Weekly Intelligence Notes #17-02
WIN #17-02 dated 29 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.
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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CONGRESSIONAL PANEL STAFF DIRECTOR RESIGNS -- Britt Snider, who has served as staff director of a joint Congressional panel investigating intelligence shortcomings for the past three months, unexpectedly resigned on 26 April, Snider retired late last year as CIA inspector general. He was introduced as staff director on Feb. 14th when members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees announced the creation of a joint panel to examine failures surrounding the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. During the past months he hired an investigative staff of 30, which has been gathering evidence and lining up interviews with officials at the CIA, FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies
Congressional sources reportedly indicated that Snider was forced out because of conflicts over some of his staff personnel selections and doubts about his management style. One aide cited "concerns over whether or not he had the aggressiveness to get this thing done." Some Republican members had expressed such reservations about Snider before he was hired. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate committee, also had expressed doubts about Snider because of his close ties to CIA Director George J. Tenet (who is said to be on Senator Shelby's xhit list). (Note: Snider served with Tenet on the Senate Intelligence committee's professional staff at the end of the 1980s. He also served with Director Tenet at the agency.) Criticism of Snider was by no means unanimous, however, and a number of committee members voiced disappointment that his services had been lost. "Britt's a good man" said one Congressman. (This editor knows him as such).
Snider's brief tenure underscores the politically treacherous nature of the investigating panel's task. Even among the four ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees there is tension over how aggressively to pursue the inquiry. Members agree the public deserves straight answers about intelligence failures, but are at odds over whether the inquiry should seek to place direct blame at a time when few in Washington are eager to be seen as unpatriotic. "Members are trying to say, 'We've got to get to the bottom of what happened' while also saying, 'We don't want to make it into a witch hunt,' " said former U.S. diplomat Paul Bremmer. Those conflicting impulses "will be an inherent tension irrespective of who is the staff director."
Rick Cinquegrana, Snider's deputy, and a CIA IG veteran, is now leading the investigation. A heavy summer schedule of congressional hearings is planned, all while the war on terrorism is the central mission for all intelligence officers. Further Washington political fireworks are sure to follow. (Jonkers) (LA Times 30 April 02, p. 2 //G. Miller) (Insight 30 april 02 //R. Sale)
SENATE CONFIRMS HELGERSON AS CIA INSPECTOR GENERAL -- The U.S. Senate on Friday 26 April confirmed the nomination of John Helgerson to the post of CIA Inspector General, succeeding Britt Snider who, as noted above, left the post late last year. The IG is CIA's watchdog office that reviews allegation of possible wrongdoing and conducts inspections of different components to identify strengths and shortcomings. It also conducts financial audits.
Helgerson, 58, joined CIA in 1971 and served from 1989 to 1993 as Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI). More recently he was chairman of the National Intelligence Council and Deputy Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). At his confirmation hearing Helgerson said that as the Agency's third inspector general he would focus on the CIA's procurement and acquisition process for information technology and information systems, and on "truly auditable" financial statements. (Jonkers) (Reuters 26 April 2002)
NO IRAQ LINK TO SEPTEMBER 11 TERRORISTS -- Contrary to recent allegations, there is no evidence that the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Mohamed Atta, met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague in April 2001.
The story behind the purported Atta-Iraqi meeting is a small window into the intelligence war on terrorism<and how easily reports can become distorted for political purposes. The tale begins in 1998, when Radio Free Europe, which is headquartered in Prague, started broadcasting anti-Saddam programs into Iraq. Late that year, Tom Dine, the director of Radio Free Europe (RFE), said U.S. officials had warned him that "the Iraqis were plotting to blow us up." The information about the plot, sources said, came from an Iraqi defector who had fled Prague for Great Britain, carrying nine suitcases and $150,000 in cash < the proceeds of which were supposed to have been used to finance the operation.
Radio Free Europe started round-the-clock video surveillance of the building. Soon enough, the cameras picked up a heavyset Middle Eastern man who was hanging around the RFE building taking pictures. He was sometimes accompanied by a thinner, taller man who wore a Shell Oil jacket. RFE passed along the pictures to the Czech intelligence agency, known as the BIS. The Czechs identified the heavier man as Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat widely believed to be an intelligence operative. The thinner man was not identified.
Then, in the chaotic days after September 11, a Czech intelligence source inside Prague¹s Middle Eastern community saw Atta¹s picture in the media and reported that he had seen the same person meeting al-Ani at the Iraqi Embassy five months earlier. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman publicly confirmed the story to CNN during a visit to Washington last November. But the uncorroborated report, some Czechs now concede, should have generated more skepticism. "These [informants] tend to tell you what you want to believe," says Oldrich Cerny, the former director of Czech intelligence.
In the US, however, the story of the "Iraqi connection" spread rapidly. Advocates of U.S. action to topple Saddam Hussein seized on the account to bolster their arguments. New York Times columnist William Safire proclaimed the meeting an "undisputed fact" connecting Saddam to September 11. When Vice President Dick Cheney flew to the Middle East last month, a "senior U.S. official" on the trip referred to "meetings that have been made public" between Atta and Iraqi intelligence. "This story has taken on a life of its own," said a U.S. intelligence official. It should not have.
