Weekly Intelligence Notes #42-00
20 October 2000

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN) #42-00 dtd 20 October 2000

WINs are intelligence commentaries written, edited and produced by Roy Jonkers, and intended to assist AFIO members and subscribers in pursuit of AFIO's educational mission.
Associate Editors John Macartney and Don Harvey contributed articles to this WIN.
Opinions are those of the editor or associate editors listed.



USS COLE INVESTIGATION -- The inquiry into the attack on the destroyer USS Cole has led investigators to a mountainous region on the eastern border with Saudi Arabia, as well as to links with Somalia. Yemeni officials searched a house near the harbor where the bomb was assembled, and found a document that originated in Hadhramaut, a region about 500 miles northeast of Aden along the border with Saudi Arabia. They also received a report about a boat registered to a woman in Somalia.
FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, in Yemen for a one-day visit to consult with investigators and with Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, stressed the importance of the leads developed by the Yemenis, saying the Yemenis displayed "very, very good police work."
At a news conference, Mr. Freeh praised the Yemenis for identifying two safe houses a few miles across the bay from where the USS Cole was attacked, as well as the car, the trailer and the documents linking two men who lived at one of the houses to Hadhramaut, a distant region on the border with Saudi Arabia. Although the document, a driver's license, was made out to a false name, Yemen officials have begun intensive inquiries in the region.
Yemeni police also found a 12-year-old boy who said he had been approached by a bearded Arab man with glasses who spoke to him as he played beside the bay last Thursday morning, about the time the USS Cole entered the harbor. The boy said that the stranger gave him a few coins to watch a car and boat trailer. Then the man unloaded the boat, launched it and disappeared. Yemeni officials said the car was registered to a woman from Somalia, across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.
Director Freeh said it was still too early to speculate about who might have ordered or carried out the attack, or on possible motives. Freeh also expressed shock and dismay with the condition of the USS Cole, describing the scene as absolutely catastrophic. He said photographs did not adequately convey the destruction. A report attributed to "American technicians" stated that the damage from the explosion was such that it reached within seven feet of the ship's arsenal, where cruise missiles were stored. (NYTimes Oct20, 2000, by John Burns, Aden)  (Jonkers)

CIA AND THE ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN TRUCE SUMMIT --  Behind the scenes one of the most critical players of the summit (which concluded on October 18th) was CIA Director George J. Tenet, whose agency has acted as an unusual intermediary between the hostile parties for at least two years. The security committee he headed, composed of Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs, allegedly furnished the key to getting Israeli and Palestinian leaders to agree to truce terms. Administration officials declined to disclose the details of security agreements reached at Sharm el-Sheik. But the "practical way" in which Israel and the Palestinians may be expected to approach the truce probably involves detailed promises by both sides to pull back forces, imprison known terrorists, possibly disarm some combatants and take other de-escalation measures.
Undoubtedly in accordance with higher policy direction, the CIA director has recommitted his agency to its delicate and sometimes criticized role as messenger, fact-checker and mediator between two parties. In addition, besides verifying arms reductions or redeployments by one side or the other, the intelligence agency has also been directed to train Palestinian security officials in human rights values, organizational structure and other skills.
The novel missions haven't always pleased policymakers in the region or back home. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak criticized the CIA's role as go-between last year, but at the summit he endorsed the CIA's referee status, an acknowledgment that whatever chances the forces had for successful one-on-one relations were shattered by the political and psychological consequences of the killing or wounding of 3,000 Palestinian youths as well as several Israelis during the past three weeks. Extremists and fanatics on both sides seem to be holding the trump cards, damaging the possibilities of a humane accommodation advocated by Israeli and Palestinian "realists" or "moderates".
In the US, some intelligence specialists are dismayed by what they see as CIA's decision to take on a quasi-diplomatic role. A former senior intelligence official worried that the agency might lose its reputation for objective, untainted intelligence if it becomes more involved in implementation of policy. But CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield called "flat-out wrong" speculation that the agency's objectivity could be compromised by its Middle East role. "We are not making policy, nor are we verifying agreements," he said. "We act as facilitators and nothing more." He acknowledged that the CIA's part in the Middle East is unusual, but he defended it as necessary. "The nature of our involvement may help to save lives," he said. "It may not be a traditional role, but it is absolutely the right thing to do." (Baltimore Sun October 18, 2000, J. Hancock) (Jonkers)

 Following a logical progression begun in 1995 with the issue of a Russian Government decree giving the Federal Security Service authority to tap telephone calls, the Russian Justice Ministry has approved regulations to allow FSB real-time monitoring of all private and commercial e-mail.
The regime's surveillance measures, known by their Russian acronym SORM, became effective in July and are officially to be used only for "monitoring individual cases according to the law." But legal experts say the SORM regulations are fraught with loopholes that allow the FSB to sidestep the required warrants before conducting any electronic surveillance. The recent directives require all Russian Internet service providers (ISPs) to equip their networks with an FSB monitor and connect them with a high-speed fiber-optic link to FSB headquarters. Failure to put in the bugging devices, reported to cost between $15,000 and $25,000, and will cost the service provider's operating license.
Russian human rights advocates say these measures are considerably more dangerous in Russia than their counterparts in democratic countries because, "In our country, no one monitors the eavesdroppers." The press story notes that initial opposition to the regulations among ISPs has weakened as the government's determination to institute the surveillance measures has strengthened. With this sort of Soviet-style tool at the FSB fingertips, the Kremlin claims not to be able to know effectively what various Russian firms and ministries are doing in the sale of advanced weapons and technologies to countries such as Iran, should be treated with even greater skepticism by the US State Department. (Washington Times 17 Sep '00, p C14) (Harvey)


