Weekly Intelligence Notes #36-01
WIN #36-01 dtd 10 Sep 01
WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE NOTES (WINs) are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO Members and Subscribers. Opinions expressed are those of the authors or editor referenced with each article.
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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
US HOMELAND ATTACKED -- No news items can compare with the tragedy of the carefully orchestrated kamikaze asymmetric-warfare attack, using hi-jacked passenger airliners, on targets in New York and Washington DC today, 11 September 2001. There must be thousands of innocent casualties. The tragedy is being fully reported by the media.
A few observations:
(1) The DCI allegedly warned recently that there was an increased likelihood of a terrorist-type attack within the US.
(2) It is not clear - at this writing - whether domestic malcontents or foreign extremists (Oklahoma City versus the Embassy in Kenya) perpetrated this atrocity;
(3) Many scenarios of possible terrorist attacks against the domestic infrastructure have been circulated in recent years, but this type of potential air-attack scenario has not received much publicity - and that is probably the way it will always be. It is also clear that attackers motivated to sacrifice themselves in suicide or kamikaze scenarios are especially difficult to detect and secure;
(4) If foreigners did this, a very strong US counter, involving force, both overt and clandestine, can - and should - be expected, based on massive popular and political outcry, and the fact that this is an act of war rather than a crime. We will rally around the flag. Hopefully, mass hysteria and concomitant blunders must be avoided (although the usual immediate over-reaction and lack of sense of proportion in this locale is not promising!);
(5) The great resources of the United States, once energized and aroused, will now be focused on the problem, including the intelligence and the security assets as well as those dedicated to retribution and prevention. Intelligence and security budgets can be expected to be increased;
(6) Somewhere along the line policy (and the supporting mass media) must also consider the motivations that lead people to act in this desperate, despicable, and unnaturally suicidal manner, whether they are Americans or foreign elements. One might observe in this regard that Islamic extremists have been energized by US (and Israeli) policies in the Middle East to execute a wave of desperation suicide attacks recently. It does not excuse, but understanding, and smart, controlled political moves along with the requisite power measures, may lead us to a safer homeland - and world -- without sliding into a complete counterintelligence security state where liberty is only a distant memory. (Jonkers)
SUICIDE ATTACK ON TALIBAN OPPOSITION MAY HAVE SUCCEEDED -- The military chief of forces fighting Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, General Ahmad Shah Massood, 48, may have died in a suicide attack Sunday, According to his brother, Massood is currently unconscious and in serious condition with head injuries after an operation in a hospital in Tajuikstan, but US officials reportedly believe he is dead.
Two Arab journalists were visiting Massood in his stronghold in the Panshir valley for an interview on Sunday when the explosion went off, triggered either by explosives hidden in a television camera or tied to the individuals. Neither the nationalities nor the affiliation of the attackers has been determined, but the suicide bombers were allegedly traveling on Belgian passports, with a multiple Pakistani visa issued by the Pakistan Embassy in London. "The whole thing was organized by Pakistanis and some Arab circles, that was for sure,'' said Massood's brother. In addition to both bombers, the blast also killed Massood's spokesman, Azim Suhail.
Masood's forces control about 5 percent of Afghanistan and are fighting the Taliban north of the capital Kabul. Massood is the military head of the anti-Taliban alliance, whose political leader is ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani. He was Rabbani's defense chief from 1992 until 1996, when the Taliban took power. Massood has repeatedly accused the Taliban of using foreign fighters in the front line, particularly guerrillas from Arab countries and neighboring Pakistan.
Taliban spokesmen denied that the Taliban were behind the attack on Massood, which came one day after a powerful explosion in Kabul wounded a number of people inside the Taliban's Interior Ministry.
The loss of Massood would seriously impact the opposition, a fractured collection of groups that fought each other when they ruled much of Afghanistan for four years until the Taliban took control in September 1996. It is interesting to note that their deposed government (not the Taliban!) still holds Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations and operates embassies in several capitals of the world.