But after months of investigation the Czechs recently said they were not at all certain about the connection. Although Atta had indeed flown from Prague to the United States the year before, in June 2000, the informant had placed the alleged meeting in April 2001. The FBI has records showing Atta was in Virginia Beach < where officials suspect he was casing U.S. naval facilities in the area - and in Florida in April 2001. "Neither we nor the Czechs nor anybody else has any information he was coming or going [to Prague] at that time," said a U.S. official. Finally, FBI Director Robert Mueller said publicly that neither CIA nor FBI had found any evidence that Atta left or returned to the US at the time he was supposed to be in Prague. "We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts." The investigation came up empty-handed.
A small disappointment for the potent 'Attack-Iraq' cabal perhaps -- but no defeat. All signs point to the high likelihood that the US will attack Iraq early next year for whatever reason - unless Saddam has been removed before that time, on our terms. From the intelligence community perspective, another heavy challenge. (Jonkers) (WasPost 1 May02 p. 9 //W. Pincus) (Newsweek)
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR LISTS LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE TERRORIST ATTACK -- "It's going to take years to understand the long-term effects" of the attacks, Condoleeza Rice said April 29 at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. "But even now, we are beginning to recognize there are certain verities that [Sept. 11] reinforced and brought home to us in the most vivid way." The National Security Adviser outlined five of those lessons, which she described as "enduring truths" that will play an important role in "centering" U.S. foreign policy.
(1) The first involves "an end to innocence about international politics and our own vulnerability. " In other words, "wars of consequence are not mere relics of a bygone era." When we were attacked [Sept. 11], it reinforced one of the rediscovered truths about today's world: Robust military power matters in international politics and security."
(2) The second lesson is the need to enhance homeland security. The terrorist attacks "underscored the idea that sound foreign policy begins at home." Defending the homeland means better aviation security, tighter immigration controls, protecting nuclear power plants and other critical infrastructures from attack, and ensuring some role for the U.S. military in guarding American soil. DoD's creation of NORTHCOM emphasizes "that we have to secure our own neighborhood -- not just America's borders."
(3) The third "truth" is the recognition that efforts to strengthen defenses at home have limits. Therefore, the "best defense is a good offense," or in other words, "we have to take the fight to the terrorists. ..And that means that there can be no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them," which is why the administration targeted both al Qaeda, the group blamed for carrying out the strikes on Sept. 11, and the Taliban government, which welcomed the terrorists into Afghanistan. "Beyond Afghanistan, we are engaged in a sustained campaign to deny sanctuary to terrorists, regardless of where they are from and where they commit their crime . . . Our message to every leader on every continent is that terrorism can support no cause; it is never, never legitimate. It is, by its very nature, evil."
(4) The fourth lesson of the Sept. 11 attacks involves a need to deny terrorists and other potential enemies access to weapons of mass destruction. "It is a stubborn and extremely troubling fact that the list of states that sponsor terrorism and the list of states that are seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction overlap substantially, . . . We cannot see how these facts can be denied; and if these facts are admitted, they must be confronted . . . We must use every tool at our disposal to meet this grave global threat, including strengthened nonproliferation regimes and export controls and moving ahead with missile defense to deny any benefit to those who would try to acquire weapons of mass destruction."
(5) The fifth and last lesson underscored by the terrorist attacks is "global terror demands a global solution." In other words, the challenge of defeating terrorism requires a concerted response by a coalition of like-minded nations. She noted that the war offers opportunities to unite with former enemies who oppose terrorism.
"An earthquake the magnitude of [Sept. 11] can shift the tectonic plates of international politics. The international system has been in flux since the collapse of Soviet power. Now it is possible, indeed probable, that the transition is coming to an end. If that is right, if the collapse of the Soviet Union and [Sept. 11] 'bookend' a major shift in international politics, then this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity."
