Weekly Intelligence Notes #04-01
29 January 2001

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN) 
04-01 dtd 29 January 2001


WINs are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and WIN subscribers.
Associate editors Don Harvey and John Macartney contribute articles.

Warning Notice: Perishability of Links:  WINs, sent weekly to members, often contain numerous webpage links to fast-breaking news, documents or other items of interest; unfortunately, after four weeks many of these websites [especially newspaper and other media sites] remove items or shift them into fee-only archives.  This underscores the benefit of receiving the WINs as they are released.

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SECTION I -- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

FORMER CIA DIRECTOR JOHN DEUTCH OFF THE HOOK - GETS PARDON --The night before he was pardoned by President Bill Clinton, former CIA director John M. Deutch agreed in writing to plead guilty to a single charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material - a misdemeanor. The plea agreement he signed was contingent upon the judge accepting a sentence worked out by both sides, which called for no prison time and a $5,000 fine, a law enforcement source said. Special prosecutor Paul E. Coffey, who negotiated the plea agreement, was not consulted about the pardon and was taken by surprise when it was announced.
             Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a former CIA operations officer, commented that Clinton's pardon of Deutch sent the wrong message to the intelligence community about the importance of safeguarding classified information. He said he would oppose any move by the CIA or the Defense Department to restore Deutch's security clearances. "As long as I'm chairman of the intelligence committee, [the pardon] won't make any difference at all," Goss said. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, agreed that the Deutch pardon "sends the wrong message everywhere. The Director of the CIA should be beyond reproach."
(Wash Post 24 Jan 2001, p. 13 // Miller & Pincus) (Jonkers)

RUSSIA DOWNGRADES CZECHEN WAR -- President Vladimir V. Putin effectively downgraded Russia's war in Chechnya from a military to a counterterrorist operation to be conducted under the control of his domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service. President Putin stated he plans to cut Russia's 80,000-member force in the rebellious province by nearly three-quarters in coming months. "This does not mean the end of the counterterrorist operation," Putin said in remarks broadcast on the independent NTV television network. "On the contrary, it will be continued, and not less intensively but with the use of different means and forces, and with a different emphasis." That seems to signal a move toward smaller operations aimed at wiping out militant leaders, whose movements are more restricted now that government troops rule most of the province, at least during the day. A spokesman for the Federal Security Service said that the agency's forces already in Chechnya would be beefed up and that more effort would go into special operations and searches for rebel forces, but that traditional military operations would also continue.   Mr. Putin's actions follow a decree, signed Friday, that gave pro-Moscow Chechen leaders expanded powers to re-establish government services and a working economy in the region. (NYTimes 23 Jan 2001 /// M. Wines)  (Jonkers)

SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

US SPACE COMMISSION REPORT -- The report of the Congressionally-mandated Commission on U.S. Space Policy and National Security was recently published. The commission, known as the Rumsfeld Commission, made important recommendations relating to space warfare (including allusions to a possible future Space Force) and the protection of US satellites and other space activities. With the designation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, the report is likely to be a blueprint of where the new Administration is going - which will be covered in the next WIN. Three of the commission's 10 recommendations touch directly on Pentagon-Intelligence Community relationships:

(1) Recommendation No. 4: Secretary of Defense and the DCI must have a "close, continuing and effective relationship" in order to resolve policy issues and allocate resources for space assets needed for both intelligence and war fighting.

(2) Recommendation No. 5: A new post of Undersecretary of Defense for Space, Intelligence and Information should be created to oversee research and development, acquisition of space assets and coordination with the Intelligence Community.

(3) Recommendation No. 8: A new post of Undersecretary of the Air Force should be created to run the NRO and serve as the sole acquisition authority for space assets, a responsibility now shared by the military and the DCI.

The net effect of the commission's recommendations would make the DCI an official responsible for setting requirements for space assets and acquisition, but not the one with appropriations authority for actually purchasing spy satellites. "My guess is that DCI won't be happy about being a customer of DoD when it comes to space-based collection," one intelligence official said. "But there are many areas where one government department has the lead for a service of common concern, and the other agencies simply state requirements." This will be an early test, perhaps, of the Rumsfeld-Tenet relationship. (Wash Post 19 Jan 2001) courtesy/ M. Decker) ( http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/nation/columns/intelligencia/A18982-2001Jan19.html ) (Jonkers)

INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FY 2001 - The act, signed by former President Clinton on December 27, 2000, authorizes appropriations for the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the US Government, reported by the press to amount to $30 Billion. Clinton on November 4 vetoed the original intelligence authorization bill because of the provision making unauthorized and willful disclosures of classified information by government employees a felony by up to three years in prison." This provision was removed. Several provisions of interest include:

(1) International Agreement Clarification -- The law clarifies that treaties and other international agreements not intended to apply explicitly to authorized intelligence activities should not be so interpreted. This provision will assist in the analysis of legal restrictions on intelligence activities.

(2) Declassification -- The law incorporates several provisions on declassification. This year's act includes a Japanese War Crime Records provision, similar to a Nazi War Crimes Records Act which passed previously. These sections require expedited disclosure of records relating to persons suspected of committing war crimes during the World War II era. The broader subject of declassification generally is addressed in the inclusion of the 'Public Interest Declassification Act' in this year's bill. That section would establish a board to advise the President and other senior leaders on declassification policies concerning the systematic and comprehensive review of materials of archival value, including records of extraordinary public interest.

(3) POW-MIA -- The law requires the DCI to establish and maintain within the intelligence community an analytic capability to assess US POW-MIA missing since 1991.

