Weekly Intelligence Notes
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and WIN subscribers.
MISS: WEDNESDAY evening (10 July) - TV
Special on Silent Warriors: Attack on
CIA - 9 pm ET
Discovery Channel. More info...
AFIO LUNCHEON ON 29 JULY - is fast approaching. See Section IV below.
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BRITISH PARLIAMENT REPORT ON INTELLIGENCE AND TERRORISM -- A report by the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee states that British intelligence agencies predicted an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, but that MI6, starved for funds, did not foresee that Al Qaeda would attack targets in the United States or inflict such massive casualties. Britain's MI5 (domestic security) and MI6 (foreign intelligence) had obtained intelligence and on 16 July warned the government that Al Qaeda was in the "final stages of preparation" for an attack. The two agencies warned the Government of a pressing need to gather additional intelligence on Al Qaeda.
The report continues with its analysis "The shortage of specific intelligence and Osama Bin Laden's record could have warned all concerned that more urgent action was needed to counter this threat," but added that, with the benefit of hindsight, "the scale of the threat and the vulnerability of Western states to terrorists, with this degree of sophistication and a total disregard for their own lives, was not understood" by anyone.
"This lack of intelligence access to a notably hard target meant that the UK and the U.S. did not know who was going to carry out the attacks, how the attacks were going to be mounted or where the attacks were going to take place . . . Up to a point, the West had not foreseen suicide attacks taking place on the USA mainland and certainly not that the attacks would result in some 3,000 deaths." In other words, as in the US, an under-estimation of the enemy in terms of intellect (a general intercultural ignorance and superiority to "towel-heads, camel-drivers etc. syndrome) and their strength of their motivation and grievances, and an unreceptive political environment to allocate the priorities and resources to meet a theoretical possibility of a threat ( see also next article).
Parliamentary leaders and officials acknowledged that British intelligence agencies did not have sufficient funding to close the intelligence gap in obtaining sufficient information on Al Qaeda. They said the government must change its priorities to ensure that Britain has the intelligence to learn of terrorist plots and ways to foil them. (Jonkers) (World Tribune.com 14 June 02)
THE HART- RUDMAN REPORT RE-VISITED -- In 1999 Senators Warren Rudman and Gary Hart led an all-star Commission on National Security that warned that a major terrorist attack on the US was inevitable. Subsequently, in February 2001 they called for the creation of a Department of Homeland Security. What happened to the report? According to former PFIAB Chairman Rudman, "we printed 100,000 copies of the report, and 99,800 were stored in a warehouse until September 11th. On September 12, they were all gone." Another indicator of its impact: when the Commission unveiled its report at a press conference, the NY Times reporter left early, saying there was no story in it. Now we know better.
If the general discussions and recommendations on terrorism are useful, there is one finding of the Hart-Rudman report that is in danger of being overlooked. It states that "second only to a weapon of mass destruction detonating in an American city, we can think of nothing more dangerous than failure to manage properly science and technology and education for the common good over the next quarter century." In other words, we need to pay attention to an internal social values and 'societal glue.'
As to homeland security, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has moved swiftly on the report's recommendations to make it a major mission of the National Guard, to establish a Northern Command, and to create an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security position on his staff. The creation of a new Department for Homeland Security is being debated on the Hill. Both Hart and Rudman are supporting an intelligence-analysis function for the new department, are opposed having this entity involved in intelligence collection, and opposed giving the new department direct authority over the FBI and CIA. All of this, they note, is "going to be very expensive. But it would be disastrous not to spend it." The report is worth reading. (Jonkers) (WashTimes 29 June 02, p. A10 //M. Kondracke)
AND THE WAR IN BOSNIA, 1992-1995, by Dr. Cees
Wiebes, Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam, April 2002. In
1993 a combination of humanitarian motivation and political ambitions led the
Dutch cabinet to make an Air Mobile Battalion available for the UNPROFOR mission
in Bosnia, with broad media support. The unit (200 lightly armed soldiers) was
dispatched without a clear mandate, to a place described as a 'peace area'
in which there was no peace, and without intelligence capability or
support. The ultimate result was the disaster of Srebrenica. Dr. Wiebes was
granted unrestricted access to the Dutch intelligence community to prepare an
intelligence report as an Annex to the overall Dutch after-action report. What
follows are my notes on the report.
Dr Wiebes finds , in Chapter One, that there was, and continues to be, an anti-intelligence mindset in the UN Headquarters in New York. There are, and were, no independent capabilities for gathering and analyzing intelligence, and peacekeeping units are dependent on national contributions. Chapter Two covers the role of the international intelligence community in Bosnia. There was no good exchange of intelligence between the various headquarters of Unprofor in Bosnia. Interestingly, he finds that the US intelligence community had different views of the conflict than the Clinton Administration. The CIA was far more nuanced in its views than the White House and State Department. "It was swimming against the stream" said former DCI James Woolsey to the author. Readers of the WINs will recall that this was reflected in this editor's comments.
Chapter Three states that the Netherlands Government and Army did not recognize the importance of intelligence support to their forces. The Minister of Defense and the leader of the Army, General Couzy, both had clearly anti-intelligence mindsets. Dutch intelligence was not a player. The Dutch Government and Army preferred to be ideologically correct and realistically blind.
