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.
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EAST AFRICA - Bomb blasts damaging the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on 7 August, are under investigation by teams of FBI, CIA, State and USMC anti-terrorist professionals, along with British and Israeli experts. (By current law, the FBI has jurisdiction over cases of terrorist attacks on US citizens worldwide). Both bombs were delivered by truck. US officials have stated that they will keep an open mind as to the culprits based on the evidence at hand.
An obscure - some say unknown - organization, the Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Places, has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the bombing. In a telephone call placed in London, the group claimed that the Nairobi attack was carried on by two of their members from Mecca, and the Dar es Salaam attack by an Egyptian.
A Qatar television station carried an account by group representatives saying that "Islamic holy warriors from all countries of the world" are determined to drive US troops out of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, and to "strike at American interests in all places until all its objectives are met."
Speculation in the media has included a typically convoluted tale of the possible involvement of the Egyptian branch of Islamic Jihad, a successor to the group that assassinated Anwar Sadat, and banned in Egypt. The Islamic Jihad made recent threats against Americans in retaliation for the US role in persuading the Albanian government to arrest three Jihad fighters in Northern Albania and to extradite them to Egypt, where at least one of the three is under a death sentence.
Islamic Jihad is headed by Ayman Zawaheri (transliterated as Imam Zowaheri), who used to reside in Khartoum, but was pressured to leave in 1996. He now resides in Afghanistan, where he is linked to Osama bin Laden, an exiled Saudi multi-millionaire, also resident there. The latter uses his money to finance a campaign against the Saudi rulers and US presence in Saudi Arabia. Two months ago, bin Laden warned of new guerrilla action planned against the US. The Chicago-based Emergency Response and Research Institute quoted bin Laden as saying that "we had thought that the Riyadh and Khobar blasts were a sufficient signal to sensible US decisionmakers to avert a real battle between the Islamic nation and US forces, but it seems that they did not understand the signal."
On balance, based on initial information and contextual speculation, several conclusions present themselves as of this date. Firstly, the timing of the simultaneous attack in two countries, the relative lack of precedent for this type of action in the context of "normal" African indigenous political violence, and the claim of responsibility by an Islamic organization, suggest that motives and organizations responsible have little or nothing nothing to do with Africa or the host countries.
Secondly, the nature of the attacks and their success point to an experienced "professional" terrorist operation. The US Intelligence Community has thwarted several attacks on US embassies in recent years (according to published testimony by the DCI), through intercepted communications and "moles," but the terrorist organization in this attack was able to cope with our capabilities.
Thirdly, there is the probability that the bombing is another manifestation of a long-running political war of Islamic religious fundamentalists (extremists) against Western infidels (headed by the US) and their ("corrupted") Islamic allies.
Fourthly, the claimed responsibility - whether real or not - points up connections to growing instability in Saudi Arabia, a cause for considerable concern.
And fifthly, in a coldly self-interested way, it may be that this event, terrible as it is, provides added Congressional and public support to US intelligence agencies and capabilities as well as increased funding for Embassy security. Anti-terrorism is a slam-dunk for politicians. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the bombings are a "reminder to all of us that it is a dangerous world as we enter the 21st century. We need much better human intelligence, much more sophisticated efforts to go after terrorists and others." (WT & WP 8 - 10 August 98) (RJ)
YUGOSLAVIA - KOSSOVO - Germany's security agencies are investigating criminal links between the Kossovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas and their funding from Germany. Criminal networks may be involved in sending laundered money through dubious travel agencies to the KLA. Albanian gangs in Germany are said to be involved in drug trafficking, serial break-in's and illegal immigration. Islamic extremist financing of Moslem terrorists ( including Islamic extremist mercenaries) in Bosnia was condoned by the US and NATO, but the policy towards the Muslim guerrillas in Kossovo appears to be more circumspect.
