AFIO - Association of Former Intelligence Officers

Weekly Intelligence Notes
12 May 2000

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A relatively unsophisticated but psychologically adept computer virus nicknamed "love bug" affected both CIA and Defense Department computers -- along with those of other government agencies -- according to testimony before a House subcommittee chaired by Congresswoman Constance Morella. Individuals in these agencies must have opened email attachments to message reading "I Love You" -- which, given the defense and intelligence missions involved, is interesting -- a sign of the times.
The director of GAO's computer and information technology assessment center, Keith Rhodes, said that "virtually all of the largest federal agencies have significant computer security weaknesses that place critical federal operations and assets at risk to computer-based attacks." He predicted virus attacks will continue until government agencies suffered major damage and become serious about protection. "Until we bang the knee against the curb we're going to keep going through this," said Rhodes. US agencies are not alone in being affected -- the UK Parliament and British intelligence agencies were also said to have been disrupted. Starved for love? (FairfaxJournal 11May 2000, p.A2) (Jonkers)

During August 1996 a series of articles published in the San Jose Mercury News suggested that a San Francisco drug ring sold cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled the profits to the Nicaraguan contra rebels for more than 10 years. In addition, the articles alleged that two Nicaraguan cocaine dealers, Oscar Blanco and Norwin Meneses, were civilian leaders of an anti-Communist commando group formed and run by the CIA during the 1980's. The charges have previously been investigated by the CIA Inspector General, the Justice Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, all reaching the same conclusion -- exonerating CIA of the charges.
Now the House intelligence committee has issued a report with similar findings. "The explosive nature of the story and the seriousness with which we view the allegations of complicity in narcotics trafficking by any official US agency led us to go to the extra mile in our inquiry," said Chairman Porter Goss. His committee found "no evidence to support the allegations." The bottom line: "The allegations were false."
It may be of interest that the AFIO Board adopted a position paper three years ago listing the discrepancies and misinterpretations contained in the series of articles and contrasting it with known policy and practices. The AFIO position supporting the Agency has been vindicated. (Washpost 12 May 2000, p. A26) (Jonkers)

- A special panel composed of the DCI, the Director FBI and a deputy secretary of defense have recommended, after a nine months of deliberations, that a single official should be in charge of counterintelligence efforts throughout the government. The report entitled "Counterintelligence for the 21st Century" has not been made public, but the principal findings and proposals were described last week by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a report on the FY2001 intelligence budget authorization.
The national counterintelligence executive would be supervised by a "National Counterintelligence Board of Directors" and a "National Counterintelligence Steering Committee" made up of Cabinet-level officials, who would set policy. This structure would replace the current Counterintelligence Policy Board. The attempt to solve deficiencies in collaboration and coordination on counterintelligence efforts among the various departments and agencies by creating a new bureaucracy is a familiar government course of action. When in doubt, or the moon is high, reorganize. (based on Pincus, Wash Post 11 May2000, p.A21) (Jonkers)

-- cont'd -- A State Department audit has found two more laptops missing. Neither was believed to have contained sensitive material. One was signed out to Morton H. Halperin, assistant secretary of state for policy planning. The chairman of the HPSCI, Rep. Porter Goss, said "there is not sufficient awareness, or sufficient attention, to security" at the State Department, and further, "There is arrogance -- we know better, we don't have to do anything about it." After a closed hearing last Thursday, he noted that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was in complete agreement with his assessment.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence meanwhile reported out legislation that would cut off funding for State's INR next January unless the DCI testifies that INR has complied with all security regulations. As an item of interest, the first missing laptop contained large quantities of documents about arms proliferation issues and highly sensitive information about sources and methods of US intelligence collection. (Mufson & Loeb, WshPost 5May2000, p. A9) (Jonkers)

PANEL CRITICIZES CIA'S INVESTIGATION OF DEUTCH - Former senator Warren Rudman, a member of the PFIAB, who headed a presidential advisory panel on security violations by former CIA director John Deutch, reported the committee's findings to the president and to the congressional intelligence committees last week. Rudman declined to comment on the specifics of his findings, other than to say they were "exhaustive, thorough and tough." Administration officials indicated Rudman's findings are similar to those of CIA Inspector General Britt Snider, who faulted Michael O'Neil and former executive director Nora Slatkin for delaying CIA's internal investigation. It is possible that Deutch may face prosecution, probably on a misdemeanor charge. (Wpost 6May2000, p. A9) (Jonkers)


