Weekly Intelligence Notes #08-01
26 February 2001

08-01 dated 26 February 2001

WINs contain intelligence-related commentaries selected, written, edited and produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers, with contributions by Associate editors John Macartney and Don Harvey.

AFIO members - Do Your Part -- Sponsor a New Member!

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.



IRAQ BOMBED AGAIN -- Some 36 US and UK aircraft on 15 February conducted a raid against Iraqi air defense command centers and radar sites around Baghdad, well outside the so-called no-fly zones imposed on Iraq after the Kuwait war. American commanders in the region, charged with patrolling the no-fly zones, had reportedly requested the raids as Iraqi air defenses were being upgraded, showed increased proficiency, and were therefore potentially threatening to the US/UK air patrols. The targeted Iraqi sites contained as many as 20 radars and command centers. The sites were part of a new Iraqi air defense network being installed, with Chinese assistance, using fiber optic cable to connect nodes, complicating the tasks of intelligence monitoring and electronic disruption. Most targets were missed as the guidance systems on the new US Navy long-range stand-off missiles being employed reportedly could not cope with local wind conditions. The target misses apparently resulted in a number of Iraqi civilian casualties. US strategy and policy in regard to Iraq is undergoing a sensible change, reportedly intending to decrease economic sanctions on the Iraqi population but tightening pressure on the Iraqi dictator and his military capabilities. (NYT 17 Feb 01, pA1) (Jonkers)

FBI COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OFFICER IS RUSSIAN SPY -- There really is no other news to compete with this story, and even though it has been receiving widespread media coverage, the following are some relevant perspectives for those who have not overdosed on the topic. This is, of course, a sad case. Leaks and carelessness (e.g. DCI Deutch or National Laboratories) are bad enough, but Robert Hanssen was a professional career colleague who sold out and was working for another state - for a long time. It is a painful blow, a betrayal of trust. In the grand scheme of things, of course, it has happened before, and sadly, it will happen again. There may still be -- or will be in the future -- other traitors, spies and moles working for foreign states and interests. That is why we must burden ourselves with clearance checks and security compartments and a healthy (to wit, proportionate and rational, effective but not excessive) counterintelligence capability.

AFFIDAVIT -- As to the facts, there is no better source than the 'Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint, Arrest Warrant and Search Warrant' filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, by Special Agent Stefan A. Pluta on behalf of the FBI. It is over 100 pages long, and is, in itself, suitable as a core document for a counterintelligence course of instruction. In the 'Summary of Investigation' it details the probable cause to believe that Robert Phillip Hanssen conspired with officers of the KGB (later SVR) to commit espionage against the US since 1985. During this time he compromised numerous US human sources within the Soviet system, three of whom were betrayed by both Hanssen and Ames, and two of whom were executed. He purloined dozens of US Government classified documents, including documents concerning the US National Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) program (classified TS/SCI); the US Double Agent Program (Secret); the FBI double agent program (TS); the US Compendium of Future Intelligence Requirements (TS); a study of KGB recruitment operations against the CIA (Secret); and assessment of KGB efforts concerning certain US nuclear programs (TS); a CIA analysis of the KGB's First Chief Directorate ((S); a tightly controlled analysis of the foreign threat to a highly compartmented US program (TS/SCI); and others. He compromised US Intelligence technical operations, including electronic surveillance and monitoring techniques and precise targets. He betrayed at least one entire National Technical program of enormous value, expense and importance.

            He further gave away numerous FBI counterintelligence investigative techniques, sources, methods and operations, and FBI operational practices against the Soviet KGB and later the Russian SVR. He advised the KGB and SVR on methods of their operation that were subject to FBI surveillance, and compromised the FBI's secret investigation of Felix Bloch, a Foreign Service Officer, for espionage.

            The summary continues by disclosing Hannsen's contacts with the SVR up through February 2001 and the results of the search of his house and vehicle, as well as the letters and packages exchanged with his handlers. For his services Hanssen was paid $600,000 over fifteen years (equivalent to $40,000 per year), with a KGB/SVR escrow account in a Moscow bank said to be worth $800,000 (the existence of which Hanssen said he doubted). The Affidavit goes on to list Hanssen's background and education as well as his FBI duties, his oath of office, security clearance acknowledgments, and then the text of exchanges both the Soviet/Russian ones and Hanssen's letters, and details the interactions. It is a fascinating document.

