Weekly Intelligence Notes #16-02
WIN 16-02 dated 22 April 2002
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) contain intelligence-related notes and commentaries produced, written or edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. The reports contain copyright material and may not be disseminated without permission of the producer/editor. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) cited and/or the producer. The perspectives taken are one based on the US national security interests and a long professional view with roots in the WWII period.
AFIO BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SYMPOSIUM will be conducted on Thursday 16 May 2002, featuring the "Impact of Terrorism on Business." Agenda and full details at www.afio.com
CONTENTS of this WIN
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AFGHANISTAN SITREP -- U.S. intelligence in recent weeks has picked up on
increased communications among al-Qaida members, and increased attacks on US
forces are expected as the weather improves. Special operations forces and
covert operations elements, supported by all-source US intelligence, are
reportedly locating and pursuing Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the
Afghan/Pakistan border regions. There have been media reports that the U.S.
military is engaged in small-unit operations against fugitive al Qaeda fighters
inside Pakistan, primarily in the Khyber and Waziristan tribal agencies that
border eastern Afghanistan. Reportedly the U.S. elements were operating side by
side with, and in support of, Pakistani troops.
"Basically, we are following the strategy that led us to Osama bin Laden's deputy, Abu Zubaida, earlier this month," said one Pakistani official. Reportedly acting on a communications intercept by a U.S. intelligence agency (he apparently used a cell phone to communicate with his colleagues in Yemen), Pakistani security officials arrested Abu Zubaida at a house attached to a Muslim seminary in Faisalabad. During this and other simultaneous raids -- which also netted dozens of other al Qaeda operatives -- one or two U.S. officials allegedly accompanied the raiding teams, which were comprised mainly of Pakistani police commandos.
In pursuit of the military mission Central Command is working hard to avoid Soviet-style mistakes. Like the Soviets, the US military won a quick victory. But the Soviets then were worn down by a (US-backed) mujahideen force that relentlessly chipped away at the interlopers. Said General Franks, US Central Command, "I will tell you that in the nine or ten years of Soviet experience they put 620,000 soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. And I think the results of that particular approach to the Afghan problem are recorded in history."
There are sharp differences in the situation now, including the fact that there are no major opposing powers providing intelligence and arms to the militants, that the area is blanketed by an immense, state-of-the-art intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance system and HUMINT network, and that tribal chiefs have been influenced to cooperate by a massive disbursal of funds ("the almighty dollar works, even when other things fail"), but the military lessons of the Soviet time in Afghanistan are not forgotten. The American troop presence in the area has increased slowly from a few hundred to several thousand, making up about half of the allied coalition force in the country. The intent is to keep the force level low enough not to be considered an occupying force. The top priority is to create an Afghan professional army, which, in time, and presumably with the assistance of US intelligence, will both reduce the power of local tribal leaders and pursue the Islamic extremists. As to US operations within Pakistan, both US and Pakistani officials decline any official comment. Said Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi, "We are cooperating with the Americans in the sense that we exchange information, but no U.S. Special Forces or Delta Force commandos are operating inside Pakistan." A carefully crafted statement. (Jonkers) (WashTimes 24 April 02/ R. Scarborough) (UP International/Karachi, 26April// S.. Iqbal)
IRAQ SITREP - Military contingency planning for an operation in Iraq, supported by powerful voices in the US policy and defense establishments, is said to be proceeding, providing the President with options for his policy decisions. Military strategy is being debated within the Defense Department. Central Command is reportedly drafting several war options, including the possible use of four or five divisions of ground troops and a total of 200,000 personnel from all services. Others propose operations more on the Afghan model, with heavy air strikes paralyzing the opposing military forces and their societal substructures, total US information operations dominance and intelligence/ surveillance/ reconnaissance (ISR) coverage, and smaller special forces operating with northern and southern rebel forces against remaining military opponents.
Officials said President Bush met with some of his top national security advisers at Camp David recently to discuss the US options. "All options are on the table," Mr. Bush has said "But one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction."
Some weeks ago the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council agreed to seek Saddam's removal sooner rather than later. But the administration has not settled on how to do it. DCI George Tenet is said to favor covert action to undermine Saddam's regime and instigate a coup. But Pentagon civilians argue that such measures have failed in the 11 years since the Gulf war. SecDef Rumsfeld is also skeptical about the effectiveness of UN inspectors to contain Iraq's nuclear development potential. This view would seem to limit the range of options from covert operations to an outright overt attack.
