AFIO Intelligence Notes Issue 24

28 June 1998

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.

See the AFIO Homepage <> for back issues.


AFIO SPECIAL Luncheon - 21 July 1998 - 12:30 - 2:30
at Fort George G.Meade, Maryland, O'Club.
Tour of National Cryptologic Museum follows.
Send check for $22 (AFIO members and guests), or $29 (non-members)


INTELLIGENCE BUDGET RAID FOILED - A recent dust-up in the Senate may eventually lead to the intelligence budget being removed from the Defense budget where it has been hidden for 50 years.

Subsequent to the intelligence fiscal 1999 budget being approved by the Senate Select committtee on Intelligence, the Senate Armed Services Committee took a large amount of money from the intelligence pot. Senator John Glenn, a member of both committees, was angered by this action and charged the Armed Services Committee in writing with "cannibalizing" and making "meat ax" cuts. The committee, he continued, "should no longer play a role in authorizing intelligence programs, particularly when it appears that it has little appreciation for the vital role of intelligence in our nation's security." Reportedly, he was especially angered that the stolen money went for porkbarrel items. In a hasty and low-profile Senate floor action following the Senator's letter, some of the pilfered money was restored to the intelligence budget. The amounts involved were not divulged. (Harvey)

US OVERHEAD RECONNAISSANCE - A new US Orion SIGINT satellite, launched less than a week before the Indian nuclear tests, has been placed over the equator above western Malaysia and Sumatra at about 23,000 miles altitude. The 6-ton NRO spacecraft is one of a series of Orions launched to monitor different regions of the world during the last several years. While able to detect signals from the India/Pakistan area, the bird could not become fully operational for weeks after being positioned. Opertional now, the satellite, which cost about $1 billion (including its Titan 4B Centaur booster), is expected to aid in US understanding of activities in the area because of its 24-hour coverage.

Three advanced KHG-11 type optical-imaging spacecraft and two Lacrosse infrared-imaging radar satellites are currently operated by the NRO for the intelligence community. These birds probably overflew the nuclear test site in northwest India no more than two or three times a day, a limited frequency that enabled the Indians to time and camouflage their test preparations as well as easing the deception challenge.

Since the US has, for various reasons, made a number of nations aware of its SIGINT and Imagery capabilities, there is no guarantee that future targets of US intelligence interest will cooperate with the newly-positioned spacecraft. It is anticipated that the failure to provide tactical warning of the Indian tests (in contrast to strategic warning which had been given repeatedly over recent years) will intensify calls for a larger fleet of smaller imaging satellites able to make more frequent overflights. Typically, more sophisticated processing of the increased data and more analysts to make sense of the data will probably follow way behind the thrust of more metal in the sky. (Harvey)

US SHIP PUEBLO NOW A TOURIST ATTRACTION - The North Korean regime has turned the USS Pueblo into an attraction for badly needed foreign exchange from visiting Japanese tourists in the northern port of Wonsan. North Koreean patrol boats captured the US intelligence collection ship off Wonsan in Hjanuary 1968, finally releasing the survivors of the crew in December 1968. The converted former Army coastal craft was making its first intelligence collection patrol when the Koreans attacked the ship in international waters. Its sister ship, the USS Banner, had made over 20 successful patrols off the Soviet and Chinese coasts. It is not known if the US administration has raised the subject of the return of the ship in discussions of the considerable aid the US is currently providing the North Korean regime. (Harvey)

INDIAN NUCLEAR TEST FALLOUT (continued) - Admiral (ret) Jeremiah provided the DCI with his rapid analysis of the failure to provide tactical warning of the Indian tests. On 2 June DCI George Tenet publicly accepted all of Admiral Jeremiah's recommendations and designated Joan Dempsey, the newly confirmed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management, to develop action plans to implement the Admiral's recommendations.

Jeremiah's recommendations included (1) enhance analytical rigor, by bringing in outside substantive and process experts (to avoid mirror-imaging); (2) realign collection priorities to avoid overemphasis towards the so-called rogue states; (3) provide better tools to enable analysts to deal with the incoming floodtide of information; (4) improve collection management to task the "system of systems" rather than individual pipelines; (5) establish a community manager with auhority to demand accountability in carrying out DCI decisons, directives, priorities; (6) scrub down the Intelligence Community organization to improve clarity of structure and fix responsibilities.

