Weekly Intelligence Notes #49-01
17 December 2001

WIN #49-01, dated 17 December 2001

Weekly Intelligence Notes are produced by Roy Jonkers for non profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. RADM Don Harvey contributes articles to the WINs.

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"INTELLIGENCE FAILURE" INVESTIGATION COMING -- The Senate Intelligence Committee is quietly gearing up for a major bipartisan hearing starting in February. Chairman Bob Graham and Republican vice chairman Richard Shelby reportedly plan a 'Pearl Harbor-type' investigation of the imputed intelligence failure: open hearings, closed hearings, going back to intelligence failures with the Khobar Towers. According to columnist Bob Novak, "It is going to be a bombshell of an investigation of historic proportions -- a lot of embarrassing red faces resulting from it." Open Season on intelligence starts early next year. Prepare! (Jonkers) (WT,14 Dec)

INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE ON SECURITY LEAKS CREATED -- Attorney General John Ashcroft has created an interagency task force to review current administrative and legal sanctions governing the leak of classified information. "Leaks of classified information do substantial damage to the security interests of the nation. As a government, we must try to find more effective measures to deal with this damaging practice, including measures to prevent it," Mr. Ashcroft said.  The Justice Department, under the Intelligence Authorization Act, will lead the review in direct consultation with the director of the CIA, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the secretary of energy and other federal government agencies that deal with classified information. The task force will deliver a report to Congress by the deadline established in the legislation, May 1. This will set off another media frenzy! (Jonkers) (WashTimes 16Dec01, p. 3 //J. Seper)

BIN LADEN VIDEOTAPE A CIA STING OPERATION? -- The amateur videotape of Bin Laden discussing events of September 11th was held up some time before being publicly released to the US public last week. After the period of delay, the translation originally provided by the Defense Department has now been superceded by a corrected version. According to the authorities the tape was found in a ruined building in Jalalabad by fighters loyal to Commander Hazrat Ali, who stated that he passed the tape on to the CIA. But doubts about the tape have begun to surface. Why had bin Laden broken his tight security to talk like this on tape? Why had he not used one of his normal favored media outlets? Was the tape genuine? Was this indeed bin Laden at all?  The tape is damning. It shows bin Laden laughing and boasting about the 11 September attacks as he talks to his interviewer, a Saudi cleric. He describes how the planes did far more damage to the World Trade Center than he ever imagined. He also indicates that the men who carried out the plot knew that they were on a 'martyrdom operation' but did not have details of the mission until the last minute (which can be considered normal good security practice).  There now is media speculation that the tape, still believed to be genuine, is the result of a sophisticated sting operation run by the CIA through a cooperating intelligence service, possibly Saudi, Egyptian or Pakistani, in an effort to get Osama to incriminate himself. 'They needed someone whom they could persuade, or coerce, to get close to bin Laden, and someone to whom bin Laden would feel secure in talking. If it works, you have got the perfect evidence at the perfect moment,' said one security source. 'It's a masterstroke.' The media's focus of suspicion for this "agent" is the Saudi dissident preacher who appears to have precipitated the taping of the interview, conducted, according to the time code on the video, on 9 November, in what appears to be a guesthouse in the Afghan city of Kandahar. Though his name is not mentioned in the one-hour recording, the guest, disabled from the waist down, has been identified as Ali Saeed al-Ghamdi, a former assistant professor of theology at a seminary in Mecca. Saudi Arabians who watched the tape said the interviewer's accent betrayed roots in the south-west of their country, either the lower Hejaz or Asir province (also the region from where came most of the 15 Saudi hijackers).  Al-Ghamdi, who is known to Saudi intelligence services, is a marginal figure who tried to make a name for himself through inflammatory anti-Western speeches. In the late Nineties he preached in obscure mosques along the highway leading from the port city of Jedda - where bin Laden grew up - to the holy city of Mecca, but his firebrand oratory drew only small audiences. Nevertheless, despite his Islamist credentials, al-Ghamdi could be a potential point of contact for Pakistani, Saudi or Egyptian intelligence. 'He was suspected of being involved in the gathering of international finance for al-Qaeda. He is a peripheral figure who wants to be something bigger and is frustrated. It's a classic profile. They could have turned him,' one security official for a Gulf intelligence agency contacted in Peshawar said. In addition, the tape is said to bear a marked resemblance to secretly filmed evidence used by the FBI against major American Mafia figures in recent years. Draw your own conclusions! (Jonkers) (The Observer (UK) 16 Dec01 //E. Vulliamy and J. Burke) ( http://www.observer.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1501,619524,00.html)

