WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES
dtd 19 March 01
WINs are intelligence-related commentaries on open source
information, produced and edited by Roy Jonkers. Associate editors
Don Harvey and John Macartney contribute articles to the WINs.
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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
THE HANSSEN CASE (cont'd) - When
the documents of the legal case against the American who was caught
spying for Russia ( Hanssen) were filed in open court, this editor
speculated in a previous WIN that the Russian spying for the US must
have been exfiltrated or have defected before the case was made
public. The October defection by Sergei Tretyakov, a Russian
intelligence officer under the diplomatic cover as "first
secretary" of the Russian Mission to the United Nations in New
York, made public in the media in January 2001, was mentioned in the
WIN as an obvious possibility. His quick acceptance in the US
defector program was noteworthy -- these days Russians must have a
real good reason for being accepted in the defector program.
Important as they still are, the value of Russian spies is probably
not what it used to be during the Cold War. The latest development
that points in the direction of Tretyakov is that the State
Department has refused to let Russian officials meet with him, a
routine procedure for both sides up to now to determine whether the
individual acted under duress. The State Department declined
If it was not Tretyakov, the other possibility (from choices
available in the public domain) is Yevgeny Toropov, another Russian
intelligence officer, who defected in December 2000 in Ottawa, a
fact confirmed by Canadian officials ten days ago. It will probably
all be revealed as the case proceeds. Someone will have to testify
in court as to the authenticity of the documents, and this is
another reason for having the defection or exfiltration take place
before Hanssen was arrested and the legal case filed.
Another facet of the story of catching this spy, as reported in the
press, reflects good combined agency intelligence work. In late 1999
or early 2000 the FBI was said to have received firm information
that a mole was still operating within the FBI, even after the FBI's
Earl Edwin Pitts had been arrested in 1997 (fingered by a another US
mole in Russia, a diplomat who also defected). Thus a major
mole-hunt by the CIA and FBI was said to have begun. They were
successful in getting into the old KGB (now SVR) files and obtained
copies of documents proving the existence of a US agent using the
pseudonym "B" or "Ramon." Allegedly last fall
the Russian mole/spy working for US intelligence got into the SVR
files again, and this time did not merely make copies of documents,
but actually took a plastic bag that "B" had used to
deliver documents. That bag was tested for fingerprints by the FBI,
and that led to Hanssen. True or not, a plausible story. And the
Russian who copied the files and stole the plastic bag is unlikely
to be still in Russia. Tretyakov or Toropov or yet another surprise?
Stand by for the trial. (Wpost 18Mar01, p. A5 //Loeb/Pincus/Lynch) (
ANOTHER NEW CENTER -- DCI George
Tenet recently created yet another 'center'
focusing on an aspect of the perceived threat to the US, reflecting
an announced presidential priority. The new "Weapons
Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center," is
staffed by 500 analysts, scientists and support personnel. The new
center will be headed by Alan Foley, a veteran Soviet military
analyst, who has been head of the Arms Control Intelligence Staff.
SECTION II -
CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE
SECURITY CLEARANCE DELAYS WORSENING - The
DoD Security Directorate has recently reported that delays in
completing background checks for security clearances, despite an
intense effort to eliminate the backlog of investigations, are
longer now than they were last year. A House panel is holding
hearings on the situation and has been pressing Defense to fix the
backlog. Case completion time for top secret clearances now averages
441 days; it was an average of 380 days last fall. More than 2.4
million people hold Defense security clearances, and the Defense
Security Service is primarily responsible for background checks,
with help from private firms and the Office of Personnel Management.
Eliminating the backlog of updates on personnel already holding
clearances -- "periodic reinvestigations" -- is the main
cause of the delays. The Defense Security Service says it needs more
staff, more help from OPM, and more use of interim clearances by
Defense offices. The vulnerability of the Department while the
clearances are languishing has been highlighted by all those
interested in the problem. If memory serves, the backlog was over
600,000 when the situation first broke into public print a couple of
years ago so despite progress, the situation is not likely to go
away very soon. Background investigations are labor intensive and
regardless of Congressional pressure, hiring qualified people at the
salaries offered for such labors is not an overnight task.
(USA Today 2 Mar '01, p. 4, Edward T. Pound) (Harvey)
CRITIQUE OF U.S.
INTELLIGENCE - In one of the better critiques of U.S.
intelligence, Stratfor says that the CIA (and other U.S.
intelligence agencies) focus too much on capabilities and intentions
and thereby often miss the big picture. Also, too much emphasis is
put on collection and not enough on analysis. Knowing intentions,
Stratfor writes, may not help much because many of history's
important events were not intended. For example, they say, Gorbachev
did not intend to destroy the Soviet Union, so no penetration of his
inner circle or thinking could have foretold that. Instead, analysts
would have had to focus on big picture things like economics and
SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE
HACKERS HIT SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES
- According to leaks attributed to U.S. intelligence officials,
hackers suspected of having links to a foreign government
successfully broke into Sandia's computer system and were able to
access sensitive classified information. The incident allegedly took
place in the past several weeks. No details are known. The U.S.
intelligence community is said to be conducting a damage assessment.
