Weekly Intelligence Notes #41-02
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NOTE: WINS this October have been irregular due to Symposium preparation activities. Regular weekly dissemination will resume in November. (RKJ)
NOTE: In Memoriam - Richard Helms, former DCI, the Man Who Kept the Secrets.(Section VI)
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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BIN LADEN ALIVE -- The latest CIA assessment allegedly is that Bin Laden was not killed during the Tora Bora battle, and that he is alive and living in Pakistan. This assessment was made earlier this month in the wake of a message by Bin Laden to his supporters. CIA obtained the handwritten message (quite a coup!) and determined that the handwriting and the words were those of Bin Laden. (Jonkers)
CIA DOMESTIC OPERATIONS EXPAND -- The Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its domestic presence, placing agents with nearly all of the FBI's 56 terrorism task forces in U.S. cities, to help overcome some of the communications obstacles between the two agencies that existed before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In many cities, according to local FBI special agents, the CIA employees help plan daily operations and set priorities, as well as share information about suspected foreigners and groups. They do not, however, take part in operations or make arrests.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III recently described the new arrangement as his answer to MI5, Britain's internal security service. Unlike the FBI, MI5 is empowered to collect intelligence within Britain and to act to disrupt domestic threats to British national security. While the new growth in the CIA's domestic work does not involving 'spying,' it does represent a significant step in integrating the CIA's analytical capabilities with U.S. law enforcement efforts to find and apprehend terrorist suspects.
Additionally and separately, CIA is also beefing up its domestic division and operations with more case officers from the clandestine service (DO). The CIA's domestic division was created in 1963 to conduct clandestine operations within the United States against foreign targets, usually foreign spies and organizations. Since 1973, however, the CIA has no longer conducted clandestine operations at home, in part because of the 1973 intelligence overhaul that curbed spying on U.S. citizens and enacted stricter oversight of covert operations. Since 1973 the FBI also has strictly limited the information it accepts from the CIA, for fear of "tainting" ongoing domestic investigations with information it is not allowed to use or, in some cases, even possess.
The CIA's domestic field offices recruit foreigners living temporarily in the United States -- for example, scientists at universities, diplomats at embassies and business executives -- to work as agents for the CIA when they return home. They also conduct voluntary debriefings of Americans, mainly business executives and academics, who have recently returned from abroad. The division also is responsible for handling some defectors and for limited counterintelligence targeting
In the mid-1980s, the agency maintained close to 35 field stations in the United States. But over the last decade, budget cuts and operational restrictions reduced the agency's domestic effort by about 30 percent, according to one former high-ranking CIA official. "They were in bad shape." Since Sept. 11, the National Resources Division has been given more money and some of its domestic offices have been reopened to bring the number close to 30.
None of the growth in the CIA's domestic work requires changes in law. Under Executive Order 12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan, the CIA is permitted to secretly collect "significant" foreign intelligence within the United States if the collection effort is not aimed at the domestic activities of U.S. citizens and corporations. (Jonkers) (Wash Post, 23 Oct 02, page 2 //D. Priest)
CIA SITES ESTABLISHED IN IRAQ --The CIA has reportedly established two formal field offices in Kurdish-controlled territory of Iraq this week. Allegedly one CIA station was established in territory controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the other was set up in territory controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). If true, this means that for awhile U.S. people (Agency and military) were in and out, but now they have (again) established a permanent presence. The previous CIA base was pulled out in 1996.
The re-establishment of a formal CIA station in northern Iraq has been negotiated intensely between the U.S. government and the PUK and KDP, the two main Kurdish opposition factions. Kurdish officials raised concerns that the presence of a CIA station on their territory might prompt a strike by the Iraqi military, possibly with chemical or biological weapons. These fears have seemingly been allayed.
One task of the new CIA offices will be to vet military defectors who might opt to join the American side before a U.S. military campaign. "Much of U.S. government policy right now is trying to precipitate internal change in Iraq so that we don't have to go to war," one national security consultant who advises the U.S. government said. "To that end the administration is trying to make it clear to senior Iraqi military officers that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain if they will move against Saddam."
