Weekly Intelligence Notes #46-00
17 November 2000

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN) #46-00 dtd 17 November 2000

WINs are intelligence commentaries selected, written and produced by Roy Jonkers, and disseminated to AFIO members and WIN subscribers, in furtherance of the AFIO educational mission. Opinions are those of the editor or associate editors listed, and do not represent AFIO positions unless explicitly stated. Associate Editors John Macartney and Don Harvey contributed articles to this WIN.

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 SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE (NRO) REPORT ISSUED -- A blue-ribbon 11-member bipartisan Congressional commission issued a report on November 14th, entitled: "The Evolving Role of the NRO - Preparing The NRO For The Future." It concluded that it was to the nation's interest to 'turn back the clock' in a manner of speaking, and to let the NRO (by another name) operate again in a nimble and innovative manner in an 'out-of-sight' black world with adequate funding, unencumbered by laborious DoD acquisition procedures.

The once highly secret NRO (even the acronym 'NRO' was classified)--  the nation's highly effective space reconnaissance agency -- came under fire after the end of the Cold War, particularly when it built itself a shiny new headquarters in Chantilly, and there were accusations of financial wizardry -- money saved by operating spacecraft that were too durable and long-lasting was allegedly applied to financing the new building. In the resulting uproar, the NRO was forced "out of the closet," forced to operate with more public and congressional transparency, and more integrated with the rest of the intelligence community. Much of this was counterproductive to the mission, as the commission recognized implicitly.

According to the report, budget constraints on the NRO have delayed space reconnaissance modernization, while the proliferation of commercial imaging technologies has provided U.S.adversaries with "unprecedented insight within our national borders, as well as into our overseas activities. ... Equally problematic, widespread knowledge of the NRO's existence and public speculation on how NRO satellites are used, has aided terrorists and other potential adversaries in developing techniques of denial and deception to thwart U.S. intelligence efforts." In addition, other technologies such as fiber-optic communications "render certain NRO capabilities obsolete." The report warned that the agency's resources were being stretched "and the result is a prescription for a potentially significant intelligence failure."

The Congressional report is too long and involved to condense here. Let me summarize the principal conclusions:

(1) that a new " Office of Space Reconnaissance" be created (within the present NRO), with special acquisition authorities, to be staffed by experienced military and CIA personnel, with a budget separate from other agencies and activities within the National Foreign Intelligence Program, to be protected by a special security compartment, and to operate under the personal direction of the President, Secretary of Defense and Director of Central Intelligence.
(2) that the President take direct responsibility to ensure that the relationship of the SecDef and the DCI regarding the management of the NRO is functioning effectively.
(3) that the SecDef and the DCI work closely together to achieve an appropriate balance between strategic and tactical requirements for NRO systems, present and future.
(4) That SecDef, in consultation with the DCI, re-establish the 'Defense Space Reconnaissance Program' as a means of funding tactical military requirements for NRO systems and architectures.
(5) that the DCI be granted greater latitude to redirect funds among intelligence collection activities and agencies in order to respond most effectively to the specific types of issues that arise in NRO programs.
(6) that the SecDef and the DCI jointly establish NRO career paths to ensure that a highly skilled and experienced NRO workforce is continued and sustained.
(7) that the NRO Director, with the support of the Air Force Materiel Command and Space and Missile Systems Center, develop a contingency plan for each NRO program. These plans should describe risks, contingency options and failure mitigation plans to minimize satellite system problems that might result from satellite or launch vehicle failures.
(8) that a clear national strategy -- that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the U.S. commercial satellite imagery industry -- be developed.
(9) that the NRO should participate jointly with other agencies and departments in strategic Airborne Reconnaissance development. Specifically, the NRO should supply system engineering capabilities and transfer space system technologies to airborne applications.

Other recommendations include:
(10) That decisionmakers at the highest levels (including the President, SecDef and DCI) be personally involved in setting policy direction for the NRO.
(11) that the NRO mission be updated, and that the confusion on tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination (TPED) activities between NRO, National Security Agency (NSA), National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), and Central MASINT Organization (CMO) be cleared up.
(12) that the President, DCI and SecDef ensure proper funding for the NRO Director's research, development and acquisition effort and the application of its technology to satisfy the needs of its mission partners and customers.

