Weekly Intelligence Notes
NOTE: It is with utmost regret that I must announce that Mrs Gretchen Campbell, for nineteen years the heart of the AFIO central office, passed away Wednesday morning, 16 October 2002 (See Section V) . (RJ)
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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IRAQ INTELLIGENCE TENSION -- On 4 October '02 US Intelligence agencies published a joint public assessment on the Iraq threat. It noted that, if Iraq was left unchecked (which it has never been), it could "have a nuclear weapon during this decade." Further, if Iraq can acquire weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, "it could make a nuclear weapon within a year." Iraq is capable of "quickly producing and weaponizing" a variety of agents, including anthrax, "for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives." Discrepancies in Iraq's accounting of its Scud missiles "suggest" that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "retains a covert force of up to a few dozen Scud missiles with a range of 650 to 900 kilometers." It also states that the probability of an unprovoked attack by Iraq on the US is low.
The report reflects the findings of a classified National Intelligence Estimate sent to the Senate on 2 October. It was more conservative than the UK assessment issued by Prime Minister Tony Blair. This caused unhappiness in some quarters, and the editorial knives came out, calling for DCI Tenet's resignation. From the other side of the isle the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence accused the DCI of "obstructionism" for failing to provide the panel with intelligence assessments on Iraq in a timely manner. The DCI then published some additional details.
Providing objective intelligence under current conditions is challenging, to say the least. This is a time of a broad public 'evangelical' war against Evil, superimposed over a hard-headed geopolitical PAX AMERICANA strategy. As to Evil, the fundamentalist Rev. Falwell has reportedly just declared Mohammed, the founder of the Moslem religion in the 7th century, a terrorist -- a demonstration of the wonderful flexibility and reach of terms like evil and terrorist, and a potential of being both a precursor of open season on Moslems and a trap for objective intelligence. This is also a time when the subjugation of Iraq has been decided to be in the national interest by our legitimate leadership authority, and therefore the demand is not only for war-support intelligence, but for war-justifying intelligence. Offensive wars require public support, attained through war propaganda. The DCI and the Intelligence Community must be responsive, but also accurate and credible. There is obvious dynamic tension. It's quite a game. (Jonkers) (WashPost 4 Oct02, p. A16, 5 Oct, p. 17, and 13 Oct 02, p. A32) (WashTimes 7Oct02 p. A20)
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR FREEH TESTIFIES -- Louis J. Freeh, who served as FBI director from 1993 until June 2001, testified before the Congressional panel on October 8th, refuting many of the allegations released as findings during the past month by congressional staff investigators led by Eleanor Hill. These findings asserted that the FBI was focused on prosecution rather than prevention; that FBI counter-terrorism efforts were focused almost exclusively on overseas threats; and that important clues to the September 11 attacks were missed because of communication problems between the FBI and CIA. In a strong and detailed defense of the FBI, Director Freeh stated that "The FBI was focused on preventing domestic and foreign terrorist attacks, and I take exception to the finding that we were not paying sufficient attention to terrorism at home." He also noted that "the facts on the public record do not support the conclusion that these tragic events could have been prevented by the FBI and intelligence communities acting alone."
Freeh also blamed Congress and two administrations for rejecting FBI requests for more counter-terrorism funding. He noted that in FY 2000 through 2002 he had asked for 1,895 additional special agents, and was granted 76. "To win a war, it takes soldiers." (Jonkers) (WashPost 9 Oct02, p. A13// Eggen & Priest)
NORTHERN IRELAND SPY SCANDAL TOPPLES GOVERNMENT -- Three members of Sinn Fein, the predominantly Catholic political party associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), have been charged with collecting intelligence from Britain's Northern Ireland Office, for potential use by Irish terrorists. Among other things, the spy ring obtained documents on sensitive political conversations between the British Prime Minister and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. Some material could serve as 'target' intelligence for potential terrorist acts of violence or blackmail, including the home addresses and license plate numbers of prison officers. As a result of the scandal, self-government has been suspended and Britain has temporarily resumed direct rule. An example of the effects espionage can have on politics. (Jonkers) (WashPost 9 Oct 02, p. A22 //G. Frankell) (CNN 14 Oct02)
ISRAELI URBAN WARFARE COMMENTARY -- A recent Israeli report commenting on the IDF (Army) incursion into the Jenin refugee camp describes a new role for UAV surveillance drones -- identifying optimum locations for the placement of snipers, as in tall buildings at key intersections. "You have to do it before you insert your main force into the inner city," the report, written by an Israeli officer, notes. "Special Forces and (armed) reconnaissance should capture such points first and establish sniper positions as the main force advances. Timing is very important here--if you do it too soon, they'll be overwhelmed by local militias. If you do it too late, your main force will suffer casualties."
