Weekly Intelligence Notes #50-00
22 December 2000

dtd 22 December 2000

WINs are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers. Associate editors John Macartney and RADM Don Harvey, both of whom contributed to this WIN, join me in wishing you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS, AND A HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE NEW YEAR!!!

NOTE: This is the last WIN of the Year 2000. AFIO Headquarters will be closed until Tuesday 3 January 2001


As a Holiday gift perhaps?



INTELLIGENCE BILL PASSED -- The FY 2001 Intelligence Authorization bill, providing for an estimated $30 Billion in spending by the Intelligence Community, was passed. The President had vetoed an earlier version because it included a controversial amendment making the unauthorized disclosure ("leaks") of classified information to the press a criminal offense. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chief proponent of the anti-leak provision, checked with advisers to President-elect George W. Bush and was told to take up the matter next year.

Another hurdle surmounted was about satellite launches by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del) became interested in this issue after the Air Force suffered six launch failures in 13 months, one of which destroyed an expensive NRO spacecraft. Castle accused the Air Force of habitually overestimating the cost of launching NRO spy satellites on Air Force missiles, and thereby disrupting NRO budgeting. He claimed that the series of rocket failures, which he said are "rooted in the morass of contracts" for satellite launches, has cost taxpayers over $3 billion since 1998. Castle proposed allowing the NRO to make contracts for satellite launches without legally being obliged to a partnership with the Air Force. His proposal was not included in the final Authorization bill. Castle said he would tackle this issue again next year. (Wpost Dec12 // V. Loeb; and FtWorth Star-Telegram Dec12 // C. Anderson AP) (Jonkers)

PANEL CALLS FOR COUNTER-TERRORISM AGENCY -- A Congressionally-chartered commission has recently reported on its assessment of U.S. defenses against terrorist attacks using 'conventional' means or 'weapons of mass destruction.' (WMD). Chaired by Virginia Governor, James S. Gilmore III, the report uses blunt language to stress the extreme vulnerability of the country to terrorists and the need for a coherent strategy for combating terrorism, to be presented to Congress within the new Administration's first year in office. "We are impelled by the stark realization that a terrorist attack ... inside our borders is inevitable and the United States must be ready," the report said. Some of the highlights reported in the press from the report are summarized below:

-- U.S. efforts to combat terrorism are "fragmented, uncoordinated, and politically unaccountable."

--Consolidate counter-terrorism into a single agency, a "National Office for Combating Terrorism", with a director appointed by the president but without operational control over the agencies engaged in fighting terrorism.

-- Human intelligence must be beefed up by rescinding the 1995 DCI guideline that prohibits use of foreign informants "who may have previously been involved in human rights violations." "Technology alone is not enough to keep US intelligence informed about terrorist threats."

-- Establish mandatory reporting requirements on the sale and purchase of certain equipment used to make and deliver cyber, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

-- Vastly improve the readiness of health and medical organizations at the federal, state and local levels to respond to a terrorist attack.

-- Determine the answers to such questions as: higher urban preparedness than for rural areas?; balance of attention given between conventional or WMD attacks?; and which pathogens in biological weapons deserve priority?

-- Reduce the number of Congressional committees with jurisdiction over terrorism issues from 25 down to one joint committee or two separate committees -- one for the Senate and one for the House.

(Wash Post 14 Dec '00, by David Wise and Don Eggen; CNN.com 14 Dec '00. by David Ensor and Pam Denson) ( Harvey)

  US RELAXING RULES ON SALE OF COMMERCIAL SATELLITE PHOTOS -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has licensed Space Imaging Inc to sell commercially 'half-meter resolution' imagery when its next-generation imaging satellite is launched in 2004. Presumably, the usual 'shutter controls,' which allow the government to shut down commercial satellites to protect national security, will apply. The license also prohibits the firm from providing customers with satellite images within 24 hours of the time they were taken.

