Weekly Intelligence Notes
WIN #27-02 dated 8 July 2002
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are commentaries on intelligence events and issues, produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational use by AFIO members and WIN subscribers.
AFIO LUNCHEON ON 29 JULY - is fast approaching. See Section V below.
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NOVEMBER 17 TERRORIST ARRESTED IN GREECE -- The Greek police announced their first breakthrough in the decades-long search for the elusive terrorist phantom group called 'November 17', pursued by the United States since the killing of CIA station chief Richard Welch in 1975. A botched bomb attack on 29 June wounded a foot soldier in the group and led authorities to a hide-out and a significant weapons cache in the heart of Athens. At the bomb site investigators found a Smith & Wesson revolver that they were able to link to several attacks by 'November 17,' including the assassination of the Greek-British shipowner Costis Peraticos in May 1997.
'November 17,' named after the 1973 date of a student uprising that helped end a Greek military dictatorship, burst onto the scene with the slaying of our CIA officer 27 years ago. Since then Greek authorities have never made an arrest or even publicly identified a single member of the group, which has gone on to claim responsibility for twenty-two other killings. Popularly called "the phantom organization," the group most recently claimed responsibility for the killing of a British military attaché, Stephen Saunders, as he drove down a busy Athens street in June 2000.
The Greek government's failure to find and prosecute the members of the November 17 terrorist group has generated American suspicions of high-level collusion. Several retired American officials, including a former ambassador to Athens, Thomas Niles, have alleged links between the group and Greece's governing elite. In terms of the current messianic US pronouncements on the "war on terrorism," Greece appears to inhabit a netherworld, somewhere in between the "axis of evil" and our "band of allies," neither branded as 'evil' nor qualified as 'good.' Perhaps the fact that Greece will be the site of the 2004 Summer Olympics may force the government to see the light. From the hard-nosed perspective of the US and UK Intelligence Communities, we need to catch the killers and "bring them to justice." The current arrest will help. (Jonkers) (NY Times 5 July 2002 //A. Carassava)
MURDER IN LOS ANGELES AIRPORT -- On 4 July two innocent young Israeli citizens were murdered as they stood in line to be checked in by El Al at Los Angeles airport. The murderer was Hesham Mohammed Hadayat, who immigrated from Egypt (where he was a bank clerk) in 1992. Not everything reported about the case seems to add up, and there may be more here than meets the eye.
Hadayat was employed by American Mercury ground service company from 1993 until 1998, when he left to set up his own limousine service for air passengers. During his five years of employment with Mercury, he was free to roam the LA airport. He aroused the suspicions of El Al security personnel who warned airport security, but when no action was taken they put him under surveillance, and asked Mercury to rearrange Hadayat's shifts for periods when none of its planes were scheduled. This was done.
Who was Hadayat? An Arabic newspaper in London reported on 7 July that Hadayat was a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (an operating arm of al Qaeda's) and that he had twice met with Dr. Ayman Zuwahri, a deputy to Osama bin Laden, in California in 1995 and 1998. Hadayat was said to have received money to leave Mercury and set up his own limousine service. Interestingly, this report places Zuwahri, Osama's deputy, in the US one and a half years before the Egypt Air disaster, and 3 years before the 9/11 attacks -- which reportedly is the germination period for a large al Qaeda operation.
From all of this it appears that Hesham Hadayat was one of al Qaeda's sleeper agents in the U.S. When he was found to be under observation, he was made to lower his profile, and was set up with his own limousine service. Whether murder of El Al passengers was his task is open to question, as is the apparent lack of FBI surveillance of this individual, even after the security alert, the events of 9/11, and the new priorities of the war on terrorism. But quite likely, as in so many cases, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. We'll have to wait until it all adds up. (Jonkers) (Debka Intel Report, 7 July02)
ISRAEL AND HAMAS - HOW THE WORLD TURNS -- Like the U.S. relationship with Saddam and Iraq, which has moved from support to hostility as it has suited (and will suit) our needs, so Israel allegedly has had an evolving relationship with the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, Hamas. Israel is reported to have aided Hamas both directly and indirectly, in a clandestine operation beginning in the 1970s.