For a listing of foreign intelligence services engaging in the most
extensive intelligence operations against the U.S.,
see WIN 10-01.
Sandia is one of three Energy Department
laboratories that are major targets of foreign intelligence
services. Sandia is operated for the Defense Department by Lockheed
Martin Co. and is reported to develop non-nuclear components for
nuclear weapons, including high explosive charges used to trigger
nuclear blasts. It also works on developing nuclear monitoring and
has an international center that has numerous foreign visitors.
In 1999, all classified computers at Sandia and two
other Energy Department laboratories were shut down for a security
review aimed at improving cyber-security. Spokesmen for Sandia, the
CIA and Energy Department declined to comment on the reports, citing
policies of not discussing intelligence matters. (WashTimes 16 Mar
01 //Gertz & Scarborough) ( Jonkers)
CIA SOFTWARE FOR DATA MINING -
One called "Oasis"
not only transcribes TV and radio broadcasts on the fly, it makes
them searchable. Another called FLUENT allows a CIA analyst to
search documents in languages he or she doesn't understand. You plug
in a search term -- like, oh, let's say, "nuclear bomb"--
and the computer turns up hits, along with a rough
SILENTRUNNER SOFTWARE DETECTS COMPUTER
SNOOPS - This software is apparently being used by both
commercial firms and government agencies (but few admit it) to
detect unauthorized computer snooping by employees and other
SECTION IV - BOOKS & SOURCES
SPIES, TRAITORS AND MOLES: An Espionage and
Intelligence Quiz Book, by Peter Kross, IllumiNet Press,
1998. Not a new book, but a timely reference as counterintelligence
is again in the news. The author has taken a different tack -
asking a question, then providing the answer, and in the process
educating us on the role of secret operations in diplomacy and war.
It covers spies and traitors who damaged us, but focuses on the role
of some of the extraordinary men and women whose covert activities
helped win wars, averted assassinations, overthrew governments, and
crushed revolutions - the secret side of American history that
continues its role in the current era of dominance of the U.S.
in world affairs - Pax Americana. The book ranges from the
American Revolution to recent years, from the obscure ("Name the
haberdasher whom George Washington used as a spy in
British-controlled New York" -- or "In the James Bond films, 007
is supplied with secret gadgets by "Q." Who was the true to life
inspiration for "Q" ?) to the well-known (Name the family of U.S.
Navy spies that worked for the Soviets during the height of the Cold
War?). Entertaining to read, easy to pick up and sample. A good
teaching tool at the high school or basic college level. (Jonkers)
MISSION TO CHARA, by Lyn M. Boughey,
North American Heritage Press, 2001, ISBN 0-942323-32-7. This is a
military-espionage novel about skullduggery by some renegade Russian
generals with a cache of nuclear missiles, and a spy who must be
picked up from deep into Siberia. The tale revolves about a
clandestine SR-71 mission. It is told in a crisp, highly readable,
Tom-Clancy-like style, with attention to detail. General David
Jones, former Chairman of the JCS, comments on the flyleaf that
"Lynn Boughey has woven a wonderful story through a masterful
blending of fact and fiction. His book is in the category of those
you can't put down." General Russ Dougherty, former Commander of
the Strategic Air command, says "The depth of knowledge Boughey
demonstrates in the employment of the SR71 "Blackbird" gives
rise to professional envy by all who have flown it. 'Mission To
Chara' will leave the reader with sweaty palms and a dry throat,
right through the final chapter." (To
buy, call the publisher 1-800-256-7977 or through Amazon.com).
REVIEW OF 1998 POW /MIA ESTIMATE.
In 1997, Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Adviser, tasked
the Intelligence Community to do a National Estimate on Vietnamese
cooperation on POW/MIA matters. The resulting study, NIE 98-03, was
issued in May 1998. It drew a torrent of criticism from some members
of the POW/MIA community and in particular from Senator Robert Smith
(R-NH) who issued "A Critical Assessment" of the NIE
which, among other things, charged the Clinton Administration with
"politicizing intelligence" in order to facilitate renewal
of diplomatic relations with Hanoi. That led to a 178 page joint
DOD-CIA IG Review of the 33 page NIE, which was issued a year ago,
29Feb2000. [Basically, the NIE said that Vietnam was cooperating
more or less, that no live POW's remained, and that probably no
POW's were transferred to China or the USSR during the Vietnam War.
The IG Report found errors in the NIE but no politicization or bias
and basically concurred in its findings.] The two documents, the May
1998 NIE and the Feb 2000 Review of the NIE, are now declassified
and were recently posted on the CIA web page. Both are posted one
page at a time -- making them difficult to read. Recommend starting
with page 5 (Key Judgments) of the NIE and page 10 (Exec Summary) of
the Joint IG Review. (Macartney)
RICHARD TOMLINSON, "The Big Breach:
From Top Secret to Maximum Security," Narodny Variant
Publishers, Moscow, 2001. Tomlinson is a disgruntled former British
MI6 intelligence officer. The fact that this book was published in
Russia is another commentary on the slant taken by the author.
