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Weekly Intelligence Notes
14 April 2000

WINs are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers. WINs are protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced except with the permission of the producer/editor 

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It seems the Pentagon targeting experts were running out of good targets in Kosovo last year and asked the CIA for target nominations. Well, the CIA doesn't normally do that sort of thing, and screwed it up. If CIA had just suggested a
target to the Pentagon, they would have been okay. But instead, they provided a complete target package including precise longitude and latitude coordinates--which turned out to be tragically wrong. On 12 April the DCI identified the culprits in CIA and meted out punishment.
A recent NY Times article addressed the mistaken bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade at some length. The article was based on 30 interviews as well as the SECRET document depicting the target -- which was reviewed by President Clinton among others -- that shows the imagery used in erroneous targeting. The article also says that the fired person was actually a contract employee, a retired Army officer, who worked in the CIA's non-proliferation division. The Yugoslavian Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement, had long been a concern because of its suspected involvement in smuggling missile parts to places like Libya and Iraq, and so the bombing campaign provided an opportunity to remove that proliferation problem. But neither the contract officer or anyone else in the division were experienced in targeting -- and the "X" was put on the wrong building. But the contract officer was resourceful -- he downloaded actual targeting materials from a classified Pentagon web site and was able to make the CIA proposal look like professionally finished work -- one reason no one subsequently checked the coordinates. The article also revealed that the target was chosen in a rushed atmosphere as NATO was running out of targets. Also, of the 3 bombs accurately dropped on the building by a B-2 bomber, one and maybe two failed to explode.
Although one individual erred in finding the correct rooftop, the whole system failed in that no one else checked that map reading. So the question is, will other heads roll at the Pentagon or in NATO Europe? Any higher-ups? China, which still claims the bombing was intentional -- suspicious that a bomb penetrated the intelligence room in the Embassy -- was not mollified (although they accepted the $28 million reparations the US offered). On balance, however, the conspiracy theorists must consider that the bombing did not serve US political or military interests, at least not to the "naked eye" of outsiders -- unless one considers that the entire bombing enterprise did not serve US interests....  (Macartney/Jonkers))

GENERAL SINGLAUB AND CNN SETTLE TAILWIND LAWSUIT. In its infamous 1998 TV special, "Tailwind," about special operations in Southeast Asia, CNN reported that Maj.Gen. (ret) Singlaub was one of their sources. According to the Washington Post, the general (an AFIO member) denied that and sued CNN for defamation of character. CNN recently settled with the general. As you recall, the broadcast claimed (incorrectly) that SOG commandos had used lethal gas, slaughtered villagers and also killed American defectors. In the aftermath of that grotesquely flawed TV program, CNN retracted its 1998 report about a month after it was aired, fired 2 producers and a third resigned. The lead reporter, Peter Arnett, was reprimanded and later left the network. There are more lawsuits by Vietnam-era special forces representatives pending...(WPost 15 april, p. C7) (Macartney)

The Defense Department Inspector General decided there are no grounds to formally investigate misconduct allegations against Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Chief of Army Intelligence, who recently caused a minor dust-up by accusing a fellow general of sexual harassment. The Army is investigating her charge.
In his April 3 on-line column, Vernon Loeb reports that the recent resignation of SSCI Staff Director, Nicholas Rostow, is another symptom of a stormy year on the Senate Intelligence committee. Rostow's replacement is his former deputy, William Duhnke.
In his April 4 newspaper column, "Back Channels," Loeb reviews another Los Alamos Chinese nuke spy case, that of Peter H Lee. After admitting espionage in 1997-98, Peter Lee "copped a plea" and was sentenced to just one year in a halfway house. Now, according to Loeb, the SSCI and especially Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) are challenging that in hearings.
NEXT Deputy DCI? Additionally, Loeb speculates about future intelligence leaders. He tells us that Army LTG Donald Kerrick WAS the leading candidate for DDCI (the current DDCI, Gen Gordon, has been nominated to be Director of the DOE's new National Nuclear Security Administration). But it seems Kerrick may have confirmation problems because of his close identification with the Administration's Kosovo policy.
NEXT DCI? Loeb also speculates that should George W. Bush win the White House next fall, the current DCI, George Tenet, might be retained in office. But he also suggests alternative (GOP) candidates for the next DCI: Rep Porter Goss (now Chairman of the HPSCI); Paul Wolfowitz, UnderSec Def in Bush Admin and now Dean of SAIS, Johns Hopkins; and Richard Armitage, AsstSecDef under Reagan and now a consultant.  (Macartney)
(Wpost 15 April page.A8) (Jonkers)

THE GREAT GAME -- CIA & FBI VISIT CENTRAL ASIA -- On 27 March, CIA director, George Tenet, was reported to have visited Georgia to hold talks with President Eduard Shevardnadze, one day after Russia elected former KGB officer Vladimir Putin as its next president. On 28 March, Tenet was said to have been in Kazakhstan for talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The next day, Tenet was in Uzbekistan to talk with local leaders. Not to be outdone, Louis Freeh, head of the FBI, was also said to have visited Kazakhstan on 7 and 8 April.
Their trips were followed by an official visit by Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, 14 to 20 April. These visits are a noteworthy manifestation of the priority and importance of US interest assertion in this area --based on Middle East security considerations and oil -- indicating that "the Great Game" for power and influence in the area is alive and well.
A related item of Great Game interest is the reported completion by the Russian Transeft company of a 315-kilometer alternative section of the Baku-Tikhoretsk- Novorossiisk oil pipeline that bypasses Chechnya -- the Russians are still in the game too. Another report highlighting some of the complexities of the Game, where oil, power and Mideast "terrorism" considerations may conflict, is the report citing German government sources to the effect that US, German and other Western intelligence agencies supplied Russia with information about suspected Chechen terrorist activities after the bomb attacks on apartment houses. Reuters quoted the weekly "Der Spiegel" as saying that German and Russian agents swapped "low-grade intelligence" on whether Chechens were receiving funds from international Muslim groups. The same report said that other countries, including the U.S., Britain, and France, gave "much more precise data." ("Sueddeutsche Zeitung" 8 April; Reuters; 'Intelligence' No 15, 10 April 2000, p. 42; Russia Today; RFE/RL, 4/10, Christian Sci M, 4/1,  (Jonkers)