To sum up, "Without bold and sustained leadership, the United States could find itself 'deaf and blind' and increasingly vulnerable to any of the potentially devastating threats it may face in the next ten to twenty years,"
The panel held that the agency had "become a publicly acknowledged organization that openly announces many of its new program initiatives," which in turn hindered its ability to tackle intelligence problems, and recommended creating a new 'Office of Space Reconnaissance' to work on super-secret projects to gain technological advantage in space-related spying.
Said co-chairman Goss: "There are so many new things on the horizon that have such promise and they need to be pursued, but they need to be pursued in a way that we don't give the advantage to others of knowing about them, or sharing some of the things we've learned."
The National Reconnaissance Office, which marked its 40th anniversary this year, has evolved away from its original mission -- "to go out and do things that had never been dreamed of before, and we need that."
(Loeb/ Pincus WPost 16Nov2000, p. A41; T. Zakaria, Reuters)
(Full NRO Report at <http://www.nrocommission.com/toc.htm>;
Foreword at <http://www.nrocommission.com/foreword.htm>;
Executive Summary at <http://www.nrocommission.com/exec_sum.htm>;
Adobe Acrobat version of complete report can be downloaded at: <http://www.nrocommission.com/nro.pdf>; ) (Jonkers)

SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENT


CHINESE DEFENSE WHITE PAPER VIEWS U.S. NEGATIVELY -- In 1998, when China issued its second white paper on national defense, representing a consensus view of the government, the document mentioned the United States 10 times, each time positively. China's third Defense White Paper, issued in October, mentioned the United States 13 times. All but two of the references were negative.

Beijing's view of America is said to have been soured by a combination of events: NATO's expansion and willingness to use force outside its territory; the strengthening of U.S.-Japan defense guidelines regarding joint action in the areas surrounding Japan; a congressional report alleging two decades of Chinese espionage in the United States; Premier Zhu Rongji's tough visit to the United States in April 1999 when he failed to secure an agreement on Chinese membership in the WTO. In addition, China has been disturbed by talk in Washington of a national missile defense system and that such a system might be sold to Taiwan. The May 1999 allied bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia, which killed three Chinese journalists, outraged China, which declined to accept Washington's explanation that it was an accident.

These events prompted a profound debate over the past year in China about whether "peace and development are the dominant trend of the times." That formulation, by the late leader Deng Xiaoping, is the fundamental underpinning of China's economic reform program, which placed China's economic development on the top of its four modernizations, and Chinese national defense as the bottom priority. While "peace and development" won out, China's leadership is now paying more attention to military modernization -- mainly as a result of troubled ties with the United States and Taiwan.

"No fundamental change has been made in the old, unfair and irrational international political and economic order," the Defense White Paper said. "Certain big powers [the United States] are pursuing 'neo-interventionism,' 'neo-gunboat policy' and neo-economic colonialism, which are seriously damaging the sovereignty, independence, and development interests of many countries, and threatening world peace and security."

Central to the assessment of China as a threat to the US, or vice versa, is the US relationship with Taiwan, an island of 23 million people that China views as a province of China. The Defense White Paper said that Washington's continued arms sales to Taiwan were stalling China's attempts to unite with the island. In September, the Pentagon approved the sale of $1.3 billion in arms, including $150 million worth of the AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM.

China's military forces are no match for the US, but it is upgrading its air force and navy, as well as its missiles -- even though they represent 20-year old technology. China has purchased a few Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets from Russia and is starting to produce the Su-27. It has taken delivery of one Russian Sovremenny-class destroyer equipped with supersonic anti-ship missiles; it will receive another one shortly and may be prepared to buy two more. It has purchased two Russian-made Kilo-class submarines and is believed to be buying one more (not much of a deal) . On balance, China's resources remain limited and military training is relatively primitive. China's defense spending is a fraction of America's and the secondary tasks the army is responsible for, such as combating floods, or combating fundamentalist and separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang, can only hinder its modernization drive.
A Chinese research institute run by the Ministry of State Security forecast last year that the gap between China and the United States in key indicators of comprehensive national power would continue to widen for the next 35 years.
China's leaders have cautioned the military in recent weeks not to stray from the party line that economic development is still the country's top priority. Jiang criticized the military in a semi-public forum recently for increasing China's sense of crisis in order to justify bigger defense expenditures. (a phenomenon not unknown in the US). Premier Zhu announced last month that China would do all in its power to settle the Taiwan issue peacefully.
US- and Chinese-proclaimed national security interests clash over Taiwan, considered a province of China by the Chinese. US policy there will determine whether China is a "threat" to the US or vice versa. (Washington Times November 17, 2000 Pg. 15) (Jonkers)