THE ANTHRAX THREAT -- Intelligence deals with current and future threats. One of the recently demonstrated threats to the Homeland is posed by anthrax, a potential CBW weapon, rhetorically included under the rubric of "Weapons of Mass Destruction," potentially useable by terrorists (like almost everything else). It is a subject well covered in the daily press, indicating that the notion that this chemical/biological warfare threat disappeared with the conclusion of the 1969 treaty outlawing this kind of weapon, is apparently an illusion. In the US program anthrax of various types was collected from laboratories worldwide, and has been fairly widely accessible. During the 70's and 80's, when few researchers thought of bacteria as a potential terrorist weapon "people would share strains," said a former Army researcher."There wasn't necessarily any documentation." The type anthrax that killed a number of Americans recently is said to be the Ames variety. If a researcher sent a sample of the Ames strain to another scientist in the 1980s without recording the transfer, a sample could have sat forgotten for years in a freezer at a university lab in the United States or even overseas. A terrorist could have used such a sample to produce the anthrax used in the letters, which have killed five people and sickened 13 others. The use of fine particles that can be inhaled, found in Senator Daschle's office, pose a different and particularly sophisticated threat -- and clues. In this country only the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah is known to have made this finely milled, weapons-grade anthrax in recent years. If this type of Ames strain anthrax was shared informally, it may also have been produced as a fine, dry powder by a secret weapons program of another (allied or friendly) country. Government officials have acknowledged that Army scientists in recent years have made anthrax in a powdered form that could be used as a weapon. Experts said this appeared to be the first disclosure of the continuing government production of anthrax in its most lethal form since the United States renounced biological weapons in 1969 and began destroying its germ arsenal. Speculation on the attackers in the US range from Islamic terrorists (no connection has been made public) to domestic extremist terrorists (the targets appear to have been media figures and Congressional democrats), or even to criminals seeking to profit from the turmoil. The FBI is investigating. No connection is said to have been made to al-Qaeda or Iraq, yet. . The Soviets also continued to maintain a CBW research program, but did not destroy their stockpile as required by the 1969 treaty. The outbreak of the disease near Sverdlovsk, Siberia, where anthrax was dispersed over a wide area in 1979, demonstrated both the program and its effects - which were more limited than one might surmise from the horror scenarios. Documents on the Soviet program may be found in the national security archive cited below. A great number of countries possess the pharmaceutical laboratory base to research and produce anthrax or other CBW diseases, including Israel, Iraq, Egypt, and Iran in the Middle East, and China, Japan, India, and European countries, among others. As the anti-terrorism war rolls on, essentially the nations the US considers a terrorist threat, generally within the Islamic world, will probably not be permitted such a pharmaceutical research and production capability -- unless closely controlled or monitored. (Jonkers) (BaltSun 21Dec //S.Shane)(NYT 13 Dec01, p.1 /W.Broad) ( http://www.sunspot.net/news/nationworld/bal-te.anthrax21dec21.story ) (Anthrax at Sverdlovsk Update 15Nov01, )( mevans@GWU.EDU )
( http://www.nsarchive.org/NSAEBB/NSAEBB61/ )
( http://www.sunspot.net/templates/misc/printstory.jsp?slug=bal%2Dte%2Eanthrax21dec21 )(T. Hart)


US FOREIGN POLICY, INTELLIGENCE & TERRORISM -- The View From the Third World. Much commentary in the Third world is idle noise, just like that in our media. But we must know how others see us and the world if we are not to fall into the trap of blind intellectual arrogance and ignorance. Two views are offered - one blaming the US for neglecting to address oppression and suffering, the causes of terrorism, and the other assigning blame from within Islam.

