Weekly Intelligence Notes #06-03
AFIO WIN 07-03 dtd 18 Feb 03
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. RADM (ret) Don Harvey contributes articles to selected WINs.
(1) The AFIO Office has been closed during the week of 17 February due to heavy snowfall in the area.
(2) The Winter/Spring AFIO National luncheon will be held on Monday, 17 March, featuring a discussion on the Middle East by the President of the Middle East Policy Council, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., a well-informed, dynamic speaker. Given the US invasion or occupation of Iraq, this should be a highly topical and interesting session. Adding to the interest is former Director of the White House Situation Room, Mike Bohn, who will talk about his experiences in the "Sit" room at the White House. See Section V below.
CONTENTS of this WIN
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TERRORIST ALERT -- In Washington DC the terrorist alert was overtaken, at least in terms of public attention, by the snowfall that paralyzed the area. As to the terrorist threat, media reporting claimed that the information leading to the alert was partly fabricated by a captured senior al Qaeda member, who had asserted that New York, Washington or Florida would be hit by a "dirty" bomb - one containing nuclear waste material. The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and religious centers.
Given the large volume of threat information of various degrees of credibility from different intelligence sources, the National decision makers confronted with this report had a painful choice -- to cry wolf once more, being prudent, but risking creating public & media hysteria (water, duct tape and plastic sheeting sell-outs) and thereby risking either playing the opponents' game, or eventual public resistance or indifference (by crying wolf too often), or to leave local authorities and the public exposed. They chose the former. At present, al Qaeda's best weapon appears to be psychological warfare, where they can manipulate the US public, media and authorities. Although they can make us jump through hoops, it may not be effective in the end, for a side-effect is that the US public and local authorities are slowly becoming more educated and conversant with needed actions in response to different types of terrorist threats - biological, chemical or nuclear waste. The Intelligence leaders indicate that the threat of a terrorist incident remains, only the timing is uncertain. Not much new there. (Jonkers) (ABC News 13 Feb 03 // Ross, Tepper & Rackmill) http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/terror030213_falsealarm.html
IRAQ INTELLIGENCE - While the Intelligence Community is still contorting itself to provide allies and others with publishable intelligence to serve as a fig leaf of justification, the planned US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq is proceeding inexorably. It gives no pleasure to see our Secretary of State embarrassed by citing as evidence against Saddam a ten-year-old paper inserted by a partisan think tank, or to see the DCI waving the bin Laden statement as proof of a connection with Saddam, apparently unaware that the statement lambastes the Saddam government as an infidel regime. According to Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu, and high percentages of the populations of Western European states (including the UK), the case for a "just" war, substantiated by intelligence of an imminent threat, does not appear to have been made. The case has not been helped by foreign elites who have had their feathers ruffled by what they perceive as heavy-handed and rough US statements and handling. It sometimes was not what was done, but how it was done that aroused opposition.
But as noted before, the planned Iraq invasion is a move made for strategic reasons, and to remove an unpredictable, unpopular regime beyond our control. Media reporting indicates that the Administration is propelled by a strategic vision that draws its strength from RealPolitik power considerations of Pax Americana (American world dominance and peacekeeping), from proponents of security for Israel on its own terms (Israeli regional dominance), from various Christian fundamentalist notions, and finally, of course, from considerations of oil politics. At least three of these four are quite rational from their own perspectives.
There is still a chance that Saddam will be overthrown, but if not, the invasion should be a cake-walk. There is a fear that the oil wells may be set ablaze, but US and UK special operations forces undoubtedly plan to be on hand to limit the damage. Undamaged oil fields are important, for they will help us pay for the war.
