Weekly Intelligence Notes
WIN 33-02 dtd 19 August 2002
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members, ISIS associates and WIN subscribers. RADM (ret) Don Harvey contributes articles to selected WINs.
CONTENTS of this WIN
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PRESIDENT AFFIRMS HIS RELIANCE ON INTELLIGENCE -- The President, as part of the national debate over the Administration's policy on Iraq, reaffirmed his reliance on intelligence, saying " .. . Americans need to know I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country, plus our friends and allies." It is good to hear this said, as national security decisions are hopefully based on objective facts and strategic national objectives rather than ideological pursuits or crusades that warp perceptions of reality. Intelligence reports should provide objective, balanced reality. The President's statement of his reliance on that is important and reassuring. (Jonkers) (Reuters 16 August 02)
SHIFTS CONTINUE --
The changing of the guard at the FBI goes on. The latest shuffle has produced a new director for
investigative technologies and a chief for the Cyber Crime Section.
Executive Assistant Director Dale Watson, the FBI's senior counter-terrorism and counter intelligence official, has retired after 20 years service.
Thomas Richardson has been named Assistant Director in charge of the Investigative Technologies Division. Richardson, an FBI agent fro 27 years, has served in the Criminal Investigative Division and as Chief of the Middle East terrorism unit, among many other posts.
Keith Lourdeau has been named chief of the Cyber Crime Section, part of a new Cyber Division created this year to improve the FBI's ability to investigate Internet and computer system crimes. Lourdeau has worked for the FBI for 16 years. His most recent assignment was to work with the CIA to establish greater cooperation between it and the FBI in targeting international organized crime groups.
The appointments and retirement are the latest in a long string of departures and appointments since Mueller took over as FBI director a year ago amid calls for sweeping Bureau reform. (Jonkers) (WPost 16 Aug 02 / W. Matthews)
CIA's CLANDESTINE SERVICE EXPANSION. A recent Washington puff piece on the clandestine side of CIA and its developments since the 11 September attacks included more data than is usual from the DDO about its recruiting and training efforts. After the attacks, the DCI asked for a 70 percent increase in the number of new field agents and 25 percent increase in the DDO, which manages the agency's Counter-terrorism Center, espionage and paramilitary operations. CIA has received 100,000 applications since the attacks, up from 60,000 during the entire previous year. The overwhelming majority of qualified applicants are mid-twenties to early thirties, white, middle-class Americans lacking in languages such as Arabic, Farsi, Dari and Pashtun. Agency recruiters are 'trying to come up with an appropriate approach to the US Arab American world "trying to "debunk myths" about the agency through local Arabic-language newspapers.
The demand for clandestine operators has increased 70 percent. Even were the Agency to come up with the appropriate fluent linguists, some intelligence experts say it is unrealistic to expect CIA operatives to penetrate terrorist groups themselves. One experienced operations officer said, "Someone of Arab descent isn't likely to develop the type of credibility to get into the inner circle of al Qaeda. There's too much vetting that goes on."
The first post September 11 class of recruits began its year-long training course in mid-July. Next in line are those who are beginning orientation, if they pass the polygraph tests and interviews, accept a $45,000 to $60,000 annual salary, and are willing to live undercover. The class of recruits the reporter was allowed to witness was three-quarters men, half in their twenties and half in their thirties. Nearly 70 percent were in private business, 30 percent in the military with about 40 percent nearly fluent in a foreign language, but only 15 percent fluent in a language spoken by Islamic-based terrorists. Only 10 percent are second-generation immigrants who could possibly fit in Middle Eastern, East African or Asian societies. The paper's report would seem to reinforce the opinions of many experienced intelligence people that it will be a long time before the agency owns an adequate cadre of clandestine operators in the Islamic world, thus placing continued emphasis on liaison relations with those nations with the requisite assets.(Harvey) (WashPost 9 Aug 02, p. 1 // D. Priest).
TERRORIST DIES IN IRAQ -- Abu Nidal, 65, long one of the world's most wanted terrorists, responsible for a trail of brutal terrorism through twenty countries over the past three decades, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in Baghdad, apparently killed by Iraqi security agents, but declared a suicide by the Iraqi government. Nothing is certain about this sinister figure of the shadows, but thin wisps in the Arab media winds whisper that he had become a liability and expendable by Saddam Hussein's government in the present environment. The unclassified world is full of manipulated information, and one cannot know. But the list of Nidal's pursuers was long.