The Israeli clandestine intelligence objective for support for Hamas would be to gain access to information and to recruit sources as agents of influence. By infiltrating Hamas, Israeli informers and spies could listen to debates on policy and identify Hamas members who were considered dangerous hard-liners. It could also serve as a channel for influencing Hamas, both in its opposition to the PLO and in directing its extremist tendencies to suit its purposes.
Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Hamas' announced political objective is to set up a transnational Islamic state within a larger Islamic fundamentalist community (e.g. including the likes of Iran and Taliban/Afghanistan), an ultimate extremist objective that has no room for Israel or Israelis (or the likes of the PLO which was open to compromise). Fundamentalist Islamic movements in Palestine had been weak and dormant until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel, using a surprise attack, smashed the armies of its Arab neighbors and occupied substantial new areas in the region. Subsequently Hamas grew in influence -- mostly due to their activities among the refugees of the War of 1967, through their impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure (Da'wah) that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and frequently living on the edge of starvation -- not too different from the present situation for the Arab population of the occupied territories.
Social influence grew into political influence, first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank. After the victory of Khomeini in Iran, and the emergence of Hezbollah in Lebanon to resist Israeli occupation, Hamas began relying on terror to gain their own extremist political objective. In time they set up a very comprehensive counter-intelligence system. Many of Israel's Arab agents and collaborators were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet. Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence. Unlike the PLO, this fundamentalist Hamas extremist objective, and its terrorist suicide bombing manifestations, plays directly into the hands of Israeli hard-liners.
Was the alleged Israeli clandestine aid to Hamas legitimate? From the perspective of Israeli intelligence, the answer is yes. It was the best way to get at the target. It presumably helped to infiltrate the Palestinian ranks and to gain insider information and exert influence. Every realistic Government would have done it if they could (except perhaps the Dutch who, in an exercise of ideological purity, preferred to operate blindly in the dark in Bosnia -- see Dr. Wiebes report in last week's WIN) . From the perspective of Israeli hard-liners, the answer must be a resounding yes. Acts of repulsive Hamas terrorism unify Israeli public opinion, submerge their (many and strong) humane groups and impulses, have in the past stopped negotiations to allow the Palestinians some degree of autonomy and human dignity, and create support for hard-line 'Greater Israel' territorial objectives.
Hamas fundamentalist extremist terrorism provides a great challenge for Israeli security intelligence, which is up to the task. But, while the reported Israeli past clandestine support for Hamas can be understood and validated as essential for Israeli national security and intelligence in support of their political leadership, it is now, indirectly, also providing a bonus harvest of political justification for a carte blanche 'Open Season on Palestinians' and their aspirations, sadly reminiscent of the kind of brutality of a number of episodes in the past century. (Jonkers) (United Press International 6/18/2002 //R. Sale) ( www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=18062002-051845-8272r ) (courtesy W. Livermore)
HOMELAND SECURITY BILL CYBER
INITIATIVES -- Legislation to create a Homeland Security
Department, a top congressional priority, has attracted previously introduced
cyber security and other technology-related bills as riders. The most activity
is in the House, where numerous committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction
on homeland security have until July 12 to recommend changes to the legislation,
H.R. 5005. (Levine Newsbits 7/03/02)
( http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0702/070302td1.htm )
CYBER ATTACK THREAT -- Since 1908, the
FBI has been instrumental in bagging bad guys from John Dillinger to John Gotti.
