Weekly Intelligence Notes #30-01
WIN # 30-01 dtd 30 July 01
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are comments and notes based on open-source information, produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members, ISIS associates and WIN subscribers, for non-profit educational uses. Associate editors John Macartney and Don Harvey contribute articles to the WINs.
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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
INTELLIGENCE AND PRESIDENTIAL DECISION-MAKING -- DCI George J. Tenet, has developed a close relationship with President Bush over the past six months. He meets several times a week with the President, a sharp contrast to what former CIA director R. James Woolsey recently called his "nonexistent" relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Tenet and President Bush "have really hit it off," said a former senior agency official. One reason, he added, is that Tenet's unpretentious way of presenting serious material suits Bush's style. "George is a very genial guy who a lot of people like, and he's doing a good job, and the agency is doing a good job," Woolsey said. "And I think the president senses that and finds it valuable. The director of central intelligence is not a policymaker. His overall responsibility is to pull intelligence and call it the way he sees it. He is the only adviser without any incentive to make it seem that things are working out."
The DCI personally goes to the White House most mornings to discuss the "President's Daily Brief," a top-secret, 10-page compendium of reports and analysis that the agency prepares for the president and a few other top officials. After a formal, 10- or 15-minute presentation by senior CIA analysts who regularly brief the president, Tenet or his deputy, John McLaughlin, expounds upon aspects of the daily brief with Bush, Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. President Bush has also asked Tenet on several occasions to brief him at Camp David on weekends. And, for the first time, the president has started taking CIA briefers with him on international trips. In such instances, the President's Daily Brief is encrypted and sent abroad over secure links. The briefing "provides a very important opportunity for the president to think about issues and ask questions," Rice said. "It also helps the president to stay fully abreast of the most urgent matters."
During the Reagan administration, then-Vice President Bush (Sr) was briefed daily by the CIA, while President Ronald Reagan was briefed by his national security adviser. But the agency's lack of face time with the president was offset by the fact that its director, William J. Casey, was Reagan's close friend. When the first President Bush (#41) took office, the situation changed dramatically. Former DCI Bob Gates said he met with the President once or twice a week if "there was something I ought to talk to him about. The best part about meeting face to face with the President was to get instantaneous feedback on what his agenda was. He asked questions and we would get answers to him, and thus had a direct dialogue with the president that is most often missing in the normal daily mix of things."
After the current President Bush's inauguration, Tenet had one key supporter in his camp, the president's father, for whom Tenet had rolled out the red carpet when the CIA's headquarters was named in his honor in 1999 under legislation passed by Congress. The elder Bush is said to have commended Tenet to his son. Whatever the antecedents, the present situation, apparently based on personal compatibility and professional trust, is highly desirable and confidence-inspiring in terms of national security and presidential decision-making, which includes a vital intelligence component. (Jonkers) (Wash Post July29, 01, p. A5 // W. Pincus and V. Loeb)
Russian Merchant Ships, Countermeasures. Leaks to a Washington newspaper indicate there has been some official US government concern regarding the intelligence collection activities of Russian merchant ships entering and leaving US ports. The leak would appear to have been occasioned by unhappiness of an anonymous official that an agreement in June by the Transportation Department with Russia specifying which US port visits would require 72-hour notice did not include the Seattle area. A classified Coast Guard program to monitor the Russian merships entering the Pacific Northwest had been started in February to determine whether the ships followed rules requiring advance notification of their arrival. The Coast Guard program followed a State Department monitoring program which had reported "confirmation of ongoing hostile intel collection by Russian merchant vessels." Intelligence officials have said Russian merships frequently time their arrivals and departures in the Puget Sound region with the movements of US submarines. The State survey indicated that from January to June of last year only 14 of the 44 arriving Russian ships provided the required 72-hour advance notice. While a Transportation statement on the agreement said it will "improve access by Russian merchant vessels to US ports," it did not specify why the Puget Sound submarines are no longer accorded the protection of advance warning.
Coincidentally, a current Senate Commerce Committee concern about port security has led to introduction of legislation extending a shipping tax with the revenues to be spent on port measures such as better fencing, better cargo surveillance equipment, improved federal/local agency coordination and better surveillance. Although US ports handle 95 percent of the nation's international cargo and more than 134 million ferryboat passengers per year, there are no federal standards for security and no funding for security infrastructure at US seaports.(Harvey) (Wash. Times 24 July '01, p. 3; Philadelphia Inquirer 25 July '01 by M. Robinson, Associated Press)
SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE
SECDEF ARTICULATES STRATEGIC VIEW -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is deeply involved in efforts to restructure US defense strategy, made several useful points of interest in a meeting with the media on 24 July.
