Weekly Intelligence Notes #21-02
WIN #21-02 dtd 27 May 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.
NEXT National AFIO Luncheon for AFIO DC/MD/VA area
CIA officer (Ret), author
[SEE NO EVIL The True Story of a Ground Soldier
in the CIA's War on Terrorism].
and Ronald Kessler
winner of sixteen journalism awards
[THE BUREAU: The Secret History of the FBI]
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CONTENTS of this WIN
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INTELLIGENCE OFFICER TO BE GRANTED MEDAL OF HONOR -- President George Bush will present the nation's highest decoration for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously to Captain Humbert "Rocky" Versace, US Army (deceased), in a special ceremony in the East Room of the White House on 8 July 2002. The official White House Ceremony will follow another tribute to be conducted on 6 July, when the 'Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Memorial' is dedicated in Alexandria, VA, at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Mt. Vernon Recreation center (at the intersections of Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth avenues) in Alexandria. AFIO will be represented.
Captain Versace, a West Point graduate, was an Army Ranger and Green Beret intelligence officer when, on October 29, 1963, he and two other American advisors accompanying a Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Group company on an intelligence-gathering operation near Le Couer, Republic of Vietnam, they were ambushed. The three Americans were captured after an eight-hour firefight, after being wounded and out of ammunition. For almost two years, Rocky Versace suffered in a Viet Cong prison camp, adamantly refusing to accept his captors' vicious and inhumane attempts to make him sign propaganda statements and repeatedly trying to escape.
Said retired U.S. Army Brigadier General John W. Nicholson: "By spring of 1964 the farmers were talking about one U.S. prisoner in particular. They said he was treated very poorly, led through the area with a rope around his neck, hands tied, bare footed, head swollen and yellow in color (jaundice) and hair white. They stated that this prisoner not only resisted the Viet Cong attempts to get him to admit to war crimes and aggression, but would verbally counter their assertions convincingly and in a loud voice so the local villagers could hear. "
During two long years of torture and maltreatment he resisted his communist captors before being executed in 1965. The last thing fellow prisoners heard from him was the battered and emaciated Army officer defiantly singing "God Bless America" in his cage the night before his murder. On September 26, 1965, North Vietnam's "Liberation Radio" announced the execution of Rocky Versace and another American POW, ostensibly in retaliation for the deaths of 3 terrorists in Da Nang.
Rocky Versace's remains have never been recovered. His stone at Arlington National Cemetery stands above an empty grave. But neither his spirit nor his values are lost. He is an intelligence officer worth remembering on this day, Memorial Day 2002, a hero in the true, old-fashioned sense of the word. (Jonkers, Monday, May 27th, 2002) (courtesy Barnak / Newcomb)
PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM 2002 -- The US State Department's 22nd annual edition for 2002 in 197 pages designates 33 groups as foreign terrorist organizations, including 7 not on the list a year ago. The new groups are from Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Greece, Algeria and Columbia. Among the newcomers are the Palestinian group al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Asbat al-Ansar of Lebanon, Jaish-e-Mohammed of Pakistan, the Real IRA active in Northern Ireland, the Revolutionary Nuclei of Greece, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat of Algeria and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.
Al-Aqsa and the armed Palestinian militia Tanzim are offshoots of Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, but the U.S. administration has not implicated Arafat personally in their violent activities.
The State publication is important, not only as a political document providing insight as to who the US defines as a terrorist, but countries on the list are prohibited from receiving U.S. economic aid and are subject to controls on items that could be used for military or terrorist purposes. Once on the list, no nation has ever graduated from it. "In order to be removed from the list, a nation has not only to renounce terrorism, but to demonstrate conclusively that no longer will it use terrorism as a tool -- and none of the state sponsors has sufficiently indicated that," said Francis X. Taylor, the State Department's top terrorism official.
Iran, Iraq and Syria are said to continue to provide support to terrorist groups. Iranian hard-liners intensified their support for terrorists that target Israel (during the Intifada) while also aiding terrorists in Turkey (Kurds), Central Asia (Afghanistan etc) and the Persian Gulf (Iraq). Syria and Iraq provided haven and logistical support to several organizations. The report faults President Saddam Hussein for not condemning the Sept. 11 attacks and for providing a base to several militant groups, including Palestinian and Kurdish (!!!) organizations. It may be noted that none of the countries identified as supporting terrorists have backed al Qaeda.