 (1) TERRORISM CAUSED BY US POLICIES -- A Malaysian professor stated criticism of US foreign policies thusly (edited): The recent attack on Pentagon and World Trade Center by hijacked civilian American airlines can be regarded as one of the worst forms of attacks on targets on American soil. For a long time, there was belief that the geographical location of the country and its super intelligence system would act as bulwarks against any form of attack. But then, when part of the Pentagon and the entire World Trade Center was demolished, Americans woke up to the new realities of international conflict. But the funny thing is that the American officialdom seems to be learning no lessons from this disaster. The line of argument is simply that it has to find new ways to improve the country's intelligence system, get the support of its allies and prepare for strikes at targets abroad. There is no visible attempt to consider what really went wrong in the foreign policy realm. There seems to be general amnesia on the fact that it was the foreign policy of the United States and its relationship with the rest of the world that is the prime cause of the recent attack and other attacks in different places. . . . While America might be a democratic country, its foreign policy towards other nations is replete with contradictions. It supports whatever regime serves American interests; little or no attention is paid to the suffering of innocent people. Arms supplied by the US are used by regimes in power to punish or eliminate opposition forces in the name of opposing terrorism. American military advisors are stationed in many countries to advise and train troops of very corrupt regimes. American intelligence is provided to eliminate leaders of opposition groups. The US is against terrorists, cast as a fight between good and evil between good and evil. But no attempt has been made to date to identify what are the objectives of these terrorists, and why they are willing to give up their lives and others. In other words, no attempt to address the causes. In Sri Lanka, American military help has been sought for years to eliminate the struggle waged by the Tamils for their own homeland. Every successive government in Israel has sought to deny a decent political future for Palestinians. Beyond this, American moral and material support have been used to eliminate groups opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Also, it was the US that brought Suharto into power in Indonesia so that he could mastermind the elimination of communists. It was also the US, through the International Monetary Fund, that brought Suharto down. And it was the same US, now destroying the Taleban as evil, that backed the Taleban in fighting against the Soviets. The US has no qualms of "sleeping" with dictators, military rulers, authoritarian governments and others. Thus, if there are individuals and groups negatively affected by US policy, it seems quite natural for them to retaliate in the only way available to them. The fault lies in the way successive policymakers in the US have sought to define the country's interests - both domestically and internationally. This has nothing to do with the country's intelligence system . Today, the enemies of the US are groups, organizations, individuals and others who have been negatively impacted by US foreign policies towards the struggle of oppressed peoples in the world. Professor Ramasamy's polemic may be considered light-weight academic generalizing and public posturing, but actions by others in the world are not disconnected from US actions towards them. Intelligence and bombing are not the only remedies. It is useful to analyze - and address - underlying causes as well as their resulting manifestations. (Jonkers) (P. Ramasamy, U Kebansaan Malaysia, 17Sep 01) (courtesy E. M'gan)

(2) WHITHER ISLAM?? -- Although it was never his intention, Osama bin Laden has triggered the most serious debate in years, among Muslims, about Islam's ability to adapt to modernity. In Arab states this debate is still muted. But in Pakistan and other Muslim countries with a relatively free press, writers are raising it openly and bluntly. Nothing could be more important. Here's why: Many Arab-Muslim states today share the same rigid political structure. Think of these states as having two islands: one island is occupied by the secular autocratic regimes and the business class around them. On the other island are the mullahs, imams and religious authorities who dominate Islamic practice and education, which is still based largely on traditional Koranic interpretations that are not embracing of modernity, pluralism or the equality of women. The governing bargain is that the regimes get to stay in power forever and the mullahs get a monopoly on religious practice and education forever. This bargain lasted all these years because oil money, or U.S. or Soviet aid, enabled many Arab-Muslim countries to survive without opening their economies or modernizing their education systems. But as oil revenues have declined and the population of young people seeking jobs exploded, this bargain can't hold much longer. These countries can't survive without opening up to global investment, the Internet, modern education and emancipation of their women so that they will not be competing with just half of their populations. But the more they do that, the more threatened the religious authorities feel. Bin Laden's challenge was an attempt by the extreme Islamists to break out of their island and seize control of the secular state island. The states' rulers responded by crushing or expelling the Islamists, but without ever trying to reform the Islamic schools - called madrasas - or the political conditions that keep producing angry Islamist waves. So the deadly circle that produced bin Ladenism - poverty, dictatorship and religious anti- modernism, each reinforcing the other - just gets perpetuated. Some are now demanding the circle be broken. Consider this remarkable open letter to bin Laden that a Pakistani writer and businessman, Izzat Majeed, wrote in last Friday's popular Pakistani daily The Nation: "We Muslims cannot keep blaming the West for all our ills... The embarrassment of wretchedness among us is beyond repair. It is not just the poverty, the illiteracy and the absence of any commonly accepted social contract that define our sense of wretchedness; it is, rather, the increasing awareness among us that we have failed as a civil society by not confronting the historical, social and political demons within us. . . . Without a reformation in the practice of Islam that makes it move forward and not backward, there is no hope for us Muslims anywhere. We have reduced Islam to the organized hypocrisy of state-sponsored mullahism. For more than a thousand years Islam has stood still because the mullahs, who became de facto clergy instead of genuine scholars, closed the door on `ijtehad' [reinterpreting Islam in light of modernity] and no one came forward with an evolving application of the message of the Holy Quran. All that the mullahs tell you today is how to go back a millennium. We have not been able to evolve a dynamic practice to bring Islam to the people in the language of their own specific era. . . . Oxford and Cambridge were the `madrasas' of Christendom in the 13th century. Look where they are today - among the leading institutions of education in the world. Where are our institutions of learning?" The Protestant Reformation, melding Christianity with modernity, happened only when wealthy princes came along ready to finance and protect the breakaway reformers. But in the Muslim world today, the wealthiest princes, like Saudi Arabia's, are funding anti-modern schools from Pakistan to Bosnia, while the dictators pay off the anti- modern mullahs rather than reform them. This keeps the soil for bin Ladenism ever fertile. Addressing bin Laden, Mr. Majeed concluded, "The last thing [Muslims] need is the growing darkness in your caves. . . .Holy Prophet Muhammad, on returning from a battle, said: `We return from little Jihad to greater Jihad.' True Jihad today is not in the hijacking of planes, but in the manufacturing of them." (Jonkers) (Thomas Friedman, "Breaking the Circle" NYT 16 Nov 01) (T. Hart)