But how well are the Feds adapting from tommy guns to cyber terror? In the wake
of Kevin Mitnick's 1998 hackathon, the agency created the National
Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC). But many IT pros say the FBI still
isn't doing enough to prevent cyberattacks. Nearly half the IT execs surveyed by
the Business Software Alliance believe a major attack is on the way, and 90
percent think the government should devote more resources to preventing it than
it did to contend with Y2K. (Levine 07/03/02)
( http://www.techweb.com/tech/security/20020703_security )
NAVY INTRANET -- According to a House
Appropriations Committee report that accompanied H.R. 5010 (FY 2003 Defense
appropriations Bill), inadequate testing methods and a failure to identify tens
of thousands of existing legacy applications have hampered the Navy's efforts to
transition all of its information systems to the Navy-Marine Corps intranet
(NMCI). Committee members said they are "concerned that this problem has limited
the current state of the [NMCI] network's capabilities to such a degree that the
system has significantly impacted operations." (Levine 07/03/02)
( http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0702/070302td2.htm )
NEW INS SYSTEM FOR TRACKING FOREIGN STUDENTS
-- Eligible schools will soon be able to use the Immigration
and Naturalization Service's new automated system for tracking foreign students
living in the United States, under a rule published in the Federal Register this
week. The rule allows certain accredited private and public schools that enroll
foreign students to begin using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information
System (SEVIS) over the next month. Schools that begin using SEVIS between now
and Aug. 16, when the early enrollment period for the system ends and the new
certification process for schools kicks in, will not have to pay a certification
WAR WITHOUT END: Israelis, Palestinians, And the Struggle for a Promised Land, by Anton La Guardia, published by Thomas Dunne, 2002. According to the reviewer, Thomas Lippman, this is an excellent book for readers who know nothing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and also an entertaining book accessible to readers at all points of the knowledge spectrum. Says Lippman: "Anyone who does not understand why the intifada continued despite machine-gun fire from the Israelis and righteous rhetoric from Washington will find the answers here. In the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war, La Guardia write, "The land was opened up to extensive settlement by Jews, its water resources were harnessed for Israel's benefit, and its Arab population exploited as a source of cheap labor." He describes the Arabs as being ineptly led nurturing unrealistic visions.
Some quotes: "There is a grim equilibrium in the politics of Israel: making peace with Arabs means strife among the Jews, while war with the Arabs restores a certain unity." And further, " The indispensability of Arafat only magnifies the seriousness of his errors." This book is not about intelligence, but as we proceed with our next war with Iraq, closely connected with Israel politics, it is useful to gain some understanding of the context for intelligence in the region. (Jonkers) WPost Book World, 30 June 02, p.4 // reviewed by T. Lippman)
Don T. writes in regard to TEN COMMANDMENTS OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE in the last edition of AFIO's Intelligencer: "The tenth and last commandment is the most important. What if the Ames mole hunters had quit after eight years instead of going into the ninth? What if we had discontinued a certain surveillance operation after five months instead of continuing into the sixth? CI history is full of such examples."
"The FBI is making cases against Americans today that involved espionage committed in the 1960s and 1970s. The Army's Foreign Counterintelligence Activity is doing the same. The name of the game in CI is persistence. CI officers who are not patient need not apply. There is no statute of limitations for espionage, and we should not create one by our own inaction. Traitors should know that they will never be safe and will never have a peaceful night's sleep. I applauded my CI colleagues in the FBI when I read not long ago of their arrest in Florida of a former US Army Reserve colonel for alleged espionage against the United States many years earlier. They obviously never gave up. If there were ever to be a mascot for US counterintelligence, it should be the pit bull."
IN MEMORIAM - COLONEL GUS PLANCHON, US Air Force, was accidentally killed at his home on 7 June 2002. Gus loved the Air Force and served with distinction as a "Yellow Bird" navigator in southeast Asia, for which he was awarded the Silver Star. Among his other assignments were AFROTC at Washington State University, Target Intelligence in the Pentagon, and intelligence assignments in Logistics Command. A true professional and friend, Gus will be missed. Burial will be at Arlington Cemetery, Thursday 18 July 2002, at 1030 a.m. A funeral procession will depart the Administrative Building at that time, followed by an 11 a.m. graveside ceremony. (R. Lambert)
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 at 1 pm, as previously announced, will 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)
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