Chinese” as an asset which it can leverage for intelligence purposes.

Outlook

Foreign government identification of and association with disaffected elements of U.S. society is likely to continue. The millennials’ attitude of indifference and, at times hostility, toward the U.S. government’s efforts to ensure national security makes the generation susceptible to entreaties from foreign governments promising alternatives. (Offering alternatives was a tactic that the Soviet Union and Cuba employed – the latter went so far as to screen propaganda for the VBs that denigrated life in the United States and promoted life in socialist countries.[99]) Furthermore, the “sharing economy” of Uber, urban community gardens, and other solutions that increasingly operates apart from traditional views of society  may lessen the sense of belonging to a specific country and create greater openness to foreign interference. The emergence of activist groups unwilling to engage in political discourse and stand in defiance of the government – e.g. the now-defunct Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter, which was chastised for its “yelling” by President Barack Obama in April 2016 – may be useful accomplices for a foreign state seeking proxies to trumpet distrust of U.S. government activities, similar to how the Soviet Union co-opted the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory cottage industry.

Arrogance has always been a problem for U.S. national security, as it prompts individuals to take policy into their own hands (e.g. cases of ideologically-driven espionage) and undercut U.S. government capabilities. In addition to the examples of individuals who have acted on behalf of foreign governments, there is also the holier-than-thou, whistleblower variation of activities that harm U.S. interests. The most prominent, current examples are Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning who released information claiming that the public had a right to know it. (Of course, they brush over that the “public” includes U.S. adversaries who could benefit from this windfall knowledge.) However, these two malignancies were not the first examples of such widespread divulgence on a global scale. Philip Agee, a former CIA officer who released a tranche of data about the Agency preceded Snowden and Manning by four decades. Foreign governments’ perception of value in the information provided (as well as the public relations value of a defection from the United States) is indicated by the Eastern Bloc’s treatment of Agee and Russia’s current harboring of Snowden.

One need not look all the way to Ukraine for examples of “hybrid warfare”, nor should one shrug it off as something that cannot happen here. There is a lengthy and persistent history of hybrid warfare tactics to asymmetrically target and undercut Washington’s ability to govern. To amplify preferred voices and drown out problematic ones, foreign governments have used a variety of vectors including activist, media, and academic institutions (all of which may be utterly unwitting). Minimizing supporters and emphasizing detractors help foreign governments to keep the U.S. policymaking process off-balance, requiring the government to address internal unrest and diverting its attention from the U.S. role in the world. In the current era of flaring geopolitical competition in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the South China Sea, domestic distractions are a dangerous thing.

End Notes

[1] Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York, Basic Books, 1999. 319

[2] Robert Pear, “Iran Is Said to Give Covert Aid to Incite Violence in U.S.,” New York Times, 8 August 1980

[3] Robert Pear, “Iran Is Said to Give Covert Aid to Incite Violence in U.S.,” New York Times, 8 August 1980

[4] Mark Mazzetti and Dan Levin, “Obama Administration Warns Beijing about Covert Agents Operating in U.S.”, New York Times, August 16, 2015

[5] Mark Mazzetti and Dan Levin, “Obama Administration Warns Beijing about Covert Agents Operating in U.S.”, New York Times, August 16, 2015

[6] 2009 Report to Congress of the U.S. - China Economy and Security Review Commission. One Hundred Eleventh Congress. First Session. November 2009. P 163

[7] Cuban Intelligence Activities - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintellignece

[8] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 162

[9] Henri E. Cauvin. Man Admits to Secret Work for Iraq’s Hussein. The Washington Post. December 23, 2008

[10] Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, Charlie Savage, “Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear”, New York Times, July 24, 2011

[11] Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, Charlie Savage, “Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear”, New York Times, July 24, 2011

[12] Senate Select Committee on Crime; Selwyn Raab. A Defector Tells of Drug Dealing by Cuba Agents. April 4, 1983