FBI MAGIC LANTERN -- According to media reporting, the FBI recently was forced to reveal another part of its Cyber-Knight project, an effort by the Bureau to monitor Internet communications. The new FBI program, called Magic Lantern, is described as key logger software designed to steal the pass phrase used to start the popular encryption program PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy. A key logger program is designed to capture keystrokes � what a user keys in � and then store the data in a separate location for later retrieval by a hacker. The FBI plans to use Magic Lantern to capture PGP information to crack encrypted e-mail and intercept Internet data. Magic Lantern is reported to have flaws. It is allegedly sent in a fashion similar to several virus programs, either as an attachment via e-mail or downloaded from an infected Web site. However, the Magic Lantern program may also be mistaken for a virus program, or as a "system upgrade."  The sudden discovery of Magic Lantern caused a flurry of activity from computer software producers. Anti-virus software maker McAfee Associates denied a recent report that it was working with the FBI to ensure its software would not stop the Magic Lantern program. Magic Lantern is also not perfect. Magic Lantern is not designed to stop other popular computer encryption programs such as Softwar Pcypher and Mystx public key encryption systems. These encryption software utilities do not use pass-phrase technology and are immune to Magic Lantern-type attacks. E-mail and data scrambling is done with the mouse using data keys that can be stored on offline diskettes, zip drives or CD disks. Last year the FBI was forced by privacy advocates to reveal that it had a software program called Carnivore designed to monitor Internet e-mail. The Carnivore system (now re-named) is reportedly installed on Internet Service Provider computers, allowing the agency to siphon off data from suspected customers.

CIA TRIANGLE BOY -- The CIA is said to be a major sponsor of SafeWeb, a company that distributes a free program called Triangle Boy. Triangle Boy allows users to surf the Web anonymously. Citizens inside dictatorships are using the program to avoid monitoring by the oppressive regimes.  Triangle Boy operates much like a mail forwarding service. Each user request to view a Web page is scrambled and randomly sent to another machine, which actually performs the request, returning the data to the original user. Triangle Boy is very popular inside China, and the Chinese government is working hard on ways to counter secure access to the Internet.  SafeWeb reportedly receives hundreds of e-mails a day from grateful Triangle Boy users worldwide. However, SafeWeb's growing audience in China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Syria may be in conflict with FBI efforts to monitor potential terrorist communications. Despite the concerns, Triangle Boy's developer, SafeWeb's CEO Stephen Hsu, claims terrorists would not use the program. "A terrorist would be crazy to use SafeWeb," stated Hsu, who noted that the CIA backs his company.  Researchers and software vendors have rushed to develop new programs designed to counter Triangle Boy, but ironically, many inside the computer security field declined to describe ways to stop the system � not for technical reasons but for political reasons. "Normally, I'm all for publishing flaws in software, but on this one I have to vote against," stated one computer security expert located in the Netherlands. "The Chinese finally have access to the Internet. The flaws could be used by the Chinese government to block the Internet once again." (Jonkers) (Newsmax 28 Nov 01 //C. R. Smith) Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001


John C writes: Since September 11 the Army's Strategic Studies Institute has prepared a series of short analytical papers dealing with the strategic dimensions of the war on terrorism. These are now on our home page at http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usassi/welcome.htm.

Tony Newcomb relates message on OPSEC relevant to all: Operational Security (OPSEC) has been a problem for the US Military and with USA Special Operations Command because of "Pundits" who really know very little, but expound a lot, to the National Media. The National Board of Officers has not given interviews nor recommended anyone for interviews, to any media outlet. Hundreds of phone calls from media reporters have gone unanswered or denied access. "OPSEC" is the call of today just as "Loose lips sink ships" during WW II. The lives of SOF Soldiers are more important than a few minutes on TV. Let Osama Bin Laden experience the capabilities of SF, lets not give him advance warning.

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