With more disciplined and diplomatic behavior (carry a big stick but speak softly - to paraphrase TR) , the subjugation of Iraq, the Middle East, the Muslim world, etc. may become a good thing for all - if we don't go over the top in domestic policing and can maintain our domestic values, liberty and adherence to the Constitution. A sound and healthy intelligence capability will remain essential. (Jonkers) (TV news February 03, PBS, NY Review of Books, Wash Times etc)
CIA's SECRET ARMY -- Media reports have reflected that clandestine paramilitary operations have been conducted inside Iraq for some time. Special operations forces have been secretly prowling the Kurdish-controlled enclave in northern Iraq, trying to organize a guerrilla force and defectors to assist with US invasion forces coming from the North, hunting for targets that U.S. warplanes might bomb, setting up networks to hide U.S. pilots who might be shot down and mapping out escape routes to get them out. And they are doing the same in southern Iraq, operating with dissident Shi'ites. Many of them reportedly are part of the CIA's paramilitary Special Operations Group (SOG).
The SOG traces its roots to the days of William (Wild Bill) Donovan, the general in charge of espionage and clandestine operations during World War II, whose Office of Strategic Services sent paramilitary commandos behind enemy lines. The CIA, since its founding after the war, has always had a paramilitary unit, which has carried various names. At the height of the cold war, the agency had hundreds of paramilitary operatives fomenting coups around the world. It was involved in assassination plots against the leaders of Congo, Cuba and Iraq and was linked by a 1976 Senate inquiry to ousters that resulted in the deaths of the leaders of the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Chile. These adventures had checkered results, and eventually fell victim to a backlash of domestic political and media opposition. Congressional and CIA budget cutters slashed money for the clandestine force, believing that technological collection means, including billion-dollar reconnaissance satellites, collected intelligence more efficiently and without causing trouble and embarrassment. The CIA officers, often working under cover as U.S. diplomats, were said to concentrate on getting most of their secrets from the embassy cocktail circuit or by bribing foreign officials. Most did not even have weapons training, and some looked down on the few SOG commandos who remained out in the field as knuckle draggers, relics of a bygone era.
Times changed, the threat changed, and the political climate slowly changed. When George Tenet was installed as CIA director in 1997 he began to strengthen human source intelligence operations and rebuilding the SOG, which is now again in full growth and fashion after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Confronted with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, an enemy that has no army, no fixed assets and no clearly defined territory, the Bush Administration needed an unconventional military force. It wanted combatants who could match al-Qaeda for wiliness, adaptability and, up to a point, ruthlessness. It wanted its own army of James Bonds. So in the past year, hundreds of millions of additional dollars have been pumped into the CIA budget. Now the knuckle draggers are not just back; they are the new hard edge of the CIA, at the forefront of the war on terrorism.
Today SOG's capabilities are impressive. Its maritime branch has speedboats to carry commandos to shore, and the agency can rent cargo ships through its front companies to transport larger equipment. The air arm has small passenger jets on alert to fly paramilitary operatives anywhere in the world on two hours' notice. Other cargo planes, reminiscent of the Air America fleet that the agency had in Vietnam, can drop supplies to replenish teams in remote locations. For areas like Afghanistan and Central Asia, where a Russian-made helicopter stands out less, the agency uses the large inventory of Soviet-era aircraft that the Pentagon captured or bought on the black market. Though tiny by Pentagon standards, the SOG has swelled to several hundred officers. They are planted in Pakistan, Central Asia, North Africa and East Asia. "These are people who are operating every day around the world," Jim Pavitt, the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) noted. "I can insert a team anywhere quickly and clandestinely." The future may bring even more ambitious missions.
Who joins? SOG paramilitary operatives are said to have spent at least five years in the U.S. military before joining the CIA, whose recruiters regularly prowl clubs like those at Fort Bragg, N.C. (where the Army's Special Operations Command has its headquarters), looking for Green Berets interested in year-around unconventional work. Those who join the CIA are sent to the "farm," the agency's Camp Peary training center, located on 9,000 heavily wooded acres surrounded by a barbed-wire-topped fence in Virginia. There they go through the course that all new CIA case officers take. The CIA wants its paramilitary officers to be able to steal secrets as well as blow up bridges.
Over the years, the SOG has taken on some of the CIA's most dangerous work. Paramilitary officers account for almost 50% of the 79 stars chiseled into the wall in the main foyer of the Agency's headquarters commemorating all the personnel who have died since the CIA was founded in 1947. The newest star is dedicated to Johnny (Mike) Spann, killed in Afghanistan. But the CIA suffered additional casualties in Afghanistan and some injuries that the agency has not yet publicly acknowledged.
