Weekly Intelligence Notes #50-01
WIN #50-01 dtd 24 December 2001
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. Don Harvey contributes articles to WINs.
This is the final WIN for 2001 -- with our special thanks and appreciation to all members who actively contributed to the AFIO mission, in one way or another, during the past year!
SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
NORTH KOREAN SHIP SUNK -- Just before Christmas, Japanese maritime and coast guard forces detected a 100-ton vessel built like a fishing boat, but without fishing gear, well inside Japan's 200-mile exclusive fishing zone. Challenged by three Coast Guard ships to lie to, The North Koreans eventually used shoulder-held rocket launchers and automatic weapons to wound three Japanese sailors and damage the three ships before their ship blew up in the midst of the battle. Japan suspects the North Koreans blew up their own ship, an explosion that left three confirmed dead and 12 missing. The heavily armed ship that sank fits the profile of past North Korean spy boats, small numbers of antennas, token items of fishing gear, powerful engines, and resistance to include self-destruction when necessary to avoid capture. The Japanese police estimate that since the Korean War, North Korea has landed about 50 spies on Japanese beaches. In recent years, the North Koreans have added drug smuggling to their maritime incursions with 44 percent of drugs seized in 1999 having originated in North Korea. About 550 pounds of drugs confiscated in 2000 in Shimane Prefecture, the closest part of Japan to North Korea, were loaded at a North Korean port. A National Police Agency spokesman said: "Pharmaceutical plants in North Korea are used for the production of stimulant drugs. It seems that North Korean spy vessels play a role not only in transporting agents but also drugs." There has been no public association of the North Korean activities to the Al Qaeda organization but then the North Korean intelligence has little need for tutoring for armed incursions, agent operations and drug smuggling. (Harvey) (NY Times 24 & 25 Dec 01 // J. Brooke)
AFGHANISTAN -- SURRENDERS ADD TO INTELLIGENCE HAUL -- Some 5,000 to 6,000 Taleban troops and al Qaeda fighters have now been captured or have surrendered. The prisoners are being interrogated as part of an expanding intelligence-gathering program in which U.S. Special Forces and CIA officers also have been examining seized al Qaeda documents, computer hard drives, videotapes and telephone books. The material has already produced names and phone numbers of al Qaeda members in other countries and led to some additional arrests. Scientists from the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories have joined the military and CIA experts to assist searching the grounds of al Qaeda training camps for signs of actual work on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
The first exploitation of intelligence is for tactical use in the Afghan combat operations, then it goes to the Pentagon or CIA headquarters and the U.S. Counter Terrorism Center. Information passed on by the CIA to foreign governments has led to the detention of "about 500 people outside the U.S.," the official said.
Under the classified guidance, the prisoners wanted for special US questioning are separated and moved to a holding facility established at the airport in the southern city of Kandahar. The Marines have constructed a detention facility able to hold about 20 people at their initial operating base at a desert airstrip southwest of Kandahar. Once they are fully interrogated in Kandahar the plan calls for these detainees to be moved to U.S. ships offshore to await one of several possible options, including prosecution by military tribunals, prosecution by U.S. civil authorities, deportation to their home countries, or quarantined for as long as necessary at Guantanamo Bay.
(Jonkers) (WashPost 15Dec01, pg 1//W. Pincus and B. Graham)
Al QAEDA's MULE TRAIN INTO PAKISTAN -- Upper Pachir is unlike most Afghan villages. Several of the males are plump, and the children look healthy. Until about a week ago, many of the villagers were on Al Qaeda's payroll. Some of them worked to carve out caves and tunnels. More recently they were instrumental in aiding some 600 Al Qaeda members to escape on muleback at night from the bombing inferno at Tora Borah over the mountains into the Afghan lowlands and into Pakistan.
