Weekly Intelligence Notes #41-01
15 October 2001

WIN 41-01 dtd 15 Oct 2001

AFIO SYMPOSIUM "Statecraft, Tradecraft and Hi-Tech: Intelligence 2001 and Beyond" -- LAST CALL -- NOTE THAT AGENDA IS INTACT -- Congress, White House, CIA, Office of the Secretary of Defense, NSA, and FBI leaders remain on AFIO's speaker list -- in spite of the War on Terrorism now in full swing. 
      You and your US citizen guests and colleagues are cordially invited to take advantage of this exceptional educational opportunity -- See the agenda and sign-up form at the AFIO Website  www.afio.com, or contact us at afio@afio.com.

EDITOR's NOTE: This WIN abbreviated due to demands of  Symposium Planning //R. Jonkers


SECTION  I  -- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

THE FBI's OPERATIONS CENTER AT WAR -- One of the principal centers for the war on terrorism is the FBI's Strategic Information Operations Center (SIOC), a 40,000 square ft. facility at FBI Headquarters.  More than 500 lawyers, agents, intelligence officers and support personnel are currently working 12-hour shifts to pursue this new kind of war that has blurred the lines between law enforcement and intelligence. Working alongside agents from the FBI, Customs, Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are personnel from CIA, the Defense Department and NSA.  
The center is headed by Director Thomas Pickard, who has a Deputy Director from CIA. Their day starts at 7 a.m. with a inter-agency coordination conference, which demonstrates that although CIA and FBI are separate agencies operating under different laws and using different methods, they now act together. This fact is further demonstrated by the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center at Langley, which has similar cross-agency representation.
The SIOC links command centers and intelligence collectors in the US and around the globe, including the State Department, Treasury, DoD, CIA, NSA, and FBI field offices, as well as allied nations. The Attorney General, who has an office within the SIOC, and the Director of the FBI, have forged the major federal law enforcement agencies and US attorney's offices into a combined force coordinating evidence and intelligence from federal agencies and providing centralized direction. The FBI's SIOC exemplifies the impact of strong and coherent National leadership and the high degree of motivation among the intelligence and law enforcement personnel in this war on terrorism, which has eclipsed, at least for the time being, the ubiquitous turf battles that pervade normal Government and intelligence operations. (Jonkers) (Wpost 14 oct01, p. A16 //J. McGee)

PALESTINIAN --ISRAELI ASSASSINATION WAR ESCALATES -- Israel's far-right Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi has been assassinated. He was hit three times at close range in the Hyatt Hotel in east Jerusalem.  Zeevi was one of the most controversial politicians in Israel, reportedly advocating the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. He had repeatedly called for Arabs to be transferred out of the state and is notorious for using the line: "Let the Arabs go back to Mecca." 
            The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in statements to the Al-Manar TV in Lebanon said the shooting was a revenge attack for Israel's killing of the PFLP leader, Abu Ali Mustafa Zibri, who had been assassinated by the Israelis in August. Israel held Zibri responsible for a series of PFLP car bombings. The PFLP announcement said that the Israelis had killed one of their prominent leaders, and that  Zeevi was "one of those who have very, very right-wing points of view on discrimination - he wants to deport Palestinians and he is with the most severe terrorism against the Palestinians." 
            Israeli Prime Minister Sharon called an emergency meeting of his top intelligence, security, military and cabinet officials to discuss the assassination. Sharon noted  that relations between Israel and the Palestinians had entered a new era and that "things can never be the same again."   This is the first assassination of a senior Government Minister by Palestinian terrorists since the formation of Israel in 1948.
                 Israel's response is likely to be severe, and include the re-imposition of the blockade on the Gaza and West Bank, and possible operations against the Palestinian Authority and in Lebanon against Hezbollah targets. There are open-source reports that elements of the Lebanese Army are moving south and that  Syrian military forces in the area in are in a heightened state of alert. Neither of these should be of much significance should Israel decide to strike.
            This local crisis adds another burden to both US Intelligence and Policymakers in the war against 'international terrorism' --  a phrase which remains undefined in scope or content, providing both challenge and opportunity, depending on our National leadership's view of our national interests. (Jonkers) (based on AFI Research AFI@supanet.com//R. Bennett)