BOOK ABOUT MAGIC DECRYPTS AND WW2 INTERNMENT.
David Lowman, "MAGIC: The Untold Story of U.S.
Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents From the West
Coast During WWII," (Athena Press, $29.95, 400 pages).
Lowman uses Magic decrypts to argue in favor of the controversial
FDR order to intern Japanese-American civilians during the
COUNTER-TERRORIST OPERATIONS PLANS &
STUDIES -- In the waning days of the Clinton
Administration, government agencies developed a Plan to coordinate
their response to domestic terrorism, and particularly to incidents
involving weapons of mass destruction. The Plan is based on the
assumption that "a terrorist incident may occur at any time of
day with little or no warning, may involve single or multiple
geographic areas, and result in mass casualties. "The plan
identifies the responsibilities and authorities of various
agencies" and "outlines an organized and unified capability
for a timely, coordinated response by Federal agencies to a
terrorist threat or act." See "United States Government
Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan"
dated January 2001, posted at http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/conplan.html
See also "Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Terrorist
Threat," a December 1999 report of the Congressional Research
Service (CRS) online in PDF format: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS20412.pdf
SECTION V - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Larry S writes -- I caught a glimpse of a TV clip of
Amb. Brewer, head of the National Commission on Terrorism. He was
intimately involved with the intelligence community for months, yet
he spoke of overseas "informants" and U.S. "field
agents" in an overseas intelligence context. How could that be?
Somebody once said that, "understanding begins with calling
things by their right names." In this connection, I remember
the confusion at an AFIO convention some years ago, during a session
on "dirty" agents. Former CIA operations officers,
veterans of intelligence collection abroad, were thinking foreign
"sources". Former veterans of domestic counterintelligence
(mostly FBI) were thinking "U.S. law enforcement
officials" We former overseas case officers were talking about
agents as our foreign assets being sometimes "dirty" and
what might be done about it (Guatemala was in the news at the time.)
To FBI veterans, the discussion was about THEM - special agents
going bad. There is a world of difference, obviously, and people
were talking past each other with more than a little anger
apparent. Will people ever get it straight? The IC never
got to Amb. Brewer, apparently, after what surely was lots of
opportunity. Have we lost that semantic battle or aren't
we fighting it? It's been an issue (however minor) for decades.
SECTION VI - OTHER
HELP WANTED FOR WW II EXHIBIT IN HAWAII
-- The Chief of Naval Intelligence of the Pacific Fleet Command (CINCPACFLT
N2) is building a display in the newly renovated Fleet Headquarters
Building in Makalapa, Pearl Harbor, which will honor those who
worked in Naval Intelligence in the Pacific in World War II.
Centerpiece of the display is the development of Station HYPO, Joint
Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) and Fleet Radio
Unit Pacific (FRUPAC) and the vital work performed by these
The display is built around photographs of people and installations.
One major area of Intel production we have been unable to find
representative photos for is the large section of the JICPOA which
performed photo interpretation and cartography, produced targeting
materials, terrain models, photo mosaics, etc. Before integration
into JICPOA, photo-intelligence support to the fleet was done by the
Photo-Reconnaissance and Interpretation Section, Intelligence Center
(PRISIC), first on Ford Island then at Kodak Hawaii in downtown
Honolulu. We need 2-3 photos of people, preferably at work (over
light-table, chart drafting, etc), and of products (e.g., target
folder, photo-mosaic, terrain model).
If anyone can help, we would need materials in hand by 8 April.
Please contact Captain ( USN ret) Dick MacDonald by phone at (808)
261-5334 or by e-mail
(Dick MacDonald) (Jonkers)
IN MEMORIAM - Cord Meyer, Jr., a
World War II Marine, and later a top-ranking official in worldwide
clandestine operations for CIA from 1951 to 1977 during the
Cold War, died on March 13th after a long illness,
at the age of 80. Director George Tenet issued a tribute to him,
saying that "During a remarkable intelligence career Cord
defined the concept, doctrine and implementation of covert action on
behalf of the security and interests of our nation. At the height of
the Cold War, he played an instrumental role in America's effort to
counter Soviet influence." Cord Meyer rose to the position of
Associate Deputy Director for Plans (now Operations),
second-in-command of worldwide clandestine services. He also managed
CIA oversight of two powerful radio operations, Radio Free Europe
and Radio Liberty, that helped undermine the Soviet regime. After he
retired he wrote a book about life in the CIA in 1980,. entitled "Facing
Reality." He was a close friend of Sam Halpern,
esteemed member of the AFIO Board of Directors. Cord Meyer served as
a Marine during WWII, and lost an eye in combat on Guam. He will be
buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on
March 29th. Those wishing to attend his funeral are requested to
assemble at the Admin Building at 10:30 hrs. We bid goodbye to an
old comrade-in-arms and respected colleague.
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