ARMY HUMINT NEEDS IMPROVING -- An Army-oriented publication has recently published comments from active and retired generals specifying the need for improved military HUMINT related to Urban Operations. For example, retired Brig. Gen. Mike Hall, a military intelligence officer who left the Army in October 1999, said military intelligence needs to be completely retooled for urban operations in the information age. "The intel system is very, very good for industrial age warfare." he said. "It doesn't do what we need it to do inside that city, pure and simple, and we've got to adjust it so it does. What we need more of is 'HUMINT.' It takes time and you've got to have people on the ground running agents of the same ethnic culture" as the local population.
It is quite possible to agree with the reasoning of the generals while entertaining considerable skepticism that the Defense Intelligence Community (Army HUMINT now is done by the Defense HUMINT organization) will have the HUMINT-qualified officers in adequate quantity to be resident in enough places to cover all contingencies. ( Army Times 20 Nov '00, p. 15 /S. Naylor) (Harvey)

NEW INSCOM COMMANDER -- Army BG Keith Alexander is being assigned as commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Va. Alexander is currently serving as Director for Intelligence, J-2, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL. (<http://www.vulcan.belvoir.army.mil/> ) (Macartney)

SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE

NEW VIRUS ANNOUNCEMENTS -- Do not open emails titled CALIFORNIA. Both IBM and AOL have announced that a new virus called WOBBLER is very powerful, more so than Melissa, and there is no remedy. It will eat all your information on the hard drive and also destroys Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Also, if you receive an e-mail titled "Win A. Holiday," DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive.
( Justin Girard, LAN Manager, UC Berkeley, Berkeley Ca, 94720-7360)
(courtesy George Doherty)

UNAUTHORIZED CHAT ROOM ON CIA COMPUTER NET -- For the past 6 months or more, the CIA has been s investigating 160 employees and contractors for exchanging "inappropriate" e-mail and off-color jokes in a secret chat room created within the agency's classified computer network and hidden from management. ... Several officials, including members of the Senior Intelligence Service, have been suspended with pay for the past six months while senior CIA officials try to determine what punishment is appropriate. However, the willful "misuse of computers" did not "involve the compromise of any classified information." (courtesy Ed Badolato) (Macartney)
(<http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64444-2000Nov11.html>)

FAKE ISRAELI WEBSITE -- It looks official, but the "Israel Defense Force" Website on the Internet has the Israeli military up in arms. Click on <www.israeldefenseforce.com> and up comes a page that appears almost identical to the real Israeli army's site at <www.idf.il>. Both sites carry photographs of four Israeli soldiers killed by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under the soldiers' photographs, a caption on the fake site reads: "The four Israeli soldiers killed just before their trip to the West Bank on a mission to kill Palestinian civilians."
(<http://www0.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/641821l.htm>) (Levine's Newsbits 11/16)

FBI RELEASES MORE CARNIVORE DOCUMENTS -- The FBI released another batch of previously classified documents on its e-mail surveillance system known as "Carnivore." Some 362 pages were released today . "The information in today's packet seems to conflict with what the FBI said about how Carnivore collects information that's been filtered," said David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the group that filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which led a court to force the Justice Department to begin releasing the documents.
(<http://www.newsbytes.com/news/00/158282.html>) (Levine 11/16)

FBI AID TO LOCAL BUSINESSES -- Over the past year, FBI agent Steve McFall has investigated less than a dozen local cases of computer hacking. He suspects many more instances of corporate hacking occur in East Tennessee, however, but businesses either don't realize they can call the FBI or don't want to publicize their problems. So the FBI has launched the local branch of a national effort to ally business and law enforcement in addressing computer security concerns. The organization, called InfraGard, held its first meeting last month. More than 25 businesses showed up, a response FBI officials found encouraging.
(<http://www.knoxnews.com/science/18449.shtml>) (Levine 11/16)