[13] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 195-196

[14] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 4

[15] Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York, Basic Books, 1999. P.238

[16] Prison Radicalization: Are Terrorist Cells Forming in U.S. Cell Blocks? Testimony of Frank J. Ciluffo. Director, Homeland Security Policy Institute. The George Washington University. Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. September 19, 2006

[17] Vanessa Blum, “5 Convicted in Terrorism Trial; Prosecutors Say the Florida Men Sought an Alliance with Al Qaeda to Carry Out Attacks” The Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2009

[18] Tony Smith, Foreign Attachments, 72

[19] Robert Pear, “Iran Is Said to Give Covert Aid to Incite Violence in U.S.,” New York Times, 8 August 1980

[20] HUAC, Subversive Influences in Riots, Looting and Burning, Part 1, 817

[21] HUAC, Subversive Influences in Riots, Looting and Burning, Part 1, 817

[22] House Committee on Un-American Activities, 90th Congress, 1968, Part 3, 1262; House Committee on Un-American Activities, 90th Congress, 1968, Part 2, 1064

[23] Burroughs, Days of Rage 332

[24] ”The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7863

[25] ”The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7862

[26] ”Extent of Subversion in Campus Disorders. Testimony of John F. McCormick and William E. Grogan. Hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate. Ninety First Congress. First Session. Part 3. June 26, 1969. At 255-256

[27] ”The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7825

[28] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 15-16.

[29] Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York, Basic Books, 1999. P.230, 231

[30] Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York, Basic Books, 1999. 233

[31] Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York, Basic Books, 1999. 233

[32] ”The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7836);  ”The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7824

[33] Burroughs, Days of Rage, 73

[34] Burroughs, Days of Rage, 73

[35] America’s Maoists: The Revolutionary Union the Venceremos Organization. Report of the Committee on Internal Security House of Representatives . Ninety Second Congress. Second Session. June 22, 1972 House Report No 92-1166 at 17

[36] House Committee on Un-American Activities, 90th Congress, 1968, Part 2, 1039

[37] Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7947

[38] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 161; Burroughs, Days of Rage, 326

[39] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 164, 167

[40] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 164

[41] Burroughs, Days of Rage, 326

[42] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 4

[43] Soviet Active Measures in the United States - an Updated Report by the FBI; 133 Cong Rec. E 4716.. December 9, 1987. Vol 133 No. 195. Pg E4716

[44] Sword and the Shield, 227-229

[45] Sword and the Shield, 227-229

[46] Sword and the Shield, 227-229

[47] 1987 FBI assessment in Cong Rec

[48] Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield, 238

[49] “Soviet Active Measures. Hearings before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. House of Representatives. Ninety-Seventh Congress. July 18, 14, 1982. 230

[50] 1987, in Cong Rec

[51] Airtel: SAC WFO to Director, “Contacts between Representatives of the Soviet Union and Members or Staff personnel of the United States Congress” August 16, 1967, 105-229897-94

[52] ”Contacts between Representatives of the Soviet Union and members of Staff Personnel of the United States Congress: June 11, 1966 - June 20, 1966” June 21, 1966, 105-229897-28

[53] The Agency: From a Nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid ‘trolls’ has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet - and in real life American communities” (Adrian Chen, The New York Times, June 2, 2015

[54] The Agency: From a Nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid ‘trolls’ has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet - and in real life American communities” (Adrian Chen, The New York Times, June 2, 2015

[55] Daisy Sindelar, “Inside Russia’s Disinformation Campaign” DefenseOne, August 12, 2014

[56] Aliya Stemstein, “Russia’s Troll Army Is Making Life Harder for US Spies” DefenseOne. 17 August 2015.