Reportedly senior military and intelligence officials supported the license in order to relieve some of the pressure on the NRO. While the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) spends millions a year buying one-meter imagery from Space Imaging (in addition to NRO and aircraft imagery), the new half-meter imagery is considered to be of far greater defense utility. "When you get down to half-meter, you're starting to get closer to the specifics of what is on the ground. "The additional resolution allows you to discern kinds of vehicles and kinds of armament, " said an NRO spokesman. One meter resolution is twice as good as Russian imagery and five times better than Indian satellite imagery. Some US reconnaissance birds are rumored to produce imagery as fine as ten centimeters. Although unstated in the press account, it is probably safe to assume that this commercial imagery will carry the usual US constraints of the past, including 'no sales of imagery of Israel.' (WashPost 16Dec00, p.1 //V. Loeb) (Harvey)

EDMUND POPE FREE -- Captain Pope, a retired Naval intelligence officer, held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison on espionage charges since April, was convicted by a Russian court, sentenced to twenty years, and immediately pardoned by President Putin on December 14th. He has returned to the US. (jdmac)http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48053-2000Dec9.html

NAVY PETTY OFFICER'S ESPIONAGE HEARING TO START OVER. A court hearing in the espionage case of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King, charged with passing secrets to the Russians, must start over because a military appeals court has ruled that more of the hearing must be conducted in public. King has been held at Quantico since October 1999 and is charged with giving classified information to the Russians in 1994, when he was stationed at the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters (jdmac)   http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46956-2000Dec9.html

FBI MILLENNIUM TERRORIST THREAT ASSESSMENT -- The FBI warns of a potential Domestic Terrorist threat from extremist groups that interpret the year 2001 as the true millennium. The FBI has previously published Project Megiddo to raise the awareness level of the potential

violence that may be committed by extremists with a Millennial Agenda. (a copy may be found on the FBI Homepage: http://www.FBI.GOV. Violent extremists may attach special significance to the date of January 1, 2001. It should be noted that only a very small fraction of individuals/groups that hold these beliefs may actually plan for or engage in Millennial related violence. Any information pertaining to terrorist threats and/or activity should be immediately reported to the FBI or your local/state law enforcement agencies. (FBI ANSIR communication // Special Agent Gary Harter, Email: Gharter@leo.gov) (Jonkers)


  PRESSURE AGAIN EMERGING TO FREE JONATHAN POLLARD -- Administration officials said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now engaged in an election campaign and looking for an edge, raised the issue with President Clinton again on December 11th. The President essentially restated the official US position on the matter, telling Barak he would review the issue along with other clemency requests.

President Clinton has considered clemency for Pollard on at least three occasions, in 1993, 1996 and 1998, in the context of Middle East "peace process" negotiations, and once ordered a separate reassessment of the case, which concluded that Pollard had seriously damaged national security. The President, who wields exclusive clemency authority, could weigh a variety of options, among them shortening Pollard's sentence or allowing him to be transferred to an Israeli prison, where Pollard, who obtained Israeli citizenship in 1995, would almost certainly soon be released. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have vigorously opposed such a step, saying Pollard's crimes were far too serious to provide any basis for clemency. Each time, faced with unequivocal opposition, the President has backed away from the case.

Even so another review is expected, despite White House denials.

A concession to Pollard's ethnic pressure group supporters in the waning days of the Clinton's presidency, when such actions are almost risk-free politically, would still arouse deep resentment among law enforcement and intelligence officials. In an interview, Joseph E. diGenova, the prosecutor in the Pollard case, reflected the unyielding view of many government officials. "This is a decision of such gravity that it will taint this president's legacy forever," he said. "It is absolutely indefensible from either a legal or humanitarian standpoint to grant clemency to this American citizen who had done the gravest kind of damage to the United States." (NYT Dec 13, 2000 /// D. Johnston) (Jonkers)

YUGOSLAVIA: ANATOMY OF AN OVERT COVERT ACTION -- An excellent front page article in the Dec.11 Washington Post outlines the US government's successful effort, both overt and covert, to help unseat President Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia's September election. Early in the article, which details how modern election techniques were brought to bear by American political experts, it is stated this effort was much different from the way the CIA once worked to bring down unfriendly foreign governments. [That's not quite true, of course. During the 1950's, the CIA's covert action operatives orchestrated exactly these types of modern campaign techniques to help democratic leaders get elected -- Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines, for example. --jdmac] The article mainly focuses on how US funds were funneled through the National Endowment for Democracy to train and in some cases supply Serbian political activists. It also says the CIA was active in this year's effort, but exactly what role it played is unknown and, in the view of the journalist, probably didn't amount to much. In any event, despite Hollywood hype about secret coups and assassinations, this is what a modern day US covert action efforts (in a democracy) really are -- a behind the scenes election (and political "spin," or propaganda) campaign, and this article describes the process quite well. (WPOST 11 Dec 00, p. A1) (jdmac)http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18395-2000Dec3.html

