Weekly Intelligence Notes #08-03
WIN 08-03 dated 27 February 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.
Ed. Note: This WIN was delayed because of pervasive snow conditions in the Washington DC area. AFIO has substantially been shut down for ten working days. We should be back to normal next week.
Ed. Note: 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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US SPECIAL OPERATIONS IN PHILIPPINES -- The US will in the next few days deploy over 1,700 troops to open a new front in the war on terrorism. They are to engage in combat, for as long as it takes, to disrupt and destroy the estimated 250 members of the extremist group 'Abu Sayyaf.' Some 750 US personnel, including 350 Special Operations troopers, will conduct, or support, combat patrols in the jungles of Sulu Province, in the southern part of the Philippines. About 1,000 US Marines, armed with Cobra attack helicopters and Harrier AV-8B attack planes, will stand ready aboard two ships offshore to act as a quick-response support force, and to provide logistics and medical support.
Accepting military assistance from the Philippines' former colonial master, the United States, poses a delicate political issue. The Philippine Constitution prohibits foreign troops from carrying out unilateral combat missions, but the American forces will technically play a supporting role in the Philippine-led operation, a distinction that may skirt the legal issue.
Abu Sayyaf has been tied to a string of recent bombings and attacks in the southern Philippines. The US has declared Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organization. A decade ago, when the group was founded with a goal to create an Islamic state, Osama bin Laden sent a brother-in-law to coordinate with the group. He provided money and sought to arrange a merger between Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a much larger group in the Philippines. But the relationship never developed, according to American and Philippine intelligence officials. Abu Sayyaf degenerated into kidnappers for ransoms. Some American officials believe that in recent months Abu Sayyaf has established connections with Jemaah Islamiyah, a radical network that seeks an Islamic state across Southeast Asia. There is increasing US concern that militant Islamic networks pose a growing threat in the region.
A US military assessment team is expected to arrive in the Philippines in the next few days, and the full force could be conducting combat operations against Abu Sayyaf within a month. The US Navy will fly reconnaissance missions over the Sulu Archipelago to provide intelligence to both Philippine and American forces. The operation will further stretch Special Operations and Intelligence Community capabilities and resources. (Jonkers) (NYTimes 2o Feb 03 //E. Schmitt)
UN COMPLAINTS ABOUT US INTELLIGENCE -- Some U.N. arms inspectors are said to be privately complaining to the media about the quality of U.S. intelligence they are getting, and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases. They also reportedly found some US claims excessive, such as the assertion that Iraq has missiles that could threaten Israel. Discovering from documentation that the al-Samoud 2 ballistic missile has been flying beyond its permitted range in Iraqi tests was one of the inspectors' major successes. But the missile has only been exceeding its allowed 93-mile limit by about 15 miles and that, the Iraqis say, is because it isn't yet loaded down with its guidance system. Not a big deal, perhaps, but the Iraqis were told by the UN to destroy them and reportedly have agreed.
Other examples had to do with Saddam's presidential palaces, and satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites (the UN inspectors reportedly found "nothing."), and the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the Iraqi alibi air-tight. From at least some of the UN inspectors' perspective, they appear to consider themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they have allegedly defined as circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.
Meanwhile Iraq approved another flight by an American U-2 reconnaissance/ surveillance plane as President Saddam Hussein's government seeks to convince the world that it is cooperating with the weapons inspectors. Iraq also submitted to the UN a list of people involved in the destruction of banned weapons.
