Weekly Intelligence Notes #40-01
8 October 2001

WIN #40-01 dtd 8 Oct 2001


Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) contain commentaries on intelligence-related events and issues produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for AFIO Members and for WIN Subscribers, for non-profit educational uses only. RADM Don Harvey and Dr. John Macartney also contribute articles to the WINs. Opinions expressed are solely those of the editors and/or authors referenced with each article.


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SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AT WAR -- The overall pace of interagency intelligence activities has greatly increased. In a classified two-page, "we are at war" memo, CIA Director George J. Tenet on Sept. 16th directed that employees eliminate turf wars and cut out "bureaucratic impediments to success" because intelligence handling "must be absolutely seamless in waging this war, and we must lead." Without referring to past controversies and criticisms, Tenet's memo said "all the rules have changed." There "must be absolute and full sharing of ideas and capabilities," not only inside the agency but in its dealings with "law enforcement, military and other civilian agencies and other intelligence community colleagues."
     Reflecting the new across-the-board cooperation between the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community, the DCI spends most days with President Bush and his national security team. Several times a day, Tenet and his top aides receive situation reports that provide what subordinates in operations and analysis consider "hot" material, sources said. At least twice a day the CIA holds a senior staff meeting. Tenet receives additional materials at night, and in the morning he gets a briefing in his car while on his way to the White House. Several times a day, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice runs a telephone conference call that includes Secretary of State Colin L. Powell or his deputy, Richard L. Armitage; a senior Defense Department official; a representative from the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Tenet or his deputy.
     Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Joan Dempsey, deputy director of central intelligence for community management, has chaired a late afternoon intelligence community conference with representatives of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
     CIA has doubled the size of its Counter-Terrorism Center since Sept. 11. The Center, long portrayed as an analytical operation, has become a hub for planning and overseeing offensive military operations in Afghanistan as well as key activities related to homeland defense. Reports pour into the Counter-Terrorism Center not only from CIA operatives around the world but also from FBI agents and "legats" who operate in more than 20 countries. Much of this information is derived from the liaison relationships both organizations maintain with police and intelligence agencies of the countries in which they operate. To  ensure that there is a complete exchange of information, especially between CIA and the FBI, officials from the Counter-Terrorism Center meet twice a day with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and his deputies to go over new data. Cofer Black, the director of the counter-terrorism center, regularly confers with bureau officials. Cofer Black has devoted a major part of his career to counterterrorism. He was stationed in Sudan while that country was considered a major sponsor of terrorist activities. He is also credited with bringing down the terrorist who operated under the name "Carlos the Jackal." The CTCenter also directs clandestine activities against terrorists, including covert operations and recruitment of agents.  Although military officers from the U.S. Central Command have always been represented at CIA headquarters, the addition of Special Forces officers involved in the Afghan offensive illustrates the major role intelligence is playing in the war on terrorism. (Jonkers)  (WashPost 9Oct01, p.4 //W. Pincus)

US INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION SYSTEMS IN AFGHANISTAN -- Two recent press reports have outlined the intelligence collection systems the US has deployed or has enroute to Afghanistan in addition to the usual overhead systems, liaison with friendly intelligence services, and apparently a few special operations forays.  Precise coordinates of potential targets in the area have been or are being mapped by satellites and at least two classes of UAV.  One is the Gnat, a 24-foot-long plane operated by the CIA carrying a radar called the Lynx. The manufacturer, General Atomics and intelligence analysts, say the commercially available radar can detect objects as small as four inches at a distance of 16 miles, day or night, rain or shine, relaying still photos or videos via satellite.  [These mind-boggling capabilities are new to this writer.]  A Gnat crashed north of Kabul last month, almost surely due to equipment malfunction despite Taliban claims to have shot it down.  The second UAV, the Predator, also flies at an altitude of four to five miles, can stay aloft for 40 hours, and can carry the Lynx system. 
     Other intelligence platforms on the move are the U-2 (radar, electro-optical and signals intelligence), RC-135 Rivet Joint (electronic and communications intelligence), and E-8C Joint-STARS (long-range, ground surveillance radar).  U-2 crews are already said to be maxed out with surveillance of Afghanistan.  In addition to the various systems being used, one defense official is quoted as saying, "The US trained the Uzbek special operations forces who have already operated in Afghanistan."  It is be hoped our effectiveness in targeting has improved since Kosovo where our precision signals intelligence was not so good, according to one "reconnaissance specialist."  He went on to say, "We fired 800 Harms [radar-killing missiles] at $200,000 to $300,000 each in Kosovo and hit one SAM." (Harvey)
(NY Times 8 Oct '01,// T. Weiner;  Aviation Week & Space Tech. 8 Oct '01,  p.66 ///  R.  Wall and D. Fulghum)