One of the serious policy considerations for US national security and interests is the effect that an attack on Iraq would have in the Arab and Islamic worlds, already reportedly inflamed over its perception of the US tilt towards Israel in its war against the Palestinian Authority in the occupied territories. This may not be as much of a problem as it has been depicted. Vice President Richard B. Cheney conducted an 11-nation tour of the region last month, and allegedly found that, although Arab leaders publicly voiced opposition to going to war against Saddam, in private some delivered a completely different message. One senior official reportedly called the trip "very successful" on the issue of gaining support for moderate Arab states for ousting Saddam. As a result, Air Force planners may have adequate air strips available in countries such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Turkey..
With an attack on Iraq possible within a year, National, Command and Tactical Intelligence and ISR resources will be strained to 'prepare the battlefield,' and to plan and conduct accelerated covert and special operations. (Jonkers) (Washington Times 25 April 02, //R. Scarborough)
US - RUSSIA INTELLIGENCE EXCHANGE HICCUP -- After September 11 President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian intelligence to cooperate with the US in the fight against terrorism. Predictably, this program has caught the sniffles. FSB deputy director Viktor Komogorov said Tuesday that Moscow was disappointed by the quality and quantity of information it had received from the CIA. He said that Russia had provided useful material during U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, where Soviet troops had 10 years of battlefield experience, but had yet to receive information of a similar quality. The FSB had reportedly provided the CIA with detailed analyses of terrorist plans and aims, but received in return only lists of undigested facts. Requests for more information were ignored. "This is not the sort of cooperation in the fight against terrorism that we were counting on." It is of some interest to note that Komogorov may also be looking elsewhere. He said the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States, including most of the old USSR states) should take a more active role in fighting terrorism. He said a series of CIS-organized military exercises in some Central Asian nations last week could be the start of greater regional military and intelligence cooperation. (Jonkers) (Reuters/AP Moscow Times page 4, 24April02)
US MIDDLE EAST RADIO NETWORK INITIATED -- Radio Sawa, (which stands for "together" in Arabic) has started information operations to counter "misinformation in Middle Eastern media," according to Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The BBG oversees all non-military US international broadcasting, including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio/ TV Marti ( which broadcasts to Cuba), and now the Middle East Radio Network (MERN).
Radio Sawa operations have expanded rapidly, starting with music-only on March 22nd, and now includes newscasts on a 24-hour cycle. It is a $35 Million operation, including site acquisition, with a projected cost of about $22 Million next year. The MERN network started with FM stations in Amman, Jordan, and Kuwait, and has now expanded to include FM stations in the United Arab Emirates and in Abu Dhabi. Eventually the broadcasts will be tailored to five different Arabic dialects targeted to Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and the Persian Gulf states. (Jonkers) (Wash Times 25April02, p. A9 //J. Price)
CHINA HACKER ATTACK WARNING -- It is possible that we may see independent Chinese hackers commemorate the collision between a U.S. EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter by initiating attacks on U.S. networks during the next few weeks. This includes common hacks such as defacing of Web sites, virus attacks and "flooding" of computer systems by overloading them with transmissions. "These are ... not people from the government," a "US official" said. "For the most part, it's students who are doing this during school breaks." They can harass, but "there's no evidence their attacks are government-sponsored."
In regard to state-sponsored internet operations, the Chinese military undoubtedly has a program to develop the ability to disrupt foreign (e.g. Taiwanese and U.S.) computer systems and networks, but doesn't yet have the sophistication to cause widespread problems, according to "U.S. officials" speaking off-the-record to the media. Along with every other advanced nation, China must be developing some information warfare capabilities, but the official noted that "The PLA (People's Liberation Army) is not able to disrupt Taiwan's military systems at this point." Obviously, regardless of their ability, a stand-alone Chinese Government-sponsored information operations attack against the US, or even Taiwan, is both completely implausible in terms of contemporary context and scenario, and unbelievably unlikely at this time. If policy completely fails, it may be a future contingency for which planning must proceed. (Jonkers) (AP 04/25 //J. Lumpkin) (http://apnews.excite.com/article/20020425/D7J41NEG1.html )
THE CIA's SECRET WAR IN TIBET, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, University Press of Kansas, April 2002 (ISBN 0-7006-1159-2), with maps, illustrations, Notes and Index. This is story of resistance to Chinese occupation by the Tibetans, and the CIA role in supporting this fledgling resistance movement. It takes the reader from training camps in the Colorado Rockies to clandestine operations in the Himalayas, including the exfiltration of the Dalai Lama to India. The book contains stories and details of the operations by the CIA principals as well as Tibetan, Nepalese and Chinese (Taiwan) agents, and by Indian intelligence officers (India and America became secret partners in this enterprise). Reading will provide not only enlightenment about this part of the world and its peoples and cultures, but a view of the difficulty of resisting an occupying force, and the complexities of such an effort both internally and externally.