Firstly, on military power. "To those who would argue that the United States should be something other than strong, and capable of contributing to the peace and stability in the world, I would argue that history says the contrary "..I have always felt that weakness is provocative, that it kind of invites people to do things that they otherwise wouldn't think about doing."
Secondly, on strategy. The defense secretary revealed some of the internal discussions under way regarding the new military strategy now being developed. It will involve a force structure to meet both near-term threats, like Iraq or North Korea, and mid- and longer-term problems that require developing special military capabilities. To deal with future military challenges in Asia, the Pentagon needs different capabilities. "Asia is different from Europe in terms of distances, in terms of the kind of countries that are there, and the nature of the political and economic systems." The strategic posture must be, "in the first instance, for the purpose of deterring, and in the second instance, for the purpose of prevailing" in a conflict. According to Defense officials, the strategy for Asia will involve moving more naval and air forces closer to the continent to be ready to deal with conflicts in Taiwan or North Korea, and most likely will call for fewer land forces because of the wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean and the difficulty of rapidly moving heavy armored divisions long distances.
Thirdly, on China. Regarding the buildup of China's missile forces, Mr. Rumsfeld said it was "not surprising" as missiles are becoming a weapon of choice for many nations. China has decided that its missile force, which includes weapons of various ranges, is "important for their view of themselves to be the factor in the region, and they are making significant investments in not just in immediate capabilities, but . . . in future capabilities. In addition to missiles, the Chinese are investing in information warfare technologies and "intelligence activities."
Fourthly, he said the U.S. must be prepared for eventualities, for the combination of an outward-looking Chinese economy moving toward capitalism and a communist dictatorship bent on self-preservation is a formula for regional instability.
In conclusion, Mr. Rumsfeld said he has no code words or doctrine to describe his outlook on China, other than what he termed "old-fashioned" realism. The reality of China today, he said, is that it is reaching out to the world economically at the same time it is increasing its defense budget by "double-digit" percentages annually. The defense secretary said it is not clear what the United States can do to influence China's future. "We as a country are not unimportant, but it takes an awful lot of countries behaving in a way that can conceivably moderate or affect the behavior of a country of that nature, that size, that location, that history, that view of themselves."
The SecDef's candor and realism, which includes a high profile appreciation for intelligence, bode well for a solid national security defense posture for the coming decades. (Jonkers) (Wash. Times, July 25, 2001, Pg. 1 // B. Gertz)
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT PLANNING HYPERSONIC SPACE BOMBER -- The Defense Department is exploring the development of a 'space-bomber' which could destroy targets on the other side of the world within 30 minutes. As part of a weapons modernization strategy personally directed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon is drawing up plans for a 'sub-orbital vehicle' launched like a spacecraft, which was described as 'valuable for conducting rapid global strikes'. The craft - which would set the scene for a new generation of stratospheric warfare - would be able to drop precision bombs from a height of 60 miles, flying at 15 times the speed and 10 times the height of America's current bomber fleet. It is unclear whether it would be manned. The new plane could be developed quickly from plans for a reusable spacecraft called the X-33 Venture Star, under development by NASA and Lockheed Martin. It would drop bombs from such a height that they would act as 'bunker busters', penetrating deep into underground silos and causing massive pre-emptive damage on the ground within minutes of the start of a conflict - indicating a clear intention to take out enemy missiles before they have the capacity to launch. It would also be out of reach of conventional air defense systems. The bomber could return to base in the US within 90 minutes from any point on the globe.( In 1999 it took US bombers in Kosovo 24 hours to return to base in Missouri).
