Weekly Intelligence Notes
7 January 2000
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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE RUSSIA IN TRANSITION: In just four months Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence operative and domestic security chief, emerged from the shadows of the Kremlin bureaucracy and his KGB past to become one of the most popular politicians in recent Russian history. President Boris Yeltsin's tactical-political surprise resignation on 1 January provided the enigmatic, blunt-spoken 47-year-old Putin, with a vital headstart in presidential elections scheduled for March. His current advantage is so great that principal competitors for the Presidency, like Primakov and Luzhkov, may not run at all.
During the past few months, Russians have come to appreciate Putin as a tough- talking protagonist waging war against Chechen terrorists and religious fanatics and their invasion of Dagestan, and against the further break-up of the Russian Federation, restoring a sense of national pride and purpose. In a country adrift since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russians appear to be eager for a man of action. So far, Putin and the Kremlin have been adept at pressing the war and manipulating the Russian media to rally public support. Putin's success in the presidential elections on March 26 will depend largely on the course of the war, and his ability to hold together the influential Kremlin advisers, business tycoons and media barons --- known collectively as "the family" --- that have kept Yeltsin in power. Protecting Yeltsin and his inner circle - undoubtedly a pre-condition for the current scenario -- became Putin's first priority Friday. As acting president, he signed a decree guaranteeing immunity from prosecution for Yeltsin and his relatives, who fear political opponents may try to seek vengeance -- a common hazard for national leaders, from Helmut Kohl to Pinochet, but particularly of concern in Russia.
This week Putin and the Cabinet started an Internet Web site that featured a broad policy statement from the prime minister entitled "Russia at the Threshold of the Millennium." The manifesto suggests that Russia must find its own way in a centrist path that rejects both the Soviet past and an allegiance to bold democratic reforms that have left most Russians poorer than they were during Soviet times. Putin said Russia's biggest mistake was to seek to transform itself into a copy of the West : "Russia will not soon, if ever, become a copy of the U.S.A. or, say, Britain." The former KGB spy also bluntly criticized the Soviet era, which he said "failed to make the country flourish, its society dynamic, its people free." But with a long Russian and Soviet history of a central state authority, "Russia needs a strong state power and must have it. We can count on a worthy future only if we manage to naturally combine the principles of a market economy and democracy with Russia's realities."
National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said in a major foreign policy address at the National Press Club on January 6th, that "the world will be watching very carefully," and if Russia adopts a "more threatening posture or a more hard-line posture, it could, under those circumstances, reemerge as a threat, which means that we have a stake in Russia's success." (Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 1-1-00, Charles W Holmes -- courtesy Heibel Jan 00) (Wpost 7Jan2000, p. A17) (Jonkers) FORMER DCI CRITIQUES CLANDESTINE OPS GUIDELINES -- Former CIA Director James Woolsey, who ran the CIA 1993-1995, reiterated on 2 January on FOX news that the Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to spy on terrorist groups are hurt by the Administration rules imposed on the Agency. The CIA operates overseas under guidelines, adopted in late 1995, that make it difficult to recruit people as spies for the US if they are human rights violators. As he noted, if you're spying on a terrorist group, "everybody in it is a human rights violator." President Clinton should look at changing the rules governing what types of foreigners can be accepted as informants. http://library.northernlight.com/EB19991226170000012.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc (AP, Washington 27 Dec 1999) (Macartney) PAUL REDMOND HIRED BY HPSCI. Paul Redmond, who retired last year as CIA's chief of counterintelligence, has been hired by the House intelligence committee to help draft a report, due out by mid-February, on security and counterintelligence failures at the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons laboratories. The panel is also promising hearings on security failures at the State Department, highlighted by the recent disclosure that Russian intelligence had implanted a bug in the molding of a seventh-floor conference room. If all that weren't enough, the panel, chaired by (AFIO member) Rep Porter Goss (R-Fla.), is scheduled to hold yet another round of closed-door hearings on North Korea, and will also meet again with LtGen Hayden, Director of NSA, to assess his efforts at investing in new signals intelligence technology. (Macartney) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/fedpage/A1849-2000Jan4.html DEFENSE DEPARTMENT Y2K -- A Y2K glitch stopped the processing of data from a reconnaissance satellite on January 1, 2000 for about two or three hours, until back-up procedures stepped into the breach. "A satellite-based intelligence system experienced some Y2K failures last night shortly after the rollover of Greenwich Mean Time," according to Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre. The problem involved data processing at ground facilities and the satellites themselves remained under full control. Hamre said this was the only significant failure resulting from the advent of 2000, and that he could not give any details about the affected intelligence-gathering operation. "We are operating at less than our full peacetime level of activity but all of our high priority needs, both for the Department of Defense and other national customers, are fully being met," he added. He said a number of small anomalies had been noted, like computers defaulting to old dates, a cash register which refused to process receipts and a couple of dozen instances of computers having to be re-booted as they did not roll over by themselves. Hamre said the huge cost of protecting U.S. computer networks from the transition to the 21st century had been entirely justified. "The Department of Defense is the bedrock of America's national security and America's defense is the bedrock of stability around the world," he said. "We would not be able to tolerate any problems in the Department of Defense. This was an investment we had to make." (The Desert News (Salt Lake City Utah), Jan 2, 2000, E. Monaghan )((Heibel) SATELLITE IMAGERY OF NORTH KOREA & GROZNY: The first unclassified satellite images of the Taepo-Dong missile launch complex in North Korea made their way into the public domain Monday night (Jan3) when John Copple, CEO of Space Imaging, appeared on CNN's "World Today." Copple's company also provided the network with a disk that also contained the first commercially available, high-resolution satellite imagery of the Chechen capital of Grozny. http://www.spaceimaging.com/newsroom/hotspot/index.html (Macartney) RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SATELLITES. A Moscow publication recently covered the support to the Russian military operations in Chechnya provided by the nation's intelligence satellites. The commander of the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), Col Gen Vladimir Yakovlev, was quoted as telling the press that the troops' performance would be less effective without the support of the satellites. The satellites provide targeting data as well as telecommunications support, and intercept satellite communications between Chechen separatist leaders and their supporters abroad.
