WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES
09-01 dated 5 March 2001
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SECTION I -
- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
THE TUNNEL SAGA -- The latest
development in the Hanssen spy case, reported in the New York
Times on Sunday, is that Hanssen allegedly provided
information to the Soviets in 1985 about a special US signals
intelligence collection effort against the Soviet Embassy in
Washington, using a secret tunnel under their building. The
unconfirmed press reports indicate that planning for the
tunnel began in the 1970s when the Soviets began building
their new complex on Mount Alto, north of Georgetown. The
entrance to the tunnel was hidden in a townhouse near the
Soviet compound. The project was an FBI/NSA enterprise,
ultra-secret, and never, at least to our knowledge, leaked.
Washington, the leak capital of the world, kept this secret --
not knowing that the KGB apparently knew of it (and thus could
manipulate it) from 1985 on -- thanks to their spy within the
FBI, Robert Hanssen.
Over the years, numerous reports have been published about
'silent war' intelligence operations by the parties in the
Cold War against the premises of their adversaries. Reciprocal
allegations of embassy-bugging went public in 1980 when the
Soviets charged that the US had planted eavesdropping devices
in apartments and buildings within their 12.5 acre embassy
compound. In 1985 the US suspended construction of its new
embassy in Moscow after charging that the Soviets had filled
the walls with listening devices. It was also reported that an
NSA "tiger team" in 1978 had discovered that the
Soviets had a tunnel filled with intercept equipment
underneath the old US Embassy in Moscow as well.
By alerting the Soviets to the 'eavesdropping' tunnel under
their Embassy, Hanssen may have joined the ranks of other Cold
War traitors inflicting serious damage on US intelligence
operations and security, including the Navy's John Walker who
told the Soviets about US Naval
codes; NSA's Ronald Pelton, who divulged that US
submarines tapped Soviet undersea cables; and the CIA's Edward
Lee Howard, who informed the KGB that the US had access to
their communications lines through the Moscow sewer system.
We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg thus far. What games
are, and have been played in the 'silent war' by the FBI,
NSA and CIA, and the KGB and the SVR , await future
disclosures - years or even decades from now, if ever.
Meanwhile we can speculate on the rest of the iceberg -- what,
for example, did the KGB do with their knowledge of the
tunnel's existence from 1985 onward -- which they did not
publicize or use for diplomatic protests or in the propaganda
war? (NYT 4 March p.1; Wpost 5 March p. A1 // Loeb/Wise) (Jonkers)
THE FBI & CONGRESS -- Over the
years the FBI has attracted its share of admirers, but also of
detractors who have accused it of institutional arrogance,
among other things. Thus the current case of a spy (mole)
within the FBI, operating undetected for fifteen years and
reportedly costing the country more than $200 million in
compromised intelligence programs, has received a certain
resonance in some quarters. The FBI stands accused of laxity
in internal checks and security procedures, and there are
calls for the FBI director's resignation.
But unlike the CIA, the FBI has built up a stronghold in
Congress over many decades during the past century. By the
time Director Freeh was done testifying on the Hill last
Wednesday, the Senators were jockeying to throw money at him.
Before they could focus on any problems, the FBI director was
successfully 'selling' them his solution: more polygraphs,
compartmentalization and -- of course -- money. Disappointing
for the detractors, but arguably good for the country. (Time,
12 March 2001, p.18 /Calabresi & Shannon) (Jonkers)
RUSSIA REOPENING EDMUND POPE CASE --
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has reopened a high
treason investigation of the professor at the center of last
year's spying case against U.S. businessman Edmond Pope.
Anatoly Babkin, of Moscow's prestigious Bauman Technical
University, was called in for questioning more than two months
after President Vladimir Putin pardoned Pope.
INTELLIGENCE ROUNDABOUT -- A German
Court told an ex-spy on Thursday to return 300,000 DM
($138,000) that he earned by selling "secrets" to the
German intelligence agency (BND) that actually came from their
own files. Presiding judge Ursula Lewenton told the Munich
court the information "Source Albert" was selling
was anything but new. It had been gathered by an accomplice
working in the BND's archives..
- CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL REORGANZED --
President Bush has revamped the NSC. National Security
Presidential Directive 1 was signed sometime in mid- February,
replacing a host of prior presidential decisions. The
Directive is unclassified but has not been officially released
by the White House -- but was leaked. It is now posted on the
website of the Federation of American Scientists. The document
revises the structure of national security decision-making in
the new administration and lays out the areas of particular
importance to the president, including homeland defense and
proliferation and counter-proliferation.
The NSC Principal's Committee, the senior interagency forum
for national security policy discussions, is retained. This
panel includes the Secretary of Defense , the DCI, and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Also maintained is the
NSC deputies committee, the sub-Cabinet forum for national
security. Top Pentagon military and civilian officials are
among its members.
Gone, however, are the Clinton era interagency working groups.
In their place are eleven policy coordination committees,
which "shall provide policy analysis for consideration by
the more senior committees of the NSC system and ensure timely
responses to decisions made by the president."
The committees will be focused on the following topics:
Counter-terrorism and national
Defense strategy, force structure
and homeland defense.
Records access and information
Transnational economic issues
Democracy, human rights and
International development and
In addition, the NSC will feature six policy coordination
committees for specific regions: Europe and Eurasia, the
Western Hemisphere, East Asia, South Asia, Near East and North
Africa, and Africa.
THE MOLES WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US --
Former DCI, Robert M. Gates, recently wrote a short op-ed
piece about our most recent spy, Robert Hanssen, taking a
longer view of the treachery than the flood of writing on the
affair of late. Extracts include:
"The question (of how could it have
gone on for 15 undiscovered years) will undoubtedly be
investigated by a number of panels and Congressional
committees. And, with the clarity of perfect hindsight,
if past experience is any guide, previously unnoticed
clues will be found that if detected earlier might have
led to a more timely identification and arrest."
"A careful spy who knows all of the
tricks of the counterintelligence world can be very
difficult to identify."
"...we must be realistic. In any
democratic society, counterintelligence is decidedly
difficult and will never be perfect. It wasn't perfect
in the totalitarian Soviet Union, and it certainly won't
be in America."
"As Richard Helms, the former CIA
director, told me when I became director, "Never go
home at night without wondering where the mole is."
"Espionage did not begin or end
with the cold war. There will always be moles because
governments will always want to know what other
governments are up to."
"While our national existence is no
longer at risk, as during the cold war, the government's
ability to protect us and our interests around the world
is always at risk. Intelligence about those risks will
always be a priority for the government, just as it will
be for most other governments."
"However, those other governments
face an interesting paradox....in a new global
environment, in which the American government ever more
widely shares its intelligence and its military
technologies, foreign governments may find that at times
their right hands are paying spies for stealing what
their left hands are receiving openly and officially
(NY York Times 23 Feb '01 from College Station, Texas)
DCI REPORT ON ARMS PROLIFERATION -- The
DCI's semi-annual, required report to Congress on arms
proliferation covering the first six months of last year
(2000) cited numerous violations or possible violations of
various international agreements aimed at reducing arms
proliferation. As usual, the activities undercutting efforts
to combat the spread of 'weapons of mass destruction' and
missiles seem to have principally involved China, Russia and
North Korea as the major arms suppliers to states we do not
favor. A summary of the press version of the report includes:
-- Russia sold ballistic-missile goods and
technology to China, Iran, India and Libya.
--"Russian entities...have provided
substantial missile-related technology, training and
expertise to Iran..."
-- Moscow is a major supplier of
conventional arms to China, India, Iran, Syria, Libya and
-- "Chinese missile-related technical
assistance to Pakistan continued to be substantial..."
-- Chinese assistance is helping Pakistan
move rapidly toward full-scale production of solid-fueled,
short-range ballistic missiles.
-- "Firms in China provided
missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance
to... Iran, North Korea and Libya.[NOTE: the report was
published at a time when the US had publicly asserted that
Chinese fiber-optic cable installation assistance had
figured in the decision to bomb the Iraqi air defense
-- US intelligence agencies "cannot
rule out" reports that China is continuing to assist
Pakistan's nuclear-weapons programs
-- North Korea is continuing to buy material
for its missile program and also sought to buy technology
with nuclear weapons applications.
