Weekly Intelligence Notes #06-01
12 February 2001

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WIN) 06-01 dated 12 February 2001

WINs contain intelligence notes and commentaries selected, edited, written and produced by Roy Jonkers, with contributions by Associate editors John Macartney and Don Harvey.

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NORTH KOREAN THREAT POTENTIAL -- CIA Director George J. Tenet told a Senate hearing last Wednesday that "the North Korean military appears for now to have halted its near-decade-long slide in military capabilities," and is expanding its short- and medium-range missile arsenal. He also said there are few signs of real economic reform. Ground forces are being infused with large numbers of artillery rockets and tubes deployed in bunkers. Long-range 240 mm multiple-rocket-launcher systems and 170 mm self-propelled guns were fielded recently near the DMZ. North Koreans have been building new ballistic missile facilities, purchased some fighter aircraft and deployed more anti-tank barriers and combat posts on military transit routes. The military has dispersed its forces and is using more camouflage. They are currently trying to buy 3,000 advanced SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles to beef up aircraft defenses.

            Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the same Senate hearing that North Korea is unlikely to reduce its threatening military position because the military is needed to keep the regime in power. The mercurial North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is obtaining the support of his military leaders by using scarce resources to buy new weapons and supplies. North Korean military leaders remain "deeply suspicious" of any moves toward reconciliation with the South and economic reform, and there is a deep disconnect in understanding, frames of reference, and perspectives between the top leader and the bureaucrats who implement and execute his ideas and policies. North Korea remains a fundamentally schizophrenic and unstable state.

            Robert Manning, an Asian affairs specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations, said the agreement that ended North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the Agreed Framework, is so far behind schedule that Pyongyang this spring could threaten to restart its nuclear arms program. "The problem is that diplomacy is way out front of threat reduction. The threat hasn't lessened at all, and yet the diplomacy and press image is that this is somehow a new North Korea and [Kim Jong-il] is a charming guy." A military buildup, nuclear and missile ambitions, continuing civil deprivation and internal political disconnects point to a predictable potential for upheaval, threat and crisis. (Washington Times, February 12, 2001, Pg. 1 //B/ Gertz) (Jonkers)

RUSSIAN AGENT WITH DIPLOMATIC COVER DEFECTS TO US -- A Russian intelligence officer, identified by the officials as Sergei Tretyakov, who worked under cover as a diplomat at the United Nations, defected last October with his wife and other family members, and has undergone extensive debriefings by the FBI and CIA. While Mr. Tretyakov's public title was first secretary in the Russian mission, he was in fact an officer in the S.V.R., Russia's foreign intelligence service. Defections of Russian intelligence officers have become relatively rare in recent years, partly because American intelligence agencies have become more selective in terms of which Russians they consider to be of interest. The market value of Russian spies has declined. Officials refused to say whether Tretyakov had worked as a spy for the United States while he was still at the United Nations before his defection. But since Tretyakov appears to have been formally accepted into the United States under the laws that govern the CIA's official defector resettlement program, he must have met fairly high standards in terms of his value to American intelligence.

            It is possible that Tretyakov would be able to provide American counterintelligence officials with information about some of the Russian espionage operations under way in the United States. Russia has sharply increased the number of intelligence officers it has placed in the United States recently. After being cut nearly in half in the early 1990's after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ranks of Russian intelligence officers have now returned to nearly their cold war levels. Still, the increased Russian intelligence presence in the United States does not mean that Moscow is winning any new spy war. In fact, American officials say it is possible that some Russian intelligence officers view their assignments here largely as a time to enjoy a pleasant life away from Moscow. For the most part, Russian intelligence officers are based at the Russian Embassy in Washington, the Russian Consulate and United Nations mission in New York, and the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. (New York Times, February 10, 2001 //J. Risen )( Jonkers)

FUGITIVE FINANCIER MARC RICH AN ISRAELI SPY? Congress will soon hold hearings on one the most controversial of President Clinton's last minute pardons. We have already heard that Rich's former wife gave more than a million dollars to the Democratic Party and to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now this NY Post article claims that Rich was an important intelligence source for the Mossad and that both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit lobbied Clinton directly in support of last month's pardon. (Macartney) http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/23124.htm

