AFIO Intelligence Notes Issue 48
14 December 1998


WIN's are researched and produced by Editor and AFIO Executive Director Roy Jonkers.

This issue contains a significant number of items researched and produced by RADM (ret) Don Harvey (DonH).

WINs are protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced without permission of the Editor, except for single instances for purposes of recruiting a new member.


REMINDER: AFIO QUARTERLY LUNCHEON Monday 11 January 1999 at Fort Myers, Virginia, with Two Outstanding Speakers:

(1) GUS RUSSO, author of Live By The Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK. Russo is an investigative reporter who has sought to compile a credible account of President Kennedy's assassination for over twenty years.

The linkage between the assassination attempts on the Cuban and American presidents promises to make for a lively and entertaining session. (11 a.m.)

(2) MILT BEARDEN, former Chief of Station in Pakistan and a central figure in clandestine support of the Afghan rebel war against the Soviets, a struggle reflected in his superb novel The Black Tulip, will speak on "Afghanistan: Consequences, Myths and Reality." Think Kipling, Soviet invasion, Taleban, Iran, Oil pipelines, Bin laden etc. This promises to be a barn-burner. (1 p.m.)

Members and guests are invited. Luncheon fee is $26 for members and guests, and $29 for non-members. Send name, address and check to: AFIO, 6723 Whittier Ave, Ste 303A, McLean, Va. 22101-4533.


US OVERT & COVERT ACTION POLICY FOR IRAQ - A speech at Stanford University this month by national Security Advisor Sandy Berger appears to have committed the current White House publicly to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by supporting the Iraqi opposition, including a threat "to use effective force if necessary."

Berger's comments were interpreted in the press to mean US intent to topple the Baghdad regime by using intelligence assets to focus on instigating a coup d'etat as well as sponsoring an insurrection from the outside. The latter method has been urged by Congress. Both approaches, encouraging an internal Army seizure of control or organizing an insurrection by militant minorities, have been employed by CIA in the last several years. Saddam Hussein rolled up each covert action (probably a misnomer, since neither was particularly covert) quite rapidly and effectively.

In this highly unusual public admission of intent to force a change of government in a sovereign state, the security advisor noted that, in the Administration's view, Saddam Hussein's regime remains a source of potential conflict and inspiration for those who equate violence with power. (Wash Post 9Dec98, pA28) (DonH)

RECENT BRITISH INTELLIGENCE DEVELOPMENTS - Press items over the past months indicate:

- - - A proposal to merge the three British intelligence services into one operation was rejected after a full review of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. The intelligence services also escaped any further drastic pruning. The overall budget will be about $1.2 billion, with minor increases scheduled for 2000 and 2001.

- - - In 1997, government ministers authorized 1,712 telephone and mail intercepts, up from 1,370 phone and mail intercepts in 1996, and representing more phone taps than at any time since 1985.

- - - An order for five aircraft with a long-range radar (200 miles) able to plot the movement of enemy vehicles and helicopters and send images to ground commanders is expected. The Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) project has been considered for more than 14 years, and the latest review acknowledged the need to improve UK intelligence gathering to reduce reliance on the US. The three consortia bidding on the contract propose using business jets at about 51,000 feet to process advanced radar images.

- - - In its latest annual report, MI5 said the proportion of its resources devoted to countering terrorism has been increasing steadily. Unofficial estimates suggest that about half of MI5's resources - - - it employs some 2,000 people and has an annual budget of around $250 million - - are devoted to counter-terrorism work. (The Times, July 15, 20, 24 1998; London Press Assoc 17 Aug 98) (DonH)

POTENTIAL CHINESE ANTI-SATELLITE LASER - A DoD report, prepared at the direction of Congress and released in declassified form in November, provides an "educated prediction" that the Chinese government may be building a powerful anti-satellite laser that could deprive the US in any future conflict of its "spies in the sky." Defense officials say in the report that if China is receiving outside help in building the lasers, it would almost certainly be coming from scientists associated with the old Soviet laser program, which lasted many years and made significant advances.

Any such laser built by the Chinese would presumably be along the lines of the MIRACL laser which the US Army has been testing at the White Sands Missile Range. The Army has spent more that $1 billion to develop the Miracl, which potentially can disable satellites hundreds of miles away within seconds by using mirrors to focus a million-watt energy stream into a six-foot wide beam.

