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SECTION I CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
US DIPLOMAT CHARGED WITH ESPIONAGE IN MOSCOW. Russian authorities briefly detained and will apparently PNG Cheri Leberknight, 33, a Second Secretary in the US Embassy. According to the Russian Federal Security Service, the FSB, Leberknight was caught "red handed" trying to get state secrets from a Russian citizen and was carrying "special equipment designed to detect communications between surveillance agents.
NAVY CRYPTANALYST CHARGED WITH ESPIONAGE. Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King has been charged with providing highly classified information about ongoing US submarine intelligence programs to Russia in 1994. King, who had been stationed on Guam, came under suspicion while undergoing routine a polygraph last month when reporting in to a new assignment at NSA headquarters. Navy spokesmen say the case is not as damaging as those of Pollard or Walker. (Wash Times, 11/30)
DIRECTOR OF SHIN BET IDENTIFIED. Several Hebrew newspapers made a revolutionary announcement: Prime Minister Shimon Peres had nominated Ami Ayalon, a former commander of the Israeli Navy, to be head of the General Security Service, the legendary Israeli secret service better known as Shin Bet. It was not the selection of Admiral Ayalon that was revolutionary; that had been pretty much expected. It was that several Israeli newspapers identified him by name, bypassing the censor and defying the venerable tradition of referring to the head of the Shin Bet only by his first initial -- in this case, "Alef." (NY Times, Nov25)
US FREES ANOTHER IMMIGRANT JAILED ON SECRET EVIDENCE. Attorney General Janet Reno declined to intervene in an immigration court case where the judge had ruled against the INS, which was using "secret evidence" to deny entry to an Egyptian, Nasser K Ahmed, thus freeing Mr Ahmed and opening the way to his acquiring permanent immigrant status. This comes in the wake of a similar case last month, where a federal district judge in New Jersey ruled, for the first time that it was unconstitutional to detain an immigrant on the basis of secret evidence. Soon after, the INS. ended its efforts to hold Hany Kiareldeen, a Palestinian who had been in jail for 19 months after being accused of terrorism. From reading press in these cases, it is difficult to tell whether the judge decided the secret evidence was insufficient, or whether the Justice Dept dropped the case rather than revealing compelling evidence so as not to compromise sensitive sources.
US MAY INTERVENE IN SUDAN, WITH FOOD. President Clinton has signed a bill permitting the administration to pursue a contentious strategy against the Islamic government in Sudan by giving food assistance directly to rebels who have been fighting the authorities in Khartoum for 16 years. The plan is intended by its advocates in the State Dept, the NSC and Congress to strengthen the military operations of the Sudan People's Liberation Army and to isolate the government, which Washington has accused of backing international terrorism. But critics, including some administration officials and major aid groups, contend that giving food to the rebels is another example of the evolving administration policy of intervention that inserts the US on one side of a civil war. Further, providing sustenance to fighters -- using food as a weapon of war -- contravenes the long-held principle of neutrality in food assistance during conflicts, said Julia Taft, the assistant secretary of state for refugees and humanitarian assistance.
OSAMA BIN LADEN AND CHECHNYA. According to Time magazine, the CIA believes Islamic terror leader, bin Laden may be behind the Moscow apartment building blasts that helped spark Russia's latest brutal war in Chechnya.
SECTION II - - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENT
JUDGE RULES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET CAN REMAIN SECRET. In a Nov 12 decision that was announced on Nov 22, Federal District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled that the DCI can keep the intelligence community budget secret, dismissing a lawsuit filed last year by FAS, the Federation of American Scientists. In 1997, DCI Tenet released the spending figure, $26.6 billion, rather than fight a similar FAS lawsuit in court. In 1998, Tenet again released the spending figure, $26.7 billion, but FY1999 (last year), he declined to do so -- prompting this latest FAS lawsuit. A CIA spokesperson says that the DCI may release spending amounts in the future but that the Agency is pleased that this ruling establishes that the figure is not automatically releasable. [On Nov20, the Post estimated that the FY2000 appropriation is "about $29.5."]
SECTION III - - BOOKS AND RELATED MATTERS
VERNON LOEB, Washington Post intelligence reporter, will hold a live on-line Q&A session Wednesday, Dec 1,s at 1pm.