SECTION II -- CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

DISRUPTION AS AN ANTI-TERRORIST WEAPON -- Disruption is one of the techniques employed by U.S. agencies to counter indeterminate terrorist threats -- when we know something is about to happen, but the time, place and target are unknown. During last summer's warnings the disruption technique was employed, and many individuals were detained. It thwarted some plots, but it failed to halt the hijackings that caused more than 5,000 deaths at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
We currently have intelligence indicating that further terrorist attacks are imminent. Accordingly, the FBI has detained about 700 individuals to disrupt possible or potential al Qaeda or related networks operating within the US. But current and former intelligence officials warn that even such zealous efforts are not 100 percent fail-safe.
Additionally, since Sept. 11, the CIA has arranged for 230 suspects in 40 countries around the globe to be jailed and questioned. One notable aspect of putting possible terrorists in the hands of foreign security services is that states do not have the same civilized standards and legal rights as are practiced in the United States, and use interrogation methods that include torture and threats to family members.
Disruption remains an important weapon in this war. But as a senior counter-terrorist specialist said, the approach "only buys you time to look for more leads." For example, it worked that way in 1997 when an attempt to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi was disrupted after Kenyan police collected documents that led to the temporary break up of an al Qaeda cell. However, a year later, the bombing occurred anyway. Disruption also worked in late 1999, when intelligence gathered by the CIA forecast multiple attacks at the time of the millennium celebrations. The CIA worked with Jordanian, Egyptian, Canadian and Pakistani services, picking up terrorists, some associated with al Qaeda, and moving them to either Jordan or Egypt. Those services then received information that led to disruption of millennium bombing plots aimed at a hotel in Amman, Jordan, and a religious site on Jordan's Mount Ebo,  in December 1999 . A Canadian border arrest in mid-December followed by widespread detentions among the Algerian Muslim community in the United States and Canada resulted in foiling a plot to attack Los Angeles International Airport and tourist targets in Washington state. Finally, last summer, after the CIA received credible specific warnings that Osama bin Laden was planning a major attack against U.S. targets, the agency clandestinely worked with police and security services in 20 foreign countries to arrange the arrest and interrogation of  al Qaeda operatives. But as we know,  to no avail.
Disruption can work, it buys time, but is not foolproof -- nor, for that matter, is anything else. In terms of intelligence performance a dozen victories in the dark make one loss in daylight look like we are losing the war. We must therefore expect that the cries of "intelligence failure" will continue, some because it is the fashion to find scapegoats based on perfect ex-post-facto hindsight, others to stimulate an honest effort at self-assessment to improve performance. Meanwhile the President and key Congressional leaders like the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence focus on providing positive, forward-looking leadership and optimal intelligence coordination, collaboration and effectiveness to pursue the war. The disruption technique is one weapon in the arsenal employed, one among many. (Jonkers) (based on Wpost 15 Oct01, p6 //W. Pincus)

PRESIDENT LIMITS CONGRESSIONAL ACCESS TO SENSITIVE SECRETS --  After expressing his disgust at a Congressional leak, the President ordered that access to sensitive classified material be restricted to only eight individuals of the 535 members of Congress.  Said the President: "I want Congress to hear loud and clear: it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk" To which this editor may be permitted to add -- it is unacceptable behavior for all, at any time -- period.  (Jonkers) (WashPost 10 Oct p. A1)

U.S. CONSTITUTION AND 'SECRETS':  A recent op-ed article by Professor Robert Turner, a respected authority on Constitutional law, pointed out that limitations on Congressional access to national security secrets by Presidents has a long, constitutional and honorable history. 
In fact, until the backlash to Vietnam, presidents for over 180 years managed diplomatic and military secrets unconstrained by Congress.  Despite the claims of some in Congress and the media of "rights" to access, the record establishing why Congress was not given routine access to national security secrets is clear.  The general grant of "executive power" vested in the president by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution control over intelligence and diplomatic and military secrets. 