The CIA paramilitary SOG takes its place alongside the Pentagon's highly skilled and select Special Operations forces, with their great capabilities for unconventional warfare. The Defense Department has some 44,000 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel under the jurisdiction of its U.S. Special Operations Command. Besides this large force, the SOG prides itself on being small and agile, capable of sending teams of 10 operators or fewer anywhere in the world much faster than the Pentagon can. The CIA also has far more contacts than the Pentagon among foreign intelligence services that can help with clandestine operations overseas, plus a global network of foreign contacts and assets on the ground. Once deployed, CIA operatives have fewer regulations to hamstring them than their military counterparts do. And CIA is said to be willing and able to take on some of the jobs the military cannot or will not handle. In response, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has recently taken steps to increase the worldwide scope of operational responsiveness, responsibility and clout of the US Special Operations Command.
There will always be dynamic tension between organizations, but for now, the focus of unconventional operations is on cooperation, on Iraq, on continuing efforts against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, and presumably, on planning and preparations for dealing with North Korea. (Jonkers) (TIME 26 Jan 2003 //D. Waller)
ENVIRONMENTAL INTELLIGENCE -- The amount of ice melting from the surface of the Greenland ice sheet broke all known records last year, threatening a potential slowing down in the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Continued melting of the Greenland ice at this pace over the next decades will cause cold water convections that could disrupt and eventually shut off the current altogether, allowing depressions to dump snow instead of rain in Britain (and other Northern European states) and leading to a much colder European continental climate.
According to scientists at the University of Colorado a very dramatic melting trend has been in progress since 1979. During this period the Greenland ice sheet's maximum melt area increased on average by 16%. In particular, the northern and north-eastern part of the ice sheet experienced melting reaching up to an elevation of 2,000 meters (6,560ft). Sea ice in the Arctic in general last year was at the lowest since satellite measurements began, potentially even opening polar commercial shipping routes and further adding to pollution. Without large sea ice masses at the poles to moderate the world's energy balance, warming escalates. On this topic, as on many others, our heads appear to be firmly stuck in the sand, determined to study the problem until we reach the fate of Easter Island. (Jonkers) (The Guardian, 11 Jan 03 //P. Brown) ( email@example.com )
AFIO EMAIL ADDRESS RECENTLY "SPOOFED":-- E-mail spoofing is the growing practice of forging an e-mail -- mainly by junk mailers -- to make it appear to come from an address it did not come from. Spammers do this to get you to open e-mail you normally wouldn't open, and to get through spam filters. A recent batch of emails sent from a "HiMailer" program hawking "Want To Boost Your Internet Marketing?" used "firstname.lastname@example.org" as the spoofed "return address." Most of these probably were not sent to AFIO addresses, but off purchased lists of internet-listed email addresses. However, should members receive one...it did not come from AFIO. Email systems allow any name to be used on the return address line....making such spoofing easy. So caution is warranted. If you receive something that is inappropriate or contains an attachment ... no matter how familiar the sending party, be suspicious and always keep your antivirus software up-to-date before examining emails.