Aside from CIA, Pentagon and special Operations forces have also been in Iraq, to provide training, for reconnaissance, and to discuss communications between Kurdish forces on the ground and US combat aircraft. The pace of operations is steadily building. (Jonkers) (Wash Times 23 Oct 02)
IRAQ WAR JUSTIFICATION INTELLIGENCE -- SecDef Rumsfeld has reportedly charged a special small Defense department intelligence unit to focus on information on Iraq's hostile intentions and links to terrorists, specifically to find information that may have been overlooked in the DCI National estimates of the threat. The DCI estimate apparently was not as helpful in war-justification as policymakers would desire.
A five-person intelligence team was established by Douglas J. Feith, the Under- Secretary of Defense for Policy and a strong advocate for military action against Saddam Hussein. The team was formed not long after the Sept. 11 attacks to take on special assignments in the global war on terror Currently they are focused on finding links between Iraq and al Qaeda leaders.
The US Intelligence agencies, employing the full, sustained force of the entire range of US intelligence sensors and spies on Iraq, have not found credible links between Iraq (a secular state) and Al Qaeda (a fundamentalist religious group), or that the two have made common cause against the United States. One might consider that Hussein is tightly contained and constrained by nearby enemies (Iran, Israel), UN sanctions and inspections, and decade-long US/UK control (air patrols, no-fly zones, intensive intelligence surveillance, blockade etc), with decimated and decrepit military capabilities, and unlikely to unleash his inferior bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction, such as they may be, unless attacked and desperate, inviting disproportionate retaliation. All that said, the Iraqi potential for developing some sort of nuclear/bio/chemical weapons threat some years hence is not excluded by US Intelligence
As noted in a previous WIN, Intelligence at its best aspires to be objective (non-politicized) so that hard-nosed policymakers can deal with the best picture of reality available. But especially before a war, there is also a need for War-Justifying intelligence, which shades into psychological information operations. If objective intelligence does not justify the war, then suitable intelligence must be enhanced from a subjective perspective, or even fabricated, as has happened in the past. In the present case the Defense Department (with 80% of the nation's intelligence resources) is said to be challenging the "cherished beliefs and assumptions" that they believe are preventing DCI analysts from focusing on certain information. They also contend that intelligence in the final analysis is informed information, subject to various interpretations, and that the ultimate risk assessments should be left to the policymakers.
Bottomline, one way or the other, justification for the war will be created. The policy has been set. Intelligence that supports it is sought, and will be accepted. Other intelligence will be considered and used. (Jonkers) (NYT 24 Oct 02, p. 1 //E. Schmitt & T. Shanker)
ISRAELI ARMY OFFICER ARRESTED FOR SPYING -- Israeli authorities have arrested an army lieutenant colonel for spying for the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. The officer is being held along with nine other suspects, all of them members of the Bedouin minority. The men, none of whom were identified, are accused of passing information on army deployments and security measures along Israel's northern border in exchange for large quantities of drugs and money smuggled across the frontier.
The officer and the other men accused are thought to have acted out of purely material motives. The information traded included military maps of northern Israel, the location of tank ambushes, special units and surveillance cameras along the frontier and the number of soldiers posted in Shebaa Farms, an area at the northern edge of the Golan Heights where Hezbollah has repeatedly attacked Israeli Army positions, claiming the zone as part of Lebanon.
Many members of the once-nomadic Bedouin minority here serve in the military. Israeli officials were quick to call the case an exception. Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said tonight that although the suspicions against the officer were serious, they did not reflect on the Bedouin community, which he said had contributed much to Israel's security. This case shows again that no one is immune against spies or betrayal, and that perfect preventive security and counterintelligence does not exist. The best that can be hoped is to catch them sooner rather than later. (Jonkers) (NYTimes 10/24/02 //J. Greenberg)
FBI ANSIR MESSAGE -- from the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) - -Potential Al-Qaeda Threats to Economic Targets in the United States and Abroad.
Events since early October 2002 - including the release of audio taped messages from Usama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawihiri and subsequent terrorist attacks in the Persian Gulf area and East Asia - appear to indicate heightened operational intensity on the part of Al-Qaeda and loosely affiliated terrorist organizations. The U. S. Intelligence Community continues to assess that Al-Qaeda plans to attack targets which they believe would be readily recognized as representing U. S. economic interests.
Specifically, there has been recent reporting that Al-Qaeda is targeting the U. S. railway sector. Information from debriefings of Al-Qaeda detainees as of mid-October indicates that the group has considered directly targeting U.S. passenger trains, possibly using operatives who have a western appearance. Additional information suggests operatives may try a variety of other attack strategies, such as destroying key bridges and sections of track to cause derailments or targeting hazardous material containers. Recently captured Al-Qaeda photographs of U. S. railroad engines, cars, and crossings heighten the intelligence community's concern of this threat.
