AFIO Intelligence Notes Issue 3

24 January 1998


AFIO EIN Commentaries are produced by AFIO for AFIO members, as a new initiative to advance AFIO educational objectives and to provide additional value for membership. Back issues of the report are stored on the AFIO Homepage under the "Intelligence Notes" heading. EIN retransmission is not permitted except with express agreement of the EIN Editor, Roy Jonkers.


AFIO LUNCHEON / MINI-SYMPOSIUM - 9 March 1998 at Fort Myer, Virginia. Social hour starts at 10:30 am. TWO outstanding speakers (first at 11am -12 noon., second from 1pm - 2pm), plus the incomparable Fort Myer cuisine du jour (12 noon to 1 p.m.).

Mr. JOHN LAUDER (11:00-12:00), Director of the CIA Proliferation Center, will cover his organization's role and issues in stopping the flow nuclear and ballistic missile technology from Russia to the Islamic Middle East.

AMBASSADOR RICHARD MCCORMICK (12 noon - 1 pm), former Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Department of State, recently interacting at highest levels with Asian Governments, will assess the current ASIAN economic and financial trends, implications, opportunities and challenges.

REGISTER now and assure a seat. Take a colleague. Recruit and bring a new member for AFIO. Send in your name, telephone number and check for $24 (members and their guests) or $29 (non-members - spread the word) to the AFIO office at 6723 Whittier Ave, Suite 303a, McLean VA 22101-4533.


CLANDESTINE TARGET PRIORITY CHANGES - CIA Director George Tenet informed Congress that there has been a change in direction in CIA's Operations Directorate last year, away from the clandestine operations aimed at influencing foreign governments or attempting to remove foreign political leaders. Covert operations are now aimed at disrupting terrorist plans, stopping narcotics shipments, or fouling up financial transactions of missile makers. Examples of recent activities include using hacker technology to disrupt international money transfers and other financial activities of Arab businessmen who support suspected terrorists, and sabotage of R&D activities of hostile governments such as North Korea, Iran and Iran. This story appears to be based on a deliberate leak to one Washington paper, but it was not picked up by other media - illustrative of the difficulty of swimming against the current of the customary media perceptions of US intelligence activities.

RUSSIAN MOB/DRUG CARTELS JOIN FORCES - A growing alliance between Russian and Colombian criminal organizations is the most dangerous trend in drug smuggling. General Barry McCaffrey, the national drug-control policy director, said " the Russians, along with the Nigerians, are the most threatening criminal organizations based in the US." This is because the Russians offer drug cartels access to sophisticated weapons previously beyond their reach, and access to new drug markets. A DEA expert stated " what makes the Russians so dangerous is that they are capable of so much; they are so sophisticated. We are talking about people with phi's, former senior KGB agents with access to sophisticated weapons, people have already laundered billions of dollars."

UNPRECEDENTED PARDON OF RUSSIAN SPY - Russian President Boris Yeltsin has pardoned a former diplomat sentenced in July to seven years hard labor for spying for the US. Vasily Makarov's mild sentence was attributed to "his candid repentance, his full acceptance of guilt and his active cooperation with the investigation." ITAR-TASS reported that Makarov had revealed the methods used by the CIA in its work with him and disclosed all his contacts in the agency. He reportedly received $20,000 from his CIA handlers for his activity. Russian television attributed the mild sentence to an FSB attempt to encourage other Russians spying for the US to confess their actions.

US OFFICIAL CAUGHT WIRETAPPING IN VIENNA - The United States has recalled an official with diplomatic immunity, apparently a CIA officer, after he was arrested for wiretapping the telephone of a North Korean diplomat in Vienna. Anonymous US Government sources have told the press that the wiretapping was part of a larger intelligence program aimed at determining the thinking of the Communist nation's leaders and, where possible, to recruit North Korean diplomats as intelligence sources. The US State Department said that relations with Austria were still solid. Local Austrian newspapers commented that in the last three years, "CIA officers conducting clandestine operations have been caught spying and compelled to leave at least four countries: Germany, France, Italy and India, all allies."


NEW INTELLIGENCE UNIT SUPPORTED US DIPLOMATS IN BOSNIA - A new type of intelligence unit, composed of analysts from the CIA, DIA , NSA and the State Department's INR, in "Support of Diplomatic Operations (SDO)," was given a field trial during the recent elections in Bosnia, and rated highly successful. As stated in an excellent summary by Jeffrey Smith in the Washington Post (9Dec97), while US military command posts routinely have access to top-secret information, " only half of the US embassies around the world have secure facilities and equipment to gain similar access." The team, using only off-the-shelf computers and portable encryption gear costing no more that $60,000, was able to access satellite reconnaissance photography and sensitive materials about possible civil disturbances obtained from extensive US and allied collection facilities in the region. They successfully monitored potential threats to the safety of US personnel involved in the Bosnian elections. Team members were honored with the James R. Killian prize for " excellence in the performance of foreign intelligence activities" in a closed ceremony at the White House.

