Weekly Intelligence Notes #10-01
12 March 2001

dated 12 March 01

WINs are intelligence-related commentaries based on open source information, 
produced and edited by Roy Jonkers.
Associate editors Don Harvey and John Macartney contribute articles to the WINs.

AFIO SYMPOSIUM - Protecting America's Business Secrets - at the Ronald Reagan Center, Washington DC, 4 May 2001. Outstanding speakers including CIA Legal Counsel and other experts. Worth your time! See https://www.afio.com   for full details and application forms.


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AUSTRALIAN PLEADS GUILTY IN SPY CASE -- A former Australian intelligence official pleaded guilty on March 11th in federal court in Alexandria to a charge of attempted espionage for trying to sell stolen classified U.S. documents to an unnamed country. Jean-Philippe Wispelaere, 30, who had a top secret clearance during his six months in the Australian Defense Intelligence Organization, admitted stealing more than 900 U.S.-produced "top-secret" and "secret" satellite reconnaissance photos and other documents. Six days after he quit he walked into an embassy in Bangkok and offered to sell the materials. His potential buyers informed the United States, and the FBI launched a sting operation. The agents paid Wispelaere $120,000 and eventually lured him to Dulles International Airport, where he was arrested May 15, 1999.
                  The case has dragged on for nearly two years because Wispelaere suffered such a serious bout of schizophrenia that he was declared temporarily unable to stand trial in November 1999. Wispelaere recently said that he was abusing anabolic steroids and using opium and valium during the period when he stole the documents and tried to sell them. He assured the judge that his five medications now have his illness (hearing voices) under control. Under the plea agreement, he will get 15 years if he cooperates, and 33 years if the FBI is not satisfied.
                  The real question here is - how in the world did this schizoid drug addict get Top Secret clearance access in Australian intelligence? And should this affect our confidence in possible intelligence-sharing? (Wpost 9Mar01, p.4)
(B. Masters) (Jonkers)


OPERATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION -- Up Close and Prolonged. It was not the first or the last "trail-op" during the Cold War, but it probably was the longest, continuous, close-in trailing operation against a patrolling Soviet nuclear missile submarine ever conducted by a US submarine. Beginning with the first detection of the Soviet Yankee class boat at the north end of the Norwegian Sea above the Arctic Circle, the USS Batfish tailed the submarine south to its patrol station of the US East Coast for 50 days in 1978 without being detected. Designed to collect vital intelligence on how, where and when the Soviet submarines operated in their nuclear missile patrols in the waters off the mid-Atlantic US coast, the Batfish operations also served a contingency purpose by being in position to strike if the Soviet sub indicated it was about to fire a missile.
                    Operations such as the Batfish's provided intelligence on not only the acoustic signature of the individual submarine but also unique insight into Soviet Navy operational tactics and doctrine as well as strategic knowledge of on-station Soviet patrol areas (designed to be optimum pre-missile launch positioning). Retired Rear Admiral Thomas Evans, the 1978 commanding officer of the Batfish, and several members of his successful mission participated in a recent news conference marking the partial declassification of the operation (dubbed Operation Evening Star) by the Navy at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Admiral Evans attributed the success of the mission to the experienced crew, the design of the Batfish, and, what was then new, the boat's towed sonar array with improved acoustic detection capabilities.
                  The article did not mention what must have been supremely stressful operations to remain four to five miles behind the Yankee while maintaining onboard quiet for 50 days to avoid counter-detection and yet holding position to ensure continuing contact. Since Soviet submarines routinely turned 180 degrees from their track to steam rapidly back down their wake to detect any trailing American, the officers and crew of the Batfish would have had to hold a high state of alert continuously even though Admiral Evans said, "It was tedious at times." (Philadelphia Inquirer 2 Mar '01, Pauline Jelinek, AP) (Harvey)

