Weekly Intelligence Notes
WIN 42-02 dtd 4 November 2002
ED. NOTE: The AFIO National Intelligence Symposium and Convention were successfully completed 31 October - 3 November 2002. The first day of the Symposium was conducted in the new MITRE Corp. auditorium in McLean, Virginia. We filled every available seat. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to our host, MITRE President and CEO Martin Faga, and to his outstanding personnel. The invited speakers on both days were superb, and the members attending received an exceptional update on what is transpiring across the spectrum of US intelligence agencies, to assist them in carrying out the AFIO educational mission in their parts of the nation. To all who attended and participated, our thanks. (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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FBI RAMADAN ADVISORY -- The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began 11/06/02 and continues through 12/05/02. Al-Qaeda has attempted to execute attacks during the Ramadan time period in the past, including the thwarted millennial plots in December 1999 and the aborted attack against the USS Sullivan in January 2000. Disrupted plots to attack U.S. Naval ships and the U.S. Embassy in Singapore in late 2001 also may have been timed for Ramadan. Al-Qaeda and sympathetic jihadists may view Ramadan as having symbolic and operational advantages for conducting terrorist attacks. Be advised. (Special Agent G. Harter, 6 Nov 2002)(NIPC Information Bulletin 02-009//FBI NIPC Watch and Warning Unit) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KASI SLATED FOR EXECUTION THIS WEEK -- Mir Aimal Kasi, an ethnic Pashtun from Pakistan's Baluchistan province, convicted of killing CIA employees Frank Darling and Lansing Bennett outside the Agency's Virginia headquarters in 1993, is slated for execution this week by electric chair at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarrat, Va., on Thursday 14 November at 9 pm.
The day after the 1993 attack Mir Kasi took a Pakistan International Airlines flight and disappeared into Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal area. He was eventually identified by informers (who earned a reward of $2 million) and arrested on 15 June 1997 by Pakistani and American agent. AFIO members who attended the AFIO Awards Banquet had the special privilege of hearing FBI special agent Bradley J. Garrett, who spent years tracking Kasi down in Pakistan and who made the actual arrest, describe the story from firsthand experience.
Talking to Pakistani journalists from his death row , Kasi said he killed the CIA agents to avenge what he termed as atrocities that the Americans had committed against the Muslims.
Kasi has been on death row since Feb. 6, 1998. His lawyers have appealed to both Virginia and federal courts. Guilt not being in question, it is time, nine years after the crime, to bring closure, and for the sentence to be carried out this week. (Jonkers) (UPI / WashTimes 4 Nov 02 //A. Iqbal)
TERRORIST KILLED IN YEMEN -- Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, also known as Abu Ali, described as a senior Qaeda operative, was reportedly killed in Yemen on 3 November, along with five others, when a Hellfire air-to-ground missile allegedly launched by a CIA pilotless Predator aircraft struck the car in which the six men were riding in barren stretch of desert outside Sana. Qaed Harethi was a suspect in the bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole in October 2000. Neither the CIA nor the Administration would confirm the reported assassination.
The reported strike was apparently authorized under the same set of classified presidential findings, legal opinions and policy directives, some of which were prepared after 9/11, that have set the rules for the administration's campaign to prevent terror. These orders gave the C.I.A. wide powers to pursue Qaeda terrorists anywhere in the world. Under the rules that Mr. Bush had approved, his personal approval for specific operations like this killing was not required
Although Yemeni officials were said to have been informed about the Predator operation, the action clearly signals that the United States is prepared to act against terrorists inside another country's borders with or without its co-operation.
Armed Predator aircraft are useful in the conduct global clandestine operations, either for reconnaissance or precision attacks, reportedly operating at about 20,000 ft, unseen and unheard from the ground, performing long-dwell surveillance, with real-time video coverage transmitted to a control center, and, if armed, able to launch its precision-guided missile to obliterate targets as small as a car. A Predator attack reportedly killed Muhammad Atef, al-Qaeda's chief of military operations, near the Afghan capital, Kabul, a year ago. Another Predator was allegedly used in May by the CIA to try to kill the leader of an Afghan faction that wanted to topple the government of Hamid Karzai.