ANSIR -- NATIONAL THREAT WARNING SYSTEM -- Terrorist Threat Advisory Update, 07 October 2001:  On 10/7/2001 the United States launched military operations against sites in Afghanistan associated with international terrorist Usama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization.  These strikes may heighten the threat to U.S. interests in the United States and abroad.  As reported in previous advisory updates, the FBI is tracking a large number of threats emanating from groups sympathetic to Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.  These groups may use U.S. military operations to justify acts of terrorism against U.S. interests.  There is also the potential that terrorist groups not aligned with Al-Qaeda or associated with Radical Islamic Fundamentalism could exploit the current situation by carrying out attacks.
Recipients are urged to maintain the highest level of vigilance and to evaluate whether any additional security measures are warranted due to these ongoing military operations.  Recipients who receive or develop information relating to this matter should contact undersigned immediately.(Special Agent Gary Harter, Email:  gharter@leo.gov)

US CONGRESS -- FY-2002 INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION REPORTS.  The recent House intelligence committee (HPSCI)  report on the FY-2002 intelligence authorization bill shared several concerns that had also been noted in the Senate Select Committee on its Intelligence Authorization bill a couple of weeks earlier. 

(1) Both Congressional committees deplored the debilitating lack of qualified linguists and analysts with the House reporting that thousands of pieces of data are never analyzed or left un-translated for years because of the paucity of properly skilled personnel.  The Senate called for a National Virtual Translation Center, available to all intelligence agencies; the House suggested bonuses to analysts fluent in appropriate languages.

(2) The House recommended a separate HUMINT Service, combining all human intelligence resources. 

(3) The Senate complained that Congress is not receiving intelligence "in a form tailored for their unique needs," now that the national intelligence daily has been discontinued. 

(4) The House would create an independent 10-member commission to study the "preparedness and performance" of several federal agencies during and after the Sept. 11 strikes.  The commission would be appointed by the President and Congress to look at agencies responsible for public safety, law enforcement, national security and intelligence gathering, would have subpoena powers and would report back in six months. [At least the House seems aware that the Sept 11 horror was not solely an intelligence failure.  In that regard, the Jane's Intelligence Digest concluded its investigation of the event saying: "After the attacks on the USA it is easy to see why some pundits have passed the blame to the intelligence services.  Our investigations suggest that a lack of political will in the past was the real problem."] 

(5) The House panel noted that the intelligence portion of the defense budget declined in the fiscal 2002 request despite the administration's "emphasis on intelligence;" the committee reportedly raised the budget allocation. It described as "imperative" the need to increase the number of clandestine case officers and defense attachés around the world. 

(6) And finally, as usual, both the Senate and the House pointed to the community's continued failure to share information fully, especially when it comes to terrorism.
(Harvey) (Wash. Post 20 Sept '01, p. 33 and  2 Oct '01, p. A11 // W. Pincus;  NY Times 3 Oct '01 //A. Mitchell; Jane's International Security Intelligence Digest 27 Sept '01)


SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENT

CIA HISTORY -- THE UNSAVORY SPY ISSUE (cont'd) -- Seymour Hersh, a journalist who surveys the intelligence scene with a jaundiced eye, had the following to say about the subterranean bubbling issue of  CIA's "unsavory spies."
       In 1995, the agency was widely criticized after the news came out that a paid informant in Guatemala had been involved in the murders of an American innkeeper and the Guatemalan husband of an American lawyer. The informant had been kept on the CIA payroll even though his activities were known to the Directorate of Operations. John Deutch, the CIA's third director in three years, responded to the abuses, and to the public outcry, by issuing a directive calling for prior approval from headquarters before any person with criminal or human-rights problems could be recruited. The approval, Deutch later explained, was to be based on a simple balancing test: "Is the potential gain in intelligence worth the cost that might be associated with doing business with a person who may be a murderer?"
       The scrub order led to the creation of a series of screening panels at CIA headquarters. Before a new asset could be recruited, a CIA case officer had to seek approval from a Senior Review Panel. "It was like a cardiologist in California deciding whether a surgeon in New York City could cut a chest open," a former officer recalled. In the view of the operations officers, the most important weapons in the war against international terrorism were being evaluated by men and women who, as one of the retired officers put it, "wouldn't drive to a D.C. restaurant at night because they were afraid of the crime problem."
       Other bureaucratic panels began "multiplying like rabbits, one after another," a former station chief said. Experienced officers who were adamant about continuing to recruit spies found that obtaining approval before making a pitch had become a matter of going from committee to committee. "In the old days, they'd say, 'Go get them,' " the retired officer said. Yet another review process, known as A.V.S.       "It was mindless," a third officer said. "What we've done to ourselves is criminal. There are a half-dozen good guys out there trying to keep it together." Hersh cites Robert Baer saying "It did make the workday a lot easier. I just watched CNN. No one cared." The CIA's vital South Group, made up of eight stations in central Asia         Unlike many senior officials at CIA headquarters, Baer had lived undercover in the nineteen-eighties in Beirut and elsewhere in the Middle East, and he well understood the ability of terrorist organizations to cover their tracks. He told me that when the CIA started to go after the Islamic Jihad, a radical Lebanese group linked to a series of kidnappings in the Reagan years, "its people systematically went through documents all over Beirut, even destroying student records. They had the airport wired and could pick the Americans out. They knew whom they wanted to kidnap before he landed." The terrorists coped with the American ability to intercept conversations worldwide by constantly changing codes, often doing little more than changing the meanings of commonly used phrases. "There's a professional cadre out there," Baer said. Referring to the terrorists who struck on September 11th, he said, "These people are  damned good." (Jonkers) (New Yorker magazine online,  Issue of 2001-10-08 // Posted 2001-10-01 WHAT WENT WRONG by Seymour Hersh / slightly shortened excerpt) (courtesy PJK)