ISRAEL ESPIONAGE PROBE -- The FBI has investigated a case based on suspicion of electronic eavesdropping on telephone calls from senior officials in the White House, NSC, State Department etc. by a foreign power, identified in the press as Israel. A brief article tucked away on a back page of the Washington Post reported that the FBI investigation had been suspended after finding no evidence of any security breach, and no one to arrest. "There was extensive investigation, and there are just no facts to support the allegation." The probe is not technically closed, but was described as in a "pending inactive state because the allegation is so serious and in case something develops."
A more sensational report was provided by Insight magazine, which stated that the FBI has been investigating an Israeli operation hacking into telephone networks used by our highest officials. The espionage was facilitated, according to federal officials, by lax telephone procedures at the White House and State Department, and by a continuing unwillingness at the Justice Department to seek an indictment against a suspect. The magazine claims that more than two dozen US intelligence, counterintelligence, law enforcement and other officials told them that the FBI believes Israel has intercepted telephone and modem communications on some of the most sensitive lines of the US Government on an ongoing basis.
The prime suspect was said to be an Israeli business man whose wife is a Mossad officer under diplomatic cover. The tip-off on the alleged operation apparently came from the CIA.
Is a claim of espionage by Israel credible? Yes, for two reasons. One is that all or most nations seek to gather information for one reason and another, and Israel perceives it has high priority information requirements that might well be satisfied by espionage in the US. Foreign intelligence collection must be expected. It is a fact of life. And it is useful to remember that US intelligence collection, including espionage, is ubiquitous. We do it to others, in spades.
The other is precedent. The Insight article reminds us that the activities of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard were uncovered by accident, but that questions remain to this day about how he was able to ascertain which documents to search, how he did so on many occasions without detection, or how he obtained the security clearances that opened the doors to such secrets. It is suspected that Pollard turned over to his Israeli handlers about 500,000 documents, including photographs, names and locations of overseas agents. "The damage was incredible - we're still recovering from it," according to an intelligence officer cited in the article.
Is espionage by Israel, if true, of no consequence - since Israeli is a nation highly favored and supported by US policy and resources, and considered a friendly nation. The attitude is - so what, it's only Israel. There are several reasons why even a friendly nation's espionage requires vigilance in defense of US national security. One is the potential for blackmail - playing off policymakers' indiscretions - particularly useful in diplomatic negotiations etc. A second is that stolen secrets cannot be controlled. Observers have noted that Israel in the past has conveyed stolen US secrets to America's adversaries. Who gets our secrets beyond Israel nobody knows. And a last reason is that sticking our heads in the sand in regard to "friendly spying" discourages vigilance, demoralizes the system and its people, and encourages more attacks on US national security.
Security and counterintelligence are our responsibility and that is a matter of high concern. It has been said that penetrating the White House may not be difficult. Access to designs, databases, blueprints, memos, telephone numbers, lists of personnel and passwords can all be obtained. In the final analysis, the soft underbelly of all secure systems is always people, as recently demonstrated in Los Alamos and the State Department -- and even in CIA , as former director Deutch demonstrated. Present and former FBI special agents were cited as saying that, under the current administration, the disregard for security has been epidemic.
Whether one believes the brief notice in the Washington Post, or the sensational treatment by the Insight magazine, or whether one invokes cynicism ( the magazine notes that any involvement concerning Israel is politically sensitive, so that little is expected to come from this investigation ) is up to the reader. The open source facts as known are that there was an allegation or suspicion serious enough to warrant an investigation. No charges have been filed, and the case is open.  (WashPost 6May00, p. A12, Wash.Times 9 May 2000, p.A15) (Jonkers)

-- Various bomb damage surveys by services and commands have resulted in reports listing different numbers of tanks etc. destroyed, creating a minor storm in a teacup, but reflective of the general discrepancies between what is reported and what is true in our dismal Yugoslav policy going back ten years. The actual numbers of tanks etc. destroyed are not important, since we did such an effective job devastating the Yugoslav civil economy (impacting on the entire region) including Kosovo, that the attack was declared and defined as a "win." .
Gen. Wesley Clark, the top NATO commander during the war, dispatched a team to do an on-the-ground survey in Kosovo in June of 1999. The 30 experts were known as the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team, or MEAT, an appropriate acronym. This MEAT team found that the bombing had been highly accurate against fixed targets, like bunkers and bridges. But they also discovered, not surprisingly, that the Serbs had in some cases succeeded in deceiving (using CCD techniques) the high-flying bombers with false targets. They allegedly protected one bridge by constructing, 300 yards upstream, a fake bridge made of polyethylene sheeting stretched over the river. NATO was said to have ``destroyed'' the phony bridge many times. In addition, artillery pieces were faked out of long black logs stuck on old truck wheels. A two-thirds scale SA-9 antiaircraft missile launcher was fabricated from the metal-lined paper used to make European milk cartons. ``It would have looked perfect from three miles up,'' said a MEAT grinder analyst. The MEAT team's result were not palatable in the Washington environment and various other surveys came up with different numbers.
The U.S. intelligence community was said to be doubtful about the conflicting claims and counterclaims of destroyed tanks etc -- a kind of reprise of the Vietnam bodycount exercise. A CIA official was cited as stating that ``Nobody is very keen to talk about this topic."
(courtesy T. Swystun 8 May 2000) (Jonkers)