The development of the bomber - details of which have been obtained by the Los Angeles Times - has strong supporters, including the man tipped to be nominated by SecDef Rumsfeld as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Ralph Eberhardt, Commander of Space Command. (Jonkers) (The Observer (UK). July 29. 01 ///E. Vulliamy)
MOSCOW TESTS NEW HYPERSONIC CRUISE MISSILE -- Along the same line, Russia recently conducted a test of a long-range missile with a new jet-powered last stage. The flight test of the road-mobile SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) took place from a launch site in central Russia two weeks ago. U.S. officials said the missile's flight took an unusual path: Its last stage was an ultra- high-speed cruise missile that flew within the Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 100,000 feet. Officials familiar with intelligence reports of the SS-25 flight test said it involved firing the road-mobile missile nearly into space and then having its last stage drop down to within the atmosphere and flying at supersonic speed to the Kamchatka impact range. "It looks like the Russians were testing scramjet technology," said one intelligence official. A "scramjet," short for supersonic-combustion ramjet, is a high-powered jet engine capable of reaching speeds of five times the speed of sound Mach 5 or more. The scramjet missile may be part of Russia's efforts to develop non-nuclear or conventional precision-guided long-range missiles.. The SS-25 ballistic missile has three stages and a post-boost vehicle carrying the warhead. It has a maximum range of more than 7,000 miles.
The United States is currently working on its own version of a hypersonic cruise missile that uses scramjet technology and will travel at speeds of Mach 5 or higher. A scramjet space aircraft is also being developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (Jonkers) (Wash Times 30 July01, pg 1 //B. Gertz)
CONGRESSIONAL SECURITY -- According to a former House intelligence committee member, Bob Dornan, the Central Intelligence Agency downgrades its security briefings to House Intelligence Committee members in the presence of suspected security risks. . "I served eight years on that committee," Dornan told Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes." We had one person that had dealings with a Communist government down in the Caribbean in Grenada. And it degraded all the intel-briefings. . . .The CIA people told me, 'Come and get that briefing again. Come over to Langley or have us come and we'll sweep your office. Because we degrade the briefing because that person has a staffer who's dealing with this government.'" Dornan said that any Intelligence Committee member (presumably with reference to Congressman Condit), who leads a secret double life is open to blackmail, and is recognized as a security risk.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle reportedly set off a 'firestorm of speculation' when he told NBC's Tim Russert that other Intelligence Committee members besides Condit may be guilty of blackmailable (sic) misconduct.
RUSSERT: "But [Condit] is vulnerable to blackmail in his current situation. "
DASCHLE: "Well, he may be. But there are probably others that are subject to blackmail as well."
It would seem the majority leader spoke in general terms, for action would presumably be taken in cases of known security risks. (Jonkers) (Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff, Monday, July 23, 2001 10:59 p.m. EDT /// Courtesy P. Koestler)
NAVAHO CODE-TALKERS RECOGNIZED -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH presented five surviving Navajo code-talkers with the Congressional Gold Medal, belated recognition for their valued service during WWII. From Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima, the Navajocode-talkers passed along the combat information in their own special code language. They had to deal with special situations. Once of the survivors was held at gunpoint by Marines who insisted he was a Japanese soldier.
The code was never broken by the Japanese. There were no code books as the Navajo memorized the code. Its existence remained a secret for 24 years after the war. The original group of 29 Navajo were inducted into the US Marine Corps at Fort Windgate, ironically also the site where the US Army rounded up the entire Navajo nation in the 1860s, then imprisoned them for four years. At government-run schools, children were punished if they dared to even speak Navajo, the tribal language that later helped win the war. "They used to wash our mouth out with a toothbrush and the government brown soap." Senator BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL [R-Colorado]said that for these men to rise above that injustice in American history and put their lives on the line spoke of their great character. (Jonkers) (Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, Oak Canyon, New Mexico//CBS EVENING NEWS CBS TV 7:00 PM JULY 26, 2001) (courtesy L. Sulc)
SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE
NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION CENTER (NPIC)
National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) CODE
RED WORM MUTATIONS ALERT 01-16. Deadline 31 July.
