U.S. Chamber of Accounts reports on intelligence role in sanctions against Russia
The U.S. Chamber of Accounts has published a report on the progress of enforcement and the effectiveness of sanctions against third countries. To develop restrictions against Russia, the State Department has enlisted special services, according to the document
In drafting sanctions against Russia, the U.S. State Department has engaged intelligence agencies. This follows from a report published on the website of the U.S. Chamber of Accounts on the results of the sanctions policy. The report is based on open data and on the authors’ conversations with officials in U.S. agencies.
The State Department has two entities that oversee the enforcement of sanctions, the Bureau of Sanctions Policy and Implementation (SPI) and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). In an interview with the auditors, INR and SPI officials noted that in assessing the effectiveness of sanctions, they also rely on information provided to them by the special services. “This analysis helps to develop sanctions mechanisms and select targets for sanctions in a way that maximizes their (sanctions) effectiveness,” the document states.
According to INR and SPI experts, intelligence officials, in particular, help to assess the behavior of a legal or individual in case of sanctions. They analyze members of the intelligence community and the extent of access to the likely targets of sanctions to the U.S. financial system. “The INR official said that most of the intelligence community’s resources are focused on sanctions regimes operating against several countries, notably North Korea, Iran and Russia,” the Accounts Chamber report said. Intelligence sanctions analysis sometimes takes a long time, INR and SPI officials say.
In addition to analyzing intelligence agencies in monitoring sanctions, the State Department relies on other sources of information. It includes:
Economic reports on the effectiveness of sanctions, which are being developed by the Office of the Chief Economist at the State Department, which is now headed by Sharon Brown-Hruska. In 2017, the Office published a report on the impact of U.S. sanctions on Russia;
diplomats working in countries that have been sanctioned by the United States. “U.S. embassies in sanctioned countries often spend a lot of time describing the impact of sanctions and their impact on their foreign policy,” the report said. For example, in 2017 and 2018, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea provided information on how Kim Jong-un’s regime reacts to U.S. sanctions.
How to assess the impact of sanctions on other agencies
In addition to the State Department, the Administration also deals with sanctions issues in the Administration. In the Ministry of Finance, the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI), in particular, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), is primarily responsible for sanctions. In the Ministry of Trade, these issues are overseen by the Office of Industry and Security (BIS).
As stated in the Report of the Accounts Chamber, the Ministry of Finance uses the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), which is part of TFI, to assess sanctions. And the OIA also relies on intelligence data.
The OIA assesses the impact of sanctions already imposed on countries or individuals and prepares projections of the impact of such measures on States, organizations or individuals. The frequency with which the OIA provides its analytics depends on a specific sanctions program. The OIA evaluates sanctions at least twice, before and after.
The information provided by the OIA is generally not published and may be provided to TFI officials in the form of e-mails, reports or data tables. OIA provides the following information:
The potential object of sanctions has ties and property in the United States to see if it makes sense to impose them;
The object of sanctions has property in other countries and the relationship of its assets with the U.S. system;
the effectiveness of secondary effects from sanctions against the penalty area;
the macroeconomic impact of sanctions, in particular, their impact on GDP growth and the country’s financial system, the target of sanctions;
information about the impact of U.S. sanctions on U.S. businesses and u.S. allies.
In the Ministry of Trade, the analysis of sanctions is usually carried out only at the request of the National Security Council (NSC). The analysis includes:
building models that predict the economic damage from sanctions to the subject of restrictions – for example, how much the GDP of a sanctioned country will decrease;
information about U.S. trade ties with other countries.
Thus, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to know what negative consequences can have punitive measures against Moscow.