WHY DID HE DO IT??? From first reports, Hanssen, now 56, is smart, technically adept (he used a Palm III, encryption and flash memory cards to convey documents to his Russian handlers), conservative in appearance and conduct, an individual who appeared to be an upright, church-going, moral family-man, leading a frugal lifestyle appropriate to his civil service rank. He demonstrated none of the usual telltale indicators of trouble or treason. His career points to an early and continuing interest in espionage, and in his letters to the Soviets he confirmed this, saying he wanted to be a spy since his teenage years, and expressing his admiration for Kim Philby, the notorious British turncoat who believed the British social structure was corrupt and needed to be overturned.

            In 1985, twelve years into his career, he was assigned to the FBI offices in New York, an office with low morale, where several agents had already quit because government salaries could not meet the high cost of living -- something regularly overlooked in Government agencies. He needed money. He possibly was bored -- much of CI (and intelligence) work is routine and mundane stuff. He probably felt confined within the civil service structure -- as many do, but find other outlets for their frustration. He may have felt under-appreciated as a career civil servant. And he apparently looked down on the US -- he wrote his handlers that the US generally acted like a backward child - although capable of transforming into an "idiot-savant" under stress. He apparently needed the adrenaline injection of clear and present danger, and the intellectual challenge of being able to "bring it off." All of these needs and repressed feelings apparently impelled him to act out his youthful dream of being a spy and his admiration for Philby.

            He offered his services to the Soviets in a letter to an accommodation address -- one he knew where the mail was not being monitored by the FBI -- of KGB officer Viktor M. Degtyar, but addressed to the KGB's Viktor Cherkashin, chief of counterintelligence in the Soviet's Washington station in 1985. In a second letter he delivered the goods, naming Russians who were working for the US. Thus he sold out his agency, his colleagues, his family, and his country to the Soviets, motivated by money, a warped set of values, and various needs described above. He demonstrated a pathetic - but not unusual - need for reassurance and praise by his Soviet handlers in his letters, alongside an amoral sense of superiority about his own cleverness in betraying his country -- pulling off the caper. The rest is for psychiatrists to divine.

WHY WAS HE CAUGHT? The first reason is simple -- we caught this American working for the Russians because a Russian working for the US turned him in. Although Hanssen did not reveal his identity to the Soviets/Russians, the documents obtained by the United States included so much detail that they led the FBI to him. And then Hanssen, who was a seasoned counterintelligence agent, with tradecraft usually meticulous, made mistakes. For example, he became callous and reportedly used dead drops near to his home too often, and told his handlers too much about himself. And so, after the tip-off, he was identified through good analysis and caught red-handed after good FBI counterintelligence surveillance and investigative work.

            He was also caught as part of a longstanding very secret search for a 'second mole.' Shortly after Ames' capture in February 1994 it was concluded that it was unlikely that Ames was responsible for all the intelligence losses of the previous few years. A special 'mole-hunting' joint investigative team of FBI and CIA officers was established to investigate pre-and post-Ames losses. Mr Paul Redmond, nominee for the AFIO Board of Directors, was reported in the press to have been part of this effort. As part of this program the effort to recruit Russian counterintelligence personnel willing to sell information to the US was redoubled - made easier after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Russia on the ropes and SVR officers not being paid. As a result, in 1997 FBI agent Earl Edwin Pitts was caught spying for Russia and sentenced to 27 years in prison. In that same year, Harold J. Nicholson, a former CIA station chief in Romania, was sentenced to more than 23 years. Both successes were based on information received from our spies within the Russian agencies. But neither of these two cases solved all the unexplained losses. So the mole-hunt continued -- sometimes, some CIA officers considered, to crippling excess. A CIA officer has been on administrative leave for 18 months under investigation -- this officer's fate is uncertain at this time.

            Slowly the suspicions grew that the Russians had a source within the FBI. And then came the KGB file on what turned out to be the traitor Hanssen.

WHAT NEXT?  FBI Director Freeh has already asked William H. Webster, the former FBI .and CIA director (a member of AFIO's Honorary Board) to lead a review of the bureau's internal procedures, a move endorsed by President Bush. Beyond that, Director Freeh was said to be preparing a series of immediate changes in security procedures. Among the changes will be more restrictions on access to classified computer databases and more intensive audits of computer use. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold closed Hearings. The case will be an impetus for the implementation of CI-21. There will be charges of laxity of procedures against the FBI. On the public evidence, these are mostly misplaced. Hanssen did not fit any profile to arouse suspicion. Up to 1985 he would have passed all polygraphs with flying colors. Thereafter, like Ames, he might well have continued to pass. He had access to counterintelligence investigation information -- but apparently and prudently not to that related to the special search for the missing mole - that was done professionally in a special compartment. The CIA and FBI did well - they rolled up three spies in a few years. The system sustained losses, but will recover. We don't need scapegoats and stories about intelligence failures - we need to stay awake and recognize that espionage has existed, and will exist, in all societies in history and forever.

