AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are a 1998 initiative to enhance services to AFIO members and to encourage them to recruit new members. We need new members!
WINs are produced by Editor Roy Jonkers, and includes adaptations of articles produced by RADM Don Harvey (USN ret) and AFIO members. WIN re-transmission is not permitted except without concurrence of the WIN Editor.
WIN Back issues are stored on the AFIO Homepage
SECTION I - Harvey's Nuggets
SECTION II - Jonkers' Bullets
SECTION III - Member's Missives
SECTION IV - AFIO Announcements, Jobs and Services
SECTION I. HARVEY'S NUGGETS
ALDRICH AMES' HANDLER TALKS - A former KGB member, Victor Cherkashin, was in charge of counterintelligence at the Soviet Embassy in Washington the day Ames walked in offering to betray his country. He was the first officer to meet, assess and instruct Ames. In a recent Moscow interview Cherkassin stated that Kryuchkov, then chief of the First directorate and later chairman of the KGB, violated the first rule in the world of counterintelligence by executing the double agents fingered by Ames. He made it "obvious to the Americans that we had a mole inside the CIA." Cherkassin believes that the more than 20 moles Ames betrayed should have been used as "triple agents," to feed misinformation to the Americans, but he was overruled. Cherkassin received the Order of Lenin for the case and left the KGB in 1991. He now runs his own security company, supplying intelligence and bodyguards to businessmen. (DH)
SECTION II JONKERS' BULLETS
CIA OFFICER CHARGED WITH TREASON - Douglas Groat, a 16-year CIA career veteran, was arrested by the FBI on four counts of espionage and one count of extortion, and charged with informing two unnamed foreign governments that the US was engaged in sophisticated code-breaking activities against them. He pleaded not guilty. DCI George Tenet said that the charges against Groat were "extremely serious," although the "full extent of damage to US national security has as yet to be determined."
US Attorney Wilma Lewis was quoted as saying that Groat's job at CIA involved taking part in "classified covert operations aimed at the penetration of cryptographic systems of foreign governments." Groat reportedly got into trouble as a result of a compromised operation which resulted in a disagreement with his superiors on policy, which he took all the way to the CIA Inspector General. He got in deeper because of his refusal to take a polygraph test during an ensuing FBI counterintelligence investigation of the compromised operation. His family and friends allege that he did so believing that the information would be manipulated and used against him. As a result he was allegedly placed on administrative leave in 1993 and subsequently fired in October 1996.
Undoubtedly more will be said or leak out. What has been published so far describes Douglas Groat as an overzealous personality type. He is said to have been fired previously as a police officer in NY in 1977, where he had a reputation as an overzealous maverick. Additionally, however, he shares an unfortunate characteristic with some other principals in recent CIA and FBI spy cases - he had marital troubles. He was separated from his wife in 1994 and divorced in 1996, a process not only producing great psychological strain, but frequently leaving middle class males emasculated financially at the hands of the contemporary legal system. Divorce must be a warning sign for those monitoring security clearances. (WPost 4 April 98 pg A1,5; WTimes 4 April pg A1, 9; WT p A3/Assoc.Press 5 April) (RJ)
IRAQ - Weapons inspectors have found the presidential palaces, the centerpiece of so much recent public "weapons of mass destruction" hyperbole by the Administration, mostly empty buildings. Conceivably the Iraqi's could have removed contraband items from the sites during the period of cessation of inspections, but this seems unlikely in view of the allegedly tight US all-source intelligence coverage of the area. Now that UN diplomats are escorting the inspectors, some of the more brusquely abrasive aspects of the inspections seem to have been smoothed out. US actions regarding Iraq derive primarily from political considerations, both domestic and international, rather than being driven by intelligence. The anthrax threat hysteria is more a play on political objectives than a real threat. The palace flap was driven by the need to establish the principle that no site in Iraq was off limits to inspection.(Sunday Times 29 Mar95 p 15 & Assoc. Press) (RJ)
IRAN RESCUE RECOGNITION (continued) - Antonio Mendez, formerly CIA, was honored by the Maryland State House of Delegates for his leading role in rescuing six American diplomats from Iran in 1979. Mendez created a role as film director and brought the six diplomats out disguised as members of the film crew. He received the CIA Intelligence Star for Valor. Said Mendez: "This is a little awkward for one of those who spent their whole career trying not to be noticed. Our discipline was that we don't explain our failures and we don't celebrate our victories." (WTimes April 4, p A10)(RJ)
COLOMBIA - The Southern Bloc of the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia (FARC) released a communiqué reiterating its policy to conduct an "open war" against "US infiltrated agents," stating that "it will be our task to use every intelligence means to unveil the disguises used by Americans who reside in Colombia and to submit them to the people's justice." In response, the local Governor sent a letter to the FARC leader asking him not to enrage the gringos because doing so could transform Columbia into a Vietnam. Travelers to Colombia, be advised. (Source: FBIS 1 April 98) (RJ)
RUSSIAN SIGINT STATION IN CUBA - A former GRU colonel who defected six years ago has recently surfaced in Florida with public claims about Russian SIGINT intercept capabilities at their Lourdes facility in Cuba. GRU colonel Stanislav Lunev, who defected in 1992, and allegedly was a credible defector of use to US intelligence, stated that Moscow knew US battle plans in the Gulf War in 1991, including the "left hook" through Iraq, based on an analysis of intercepts from Lourdes, but did not provide this information to Iraq. This battle plan knowledge was supposedly gained from the analysis of chatter by US pilots and private telephone conversations of soldiers and their families.