CHINA - MOBILE BALLISTIC MISSILE TEST -- China conducted the second flight test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile last month and is preparing for the third test in the next few weeks. The truck-mobile DF-31 was first tested on the ground in 1995 and again in 1998, when ejection tests were carried out, firing the missile out of its launch tube. The latest flight test of the DF-31 was conducted during the 3-5 November visit to China by Gen. Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, probably to send a message about the depth of Chinese concern over the US policy on the Taiwan issue - the only real war threat issue between China and the US ( only if we proceed with the same level of diplomatic blundering as in our Yugoslav policy - ed) .

The flight test was carried out from the Wuzhai Missile and Space Center, some 250 miles north of Beijing. The flight path was within Chinese territory and involved several decoy warheads -- an indication of China's intention to increase the DF-31's capability to cope with missile defenses. The CIA is quoted in the article as stating that the DF-31 and a longer-range version, the DF-41, will be the first Chinese missiles to incorporate U.S. nuclear weapons design information obtained through espionage (namely smaller warheads). The CIA reported last year that China's current long-range missile force includes 13 nuclear-armed missiles with the range to target the United States.

The DF 31 is expected to become operational in the near future and   garrison deployment is expected in the period between 2005 and 2010, and will provide some marginally increased level of survivability to China's missile posture. (WashTimes, Dec12, p.1 //B. Gertz) (Jonkers) 


  • U-2 vs. Global Hawk. Recently the Congressional Research Service did a comparison of the recon workhorse, U-2, and the programmed UAV, Global Hawk. The UAV which flew for the first time in 1998 has greater range and endurance than the U-2 and does not put a pilot in harms' way. At $50 million a copy, however, it can hardly be considered "expendable." The U-2 carries more sensors and is better able to detect moving targets. It provided more than 80 percent of the imagery needed for air strikes in Kosovo and 90 percent of all ground force targeting information in Desert Storm.

  • DCI Quotes in LA. During a recent speech in Los Angeles, the DCI said: "I will be blunt with you. The pace of technological change threatens to erode America's technical advantage in intelligence--an advantage that has long been a pillar of our national security." By way of illustrating how diverse and difficult today's intelligence challenges have become, he said: "Who would have thought that tiny East Timor would become a security issue for the United States? But the humanitarian crisis that blew up there last year--the violence, the massacres--put it on the front burner for the president. He wanted intelligence support, and I did not have the option to say: 'Well, sir, we're a little busy right now."

  • Cuba's Military Dug In. A leaked DIA classified report indicates the Cubans have built an elaborate network of underground bunkers and tunnels for key military forces, air-defense sites, and command-and-control facilities along the northern coast. Many of the sites are more than 65 feet below the surface, making some too deep to attack with conventional munitions. Half of the military budget since the early 1980s has gone into building the tunnel networks. The report says, "These tunnels are said to house Cuban motorized infantry and tank units whose mission would be to stop or delay landing forces while the rest of the Revolutionary Armed Forces mobilize for war." Expert tunneling help has been provided by Vietnamese, North Koreans and former Soviets. More than 400 bunkers have been identified under construction or completed, with several up to 180 feet below ground.

  • Submarine Recon Increases. According to Admiral Frank Bowman, Director of Nuclear Reactors, "While our submarine force has been cut nearly in half since 1989, the number of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions performed by submarines has nearly doubled."

  • UN Considering Use of U-2 Over Iraq. A UN official recently announced that the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission is considering whether to ask the US or France for use of the U-2 or Mirage recon aircraft to monitor Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions against its weapons of mass destruction program. Both types of aircraft have been used in the past to monitor Iraq's compliance. One complicating factor is the cost to operate the U-2 and the willingness of the US to spend the money. The UN also wants to continue to use satellite imagery from the US to monitor Iraq and is also considering whether to buy commercial satellite imagery.