ISLAMIC HOLY WAR SOLDIERS RECRUITED -- Small posters carrying a message to Muslim youth from designated terrorist bin Laden have been popping up in ultra-conservative Northwest Pakistan. The call is for young men to join bin Laden's holy war against the United States. In the message, written in Urdu, bin Laden vows to continue his 'jihad' against America until it is expelled from Saudi Arabia. "It is our responsibility to free the world from US control." One cannot suppress a sense of extraordinary 'chutzpah' by this flea-bitten mouse in the desert challenging the ruling lion.
The US has sought to persuade the Taleban government of Afghanistan to extradite bin Laden -- after unsuccessfully trying to kill him with cruise missiles in 1998. Last year the US barred all investment and trade with the Taleban Government. Intelligence and special operations are undoubtedly in full pursuit. (USA Today, 18Ap p. 17A) (Jonkers)

INFORMATION SECURITY NEWS -- A powerful 108-bit encryption method widely expected to secure next-generation wireless phones and other devices succumbed to a brute-force collaborative effort to break it, according to a French research agency announcement. An international team of researchers -- led by crypto researcher Robert Hurley of the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, or INRIA -- and other computer enthusiasts found the 108-bit key to a scrambled message after four months of number crunching by 9,500 computers worldwide.,4586,2542359,00.html 
(R. Levine -- ) (Jonkers)

On 5 April an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) spokesman announced that the IDF has established a new Field Intelligence Corps, operating under the control of the Ground Forces Command. This will combine and consolidate intelligence-gathering operations previously conducted separately in the armor, field engineers, artillery and infantry corps. The new corps will be responsible for intelligence-gathering at the tactical level, supplementing the older Military Intelligence Corps ( AMAN) which will continue to deal with strategic issues, such as providing early warning of an impending war. AMAN often competes with MOSSAD to "get it right" at the strategic level.
The commander of the new field intelligence corps, Brig. General Amnon Sofrin, stated that tactical intelligence needed to be improved. Specialists know that tactical intelligence is tough because "if you get it wrong, you're dead". With strategic intelligence, some specialists say "you just have to be a good talker to stay alive and keep your job."
Among the duties of the new corps will be to train elite infantry units in intelligence gathering. ( Intelligence, N. 115, 10 April 2000, p. 43) (Jonkers)


CIA deputy general counsel Thomas Benjamin announced that the agency would acknowledge CIA covert actions related to Chile between 1962 and 1975, according to the minutes of a State Department historical advisory panel. (Wpost, 15 April 2000, p. A8) (Jonkers)

A computer crash in early August at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, NIMA, which lasted about a month, left the intelligence agencies unable to rely on timely receipt of imagery from the recon birds for use in a wide range of intelligence targets. "This was a catastrophic systems failure," one senior official said. "We were really lucky that there weren't any major crises going on at the time."
The problem has largely been solved, although some officials believe the system still does not work as it should. From the press account, it appears the computer problems developed just as the agency was overhauling its main computer system and installing a new one, called the National Exploitation System. It manifested itself by making it impossible to transfer images to those cleared customers capable of using or analyzing the imagery effectively. As a result, analysts at NIMA would look at the imagery on computer screens and then describe it over the telephone to those who needed the data. In other cases, prints from the computer screens were delivered by courier.
An additional problem was the malfunction of the data base retrieval system, denying the ability to compare the few new images with earlier imagery. As a consequence, only the highest priority imagery, e.g. North Korean nuclear weapons programs, was processed quickly. Reporting on the problem, all based on leaks from the ubiquitous "intelligence officials," if affected by the potential problems to be faced by the advent of the Future Imagery Architecture, a fleet of small satellites in place of the current large ones, which has already experienced 50 percent cost growth. Congress has been reported to be concerned that the procurement has largely ignored the processing systems and their costs.
The leaking "officials" also did not resist the temptation to take a critical swipe at NIMA and its purported lack of expertise. This undercutting of a DoD agency has been endemic ever since it was created and placed under DoD rather than CIA. It is also suspected the magnitude of the "catastrophe" would not have loomed so large in the 'officials' perception had they been old enough to have operated in the earlier days of satellite imagery. (NY Times 12 Apr '00, p. 1 [by James Risen]) (Harvey)


THE FBI: A comprehensive Reference Guide -- From J. Edgar Hoover to the X-Files, edited by Athan G. Theoharis Checkmark Books, The Oryx Press, 2000.
ISBN 0-8160-4228-4, 385 pages, annotated bibliography, index. An excellent overview of the FBI, starting with a brief history of the FBI' role and powers from 1908 to the present, and continuing with cases, controversies, issues, culture, oversight, organization, facilities, biographies and key events. Informed, Readable and Recommended. (Jonkers)

Mark Lowenthal's new textbook, "Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy" was reviewed by Vernon Loeb in his column on 3 April. Most interestingly, Loeb includes a 10 question quiz on intelligence basics. Try it, if you dare ( see web citation below)! 

"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America." -- Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 - 1859)



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