Weekly Intelligence Notes #38-02
23 September 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.

 

ED. NOTE: An Agenda and Registration package went into the mail today for the AFIO National Intelligence War Symposium 2002. Expect it to arrive at your place by 1 October. The agenda and registration was also e-mailed a few weeks ago to all current members and subscribers. I urge you to sign up early. It will help us. We have set up a great, expanded symposium - at a very moderate price - thanks to numerous contributing volunteers. AFIO members will have a few weeks for priority registration, before other professional intelligence associations are also invited. Our capacity is 250 attendees. If you cannot locate the prior e-mailed forms, let us know at Symp2002@afio.com and a set of these messages will be sent to you pronto.
Or watch your mailboxes for delivery of the printed package.

 


 

CONTENTS of this WIN

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SECTION I - Current Intelligence

            The Next Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11

            The Current Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11

 

SECTION II - Context and Precedence

            JIC UK's Assessment of Iraq

            North Korea WMD Arms

 

SECTION III - Cyber Intelligence

            The Coming Virus Armageddon

            New AES Crypto Standard Already Broken

            Privacy Loses Around the World

            Justice, Treasury Award Data Contract

            Intel Chief Calls For Common Data Search Capability

 

SECTION IV - Books and Sources

            Defense Department Legislative Priorities

            Joint House - Senate Inquiry Staff Report

            NIMA Declassifies More Historical Imagery

            The CIA's Secret War in Tibet by Conboy and Morrison

 

SECTION V - Letters and Announcements

            Regenstein on "Philippine Officials Detail The Trap, Set With U.S. Help"

            K.J. Writes on Environmental Intelligence

 


SECTION I - CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

 

THE NEXT CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY INTO 9/11 -- On 24 September the Senate overwhelmingly (90-8 vote) approved creation of a new independent commission to probe the systemic failures contributing to 9/11. The commission had already been approved by the House.

            The new version of the commission excludes the White House from any formal role - all 10 members of the panel will be selected by Congress. Lawmakers said the current joint Senate and House Intelligence panel is too narrowly focused. The new commission, armed with a $3 million budget, will include a review a broad range of issues, such as the decision to give flight training to many of the hijackers and a look at immigration decisions that permitted the prospective hijackers into the country.

            One might express the hope that the new Inquiry will also delve into the role of Congress, which passed legislation during the past decade that muzzled the intelligence community, enforced by the Executive. Congress made it clear to the operators, agents, leaders and lawyers -- make a mistake, take a chance, transgress any rule or procedure, and you will be pilloried, hounded, ruined and prosecuted, with your defense lawyers paid out of your own pocket. No wonder Agency and Bureau lawyers had to be consulted each step of the way, and what leeway did they have? Was the evidence clear enough for career and personal suicide? (Jonkers) (NY Post 25 Sep 02//V. Morris) ( http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/57831.htm)

 

THE CURRENT CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY INTO 9/11 (cont'd) -- The joint Congressional committee issued a report that, among other things, criticized the Intelligence Community for not focusing on the role of a "key al Qaeda leader," whose name was left unidentified because information about him "remains highly classified." The media immediately identified him as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, suspected of having played a central role in the September 11 plot, citing "Intelligence officials." These 'officials' apparently told the media that Khalid has emerged as Al Qaeda's new chief of operations, succeeding Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in Pakistan in March and is in United States custody.

            It goes without saying that the juxtaposition of the "highly classified" nature of this information, and the citation of "Intelligence officials" as the source of identification to the media, is 'interesting.'

            The criticism of the intelligence community's handling of information about Khalid Mohammed was just one element in a weeklong series of Congressional reports and hearings by the joint committee. The committee concluded in its report that the C.I.A. and F.B.I. were slow to grasp Al Qaeda's capacity to strike inside the United States, even after a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport was successfully prevented in December 1999. But the committee also found that a long series of intelligence reports about Al Qaeda's intentions, coupled with its successful strikes against two American embassies in East Africa in 1998 and an American destroyer in 2000, never raised sufficient alarm within the White House or the Government as a whole. DCI George J. Tenet issued a memorandum to his deputies in December 1998 declaring war on Al Qaeda, yet neither President Clinton nor President Bush went on a war footing against the terror network. Without forceful direction from the White House, American intelligence and law enforcement officials handling counter-terrorism cases were frequently short of resources and often distracted by competing tasks.