The Russian "Radio and Radio Technical Center" at Lourdes was built by the GRU in the 1970's in a suburb of Havana. It is alleged to be able to pick up electronic signals and conversations, including cellular or microwave phone calls plus CB and radios, up to 1,000 miles away. Lourdes also receives and collates intercepts by reconaissance satellites, ships and planes in the Atlantic region, and is also capable of offensive jamming. The Lourdes station employs some 2,000 Russians. Moscow has been paying Castro $200 million a year, and has upgraded the station in recent years, invsting as much as $90 million. Havana is allegedly requesting a raise in rent to $1 billion a year.
The politics of the station are complex. It contributes to stability by assuring the Russians that the US is not cheating on its international disarmament treaties. To the Cuban-American community in South Florida - probably the driving force behind the defector's Miami Herald coverage - it is a manifestation of the threat posed by Castro's Cuba to US security. And finally, critics also point to the station's capability in intercepting commercial and trade intelligence. In recent years, Russian intelligence agents have been "selling intercepts to enterpreneurs involved in mergers, acquisitions and foreign exchange transactions." It is an interesting world. (Source Miami Herald, April 3, pg 1) (RJ)
NEW ENCRYPTION STANDARDS DELAYED - A new data scrambling standard for protecting sensitive financial transactions, the triple D.E.S.( Data Encryption Standard), has been revised after two computer scientists discovered a weakness that could allow the code to be cracked. The current D.E.S code has become vulnerable and was publicly broken last year by a group of experts, just to show it could be done. The TRIPLE D.E.S. is intended as a stopgap measure while the National Institute for Standards and Technology works on a more secure design, known as the Advanced Encryption Standard or A.E.S. The A.E. S will have key lengths of 128, 192 and 256 bits, as compared with the current 56 bit length of the D.E.S. (NYT 31 Mar98, page D9) (RJ)
SECTION III - MEMBER's MISSIVES
DARPA GETS INTO TACTICAL RECCE SATELLITE ARENA - An alleged dispute between the NRO and DARPA over the development of the next generation of reconnaissance satellites to support military commanders has been settled by the Defense Science Board. DARPA, the traditional research and development organization, has been given the green light to develop and build cheaper "smallsats" for battlefield surveillance in support of tactical commanders. Funding would come from NRO and Air force funds. There is always tension between contending requirements of the national level authorities and the needs of tactical commanders. NRO will continue to build and fly the national level reconnaissance satellites. (Wtimes, 3 ap pg A10) (JM)
SECTION IV - ANNOUNCEMENTS & SERVICES
BOOKS & REFERENCES
BOOK REVIEW: Churchill and the Secret Service, by David Stafford, 386 pages, Overlook Press $35.00.Stafford documents the history and the results of Churchill's fascination with intelligence, and shows how this made a crucial contribution to victory in World War II. The book was reviewed by Martin Sieff in the Washington Times.
Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, was impressed by the tactical and strategic value of SIGINT - based on the code breaking miracles by the wizards in the Admiralty's Room 40 during World War I. After the war Churchill was intrigued by clandestine espionage activities, including Sidney Reilly, the British spy involved in operations against the revolutionary Soviet regime in the early 1920's. During WWII Churchill was dazzled by ULTRA and demanded to see raw transcripts so he could " touch and feel the enemy, and act as his own intelligence officer." He also rejuvenated MI-5 and created the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the British special operations group.