In a generally favorable article which also was flavored with just a hint of surprise, a recent item in a Washington newspaper described a CIA program of sending serving officers on two-year leaves to teach in a number of colleges. At present , nine universities participate, and more than 30, including a couple in the Ivy League, have participated in the past. The agency selects the teachers who then are approved by the university. More schools want to participate than the agency can supply. A few colleges, unnamed, have chosen not to participate in the program. In passing, the article noted that intelligence is flourishing as a new academic discipline at hundreds of colleges across the country. Many of the professors have worked in government intelligence or diplomacy of some kind and have fashioned courses based on that service. [AVE members know that our association has provided some service to these professors for well over a decade. We have carefully built our list of intelligence-teaching professors to about 175 at a comparable number of colleges with another 170 or so who tell us they use intelligence in some portion of their courses. Only a minority have extensive intelligence service experience; extrapolating from the AVE member composition it could be guessed that a majority of the professors with intelligence experience gained that knowledge in the military.] The newspaper noted the trend of intelligence as a growing academic field is based on a dramatic increase in source material. Millions of pages of secret documents have been declassified; more that 1,000 books about intelligence are now listed in Books in Print, compared with 215 in 1994. Three textbooks are being published, and intelligence Web sites proliferate on the Interment. Contrasting today's situation with what the campuses were like in the 1960s, the article said the idea then of a CIA agent teaching was almost unthinkable but that today's students on the whole are much more politically conservative. [A more accurate comment could have been to the effect that the influence of the 1960s radicals who migrated into academia as professors is much less today. A number of the AVE teaching professors have remarked in the past that their faculty was much more anti-intelligence than the students -- who usually over-subscribe intelligence courses.( 9 May 2000) (Harvey)

SOVIETS HAD ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE OF BAY OF PIGS. Newly released documents show that the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion went forward despite the fact that the CIA had learned a week earlier that the Soviets knew the date the invasion was to take place. A letter to the editor confirms that the Soviets openly announced the event before it happened. David More, of Kampala, Hawaii, wrote that "On April 23, 1961 I was listening to Radio Moscow's English news via short-wave from Summit NJ The announcer began, "In a plot hatched by the CIA ..." and went on to say that the US was sponsoring an invasion of Cuba within a week. I recorded the report but considered it a propaganda fantasy - and was shocked when the Bay of Pigs took place the following morning."  (Macartney) (also WashPost 29Ap00, p. A4/Loeb & 6May00, p. A18 / RJ)


-- all day May 19, 2000, at the International Center, Ronald Reagan Building, Washington DC. Eminent former and current CIA, FBI and Israeli intelligence speakers include Theodore Shackley, Paul Redmond, John Quinn, Richard Horowitz, Fred Rustmann, Aris Pappas. ($125 -- 85% tax deductible) Check  for registration and other details. (AFIO 703 790 0320) 

BEST TRUTH: Intelligence in the Information Age, by Bruce Berkowitz and Allan Goodman, Yale University Press, New Haven, April 2000, Index, Notes. ISBN 0-300-08011-5. The world environment is in a state of flux. Intelligence must adapt and change from a hierarchical approach to different types of more fluid organizations and practices, including greater involvement by the private sector. Whether such a change is feasible depends not only on continuing technological change, but a change in the "intelligence culture," according to the authors. It requires a fundamental re-thinking of what intelligence and an intelligence organization is supposed to do, including its effect on policymaking. That, in a nutshell, is the gist of this short book (text runs to 167 pages) that is written in explanatory fashion for the general public, contributing to understanding of national intelligence issues and challenges. (Jonkers)

ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World, by Robert David Steele, AFCEA International Press, Fairfax, Virginia, May 2000, Index and Bibliography, ISBN 0-916159-28-0. This book by one of our foremost advocates of the better use of open source information for intelligence analysis and activities fits with Best Truth, above, in that it also addresses changes wrought by the Information Age in terms of challenges to national security and intelligence structure and functions. As Alan Campen states in the Publisher's Foreword, there is a perceived need for a reorganized, revitalized and recapitalized intelligence community, working in unprecedented concert with law enforcement to protect both public and private security. The tools must be re-thought, and many of these manifest themselves under the rubric of Open Source Intelligence. The author, Robert Steele, is an outspoken (to say the least) "revolutionary" advocate for open source intelligence and a "virtual intelligence community." He may be controversial, liked or disliked, but he isn't dull, and is a prodigious writer with a vital creative drive. He has strong views, often discordant with accepted norms. In Washington, this is almost a requirement to be heard at all. This compendium of 340 pages of text contains ideas to which we should pay attention. His vision, leading up to the "virtual intelligence community" is worth consideration. We owe AFCEA thanks for publishing the book.

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