An excerpt that provides background to the point: "The CIA had good reason to act with prudence. It already had a long and growing list of embarrassing failures while working with resistance groups behind communist lines. Perhaps none had been more painful that its experience against the PRC. There the agency's efforts had taken two tracks. The first was a collaborative effort with the Kuomintang government on Taiwan. Clinging to its dream of re-conquering the mainland, the ROC in 1950 claimed to control a million guerillas inside the People's Republic. ...By the spring of 1952 CAT planes were dropping (ROC and CIA-trained) teams and singletons on the mainland .. from Tibet to Northern China (via air bases in South Korea). The result? "None of the Taiwan agents we dropped were successful." The CAT effort also had all its operatives killed or taken prisoner, and CIA lost one plane during an attempted exfiltration that resulted in the capture of two CIA officers."
One also encounters colleagues and friends, to wit:
"In June 1968 David Blee departed as the New Delhi station chief. Replacing him was John Waller, the former deputy station chief in India between 1955 and 1957. A consummate blend of scholar and spy, Waller had spent the intervening years pursuing his passion for Tibetan history. In 1967 he had published an authoritative book on Sino-Indian relations . . . .Once in New Delhi, Waller had little time to pursue his research hobby. Within two months he was confronted with a new counterpart organization.... and US-Indian relations that were again on a downward spiral. . .
In the end the Himalayan operations were more successful as a proving ground for CIA agents who were later assigned to southeast Asia than as a staging ground for armed rebellion. Nevertheless, Tibet's status continues to be a contentious issue, and the book remains relevant as well as interesting and informative, for veterans and newcomers alike. Recommended! (Jonkers)
TEXAS A&M PRESIDENT APPOINTMENT -- Former CIA Director Robert Gates, the interim Dean of A&Ms 'George Bush School of Government and Public Service,' and a Board Trustee of the 'Forum for International Policy' in Washington DC, is said to be the leading candidate to become A&M university's President when current president Ray Bowen retires next June. (Jonkers) http://apnews.excite.com/article/20020419/D7IVR4HG0.html
INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM EMPLOYMENT -- The Museum is seeking a historian / programmer to research, develop, organize programs for the general public, scholars and professionals in the intelligence community. Requires advanced degree in either History, Political Science, International Relations or related discipline, and 3 years teaching, museum and/ or research experience. < firstname.lastname@example.org >
For information on the museum, see < www.spymuseum.org >.
GERMAN WINE SOCIETY 25th Anniversary - Because so many with an intelligence career have served in Germany, we are happy to extend this invitation to the public to celebrate a quarter-century of the German Wine Society on May 17-18-19, 2002. The GWS, founded by OSS member and post-war CIA Chief of Base Berlin, Peter Sichel, is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to learning about and enjoying German wines as part of German history and culture. Check out all the details with full menus and wine lists and the registration form on the GWS website: www.germanwinesociety.org. Or call AFIO member and GWS National Chairman: George L. Marling, 703-281-2025.
IN MEMORIAM - -COLONEL WILLIAM E. BARBER, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient, died in California at the age of 83. Colonel Barber was best known for his heroism in one of the worst defeats in Marine history, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950. In the weeks before Thanksgiving, roughly 120,000 Chinese had crossed the Yalu River into North Korea. The Chinese troops hoped to overwhelm the U.S. forces it perceived as threatening the Chinese border. (There were intelligence warnings, but they were discounted by US commanders) .On Nov. 27, the Chinese began their attack. On the strength of sheer numbers the Chinese broke through and gained one of then-Captain Barber's machine-gun positions. Barber was hit by a bullet that fractured a bone near his groin. He later said he felt the blood, but he didn't stop fighting. Captain Barber ended up commanding his men from a stretcher. They re-took the gun position and held off the Chinese. The Medal of Honor went to Barber partly for having the guts and the insight to refuse to obey a direction to retreat from his key hill position. Captain Barber knew that if he could hold the hill, about 8,000 nearby Marines would be protected. If he left, he thought, those men would be trapped. He told his commander he needed supplies dropped by air. Temperatures were sometimes 20 degrees below zero, and coffee froze before it could be drunk. After five days and six nights of battle, more than 1,000 on the enemy's side were dead. The Marines made three rescue attempts. Finally, Ray Davis, who later became a general, overwhelmed the Chinese with his Marines and relieved him and his Marines.. The two men were so choked up that neither could speak. The heroic stand saved countless American lives.
Colonel Barber was not an intelligence officer. He was, in a sense, a victim of command disregard for intelligence. He was a commander, a leader of men in battle, a true hero. We salute him. Full honor and respect on his final journey. (Jonkers) (Orange County Register, April 21, 2002 / D. Herubin) ( (courtesy G. O'Hara & CWO D. Puckett, USMC) .
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