            The hearings serve a useful public purpose in "letting it all hang out." Some sense of perspective was introduced in an article describing the role of the staff director Eleanor Hill of the joint committee, who said that the Committee went from perusing 140,000 pieces of paper to concentrating on 7,000. That is one piece out of twenty similar ones -- better odds than in the real world, where information gems are buried in tons of slag, and the real-time signal-to-noise ratio is frequently overpowering. (Jonkers) (NYT 23 September 2002 //J. Risen) (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/23/national/23INTE.html)

           

 


SECTION II -- CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

 

JIC UK's ASSESSMENT OF IRAQ -  In an unprecedented move for the UK government, PM Blair has published "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government" produced by the Joint Intelligence Committee to explain to the British public the reasons why this issue is believed to be a current and serious threat to the UK national interest. About 50 pages in length, the paper has been reported on by leading American newspapers, largely centering on new or unusual bits of information in the assessment. The dossier contains no dramatic revelations but according to one respected expert, "When you put the whole together, it does provide convincing information to support the argument that Iraq is pursuing weapons of mass destruction and the long-range missiles to deliver them." Mr. Blair told the British Parliament that Iraq's program to acquire weapons he forswore at the end of the Persian Gulf war "is not shut down. It is up and running."

Although Iraqi officials called the paper "scaremongering, exaggeration and lies," a selective extraction from the Executive Summary includes the judgments that Iraq has:

 

**continued to produce chemical and biological agents;

 

**military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, ...Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them;

 

**developed mobile labs for military use, corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents;

 

**pursued illegal programs to procure controlled materials of potential use in the production of chemical and biological weapons;

 

**tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be used in the production of nuclear weapons;

 

**sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power program that could require it;

 

**recalled specialists to work on its nuclear program;

 

**illegally retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles, with a range of 650km, capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads;

 

**started deploying its al-Samoud liquid propellant missile, and has used the absence of weapons inspectors to work on extending its range to at least 200km;

 

**constructed a new engine test stand for the development of missiles capable of reaching the UK Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and NATO members (Greece and Turkey), as well as all Iraq's Gulf neighbors and Israel;

 

**pursued illegal programs to procure materials for use in its illegal development of long range missiles;

 

**learnt lessons from previous UN weapons inspections and has already begun to conceal sensitive equipment and documentation in advance of the return of inspectors.

 

"But the threat from Iraq does not depend solely on the capabilities we have described. It arises also because of the violent and aggressive nature of Saddam Hussein's regime. His record of internal repression and external aggression gives rise to unique concerns about the threat he poses."

(Harvey) (BBC News "Conflict with Iraq" with PM Blair's Foreword, 24 Sept '02; Washington Post 25 Sept '02, pg. 1 by//Gn Frankel; NYTimes 25 Sept '02 // Patrick E. Tyler)

 

NORTH KOREA WMD ARMS -- North Korea has a stockpile of 2,500 to 5,000 tons of Chemical weapons and is believed to be capable of producing one ton of Biological weapons annually, South Korea's Defense Ministry said in a report presented to the National Assembly on 17 September 02.

            The communist state's stockpile of Chemical weapons consists of 17 different types that can be used to dispense nerve gases. North Korea can produce about 4,500 tons of chemical weapons every year, according to the report. Pyongyang's army also has Biological weapons involving 13 different lethal germs and viruses.

            By comparison, Russia had 40,000 tons of chemical weapons when it was agreed to declare the numbers by the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. The United States had 30,000 tons before it began to dismantle some reserves.

            US Intelligence reportedly estimates that North Korea has diverted enough plutonium to make one or two nuclear bombs. Pongyang has rejected international calls for inspectors.

            All in all, a lot more Weapons of Mass Destruction in North Korea than there are in Iraq, but apparently considered less urgent in terms a 'threat' and needed 'regime change.' But one expects that after the Muslims are taken care of (Iraq, Iran, Libya and Pakistan), North Korea's turn will come. (Jonkers) (ChemBio Weapons and WMD Terrorism News - September 18, 2002) (chembio-terror@miis.edu )(UP International/ Wash.Times 17 Sep 02 //Jong-Heon Lee)

 


SECTION III - CYBER INTELLIGENCE

 