UAV drones, the Israeli documents says, are very useful in relaying video in real time to ground commanders. And the images they send back can also be used to create current maps of streetscapes. "This way you at least won't be surprised by a building complex the size of FBI headquarters that's not indicated on your map, or by a crater five streets wide made by your Air Force a year ago," the officer writes. "It's also a great help in planning and, later, identification of your own forces--you know exactly where they should be, so there's less possibility (but not a guarantee) that you'll start a fight with the second battalion over a street corner. In short, drones are a great help."
Beyond its discussion of the role of UAV drones in urban combat, the document takes tactical intelligence out of the abstract and brings it right down to street level. During the Jenin incursion, the document says, elite undercover commandos known as the "mista'arvim"--literally "those who turn into Arabs" in Hebrew--played a critical role as human intelligence (HUMINT) agents within the Palestinian population. The "mista'arvim," who are part of the Israeli Special Forces, often found themselves working "from behind enemy lines--or even from inside enemy lines," the Israeli officer writes, in what amounts to a memo on urban warfare to his American counterparts. "As far as I'm aware, the U.S. Army or Marines don't have such units. Although the CIA does, they won't do your dirty work. In a few years, or maybe a bit more, I'm pretty sure you'll develop something similar."
The biggest problem with the "mista'arvim," who often disguise themselves as Arab women and teenagers, the officer says, is that they are "very busy and usually unavailable." In their absence, the officer adds, the IDF will use local informants. They are "easier to get--catch them, pay them--but they aren't trustworthy." The officer counsels: "Never believe anything [a local informant] says, unless it corroborated by another source . . .or certain physical measures were applied."
The biggest challenge in SIGINT, the officer says, is not the technical challenge presented by intercepting the adversary's walkie-talkies and cell phones. "They are easy to listen to," the officer says. The real trick is having translators on hand who not only speak their language, but understand their slang. SIGINT is also not rocket science. "The Palestinians are monitoring our cell phones in Gaza, for example. If they can do it, anyone can." There are reasons for the public release of this information, but regardless, these are interesting observations, of potential utility for US urban warfare, placing snipers in Baghdad or chasing snipers in Washington DC. (Jonkers) (WashPost 23 Sep02/// V. Loeb)
INTO THE VOID - A FLOOD OF INTELLIGENCE STUDIES -- Numerous studies over the past several decades have called for reforms in the intelligence community, but they have had little impact other than introduce perpetual uncertainty. In testimony before a joint House-Senate committee, staff investigator Eleanor Hill identified some 25 commissions and studies since the CIA was formed in 1947. " But, said Mrs. Hill, "while there has been a plethora of recommendations for reform over the years, many of the most far-reaching proposals have not been acted on to any significant degree, particularly in the area of organization and structure." Commented Senator Richard Shelby, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "Many recommended changes called for further empowering the CIA director or setting up intelligence arms within the Pentagon. When such ideas do not founder upon the rocks of interdepartmental rivalry and what the military calls rice-bowl politics, they simply fail to elicit much interest from the intelligence community....Too often, serious reform proposals have been dismissed as a bridge too far by administration after administration and Congress after Congress, and have simply fallen by the wayside." One observes that perhaps Congress should fund more personnel for special branches within each intelligence organization to deal with the flood of studies and good (or bad) advice on reorganizing, to let the rest of the intelligence community continue to work the Nations' real problems. (Jonkers) (Wash Times 4 Oct 02, p.9 //B. Gertz)
CIA RECRUITMENT - CIA's Recruitment Center received 140,060 resumes in the year following the 9/11 attacks. By way of comparison, in the year preceding 9/11/01, it received 51,958 resumes; and in the year before that, 26,162. (Jonkers)
SECURE SATELLITE TRANSMISSIONS -- British military researchers say they successfully exchanged encryption keys transmitted on a beam of invisible light during a recent experiment. Current encryption technology uses mathematical "keys" that are exchanged between trusting users. The keys are used to unscramble messages, video and other data. Such keys, made of random strings of digits, could be intercepted if sent on conventional networks, so they are routinely sent by less efficient means - " a man on a motorbike" or by diplomatic bag.