Private consultants have said the Chinese have been exploring ways to offset US technological superiority, and that any Chinese anti-satellite effort could certainly be aimed at the US satellite fleet. (LA Times 28 Nov 98 p.1) (DonH)

JAPANESE SATELLITES BY 2002 - A draft plan to launch and operate four "intelligence satellites" by 2002 has been announced in Tokyo. The government intends to develop two optical and two radar satellites orbiting at about 500 kilometers, with the Japanese National Space Development Agency developing the necessary technology for one-meter resolution. The draft plan specified an objective of using the satellites to "collect information necessary to ensure the nation's security." (Asahi Shimbun 31 Oct98/FBIS) (DonH)


POLLARD LOSES CASE IN ISRAEL / GETS RE-LOOK IN US - The American spy, Jonathan Pollard, appealed to Israel's supreme court to prevent a release of Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli prisons, required under the Wye river peace accord, as long as he remains in prison. Pollard's claim was that he had a commitment from Israel's PM Netanyahu that "not a single terrorist would go free" until his release was assured. The Israeli Supreme Court found that no such promise had been made and rejected the petition.

Meanwhile, White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff began the executive clemency review of Pollard's imprisonment promised to Israel at the termination of the Wye accord. (It should be noted that Pollard has refused to apply for parole as provided by the American judicial system, but insists on being granted clemency or a pardon.)

The review is unusual in that it began at the White House and not in the Justice Department as is the customary practice. The NSC staff has informed the press that top law enforcement, defense and intelligence agencies are to submit their reports by early January. The presidential decision will be made after that "in a timely manner." (WTimes 18 Nov98, pA13 (DonH).

Editor's Note: From all appearances, including the release of Palestinian common criminals instead of political prisoners by Premier Netanyahu's in an alleged sleight of hand after Wye, the result of this political process appears to be a foregone conclusion. On balance, of course, Pollard ultimately is nothing but a footnote in the high stakes leadership survival games going on inside the Israeli and the US central governments, and between them. But for what it is worth, the January '99 edition of Periscope will contain a statement by four admirals who were in charge of the Office of Naval Intelligence during the period when Pollard committed. They articulate the concern of the intelligence community with the security implications for the US if Pollard manipulates his release.

As the Pollard case is a political question, AFIO takes no position other than to publicize such facts as we know and to give voice to concerns over the security implications. But AFIO has a firm position on traitors in general, including equal treatment and punishment under the law for all who violate their oaths and allegiance to the US, their fellow citizens and the Constitution. AFIO encourages members to make their individual views known to the White House and their Congressional representatives. ( RoyJ) .

DECLASSIFIED MATERIAL TORRENT - An executive order in 1995 directing automatic declassification of all historically important records 25 years or older by year 2000 has turned what was expected to be a trickle into a torrent. During the past two years, some 400 million pages of classified documents have been made available to anyone who wants them. By 2000, another 1.2 billion pages are to be released, and efforts are underway in Congress to keep the disclosures flowing. On the other hand, the number of newly classified documents grew by 50 percent in 1997.

CIA has come under some criticism regarding the agency's slowness in declassifying material. Generating an estimated 30 percent of the government's classified materials - - the Defense Department produces about 50 percent - - CIA has accounted for one tenth of one percent of the total amount released. The Agency cites a lack of resources as the reason.

Documents released by the Department of Energy were found to have contained nuclear weapons data, leading to calls in Congress for a page-by-page review of all documents to be released. A compromise halted new DOE releases until January '99, when the Administration will give Congress a plan for averting further disclosures of nuclear weapons data. Assuming Congress concurs with the plan, releases will then continue.

(Ch. Sc. Mon. 27 Nov98 p3) (DonH)


SPYMASTERS: Ten CIA Officers in Their Own Words, ed. by Ralph E. Weber, Scholarly Resources, Inc., Wilmington, DE., 1999, ISBN 0-8420-2715-7 (paper). A superb book containing interviews with ten senior CIA officers, such as Allen Dulles, William Colby, Richard Helms, and AFIO Board member Sam Halpern, among others. The accounts cover a wide range of intelligence activity, describing not only a number of critical events, but also the relationships between the agency's directors and the presidents they served. CIA's successes and shortcomings are recounted and evaluated by men who were there. It is interesting, and often fascinating reading, and important for all who seek to provide context for their understanding of the inner workings of the agency and intelligence operations. The editor, Ralph Weber, a professor at Marquette University, is a former Scholar in Residence at NSA and CIA, and a member of the AFIO Board of Directors. Available in January. Highly recommended! (RoyJ).