A Saudi financier stated to the correspondent that Osama bin Laden had chosen a slightly more difficult, but maybe less treacherous, exit out of Afghanistan over the White Mountains and into the Parachinar area of Pakistan. Bin Laden, according to the Saudi financier, had arranged his escape with members of the Ghilzi tribe, whose villages straddle the Pakistani border. (Jonkers) (Philip Smucker, Chr. Science Monitor
POSSE COMITATUS REVISITED -- The emerging role of the military in "homeland security" is a delicate matter because it impinges on the traditional separation between civilian and military affairs. That separation was enshrined in the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits the use of military forces in civilian law enforcement.
In an October 12 letter, Senator John Warner invited the Pentagon to propose modifications to the Posse Comitatus Act. "Limited use [of military forces] beyond that permitted by existing law might strengthen the nation's ability both to protect against and to respond to events of the sort which we have recently undergone," wrote Warner. Now, in the 2002 Defense Authorization Act, Congress has directed the Secretary of Defense to "conduct a study on the appropriate role of the Department of Defense with respect to homeland security." (Jonkers) (Secrecy News 14 Dec01)
SECTION II - CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE
THE NEW FACE OF WAR -- ISR and SMART BOMBS -- Just as World War II opened the atomic age, and the 1991 Persian Gulf war introduced stealth technology to combat, Afghanistan will be remembered as war in which integrated military ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and smart precision weapons came of age. Pilotless Predator drones, satellites, reconnaissance and surveillance planes, and human ground spotters are networked together, enabling forward air controllers on the ground or distant commanders to direct warplanes to targets with stunning speed and accuracy. One result has been a relentlessly accurate bombardment, conducted day and night, under clear and cloudy skies alike. Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners have confirmed that the precise bombing, from planes that they often could neither hear or see, broke the will of their troops.
The new capabilities have implications for war in general and for the global war on terrorism in particular. Total ISR coverage along with near-real time command reaction capabilities, coupled with the ability to bomb targets with great precision, will be a potent weapon against terrorist safe houses and command centers hidden among schools, hospitals and homes in crowded urban areas anywhere on the globe. Carrier-based fighters or long-range bombers can strike terrorist training camps in far- flung regions where American bases and troops are not present or wanted.
In Afghanistan the airborne surveillance sensors used to spot and track targets have operated unmolested in the American-controlled skies, allowing relatively slow-moving drones and planes to cast a 24- hour reconnaissance blanket across the country. Since Kosovo the Pentagon has learned how to link its ISR aircraft together, allowing Predator drones, RC-135 Rivet Joint and U-2 reconnaissance planes, and E-8C Joint Stars ground-radar planes, to share information, guide each other to uncovered areas, focus on specific targets and watch the battlefield around the clock. The greatest leap has been in surveillance drones, even if there are still limitations.
The remotely controlled Predator, which in recent years had seen limited use in the Balkans and Iraq, carries radar that can see through cloud cover and infrared lenses that work in low light (night) conditions. Its video camera can transmit live images to the command center in Saudi Arabia or directly to the cockpit of an AC-130 gunship. The Predator can stay aloft for nearly 24 hours, allowing it to fly from bases in Pakistan or Uzbekistan, hang over Afghan target areas for about 14 hours and then return to base. But the Predator is not without its problems. It is slow-moving and operates at relatively low altitudes, making it easy prey for antiaircraft fire. At least two Predators have crashed in Iraq this year, presumably shot down, officials said. They are also extremely vulnerable to icing, and it is not clear whether they can operate in the brutal Afghan winter. Global Hawk, an experimental unmanned spy plane, is intended to address some of those problems -- it can fly above 60,000 feet, well above anti-aircraft fire, and its longer range and greater speed enable it to watch a much broader swath of country. But the Global Hawk also has its limitations. Video cameras are said to be not so effective at high altitudes, so the Global Hawk produces only still images, albeit very high resolution images. Its digital images also cannot be downloaded directly to other aircraft yet, so they must first be analyzed by personnel far from the battlefield. That has reduced the aircraft's utility in providing intelligence on moving or changing targets. For all the advances in unmanned technology, however, the tactical air war is most effective when human ground spotters are present. Since biplanes first dropped crude bombs in World War I the military has been using ground spotters to direct pilots to targets. But recent technological improvements < smaller G.P.S. units, better lasers, hand-held range finders that calculate coordinates, and radios that allow soldiers to talk or send maps and close-up photographs to pilots have made the spotters far more effective. In Afghanistan, Air Force air controllers traveling on horseback with Army Special Forces and Northern Alliance troops called in strikes from Navy pilots flying off aircraft carriers hundreds of miles away.