US POLICY AND NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE -- Intelligence operations as well as analysis are affected by the culture, ideology, political myths and realities in which it exists. It must couch its estimates in terms that are acceptable to prevailing preconceptions and dogmas of the top policy-makers or the key power elites and interests who set the tone of the discussion and the criteria for receptivity, however subtle the influence may be. In this murky age of global markets, globe-trotting terrorists, ideology-driven military campaigns and distended peacekeeping missions, President George W. Bush announced a policy that makes realists (this editor's admitted bias) happy by assuring them he will protect America's "national interests," while assuring allies that America will stop lecturing and conduct a "more humble foreign policy." The new President prefers pragmatism over ideology - and even if that does not rule out conceptual blinders, it bodes well for both clear-eyed intelligence assessments and estimates and their acceptance.
        One of Mr. Bush's senior foreign policy aides said: "The point Bush makes to us in meeting after meeting is that, while the U.S. is indeed very powerful and influential, if we are using that power everywhere, we will either cause a backlash or not prove very effective." Mr. Bush's team is "trying hard to recover choice." That is why he is said not to wish tying up the military in "nation-building," which in his view hurts readiness for emergencies. Nevertheless, "you would be misreading the new administration to think that there is an aggregate decision to ratchet down," said Philip D. Zelikow, longtime friend and associate of Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush's national security adviser. "The two words they use the most often are Discipline and Strategy. It comes out of a sense that the Clinton people were too undisciplined, and they let events drive them."
        In his last speech to the United Nations, Mr. Clinton talked about promoting a global rapid-reaction force that, with American help, could intervene inside national borders before civil war turned to genocide. Don't hold your breath for Mr. Bush to repeat those words. As a close military adviser to Vice President Cheney notes, "There's a real sense in this White House that the Haitis and Rwandas and Kosovos of the world are not materially better off after our interventions than they would have been without them." The recent raid on Iraqi radar control facilities near Baghdad underscored a prime foreign policy objective: to take command of events overseas, while being far more selective that the Clinton administration about which thickets to enter.
        Aside from all the current fuzzy verbiage on 'asymmetric warfare,' 'weapons of mass destruction,' 'proliferation' etc. only Russia can potentially destroy the US. Mr. Bush's approach to Russia has not been fully defined, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has declared that Moscow's role as an "active proliferator" (itself a loaded term) of missile technology helps propel the White House toward developing plans for a national missile defense - - a plan the Russians and Chinese detest. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has also said that countries like Russia that mismanage their currencies and economies are on their own, and should expect no cash from Washington.
         In this respect it is useful to take a sounding from the other side - the view from Moscow. A political analysis attributed to former KGB officers recently posted on the Web stated: "In the near future, US-Russian relations will be characterized by America's desire to preserve its new role in the world, and Moscow's efforts to regain its standing in former areas of influence." According to this analysis, the new Republican Administration will build its policy on the basis of concrete national interests, and not illusory international aspirations. In context of the present bilateral relationship, this will mean that the US will treat Russia " not as an adversary, but still not a friend."
        The US policy promise is for pragmatic realism -- if it is also open-minded, surely a boon for Intelligence. ( http://alphagroup.ru, 27 Jan 2001; also Russia Reform Monitor, 29Jan2001, http://www.afpc.org) (also NYTimes, Feb 18, 2001// D. E. Sanger ) (Jonkers)

PUTIN DECLARES HIS POLICIES IN PUBLIC FORUM -- Accurate assessment of the environments in which a threat to the US can take shape is an essential part of intelligence estimates. In estimates of Russia our Cold War attitudes may be hard to overcome, but new realities must be accurately assessed. Leadership behavior is part of such reality. Russian President Putin, in charge of a former great military-industrial power now with the GNP of Portugal, spoke recently in a 40-minute live encounter on the Internet in a manner similar to that of our presidents. The differences between Putin's public face and the actual behavior are the province of intelligence and foreign policy analysts with access to secret data.
                  Covering fluff as well as substance, Putin confessed that he did not use the Internet because he has been too lazy to learn, though he said his two daughters use it extensively, so much so that their mother is trying to cut back on the time they spend on the computer. Mr. Putin, who said he exercised daily, received most of his political information (and intelligence) from aides "who provide me with a kind of ready product" of daily information. He said that in "the very near future" he would present to Russia's Parliament a "whole package of proposals" to reform Russia's judicial system, one of the most long-awaited reforms of his year-old presidency. He answered many questions on Russian democracy and freedom of the press. "I can say that for as long as I remain head of state, we will adhere precisely to democratic principles of development," he said, adding, "I am sure that this country simply has no alternative but democratic development and market economy." Then he added: "Anarchy and permissiveness should not flourish in Russia. Some people simply do not like it when we are trying to put things in order, to make everyone live according to the law." He finished making his point simply by saying that fears of government suppression of criticism are "groundless."
        Mr. Putin acknowledged that many people in the world have a "poor opinion" of Russia's actions in suppressing rebellion in Chechnya. The Russian leader countered that " the Chechens themselves received nothing from their self-appointed rulers apart from robbery and fraud. .And we think that the actions of the Russian army are aimed at the liberation of the Chechen people from the terrorists who have seized power there." Mr. Putin also said he is determined to build a more effective Russian military force, but he did not reveal further details about the large troop cuts that were announced last fall. "We should strive for our army to be highly professional, well trained, provided with modern equipment and -- beyond all doubt -- for it to remain outside politics so that the army, and the other power structures of the country, should be under the control of society." . He also took advantage of his worldwide internet forum to re-state his opinion that if Washington withdraws from a 1972 treaty banning national missile defenses, "the whole of today's international security structure will collapse."
        Mr. Putin acknowledged that the promise of reform had yet to be fulfilled for most of the Russian people. "We have been marking time," he said, referring to the 1990's when "there was no consensus either in society or the Parliament itself," and therefore, "it was impossible to adopt any decisions." He pointed out that in his first year in office he had succeeded in winning approval from Parliament for a 13 percent flat income tax (US Congress take note!) as well as for customs reforms to promote growth in trade. But he agreed reforms could have made "better and faster progress." He added, "But it probably ought to be acknowledged that although we are not happy with the pace and perhaps even the quality, we are still moving ahead." (NYTimes, 6Mar, 2001//P. Tyler) (Jonkers)