Meanwhile within Kossovo, Yugoslav military units overran the headquarters of the KLA and are in process of reestablishing control over its territory. The foreign-financed insurgents engaging in terrorism against minorities in the local population (largely unreported in the US press) and guerrilla warfare in pursuit of their goal of Kossovo independence (population 2 million), have now allegedly thrown their support to the Kossovo-Albanian majority faction headed by Ibrahim Rugova, who advocates a nonviolent solution. The US has expressed support for Rugova's policy, but just in case, NATO has contingency plans for intervention, and hundreds of US Marines will participate in NATO military exercises in Albania and Macedonia this Fall. (Jane's Newsbrief, 4 Aug 98, Part II; WT 9 Aug 98) (RJ)
ISRAELI SPY RING IN LEBANON - Over 75 members of a large spy ring working for Unit 504 of Israeli military intelligence were indicted by the Lebanon Government on charges of providing information on Lebanese and Syrian troop movements as well as activities of resistance fighters to the Israelis. Unit 504 operates agents in Arab states that border on Israel.
Israeli papers carrying reports from Beirut carried two different versions on how the ring was cracked. One said a Druze named Raja Ward, a senior intelligence officer in the Israeli-backed Southern Lebanon Army (SLA) had turned himself in after fleeing occupied south Lebanon. Another version said Lebanese security forces penetrated a group attempting to blow up the US embassy in Beirut.
Lebanese officials suspect the Israeli spy ring is also responsible for terrorist attacks inside Lebanon. One of the ring's missions, as quoted from the Lebanese prosecutor general, was to generate unrest in Lebanon.
Gideon Ezra, former chief of Shin Bet's northern district, commented on Israeli army radio that it is difficult to believe in the operation of an Israeli espionage network of that size - "one of the basic principles in intelligence is not to reveal the identity of one man to another. You have to maintain compartmentalization." But, he said, it could also indicate a failure in planning and implementation. (Jerusalem Pst 10Jul; Arabic News.com 10Jul98; The (Lebanon) Daily Star, 9 Jul98) (RJ)
RUSSIA - NEW FSB CHIEF APPOINTED - President Boris Yeltsin initially dismantled the Soviet system and the KGB. Now he is looking to strengthen his control, including a buildup of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB. Earlier this year he brought Russia's Border Guards divisions under FSB control, thereby giving it broader jurisdiction and increased clout in domestic security. On 25 July '98 he appointed Vladimir Putin, a former KGB member, as director of the FSB. This appointment, according to Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, was aimed at "strengthening the service, as well as returning some of its unfairly lost authority." It is noteworthy that the new director's task will be to concentrate on domestic economic espionage and illegal capital flight, reflecting current priorities and Russian economic problems (WT 28 Jul 98, page 15) (RJ)
RECONNAISSANCE AND OTHER US MILITARY COMMERCIAL VENTURES - A Naval Orion P-3 reconnaissance aircraft recently took off on a special mission, not to hunt for submarines, but to use its surveillance sensors to hunt blueberries -- under contract with the State of Maine, which has extensive plans to use the plane's sensors for a variety of environmental and economic purposes. The recent rapid growth in commercial contract work by the Department of Defense is based on Congressional laws that encourage the military to share its technology with private industry. Needing a new post-Cold War mission, and with demand for military work declining, Defense Laboratories in particular have grasped the opportunity to "go in business." Supporting the private sector under contract both maintains and subsidizes the laboratories. (WP 8 Aug 98, p. B1) (RJ)
CHINESE ARMY ORDERED TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS - The PLA plunged into business more than a decade ago, and now owns, besides armament factories, commercial ventures and conglomerates that produce from $1B to $3 Billion in annual profits. The Peking Government is seeking to privatize part of the Army's holdings to stop the corruption and smuggling by PLA-linked black marketeers and the undermining of government central control and planning. PLA-backed smuggling of autos, chemicals, steel and other products destabilizes domestic producers and puts pressure on the currency exchange rates.Weapons smuggling impacts on Government foreign policy. Military units are subverting government plans for managing the development of telecom and automobile sectors; extensive PLA real estate holdings have added to China's real estate glut; and the PLA is in open defiance of securities regulators and law enforcement agencies.
In an economy under severe pressure, with the possibility of millions of unemployed looming large, President Jiang Zemin issued a decree in July to get the PLA out of business. In parallel, the Government is trying to wrest control of the PLA away from the Communist Party. If Jiang succeeds, the PLA may become more focused on boosting its fighting capability on behalf of Chinese national defense. (Bsns Wk 10 Aug p.36) (RJ)
EMAIL SECURITY INTELLIGENCE - Internet users are put on notice that a flaw in electronic mail (email) software can permit a hacker to attach a file that looks like a harmless link to an internet site, but when opened, attacks computer data. Email programs, including Qualcom's EUDORA (versions 4, 4.0.1, and 4.1), Microsoft, and Netscape Communicator, all are said to contain programming errors that could be exploited. The risk of compromise is greatest for those who use email to send not just text messages but multi-media documents and computer programs.