   In 1776, Benjamin Franklin and his four colleagues on the Committee of Secret Correspondence of the Continental Congress concluded they had an "indispensable duty" to keep the covert support of France program secret, explaining: "We find by fatal experience that Congress consists of too many members to keep secrets."  In explaining the draft Constitution to the American people, John Jay wrote that there were important potential intelligence sources who would willingly confide in the secrecy of the president  but not in that of the Senate or the House.  Jay praised the new Constitution for having left the president "able to manage the business of intelligence in such manner as prudence may suggest."

   There is no constitutional basis for Congress to demand diplomatic or military secrets, and the Constitution cannot be amended by simple statute.  The various "laws" passed by Congress demanding secret information are no more valid than would be "laws" telling the president whom he must nominate to be secretary of defense.  In its landmark 1936 Curtiss-Wright case, the Supreme Court noted that  a presidential decision that release of national security information is not compatible with the public interest "rarely, if ever, is questioned."  The court noted further that George Washington had refused to give secrets to Congress during the 1796 dispute over funding the Jay treaty, "a refusal the wisdom of which was recognized by the House itself and has never since been doubted."

   To do its job, Congress rarely needs sensitive details in the national security arena.  Despite the cries of some Congressmen that presidential limitation of secrets sharing cut into their own "constitutional prerogatives," very few members of Congress received sensitive details about military operations in World War II and "that enterprise produced an admirable result."  The article concluded that "...limiting the sharing of national security secrets with Congress is a return to the constitutional system that served us well for nearly two centuries." (Harvey) (NY times 13 Oct 01 & WashPost 12 Oct01, p. A33, by Robert F. Turner, Assoc. Dir. Of the Ctr for National Security Law at U of Va School lf Law)


SECTION  III -- CYBER INTELLIGENCE

CYBER WAR ASSESSMENT -- Since mid-July of this year, up to seven strains of the Code Red computer worm have infected nearly 1 million computers worldwide. Media attention has heightened fears in both the public and private sectors about cyber weapons that can potentially inflict strategic damage. But although cyber attacks over the internet will continue to irritate government and commercial entities, determined attacks targeting the critical, highly-protected government and commercial information systems that are not connected to the Internet, such as sensitive military, banking and electric power systems, are unlikely in the near term. The "electronic Pearl Harbor" that experts have warned for 'wired' nations such as the United States, will become harder -- not easier -- to pull
off. Nations and terrorist groups will need to invest increasing amounts of funds and manpower in cyber weapons to overcome parallel attempts to defend critical
networks. Computers designed to oversee vital operations are unique and highly complex, and so must be the cyber weapons that strike them.
      To conclude, cyber war will probably evolve in much the same way as traditional warfare: Well-financed adversaries will steadily sharpen their battle plans to defeat increasingly complicated and effective countermeasures. It will be neither easy, simple nor cheap. (Jonkers) (STRATFOR 9 Oct 01)


SECTION IV -- LETTERS

Sir,
I read with horror the article "Special Forces Leave for War Quietly, Without Fanfare" in the New York Times dated 19 Oct 01.  As an SF trooper, the thought of my name/unit/functional capability/wife's name/wife's work location being transmitted to the world frightens the hell out of me.  I request that your organization help shake things up a bit.  Please help send a message to the press and to our fellow troopers (and families) that the press is not looking out for our best interest, that our lives depend operations security (OPSEC), and that the country/world does not need to know everything about us, what we do and how we do it.  MEMBERS - let's lean on this one! (author's name withheld). (Jonkers)


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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