Weekly Intelligence Notes #31-00
4 August 2000

 

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN) #31-00 dtd 4 August 2000

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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

DCI TENURE POLITICS -- Vernon Loeb of the Washington Post reports that Robert M. Gates, the DCI under former President Bush, expressed support for the retention of the current CIA Director by the new President and Administration in the year 2001. "My preference, for whoever is elected, would be to keep George," said Gates. "He's done a good job, he's about as nonpolitical as they come, and keeping him on would keep the CIA out of the election cycle." However, Thomas Ricks, another WPost staff writer, reports that Paul Wolfowitz could well be the choice for DCI by a Republican president. The last DCI to survive a change in administration was Richard M. Helms (presently a member of AFIO's Honorary Board) in 1969. (WPost 3Aug00, p. A27/ Loeb; WP 1Aug00 p. A21 /Ricks) (Jonkers)

RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE FUNDING CUTBACK -- The House-Senate FY2001 Intelligence Authorization bill conference has cut back research funding for a cutting-edge satellite project called Discover II. The Air Force, DARPA and NRO had reportedly requested $130 million for research as a first step in a $700 Million demonstration project involving the launch of two satellites by 2005. The conferees left $30 million for continuing the research.
A fully deployed constellation of 24 to 48 Discover II satellites could provide continuous real-time radar imagery of multiple targets from space -- if the system's micro-technology and movable space sensors work as advertised.
Congressional dissatisfaction with Intelligence Community requests for collection systems without adequate funding for imagery processing and analysis, as noted in last week's WIN, probably contributed to the reasons for the cutback, along with other cost-versus-gain calculations and House committee skepticism about technical feasibility and cost.The full-up satellite system could cost $25Billion or more. That's enough money to generate some powerful industry support - in the end this system is likely to be built. (WPost 25Ju00,p.A2; Wpost 3Aug00, p. A27// Loeb) (Jonkers)

BIN-LADEN -- THE END MAY BE NEAR -- Osama bin Laden, at the top of the US most-wanted-list of terrorists, must be in fear of his life after a series of defections by key figures from his organization, the seizure of some of his training camps by Afghanistan's Taleban regime, and several assassination attempts. The split in his movement, Al Quaeda, a loose organization of terrorist outfits from North Africa and the Middle East, occurred after the Taleban ordered its training camps to be brought under the control of the Afghan Defense Ministry, which subsequently amalgamated six camps into three, and then announced that it was temporarily closing all of them.
The order was resisted by bin Laden. That caused a group of his followers, headed by one of his oldest associates, a Syrian named Omar Abdul Hakim Abu Muasab Soori, and including some 60 senior terrorist commanders from Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria, to split off to form a pro-Taleban faction. Currently the Taleban have removed all communications from bin Laden and isolated him from contact with all but his closest aides. On the other hand they are permitting the breakaway group to operate independently within Afghanistan, allowing them free communication and promising them that the training camps would be reopened.
The Taleban have obviously decided that bin Laden has become a liability and not worth the international condemnation that his presence has brought them. In addition, bin Laden's international accounts have been blocked by the US and he can no longer pay the Taleban for protection. There have been several assassination attempts recently, and bin Laden has replaced his Arab bodyguards with Pakistani and Bangladesh militants from a Kashmiri terrorist group. The end game looks to be not far away. (WashTimes, 30Jul00, p. C7) (Jonkers)

RUSSIAN FSB REPORTS ON CHECHEN TERRORISM AND GUERRILLA ACTION -- The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported to ITAR-TASS July 21 that their agents nabbed a terrorist group planning to bomb Volgograd and Nizhnii Novgorod. The FSB stated that some members of the group may have been involved in the May 31 Volgograd bombing. FSB officials reported that the group, which consisted of 14 men, had a large quantity of explosives in their possession when arrested. The group, trained by Chechen guerrilla forces, included Chechens as well as Slavic members and one individual from Morocco, giving some credence to Russian claims of outside support, including international terrorists, for the Chechens.
General Aleksandr Zdanovich, a senior FSB official also reported on July 22 on the recent discovery of Chechen guerrilla plans to attack Gudermes and Nozhai-Yurt and to infiltrate other cities in Chechnya. FSB agents reportedly seized the plans from the house of a Chechen guerrilla commander. Supported by outside interests, arms and funds, the Chechen conflict may fester on for some time. (Sources#235, 31 Jul00) (Jonkers)

SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

ECHELON (continued) -- The European allegations of the US-UK spy network (so-called) Echelon targeting European industrial firms for the benefit of US firms have recently led the European Union (EU) to designate a temporary committee to verify the existence of Echelon and to determine whether such an intelligence system is compatible with the European Union's laws, including the right to be protected against secret service activities. The deputies voted by 340 to 210 to create a temporary committee that would have no investigative powers or right to call witnesses but would be able only to invite state representatives to testify or provide documents on a voluntary basis. [It should be noted that both the US and the UK have officially denied using their joint intelligence collection efforts to be used for commercial advantage.]
The 36-member committee is tentatively scheduled to submit a report to the public in early 2001 on their findings regarding the unsubstantiated claims. Most news stories on the political development have noted the US and UK denials while also pointing out the statements of former DCI Woolsey that the US did indeed gather information on European companies when it became apparent they were using bribes to win foreign contracts in competition with US firms. The press did not repeat Jim Woolsey's further statement to the effect that one reason the US did not customarily intercept European industrial communications was because there was nothing sufficiently technologically interesting to intercept.
Meanwhile French prosecutors have also begun an investigation, based on complaints by French members of the European parliament that Echelon was being used to spy on European firms. The French counter-intelligence agency has been tasked to determine whether Echelon was an attack on the fundamental interests of the nation.
None of the press stories commented on the potential effect the EU and French investigations might have on the respective intelligence agencies' fundamental interests with regard to future cooperation with the US intelligence community. (Aviation Week 10 July 00, p. 52; Financial Times 5 July 00, p. 2; AFP 5 July00, from London) (Harvey)

SUDAN BOMBING FALLOUT CONTINUES -- Claiming the US government mistakenly bombed his Sudanese pharmaceutical plant in 1998, an Arab businessman, Salah Idris, recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the government for refusing to admit the mistake. He probably was encouraged in his intent to pursue the suit when the US Treasury countermanded its earlier move to block some $24 million of his European bank accounts. Faced with his suit to unfreeze the accounts, Treasury had backtracked despite its claim that he was associated with terrorists. Salah Idris did not stress the intelligence failure charge bruited about in the press after the missile attack but said in his current suit that he is convinced President Clinton ordered the August 1998 bombing to try to restore his diminished presidential authority and popularity during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The administration claims that the plant had a nerve-gas component stored on the premises, that the plant was heavily guarded, that Idris had links to through the Sudanese regime to Osama bin Laden, that the plant was producing chemical weapons, and that Idris was associated with the Islamic Jihad. These claims have all been disproved as far as one can infer from the press reporting. He has been given another tract of land for the plant if he wishes to build a replacement. The Sudanese government wishes to preserve the bombed plant as a museum.

The Idris suit for $50 million does not address reporting in the US press after the missile attacks to the effect that the decision to launch the attacks was made in an extremely small group of policymakers and over strong reservations voiced in the intelligence reporting of the time. (Chicago Tribune 28 July00 // R. Moseley) (Harvey)

GULF WAR MUSTARD GAS REPORT -- Post-war United Nations inspectors discovered more than 200 empty chemical artillery shells, some with burn damage, at the Fallujah Proving Ground ammunition storage site. The investigators determined these shells were part of 6,394 stored at the Ukhaydir depot, 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, during the war and may have been damaged during coalition airstrikes at Ukhaydir on Jan. 20, 1991, and around midnight on Feb. 13, 1991.
The CIA and the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses independently conducted computer modeling and simulation studies to determine the extent of any possible exposure threat. The modeling revealed that if chemical agent releases occurred, the hazard area did not extend beyond 125 kilometers. U.S. forces were located several hundred kilometers away and were in no danger of exposure. In 1999, the CIA revisited the evidence and modified their assessments based on more recent United Nations Special Committee inspections. The CIA no longer considers the January 20, 1991, air strike and bunker fire a case for mustard release.
DoD issued a report entitled "Possible Mustard Release at Ukhaydir Ammunition Storage Depot." This narrative, and all other publications of the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, is posted on the GulfLINK website at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/ukhaydir/
Web version of this and other news releases: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#BLUETOPS (courtesy C. Griffith)

SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE

INTERNATIONAL CYBER CRIME -- European Union ministers announced they would seek new laws to crack down on fast-growing crime by Internet fraudsters, computer hackers and child pornographers. Squaring up to growing ranks of cyber crooks who exploit differences in national computer crime laws to strike across borders with impunity, ministers said they would extend the reach of justice into cyberspace. "It is not at all our intention to limit the development of the Internet, but we must avoid letting it become a lawless zone,'' said French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou.
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/254761l.htm - (Levine 07/28)

