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"davin higgins" Discussed on This is War

This is War

10:06 min | 2 years ago

"davin higgins" Discussed on This is War

"And it wasn't one or two. It was thin tire. Village was coming out onto this street. And I'm running down the middle of it. They were closing in around me when Davin Higgins got into counter intelligence, the twin towers still were standing and the job mostly involved running assets and hotspots as a way of keeping tabs on potential threats. But when he found himself in Iraq in the early days of the war on terror running assets took on gency, he couldn't have imagined before because in Iraq. There always was a ticking bomb somewhere, I hear this loud explosion. I automatically knew what had happened. I knew his abomb. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either kill or be killed and original podcast from incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Devin Higgins, left college to join the army in the late nineteen ninety s he already was married, but the demands of work and school meant he didn't see his wife Rebecca that often. So he balked when an army recruiter approached him at first he didn't wanna trade not seeing her much for not seeing her for a year at a time during deployments, but the recruiter short him that the worst case scenario would be a six month stint in the Balkans. So he signed up to be a counterintelligence agent or CI and upon finishing his training moved with his wife to Germany at first. It was just like the recruiter said and in September two thousand one Higgins found himself deployed on a mission in the Balkans would nine eleven happened. I was part of an ad von for K for Wieder at a dock because that's where we were actually going to bring equipment in and out of coastal phone started ringing, and we're like what's going on. There's probably fifteen twenty of us in a bunch of phone started ringing about the same time. And they said there's been a terrorist attack. So my colleague either team. You see I guys there at this time we jump in our car and we'd run back to the hotel. And we watch CNN. We watched the towers fall. We watched the second plane run into the tower. Well, were twenty people we don't have any guns. We don't have anything at all. We don't have any way of protecting ourselves. The Bulgarian military actually come over takeover, the hotel and secure it for us at that time. We get orders. There's a lot of US contractors out there. They come down and say, hey, you guys need to go out and find all that Americans there and tell them where they can go to get if they feel threatened to come to safety where we're at. So we're in the middle of this town wandering around finding all Americans throat telling them where we're at in case, they need some safety. It was kinda crazy to know that we were the people out there trying to gather everyone out we were twenty four twenty five year old kids. I remember driving back to the hotel. And I was thinking his Malaya's has got a reputation. And history of taken over airplanes. This has got to be his blah. And by the time, we got back there things have been kind of clarified and came out that it was out Qaeda. I'm a white guy, and my colleague was Hispanic. So he kind of blended in with the Bulgarian people. But they knew I was American. So whenever I stepped into a hotel or things like that all eyes turn to us Higgins had a knack for developing local sources, he was good at working with translators and making connections and introductions as a way of creating kind of information stream or information infrastructure that he could put to good news. As Afghantistan was about to kick off Higgins was helping the air force coordinate logistics, putting them in touch with people who could get their bombers refuelled as the war on terror prepared to get underway. But by the end of two thousand and three he and his family were back and forth. Collins they were going to start their new lives there when he got the call after only thirty days back in the US Higgins was bound for Iraq and his duty stace. Was stands out for me. The most is the way I viewed people in Iraq. I went into Iraq with the mindset that if you're not helping me your hindering me, you're going in with pure authority. There wasn't any local police. There wasn't a local city government or anything like that. We were everything. And so I go into if a raid, and if the guidance or my question has came up we're taking him back to my detention center, and I'll have more time within there. I didn't have to ask any permission. It was my option and that kinda sorta power can become intoxicating you have complete control of this guy. He doesn't do anything without your, okay? If you do not check yourself, then you can get out of control. If you wanna get intelligence you have to give him the right motivation to talk to you torturing someone. Isn't getting intelligence. They will tell you whatever you wanna hear to stop that pain. It doesn't increase our mission. At all you've got to go in there with a specific goal and go towards that information the process, generally would go like this Higgins would accompany guys out on patrols when they cleared houses. He would interrogate the people they've found sort of any paperwork and see if there was anything promising. His approach was simple, given the patrols were happening. Anyway, they may as well be pointed. So we often tried to provide command with an actionable lead to start today, and from there, sometimes they would get more Intel to use his hope was as simple as plan catch bombmakers and discover weapons caches, but in the early days of the war knowing whom to trust could be a real problem. I'm always suspicious of someone that is kind of working with us. I always hung out within terp enters when we hired local nationals at the bazaars and stuff I hung out there because I knew those way our insider threats we hired. A bunch of interpreters right off the street. We didn't have any those are the only ones we could find we weren't prepared to go entire hack. So anyone that spoke English and Arabic. We hired. I did the screening on them. And eventually I caught one for giving information to the insurgency. And then I got another one I sent him to add a grave after a while. I started name I'm like, you're going to be three four five and six and eventually sooner or later, I think I ended up catching six out of the eight that we hired right there. This one interpreter he was screening people that were supposed to come directly to us. He was taken pitchers of all of us. I've been building this case for a long time. But because this interpreter was such a good friend of the command element. He was there interpreter I had a really walked lightly on how I was going to approach this. If I make his life miserable. He's gonna make my life miserable. So how do I tell him that his interpreters handing information off to the? Bad people, and we need to take him in for interrogation. The best political solution was to highlight the threat in his reports and have that threat removed from above commander to commander before anything bad happened. So that's what he did navigating rock in those early days was a real problem because it was money to be had it wasn't unusual for interpreters to play both sides against the middle. And there was little choice. Americans had Higgins needed interpreters. Everyone was conducting vetting process at breakneck speed for him. The easiest thing to do was to watch them closely and to make it clear that the benefit of working with the Americans had a million more upsides than taking their money and then spying on them. I was at the city hall, and I was talking to this real douchebag. I mean, I hated him. And if I would have stuck around a little bit longer than I probably would have had him back in my held in facility. But he was like the city planner, and we were just setting there talking NASA. Now, there's no problems here. This. Is a good city. There's no insurgency by took my body armor off and my helmet off. And just kind relaxing their listened to be s this guy went on for about five minutes. How great this city is and an RPG hit right behind as it broke the class and stuff so spread all over us. And I I lost it. I grabbed my helmet, and I swung. It hit middle of his desk. I broke whatever was on there. And then we walked out at that point Siab's had a an e seven that was an arranger as I just differed everything to him. I go running out there with my team. He's like, hey, I need to take that corner. You take the specialists in he had a saw. So we went over there and secure that corner the compound, and I'm looking up, and I see all these buildings that over there over us. And I was like man if there's anything up there were dead, and they go chasing the people at the PG, and that was kind of the problem with being account intelligence officer. After the invasion Higgins, sometimes was attached to armed elements. And sometimes he wasn't when he wasn't there always was a looming danger of being out there and small parties. Like the wondering this attack striking that balance though between the big or small group was mission specific sure, but also it was opportunity specific, and when you guessed wrong, you could be caught out all on your own with only interpreter you hoped that you could trust. In

Davin Higgins Iraq US CNN Germany gency Anthony Russo PG Wieder Intel Malaya Siab NASA Afghantistan army Rebecca Collins officer commander