CYBER-TERRORISM RESOLUTION -- Reps. James Saxton, R-N.J., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., this week introduced legislation that calls on the government to develop a new legal framework to prosecute hackers and other Internet criminals. Saxton and Chambliss offered a House resolution that also labels cyber-terrorism "an emerging threat to the national security of the United States which has the potentiality to cause great harm to the nation's critical infrastructure..." The resolution also calls for a public-private industry partnership to combat cyber-crime, and a multi-agency study to assess the threat of cyber-terrorism to the US. The study would be conducted by the Commerce and Defense Departments, along with the NSA the CIA and the FBI. http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/161746.html


FORMER DCI OFFERS ADVICE ON THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY -- Noting that for the first time in over 30 years a president has decided to retain a DCI selected by the president of the other party, former deputy director and former director Robert Gates has written about the present situation facing George Tenet. He considers the IC as having lived off of strategic plans and investments made in the early Reagan years with no increase in real spending for intelligence until very recently. Accordingly, "No challenge is more pressing than remedying the cumulative effect of 15 years of insufficient investment " in American intelligence capabilities. The CIA has 25 percent fewer people than less than a decade ago; the other intelligence agencies experienced the same or worse reductions at the same time the demands for intelligence support increased dramatically. Dozens of overseas combat operations since 1993 [some of them lasting years] have created huge requirements for daily battlefield intelligence (some 900 intelligence community analysts were involved full-time for a year in support of operations in Kosovo) with no new capabilities having been added. He believes the DCI's challenges are:

** First, to persuade the new secretary of defense to collaborate on a multi-year program for reinvestment in US intelligence capabilities--above all, the NSA--and then to persuade the president and Congress to find the money.

** Second, to persuade the president and Congress "to give him the authority he needs to manage the dozen or so agencies for which he must develop budgets and priorities and for whose performance he is accountable."

** Third, to develop a working relationship with the new secretary of defense. The new secretary of state and the new secretary of defense have underscored the need for new resources in their departments; the president and the national security adviser need to ensure the DCI's voice is heard as well and with the support of the entire national security team.

** Fourth, to establish himself as a trusted member of the president's inner circle. "He needs to be present in the small meetings at which the crucial decisions are made. He must be the one to make sure all the players have the same information and that the facts on the table are the best available, not just those supporting one position or another."

Mr. Gates probably knows, though he does not allude to it, that previous DCI's have found it impossible to convince secretaries of defense to relinquish control of a vital element of the military forces they control to an outside authority [the DCI] who shares only a portion of the responsibilities the SECDEF and the Services hold. With intelligence increasingly recognized in the military as an integral and necessary element of military operations and planning, the DCI could anticipate dedicated opposition to a measure giving him unalloyed management control of the DOD intelligence agencies' performance and budgets.
(Wall Street Journal 23 Jan '01, "Revitalize the CIA") (Harvey)

PAN AM 103 LOCKERBIE TRIAL -- On orders from Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet, the CIA played an unusually high-profile role in supporting Scottish prosecutors in the Pan Am 103 case, providing dozens of secret operations cables and a foreign informer as a witness for the first time in a foreign court case. But the CIA's most important contribution in helping secure the conviction of a (low-level) Libyan intelligence officer on Wednesday may have come a decade ago when a CIA engineer was able to identify the timer that detonated a bomb aboard the 747 jetliner carrying 259 people, shifting the focus of the probe from a Palestinian terrorist group to Libya.

            In convicting Libyan intelligence operative Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi after an eight-month trial at Camp Zeist, the Netherlands, a three-judge Scottish panel rejected the testimony of CIA informer, but, in an 82-page opinion, cited the identification of a Swiss-made Mebo MST-13 timer as a key piece of evidence linking the bomb aboard Pan Am 103 to Libyan intelligence. Without mentioning the CIA by name, the judges noted that after months of "fruitless" effort by Scottish investigators and FBI agents to identify a fragment of the timer found in the wreckage, the "U.S. government" succeeded in naming the device in June 1990, 17 months after the Dec. 21, 1988, crash, which also killed 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland.