THE CPUSA AND THE COLD WAR: DEBATES WITHOUT END. A lengthy and interesting article by Jacob Wesberg in the Nov 28th NY Times explores the continuing debates and literary battles over guilt or innocence of Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Harry Hopkins, Robert Oppenheimer, IF Stone, etc. The debates pit Cold War anti-Communists and their anti-anti-communist critics on the left. Jacob Wesberg points out that most of the individuals on both sides of the debate, as well as many of the Cold War "spies" they argue about, were Jewish. Several books are reviewed in passing, including John Haynes & Harvey Klehr, VENONA: DECODING SOVIET ESPIONAGE IN AMERICA (1999); Allen Weinstein & Alexander Vassiliev, THE HAUNTED WOOD: SOVIET ESPIONAGE IN AMERICA (1999); Arthur Herman, JOSEPH McCARTHY: RE-EXAMINING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF AMERICA'S MOST HATED SENATOR (Dec 1999); Ellen Schrecker, MANY ARE THE CRIMES: McCARTHYISM IN AMERICA (1998); Ronald Rodash, COMMIES: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE OLD LEFT, THE NEW LEFT AND THE LEFTOVER LEFT (forthcoming); and Jeremy Stone, EVERY MAN SHOULD TRY (1999). Also quoted as key players in these arguments are William Buckley, Jr, Victor Navasky, David Horowitz and Herbert Romerstein. Except where he condemns McCarthy out of hand and with rather too much passion, Wesberg offers a balanced and readable summary of these very contentious debates. The bottom line seems to be that the "old view" (that is, McCarthyism and "redbaiting" were far worse than the domestic communists, who were well meaning and loyal Americans if naive, innocent of espionage) has been pretty much demolished among serious historians and in scholarly circles. NSA's VENONA transcripts, released in 1995, played the main role in that turnaround of history by proving that the Rosenbergs and Hiss as well as 347 other Americans were, in fact, Soviet agents. The VENONA files show that the CPUSA was indeed a "fifth column." At the same time, however, popular culture, especially Hollywood movies and TV documentaries, even brand new ones, cling to and still project the now discredited "old view." Recommended. (jdmac)
THE SECRET WAR AGAINST HANOI : KENNEDY AND JOHNSON'S USE OF SPIES, SABOTEURS, AND COVERT WARRIORS IN NORTH VIETNAM, by Richard H., Jr Shultz, Harpercollins, Nov 1999.
Jacket comment by AFIO Member, Hugh Tovar, former chief of CIA's Covert Action Staff. "We owe Professor Shultz a debt of gratitude for having undertaken this massive research. SOG's unhappy lifetime has lessons for us today, and Shultz spells them out succinctly. I urge that "The Secret War Against Hanoi be made required reading [for] new officers in CIA's Operations Directorate."
Washington Post reporter, Vernon Loeb, on the Shultz book: " ...SOG's covert odyssey remained locked in a Pentagon vault until Shultz gained access four years ago to 3,000 pages of classified SOG files. .... Early on, the documents reveal, President Kennedy embraced covert action in Vietnam and pushed the CIA to start harassing Hanoi. But by 1962, Shultz writes, Kennedy found the agency more a "stubborn mule" than a "rogue elephant" and transferred responsibility for covert action to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), which ultimately created SOG. But beyond the politics of covert action, Shultz's treasure trove of a book is most fascinating as an operational text, describing intelligence cons and deception games worthy of John LeCarre at his best."
Loeb has much more to say in his excellent on-line column for Nov 29.
SEYMOUR HERSH ON NSA's TROUBLES. For several years now, senior intelligence officials have been saying that NSA is in trouble because of the info tech revolution (computers, cel phones, faxes, e-mail, "unbreakable" encryption, fiber optics, digital rather than analog communications, etc), saying NSA needs reform and "recapitalization." Seymour Hersh, who has written several books on or related to intelligence and who authored a series of important articles on intelligence in the New Yorker last year, addresses the matter in the Dec 6, 1999 issue of that magazine. Among other things, Hersh blames NSA management, especially a cabal of senior civilian bureaucrats, over the past decade for having failed to adapt the Agency to the post Cold War wired-world. Another problem, according to Hersh, is that NSA's military leadership, including Directors, comes and goes so frequently. The "villain" of the piece seems to be Barbara McNamara, Deputy Director of NSA. Hersh is hopeful the new DIRNSA, LtGen Michael Hayden, can set a new course. "On November 15th," Hersh writes, "Hayden announced to the NSA workforce the he was beginning what he called One Hundred Days of Change. The next day, he made his move against the establishment. He dissolved the agency's leadership structure, despite bitter protest from Barbara McNamara, and announced the establishment of five-member executive group, under his leadership..."
ECHELON. Hersh also mentions the current hysteria in Europe over this alleged all-hearing SIGINT program. Hersh says Echelon was established some 25 years ago to focus on Soviet satellite communications and, far from being a "secret weapon," is a waste of money today.
STASI FILES AND THE ISSUE OF WHO REPORTED ON WHOM STILL A FESTERING ISSUE IN (EAST) GERMANY.
INTERESTING ARTICLE ON OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE.
UPDATED CIA FACTBOOK ON INTELLIGENCE. Posted Nov 22.
AFIO BULLETIN BOARD NOTICES 11/25/99
HELP WITH CONFERENCE REPORTS? If any AFIO member attended the conference, "Berlin: The Intelligence War," sponsored by CIA and held in Germany last September, we sure would like to get a summary of what went on for republication in a WIN and/or in the INTELLIGENCER newsletter. email@example.com
PEARL HARBOR. Likewise, if any member attends the Pearl Harbor conference on Dec 7 (see below), we would very much like to have a summary of what goes on there. firstname.lastname@example.org
DITTO for any other intelligence symposium, luncheon or whatever you may attend. email@example.com
USS LIBERTY? Recently, Dwayne Anderson received a lengthy and interesting e-mail "Letter to the Editor" (of the AFIO INTELLIGENCER) about the USS Liberty. Unfortunately, that letter got lost in a "computer glitch." Could whoever sent that please retransmit? firstname.lastname@example.org
MACARTNEY'S HEAD'S UP LIST:
DEC 7, Tuesday, 9am to 1pm
DEC 9, Thursday, 10am - 1pm
AFIO Central Office