HANSSEN DEBRIEFINGS REVEAL NEW DAMAGE TO US ESPIONAGE -- Confessed FBI mole Robert Phillip Hanssen reportedly told his debriefers that in 1980 he had betrayed the identity of a top FBI  spy within Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU), General Dimitri Polyakov, who had been working for the US since the 1960's. This means that Hanssen betrayed Polyakov five years before we had believed Ames had betrayed him. 
       Polyakov was considered one of the more important spies the United States ever cultivated. He was a "walk-in" who contacted the FBI in New York City to offer his services because of his disillusionment with the Communist system. At the height of the Cold War he passed on information about Soviet nuclear and military capabilities, and also revealed the identities of several Russian spies. His material was of great importance to the FBI and CIA, and also to policy-makers. Material he provided on the bitter Sino-Soviet split was used by President Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger to open improved relations with China in 1972, according to historical accounts.
       Polyakov was apparently betrayed in 1980 when Hanssen (then assigned to the FBI office in New York) began his odious career in the espionage business by initiating an anonymous contact with the GRU, telling them that "Polyakov was a source of the FBI."  Probably as a result, Polyakov was recalled to Moscow in June 1980. In 1985 he was also betrayed by Ames (and again by Hanssen, now "fully operational"). But Polyakov apparently continued to provide information, even in semi-retired status, until, in 1988, when he was executed by the Soviets for his espionage. This sequence of events obviously leads to questions about the credibility of the information Polyakov provided during the 1980's --  was it "straight-up," or was it what the Soviets wanted us to believe? "The significance is that we don't really know what happened between those years -- whether [Polyakov] was 'played back' on us or what," said one source close to the case. This question, of course, is always a problem with information provided by spies -- what can you believe?
        In the general context of the case, there has been renewed concern about access to, and sharing of, classified data. As an FBI supervisor Hanssen had wide access to highly classified data, from colleagues, briefings and documents. He further used his knowledge of computers to gain access to additional data, allowing him to give the Soviets a broad range of information about U.S. agents, communications intercept technology and other sensitive matters. Should he have been denied such wide access?
      Critics of the intelligence system say that computer linkups (e.g. Intelink) in recent years have given too many people in the intelligence community access to sensitive data. "It's out of hand," said one critic. The interesting point here is that Intelligence is criticized both ways ­ for not sharing data widely enough, and for sharing too much. And how are you going to keep the senior people out of the loop? (Jonkers)  (LA Times, 3 Oct 2001// E. Lichtblau)


SECTION III -- CYBER INTELLIGENCE

CYBER TSAR APPOINTED -- Richard A. Clarke, 50, was appointed by President Bush on 9 October to the post of Special Adviser to the President for Cyberspace Security. Reporting to the newest member of the Bush cabinet -- Tom Ridge, Office of Homeland Security -- Clarke will serve as chairman of a government-wide board to coordinate the protection of critical information systems.  The Board was created by an Executive Order and, as Tom Ridge explained during the appointment ceremony, the information tech infrastructure "pervades everything from shipment of goods, to communications, to emergency services, and the delivery of water and electricity to our homes."  Clarke is a seasoned anti-terrorism and bin Laden expert who served on the National Security Council staff as national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism. 