The attack of the French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and additional information from Al-Qaeda detainees suggest plans exist to attack the global petroleum sector. According to this information, Al-Qaeda plans to weaken the petroleum industry by conducting sea based attacks against large oil tankers. Information also suggests that such attacks may be a part of more extensive operations against port facilities and other energy-related targets including oil facilities and nuclear power plants.
The U. S. Intelligence Community continues to receive general threat reporting on such sectors as financial institutions and other market-related facilities, the airline and maritime industries and government facilities and installations.
In view of the above information, the FBI urges recipients to continue to take all prudent steps to detect, disrupt, deter, and defend against potential attacks against critical infrastructure and installations at home and abroad.
Due to the lack of specificity of method, location, and timing, the Homeland Security Advisory System threat level will remain at yellow (elevated) at this time. (FBI Washington Field Office/NVRA ANSIR Coordinator)((Special Agent Gary Harter)
ATTACK ON INTERNET SERVERS -- On Monday 10/21 The heart of the Internet sustained its largest and most sophisticated attack ever. A "distributed denial of service" (DDOS) attack struck the 13 "root servers" that provide the primary roadmap for almost all Internet communications. DDOS attacks overwhelm networks with an onslaught of data until they cannot be used. According to security experts, the incident probably was the result of multiple attacks, in which attackers concentrate the power of many computers against a single network to prevent it from operating. It was said to be the largest and most complex DDOS attack ever against the root server system UUNET is the service provider for two of the world's 13 root servers. A spokesman said that only four or five of the 13 servers were able to withstand the attack and remain available to legitimate Internet traffic throughout the strike. UUNET's Morrow said it is too early to tell what the attack bodes for the Internet in coming months. "This could be someone just messing around, but it could also be something much more serious. It's too soon to say." (WashPost 22Oct 02//R. McMillan)
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR INTERNET PLANNED -- The U.S. National Communications System (NCS) plans to develop a Global Early Warning Information System (GEWIS) to monitor the performance of the Internet and provide warnings to government and industry users of threats that could degrade service, such as denial-of-service attacks against the Domain Name Servers that control Internet traffic.
NEW INFORMATION OVERLOAD TECHNOLOGY -- A British software firm strikes a deal with US anti-terrorism forces to help cope with information overload. 'Autonomy' has won a deal from the Office of Homeland Security for its software to appear on 200,000 desktop computers in the US, across 21 agencies. The agencies -- which include the FBI and departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy and Justice -- have been attracted to the technology from the UK company because it allows natural language links to be identified and analyzed between various text, audio and video sources. http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,t269-s2124191,00.html
NAVY COMPUTERS OVERBOARD -- The US Navy has lost track of many computers that may have handled classified data, finds an audit. And this may be just the tip of the iceberg. The US Pacific Fleet's warships and submarines were missing nearly 600 computers as of late July, including at least 14 known to have handled classified data.
Iraqi Denial and Deception -- Recent DoD briefing on Iraq's techniques of denial and deception, see: www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2002/.
"Saddam Hussein's Iraq" U.S. Department of State, September 13, 1999.
(1) If U.S. lives must be put at risk, it must be done in the national interest, and there must be a good reason.
(2) Before committing to an engagement, consider the implications of the decision for the U.S. in other parts of the world.
(3) The command structure must be clear, not complex -- not a collective command structure that makes decisions.
(4) U.S. leadership must be brutally honest with itself, the Congress, the public and coalition partners. Do not make the effort sound even marginally easier or less costly than it could become.
SACRED SECRETS: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History, by Jerrold and Leona Schecter, Brassey's 2002. ISBN 1-57488-327-5.