(4) State Department -- The Act limits the State Department's handling, retention and storage of certain classified information, subject to certification by the DCI of compliance with security requirements. (Dec 27--Associated Press)  (Jonkers)

TAIWAN -US INTELLIGENCE COOPERATION -- NSA has reportedly just completed a major upgrade of the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) facility operated by the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) in co-ordination with the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Yangmingshan Mountain, just north of Taipei. The five-year upgrade and training program has included the "development, design, implementation, and operation of a variety of special-purpose telecommunication and data processing systems." The upgrade program allegedly provided a tenfold increase in total system capacity. Information that once required hours or days to process and report now takes less than a minute. A training program allowed the ROC to be less reliant on NSA assistance, enabling the transition of support and development responsibility to ROC personnel, allowing NSA to "focus on broader strategic initiatives". (Janes's Defense Weekly 24 Jan 2001 // W. Minnick)

ECHELON REDUX - The suspicions about Echelon's potential as an industrial espionage system will not die. On January 19th the Dutch Minister of Defense issued a memorandum entitled "Large-scale Bugging of Modern Telecommunications Systems" which was approved by the cabinet, pointing out communications vulnerabilities (including telephones, faxes and e-mail) and exploitation by criminal elements, by companies for industrial espionage, and by Governments. The memorandum officially recognized the existence of the Echelon network. Rumors to the effect that the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand had established such a system have never been formally confirmed by the countries in question. Investigations by the French and Belgian parliaments previously indicated that Echelon does exist.
    The European parliament has confirmed that there is such a network, which allows large-scale reception and filtering of information conveyed by modern telecommunications systems for subsequent listening or reading. Echelon was said to be initially intended to be used to fight crime and terrorism, but there are fears that the it also can serve the purposes of industrial espionage. The memorandum also noted that other governments, not just the Western states, employ Echelon-type systems. ( NRC Handelsblad, Rotterdam, 20 Jan 01 p 2 //courtesy C. Wiebes) (Jonkers)

SECTION III  - BOOKS AND SOURCES

CIA WEBSITE UPDATE -- (1) New publication posted: "The Office of Strategic Services: America's First Intelligence Agency." (2) Added a link to the Report of the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. (3) Posted Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin, Issue No. 11, Summer 2000 4) Posted Press Release: Senator Warren Rudman and Physicist Sidney Drell Receive Highest Award Bestowed by U.S. Intelligence. (http://www.cia.gov)

SECTION IV - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

RUSSIAN WEBSITE TRANSLATIONS -- Letter From G. O'Hara -- Ref: WIN 03-01 dtd 22 January 2001 -- A site to pass along concerning translating Russian web pages to English -- live and online! http://www.aport-ru.com/en/defengtrn.asp. Going to this page and entering the copied URL of a Russian web page to be translated will yield the Russian URL translated into English! ( www.nbcnco.com )

IRAN EMBASSY TAKEOVER - Dr. William D. writes: ...in WIN 03-01 there is the following letter from John M. --

"When the Iranian students took over the US Embassy in Tehran, according to published reports, we were caught totally by surprise. This was attributed to the fact that none of the agents at the CIA center in the agency knew the native Persian language of Farsi!"

As one of the CIA officers in Tehran station at the time, I can attest without equivocation that the absence of a Farsi-speaking agency officer had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Embassy was caught "totally by surprise." What was needed was an agent in the very small cabal operating in absolute secrecy that planned the takeover. Not even Khomeini, much less anyone within his circle was informed of the plans. Absence of a Farsi speaker implies that the information was available to someone who had or would have accepted contact with an agency officer, but that a case officer was unable to make the contact because of the language barrier. In fact, the only ones who knew of the plans were absolutely the last people in Iran who would have spoken to an American from the Embassy. And, ironically, these people all spoke good English, so Farsi would not have been needed if one of them had for some reason defected. The Agency published a document in November 1981 that has since been declassified that lays out with an amazing degree of accuracy the planning behind the takeover -- "Iran: The Seizure of the Embassy in Retrospect," a publication of the National Foreign Assessment center [aka: DI, in the Carter years], NESA 81-10022 of Nov 1981, declassified on 17 May 1993. The document is available through the agency's FOIA office. I suggest that critics of the Embassy takeover review this rather than rely on "published reports" from authors who had no first -- or even second -- hand knowledge of the event but rather resort to supposition and outright guessing. ( wijid@home.com )

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY REQUIREMENTS -- Allen E. writes: ... take a look at the article written by former DCI Robert Gates published in the Wall Street Journal (23 Jan 2001). He's writing about Bush asking George Tenet to "stay on for now," and what this means in terms of Tenet's responsibility to make sure President Bush and the new team understand that our intelligence agencies need help right away - more resources and stronger support. He has some interesting insights, and many of his comments about "what needs to be done" have been around for a long, long time. I had a 35 year career at CIA, and 3 of those years was with the Intelligence Community Staff when Adm. Dan Murphy and John McMahon were running the place. Under Murphy and McMahon (interestingly, George Bush, the first, was then DCI!) the first steps were taken in creating a more fully integrated intelligence community, with the first consolidated budget presented to the Congressional oversight committees. But that's as far it went. The DCI has never been given the kind of centralized authority to really coordinate the intelligence process the way Gates is talking about. But a lot of talking about it was done back in those days as well.... ( aelkins@widomaker.com )

SECTION V -  MISCELLANEOUS

CIA IG RETIRES -- CIA Inspector-General Britt Snider retired from the Agency on 19 January 2001. Director Tenet paid tribute to Mr. Snider for his dedicated service.

PRESIDENT BUSH's BRIEFING PREFERENCE: The President expressed his desire to receive his daily CIA briefing in person from a senior analyst, six days a week, usually first thing in the morning. (Jan 18--CNN Online ( http://www.cnn.com )

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