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.
        The OS/COMET software program has been deployed by the U.S. Air Force on the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS), Colorado Springs Monitor Station.(Levine 8Mar01)

EU DENIES RUMORS THAT NSA BROKE ITS ENCRYPTION SYSTEM -- Paranoia is alive and well at the European Union (EU) Commission, which has been forced to officially deny its encryption system has been compromised by the NSA (National Security Agency). Fears of eavesdropping by the ultra secretive US spy agency grew out of comments by a Commission employee, Briton Desmond Perkins, who told a EU Parliamentary committee of regular but unsuccessful attempts by the NSA to crack the Commission's encryption system. As reported on the UK Crypto mailing list, Perkins told the EU Parliament Echelon Committee last month that he knew of the NSA's activities because he had a relative (now retired) who worked at the agency.
(Levine's Newsbits 8 Mar )


CIA COLD WAR INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENTS RELEASED -- Over 19,000 de-classified pages of Cold War intelligence documents were released in conjunction with a Conference on "CIA's Analysis of the Soviet Union 1947 -1991" held at Princeton University 9 and 10 March 2001. The Conference was attended by several hundred former (and some current) intelligence officers, academics, authors, researchers and journalists, and featured interesting and informative presentations and lively insider dialogues. Some highlights included anecdotal information on the internal debates about Gorbachev - between those who took him and his 'Perestroika' seriously and those who were still seeing everything in terms of the conventional Cold War "red" mindset. Apparently Secretary of State George Schultz, having made his own assessment of Gorbachev, kept his own counsel . Schultz and President Reagan bet on Gorbachev being the real thing, and events unrolled to prove them right. Other presentations confirmed again that a good intelligence estimate is useful only if it is accepted by the decision-makers, and that in complex national security matters, intelligence is only one input, however important. The Conference was great - another outstanding event by the CSIS. The documents may be found at <www.foia.ucia.gov/historicalreport.htm> (See also coverage in Wpost 11Mar2001, p. A15, and NYT Int'l 10Mar01, p. A5 //Risen) (Jonkers)

NACIC REPORT ON INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE: This latest report to Congress prepared by the National Counterintelligence Center names the worst commercial spying offenders in the US -- China, Japan, Israel, France, Korea, Taiwan, and India. (http://www.fas.org/irp/ops/ci/docs/fy00.htm
 http://www.nacic.gov/) (Macartney)

MI-6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, by Stephen Dorrill, Free Press, 2000. The best-known employee of MI 6 never existed - James Bond, of course, the fictional character dreamed up by Ian Fleming in the 1950's. Nothing in MI6 history could be further from the truth than Bond's exploits, always successful and always getting the girl, according to the author of this enormously detailed and long history of MI-6. He portrays MI6's splashy headquarters on the south bank of the Thames as a palace of spectacular blunders, missed signals, and licensed-to-kill agents who got themselves killed instead. Not to mention the uncomfortable fact that the best-known real agents from MI6 have been the Soviet moles, like Kim Philby, who carried London's deepest secrets to Moscow. The book deals primarily with the 15 years after World War II - - Dorrill does not get to 'modern times,' the sixties, until page 703. It features a critical approach to the subject, and leaden prose, but has its entertaining aspects. (W Post 20Sep00, p. C8, based on review by R. Reid) (Jonkers)

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING -- LINDA McCARTHY. -- Ms McCarthy, a 24-year CIA veteran, will lecture on her book, "Spies, Pop Flies, and French Fries: Stories I Told My Favorite Visitors to the CIA Exhibit Center" (1999). Wednesday, March 21, 2001, 7:30 - 8:30 pm, Old Town Hall, 2nd Floor Fairfax, Virginia. (703) 993-8846 (Macartney)

CORRECTION TO RECENT EBBN - REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE:  The reply e-mail address for this entry sent to all members yesterday was missing a letter.  The correct address appears below:

LITERARY AGENT SUGGESTIONS NEEDED FOR NOVEL:  Writer asks: "I have recently completed writing a novel set in the 'Intelligence Business' genre and have begun searching for a literary agent to represent me.   Any suggestions from other AFIO members would be most welcome.   I can be reached by e-mail: samperry@juno.com, telephone 312 357-3201, by fax at 312 943-3095, or by mail at: Sam Perry, 734 N LaSalle St., #1158, Chicago, IL 60610."


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