The canonicity of this subject in the Metal Gear series is ambiguous.

Classified Intel Acquisition was an operation that was undertaken by the private military group Militaires Sans Frontières regarding classified intel that had been retrieved by an undercover agent at a prison facility in Cuba.[3]


The mysterious Cipher-backed XOF ended up working at the prison facility in Cuba, allegedly as CIA agents. Their leader, a scarred man known only as Skull Face, proceeded to torture heavily one of the prisoners, also relaying to the suffering prisoner his past and his motives before telling him in vain not to die. The Department of Defense, unsure who to trust within the Marines due to the subversive nature among the base's personnel extending all the way to the top brass of the base, were unable to directly retrieve the information themselves, so they instead had an undercover agent planted among the personnel to retrieve it for them, as well as hire MSF due to the latter group's prior experience with Cipher, the organization suspected to be responsible for the subversive nature of the personnel.

The agent ended up witnessing this and recorded the data on a cassette tape and encrypting it for analysis for his superiors.

Intel Acquisition

On December 21, 1974, at 18:08,[1] Big Boss, the leader of MSF, personally infiltrated the base by stowing away on the back of a truck, noting the presence of several armed guards before locating the agent. However, because of the security being heightened to the extent that casual conversation would have risked blowing the agent's cover, Big Boss instead placed the agent in a chokehold and "interrogated" him so the latter could relay the tape or at least its location without drawing suspicion. The agent admitted that he doesn't have the tape on him, and tells him it was at the central control tower at the admin building. He also attempted to warn Big Boss about XOF and Skull Face, but decided against it before telling Big Boss to put him in a sleeper-hold to ensure his cover remained intact. Big Boss deduced the tape, that was obtained in the control tower, was in fact a trap after seeing a surveillance camera at the location. Big Boss then returned over to the agent and interrogated him again. The agent revealed that his cover had been blown and that they had held his family hostage, forcing him to set them up. He then informed Big Boss that a Marine with a shaved head had the real tape. Big Boss then located the Marine and proceeded to force him into giving up the tape, although the Marine nonetheless was confident that MSF could not stop their plan even with the evidence. Big Boss then proceeded to escape.


Afterwards, MSF decrypted the tape and became aware of Skull Face's existence. The tape, depicting his brutal interrogation of a prisoner, acted as proof that the base became a black site.[4] He also relayed that the other tape taken from the bald Marine contained full details of the plan, confirming that the expansion of bases was a smokescreen for renovating the base for interrogation purposes, and that the personnel even bought a fleet of transports. Miller pondered whether this fit into Cipher's "World Without Borders."[5] Several Pentagon undercover agents disappeared after being sent to the base.[6]

Behind the scenes

"Classified Intel Acquisition" is one of the four Side Ops featured in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

The mission first appeared in the TGS 2013 daytime demo for Ground Zeroes, although the date was given as the day the demo was issued. The player could either escape via chopper or, if that fails, escape via a stolen jeep or by riding in the back of a truck. The main differences between this demo and the final version of the mission was that the undercover agent (named "Brian" by Kojima) was located near one of the refugee camps, and that the tape was stashed away at a watchtower nearby rather than the central control tower, nor does Brian directly state where the tape is located. The ending of the demo has Big Boss stealing a jeep from Camp Omega and causing havoc to the base while using the escape route after his initial extraction plan via Morpho ended up literally shot down, with Miller impressed by Big Boss' driving skills.

If the player took the tape from the central control tower without interrogating the agent and forcing the bald Marine to give up the true tape, Miller's debriefing will have him state that the tape they had recovered depicted an interrogation, thus giving some proof that it was converted into a black site, although despite the intel from their client, it did not come with a full plan, causing him to wonder if they missed a tape.[4]

The player can optionally extract the JCS undercover agent and the bald marine during the mission, although this has no actual impact on the ending objectives. Doing so will result in them being made unlockable Mother Base staff members via a GZ save, with Miller also giving a report referring to Big Boss bringing them back from the base and stating they wished to join Diamond Dogs when they are revealed to have joined.


Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
  2. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    The full conversation only occurs if the player rides the truck for the full path instead of disembarking early.
    Kazuhira Miller: Boss, you need to make contact with the undercover agent posing as a soldier at the base. He’ll pass you a cassette tape carrying classified information. Start by taking a look at the agent’s VI on your iDroid. Once you’ve spotted him among the Marines, make contact and get that cassette tape. Thing is, he’s not one of us, so don’t let your guard down around him. One other thing, Boss. I’ve been told you can also use the watchtower on the west side of the base to contact the target. Just climb up there and turn the searchlight on. Once he sees that, he’ll come to you. Once you’ve identified him, approach him and grab him. That’s the contact sign. When you get out of that truck is up to you. Just be sure you take a good look around first. This job… it came through a cut-out, but I have a feeling the client is the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After all, the Chairman has a lot of faith in you after Peace Walker. In other words, the agent you’ll be contacting has been ordered by the nation’s highest-ranking military officers to spy on a military base. Not your everyday story, but there’s more to it than that. That base doesn’t follow American, Cuban, or any other law. Somebody wants themselves a place where they can interrogate POWs as they please without being held to the Geneva Convention – a black site. Vietnam is dragging on. The tide has turned against the U.S., and the military is exhausted. The CIA’s in the same boat, only they’ve taken advantage of the situation by trying to build this convenient little safehouse on the Cuban coast. But a plan of this insanity would never get rubber-stamped by the JCS . An official proposal has been submitted, but it only makes mention of ‘expanding the refugee camps’. Something’s going on in Cuba’s Little America, far away from the eyes of Washington… And the truth behind it all should be on that cassette tape. // Marine driver: Open the front gate. // Marine Command Post: Opening front gate. // Miller: After identifying the target, approach him and grab him. That’s the contact sign. Just make sure you wait until there aren’t any other soldiers around.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Kazuhira Miller: This is the target. The military hasn't retrieved the information themselves, probably because they no longer know who in the Marines they can trust. This "subversion" appears to extend all the way to the base's higher-ups, and the source of it? The organization Paz spoke of - Cipher. You can bet on it. They're involved with the creation of that black site... And that is why the Pentagon chose us. We're their bait to catch Cipher. Which means it also becomes a golden opportunity for us. We might actually get an up close and personal look at the bastards.
  4. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    Kazuhira Miller: Boss, the tape you recovered [Agent's recording] is clearly a recording of an interrogation - proof that the base has been converted into a black site. But according to the client [JCS], there also should have been a record of the full scale of the plan. Maybe there was a tape we missed...
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    Note: this debriefing only occurs if the player succeeded in retrieving the classified tape from the bald Marine.
    Kazuhira Miller: Boss, we finished analyzing the tape you got from that soldier. It contains every last detail of the black site development plan. This is the information our client was after. No surprise, that proposal submitted to the Pentagon was a pack of lies. The refugee camps they proposed to “expand” would actually be converted into interrogation facilities, run by a small army of pros in every form of torture there is. They’ve even purchased a fleet of transports. The facilities’ inmates wouldn’t be limited to just prisoners, but anyone they considered a threat, renditioned from around the world under the designation of “enemy combatants”. This plan goes beyond the current paradigm of nation states. But is something like this really the “World Without Borders” that Cipher wants?
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    Kazuhira Miller: The information we previously obtained confirmed that the base is now a black site. Prisoners are being renditioned there only to face “interrogation” with no end… The Pentagon sent several undercover agents to the base, but they’ve lost contact with every one of them.
    This conversation occurs during the Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacements mission, which took place after this mission.
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