ECHELON JAMMING ASSAULT PLANNED IN OCTOBER --
A group of Internet activists hopes to bring attention to the controversial
U.S.-led communications intercept network Echelon with a "Jam Echelon
Day." Organizers of the cyber event, set for Oct. 21, are encouraging the
Internet community to send out as many e-mail messages as possible containing
certain "trigger words" they believe the Echelon system is
programmed to watch for. The theory is that if the bulk of monitored e-mails
becomes too great, Echelon will be overworked with intercepting spurious
input, and so its effectiveness will drop. (Levine¹s Newbits 25 Jul 01)
SIRCAM THREATENS PRIVACY -- Sircam, the
latest sickness spreading on the Net, grabs a random document from your
computer's hard drive, hides itself in the code, then passes on the infected
document to everyone in your digital address book. That means any document on
your hard drive is fair game for distribution to practically everyone you
know. The body of the message can also differ - but a typical Sircam-infected
message says something similar to:
CHINA¹s COMPUTERS UNDER ATTACK -- Over half
computers attacked by virus China's computer virus monitoring authority
announced Thursday the nation's first survey on computer security, saying that
more than half of China's computer users have been attacked by computer virus
or Trojan. The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre and the
Ministry of Public Security said only 27 percent computer users are free from
any virus attack. (Levine 26 July01)
SECTION IV - LETTERS
MEDIA LETTER - General Tilelli Letter on China "bias" media reports -- With reference to media reporting on an alleged CIA bias in reporting on China (included in the last WIN), retired Army General John Tilelli (who headed special commission known as the 'China Futures Panel' ) wrote a letter (made available to the media on 10 July) to the effect that "contrary to press reports" his panel did not criticize CIA analysts for biased reporting on China. However, according to several government officials who have read the (classified) report, which was sent to Congress last week, a key finding is that CIA China analysts showed an "institutional predisposition" in their reporting on China Pressed to explain why his statement left out the words "institutional predisposition" or any criticism of the CIA's reporting on China, Gen. Tilelli said his statement was designed to buck up the morale of the CIA's China analysts in the wake of the media reports. As for identifying problems, Gen. Tilelli would only say the panel found "some room" for improvement.
By way of commentary it may be noted that the China Futures Panel itself may be suspected of "institutional predisposition" in regard to its estimate, and accusing CIA analysts of same is a predictable tactic. Senator Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a key figure in chartering the Tilelli panel and apparently representing a particular political perspective on China dating back to the days of Quemoy and Matsu, has vowed privately to continue "investigating the CIA's bias on China," according to journalist Bill Gertz. Obviously, by way of commentary, what the country needs is realism in its estimates with clarity in its terminology and balance in its selection of facts and emphasis. The analysts should be deep in their subject knowledge and be free to call it the way they see it. Team B exercises have value, but not if they are constituted with a predetermined perspective and outlook to put political pressure on analyst's judgments. (Jonkers) (WashTimes 27 July 0 //Bill Gertz)
Bob H (FBI ret) writes on DOD SECURITY PROBLEMS -- "I was the lead FBI investigator on the John Walker espionage case back in 1985. I read with interest you article in WIN#29-1 regarding "Security Clearance Problems at the Defense Department." For those of your readers who don't know much about that case the following points might be of interest:
1. The Walker case was an espionage ring consisting of John
Anthony Walker, Jr. (CWO, USN-Retired), his son Michael Lance Walker (SN, USN),
Jerry Alfred Whitworth (Radioman, USN-Retired), and Arthur James Walker (LTCDR,
USN-Retired). All were convicted in federal court and sentenced to lengthy
For more details about the case may I suggest my book: SPY HUNTER: Inside the FBI Investigation of the Walker Espionage Case, published in 1999 by the Naval Institute Press and available through the Press, bookstores or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I also have a presentation, with slides, on the Walker case that has received rave reviews. Let me know if you're interested." (B. Hunter, Special Agent, FBI, ret) ( Chapters???)
Lou C. writes in regard to criticism of James Bamford's description of the LIBERTY incident: The most authoritative source on the USS Liberty tragedy is the work by a surviving officer, ASSAULT ON THE LIBERTY, by Jim Ennes. Any mistakes by Bamford don't detract or distract from the fact that the attack continued for 75 minutes. Misidentification would have been discovered within 15 minutes at the most. It was a deliberate, ruthless attack. See Ennes' webpage for excerpt descriptions of that at: http://126.96.36.199/jim/ussliberty/
LTC USAR(ret) writes in regard to the NAVAJO CODE TALKERS: "You can't imagine how a story like this impacts. (My mother is of Delaware/ Mohican descent) I served with Navajo guys myself and always found them to be brave soldiers, honorable men. I think that the Germans knew how to break the Navajo code speech. The same technique was used in World War I and the German military sent people to the US to learn Navajo in the inter-war period. I have heard that in Europe in WWII another Indian language had to be used in place of Navajo - Chippewa?" (courtesy L. Sulc, who asks: Any comments on the German intelligence angle?) (comments to email@example.com)
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