WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN)
dtd 13 October 2000
WINs are intelligence commentaries written, edited and
produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers to assist in AFIO's
educational mission. Opinions are those of the Editor and the associate
editors listed. Principal sources on which the commentaries are based, are
cited in each item.
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SECTION I -- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
WORLDWIDE CAUTION FOR US CITIZENS ABROAD -- Several U.S. Embassies,
from Damascus to Brussels, have recently been the target of violent
anti-American demonstrations. Other demonstrations are taking place in
countries throughout the world in response to events in the Middle East. Some
of these demonstrations have become violent and difficult for local
authorities to control. The attack on the USS Cole in Yemen was an extreme
example of a tide of extremist fury against the US. The Department of State is
concerned about the possibility of further actions against US citizens and
interests worldwide and has issued a warning.
US citizens traveling abroad are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance
and to increase their security awareness. Americans should maintain a low
profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail from
unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Those planning to travel abroad should
consult the Department of State's Public Announcements, Travel Warnings,
Consular Information Sheets, and regional travel brochures, available at http://travel.state.gov;.
U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of
State in Washington, DC at (202)-647-5225 from a touchtone-enabled telephone,
or receive information by automated Fax by dialing (202)-647-3000. (FBI Wash
Fld Office ANSIR/// State Dept 12 October 2000) (Jonkers)
ATTACK ON USS COLE -- US Intelligence and FBI agents are working to
identify the culprits in the well-planned and executed surprise kamikaze
attack on the USS Cole. US investigators are pouring into Yemen by the
planeload, and some 1,400 Marines are on the way to protect them.
The United States received a general warning of a possible attack on an
American warship last month, but the warning lacked detail and did not specify
the country in which to expect the attack. Since the warning was not specific
enough, "it got put on the shelf." Nor was it clear that the warning
could have stopped what officials described today as a sophisticated suicide
bombing. While the Cole's crew had extensive training in repelling an overt
attack by a small boat and even had extra sailors on watch on Thursday, the
attack was so meticulously disguised and carried out that the officials said
there was little the crew could have done to stop it.
Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, said the Yemeni government had
been notified of the Cole's visit 10 to 12 days in advance. "If you want
fresh fruit or vegetables you have to tell people when to be on the
pier," an official, who is involved in security operations overseas,
said. "If you want fuel, you have to tell people to be there."
The immediate focus of the investigation is the contractor in charge of harbor
refueling. It was not clear what, if any, security procedures were in place to
screen the contractor, and officials predictably bounced responsibility
variously to military commanders in the region, the Pentagon's logistics
agency, and the American Embassy. The Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth H. Bacon,
said today that a review of security procedures for refueling stops, like the
Cole's, had been ordered.
Counterterrorism officials in Washington divide the likely culprits into three
categories. The first group is comprised of indigenous Yemeni factions that
are known for occasional lawlessness and are difficult to track. Most notable
among these is the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, which is not on the State
Department's list of terrorist organizations but combines extremist ideology
with the pragmatic business of extorting foreign companies and kidnapping
tourists. Two organizations in this category -- including the Islamic Army --
have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The second category includes organizations opposed to the peace process. The
primary candidates include Hamas, Hizballah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Hamas and Jihad have representatives in Yemen who raise money and rally
support for their cause. Hizballah is suspected of attacks in neighboring
The third category consists of groups ideologically aligned with Osama bin
Laden and guided by his 1998 fatwa, which called for a holy war against
Israel and the U.S. These groups, mainly Bin Laden's al Qaeda and the Egyptian
Islamic Jihad, are known to operate in Yemen. The two are among the best
trained and funded on the U.S. watch list.
Aside from these groups, even Iraq cannot be ruled out, potentially motivated
by a desire for a possible (but very foolish) retaliation for the continued
daily US/UK bombing of their territory.
The US media are fully covering and reporting the event - hopefully not
tipping off the culprits.
Whatever the process and outcome of the investigation, we salute and honor our
young sailors who were killed or wounded in this attack. They volunteered to
be part of our military forces, which involves a higher risk of casualties,
whether in training, exercises, local conflicts or wars. There always is a
potential price to be paid, and our valiant young sailors paid it. We honor
them and, while placing events in context, must remorselessly and tirelessly
search for the perpetrators. Swift and certain reprisal is required. However,
this must be accompanied by caution. Following U.S. retaliation for the
bombing of two embassies in Africa, questions have lingered about whether
intelligence was accurate and whether targets were appropriate. (San Antonio
Express-New October 13, 2000) (Time October 23, 2000 Pg. 44 // M. Calabresi)
NYTimes Oct 14, 2000, by S.L. Myer) (Jonkers)
SECTION II CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE
SIGINT SATELLITE ARCHITECTURE -- The NRO and NSA have completed a review
of the potential of a new space-based architecture for SIGINT collection to
effect drastic improvements in the current collection system. The Director of
NRO, Keith Hall, summed up the findings by saying that "...in the end, we
and NSA concluded that the cost of going through the design work necessary to
deliver a new architecture was not worth the improved capability it would
The intelligence community will therefore continue to operate within the
bounds of the current 'Integrated Overhead Architecture,' with future upgrades
based on "Orion" SIGINT satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The
decision to build more of this type of bird also represents a significant
policy shift within NRO, halting a move toward widespread use of small
satellites with near-earth orbits.