Another addition to the literature of Soviet espionage, this time not only citing VENONA intercepts, but adding revelations by Soviet spy handlers. It puts the final nails in the coffin for a number of spies accused but defended by liberal circles, Alger Hiss and company. The Schecter's also assess the impact Soviet espionage had on US policy. They make clear, for example, the riddle of who started the Korean War -- Kim il Sung did. Stalin agreed, fearing that a resurgent Japan would resume its bid for dominance on the Korean peninsula and thus menace the Soviet Far East. Readable, informative and interesting. (J./ Holmes //RKJ)
IN MEMORIAM -- Richard Helms, former DCI and former Ambassador to Iran, venerated by many inside and out of the Agency as an honorable man and the professional's professional, died of multiple myeloma on October 23rd. He was 89. In the title of his 1979 biography of Mr. Helms, Thomas Powers called him "The Man Who Kept the Secrets." Mr. Helms's memoir, "A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the C.I.A.," is scheduled to be released in the spring by Random House.
Born on March 30, 1913, in St. Davids, Pa., Richard McGarrah Helms -- he avoided using the middle name. He grew up in South Orange, N. J., and studied for two years during high school in Switzerland, where he became conversant in French and German. At Williams College, Helms excelled as a student and leader. When World War II broke out, Mr. Helms was called into service by the Naval Reserve and because of his linguistic abilities was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, and subsequently transitioned to the CIA. From the beginning, he worked in the agency's operations division, and by the early 1950's he was serving as deputy to the head of clandestine services, Frank Wisner. In that capacity, in 1955, Mr. Helms impressed his superiors by supervising the secret digging of a 500-yard tunnel from West Berlin to East Berlin to tap the main Soviet telephone lines between Moscow and East Berlin. Over the next 20 years, Mr. Helms rose through the agency's ranks, serving under such men as Allen W. Dulles, Richard M. Bissell, John A. McCone and Vice Adm. William F. Raborn. In 1966 he became the first career official to head the C.I.A. serving without problems until ensnared by the Watergate scandal and the notorious Church committee hearings.
DCI Helms clashed with President Nixon, who sought his help in thwarting an F.B.I. investigation into the Watergate break-in. The President then appointed him Ambassador to Iran.
But Mr. Helms soon found himself called to account when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence delved into the agency's efforts to assassinate world leaders or de-stabilize socialist governments. The Church Committee accused Helms of failing to inform his own superiors of efforts to kill Fidel Castro of Cuba, which the Senate panel called "a grave error in judgment." But the most contentious criticism of Mr. Helms centered on Chile. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Helms stated that the C.I.A. had never tried to overthrow the government of President Salvador Allende Gossens or funneled money to political enemies of the Marxist leader. Senate investigators later discovered that the C.I.A. had run a major secret operation in Chile that gave more than $8 million to the opponents of Mr. Allende, using the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation as a conduit.
Mr. Helms pleaded 'no contest' in 1977 to two misdemeanor counts of failing to testify fully four years earlier to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is to be noted that this is not a guilty plea, only a no-contest one. His conviction, which resulted in a suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine, became a rallying point for critics of the Central Intelligence Agency who accused it of dirty tricks, but also for the agency's defenders, who hailed Mr. Helms for refusing to compromise sensitive information. "I had found myself in a position of conflict," he told a Federal judge at the formal proceeding on his plea bargain with the Justice Department. "I had sworn my oath to protect certain secrets. I didn't want to lie. I didn't want to mislead the Senate. I was simply trying to find my way through a difficult situation in which I found myself."
Mr. Helms said outside the courtroom that he wore his conviction "like a badge of honor," and added: "I don't feel disgraced at all. I think if I had done anything else I would have been disgraced." Later that day he went to a reunion of former C.I.A. colleagues, who gave him a standing, cheering ovation, then passed the hat and raised the $2,000 for his fine.
Ambassador Helms enjoyed a full life, an interesting and rewarding life. He was a patriot. His troubles with the storms of national politics only served to give him more depth, serving as an example of a man of character and principle to others dedicated to national service. He was liked and highly regarded. He knew that in the final stages of his life, and it must have been a great comfort. We salute, as the bugler blows taps for one of our great intelligence leaders. (Jonkers) (NYT 24 Oct 02)
LETTERS - Douglas B. writes on Richard Helms, A Point of Honor -- Just so that it's clear: Helms pleaded no contest (nolo contendere) to "an information." He did not plead guilty or no contest to a crime. Lawyers make those distinctions but they can be important. He was between two laws. The Legislators were not honest with him - they got into an area that required him to violate one law or the other. He sided with the law favorable to his country (the USA) and broke the one that empowers Congress to endanger national security. The legislators held open hearings that should have been in executive session. Many former CIA officers consider him a hero. I do. -LS
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