For greater information on the spoofing games played by hackers & hawkers, see:
Symantec.com No Joke: E-mail Spoofing on the Rise. Reprinted from: National Post at http://enterprisesecurity.symantec.com/content.cfm?articleid=784
CERN e-mail spoofing page at http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/email_spoofing.html
and TechTV - What is E-mail Spoofing? at http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/answerstips/story/0,24330,2566233,00.html
DOD BIOMETRIC SMART CARD -- The Defense Department's Biometrics Management Office plans to complete its last proof of concept for a biometric-enabled Common Access Card by the end of April and start a pilot as early as this summer. (Levine 20 Feb 03)
CYBERWAR -- Recent news reports state that the National Infrastructure Protection Center of the FBI has warned that escalating friction between the United States and Iraq could lead to cyberattacks between both countries. This follows closely on the heels of reports that President Bush has executed a secret order permitting the U.S. government to promulgate guidelines pursuant to which the Defense Department could launch cyberattacks against computer systems in other countries. (Levine 20 Feb 03)
TRAVELERS' PERSONAL DATA -- Flying to the US? Give US.gov all your personal data. The European Commission has agreed that their airlines will hand over personal details of all passengers flying to the US. These details could include all sorts of stuff the airline happens to have on record, including credit card numbers, phone numbers, special dietary requirements, and any other comments it has entered on the Passenger Name Record (PNR). (Levine 20 Feb 03)
MOBILE PHONES ROLE IN SURVEILLANCE -- Mobile phones could soon become important tools in disaster prevention and the fight against crime, including terrorist alert services, burglary prevention tools and surveillance technology. These could become commonplace mobile technology within the next few years. (Levine 20 Feb 03)
NEW CYBER WEAPONS - U.S. forces are expected to unsheathe several new weapons and tactics in Iraq, including devices still under development. Military officials and analysts say the new weapons would target Iraqi armored vehicles, communications networks and the chemical and biological weapons the Bush administration believes Iraq still cradles. (Levine 20 Feb 03)
JOURNEY TO PEKING: A Secret Agent in Wartime China, by Dan Pinck, US Naval Institute, April 2003, ISBN 1-59114-677-1, photographs, maps. Dan Pinck was nineteen years old when he volunteered for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. He was assigned to a remote area near Hong Kong, where he was the sole American agent in the area, working with some sixty Chinese local agents. They reported on troop movements and shipping along the coast, and mapped Japanese fortifications in areas where an American invasion was planned. Pinck credits his local Chinese agents for survival and success in working behind Japanese lines in China, and many became lifelong friends. This is a vivid, honest, and often humorous account, a close-up and personal story of covert military operations that will have a wide appeal and also serve as a valuable historical document as the World War II generation passes from the scene. Publication date is April 2003. It may be noted that Dan Pinck has been active in the New England Chapter of the OSS Society. His son Dan is currently the President of the nationwide OSS Society and information on them can be found at www.osssociety.org (Jonkers)
AFIO NATIONAL LUNCHEON MEETING -- On Monday, 17 March 2003, badge-pickup starts at 10:30 a.m., enjoy two views of the fast-paced, tense, and charged duties demanded of these two professionals [both are confirmed speakers]. The morning speaker at 11 a.m. is Michael K. Bohn -- former Director of the White House "Sit" Room under President Reagan. He is also the author of a newly released book: Nerve Center: Inside the White House Situation Room - giving a surprisingly detailed look at the President's sometimes frenzied intelligence and alert center.
The luncheon speaker at 1 p.m. is Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., former Amb. to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield [and now President of Middle East Policy Council] analyzing the complexities we face in maintaining valuable allies who face ambivalence at home over support of U.S. peace-keeping missions. Doors will open for the luncheon at 10:30, the Holiday Inn Hotel, Tyson's Corner (Rte 123 & International Drive) McLean, VA. Generous covered parking in adjoining Hotel garage. This promises to be another great session. A three-course lunch will be served at 12:00 noon. The Luncheon meeting will close at 2 p.m.
Cost: $27.50/person. No payment at door. Deadline: 13 March. Send credit card registrations now to email@example.com of by fax to 703 790-0264. Voice registrations taken at 703-790-0320. Checks to: AFIO Luncheon, 6723 Whittier Ave Ste 303A, McLean, VA 22101. Remember to supply names to go on badges for self and any guests.
LETTER ref: WIN 06 - Prof. Gail Nelson writes: The Rand Report on Estimates & Predictive Intelligence being held hostage by Current Intelligence and Operations is long overdue. The Military Intelligence and Joint Command J2's have forgotten all the lessons learned during the Cold War years with organic production of Estimate Intelligence (Geopolitical & Military). The reductions in force during the 1990s have compounded our vulnerabilities forcing Intelligence Directors to confine their analysis to current events. The situation is an invitation for more strategic surprises and Intelligence failures. See my lecture attached given at Denver University last Spring. Let's put our Regional Scholars and selected FAOs in AOR Studies & Estimates branches. Let the production begin with 2-10 year projections and regional/country scenario development. These products would (really) support the J3/5 Contingency Plans Annex B and Plans & Policy.
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