The initiative to ask industry for any concepts for improvements in SIGINT
collection was designed to see if there was a feasible counterpart to the
significant imagery (IMINT) collection improvements anticipated from imagery's
'Future Imagery Architecture' (FIA). The FIA constellation is to include
spacecraft with imaging radar and electro-optical sensors, to be operational
about 2005, and to fulfill reconnaissance needs through at least 2012.
The decision on overhead SIGINT collection systems is wrapped up in a larger
DOD study of all SIGINT requirements. It is expected to have an impact on
upgrades for other signals collectors, such as RC-135's, EP-3s, and RC-12
Guardrail Common Sensor systems. The DOD SIGINT study is also considering the
requirements related to ground- and ship-based collectors. The NRO Director
indicated that total study conclusions were not expected for at least a year.
(Aviation Week 11 Sep '00, p. 40 // R. Well) (Harvey)
PRC UPGRADING NAVY -- Recent leaks of classified information from
"intelligence officials" state that the Chinese Navy is preparing to
conduct a flight test of one of its newly acquired Russian anti-ship cruise
missiles. Installed on the Russian-built Sovremenny cruise missile destroyers,
the SSN-22 Sunburn missiles were reportedly detected being prepared recently
for firing tests. The tests are expected to be held in the South China Sea
from the destroyer delivered to the PRC in February. The first batch of
Sunburns, called Moskit by the Russians, and unsurprisingly designed to sink
warships, were delivered to China in May. The PRC's second Sovremenny
destroyer is reportedly on its way from Russia. Ironically, the word of the
pending missile test firing comes within a week after the House passed
legislation to punish Russia with economic sanctions for selling the missiles
to China. Leaks are invariably timed in Washington for greatest political
effect. (WashTimes 13 Oct '00, by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough) (Harvey)
SECTION III - BOOKS & LETTERS
LIVRE NOIR DU COMMUNISME -- "The Black Book of Communism"
(Harvard University Press 1999), which caused a sensation in France, has yet
to ignite anything resembling such interest among intellectuals in the United
States. The 856-page book, written by six leading left-wing French
intellectuals, chronicled the murderous practices of communist regimes around
the world. Subtitled "Crimes, Terror, Repression," the book cites
evidence that 85 million to 100 million people have been killed by communist
regimes in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Vietnam,
Cambodia, Latin America and Africa.
No communist regime has been more murderous than the People's Republic of
China. According to "The Black Book," Mao Tse-tung and his followers
have slaughtered or starved to death an estimated 65 million Chinese since
1949. The estimated 1,000 killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre were
insignificant compared to the estimated 20 to 43 million who died in the
1959-61 famine caused by Mao's "Great Leap Forward." The Russians
come in a distant second with 20 million killed or forced into starvation in
the Soviet Union. North Korea and Cambodia are estimated to be in a tie with
two million citizens slaughtered apiece. Fidel Castro's Cuban communists are
pikers in comparison, but are documented to have executed more than 1,000
"counter-revolutionaries" during their first year in power. One
American research fellow noted the book shows that in the 20th century, more
citizens were killed by their own governments, than by foreign enemies.
In France, the left-wingers' book touched off a storm of controversy, with the
book's revelations fiercely debated there and throughout Europe. Amid the
uproar, inevitably, the French newspaper Le Monde accused the
authors of anti-Semitism for daring to compare the crimes of communism to the
crimes of Nazism. The depth of controversy in France has been explained by
historians as stemming from a history of having had an enormous communist
party and a culture that always leaned to the left. As a Library of Congress
historian said, " It's very difficult for someone who has had sympathy
for communism...to read about the millions murdered and killed and not have
some feeling they should reconsider their views."
The revelations of the enormous scale of the communist killings is less
shocking to Americans, who have generally opposed communism. But while
"the bulk of the population has been hostile to communism... that's not
been true of what you might call our intellectual class. Their opinion has
been much different," said one historian. Although relatively few
American intellectuals have been openly pro-communist, many have been
"anti-anti-communist" -- too often regarding 'anti-communism' as a
greater threat than communism itself. Others have adopted the
"revisionist" view of communism, considering it morally equal to
Western democracy. "Those in the academic, intellectual world who had an
"anti-anti-communist" position, their stance has not generally been
one of defending communism, but of averting their eyes to the nature of
communist regimes," the historian continued. He added that their reaction
to the book was to avert their eyes from the evidence presented and hope it
would go away.
Another researcher agreed, saying, "You can be sure of one thing, that
most academics will spurn this book." Another said, "Everyone is
aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but the atrocities committed
by the communists have been ignored or downplayed."
Intelligence analysts can resonate with the difficulties of the researchers
and historians in convincing their audience to accept evidence that does not
conform to preconceptions or which undercuts previous positions. (Wash Times
21 Sep '00, p. A2 by R. S. McCain) (Harvey)
SECTION IV - NOTICES
The AFIO National Luncheon series continues on TUESDAY 7 November at
the Fort Myers Officers Club. The Bar opens 10:30 am. Speakers will be
Washington Times Columnist Bill Gertz (at 11 am) on The Threat from China, and
after lunch at 1 pm, we will hear from Dr Frans Bax and Dr. Kenneth Stringer,
respectively Dean and Director of CIA's Sherman Kent School of Intelligence
Analysis. It should again be a most interesting luncheon. Cost is $26.50 for
members and guests. Send check to AFIO or register with credit card by phone
SECTION V - ODDS AND ENDS
FRIENDLY FIRE - The first German serviceman was killed by the Japanese
(China, 1937), the first American serviceman was killed by the Russians
(Finland 1940), the highest ranking American killed was LtGen. Lesley McNair,
killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies and fellow services.
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