Who was Abu Nidal? His real name was Sabri al-Banna, a Palestinian, born in Jaffa, whose family was one of hundreds of thousands driven out of parts of Palestine in 1948 by Israeli forces upon the establishment of the State of Israel, part of a war viewed from one perspective as a war of liberation supported by the US and the West in an exercise of collective guilt over the wartime anti-Semitic genocidal misdeeds of Adolph Hitler and his gang, but from another perspective seen as a war of conquest, defeat, ethnic cleansing and subjugation.(* Note) Eleven years old in 1948, Nidal is said to have spent his teenage years in the festering slums of the refugee camps in Nablus, on the "West Bank", becoming a bitter extremist dedicated to armed resistance -- expressed in the futile rage of murderous terrorism. He became a member of Fatah.
In the 1970's Nidal reportedly split with the PLO, which, after the 1967 war, had taken the road of the so-called "peace process," a long-running political /diplomatic holding action while new "realities" were being established on the ground by the Israelis in occupied Palestine -- a course dictated by its own inevitable territorial logic, but leading to further frustration on the part of the subjugated population. Nidal pursued resistance through the extremist path of terrorism, setting up his own killer teams. He sent hit teams to strike at Israelis, their Western supporters, officials of Arab states promoting the "peace process," and Yasser Arafat's PLO officials -- a broad enough spectrum of targets for any man or movement.
The Nidal organization, known as the Fatah-Revolutionary Council, has been held responsible for brutally killing or wounding some 900 people in 20 countries over the past decades, including the machine gun massacres of El Al passengers at Rome and Athens airports in 1985, and the hijacking of an Egyptian airliner. Along the way they also assassinated Arafat's chief of intelligence, Abu Iyad, and killed PLO representatives in London, Kuwait, Paris and Brussels. His professed hatred was focused on Israel and the Jews, but many of his targets were moderate Arabs, Europeans and Americans. His methods included hijackings, bombings and shootings, and he was said to have worked sometimes as a contract killer for other governments. A military court in Amman last year condemned Nidal and four others to death for the 1994 murder of a Jordanian diplomat in Beirut, part of his campaign against Arab states that backed the Middle East "peace process."
Allegedly suffering from a variety of diseases, amidst reports during the past decade that he had leukemia, diabetes or heart disease, Abu Nidal's activities came to a halt in the 1990's. An Iraqi official was quoted as saying the Nidal had entered Iraq from Iran last year on a forged passport, but had been discovered and placed under house arrest. His network, known as Fatah-Revolutionary Council, broke apart in a series of feuds as its leader became ill, and was no longer considered an active threat. Its last reported assassination was eight years ago.
Over the more than 25 years in which he was active, he is said to have operated from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other states at one time or another. He survived, in spite of being on the target list of numerous intelligence agencies, for either one of two reasons (other than "tradecraft."). One was that he was a "loner" according to sources described as Israeli intelligence officials. Shunning association with other groups is one way to survive. Another survival mechanism is derived from Arab claims, based on Nidal's vicious war against the PLO, that he was secretly manipulated by Israel's security and intelligence services, specifically the Mossad. We'll never know, at least not in our lifetimes.
Abu Nidal, suffering one of life's traumatic injustices, became a psychotic killer who lived a life in the shadows of hell, and who chose the path of darkness and terrorism to seek his own warped sense of justice, redress and revenge. Alive, he was a danger to all, and a target, or instrument, of deep covert intelligence. His death is welcome public news. He will not be missed. (Jonkers) (Reuters & NYTimes 19 Aug 02 //S. Jeffery) (NY Times, 21 Aug, 2002 //S. Schmemann) http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,777190,00.html
(*NOTE: In the grand sweep of history the Israeli war with the native Palestinians (and neighboring Arab states) that began in 1948 may be seen as an ironic mirror image of the "Jewish War" described by the ancient Jewish Pharisee priest /military commander /historian Josephus in the first century A.D., a narrative populated with Jewish "extremists" and "terrorists" (from the Roman perspective) and cruel misdeeds galore. It is relevant in terms of historic perspective on events in the Middle East, and for understanding of causes and effects (as well as terminology) at play in the current "War on Terrorism," in which we, like the Romans, pursue Symptoms in preference over Causes. That is a luxury of Power. See: The Jewish War, Josephus, Dorset Press 1985, ISBN 0-88029-034-X (out of print).) (Jonkers)
US MILITARY NETWORKS
ACCESSIBLE -- A security company
has claimed that it was able to gain access to US military and government
computers. ForensicTec said that it used easily available software to identify
unprotected computers, and could have pried into email, personnel records and
financial information. The company's president told the Washington Post that his
firm had come forward to highlight the security failures. (Levine's Newbits 19
Aug 02) (http://www.vnunet.com/News/1134450)
IDENTITY THEFT RIFE IN RUSSIA -- As Russia has long been dubbed a hub of tech
fraud, credit-card holders have been justifiably wary about using their plastic
there. Travelers have been warned that after charging a dinner to their card in
Russia, hat number could be copied and used even after the owner left the
country. The advice on avoiding fraud in the former Soviet Union includes only
using credit cards in reputable locations and monitoring their balances.