UK CLOSES ISLAMIC SITE -- A U.K.-based Web site that offered Islamic military training apparently has been shut down by British officials. The site provided a PGP encryption key to visitors wanting to conceal their communications with the company. (Levine 01/04)
http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/170828.html
http://www.msnbc.com/news/637972.asp
http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,47184,00.html
- - - - - - - -
SENATE CREATES TOUGH ANTI-TERRORIST MEASURE - Senate negotiators unveiled an anti-terrorism proposal today that broadens the authority of law enforcers to track the phone and Internet activities of suspects and - unlike a bill approved by a House panel on Wednesday - does not include any language limiting the duration of the new surveillance powers.(Levine 10/04) http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/170840.html
http://www.techtv.com/news/politicsandlaw/story/0,24195,3351725,00.html


SECTION IV -- BOOKS AND SOURCES

HOUSE ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION, known as the "Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act of 2001," See   http://cryptome.org/hr2975ih.txt

PENTAGON'S ANNUAL REPORT ON THE MILITARY POWER OF CHINA -- Report to Congress -- The FY2000 National Defense Authorization Act(Section 1202) directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report "...on the current and future military strategy of the People's Republic of China. The report shall address the current and probable future course of military-technological development on the People's Liberation Army and the tenets and probable development of Chinese grand strategy, security strategy, and military strategy, and of the military organizations and operational concepts, through the next 20 years." 
See: <http://www.newsmax.com/articles?a=2000/8/7/160447 > (courtesy T. Hart)


SECTION VI -- LETTERS

John H. writes: Suggestion for the new Office of Homeland Security -- Establish a Federal Reserve of retirees from the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies with vast knowledge and experience to assist the new Office of Homeland Security, in the protection of our facilities, surveillance and counter surveillance overseas. There are thousands of us ready and willing to serve with or without compensation.

Lewis R writes on Warning of Terrorism: In the 24 Sept issue of "The New Yorker" an article by David Remnick & others states on p. 61 that Yossef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, & the author of "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America," was not among those who hurried to focus solely on Bin Laden...Bodansky and others have said that US intelligence  has long known that countries such as Iran and independent groups have made plans for "super-terrorism" & have trained people to carry out terrorist acts. "We've known since the mid-eighties that Iran was training people to fly as kamikazes on commercial planes, as bombs, into civilian targets."
       Bodansky explained that Iran's principal "school" is in Wakilabada, in the  northeast part of the country, and is an entity of Iranian intelligence  and the Revolutionary Guard. The school, he said, has commercial jets for training its students in techniques of hijacking, sabotage, and flying into civilian targets...The big question here, of course, is why we tolerated this activity for so many years ? (LR)
       Editor's Note -- If the report is true, unconventional warfare training can be rationally interpreted in many different ways. Iran primarily contemplates (and conducts) unconventional warfare against its principal enemy, Iraq. As a general proposition, it can be considered highly unlikely for the political leaders of any state, whether defined by the US as "rogue" or not, would give the order to actually execute a chemical, biological or  nuclear terrorist attack against a major nuclear power, least of all the dominant power of the day - the US. They must consider the calamitous  consequences for their state and people. Except for a case of complete insanity, or when facing complete destruction anyway - utter desperation, no ruler would do such a thing. Even Saddam did not.
       What the US is currently fighting is a clandestine (and criminal) "virtual government" motivated to overthrow established governments in states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt (which they define as corrupt and not meeting the needs of the masses, as well as being "lackeys" of the US) , and to protest against the culture of the modern age (viewed as corrupted by pornography, widespread divorce, homosexuality, the education of women, secularism and lack of religion, etc. etc.), all symbolized by the dominant power of US and its regional representative, Israel. This clandestine virtual government has no state, and no army - it exploits and feeds on poverty, a widespread sense of injustice, and extremist religious fundamentalism in many nations, using their version of religion and terrorist acts to win support of the masses and gain its ends.
     The attack on the US was a declaration of war, an unpredictable insanity and abomination. The blood of the victims has now awakened the Giant, and Al Qaeda and its leaders will soon be history, along with other festering problems for the US (and/or Israel) in the area (including nuclear  proliferation and finishing the job in Iraq under whatever pretext). The changes and sacrifices we are willing to make now would not have been made when merely seen as crying wolf. The gauntlet thrown has been picked up and will become an opportunity. And to come back to the writers question, predicting  this particular scenario of terrorist abomination and human indecency was highly improbable. The Congress and the Executive are looking forward, not back. The hunt for scapegoats is a luxury of peacetime.-- and it may well be revisited in the future.   (RJ)   


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