The Admiral concluded that clarity concerning events is always obvious in retrospect, but in the real world events take place within a milieu of other events, all clamoring for attention and increased collection resources. "But at the end of the day, senior-level attention needed to get on the process and the problem earlier. Leadership should have been focused on critical intelligence requirements even at the expense of the traditional livelihood in Washington of looking at resource allocations and regulatory issues that tend to dominate our structures today." (CIA Public Affairs release 2 June 98) (Jonkers)

COLLECTION ON NUCLEAR TESTS - A WC 135W aircraft from the 45th Reconnaissance Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, the only US airborne sampling platform, was deployed to south Asia after the Indian and Pakistani tests to determine the magnitude of the blasts.

The modified Boeing 707 fulfills the "Constant Phoenix" mission to detect and collect data on nuclear detonations. The press story did not address how late the deployment was or its probable succcess. The WC 135W is controlled by the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. AFTAC's mission is to provide post-detonation plume trajectory prediction and meteorological modeling, and it uses a number of advanced technologies to monitor nuclear, biological and chemical materials. The AFTAC aircaft was used to monitor the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and was deployued in 1986 to track radioactive debris after the meltdown of the Soviet nuclear reactor at Chernobyl as well as a Chinese communist nuclear test in the early 1990's. (Harvey)

ISRAEL INTELLIGENCE - The Israeli press has run stories expressing Israel's concern with Iranian nuclear capabilities after the Pakistani tests. Efforts to expand ties with the Afghan Teleban as well as its opponents have been accelerated, with the expectation that it may lead to an Isreali capability to install intelligence collection devices adjacent to the Iranian-Afghan border. Other stories concern the increasingly close ties with Turkey, which also provide the potential for intelligence collection bases.

The current Israeli government is depicted as concerned that a nuclear-armed Iran would tilt the balance of power in favor of hardliners in adjacent Arab states. Mossad has estimated that Iran may be able to build its first atomic bomb in four years, by 2002, and senior Western intelligence sources have been quoted as saying that Irsrael plans a pre-emptive strike against Iran before then. (The Times, June 18, 1998, page 18, Overseas News.)(Jonkers)


- Communism, the Cold War and the FBI Connection - by Herman Bly, Huntington House Publishers, 1998 (ISBN 1-56834-149-5). This book by AFIO member Herman Bly covers his experience with investigations of subversive elements during his 23 years with the Bureau and his assessment of the communist threat. Mr Bly was the chief of the special FBI Counter-Intelligence operation (COINTELPRO) directed against the Communist Party USA in the 1950's. Just off the press!

- The Pentum Mission, by Joe Fontana, Orchises Press, Alexandria Va 1998 (ISBN 0-914061-72-0) . For a change of pace, a novel of murder, suspense and intrigue in the international intelligence community, by Washington attorney Fontana, who also is an adjunct professor of International Transactions at George Mason University. For Washington area members, books will be autographed at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave, Maryland on Thursday 9 July 1998 at 7:30-8:30 pm.


DISCUSSION ITEMS - Ref the "missed call" on the Indian test - a former CIA officer commented that, from his personal experience, downsizing, both in personnel and funding, has negatively affected CIA's ability to collect and follow priority issues and targets on a continuous basis. In addition, the Agency's capabilities were impacted by the shift of officers from operations to staff management positions. " There was a lot of talk about "doing less with less" but every single attempt to get this point across was met with an increase of missions, but not the resources.." The Hon. Porter Goss has been articulating a similar position. If this vital intelligence resource is to be maintained, a constituency must be developed to have a political effect. That is an educational task for all members of AFIO.


CIA MEDAL CEREMONY- In a ceremony on 25 June 1998, the DCI presented the Director's Medal to John T "Jack" Downey and Richard G. Fecteau. They participated in a daring flight over Manchuria during the Korean War. Their mission was to pick up one of our imperiled agents. They were ambushed and captured, vanishing for over two years until they reappeared in a Red Chinese "show trial" in 1954. They were imprisoned for over twenty years, conducting themselves with dignity and honor under dreadful circumstances. AFIO applauds their valor and belated public recognition.

EUGENE TIGHE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - The San Diego Chapter has decided on a topic for the 1999 Tighe Memorial Scholarship and will begin application packages to students in August. The 1999 topic is: How should US intelligence assets be used to fight illegal drug trafficking within, or into the US?

Since there are stipulations on essay format and an application to complete, interested students at the post-secondary or graduate level should write for a Tighe Scholarship package. A self-addressed stamped envelope must accompany the request. Write to: Scholarship Administrator, 1142 Miramonte Glen, Escondido, CA 92026. For further info <> ref. scholarship ID#13999.

Return to AFIO Home Page