The British experiment involves attaching the key's digits to individual light particles, or photons, which are sent as a weak beam of light. The technique ought to operational and able to transmit encryption keys to any receiving point on the planet via low-orbiting satellite, in about seven years, according to John Rarity, a scientist with QinetiQ, the commercial arm of Britain's defense research lab. The US Department of Energy's lab at Los Alamos is involved with similar research. (Jonkers) (AP 2 Oct 02 //J. Krane)
NIPC Advisory 02-008 Subject: W32.Bugbear@mm or I-Worm.Tanatos -- The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is issuing this advisory to heighten the awareness of an e-mail-borne worm known as W32.Bugbear or I-Worm.Tanatos. This network-aware worm, which is being circulated as an e-mail attachment, appears to target machines running Microsoft software. The worm is attached to e-mails with a wide variety of subject lines such as "bad news," "Membership Confirmation," "Market Update Report," and "Your Gift," and appears to use randomly generated names to avoid detection by anti-virus software, as well as multiple file extensions to disguise the fact that it is an executable file.
Due to its keystroke logging and backdoor capabilities, the worm is capable of
intercepting victim's Internet activity, for example, credit-card information,
banking information, usernames and passwords. The NIPC is urging all infected
owners to change logins and passwords after the infection has been reported and
removed. Microsoft has issued a patch to secure against these attacks. The patch
can be downloaded from Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-027:
(FBI Special Agent Gary Harter, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
BUGBEAR SETS NEW VIRUS RECORD -- The Bugbear computer virus may be spreading more slowly this week than last, but it's still on track to be the most prolific e-mail virus to date, anti-virus experts said on Monday.
Last week, e-mail service provider MessageLabs intercepted 320,000 missives containing the Bugbear attachment, more than the Klez.h virus managed in its first week in April. Klez.h has created the most-ever Internet traffic so far. (Levine Newsbits 10 Oct 02)
DCI STATEMENT TO JOINT PANEL -- DCI George Tenet's statement to the joint panel has been posted on the CIA Website. It is a long, but very informative and well-done review. Recommended reading. (Jonkers)
CIA REPORT ON IRAQ -- "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs” report can be viewed at www.cia.gov/cia/publications/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm
(courtesy G. Whidden)
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ANNUAL REPORT -- The IC report entitled "The 2001 Annual Report of the United States Intelligence Community," dated February 2002, was released in September 2002. The unclassified report surveys the diverse activities of the intelligence community's component agencies in supporting national policymakers, military operations, law enforcement and counterintelligence. ( Secrecy news, 2 Oct 02 // Aftergood)
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IG CRITIQUE OF FBI REPORT -- A new Justice Department Inspector General report finds that "The FBI has never performed a comprehensive written assessment of the risk of the terrorist threat facing the United States. Such an assessment would be useful not only to define the nature, likelihood, and severity of the threat but also to identify intelligence gaps that needed to be addressed." Unclassified summary at: http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/oig/fbi02sum.html
The FBI responded to the new Inspector General report in an October 1 press statement here: http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2002/10/fbi100102.html
(Secrecy News 2 Oct 02 // Aftergood)
FOIA DECISIONS -- A considerable number of judicial decisions in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits were issued in the last three months. See "New FOIA Decisions, July-September 2002" published by the Justice Department's Office of Information and Privacy:
IN MEMORIAM - GRETCHEN CAMPBELL -- It is with deep sorrow that I must report the passing of Mrs. Gretchen Campbell, 71, on Wednesday morning, 16 October 2002, at home, surrounded by her family. She suffered from cancer, which metastasized throughout her body. The disease bore down on her this year, when she became increasingly frail, but her indomitable spirit kept her going until this past August, when increasing weakness forced her to resign. These past weeks she has been under hospice care. I / we miss her greatly and mourn her passing deeply. For over nineteen years she was the mainstay of the AFIO central office in McLean, totally dedicated to AFIO and its members, still connected to her old 'alma mater,' the Agency. She was our unfailing institutional memory, a tremendous worker, always positive and pleasant, a wonderful colleague and a fine person.