(Sources: Wash Post 27 Nov '00, by Vernon Loeb; Wash Post 12 Dec '00, p.45 by Vernon Loeb; Wash Times 8 Dec '00 by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough; Undersea Warfare/Fall 2000, p. 2; Defense Daily 7 Dec '00, p. 7 by Frank Wolfe) (Harvey)


CYBER THIEVES OF THE FUTURE -- By 2020 the skilled British thief will be more interested in stealing somebody's identity to gain access to various cyber-services than in breaking into homes to lift their compact disc player, says a Whitehall think tank report. The UK Department of Trade and Industry "Foresight" Crime-prevention panel has told ministers that a national strategy to combat electronic crime needs to be established within the next two years if law enforcement agencies are to keep pace with the speed with which sophisticated criminals are learning to use the new technologies. The report said that in future thieves will not be targeting hardware such as videos, televisions and mobile phones, but the spoils of e-crime - internet services, intellectual property, knowledge and data. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4104587,00.html (LEVINE Newsbits 13 Dec00)


TERRORISM TODAY, by Christopher Harmon, Frank Cass, 2000 -- This book contains an original and comprehensive assessment and critique of the use by sub-state groups of terrorism as an instrument to attain political power. The author is a professor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, specializing in terrorism studies. He demonstrates his expertise in the book's encyclopedic coverage of terrorism.
Mr. Harmon discusses terrorist groups' ideologies, psychologies, policies, strategies, tactics, and varieties of operations, which are illustrated in his survey of the globe's most significant terrorist insurgencies, such as the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland, the Palestinian Hamas, the Lebanese Hizballah, and the insurgency in Colombia in which terrorism is combined with narco-trafficking. The author foresees greater technical sophistication in terrorist tactics and weaponry, such as the use of powerful, portable weapons that can shoot down airliners, wreck high-speed trains, or poison thousands of people in an urban environment.
Another trend is the increasing link between terrorist and criminal groups, particularly narco-traffickers. The author concludes with a well-reasoned assessment of counter-terrorism, including a discussion of the policy tension over making concessions to terrorist demands. (rev'd by Joshua Sinai, WashTimes 10 Dec2000 pB6)

TALIBAN: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, by Ahmed Rashid, Yale University press, 2000. This is an extensively researched analysis by a noted journalist (based in the region) of political developments in Afghanistan and the ambitions of its Taliban rulers and their local allies to transform the former Soviet republics in Central Asia (including neighboring Pakistan) into an Islamic caliphate.
The book provides a fascinating survey of the history of the Taliban movement, including the influence on it of militant Islam, its political and military organization, the intertwining of drugs and the Taliban economy, and the promotion of "global Jihad" through the Arab Afghans and the Osama Bin Laden terrorist network. The author then goes on to explain how Central Asia, with its great natural resources in the form of oil, has become one of the world's most dangerous trouble spots, not only for neighboring Russia and China, but for the United States as well. (rev'd by Joshua Sinai, WashTimes 10 Dec2000 pB6) 


Member Michael Wala provides the following helpful information from Ralph Erskine: --A searchable index (in HTML - (about 68 kbs)) to Volumes 1 to 15 of 'Intelligence and National Security' may be found on Frode Weierud's website at- http://frode.home.cern.ch/frode/crypto/INS.html

It covers articles (including some review articles), but not book reviews. I prepared it, and Frode Weierud kindly coded it in HTML. Frode and I hope that it proves useful. The more accurate it is, the more helpful it should be. It will inevitably contain mistakes, and may even omit some entries. If you spot any errors (including typos), please let me know at - rerskine@clara.co.uk Even small corrections will help. We hope to update the index annually, after issue No. 4 appears. Ralph Erskine.

  Our AFIO San Francisco Chapter reports that Vladimir Sakahrov, who served as a CIA agent in the United Arab Republics for four years and later became a U.S. citizen, a guest speaker at both national and local AFIO functions, and a noted author on Soviet foreign policy, suffered a massive heart attack and is on life support at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton, CA. The prognosis is not good. We wish him well on his final mission.


WINs are commentaries based on open source press reporting. Opinions are those of the editors cited, and do not represent AFIO positions. This is the final WIN of the year 2000.

  WINs represent proprietary information and are protected by copyright. Re-dissemination is not permitted except by express authorization of the Editor/Producer.



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