SECTION IV - BOOKS

ESPIONAGE IN MEXICO: The 20th Century, by Harry Thayer Mahoney and Marjorie Locke Mahoney, Austin & Winfield, now part of University Press of America, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, Maryland, 20706 orders to (301) 731-9527; fax (301) 306-5357; 1997, ISBN 1-57292-057-2, with footnotes, bibliography, glossary and index.
We tend to focus on other parts of the world when covering espionage literature, but neglect our southern neighbors. The Mahoney's book is a valuable step in the right direction to correct this omission. As they note in the Preface, espionage and covert action have flourished in Mexico, as elsewhere, for centuries. The Aztecs, Conquistadors, the Spanish colonials and the Catholic Church all practiced espionage to further their aims. In this book, the authors chose to concentrate on foreign espionage in Mexico since WWI, covering American, German, Japanese, Russian and Cuban intelligence operations. Their descriptions are brief and excellent reading both from the point of view of history and its reference to the various intelligence schemes and personalities involved.. Recommended for all who are interested in what happened in our neighbor's territory during the past century. (Jonkers)

BIOGRAPHIC DICTIONARY OF ESPIONAGE, by Harry Thayer Mahoney and Marjorie Locke Mahoney, Austin & Winfield, Bethesda, 1998, with glossary, bibliography, index, additional reading notes. ISBN 1-57292-064-5. Referenced in a previous WIN, I want to draw attention to another excellent work by the Mahoney's. Outstanding reference source for bio sketches of spies and their stories through the ages, told in an interesting and highly readable manner. Recommended for reference, reading or browsing. (Jonkers)

SECTION V - LETTER TO THE EDITOR

PERIPHERAL SOVIET RECONNAISSANCE - A MEMORY -- LETTER TO A CREWMEMBER -- Today, 17 November 2000, is the 30th anniversary of the Pechora Sea incident when your recce crew received warning shots from a pair of Mig-17s. That is the last time that the Soviets fired at/in the vicinity of one of our aircraft.
Despite the hostile Soviet action you were to continue the mission, turning once more toward Russian territory (while remaining over international waters) to prosecute the collection effort against the Part Time radar. Mig-17s once again formed up on your wing but this time withheld their fire. After landing, the Russians protested that our aircraft had "reached their airspace." The US counter-protested against their "unwarranted discharge of weapons in international airspace."
Given that 10 years earlier the Russians shot down Willard Palm's crew in the Barents Sea, your actions in pressing forward with the mission was in the finest tradition of the 55th SRW, the Strategic Air Command, and the USAF. (text omitted) Robb Hoover, VP, 55th SRW Association (<RobbHoover@aol.com>)

Cobra Jaw/Briar Patch Crew member Max Moore (<MaxMoore55@aol.com> responded: Ah, yes. I had not thought of the 'anniversary' until now. .....When we were on the outbound leg of our first 'bowtie' under Novaya Zemyla, and nearing the turn point, I gave A/C (aircraft commander) Jimmy Jones two headings - one to head home and the other to turn back inbound for the second circuit. It was his decision to turn back on track. There was no vote, nor discussion. None was needed. Agreement was tacit.
The MiGs were in so tight on that leg you could not see the entire airframes. Both Jimmy and the co-pilot had to give the MiG pilots visual hand signals that we were turning inbound so as not to collide with them. They never left us and radioed to their controllers at Belusa Guba, "The target is turning inbound. Awaiting instructions," or something like that.
The tension was palpable while we awaited. The Russian controller's first reply was in the best of our own beloved SAC's tradition, "Stand by."
It may have only been minutes thereafter, but it seemed an eternity until the word came back to "escort the target."
Then they shot us down and we all died. /s/ Max.
(
courtesy Dan Hearne, <dhearn@king.cts.com>, Pres. Reconnaissance Fund (Intel. Scholarship Foundation) - dedicated to the memories of crew sacrifices during the silent war)
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