THE COMING VIRUS ARMAGEDDON -- The ultimate computer virus will be polymorphic -- stealthy, and able to change its code, message and form to avoid detection. Computer virus writers are known for building on each other's work to create ever-deadlier 'malware'. In the future, a truly malicious code might not create an immediate uproar by hitting the Internet with a big bang. Instead, it could slowly and quietly seize control of a vast number of computers, doing significant but not immediately apparent damage to data. (Levine 16 Sep 02)
http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/19406.html

NEW AES CRYPTO STANDARD ALREADY BROKEN? --Theoretical attacks against the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), postulated by winner Rijndael and runner-up Serpent, have been published in the latest edition of Bruce Schneier's CryptoGram newsletter, in a paper entitled "Cryptanalysis of Block Ciphers with Overdefined Systems of Equations". It is theory - it might work against the AES, or it might not.
http://online.securityfocus.com/news/661
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/27139.html

PRIVACY LOSES AROUND THE WORLD -- One year after September 11, personal privacy is an international casualty in the war on terror. It has now been one year since the horrific events of September 11th, 2001. It is often said that "everything has changed." That includes privacy, and the changes are not limited to the United States.
http://online.securityfocus.com/columnists/108

JUSTICE, TREASURY AWARD DATA CONTRACT -- Jointly, Justice and Treasury have awarded six contracts, worth $3 billion over five years, for standard land mobile radio subscriber units. “Open lines of communication are vital to tapping into all of the government’s resources when investigating illegal activity and protecting the homeland," said the Treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement, Jimmy Gurulé. “This contract is another step toward increased cooperation and communication between law enforcement components.”
http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/20025-1.html

INTEL CHIEF CALLS FOR COMMON DATA SEARCH CAPABILITY -- Data authored and tagged in Extensible Markup Language (XML) and combined with search capabilities across governmental databases is a key element in ensuring that the types of intelligence lapses associated with last year's terrorist attacks do not repeat themselves, according to the Marine Corps' top intelligence official.
http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2002/0916/web-marine-09-16-02.asp

 


SECTION IV - BOOKS AND SOURCES

 

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES -- SecDef Rumsfeld has noted that his hands are tied by all kinds of annoying laws that need to be changed. "Every week it seems, a senior official in this Department tells me we are constrained in our ability to do something by an obsolete legal provision. Similarly, I often hear of initiatives we would like to take, but for which we need additional authority," Secretary Rumsfeld wrote in a September 17 memo to senior Pentagon officials. A copy of the memo on "Legislative Priorities for Fiscal Year 2004" may be found at: http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2002/09/rum091702.pdf  (Secrecy News 23 Sep 2002)

 

JOINT HOUSE - SENATE INQUIRY STAFF REPORT -- The second report by Joint Inquiry staff director Eleanor Hill is packed with remarkable details -- e.g., there are 70,000 suspected terrorists on the U.S. government's "watchlist" -- and it illuminates the government's shortcomings in communicating on the intelligence that was obtained. Although the Joint Inquiry has yet to formulate any recommendations, the good news is that many of the specified failures should be susceptible to policy solutions.

            Ms. Hill's September 20 report, entitled "The Intelligence Community's Knowledge of the September 11 Hijackers Prior to September 11, 2001" is available at:http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_hr/092002hill.html  (Secrecy News 23 Sep 02)

 

NIMA DECLASSIFIES MORE HISTORICAL IMAGERY -- The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) last week declassified some 50,000 intelligence satellite images obtained in the 1960s and 1970s. NIMA has posted historical background on overhead reconnaissance, answers to frequently asked questions, and information about accessing the newly declassified imagery at: http://www.nima.mil/pa/newsroom/history/  (Secrecy News 23 Sep 02)

 

THE CIA'S SECRET WAR IN TIBET, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, Univ. Press of Kansas, 2002.

            Among the CIA's secret anti-communist wars -- in Cuba, Central America, Southeast Asia and elsewhere -- its operations in Tibet have remained particularly obscured. Only in 1999, in his book Orphans of the Cold War, did the former CIA trainer of Tibetan guerrillas, John Kenneth Knaus, break the silence with the first broad account of the agency's effort, from about 1950 to 1970, to build an armed Tibetan resistance movement. Guerrillas trained and armed by the CIA helped the Dalai Lama flee to India, where he and other exiles have kept alive the Tibetan cause. But in their high Himalayan plateaus and valleys, fighting the People's Liberation Army, the rebels against China's rule could do no more than delay the conquest of their land. The United States was never going to provide open, direct support for Tibetan independence, and the CIA ultimately abandoned their fighters.