The Eudora problems relate to its connection with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser software. To remedy the problem, Qualcom will release a free patch on its web site (<hhttp://eudora.qualcom.com/security.html>). This event is a reminder that nothing, including software (or intelligence), is perfect, or perfectly secure. (WP 8 Aug 98, page D8) (RJ)
- CORPORATE GRAY ONLINE is a free military to civilian career transition guide at <http://www.bluetogray.com> or <http://www.greentogray.com>. The sites includes job opportunities, and information for making informed career decisions.
- EDWARD LANSDALE:THE UNQUIET AMERICAN - by Cecil B Currey, 1998. Brassey;s, Washington (ISBN 1-57488-176-0) with a forewaord by William Colby. The subject is a retired Air Force general officer who earned his commision as a Reserve Officer from ROTC in 1931, and spent the pre-war years in the advertising business. During WW II he worked for OSS under cover of Army military intelligence, and later worked for the CIA, playing important roles in the Phillipines and Vietnam. The essence of Lansdale can be found in a dialogue he had with SecDEF McNamara on Vietnam. Lansdale advised the Secretary always to keep in mind that the struggle went far beyond the material things. "It takes ... ideas and ideals." McNamara scorned Lansdale's advice, more interested in 'statistical indicators' of success (e.g. body counts) to mark American progress - a mistake for which the nation would pay dearly. Based on interviews with Lansdale shortly before his death, this book provides both an important contribution to literature of the Vietnam war as well as a monument to a legend. (RJ)
14 September - AFIO LUNCHEON, Fort Myers Officers Club,
1030 - 1400. Speakers: Major General (USA ret) Jack Singlaub (Operation Tailwind) and Dr. Hamilton Merritt, Nobel Prize Nominee (Tragic Mountains -- The War in Laos).
Luncheon Chairman: Mr. Theodore Shackley
Registration: AFIO members $26, Non-members $29. Send check with name and address to AFIO, 6723 Whittier Ave, Ste 303A, McLean VA 22101-4533
12-14 November AFIO National Symposium and Convention. CHALLENGES FOR INTELLIGENCE: THE FUTURE IS NOW
Thursday - late afternoon - member meetings and hospitality
Friday - Symposium sessions at CIA Headquarters
Friday evening - AFIO Awards Banquet
Saturday - Convention sessions, presentations and meetings.
Registration information will be disseminated shortly.
7 December - NOTE: The AFIO luncheon originally scheduled for 7 December 98 has been postponed until January 1999. The Board meeting is also postponed.
The U-2: A Revolution in Intelligence. A one-day conference sponsored by CIA, NRO, DOD and USAF at the National defense University on 17 September 98. Call CIA Center for Study of Intelligence (703) 613 1753.
PCIC EXPO - Career Development for Intelligence Professionals - will be held 11-12 November, 1998, Tysons Corner Marriott, 8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, Va. Included will be workshops, seminars and exhibits, along with Government and Industry talent scouts. The last one was a bellringer - outstanding! AFIO endorsed. Check <firstname.lastname@example.org> or call Lori Tugman at 703 379 8400 for attendance, exhibiting or advertising.
TAPS - John Seabury Thomson, an expert on China, and former Navy and OSS veteran as well as College professor and CIA intelligence analyst, died August 3 at the age of 77, after finishing a solo canoe run on the Potomac river. He gained special fame for canoeing to work across the Potomac from Washington every day during his employment at CIA until he retired in 1976. He lived life to the full - leading, teaching, giving time and talent to worthy causes as well as being a top canoeing expert and admirer of the outdoors.
NEW CHAPTER - The newly organized AFIO Northeast Florida Chapter will hold its first organizational Dinner Meeting on Friday 11 September 1998 at the holiday Inn, Palatka, at 5:00 pm. For reservations or information, contact Col Barney Barco (352) 475 2351, or email <email@example.com.
JOB WANTED - Individual with twenty years experience in Army and Army Reserve, SCI clearances, background as computer programmer, software tester, information technical writer, trainer and web author is looking for full-time career opportunity in development of intelligence products and systems. Contact AFIO <firstname.lastname@example.org> for referral.