Independent Moscow space experts are quoted as saying, however, that the troops cannot make much use of satellite imagery support. There is only one imagery satellite, and it passes over Chechnya only once a day; in addition, the troops are not capable of downloading data from this satellite so are unable to use the data to target mobile targets. Most of the permanent Chechnya targets, such as bridges and telecommunications facilities, already have been destroyed. Communications and signal intelligence intercept satellites provide more support than the imagery satellites.
General Yakovlev also told the press he is not satisfied with the condition of the military satellites, which constitute more than 60 percent of the 130 Russian spacecraft in orbit. There is a need to replace aging birds, but funding is inadequate. Intelligence collection satellites are to be a government procurement priority next year according to a recent statement of the director of the federal government's Ammunition Agency. The limitations of the current satellite fleet as assessed by the independent observers would appear to provide more than adequate motivation for priority procurement. (Space News 6 Dec99, p. 10. (Harvey)
SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENT ISRAEL EASES SECRECY IN ESPIONAGE CASE: The Israeli government, in what appeared to be a policy change, allowed Israel's best-selling daily to publish extracts of 1,200 pages of court documents, heavily edited by censors, of the secret treason trial of Mordechai Vanunu 12 years ago.
It will be recalled that Vanunu was the technician who worked nearly ten years at the nuclear facility at Dimona in the southern Negev Desert who left Israel and eventually turned over his information to the London Sunday Times. The Moroccan-born Jew who converted to Christianity after leaving Israel was sentenced to 18 years in prison, until relatively recently in solitary confinement and barred from giving interviews and making phone calls [in contrast to the American spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard, who has held court from his cell for Israel cabinet representatives and the press]. Vanunu had been lured from London by a female Mossad agent - who, according to the Sunday Times a couple of years ago, had been living in Orlando with a suspected Mossad husband selling condominium rentals - to Rome where he was kidnapped and drugged by Mossad operatives. The court documents revealed little that had not already been described in the Sunday Times but still created a stir since the sensational story is well known in Israel. The release of the documents was denounced by Shimon Peres, prime minister at the time the Sunday Times article was published, saying "The whole Vanunu affair makes my blood boil. One day a man gets up in the morning and he decides what is good for the country. Does he carry the responsibility?" One wonders what Mr. Peres would feel about a government employee who steals thousands of secret documents for pay and still attempts to sue his paymaster for $300,000 more while claiming he committed treason to protect a nation of his religion. ( NY Times 25 Nov99 p. A3; WashPost 25 Nov99 p. A30.) (Harvey) IRAN AID TO TERRORISM. Off-the-record statements by US and foreign officials about recent intelligence reports state that Iranian support to Middle Eastern terrorists "has not slackened in the last couple of years, and in the last couple of months it has intensified." The intelligence sources apparently indicated that Iran has increased shipments of guns and explosives to the Palestinian extremist group Hamas. Both US and Israeli intelligence believe Iran has accelerated its deliveries of arms - including long-range Katyusha rockets - to Hezbollah, whose military arm is fighting to oust Israeli forces from the strip of south Lebanon occupied as a buffer against attacks on northern Israel. The Katyushas have enough range to strike the suburbs of Haifa from southern Lebanon. Additional worrisome developments have been signs that Iran is sponsoring alliances between terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas for joint training under Iranian supervision in coordination with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Such a combination entails secular Sunni Muslims working with devout Shiite Muslims, a possible indication of how seriously the conservative Iranian officials consider the likihood of Israel and Syria getting together. A November meeting with British and German counterterrorism intelligence officials on the Iranian activity indicated their agreement with the American intelligence assessments. (Editor's Comment - all open source leaks and off-the-record statements must be carefully assessed in the context of the various political games underway. RoyJ). (WashPost 4 Dec 99, p. A1.) (Harvey) CHINESE SPY MANUAL. AFIO member Jon Holstine brought to our attention an interesting article in the Dec 23 issue of the Far East Economic Review. It's a report on an unclassified book published eight years