GERMANY CREATES ANTI-CYBER-TERRORISM TASK FORCE -- The German government has created a top-secret unit of computer and hi-tech specialists to combat corporate cyber-terrorism in the new millennium. Germany is worried that the terrorist of the future will not have a gun in one hand and a grenade in the other, but a lethal knowledge of computers. The government does not want the huge industrial concerns of the world's fourth largest world economy - Volkswagen, Siemens, Bosch and the like - to be crippled by viruses or other computer glitches unleashed by society's malcontents.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/story.html?in_review_id=303658 (Levine Newsbits 08/01)

HACKER CONVENTION -- Speaking of malcontents....the largest-ever convention of computer hackers was held in Las Vegas last weekend, with top-ranking U.S. military officials offering to hire the elite of the cybervandal world and put them to work defending against foreign government attacks. "I invite you to join the government, or private industry for that matter. But get on the defense side," said Art Money, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence. Money and a panel of colleagues from the Pentagon, the Air Force and Federal police agencies, were at turns cordial, threatening, moralizing and patriotic in their remarks Friday to the conference, called DEF CON 8.0, which drew some 5,000 attendees. This year's attacks on major Web sites and a wave of computer virus attacks that have infected millions of computers has elevated many of the habitués of the hacker underworld to the status of counter-cultural celebrities.
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/255078l.htm -
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2609334,00.html
http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/story/0,1199,NAV47_STO47706,00.html (Levine 08/01) (Reuters, 30Jul00 //Auchard //courtesy T. Newcomb)

HACKERS BREACH FIREWALL
-- An audience of several hundred network security professionals watched with rapt attention last week as a trio of hackers repeatedly penetrated one of the industry's most trusted and popular firewall products -- Checkpoint Software's Firewall-1. The demonstration, presented at the "Black Hat" security conference in Las Vegas, challenged the widely accepted notion that firewalls are largely immune to direct attack. (Levine 8/03)
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2610719,00.html

SECTION IV BOOKS AND OTHER SOURCES

HOW THE FBI INVESTIGATES COMPUTER CRIME -- This guide provides information about the federal investigative and prosecutive process for computer related crimes. It will help you understand some of the guidelines, policies, and resources used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when it investigates computer crime. The FBI has implemented various technical programs to address the growing complexity of computer investigations. FBI legal attachés stationed in 41 countries enable the FBI to use sophisticated methods to investigate and coordinate cyber incidents around the world.
In Washington, DC, the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is a special unit that coordinates computer crimes investigations throughout the United States. The FBI trains and certifies computer forensic examiners for each of the 56 FBI field offices in the United States to recover and preserve digital evidence. The FBI maintains a computer forensic laboratory in Washington, DC for advanced data recovery and for research and development.
http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/FBI_investigates_crime.html

STALKING THE HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES: An OSS Bibliography,
by Dan C. Pinck, Geoffrey M.T. Jones and Charles T. Pinck, The OSS/Donovan Press, Boston, Mass., 2000, ISBN 0-967 5736-0-2. The OSS conducted its activities in every theater of WWII. For authors writing about WWII this compendium will be indispensable, listing over a thousand books describing what OSS was up to in the Second World War. It is the most complete one done to date, by authors 'who were there.' Dan Pinck served in OSS behind the lines in China, and Geoffrey Jones served behind the lines in France. Charles Pinck has been active in the OSS Society.
The book is essentially divided into four parts: the main OSS Bibliography, a description of the OSS Collections in the Hoover Institute Archives, a Guide to the Records of the OSS in the National Archives, and Notes on the Scope and Formal Responsibilities of the OSS. It is filled with valuable substance, and in the Notes, also expresses a point of view. "If it were nothing else, the OSS under Donovan was not an insipid bureaucracy. Its successes during the war were far-reaching and by its nature it made enemies among the leaders of the service branches who mistrusted a free-wheeling organization whose leader found any formal organization an anathema.... The OSS made the mold for a central intelligence agency, but the patterns were lost. The fact is, bureaucracies almost always win." A valuable addition for students of history, authors and professionals. (Jonkers)
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Opinions expressed are those of the Editor, Roy Jonkers, and the Associate Editors, Don Harvey and John Macartney, as named after each article. Source material quoted may be copyrighted and all rights are retained by the original author/publisher. The information is provided to you for non-profit research and educational purposes supporting AFIO objectives.
Check the AFIO Website for latest AFIO information, including membership and convention data and back issues of the WIN. See www.afio.com
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