SPECULATIONS - If one were to play John LeCarr writing a spy novel, one might speculate that the Russian SVR officer who betrayed his agency and who provided Hanssen's old KGB file (and possibly other material), may have defected and been granted asylum in the US before publication of the file -- he could be the recent defector in New York, the Russian agent covered by a UN position (ref WIN 06-01, 12 Feb 01).

            One could further speculate that the fortuitous acquisition of the KGB file was either a real coup -- or was part of a game in which Hanssen, who was soon to retire and become a worthless asset of dubious mental condition (he called himself insane in his letters to his handler) and a possible political embarrassment, became expendable, and the SVR defector served some other purpose. Such games within games are not only the stuff of spy novels but of intelligence and counterintelligence awareness.

            And finally, the Hanssen file appears mainly to cover the Soviet period 1985 - 1991. There seems to be a gap from 1991 until 1999 while Russia was in disarray under Yeltsin. Perhaps activity continued the entire time. Perhaps activity resumed recently, as Russia is staving off further disintegration under Putin and is concerned about US motives and capabilities in the region -- as we are (and must be) about theirs. In the real world we must contend with espionage efforts from many nations, ranging from Israel and France to Russia and China, covering defense, technological and business information, and intentions as well as capabilities.

            We would be greatly remiss if we did not employ a number of Russians as our spies, just as the Russians seek to employ Americans. So this case is a blow to our professional collegiality, to trust, to national security - but the moralizing and hysterical search for scapegoats should be kept in check. This is the way the world has been since the start of recorded history. We need to keep our 'eye on the ball' -- keep security vigilance as a top priority. It is the reason for AFIO's educational mission, as relevant today as it was ten or twenty years ago.
(courtesy Tom Hart)
(NYT 23 Feb 01 // US Government Affidavit; NYTimes National 24Feb01, p.A1(Risen); Wpost 21, 22 23 Feb p.A1; WPost 24 Feb, p. A1 & A12 & C1; Secrecy News 23 Feb01; Newsweek March01)


COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY (CI-21) TO BE IMPLEMENTED -- Propelled by the arrest of a long-term "mole" within the FBI, the Administration is likely to waste no time in carrying out recommendations approved by President Clinton in PDD-75 for a reorganization of national counterintelligence activities (ref. WIN 02-01 & Intelligencer -Winter-2000 edition) . The FBI and CIA directors are alleged to have endorsed David Szady, now serving as special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Portland, Oregon, to fill the post of a new CI "czar" to coordinate national counterintelligence, although there is also consideration for the appointment of an individual with national stature (like a former Congressional figure) .

            CI-21 is a plan to overcome a culture of separatism within the Intelligence Community agencies that has hampered security (although some is necessary, as the Hanssen case demonstrates - one can go overboard in centralizing). CI-21 also, importantly, takes a new tack by prescribing a proactive counterintelligence posture by requiring the government to identify what it most needs to protect on a priority basis (including the computer infrastructure - used by government and industry alike), and how to do so. CI-21 can succeed if counter-espionage continues to receive sustained strong backing from the Administration.

            In context, one may also expect reforms within the FBI, including the upgrading of counterintelligence as a career track within the bureau. CI reportedly has lost prestige since the fall of the Soviet Union. More recently, counter-terrorism has become the top priority and has claimed most of the funding, attention, prestige and personnel. (Wash Post 24 Feb01 //Loeb//p.A4) (Jonkers)

SECURITY UPGRADES AT DOE LABS SUSPENDED -- In one of his last acts as Clinton's Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson suspended polygraph testing along with the series of security measures undertaken in the wake of the 1999 Congressional and media brouhaha over the Wen Ho Lee case. The security measures were reportedly undermining morale, getting in the way of hiring, and undermining national security by blocking scientific progress at the labs where they were meeting with almost mutinous resistance. The suspension is to allow a review that would consider whether the security measures were "doing more harm than good." (Ed. Note: Richards may well have done the Bush Administration a favor -- they can reinstitute the security crackdown if they choose, but if they decide its a good idea to ease up, Richardson rather than Bush and his new Energy Secretary, Abraham Spencer, takes the heat for being "soft" on security). -(Macartney)