Chapter Four tells the story of the US Intelligence Community covert operations involving support for Iranian smuggling of arms to the Bosnian Muslims, with Croatia usually being the covert conduit. It was an illegal and gross violation of UN security resolutions. Chapter Five deals with covert operations and SIGINT in Bosnia. Any such initiatives for the Dutch unit, including the offer of free intercept equipment by the CIA, were squashed by their Headquarters in the Netherlands . They were determined to remain ideologically pure and have nothing to do with intelligence. Chapter Six shows that all of the warring parties in Bosnia were very good at intercepting and reading each others' communications traffic. Chapter Seven addresses the overall low priority given to intelligence about Srebrenica in Western intelligence and security services. Finally, in Chapter Eight, the question is posed, "Was Srebrenica and intelligence failure?" Dr. Wiebes found no hard evidence that any intelligence community anticipated that Mladic was going to attack Srebrenica. There were indications that something was afoot, but these reports were not taken as conclusive by higher echelons, like the Joint Intelligence Committee in London.
All in all, an interesting and different perspective on the interplay of foreign attitudes and capabilities with US intelligence and policy. (Jonkers).
NOTE: Dr. Wiebes will be in the U.S. from 1 - 4 October, and is willing to present his findings to those interested, in the Washington DC area. If a sufficient number of individuals indicate an interest (firstname.lastname@example.org), we will arrange a lecture - seminar session. But please do not give us a false indicator - tell us only if you will attend if event is scheduled that week. (Jonkers)
AMERICAN PRISONERS OF THE BOLSHEVIKS, 1917-1923: America, Russia and the Genesis of Modern American Intelligence, by Harry Thayer Mahoney and Marjorie Locke Mahoney, August 2001, ISBN 193 090 1143.
This is the latest in a series of books by this author team. Both have experience in clandestine operations and have brought that experience to bear in their research and description of this interesting period in world history.
The Bolshevik revolution against the Russian Czarist government in 1917 was, to say the least, a turbulent period indeed. The revolutionaries were not well organized and the US was engaged in World War I against the Germans. The Czarist government had been in the war on the side of the Allies but there was some likelihood that the Bolsheviks would take Russia out of the war or worse, would switch sides in the conflict. If the Russians ceased hostilities, the Germans would then be able to move their troops in Russia back to the Western front to fight against the Allies.
Therefore, the Americans had a strong interest in what went on in Russia. The US did not have the well-formed intelligence organization that it has today and the efforts that it made then to know of the developments in Russia might be considered as the genesis of the US CIA.
The book tells the factual story of the men and women who spied for the United States in Russia during the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. Most of the American organizations that sent these agents into the field and later rescued them from captivity were the same agencies that form the nucleus of the intelligence community today. The American men and women involved in these operations against the Bolsheviks are a fascinating group, one later formed the CPUSA, another became a learned professor at a southern University and one became the producer of the motion picture “King Kong”.
It is a story that is well worth the read. The book is priced at $30.00, is hard bound and has 470 pages. It is currently available directly from the authors . (reviewed by Glenn Whidden).
SILENT WARRIORS: ATTACK ON THE CIA -- broadcast premier, Discovery Channel, Wednesday 10 July 2002, 9 pm ET/PT. Before the World Trade Center, before the Pentagon, there lies the untold story of radical Islam's first attack in - and on - America. Early in the morning in January, 1993 outside of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Pakistani national Mir Aimal Kansi shot and killed two CIA employees and wounded three others. Kansi managed to flee the country, spending four years in and out of Afghanistan, sheltered by the Taliban. On June 15, 1997 he was finally captured in Pakistan. Currently on death row in Virginia, Kansi is on the program as he speaks for the first time in a telephone interview. And CIA Director George Tenet explains the Agency's determination to capture Kansi and the sacrifice made by agents in the field whose job it is to protect citizens of this country. (Jonkers) (Barbara Newman Productions)
ANNOUNCEMENT: The AFIO NATIONAL LUNCHEON at the Holiday Inn, Tyson's Corner, McLean, Virginia , scheduled for 29 July 2002, from 10:30 (bar opens) a.m. to 2 p.m., including lunch, has a change in featured speakers, as Charles Allen had to decline.
Ron Kessler, author of THE BUREAU: The Secret History of the FBI, will present at 11 am the results of his research and assessment of the FBI, a topic most relevant and timely in terms of the flood of criticism that has inundated that agency.
Robert Baer will at 1 pm, as previously announced, discuss his book SEE NO EVIL: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, including his activities as a covert agent in the Middle East and his personal, critical assessment of CIA. Both authors are expected to have their books available for sale and inscription.
You may agree or disagree with the assessments, but the combination will make for an unusually provocative as well as timely and interesting luncheon session. See our Website www.afio.com for details to sign up for this interesting session. It can be done by e-mail to AFIO (AFIO@AFIO.com) with your credit card , or by sending a check for $27.00 for yourself and guests by mail to AFIO, 6723 Whittier Ave, Ste 303A, Mclean, VA 22101. (RJ)
Otto O. writes on FBI AND NATIONAL SECURITY -- "According to media critics of the FBI, the issue is dilatory behavior, if not incompetence or negligence on the part of two intelligence components regarding evidence received prior to the attacks. Supposedly, timely action might have averted the debacle. In this regard I note that Herman Bly, my associate in the AFIO SW Florida Chapter, publicly presented his observations 23 years ago, in the Fort Myers News Press on 3 June 1979, depicting how and why government practices seeking to thwart terrorism were weakened and in some cases, wholly eliminated. In particular Mr Bly blamed a Congressional Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, that forced the executive branch to do away with existing procedures for monitoring domestic and foreign terrorists, and which caused the dismissal of large numbers of qualified intelligence specialists.
`Mr. Bly's column has been reprinted again recently, and commentators have recalled the damage done to America's intelligence organizations and national security by the Church committee. We must await the recommendations of two Congressional committees now investigating the competencies of US intelligence, including the FBI, but there is a desperate need to restore to the government a multi-layered, decentralized constitutional system of counter-terrorist organs similar to that which existed until recently.
Editor's Note: Mr. Bly was presented with the General Richard Stilwell Chairman's Award for his achievements in supporting AFIO's regional and national educational mission.
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