Various powers, including Pakistan, Iran, and Russia (CSIS/Tajikstan), as well as the US, are "fishing in troubled waters" in Afghanistan, with Pakistan supporting the Taliban, and the others the opposition. (Jonkers) (Reuters & AP, 09/10/01)
SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES INTELLIGENCE BILL -- the Senate Intelligence Committee on September 6th approved the Fiscal Year 2002 intelligence authorization bill, reportedly approving total spending by the intelligence agencies of about around $30 billion. Although intelligence spending figures are classified, sources indicated the Bush administration's proposed increases totaled more than $1 billion over the Clinton budget submission. Added funds will help pay for continued modernization of electronic intercepts by NSA; expanded recruitment, training and support for CIA intelligence activities overseas; and additional people and equipment to permit analysis of the increased amounts of data being collected (mostly for NIMA). Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) said in a statement that the funding increases represent just "the first installment of a multi-year effort to correct serious deficiencies that have developed over the past decade." (Jonkers) (WashPost 7 Sep 01, pg5)
SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENT
ANALYZING THE THREAT - -GERM WARFARE VERSUS MISSILE DEFENSE -- The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph Biden, argued on September 5th that the threat from terrorists armed with anthrax, smallpox and other germs is far greater than the peril of nuclear-tipped missiles. "In my view, the threat from anonymously delivered biological weapons and from emerging infectious diseases simply dwarfs the threat that we will be attacked by a Third World [missile] with a return address."
Former Sen. Sam Nunn told the committee of a "war game" called "Dark Winter" in which he recently participated. It concluded that the US public infrastructure was inadequate to cope with even a local terrorist smallpox attack. "We were out of vaccine. We were discussing martial law. Interstate commerce was eroding rapidly. The members of our simulated NSC, as well as state and local officials, were desperate," Mr. Nunn said. "Biological terrorism is one of our greatest national security threats.... Our lack of preparation is a real emergency. "
James Woolsey, while agreeing with Mr. Nunn's assessment, said U.S. laws have made it too hard for the intelligence community to obtain the information it needs to head off such threats. He said the FBI and CIA are prohibited from dealing with human rights violators and individuals with violent pasts -- precisely the type of people who join terrorist groups. In the end, he noted that "intelligence agencies will know all about the local church and chamber of commerce, but little about clandestine terror cells." One would expect that this is about to change. (Jonkers) (Wash. Times 6 Sep, 2001, p. 9 / / T.Carter)
SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE
NSA BEGINS CRYPTO UPGRADE --
The National Security Agency is beginning a 15-year, multibillion-dollar
effort to modernize the nation's cryptographic systems, which are
rapidly growing obsolete and vulnerable. Cryptographic systems encode
messages and include such tools as secure telephones, tactical radios
and smart cards. Virtually every federal department and
agency-including the military, the White House, intelligence agencies
and the State Department - use encryption.(Levine Newsbits 09/10)
GPS VULNERABILITY -- The Global Positioning System is susceptible to both unintentional disruption from atmospheric effects and communications equipment and potential deliberate disruption, a study released today said (Levine 09/10) .
SECTION IV - BOOKS AND SOURCES
True Men & Traitors: From OSS to the CIA, My Life in the Shadows, by AFIO member David W. Doyle. Published May 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, New York City. ISBN 0-471-41608-8.
Posted on CIA Website -- Directorate of Intelligence publication "Long-Term Global Demographic Trends: Reshaping the Geopolitical Landscape." http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/Demo_Trends_For_Web.pdf
Posted on CIA Website -- a more user-friendly version of the 'Studies in Intelligence' (Unclassified Edition, Winter-Spring 2001, No. 10). This version has an HTML index, and each article is a separate file for easier browsing and faster viewing.
SECTION V - NOTICES
OFFICE OF STRATEGIC RESEARCH (OSR) MEETING -- A group of former members of the OFFICE OF STRATEGIC RESEARCH(OSR) is now organizing a reunion to be held in 2002 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of OSR. Former members and friends of
OSR who are interested in learning more about the reunion should contact one of the people listed below as soon as possible. For planning purposes, we quickly need an estimate of the number of attendees. If possible, please communicate via email.
Noel Firth 9414 Cello Ct., Vienna VA 22182; E-Mail: Agility281@aol.com ; Tel: 703-281-4845
or Mark Boerner, 2525 10th St #222, Arlington VA 22201; E-Mail: Mar.Smoky@verizon.net; Tel: 703-522-6747
CHECK AFIO WEBSITE FOR SYMPOSIUM AND CONVENTION INFORMATION -- 2 and 3 November 2001, at CIA and the Sheraton Premier Hotel in McLean. www.afio.com
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