Microsoft announced today that the official release date for the new operating system "Windaws 2000" will be delayed until the second quarter of 1901. (From the Dan Hearn Y2K humor file)

The AFIO Speakers' Program is an integral part of the Association's mission to inform the American public on the role and importance of intelligence. The Association maintains a data base of members who have volunteered to speak to groups around the country. In the past speakers have been provided to universities, high schools, Chapter meetings and civic associations. This AFIO program is managed by Chuck Slack. He may be contacted at <> (RoyJ)

The AFIO MIDWEST Chapter has set its schedule for 1999 meetings. On January 16th they will meet at the Bohemian Crystal restaurant, 639 Blackhawk Drive, Westmont, Illinois starting at 6 pm. The Spring function will be at Scott Air Force Base, outside of Belleville, Ill. (near St Louis).

On 24 June the Chapter will conduct its 10th annual Intelligence Seminar at the Great Lakes Naval Base on June 24, 25 and 26, followed by at tour of the Joint Reserve Center at Fort Sheridan on the 27th, and sessions as well as dinners on 27 and 28 June at the Eagles Nest at the Great Lakes Base. The October meeting will be held at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.

AFIO members and guests are invited. Contact President Angelo Diliberti <>. (RoyJ)

INTELLIGENCE WEB SITES - The Midwest Chapter Newsletter - excellent production, in color - suggests the following intelligence web site references.

For business intelligence sites, check out the following:

For data bases that are researchable, check:

For an overall good intelligence reference site, check:

The NATIONAL CRYPTOLOGIC MUSEUM will soon have handheld audio tour guide systems available, called INFORM, to help visitors, and in line with its vision to create a worldclass museum. A new museum shop also opened for business, providing a range of memorabilia and souvenirs. A printed inventory list is available for mail ordering. (Tel 301 688 7337) The NCM Foundation, which supports the museum, publishes an interesting newsletter, The Link, with news from the cryptographic history world. Membership is $25 a year. Check it out <http://www.nsa.(RoyJ)


CECIL PHILLIPS, a retired NSA cryptanalyst and computer security official, died November 27 at the age of 73. He was one of the unsung heroes of the shadowy Cold War conflict involving codes and ciphers. During WWII he worked at Arlington Hall with the Army Signals Security Agency, and was assigned to a team working the "Russian Problem," the analysis of the coded Soviet transmissions between New York and Moscow. In 1944 Phillips was credited with discovering a numerical quirk in the code, which then began to yield its secrets. It was assigned the code name VENONA, and remained highly classified until the 1990's. VENONA eventually led to the exposure of a vast army of Soviet spies and agents of influence in the United States and Britain, exposures that changed the history of the Cold War. Phillips moved to other work in computer security in 1951 and retired in 1980. He died of a heart attack. (Pearson in WP Nov 29, 98, page B6) (D.Gaddy)(RoyJ)

TOMMY FLOWERS, the British engineer who developed the pioneering computer COLOSSUS that helped break the German codes in WWII, died in London on October 18th at age 92. Flowers, an engineer working for the British Post Office in the 1930's, was assigned to Bletchley Park to work on German military codes during WWII. There he developed COLOSSUS, a one-ton machine that was able to unscramble coded messages electronically rather than mechanically, as had been done before. Colossus had all the characteristics of what today we call a computer. By the end of the war ten machines were in operation. Ironically, after the war he tried to interest the Post Office to produce an electronic phone system, but was not successful - he could not tell them he had already produced a similar system. Until the 1970's he never spoke of his contribution. "They were allowed to say that he worked on something secret and important . . . but he never said anything else. It was a point of honor, really." He represented values that are the warp and woof of national greatness.(WP 11 Nov98, page B7) (per D. Gaddy) (RoyJ)


Return to AFIO Home Page