CYBERWARS ON THE WEB -- Regional conflicts are finding expression in so-called cyberwars, as they did in Yugoslavia and the ongoing one in the Near East.   For example, the unrest in Israel, pitting an Army against rock-throwing teenagers representing the despair of the oppressed natives - evolving into isolated Palestinian sniper & terrorist attacks as a result of the brutal Israeli military reaction feeding Palestinian extremism, and further evoking Israeli Government-sponsored assassinations, is now in its fifth month. At press time, the protests and suppression had claimed more than 350 lives (mainly Palestinian), with over 11,000 Palestinian youths and children maimed or wounded, according to the US State Department. Meanwhile, a parallel cyber-campaign was being waged by both sides, suggesting that future regional conflicts will play in a global theater. In essence, every company online represents a potential target and every technique, from unsophisticated defacement done by teenagers to terrorists plotting attacks is employed - involving also government-sponsored sophisticated disruption and deception operations. The effects and results of this particular cyberwar have not been systematically compiled, but the phenomenon is likely to recur in other local and regional conflicts. http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2687046,00.html   (Levine's Newsbits)


DIRTY TRICKS OR TRUMP CARDS: US COVERT ACTION AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, by Roy Godson, Transaction, January 2001 (ISBN 0-76658-0699-1) has been updated and re-published. This volume is widely used in courses about intelligence at universities and professional schools. The new edition has a substantial introduction by the author that looks at ways in which counterintelligence and covert action might be adapted to the new security environment, in particular the growing political-criminal nexus in many strategic regions. On the dust jacket former DCI Richard Helms comments that "Roy Godson provides much-needed balance, context and insights for understanding the clandestine arts." Recommended. (Jonkers)

WIN 07 CORRECTION: Ref WIN 07 item on INSCOM documentation (Section IV), INSCOM has informed me that the item (provided to me by several members) was incorrect. Apparently the list of INSCOM files on the internet was posted almost five years ago. "It was not posted by INSCOM, but by a private individual. Review for destruction, retention or forwarding to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) takes place regularly in the US Army Investigative Records Repository (IRR), where the files were maintained. Many of the files listed on the internet have since been destroyed or forwarded to the NARA in accordance with appropriate regulations, are no longer in possession of the IRR, and are no longer available from the INSCOM FOIA office for the aforementioned reasons. Anyone still wishing to submit a FOIA request for the remaining files in Inseam's possession should include in their letter their willingness to pay assessable FOIA fees. Lastly, the INSCOM FOIA office does not have a list of the files, as stated in the WIN-07 release. It is on a private internet site and because of intelligence oversight regulations, INSCOM does not know or retain the site." In other words, folks, don't bother INSCOM about these files. (Jonkers)

IRAN BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMS -- a Senate Hearing transcript was published on "Iran's Ballistic Missile and Weapons of Mass Destruction Program." This hearing was held on September 21, 2000 before a subcommittee of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. (Macartney) Transcript:

Recommended! (Macartney)

REMOTE SENSING TUTORIAL. Originally published by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1999 (with updates in 2000), and co-sponsored by the USAF Academy. The primary author is Nicholas M. Short. RECOMMENDED! (Macartney)

GULF WAR DOCUMENTS AT NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE. These declassified papers emphasize intelligence and are introduced by Jeffrey Richelson.
(Macartney) http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB39


"SPIES CAFE" AND "SPY SCHOOL." According to its creator, Alan Simpson, his "Spies" project is the largest MEDIA venture into the worlds of espionage and intrigue, creating over 20 websites, TV and Radio, as well as adventure weekends, theme cruises, theme trains, clubs, and merchandizing such as Spies Zone, the mall store, and Spies Books, the online book store. "Spy School" is the online learning resource. As it develops participants will be able to explore the craft, and learn the basics, enabling participation in the games. (It is also the name of the TV series from LTN, currently in pre-production.) (Macartney)
(http://www.spiescafe.com,   http://www.spyschool.com)   (RKJ)


WINs are intended to provide a balanced assessment of selective open source articles on US intelligence issues and threat-related topics, for non-profit educational purposes. Views and opinions are those of the authors and editors mentioned in the bylines. WINs are available by subscription. See AFIO Website (www.afio.com) for particulars and for back issues stored with a two-month delay.

WINs are protected by copyright laws. Reproduction and dissemination with permission of the producer/editor only.

AFIO members -- Support AFIO and the Intelligence Community sponsor a new member!



For comments, contact the editor Roy Jonkers at  afio@afio.com 
For back issues of the WIN, check the AFIO Website  www.afio.com 
For AFIO Website requests/comments, contact   afio@afio.com   

Back to Top

About AFIO | Chapters & Chapter Activities | Membership | Corporate | Weekly Intelligence Notes | Event Schedule | Bulletin Board | Legislative | Careers | Donations | Book Reviews | Search | AFIO Store | | Other Intel Sites | Home Page

AFIO Central Office
6723 Whittier Avenue, Suite 303A
McLean, Virginia 22101-4533
Telephone: 703 790 0320 | Facsimile: 703 790 0264
Email: afio@afio.com