The current killing, if validated, was different in that it occurred outside of the Afghan theater of war operations. From the intelligence perspective in the war on terrorism, it is an significant achievement. For diplomats and others it may pose a quandary, as it is enmeshed in a problem set of national sovereignties, international law and civilized value goals -- considerations which yield to the possession of absolutely superior power and during war. (Jonkers) (NY Times, 6 Nov 02 //D. Johnston & D. Sanger) (NY Times, 5 Nov 02 // J. Risen & J. Miller) (The Economist 5 Nov 02) <http://www.economist.co.uk/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1427862
AL QAEDA INTELLIGENCE UPDATE -- Based on an analysis of the breathing and speaking patterns bin Laden exhibited in a videotape, he is said to have suffered a severe chest wound but has apparently survived the Afghan campaign. Intelligence officials reportedly believe bin Laden, as he fled his Afghanistan stronghold, told his people "to go out, raise your own money, carry out your own attacks, and you have my blessing for whatever you do. You don't need approval from headquarters anymore." Dr. Amir Aziz, 46, a British-trained orthopedic surgeon, who was arrested in Lahore two weeks ago. may be providing information about Osama bin Laden's state of health.
Ayman Zawahiri, bin Laden's longtime top aide, is still viewed as al Qaeda's official deputy commander, but the Qaeda operational and financial networks have been fractured and are now decentralized. Intelligence sources have reportedly identified several emerging leaders to lead local efforts.
Names identified include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a Kuwaiti of Palestinian origin (Note: his associate, Ramzi Binalshibh was captured in Pakistan after he and Mohammed took part in an interview broadcast on the al-Jazeera satellite television network) . With Mohammed's status now unknown, or at least not available to the public, the following six leaders remain:
(1) Saif al-Adel: An Egyptian and a member of al Qaeda's "security committee" for several years, he is viewed as the new military leader for the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region
(2) Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, 40, another Egyptian, has become al Qaeda's chief financial officer, at least in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
(3) Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian, Zarqawi has traveled extensively in the Arab world since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including to Baghdad for medical treatment after losing a leg. "He is their highly mobile top operator and facilitator," a European source said.
(4) Riduan Isamuddin, an Indonesian known as Hambali, he is al Qaeda's liaison to loose-knit radical Islamic groups in Southeast Asia -- and one non-Arab who seems to have been given authority to make independent decisions. Hambali is a regional leader in Southeast Asia, and responsible for the atrocity on Bali.
(5) Tawfiq bin Atash, known as Khallad. Atash is either Saudi or Yemeni, and is believed to have lost a leg in combat in Afghanistan. He may now be in Pakistan. In recent months he served as a trainer, along with Binalshibh, of the group that plotted (squashed) attacks on ships near Gibraltar.
(6) Rahim al-Nashri: A Yemeni often called al-Makki, he is described as Atash's "handler" within al Qaeda for the Cole attack. He is now in Yemen.
The new leaders are believed to have orchestrated recent terrorist plots. The Oct. 12 bomb attack of a Bali nightclub district, which killed 180, focused attention on a regional terrorist network in Southeast Asia led by Hambali (#4 above) . Other plots attributed to al Qaeda and its allies include the April 11 bombing of a Tunisian synagogue that killed 21 people, including 11 German tourists; the bombing of a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen; firearms attacks against US Marines in Kuwait; multiple bombings in the Philippines; the foiled suicide assaults on U.S. and British warships in the Strait of Gibraltar; and an elaborate scheme earlier this year to blow up the U.S., British, Australian and Israeli embassies in Singapore.
In summary, future al Qaeda operations will rely on local and regional groups, operating autonomously. There is no longer a central banker for al Qaeda. The US worldwide, multi-discipline, full-court press has been successful in fracturing al Qaeda networks and killing or capturing many of the leaders. It is a notable achievement, but the chase continues. (Jonkers) (London Sunday Telegraph 3 Nov 2002 //C. Lamb) (Washington Post, 29 Oct, 2002, Pg. 1 // S. Schmidt and D. Farah)
SECRECY LAWS -- Attorney General Ashcroft announced that an interagency study has concluded that "current statutes provide a legal basis to prosecute those who engage in unauthorized disclosures, if they can be identified." In effect he said, more law is not needed. While emphasizing that leaks cause "serious damage... to intelligence sources and methods, military operations and to the nation," Ashcroft said they must be combated "through aggressive administrative enforcement of current requirements, rigorous investigation of unauthorized disclosures, and vigorous enforcement of the criminal laws that make such disclosures a federal crime." The Attorney General noted, however, that only once in the past 50 years has anyone been convicted of leaking classified information when espionage was not involved. [The sale to Jane's of a satellite image of a new Soviet aircraft carrier]
Previously, in 2000, then-chairman of the SSCI, Senator R.C. Shelby, had succeeded in getting legislation up to the President that broadened the law to cover any leaked classified information, even if espionage was not involved, -- but media and civil liberties lobbying succeeded in having it vetoed.