INR MARKS FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY - The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in a ceremony in December 1997. Thomas Pickering, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, stated that " not one single day passes in which INR does not contribute to better understanding of the opportunities offered, and challenges posed, to US foreign policy around the world." Phyllis Oakley, Assistant Secretary of State for INR, said that INR was a catalyst for change and an unbiased evaluator of covert action proposals: " policymakers may not like what the bureau has to say in this sensitive area, but say it we will, as we see it and without policy bias."

RUSSIA CUTS MILITARY FORCES - President Boris Yeltsin announced that the military leadership now agrees with cutting back Russia's armed forces to 1.2 million men during the next two years.

IRAQ - There is international controversy about Iraq's remaining CBW capabilities and corollary inspections and sanctions, integrally connected with US intelligence capabilities and analyses. A US summary on Iraq's alleged "Program of Mass Destruction" is contained in a National Security Council fact sheet released by the White House on 14 November 1997. The fact sheet indicates (1) an overwhelming (almost total) percentage of attributed and known Iraqi chemical warfare, biological weapons, nuclear, and missile equipment, facilities and capabilities have been destroyed, (2) that some stockpiles unilaterally claimed to have been destroyed by the Iraqis remain unverified and need continuing attention, and (3) that "technical expertise" to produce some biological agents continues to exist.

This latter "technical expertise" is presumably being targeted by US intelligence for the apparently planned US and UK air strikes, for ultimately Iraq's CBW capability depends on a technologically sophisticated elite in this country ruled by the secular Ba'ath party. If the technical, research and educational infrastructure is destroyed, and as many Iraqi researchers killed as possible, little capability will remain (bombed back into the stone age). The political diplomatic message to Iraq is clear: there will be relentless US pressure until Sadam Hussein -- who made bombastic and irresponsible chemical warfare threats towards the dominant regional Nuclear Weapon/CBW power, Israel -- is overthrown as President, to prevent even greater regional harm and to maintain the regional status quo. Other news articles reflect foreign concern over US policy, and include Russian and French initiatives offering technical intelligence experts and reconnaissance platforms and advocating a gradual end or lessening of sanctions on humanistic grounds.

To gain a different perspective on the Iraqi situation seldom reflected in popular mass media propaganda, several Roman Catholic bishops have just begun a hunger strike and have appealed to President Clinton to end the sanctions against Iraq. "I have never seen such devastation and suffering" said Auxiliary bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, who visited Iraq last year. "Sanctions have taken the lives of well over 1 million persons, 60 percent of whom are children under 5 years of age... The bombing campaign destroyed electric, water and sewage plants, as well as agricultural, food and medical production facilities. All continue to be inoperative, or function as sub-minimal levels."

The bishops represent humanistic concerns - how much suffering is enough? US policy obviously transcends these considerations and must deal with the whole range of disastrous potentials of new CBW technologies in the "wrong" hands. Given a responsible Iraqi leadership situtation, one could speculate that US and allied intelligence would be able to deal quite adequately with the currently remaining Iraqi capabilities.


The following books have not been read, but appear of interest:

Okhrana: The Paris Operations of the Russian Imperial Police, by Ben Fisher, History Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, 1997. Consists of preface and commentary followed by articles by "Rita Kronenbitter" covering formative years of Russian intelligence and counterintelligence "culture" in the pre-Bolshevik period, the time popularized by the TV series "Reilly, Ace of Spies." The editor's preface concludes that the Okhrana story offers insights from the past that have applications for the present and the future.

Spies Without Cloaks: The KGB's Successors, by Amy Knight, Princeton University Press, 1997 (paperback $14.95)

Stalking the Vietcong: Inside Operation Phoenix - A Personal Account, by Colonel (ret) Stuart A. Herrington, Presidio Press, 222 pages ($14.95).


Short items, with fact and opinion marked, properly sourced, and identified as quotes or paraphrased, are invited. Also pointers to new literature. Send notes to the Editor via email.


1. AFIO luncheon / mini-symposium - 9 March 1998 at Fort Myer, Virginia. See details above. REGISTER NOW! Support AFIO objectives. Bring a colleague!

2.AFIO - National Intelligence Priorities Status (NIPS) Symposium - Wednesday 20 May 1998, from 0730 - 1600, at Tysons Corner Marriott, Va., - -covering priorities outlined by the DCI such as non-proliferation intelligence, international crime syndicate intelligence, narcotics intelligence, economic espionage, financial intelligence, computer/cyber espionage, counterintelligence.

NIPS REGISTRATION FEE: AFIO members and their guests $99, non- members $129. Quality guaranteed. Seating limited. First come first served. Spread the word. Take a guest. Send your name, address etc. and check to AFIO, citing symposium title.

3. AFIO - NATIONAL CONVENTION AND SYMPOSIUM - Thursday to Saturday, 19-21 November 1998, Miami Convention Center, Florida. Mark your calendar - plan to attend!

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