            The big picture of America's role in Tibet is sharpened by James Morrison, a former Army officer who took part in CIA operations in Laos, and Kenneth Conboy, an Asia scholar. Morrison died in 2000; The CIA's Secret War in Tibet is the last in a series the two men co-wrote on clandestine CIA operations in Asia. Whereas the CIA-trained Knaus focused more on the broad politics of the operation, the livelier Conboy-Morrison account offers more details of how the secret war worked on the ground. Together, the two books may represent the best overall picture possible of the CIA's war in Tibet until the agency cracks open its files.

            Conboy and Morrison's book is alive with the sitcom-style mishaps (and minor characters) that bedeviled the CIA as it tried to run a covert war in a land where its officers had almost never set foot. Training its troops at a former high-altitude Army camp in Colorado, for example, the Tibet program nearly blew its own cover, once by letting a planeload of strange Asian men be discovered at the airport in nearby Colorado Springs, and another time by accidentally blowing up a transcontinental telegraph line while experimenting with rockets.

            The secret war effort had to scavenge for key skills. Training its first guerrillas, the CIA discovered that their illiteracy would prevent them from sending Morse code messages even in their own language. It hired a polyglot Mongolian Buddhist monk, Geshe Wangyal, to teach them grammar and, later, to interpret their transmissions from the field. Wangyal worked out of a safe house off Wisconsin Ave. But an erudite lama wandering the streets in beard and traditional robes drew too much attention. "He would go into a Chinese restaurant," recalled a CIA officer, "and the staff would all start bowing."

            In the end, the operation ran more in accordance with the Americans' needs and interests than with the Tibetans'. The United States (and India, which helped run the program in its latter years) shut down the last Tibetan guerrilla units at the start of the 1970s, just before the Nixon administration opened relations with Beijing.

            So why is the CIA's operation in Tibet still such a secret? Laird argues that it's largely because Tibet operations were entwined with sensitive U.S. espionage against Russian and Chinese nuclear programs, and beyond that, because of potential embarrassments about US efforts to encourage ethnic rebellions, Mongol, Kazakh, and Tibetan, against the Chinese. Digging up the Tibet war risks re-opening old wounds and upsetting the balance of the important Sino-U.S. relationship. (Jonkers) (Reviewed by James Rupert, Newsday, WPost 15 Sep 02, p. BW 13)

 


SECTION V - LETTERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Lew Regenstein writes: Today's Sunday NYTimes contains yet another serious security violation that could jeopardize future operations & methods as well as the life of one of our agents. The article, "Philippine officials Detail the trap, Set with U.S. Help,

That Snared a Rebel Leader," states: "Just off the southern Philippine coast late one night in June, a boatload of Philippine marines, equipped with night vision goggles and guided by intelligence from American spy planes, lay in wait for a fugitive Muslim terrorist leader. The target of the operation was Abu Sabaya, a senior leader and the cocky spokesman of the Abu Sayyaf group, which kidnapped numerous Americans and Europeans and beheaded some of them. Transponders in Mr. Sabaya's backpack, slipped into the foam padding of the waist belt by American intelligence officials before an informant delivered it to him, helped the authorities track the rebel. ...

            Philippine Marines planted an informant inside Abu Sabaya's group. Among other things, the infiltrator carried Mr. Sabaya's requests for food & supplies. In April & May, Philippine officials said, the informant delivered hamburgers and pizzas to Mr. Sabaya...In late May, Mr. Sabaya dispatched his aide to buy a new backpack -- the one that was outfitted with transponders to help track the rebel. The Americans were also able to intercept Mr. Sabaya's cellular and satellite telephone calls." A very successful operation, but these disclosures will make future ones more difficult to carry out.

            There is more. Monday's WSJ reports on the apprehension of one of Daniel Pearl's killers, that "Mr. Binalshibh's arrest...began with a tip by U.S. authorities who were monitoring satellite phone calls and messages, a Pakistani official said." Next month, the press will be complaining that the U.S. has not apprehended any terrorists recently. (Ed. Note: Thanks Lew - to the point!)

 

K. J. writes on ENVIRONMENTAL INTELLIGENCE -- A recent experiment with fruit flies found that they responded to increases in temperature by changing their sexual behavior. As the temperature went up, the males would pursue and attract other males, disregarding the females. This puts a whole new dimension on the coming era of Global Warming.


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