Unlike previous assessments, the document not only describes terrorist attacks and organizations, but also rates countries' performance in the international battle against terrorism. Uzbekistan, for example, is credited with playing "an important role" after Sept. 11. Germany's contributions occupy nearly three columns of type. Spain provided "unqualified support." The Philippines "emerged as one of our staunchest Asian allies in the war on terrorism." Some 95 countries have arrested 1,600 suspected al Qaeda operatives. "Country by country, region by region, coalition members have strengthened law enforcement and intelligence cooperation. We have tightened border controls and made it harder for terrorists to travel, to communicate and therefore to plot. One by one, we are severing the financial bloodlines of terrorism organizations."
North Korea and Iran ("axis of evil") are credited with taking small steps "in some narrow areas," but North Korea's initial approach after 9/11 "halted abruptly" and Iran and Syria "seek to have it both ways." Iraq and Cuba alone are said to have made no progress. Cuba is accused of harboring fugitives, including Basque militants (Fidel Castro has "vacillated"). "Libya and Sudan seem closest to understanding what they must do to get out of the terrorism business, and each has taken measures pointing it in the right direction," but neither has done "enough" to be taken off the terrorism list.
SecDef Rumsfeld in a separate statement has also named five countries from the list -- Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria -- as developing weapons of mass destruction and predicted that terrorists will inevitably acquire such weapons -- and are expected to use them. DepSec Treasury Dam reported that the campaign to inhibit terrorist financing still needs improvements and that total assets blocked, particularly in Southeast Asia, have been disappointing.
While it seems logical after the events of 9/11 that American interest would
still be quite high in a report on international terrorism produced by an
established authority, it appears not to begin to compete with the "who can we
blame for 9/11" story in the competition for media attention. Careful analysis
versus fevered political pontificating still seems a losing game.
(Harvey/Jonkers) (Wpost 22 May02, p. A27//P. Slevin & A. Sipress)
The document may be viewed online at http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2001
AL-QAEDA LACKED CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL STOCKPILE -- After months of searching the bomb-ravaged wreckage of terrorist training camps and other sites in Afghanistan, investigators have concluded that, while Al Qaeda researched chemical and biological weapons, there is no indication that it acquired or produced them. Among the documents found in Qaeda sites were out-of-date American Army manuals on improvised explosives, scientific writings on poisons, diagrams of chemical agents and research on germ warfare vaccines. American intelligence reportedly interprets this evidence as showing that Al Qaeda was interested in developing a chemical or biological weapons program.
If the evidence in Afghanistan indicates that actual threat appears negligible at this time, the potential future threat must be assumed to continue to exist. Based on the full range of intelligence available, the DCI recently said that "Documents recovered from Al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan show that bin Laden was pursuing a sophisticated biological weapons research program. We also believe that bin Laden was seeking to acquire or develop a nuclear device. Al Qaeda may be pursuing a radioactive dispersal device, what some call a `dirty bomb.' "
In 1998 Osama bin Laden said that he considered it his religious duty to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, even if his technical capabilities have been too limited to accomplish his objectives. The remnants of Al Qaeda's leadership are almost certainly still trying to obtain them. (Jonkers) (NYT 19Mar02// D Johnston & J. Risen)
NATIONAL SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OVERSIGHT OFFICER APPOINTED -- A Department of Defense security official, J. William Leonard, has been appointed as the new director of the 'Information Security Oversight Office' (ISOO), effective 3 June 2002. ISOO is a tiny but disproportionately influential office that oversees the implementation of national security classification and declassification policy throughout the government. Created by executive order, ISOO is housed at the National Archives and takes policy direction from the National Security Council.
ISOO plays a prominent role in the formulation of new secrecy policies, including pending revisions to the current executive order on classification policy. The ISOO Director also serves as executive secretary to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel,
chairs the National Industrial
Security Program Policy Advisory Committee, and quite a bit more. (Jonkers)
(Secrecy News 15 May 02 //S. Aftergood) http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/05/nara051302.html
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TIGHTENING SECURITY BUYS -- In an effort to improve the security of the commercial software it buys, the Defense Department beginning in July will restrict its purchase of information assurance products to those certified by the National Information Assurance Partnership. (Levine 17 MAY 02)
G8 DATA PROTECTION POLICIES -- Pronouncements from this week's G8 Justice and Interior Ministers meeting about data protection and the retention of Internet traffic data have created concern among privacy activists. Controversy centers around whether blanket retention of traffic data on the entire population should be permitted (effectively making every Internet user susceptible to continuous surveillance of their online activity), or whether data should only be recorded on specifically designated targets or groups. Although the G8 refers to September 11 and terrorism as justification for data retention, there is no proposal to limit the use of data to terrorist cases. (Levine 17 May 02)
FACE-RECOGNITION SECURITY SYSTEMS TEST -- Facial-recognition security systems installed at Boston's Logan Airport, where two of the Sept.11 hijacked flights originated, worked more than 90 percent of the time in a recently concluded test.