[57] Cindy Loose, “The Cuban Solution”, Washington Post, July 23, 2006

[58] Cindy Loose, “The Cuban Solution”, Washington Post, July 23, 2006; Cat Wise “Cuba Offers Poor Medical Students a Free Ride” December 22, 2010,

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/cuba-offers-poor-med-students-a-free-ride/

[59] Cindy Loose, “The Cuban Solution”, Washington Post, July 23, 2006

[60] Mark Fineman, “8 Americans in Havana Are Med Students with a Mission,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2001

[61] Mark Fineman, “8 Americans in Havana Are Med Students with a Mission,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2001

[62] Marc Lacey, “Hippocrates Meets Fidel and Even US Students Enroll,” New York Times, December 8, 2006

[63] The Role of Cuba in international Terrorism and Subversion. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary. United States Senate. Ninety-Seventh Congress. February 26. March 4, 11 and 12, 1982 Serial J-97-97, at 184

[64] FBI Charter Act of 1979, S 1612, Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-Sixth Congress, First Session on S 1612, October 24,25, November 2, 9, 15, 16, 1979 and January 14, 1980) Serial No 96-53. Part 2. P.241

[65] Simon Romero, “Castro Speaks by Telephone with Chavez on TV Show,” New York Times, October 15, 2007

[66] Monte Reel and Michael A. Fletcher, “Anti-US Protests Flare at Summit”, Washington Post, November 5, 2005

[67] Cuba-Venezuela Intelligence Alliance - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

[68] Michele Garcia, “Politics or Not, Bronx Warmly Receives Venezuelan Heating Oil,” Washington Post, 8 December 2005

[69] Anne Barnard, “Soft Spot for the South Bronx,” New York Times, 21 October 2007

[70] Manny Fernandez and Juan Forero, “Gesture from Venezuela Heats the Bronx,” New York Times, 7 December 2005; ”Venezuela’s Low-Cost Oil Plan Fuels Debate” Los Angeles Times, 2 December 2005

[71] Jonathan P. Hicks, “Venezueal’s Leader to Send Heating Oil to South Bronx,” New York Times, 26 November 2005

[72] “Oil Deal with Venezuela” New York Times, 23 November 2005

[73] Mark Clayton, “A Congressman Brings Home the Fuel from an Unorthodox Supplier” Christian Science Monitor, 25 November 2005

[74] Justin Blum, “Chavez Pushes Petro-Diplomacy; High Oil Profit Leads to Venezueal’s Plan to Subsidize Heating in United States,” Washington Post, 22 November 2005

[75] “Venezuela Offered Its Oil for Humanitarian Reasons,” Wall Street Journal, 7 December 2006

[76] Jose de Cordoba, “Venezuelan Leader Addresses U.N., Follows in Chavez’s Footsteps” Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2014

[77] Angel Gonzalez, “Citgo Renews Heating Oil Donations,” Wall Street Journal, 31 January 31, 2013

[78] Jeannette J. Lee, “Alaskans Stand up to the Cold, Venezuela,” Los Angeles Times, 10 October 2006

[79] Anne Barnard, “Soft Spot for the South Bronx,” New York Times, 21 October 2007

[80] Alejandro Lazo, “Citgo Giving $1.5 Million to Maryland Charity; Venezuelan Firm Seeks to Help Immigrant Workers; Critics See Political motives,” Washington Post, 5 August 2008

[81] Ann E. Marimow, “Montgomerey Politician Resciends Offer to Envoy,” Washington Post, 12 October 2007

[82] Steven Mufson, “Citgo Brings Discounted heating Oil to Region,” the Washington Post, 21 November 2006

[83] Alejandro Lazo, “Citgo Giving $1.5 Million to Maryland Charity; Venezuelan Firm Seeks to Help Immigrant Workers; Critics See Political motives,” Washington Post, 5 August 2008

[84] Ann E. Marimow, “Montgomerey Politician Resciends Offer to Envoy,” Washington Post, 12 October 2007

[85] Statement of Hon David L Goldwyn, President, Goldwyn International Strategies. “Energy Security in Latin America. S Hrg. 109-857. Hearing Before the Comittee on Foreign Relations United States Senate. One Hundred Ninth Congress. June 22, 2006