ago in China that is a virtual "how to do it" manual for obtaining US information. It has apparently gone unnoticed in the West. http://www.feer.com/9912_23/p14china.html (Macartney) (Dec 23, 1999) FOREIGN POLICY DEBATES. The December issue of COMMENTARY carried an article by Norman Podhoretz on US foreign policy, particularly military intervention abroad. Among other things, Podhoretz makes the point that most of those who were "doves" during the Cold War are now the most aggressive advocates of humanitarian interventions abroad, such as Kosovo, while those opposed are often the conservative "hawks" of yesteryear. That article provoked a good deal of response from a variety of policy wonks and the January 2000 issue is largely devoted to that debate. Worth a look. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/9912/podhoretz.html & http://www.commentarymagazine.com/current.html (Dec 99) (Macartney) BERLIN CONFERENCE: ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE COLD WAR. On 10 through 12 September 1999, the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) and its partner, Berlin's Alliierten Museum, hosted a conference on intelligence activities in Berlin from the end of World War II until the construction of the Berlin wall in 1961. The first conference ever hosted by CIA on foreign soil, the event was staged in the former US military signals intelligence facility on the Teufelsberg and was attended by over 150 Cold War intelligence veterans, historians, journalists, and other interested persons
The program featured a mix of scholarly presentations and oral testimonies from veterans of intelligence operations in Berlin. Highlights of the conference included a paper delivered by CIA historian Ben Fischer on CIA penetration of Markus Wolf's foreign intelligence organization in the 1950's and a roundtable discussion that included veterans from both the CIA and KGB, as well as a defector, -former KGB Col. Oleg Gordievskiy,-who could speak about both sides of the iron curtain. On Sunday morning, the last day of the conference, participants took an extended tour of sites important to Berlin's Cold War history, including Stasi headquarters in the Normanenstrae, the former Soviet facilities in Karlshorst, and the RathaŘser of both East and West Berlin. The conference concluded with a keynote address delivered by Ambassador Vernon Walters, long-time Cold War veteran and US Chief of Mission in Bonn when the wall went down. In conjunction with the conference, CSI released an edited collection of relevant declassified documents, ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE COLD WAR: DOCUMENTS ON THE INTELLIGENCE WAR IN BERLIN, 1946-1961. Copies of this volume are no longer available, but it shortly will be on CSI's web site, http://www.cia.gov/csi. (Provided by Donald P. Steury, Senior Historian, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence)
SECTION III -- BOOKS AND OTHER SOURCES PSYCHOLOGY OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS, by Richard Heuer, Jr, CIA, 1999 Recently posted on the web page of CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI), this new book has foreword by Doug MacEachin and an Introduction by Jack Davis. Heuer, a 1950 graduate of Williams College was recruited into the CIA by Richard Helms while a graduate student at UC Berkely in 1951. In 1975, after 24 years in the Directorate of Operations, Heuer moved to the DI. At the time he retired in 1979, Heuer headed the methodology unit in the DI's political analysis office. NOTE: The Introduction by Jack Davis summarizes the work and is especially recommended. http://www.odci.gov/csi/ (Macartney) ANOTHER NEW BOOK ON CIA WEB PAGE. CSI has just posted the volume from their Nov 1999 conference at College Station, Texas, "At Cold War's End: US Intelligence on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1989-1991." http://www.odci.gov/csi/books/19335/art-1.html NEW BOOKS ON INTELLIGENCE REFORM. Vernon Loeb, the Washington Post intelligence reporter, used his Dec 13 on-line column to discuss four new books by: Mel Goodman, Bruce Berkowitz & Allen Goodman, Robert Steele and Greg Treverton. Left out but worth definitely worth reading is Art Hulnick's new book, "Fixing the Intelligence Machine." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30112-1999Dec23.html http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0275966534/qid=946677439/sr=1-2/102-2231247-1648006
END NOTE: WINs provide AFIO members and WIN subscribers with selective coverage of national and foreign intelligence-related topics. Commentaries and critiques are written by the producing editor (Roy Jonkers) and the two associate editors (RADM (ret )Don Harvey and Dr. John Macartney.), and are not a reflection of any official AFIO position. Each of the editors brings a perspective based on decades of intelligence-related experience, studies and teaching. Professor Robert Heibel and other AFIO members regularly contribute articles and information.
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