-- The attack on the USS Cole was the second on a US naval ship in the Middle East since WWII, the first being the attack on the USS Liberty, a US intelligence ship, in 1967 by the Israelis, with a death toll much higher than the present catastrophe, and a scenario -- including strafing sailors in the water -- even uglier. Obviously US involvement in regional political/religious wars involves risk, which needs to be periodically critically examined, from underlying hypotheses and strategy to operational execution.
Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman (Reagan Administration) recently provided such a risk assessment, blaming excessive recent Navy (and military) deployment practices and, in his view, inadequate intelligence, for the attack on the destroyer USS Cole. Some of his comments follow.

From media reports it appears that the skipper of USS Cole did all in his power to protect his ship and crew, and his leadership apparently saved lives. President Clinton described the attack on Cole as an act of cowardice and of terrorism. It was of course neither. It was a well-planned act of war by obviously brave and disciplined warriors, almost certainly supported by one or other enemy states or ideological or religious groups who view America and Israel as mortal enemies.
Why was this single ship sent to Yemen at the height of a crisis, which had roused anti-American passions throughout the Moslem and Arab worlds? He blames poor judgment and poor intelligence, as well as excessive deployment obsessions.
In recent years profligate willy-nilly deployments have been running all of the services into tatters. During the Reagan years of Cold War activism, the Navy was deployed to crisis areas beyond ordinary deployments, an average of 5 1/2 times per year, which fully stretched a Navy of nearly 600 ships. Over the same time span in the Clinton years, the Navy deployed out-of-routine 12 1/4 times per year, with a fleet that has been slashed to only 318 ships. This has not only destroyed morale, retention and family life, but it also has exposed a less-ready, thinned-out fleet to many more hazardous duty stations -- such as Aden.

As the Navy learned at Okinawa, where 35 ships were sunk by kamikazes, it is impossible to protect completely against suicide attacks. The only defense is good intelligence and the will to retaliate against the source. Lehman asserts that the American government has neither.
We can take Lehman's comments as reinforcing the need for force deployments in defense of US national security interests - rather than for a range of ideological causes (however noble), and for the best intelligence that dedicated people and technology, adequately funded, can provide -- and in his view, better than we currently provide.
(Wash Post 14 Oct 2000, p B7 < http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7299-2000Oct14.html>) (courtesy G. Emerson) (Jonkers)

SERGEANT DARRELL SAMUEL COLE, USMC, MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER 1944 - AND THE USS COLE  -- Without history we are bereft of context and meaning. This brief note commemorates Sergeant Darrell Cole, US Marine Corps, a man of exceptional bravery, for whom the destroyer USS Cole was named.
Darrell Cole enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 25, 1941, for the duration of the "National Emergency." He was designated as a bugler, but saw field action on Guadalcanal, on Kwajalein atoll, on Saipan, on Tinian, and finally, on Iwo Jima, distinguishing himself in each battle. He repeatedly asked to be shifted from his designation as a bugler, but was consistently refused.
A few days after the battle of Saipan, Cole led his squad ashore in the invasion of the neighboring islands of Tinian, where he continued to live up to his growing reputation as "The Fighting Field Musician." After the Marianas campaigns he again requested a change of rating, and this time his request was approved. He was re-designated Corporal "line" and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant in November 1944. On February 19, 1945, Sergeant Cole led his machine gun section ashore in the D-Day assault of Iwo Jima.
Below is his Congressional Medal of Honor Citation:

"For conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as leader of a Machine gun Section of Company B, 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, 4th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Assailed by a tremendous volume of small-arms, mortar and artillery fire as he advanced with one squad of his section in the initial assault wave, Sgt. Cole boldly led his men up the sloping beach toward Airfield No. 1 despite the blanketing curtain of flying shrapnel and, personally destroying with hand grenades two hostile emplacements which menaced the progress of his unit, continued to move forward until a merciless barrage of fire emanating from three Japanese pillboxes halted the advance. Instantly placing his one remaining machine gun in action, he delivered a shattering fusillade and succeeded in silencing the nearest and most threatening emplacement before his weapon jammed and the enemy, reopening fire with knee mortars and grenades, pinned down his unit for the second time. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation and evolving a daring plan of counterattack, Sgt. Cole, armed solely with a pistol and one grenade, coolly advanced alone to the hostile pillboxes. Hurling his one grenade at the enemy in sudden, swift attack, he quickly withdrew, returned to his own lines for additional grenades and again advanced, attacked, and withdrew. With enemy guns still active, he ran the gauntlet of slashing fire a third time to complete the total destruction of the Japanese strong point and the annihilation of the defending garrison in this final assault.
Although instantly killed by an enemy grenade as he returned to his squad, Sgt. Cole had eliminated a formidable Japanese position, thereby enabling his company to storm the remaining fortifications, continue the advance, and seize the objective. By his dauntless initiative, unfaltering courage, and indomitable determination during a critical period of action, Sgt. Cole served as an inspiration to his comrades, and his stouthearted leadership in the face of almost certain death sustained and enhanced the highest tradition of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