In a Saudi Arabian control center American commanders watch all these moving parts on a big screen, directing aircraft like pieces on a chess board. Flying 15-hour roundtrip missions from the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, aging B-52 and B-1 bombers refitted with advanced electronics and communications gear loiter over the battlefield waiting for orders to execute precision strikes with the new precision weapons -- even cluster bombs have been outfitted with new guidance technologies. "The B-52's take off, and they don't know what their targets are going to be until they arrive," said Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff. "We are inventing these tactics more or less in the course of battle so we get this job done."
This is the face of war to come as technology inexorably marches on -- an ever-present multi-sensor ISR intelligence surveillance system, operating primarily from the air and space, with an integrated command and control system capability to execute its mission -- using precision bombs or other future weapons to hit pinpoint targets, on perhaps 15-minute notice. Or perhaps not just the face of war -- but the face of the future global order in the brave new world. (Jonkers) (based on NY Times, 24 Dec 01 //The Air Campaign // E. Schmitt & J. Dao)
SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE
US CYBER WAR READINESS IN QUESTION -- The United States is unprepared to defend itself against a serious cyber attack. Michael Jacobs, the NSA Director of Information Assurance, painted a grim picture of a nation made increasingly vulnerable by its reliance on high technology. "If we experienced a serious cyber-based attack, could we figure out who did it and recover from it? The answer is no." Jacobs said. "Is the federal government properly organized for this? The answer is no."
Yonah Alexander, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, an Arlington, Va. think tank, said the threat of cyber terrorism is very real. "Terrorists will use whatever tools they can in order to achieve their goals. Cyber more than any other weapon is the great equalizer. At the press of a button [terrorists] can actually destroy systems. To be cyber terrorists, they don't need training camps. They can be operating in a basement 6,000 miles away." He noted that Iraq has quietly been developing a cyber arsenal called Iraq Net since the mid-1990s. Alexander said it consists of a series of more than 100 Web sites located in domains throughout the world. Iraq Net, he said, is designed to overwhelm cyber-based infrastructures by distributed denial of service and other cyber attacks.
Martha Stansell-Gamm, chief of the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property division, said agencies spread among the law enforcement, intelligence and defense communities do not work together very well when it comes to fighting cyber-crime and protecting the nation's cyber borders.
It is clear that National security includes more than just those cyber systems that are classified in nature, but encompasses systems that support the critical infrastructures. An attack on the nation's critical infrastructure could cause telephone systems to crash, freight and passenger trains would collide, oil refineries would explode, the air traffic control system would be undermined and cities would suffer from blackouts. If the deficiency is accurately portrayed, increased attention must be paid to this threat. (Jonkers) (GovExec.com> 19Dec2001/// J. Dean)
FBI WILL PUT POLICE CHIEFS IN THE SECURITY LOOP -- The Justice Department will let police chiefs from cities, counties and other municipalities apply for national security clearance that would put them in the information-sharing loop during national emergencies. Barry McDevitt, chief of police for Attorney General John Ashcroft made the decision because many police chiefs had difficulty getting information after terrorists struck on Sept. 11. (Levine Newsbits 20 Dec01)
ARMY REORGANIZES TO ACCOMMODATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY -- Army Secretary Thomas White announced the prospective establishment of a 'Network Enterprise Technology Command' (NETCOM) to provide management for the Army's information technology and networks.