[86] ”Venezuela’s Chavez Gets Support of Rev. Jackson,” 29 August 2005; Michele Garcia, “Politics or Not, Bronx Warmly Receives Venezuelan Heating Oil,” Washington Post, 8 December 2005

[87] Michele Garcia, “Politics or Not, Bronx Warmly Receives Venezuelan Heating Oil,” Washington Post, 8 December 2005

[88] Maria Aspan, “Venezuelan Link to Nonprofit’s Ads Draws Some Conservative Criticism,” New York Times, 4 December 2006

[89] Ann E. Marimow, “Montgomerey Politician Resciends Offer to Envoy,” Washington Post, 12 October 2007

[90] Single Point of Failure; Petro Caribe and te Caribbean. Te Economist,Oct 4, 2014

[91] ”Using Oil to Spread Revolution; Venezuela and Latin America,” The Economist, July 30, 2005

[92] Bob Davis, “Move Over, Che: Chavez Is New Icon of Radical Chic” Wall Street Journal,16 June 2006

[93] Scott Wilson, “Venezuela’s ‘Bolivarian Circles’ Get a Direct Line to the President”, Washington Post, December 4, 2001

[94] Cuba-Venezuela Intelligence Alliance - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

[95] Anthony Andrews, Libby Perl, The Northeast Heating Oil Supply Demand, and Factors Affecting Its Use. Congressional Research Service, April 28, 2014. 13

[96] Bob Davis, “Move Over, Che: Chavez Is New Icon of Radical Chic” Wall Street Journal,16 June 2006

[97] Sara Miller Llana, “Leftwing Activists Flock to Venezuela to Soak up the Socialist ‘Revolution’”, Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 2008

[98] Sara Miller Llana, “Leftwing Activists Flock to Venezuela to Soak up the Socialist ‘Revolution’”, Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 2008

[99] The Theory and Practice of Communism in 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) Part 2” Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, Ninety Second Congress, October 16, 18 and 19, 1972, at 7851, 7860

 

About the Author(s)

Darren E. Tromblay has served the U.S. Intelligence Community, as an Intelligence Analyst, for more than a decade. He is the author of The U.S. Domestic Intelligence Enterprise: History, Development, and Operations (Taylor & Francis, 2015) and co-author of Securing U.S. Innovation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Mr. Tromblay has been published by Lawfare, the Hill, Small Wars Journal, and Intelligence and National Security. He holds an MA from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, an MS from the National Intelligence University, and a BA from the University of California. Mr. Tromblay can be reached at Tromblay@gwu.edu. This essay is adapted from his forthcoming book on the impact of foreign influence operations against U.S. policymaking, which will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018. The views expressed in this essay are entirely his own and do not represent those of any U.S. government or other entity.

Comments

cammo99

Sat, 07/16/2016 - 10:56am

I would like to ask the author how he differentiates between hybrid warfare and "civil war"?

It seems to me in some aspects hybrid warfare can resemble civil war. Is the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia adversarial because the Ukraine is still struggling to identify itself separately from the Russian State, is this actually a Civil War after the fact? The fact being Russia is perhaps not as keen on losing its former Soviet influence over states it considers vassals?
Civil War is a charged term but even the American application is unrealistic. The Civil War began in Kansas and Missouri over the expansion of slavery, by the time the "Civil War" began two separate states already existed the CSA was a de facto state. At which point the Civil War was just plain old war.

As the Civil War in the USA War neared its end the North was fearful a guerilla war would begin worse than the "Civil" War had been But the guerilla war would have more closely resemble "hybrid war".

In this instance it seems more like limited war on the edge or Intel shadow boxing.

Hybrid war, civil war, guerilla war are just means to define war without qualitative definitions for which we need new words and expressions like hybrid war". Where do drone strikes figure in this paradigm?

Vietnam was civil war, guerilla war, and a hybrid war? I will always think of it as plain old war.