We honor Sergeant Cole's memory, and the example of dedication, leadership, loyalty and sacrifice that he set. He proclaimed a standard of integrity and commitment to the country and to our fellow citizens to which the US Intelligence Community aspires and subscribes. (courtesy E. Badolato, <bado@erols.com> who wrote: "A Marine friend sent this to me. With most of the big officials involved diving for cover on who is to blame for the bombing, I thought it would be of interest and show the kind of stuff that America's real heroes are made of. Regards and Semper Fi") (Jonkers)

CHINA ESPIONAGE AND US INTELLIGENCE -- In a Washington Post article this Thursday reporters Walter Pincus & Vernon Loeb say that a 1995 Chinese "walk-in" (defector) brought in 13,000 pages of classified Chinese technological documents. Most of the documents were not translated for over 4 years, until late 1999, raising howls of another intelligence "blunder." Why? Several reasons. According to the article, the defector had failed a polygraph and the CIA believed he was probably a double agent and the documents could be 'plants.' Another more mundane reason given was that 13,000 pages is a lot of reading, and the Intelligence Community's Chinese analysts were busy with higher priority tasks at the time. So they read the documents and translated a few articles, and did not translate all of them. Also, the initial reading by CIA's Chinese linguists concentrated on finding items of intelligence value rather than counterintelligence implications.
The FBI thought the defector was genuine, but it took four years for them (with the help of the brouhaha raised by the Cox Report in 1999) to convince CIA to translate the entire 13,000 pages. (The CIA now agrees the defector may not have been a double agent, the article says.) When all the documents were translated, they revealed that China had somehow acquired vast amounts of highly classified US military technology -- but most of it about missiles and reentry vehicles. The espionage trail therefore points, most probably, to the Pentagon or to defense contractors.
So how did the suspicion fall on Los Alamos and Wen Ho Lee? According to the article, one of the few documents first translated in 1995 was about US nuclear weapons and the DOE intelligence chief, Notra Trulock, began to suspect espionage at Los Alamos. (Wash Post 19 Oct 00, p. A1, by W. Pincus and V. Loeb, < http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34437-2000Oct18.html> (Macartney)


THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AFGHAN JIHAD -- Reuel Marc Gerecht, former CIA case officer turned intrepid author, last year visited Ahmad Shah Masud, the legendary Afghan commander now fighting the Taliban, and obtained access to a bomb-making manual. The "Encyclopedia" was dedicated to Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Gerecht photographed hundreds of pages with his 35mm camera, hopped on board one of Masud's helicopters and made it out of Afghanistan with what he believes may be "the largest, most detailed terrorist guide ever written" -- and, he claims, long before his former employer, the CIA, obtained a copy. Going on to critique the CIA, he wrote in this month's Talk magazine: "Like the Aldrich Ames KGB mole fiasco, the story of [O]sama bin Laden is a window into the Central Intelligence Agency. . . Many of the long-running weaknesses in America's clandestine intelligence operations can be seen in the life and times of the Saudi terrorist." Neither lack of money nor a shortage of personnel prevented CIA from "trying to build a network among bin Laden's men before the Saudi started screaming his intentions."
A government source responded that the CIA had obtained multiple copies of the encyclopedia well before Gerecht. "It is hardly a holy grail or gold mine of information," the source said. "It certainly does not amount to a blueprint of what bin Laden will do next." (WashPost Oct20/2000 p.32 Vernon Loeb//Back Channels. (Jonkers)


IN MEMORIAM - Jim Boginis, valued colleague, passed away on Saturday 14 October. The memorial service will be held Saturday 28 October at 2 pm at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church (540 687 6297) in Middleburg, VA, followed by a reception at the Boginis home at 301 W. Main Street, Purcellville, VA (540 338 4652). Donations may be sent to a scholarship fund set up in Jim's memory -- the 'J.W. Boginis Fund' -- and mailed to Mrs Jo Boginis at the Main street home address above.


Letter to the editor -- Ref. last week's "The first serviceman killed" item, Mike Williams wrote: "I thought the first American casualty was earlier. I understand that the USS Reuben James was an American destroyer sunk while secretly fighting German submarines before Pearl Harbor. Pete Seeger, who as a dutiful Communist supported the Hitler-Stalin Pact, switched when Hitler broke it, and Pete still sings a song he then wrote, "The Reuben James." The last two lines are: "And now the mighty battleships sail the bounding main, Avenging the name of the good Reuben James." Any comment? <John.Michael.Williams@Computer.org>

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