This clearly is a most important statement of top level US Administration national security analysis, policy and strategy, which also defines the contextual terms of current and future US tactical and strategic intelligence requirements and activities. (Jonkers) (Inside the Pentagon, 2 May 02, p. 11 //K. Costa)
VICE ADMIRAL MAYO HEADS NEW NAVY NETWORK WARFARE COMMAND -- The Senate has confirmed Navy Vice Admiral Richard W. Mayo, currently the Navy's director of Space and Electronic Warfare, was confirmed on 30 April 02 to head the new command, which will open in June. NETWARCOM will oversee all Navy networks, information operations, and space activities at the Naval Amphibious Base-Little Creek in Norfolk, Va. In his new position, Mayo will oversee the Naval Network and Space Operations Command in Dahlgren, VA., the Fleet Information Warfare Center in Norfolk and the Navy Component Task Force Computer Network Defense in Washington. Other commands also
will report to NETWARCOM for fleet support. (Levine 2 May 02)
DISA LICENSES DoD CYBER DEFENSE PROTECTION -- The Defense Information Systems Agency has licensed Symantec Desktop Firewall 2.0 for 2
million Defense Department computers plus Norton AntiVirus 2002 for Palm OS handheld devices. DOD already has firewall protection for its networks and servers and the two enterprise licenses from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., "will complete the suite." (Levine 2 May02)
WIRELESS NETWORKS PRIVACY RISKS -- As wireless laptops, scanners and other gadgets become more popular in businesses and homes, threats to privacy are growing as well. Just this week, Best Buy suspended use of wireless cash registers over concerns that eavesdroppers could obtain credit card numbers and other customer data by sitting in the parking lot with the right equipment. (Levine 2 May 02)
CYBER SECURITY WEAKNESSES INVITE ATTACKS -- The vast majority of successful attacks on computer systems exploit security weaknesses which are well known and for which patches exist. Many recent cyber attacks could have been avoided if enterprises were more focused on their security efforts, but users seem not to learn from their mistakes. (Levine 2 may 02)
NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE UPDATE - WAR IN COLOMBIA - -The ANDEAN strategy was developed to counter the narcotics trade in the Andean region. Contrary to repeated official statements about "narco-guerrillas," however, U.S. intelligence analyses of guerrilla involvement in the drug trade have been decidedly mixed. One skeptical CIA report concluded that, "officials in Lima and Bogotá, if given anti-drug aid for counterinsurgency purposes, would turn it to pure anti-guerrilla operations, with little payoff against trafficking." The U.S.-Colombia end-use agreement intended to guarantee that counter-narcotics aid be used only in drug producing areas and only for Counter-narcotics operations has come to be interpreted so broadly as to render its provisions virtually meaningless. Documents indicate that the U.S. eventually redefined the area in which the aid could be used as "the entire national territory of Colombia."
Reportedly, recently declassified U.S. documents show that U.S. aid has blurred the lines between counter-narcotics and counterinsurgency to the point where the U.S. is already in direct confrontation with the guerrillas and on the brink of ever deeper involvement in Colombia¹s seemingly intractable civil conflict. (courtesy. G. O'Hara) (George Washington University / National Security Archive Update 3 May 2002) http://www.nsarchive.org/NSAEBB/NSAEBB69
DEFENSE SECURITY SERVICE INDUSTRIAL SECURITY LETTER -- The Defense Security Service has issued a new "industrial security letter" to advise defense contractors of current policy issues concerning the protection of classified information in industry. See the April 22 publication here: http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/nispom/isl02-1.pdf (Secrecy News 2 may 02)
LAST CALL - AFIO TERRORISM AND BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SYMPOSIUM - 16 MAY. Outstanding agenda. Four year track-record of excellence in presentations. Superb senior symposium leadership. Exceptional networking opportunity. Listen, interact, participate, receive documents (including a copy of the al Queda terrorist manual) , make contacts, meet colleagues, etc.. Not too late - members of collegial associations and guests welcome. E-mail your registration now firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the AFIO office 703 790 0320. See you there! (Jonkers)
NMIA POTOMAC CHAPTER LUNCHEON Thursday 16 May at 11:30 a.m., Bolling AFB NCO Club. Speaker is John J. Garstka, a key aide to VADM Arthur Cembrowski, who assumed direction of DoD's new Office of Force Transformation in November 2001. Reservations (703) 921 1800, email email@example.com NLT Tuesday 14 May. (Captain W. Horn, USN ret)
PORT SECURITY CONTRACT AWARDS -- The Department of Transportation made an announcement yesterday that TRW Systems has contracted with the Coast Guard for $31 million to evaluate port vulnerability at 55 U.S. ports over 5 years. Under the contract, TRW will be required to perform port vulnerability assessments (PVAs), establish guidelines for port security, and create a security self-assessment tool for "local port stakeholders." TRW plans to use its "extensive expertise" in "intelligence, surveillance, detection, command and control, law enforcement, infrastructure security, and large data-based systems." This PVA program is the result of recommendations from the "Report of the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports," released in 2000.
In June, the Department of Transportation will begin awarding $93.3 million in grants under the Port Security Grants Program, which includes funding for "Security Assessments, Mitigation Strategies, and Enhanced Facility and Operational Security." (courtesy E. Badolato)
NATIONAL SECURITY CAREER FOCUS GROUPS -- INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE - -Under a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, CMS Inc. is developing curriculum products for careers in National Security & Intelligence. As part of the development process, they will be conducting focus groups in Washington D.C. May 14 - 16. During a three hour session, participants will be briefed on the project shown items developed so far and asked to respond to questions. Participants will receive a $25 stipend for each 3 hour session to defray the cost of participation. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, let us know what cluster(s) you are interested in, and which day you'd like to attend. Or you may call 405-743-5597 to arrange your participation. Sessions on careers in National Security & Intelligence will be conducted : Tuesday May 14, 1:00 PM - 4:00PM , Wednesday May 15,9:00 AM - Noon , and Thursday May 16, 9:00 AM - Noon (G. O'Hara)
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