Martin Sieff concludes his review by stating that "in our current post-Cold War world, the importance of secret intelligence and code breaking is widely ignored and derided. Along with its other many virtues, Mr. Stafford's splendid book is a sober warning this should not be so." This book appears to be a valuable addition to intelligence history. (WT 4 Feb p. A13) (RJ)
- AFIO member Abe Miller wrote an article entitled "The CIA and Crack-Cocaine Story: Fact or Fiction?," in the February 98 issue of "The World and I"
- For history buffs still contemplating Adolph Hitler's incomprehensible and self-destructive blunders in political and military decisionmaking, I highly recommend a recently published book by George Victor, simply entitled "Hitler: The Pathology of Evil."
Although I am a thorough skeptic about the practices of psycho-analysis, and approached this book with great reservation, I wholeheartedly recommend it as a brilliant study in leadership. This is not another cliche-ridden one-note tract, but a reasoned, balanced, insightful treatment, providing keys to understanding the paranoias - and the reasons for them - that drove Hitler. It sheds new light on a terrible chapter of European history. A must-read for intelligence analysts. ISBN 1-57488-132-9, Brassey's 1998
- Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, by Miranda Vickers, Columbia Univ. Press, 352 pages, $47.50. A timely book for adding a modicum of depth to understanding the "crise du jour," with a clear-eyed approach exhibiting skepticism about both Serb and Albanian claims. Ms Vickers has no sympathy for the oversimplified "politically correct" western caricature of evil Serbs versus meek and oppressed ethnic Albanians. She provides important descriptions of the Albanian leadership debates between advocates of peaceful accommodation versus those who believe in shooting their way out of Yugoslavia. Interestingly, many of the so-called "Kosovo Liberation Army" guerrillas are former Yugoslav army officers who tasted blood killing Serbs in Bosnia, while others were trained in Iran and Pakistan. (The Economist Mar 21-27, p. 97
AFIO OFFERS SPEAKERS ON VIDEO - Chapters and University Professors may borrow AFIO-produced videos free except for the cost of postage and handling ($5.00). The first video is by David Murphy, containing his presentation to AFIO discussing his recent book, The Battle of Berlin; the second video contains a talk by retired KGB Major General Kalugin covering some of his experiences.
AFIO OFFERS NEW SERVICE, THE AFIO Z-GRAM, a DAILY quick-scan, useful overview of news from the World press gleaned from the internet along with tips for internet researchers on intelligence-related topics. Exceptionally well done, praised by people in industry and high ranking officers, such as LGEN (ret) J. Clapper, former Director of DIA. Subscription for DAILY service only $98, of which $40 is tax-deductible donation. Mail check made out to AFIO and name/address/email to: AFIO, 6723 Whittier Ave, Suite 303a, McLean Va 22101-4533.
CIA WEBSITE FOR KIDS - The homepage features codes and ominous warnings and a link to enter the "Kids Secret Zone" where there are history, geography and other quizzes. The site is at: <http://www.odci.gov/cia/ciakids/safe.html>
The CIA OUTREACH PROGRAM - for information concerning CIA published materials (including those referenced in WIN #11), identify the item from the catalog "CIA Maps and Publications Released to the Public," published by the CIA Public Affairs Staff (tel: 703 482 0623, and then order from the National Technical Information Service by calling the NTIS Order Desk 703 487 4650.
For subscriptions to all CIA publications, call the Document Expediting Project, 202 707 9527. This includes subscriptions to the annual issues of Studies in Intelligence ( A useful reference is the Studies in Intelligence Index 1955 - 1992). For the most recent updates, visit the CIA web site <www.odci.gov/cia>.
POSITIONS AVAILABLE OR WANTED
- No new items. See AFIO Homepage <www.afio.com> for previous weeks' items.
IN MEMORIAM -listing members and community dignitaries - no new items (good!)
- AFIO Symposium - US Intelligence Priorities Survey - 20 May 1998 - 0730
Distinguished speakers from CIA, FBI, DIA, Congressional Staff
Tysons Corner Marriott, 0730 - 1600.
Send check for $99 (AFIO members and guests) or $129 (others) to AFIO
- AFIO Luncheon - 1 June 1998 - 1030 - 1400
Admiral Wm Studeman, former DDCI, and Professor James Chandler.
Send check for $26 (AFIO members and guests) or $29 (others) to AFIO
- AFIO Luncheon - 14 September 98. Speakers to be announced.
- AFIO Convention and Symposium, Miami Beach, 19-21 November 98. Themes: Counterintelligence; Economic Espionage and Counter Espionage. Mark your calendars and make plans to attend!