SECTION IV - BOOKS AND SOURCES
BELLOWS REPORT ON WEN HO LEE -- The Justice Department this week released the long-promised declassified version of the four volume, 800 page "Final Report of the Attorney General's Review Team on the Handling of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Investigation."
The May 2000 opus, also known as the "Bellows Report" after its lead author, reviews the ill-fated investigation into suspected espionage by former Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee.
The report is a case study in the byzantine bureaucratic politics of counterintelligence. Its critique of the Justice Department's handling of requests for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, among other things, continues to resonate today. But almost everything about the Los Alamos investigation went as wrong as it could go.
"This was an investigation that from its first moments, indeed from its very first moments, went awry and never, in any real sense, recovered its equilibrium," the Report states.
Three of the twenty-two chapters of the heavily redacted Report, including the newly released Executive Summary in Chapter 1, may be found here:
Wen Ho Lee's memoir "My Country Versus Me" (with Helen Zia) has now passed through government classification review and will be published next month. Also due next month is "A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the Politics of Nuclear Espionage" by Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman, who produced much of the best reporting on this riveting case for the San Jose Mercury News (Stober) and the Albuquerque Journal (Hoffman).
(Secrecy News 14 Dec01)
National Security Archives -- SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES -- The National Security Archive on 21 December posted on its website a selection of documents describing the history, structure, and experiences of U.S. special operations forces. These materials will provide readers with some useful context for understanding the organization, missions and capabilities of those forces currently on the ground in Afghanistan.
Among the materials now on the Archive website are posture statements, annual histories, and critiques of past operations including the 1980 Iran hostage attempt and the 1993 Army Ranger firefight in Somalia, all of which have circumstances in common with those being faced today. The September 11th Sourcebooks , Volume VI: The Hunt for Bin Laden: Background on the Use of Special Operations Forces in U.S. Strategy . The documents are available at the following URL:
(NS Archive 7 Dec01) (T. Hart)The September 11th Sourcebooks* , Volume
VI: The Hunt for Bin Laden: Background on the Use of Special Operations Forces in U.S. Strategy
CD-ROM ON COUNTER-TERRORISM RESOURCES -- The CD-ROM contains 172 books, reports, photos and documents totaling 19,631 pages or about 300 MB of data. It is targeted toward law enforcement, emergency management, corporate security and other officials but will be of interest to anyone who needs or wants a comprehensive overview of available Counter Terrorism information. Each PDF file on the CD-ROM is a complete book or report that can be searched, read, or printed using the included Adobe Acrobat reader software. A hotlink table of contents is provided. ISBN 0-9653174-9-8, Copyright 2002 DVA, LLC. CALL David Vine 800-987-8743 or mail check or purchase order to David Vine Associates, LLC at 963 Dougherty Road, Aiken, SC 29803.
SECTION V - LETTERS
MEMBER NEEDS BLOOD FOR LIVER TRANSPLANT -- If anyone can donate A negative and O negative blood for John Regus of Houston, Texas, AFIO member and information technology guru in the intelligence community, please respond. Please share this request with your associates, faculty, students, and others you know elsewhere in the country. Thank you in advance for helping John in his time of need.
Professor Steve Cimbala (PennState) writes: Thanks for another excellent WIN. I have a partial disagreement with your contributor who warned against talking to the media on account of possible lapses in operational security. I agree that OPSEC is important - we should
never talk about operations currently in progress or otherwise compromise sensitive sources. But military restrictions on talking to the media often exceed those sensible guidelines.
Friends of mine who are experts on the history of war in Afghanistan, special operations, and other issues but who work for the Army, were told point blank not to talk to media during the current conflict.
Result: the media put on talking heads who know nothing but who will talk in tasty sound bites. Neither the military nor the public is well served.
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