NAVY MARINE CORPS INTRANET MILESTONE -- NMCI has been cleared to connect to SIPRNET, involving some 40,000 users. (http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2002/0819/news-nmci-08-19-02.asp)
MI5 HISTORY PROPOSED -
HISTORIAN/AUTHOR SEARCH UNDERWAY
-- What is starting out as a proposed "warts and all" official history of
Britain's MI5 has been announced in the British Press, to mark MI5's centenary
in 2009, and is expected to include a litany of its errors, blunders along with
the many successes. From its creation in 1909 to the present, the account will
delve into the "Spycatcher" affair [based on that 1987 book by Peter Wright, a
former assistant director of MI5], and allegations of murder and missteps in the
To create this work, the service has reached out to leading academicians asking that they apply for the post of official MI5 historian. The Daily Telegraph [UK], in their account of this proposed history, quoted one official: "We are not going for a whitewash - past mistakes and controversies will have to be included. It needs to be an authoritative account that will complement the various releases of service files to the Public Record Office."
The selected author, after a rigorous clearance, will be given full access and essentially become a member of 5. However, they reputedly will have complete editorial control over the book. [Policies like this tend to change quickly, so it will be interesting to see if they adhere to this openness as the project nears completion]. To wit: "The only editorial control we will exercise will be for reasons of national security."
The greatest audience for this work is expected to be those who wish to hear the inside scoop on MI5's operations against allegedly "subversive" Left-wing elements inside the trades unions and other organizations in the 1970s and 1980s, and a supposed attempt by some MI6 officers to protect Kim Philby, the Third Man in the Cambridge Ring of Five. Also of interest will be its account of what Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross gave the Russians, and a full account of the David Shayler case, [a former member of MI5 who alleged MI6 was involved in a plot to kill Libyan leader Gaddafi]. Under successes will be the well-known WWII Double Cross System run by 5 (along with 6 and Bletchley Park), and the pre-war activities of Maxwell Knight, an MI5 runner who infiltrated the Communist Party and the British Union of Fascists. (Michael Smith in The Telegraph [UK], 8/8/02 via C. La Clair)
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - a novel -- Well-known author and biographer (and AFIO member) Burton Hersh, who published The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA and The Shadow President, has just released his latest novel [Tree Farm Books, available in hardcover, paperback, and CDROM via Amazon.com and other stores]. This latest, the dustjacket tells us, continues his "…unrelenting examination of the Agency's modus operandi. Its protagonist, Owen Rheinsdorf, has fought the back-alley engagements of the secret war at flashpoints around the planet …The Nature of the Beast penetrates deeply into the methodology of covert warfare in our time: its triumphs, its setbacks, and in the end its justification." [unread].
LYRICS FOUND, BUT MELODY NEEDED TO WORLD WAR II LULLABY -- For a media spoof evening at the International Spy Museum (which, incidentally, passed the landmark of one million visitors this week since it opened in July) we are looking for anyone who knows the melody to a song popular in Constantinople, "spy" central during WW II . The lyrics of the song with the refrain "Boo Boo Baby, I'm A Spy" start as follows: "I'm involved in a dangerous game, Every other day I change my name, The face is different but the body's the same, boo, boo baby, I'm a spy!" The concluding lines are: "Now as a lad I'm not so bad, In fact, I'm a damn good lover, But look my sweet, let's be discreet, And do this under cover. I'm so cocky I could swagger, The things I know would make you stagger, I'm ten percent cloak and ninety percent dagger, boo, boo, baby, I'm a spy!" Let us know if you have the melody!!! Pls send me an email at email@example.com. (Jonkers)
IN MEMORIAM -- LOU W. SCHALK Jr., the test pilot who was the first to fly a prototype of the legendary Blackbird reconnaissance (" spy" ) plane in 1962, died last week. In flight tests at the classified facility near Groom Lake, Nevada, he reached a top speed of 2,287 mph and altitudes that exceeded 90,000. The first flight of the Blackbird on April 26, 1962, was attended by former CIA official Richard Bissell and aircraft designer Kelly Johnson. "Both men were tough as titanium," recalled Ben R. Rich in his 1994 book Skunk Works, "but both were clearly moved watching our test pilot, Lou Schalk, gun those two tremendous engines and rip into the early-morning cloudless sky. It was one of those unmatched moments when all the pain and stress involved in building that damned machine melted away in the most powerful engine roar ever heard." For us in the recon business, the SR-71 was a superb part of the inventory, another break-through technological achievement of the Cold War, and Schalk one of the intrepid pioneers who were part of the great achievements of the skunk works. We salute the passing of a man of steel courage and skill. (Jonkers) (WPost 20 Aug 02) ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42439-2002Aug20.html)
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