TIBET RESISTANCE DOCUMENTARY -- On May 15, 2002, TV viewers in the Washington, D.C. area had the opportunity to watch a film documentary entitled "Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet," portraying the U.S. role in providing assistance to Tibetans who resisted Chinese invaders and then, ultimately, abandoned them.
From the mid 1950s until 1969 the CIA conducted a covert operation in Tibet, code-named ST CIRCUS. The US Government became involved because the local resistance to the Chinese occupation of Tibet fit into a larger U.S. Cold War strategy of countering, destabilizing or overthrowing Communist regimes. When the policy changed as the United States altered its strategy in regards to the People's Republic of China, the Tibetans were abandoned.
Circus documentary contains archival
footage as well as exclusive interviews with former Tibetan resistance members
and CIA officers involved in the operation. Former CIA officials interviewed
include Ken Knaus, coordinator of the Tibet Program; Roger McCarthy, who set up
the CIA operations in Tibet; John Greaney, who worked with the Pentagon to set
up the training for the Tibetans at Camp Hale in Colorado; and Bruce Walker, who
spent considerable time at Camp Hale where the Tibetans were trained. (Jonkers)
( firstname.lastname@example.org ) http://www.naatanet.org
For national TV schedule, see http://www.savetibet.org/Events/EventsMain.cfm (courtesy AFIO member xx)
Christopher C. Harmon, PhD, TERRORISM TODAY, Frank Cass, London & Portland, 2001 -- There are shelves full of books on terrorism, and this latest, published only a few months before September 11, 2001, is perhaps the most up-to-date and therefore a "must read." Professor Harmon not only provides one of the best primers on the subject but examines terrorism as extremely effective, efficient and successful economic warfare, waged by economically deprived, bitter, clever, and often well educated anti-capitalist Islamic radicals. The economic impact on the targeted nations, in terms of loss in investment, increased cost of business and security, loss of confidence in Western financial institutions and our counter terrorism measures is enormous and has the effect of dragging down economically advanced nations toward the level of the terrorists. Professor Harmon amplified this theme in his lecture at AFIO's annual Business Intelligence Symposium on May 16th. [Poteat]
LETTER - Tony N. writes on WARNING -- Anyone who wants to talk about warning should first be required to read Roberta Wohlstetter's classic book, "Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision" (Stanford, 1962). September 11 was our era's Pearl Harbor, and we suspect that what today's probers find will be similar to what Mrs. Wohlstetter did.
"Signals announcing the Pearl Harbor attack were always accompanied by competing or contradictory signals, by all sorts of information useless for anticipating this particular disaster. We refer to these competing signals as 'noise,''' she wrote. "To understand the fact of surprise it is necessary to examine the characteristics of the noise as well as signals that after the event are clearly seen to herald the attack."
It's charming that Congress and the media are suddenly discovering that public bureaucracies are incompetent. And it's easy for columnists and other intelligence analysts to declare that the FBI should have heeded the warning about flight-school training from its agent in Phoenix. After September 11 that signal looks obvious. But before September 11 it was one among hundreds, if not thousands, of such signals that security agencies had to interpret. Most pointedly, those signals had to be read amid a political mindset that had never made fighting terror an overriding national priority. (Tony N. )
(Ed. Comment -- The reference to the 'signal to noise' ratio is most applicable. Frequently the noise buries the signals. Also, in terms of political mindset, bureaucrats were (and still are) imprisoned in contemporary dictates of political correctness ordained by Congress, including racial profiling among others, that restrict rational thought, speech and action ) (Jonkers)
ANNOUNCEMENT -- NATIONAL COUNTERINTELLIGENCE EXECUTIVE (NCIX) . Effective 1 July 2002, United States Postal Service (USPS) letters, flats, and mail parcels mailed to the NCIX should be addressed as follows: National Counterintelligence Executive, Room 3W01, NHB, Washington, DC 20505. Time-sensitive correspondence may be emailed to email@example.com or faxed to the NCIX point of contact at 703-874-0271.
Background: The NCIX has created an Internet address group to alert and inform its readers about new and updated information regarding the NCIX Web site. The advisories include information on NCIX regional seminars, the release of new awareness material, and other information of counterintelligence interest. Please feel free to use this updated information on your own Intranet and other information-sharing systems.
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