For us, who worked closely with her, her illness was hard to bear, but we respected her privacy, as we must now respect her last wishes. She wished a simple, private Mass and family funeral which will be held on Saturday, 19 October at 11:45 a.m. at St. John's Catholic Church, 6420 Linway Terrace, McLean, VA, funeral to immediately follow ceremony. [Drive on Old Dominion through downtown McLean, and then at 6th light make left onto Linway Terrace, directly into church grounds. This is a three-way intersection of Old Dominion Drive, Birch Road and Linway Terrace.]
We have established an AFIO 'Gretchen Campbell Scholarship Fund,' so that some of her spirit can live on in the young. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to AFIO for this Fund, or to the hospice of your choice. Any condolences, by e-mail to <Gretchen@AFIO.com> or by mail to AFIO [6723 Whittier Ave Ste 303A, McLean, VA 22101], will be conveyed to her surviving children. Rest in peace, Gretchen - and thank you! (Jonkers)
IN MEMORIAM - Dr. ELOISE PAGE, 82, passed away Wednesday afternoon, 16 October 2002, in Washington DC. In 1940, after graduating from college, she started working at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and remained with the Federal Government until she retired in 1987. In September 1997, some 50 years after the passage of the national Security Act of 1947, the DCI awarded "Trail Blazer" awards to 50 individuals who had done the most for advancing the US intelligence effort over the past 50 years. Dr. Page was one of the select fifty. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday October 23, 2002, in Christ Church, Georgetown. Burial will be at Old Chapel, Milwood, Clarke County, Virginia. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Christ church, Georgetown, your favorite charity, or to AFIO.
(1) Former DCI Richard Helms is not doing well. One hesitates to say more, but friends may take note. Time may be short.
(2) MGEN Dick Larkin is recovering from a severe illness. Well-wishers can reach him at < RLarkin939@aol.com >
(3) LGEN Sidney "Tom" Weinstein is gravely ill. Friends may want to send well-wishes.
LETTER from RADM Showers, RE: Walker Obit in WIN 39-02 -- Your item mentions the Japanese battleship Yamato (misspelled Yamoto), and I assume the action in question was the Yamato's kamikaze mission from Japan to Okinawa. We learned of this operation in advance from decrypting Japanese navy communications, and the Yamato (one of Japan's "super battleships") was sunk in the open sea by U.S. Navy aircraft long before she reached her destination. Other ships in the small force may have been sunk also, but I never heard of a cruiser being involved, nor was there a cruiser named "Ahagi." (There was an aircraft carrier named Akagi, but it was sunk during the Battle of Midway in June 1942) I'm sure there is a fine story here that bestows much credit on Mr. Walker, but much is lost by inaccurate reporting.
Ed. Note: Adm Showers was an intelligence analyst in the Pacific during WWII, and is a superb scholar of the period. This editor, along with author J. Goulden, the Washington Post, and surviving relatives, stand corrected. The comment sets the record straight and is appreciated. (RJ)
AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIES and INTELLIGENCE PARTICIPANTS -- I am looking for information on African-American's contribution in U.S. Intelligence history. So far I have not been able to find much information. I'm looking to cover approximately a 100 year history, from c. 1903 to 2003. If there is any help you can give me I would appreciate it. Contact Kevin Callaway at email@example.com (RJ)
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