The adage, "The ship of state leaks from the top," and the realization that identifying the malefactor is usually a real problem - often a political problem - underline the conclusion that more laws are probably superfluous. (Harvey) (WashPost 24 Oct02, p. 33 //W. Pincus)
'REACH-BACK' USMC INTELLIGENCE -- The Marine Corps Director of Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Michael E. Ennis, recently described the successful use by Marine Task Force 58 of "reach-back" intelligence support in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The task force used video teleconferencing to link the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), Naval Forces Central Command, US Central Command, and others, to vet which agency was best suited to provide the needed intelligence support for current operations. In one instance, when Task Force 58 was going to move out in 24 hours, MCIA was able to complete 17 helicopter landing zone studies for the operation in less than 13 hours. BGen Ennis noted that "The process used by Task Force 58 was ad hoc. The point is you don't have to ad-hoc it anymore. This is something you need to put into your pre-deployment plans."
From the standpoint of this ancient outside observer, it is probably only coincidence that when push came to shove in the field, it was the parent Service, not the joint hierarchy, that had the dedicated responsiveness.(Harvey) (Aerospace Daily 24 Oct '02)
INFORMATION WAR -- The U.S. has allegedly demonstrated a system for infiltrating enemy air defense systems to spoof them, plant false targets and even take control of their equipment. The expanding capability was reportedly demonstrated during the last two Joint Expeditionary Force Experiments (JEFX) in programs dubbed Suter 1 and Suter 2. Air Force officials verified the rough details of the project. "We've been able to inject false targets into enemy air defense systems for some time," said the Air Force official. "The twist to Suter is being able to hook Rivet Joint (intelligence-gathering aircraft) into that process of putting disinformation or false commands into those networks."
As to the usefulness of a near-term application of Suter to possible operations in the Middle East, "Rivet Joint aircraft have already spent a lot of time looking at electronic signatures and systems footprints in Iraq," a senior Air Force official said. Western and Central Iraq is a particular concern. The Western sector is closest to Jordan and Israel and contains the two Scud boxes used to shoot missiles into Israel during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war. In these areas, the surviving surface-to-air missiles have reportedly been concentrated to achieve a density equal to pre-Desert Storm levels.
Why this type of information is being disseminated, leaked or discussed in any form or fashion by official Washington is not easily discernable, unless the message itself is part of the information war. (Jonkers) (Aviation Week & Space Technology, 4 Nov 02, p. 30)
HACKING THREATENS BANKING -- The number of organized hacking syndicates targeting financial institutions around the world is growing at a disturbingly fast rate. And, according to a security expert at the World Bank, so is the number of banks willing to pay these high-tech extortionists hush money to protect their reputations. ( Levine 11/05) http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/cybercrime/story/0,1080
HOMELAND SECURITY DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS -- The Homeland Security Office is evaluating applications to let agencies analyze links and relationships among information sets without breaching privacy laws or sparking interagency turf battles. The goal of the current tests is to validate a data-sharing concept to better track information on possible security threats. (LEVINE 11/04)
-- The distributed Denial of Service attacks against 13 of the Internet's core servers reported in the last WIN have been traced to computers in the U.S. and Korea, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller. The investigation is continuing. (Levine 11/04)
DISA WIRELESS PRIORITY SERVICE -- Emergency response officials nationwide will get wireless priority phone service starting in May. DISA's National Communications System has been testing the service in Washington and New York during the past months. For the test, Phase 2 of a four-phase rollout, 3,000 special wireless phones were distributed to a variety of first-response organizations. (Levine 11/04)