            In their closing arguments, prosecutors cited the testimony of CIA scientist "John Orkin," who explained to the court how the timer fragment matched an intact MST-13 timer obtained by the agency after a raid on a Libyan-backed terrorist cell by authorities in Togo in 1986. The CIA also provided prosecutors with documents showing that the agency had been allowed to photograph an identical MST-13 timer found in the possession of two known Libyan intelligence operatives arrested as they disembarked from an aircraft in Senegal in 1988. Additional testimony established that a Swiss firm, Mebo, began supplying MST-13 timers to Libya in the mid-1980s. "The clear inference which we draw from this evidence is that the conception, planning and execution of the plot which led to the planting of the explosive device was of Libyan origin," the judges wrote.

            After Libya in April 1999 finally turned over for trial two suspects, Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah -- the latter a onetime Libyan Airlines manager who was found not guilty -- the CIA assembled a team of lawyers and operations officers to consider what help the agency could give the Scottish prosecution team, senior intelligence officials said. Five months later, the team explained in a briefing to Tenet that Scottish law required an explicit explanation for how the agency had acquired the intact MST-13 timer and a photograph of the second MST-13, which meant operational cables would have to be provided and covert officials, including two chiefs of station, would have to testify using aliases and disguises.

            "It was at that briefing that the DCI made clear that we lean as far forward as possible in giving them the support they needed -- 'Go to it, whatever they want, I want you to do,' " an intelligence official recalled. "We had a fairly clear mission statement from that period forward.". "I don't think they would have gotten even one conviction without the CIA," Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

            As a footnote of interest, the CIA lost one of its own aboard Pan Am 103: Matthew Gannon, 34, a covert operative who had earlier married the daughter of a senior agency operations official, Thomas A. Twetten, and was returning home for Christmas after an undercover assignment in Beirut. (Wash Post / / V. Loeb) (Jonkers)


INTERNATIONAL CRIME THREAT ASSESSMENT -- This Global assessment was prepared by a US Government interagency working group in support of and pursuant to the President's International Crime Control Strategy. Representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; US Customs Service; US Secret Service; Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; National Drug Intelligence Center; the Departments of State, the Treasury, Justice, and Transportation; the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the National Security Council participated in the drafting of this assessment.
Includes: Introduction; Global Context of International Crime,
International Crimes Affecting US Interests: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270chap2.html
Worldwide Areas of International Criminal Activity: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270chap3.html
Consequences for US Strategic Interests: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270chap4.html
The Future of International Crime:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270chap5.html
Report Index: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270/pub45270index.html 

PENTAGON POLYGRAPH REPORT -- DOD has released its annual report to Congress on the counterintelligence polygraph. The report provides a summary of Pentagon polygraph activity, a description of ongoing research efforts on the fragile scientific underpinnings of the polygraph, and a new collection of anecdotes in which the polygraph saved the day. http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/polygraph/dod-2000.html (Macartney)

WAS ROBERT OPPENHEIMER AN ATOMIC SPY? This fascinating and almost book-length article, "Theory of Fielding" by HB Laes, argues rather persuasively (but circumstantially) that the prominent nuclear physicist, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer was a Soviet agent who was given the fictitious name 'Arthur Fielding' in 1942 by his NKVD recruiter. http://www.tof.blogspot.com/  (Macartney)

ODD MAN OUT: Truman, Stalin, Mao and the Origins of the Korean War, by Richard Thornton, Brassey's, 2000, 448 pages. -- The author is professor of history and international relations at George Washington University. His book is a detailed review of the political, diplomatic and military events that led to the outbreak of the Korean War, and its aftermath. Most interesting is that, contrary to popular belief, US intelligence had detected and forecast the Communist North's June 25, 1950 attack on South Korea. The intelligence was there, according to Dr Thornton, but political leaders did not use it. (Macartney) http://www.brasseysinc.com/Books/Odd%20Man%20Out/1574882406.htm


http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39138-2001Feb7.html (Macartney)


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