-- Iraq is developing an unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) by converting Czech L-29 trainers into
-- Syria is seeking to purchase nuclear
material from Russia that could help Damascus develop
-- Libya is expanding its missile
program since sanctions were lifted last year and is seeking
a medium-range missile capability. Tripoli is also seeking
to acquire material and equipment for biological weapons.
It is disheartening that the report appears to have been
treated as a "ho hum" item by the press and given
minimum coverage even at a time when the media says reporting
should leave off salacious activities to better cover
substantial matters.(WTimes 27Feb01,p. 10, B. Gertz) (Harvey)
See also http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/bian/bian_feb_2001.htm
-- CYBER INTELLIGENCE
INFORMATION SECURITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
-- The Federal Scholarship for Service program, an initiative
to get new information security professionals to work for the
government in return for scholarships, is on schedule at the
National Science Foundation. NSF heads up the first step of
the SFS program, awarding grants to colleges and universities
that teach information security students. The proposals from
the institutions were due to NSF Jan. 24, and now the agency
has brought in a panel to review the proposals; the grants
should be awarded by June, officials said. http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2001/0226/web-sfs-02-27-01.asp
(Levine's Newbits, 2 March01)
HACKER GETS TOP SECRET US SPACE CODES
-- An unidentified computer hacker has got hold of top secret
U.S. computer system codes for guiding space ships, rockets
and satellites, a lawyer in Sweden said on Friday. Computer
experts raided the offices of an information technology
company in Stockholm last month and found a copy of the source
codes for the software program OS/COMET developed by U.S. firm
Exigent Software Technology. A source code contains full
details of how a software program works. OS/COMET has been
deployed by the U.S. Air Force on the NAVSTAR Global
Positioning System (GPS) Colorado Springs Monitor Station,
Exigent said in a statement in December.
(Levine 2 March01)
- BOOKS AND SOURCES
TRUST BUT VERIFY: IMAGERY ANALYSIS IN THE
COLD WAR, by DAVID LINDGREN, Naval Inst Press, Nov 2000,
222pp. "In documenting the role played by imagery
analysis during the Cold War, this book documents how
information derived from imagery came to influence U.S.
policy. It focuses on America's efforts to assess the Soviet
Union's strategic economic and military capabilities in the
aftermath of World War II when American leaders realized the
limits of their knowledge. Initial efforts to photograph
Soviet territory using converted bombers proved unsuccessful
and highly provocative and prompted the United States to
develop specialized reconnaissance systems. Beginning with the
U-2 in the mid-1950s and continuing with a series of
increasingly sophisticated imaging satellites, this study
demonstrates how the US eventually was able to accurately
appraise the military forces of the Soviet Union and its
Warsaw Pact allies. The author argues that these more accurate
assessments helped stabilize relations between the two
adversaries while the imaging systems' monitoring capabilities
led directly to arms control and ultimately arms reduction
agreements. He concludes that imagery analysis not only played
a critical role in resolving the Cold War but it also helped
prevent another Pearl Harbor. His analysis will appeal to
everyone with an interest in foreign affairs, intelligence,
the Cold War, and space applications." --Amazon.com
"SPOOKED: ESPIONAGE IN CORPORATE
AMERICA," by ADAM PENENBERG & MARC BARRY, Perseus,
Dec 2000, 188 pp. "Strange as it may sound, companies and
consultants will lie, bribe and steal just to obtain new glue
formulas for diaper fasteners and adhesive labels. A new book
tells us how. Despite its sensational title, Spooked is
an admirably well-crafted and informed book on the subject of
corporate espionage. This should not be a surprise given the
background of its authors: Penenberg is an investigative
journalist -- which is just another name for a media spy --
while Barry is a practitioner, a corporate spy for hire."
--from review below
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL WEBSITE
-- The NIC is an Intelligence Community (as opposed to CIA)
group, located at Langley (CIA Hq), which houses the NIO's,
the National Intelligence Officers. The NIO's are 12 senior
intelligence analysts from different parts of the IC (and
sometimes from academe or elsewhere) who interface with
policymakers in the White House supervised NSC system and also
author or supervise the writing of NIE's and SNIE's. This new
NIC website (Feb 2001) is well done and provides very useful
and interesting documents on-line. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! --(dmac
--thanks, Jeremy) http://www.cia.gov/nic/
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