ROOSEVELT'S SECRET WAR: FDR AND WORLD WAR II ESPIONAGE, by Joseph E. Persico, New York, Random House, 2001. This book's author, John Persico, was selected in 2002 to receive AFIO's 'John Waller Book Award' (named after our AFIO Board member, renowned author, and former member of OSS and CIA), at the Awards Banquet in Mclean on 2 November 2002 (in absentia). The AFIO award is given to authors and books for excellence in supporting AFIO's public educational mission of explaining the role and importance of intelligence. Persico's book contains accounts of the unusual spy networks that Roosevelt employed both to gather intelligence and influence events. The writing style is easy, the perspective relevant. Recommended reading. See the reviews by Floyd Paseman and Joseph Goulden in the Spring/Summer 2002 edition of AFIO's 'Intelligencer.' (Jonkers)
THE SPY WHO SEDUCED AMERICA - Lies and Betrayal in the Heat of the Cold War: The Judith Coplon Story, by Marcia and Tom Mitchell. The Invisible Cities Press, 2002, ISBN 1-931229-22-8. This book's authors received the AFIO 'Counterintelligence Book Award' for 2002 at the Awards Banquet in Mclean. The result of a decade of research, the authors have detailed the skullduggery, confusions, confessions, lies and manipulations surrounding the case of Judith Coplon, the first Cold War Soviet 'spy' arrested and tried in this country. Coplon was a beautiful woman devoted to communism and working in the department of Justice in the 1940's with access to highly secret FBI files. Her arrest led to two criminal trials, but no convictions. The FBI couldn't present its most damning evidence without revealing that the Soviet codes had been broken (VENONA). The book is to be used the CI Centre (Capps and Majors) as a textbook on how NOT to prosecute an accused spy. The Mitchell's book is an espionage thriller that reads like a Hitchcock saga and will probably be made into a movie. Recommended reading! (Poteat and Jonkers)
NSA FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY -- President Truman created the National Security Agency, the nation's signals intelligence organization, in 1952, but its low profile for decades betrayed little about its thousands of employees or their mission. Its secrecy led many to joke that its initials actually stood for "No Such Agency." President Truman's memorandum was actually dated 24 October 1952 and labeled top secret, but the formal public announcement was not made until 4 November 1952 -- Election Day -- in order to keep the creation of the Agency out of the news. To mark the anniversary, NSA opened a special exhibit in its National Cryptologic Museum. The museum, located next to agency headquarters, is open to the public. As is known to all insiders, and to those members of the public who have read WW II history, signals intelligence products are the bedrock of US intelligence and military achievements. All respect and congratulations to NSA and its dedicated professionals. (Jonkers) (WashTimes 5 Nov02, p. B3) (Secrecy News, Issue 110, 4 Nov 2002) http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB23/02-01.htm
CIA DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE MARKS 50TH ANNIVERSARY -- The Central Intelligence Agency marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of its analytical arm, the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), on Thursday, 7 November. In 1952, then-Director of Central Intelligence Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith implemented a reorganization of the CIA, placing all analytical functions, which had previously existed in several components of the Agency, into a single directorate. The all-source, objective, professional analytical products of this directorate form the basis of the daily report to the President and key national decisionmakers. The Nation depends on the best possible objective analysis for policymakers. (Jonkers) ( www.cia.gov )
Dave McB writes in response to RADM Showers note about errors in the Walker Obituary in WIN 39-02 -- Since this is weeks ago, Showers' article is re-printed first- -
(1) LETTER from RADM Showers, RE: Walker Obit in WIN 39-02 -- Your item mentions the Japanese battleship Yamato 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 a Naval intelligence analyst in the Pacific during WWII)
Writes Dave McB in response -- Before accepting Adm Showers' word, why did you not check Morison's naval history to see what he wrote? The Yamato was accompanied by light cruiser Yahagi and eight destroyers. The Admiral on the battleship Yamato was Kosaku Ariga. Four of the eight destroyers were also sunk, making a total of six ships sunk. Yahagi was misidentified as Agano by Mitscher's pilots. The account is in volume XIV, pages 199-209, comprising section 1 of Chapter XIII. My copy was printed in 1975, the original printing was in 1960. Be careful when you "set the record straight!"
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