As noted ad nauseam in these reports, however, none of this intelligence-related stuff fundamentally matters or has mattered in US decision-making, except negatively in terms of the process of diplomatic posturing, and positively in that the results of UN inspections could assist in some aspects of war planning. Currently US diplomacy, with all its enormous power of leadership, intimidation and heavy financial muscle, is rounding up international support, which will likely be successful. The US military should complete its deployment in another few weeks, and the war will commence, bringing democracy to Iraq at the point of the sword -- unless we can break Saddam's grip through brute power pressure and information warfare (see below). (Jonkers) (CBS 20 Feb 03) (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/18/iraq/main537096.shtml)
US INFORMATION WAR UNDERWAY -- American cyber-warfare experts recently launched an e-mail assault at Iraq's political, military and economic leadership, urging them to break with Saddam Hussein's government. In addition, a wave of telephone calls has gone to the private cell-phone numbers of specially selected officials inside Iraq, and Special Operations aircraft have inserted US-produced programming into Iraqi radio networks. Further, as of last week, more than eight million leaflets had been dropped over Iraq — including towns 65 miles south of Baghdad — warning Iraqi antiaircraft missile operators that their bunkers will be destroyed if they track or fire at allied warplanes. A blunt offer has gone to Iraqi ground troops: Surrender and Live, or Resist and Die -- a message familiar to old US psychological warfare practitioners like this editor in last century's major wars. "It pays to drop the leaflets," said the commander of allied air forces in the Persian Gulf, "It sends a direct message to the operator on the gun. It sends a direct message to the chain of command." Whether for this reason or others, Iraqi army morale and combat readiness are said to be abysmal. They are ready to surrender.
Military planners at the US Central Command may use a whole range of information warfare capabilities — including electronic attacks on power grids, communications systems and computer networks, as well as deception and psychological operations — to break the Iraqi military's will to fight and sway Iraqi public opinion. "The goal of information warfare is to win without ever firing a shot," said a spokesman for the Central Command in Tampa, Fla. "If action does begin, information warfare is used to make the conflict as short as possible."
Deception and psychological operations have been a part of warfare for centuries, and American commanders have carried out limited information attacks -- both psychological operations, or "psyops," and more traditional electronic warfare, like jamming or crippling the enemy's equipment -- in recent wars in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the air campaign over Kosovo in 1999, as well as in Afghanistan. For the invasion of Iraq the information offensive may expand to a fierce but invisible war of electrons, involving intelligence and other special assets, including reported capabilities to insert false targets into enemy air defense networks. Air commanders will rely on a fleet of reconnaissance/ surveillance and special operations aircraft, including the electronic-eavesdropping RC-135 Rivet Joint, the radar-jamming EC-130H Compass Call and other platforms. Current planning is much broader and more tightly integrated into war planning than ever before. What we are seeing now is the weaving of electronic warfare, psychological operations, and other information warfare options, through every facet of the plan, from peacetime preparations through wartime execution.
Information Warfare has its strengths and weaknesses. An adversary's antiaircraft radar site, for example, can be destroyed by a bomb or missile launched by a warplane; or it can be captured or blown up by ground forces; or the enemy soldiers running the radar can be persuaded to shut down the system and just go home. But American pilots ordered into enemy airspace would rather be told that antiaircraft sites were struck by ordnance, rather than by leaflets. Imagery from air and space help the military assess bomb damage to a target. The softer kind of strike is harder to assess. (Jonkers) (NYTimes, 24 Feb 03, p. 1 //T. Shanker & E. Schmitt)
IRAQ DEFECTOR PUBLICITY -- A Newsweek report recently stated that Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks, and also the longer-range missiles to deliver them. But, said Kamel, Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions. The stocks had been destroyed to deal with the U.N. inspectors, but Iraq had retained the design and engineering details of these weapons. Kamel talked of hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches and even missile-warhead molds. “People who work in MIC [Iraq’s Military Industrial Commission, which oversaw the country’s chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs] were asked to take documents to their houses.” Why preserve this technical material? Said Kamel: “It is the first step to return to production” after U.N. inspections are concluded.
Kamel was reportedly interrogated in separate sessions by the CIA, Britain’s M.I.6 and a trio from the United Nations, led by the inspection team’s head, Rolf Ekeus. NEWSWEEK stated that it obtained the notes of Kamel’s debriefing report by the UN team, and verified that the document is authentic. (NEWSWEEK claimed that it learned that Kamel allegedly told the same story to the CIA and M.I.6.) But after six months in exile in Jordan, Kamel was said to have realized that his information was not thought credible by the US (always a problem with human source reporting), and that the United States would not support his dream of becoming Iraq’s ruler after Saddam’s demise. He was enticed to return to Iraq—where he was promptly killed, in one sense somewhat validating whatever information he conveyed.
CIA, through its public affairs officer, has strongly and unequivocally disavowed this report, designating it rubbish. In the wilderness of mirrors in which we, the public, are wandering on Iraq, with its reciprocal governmental and international game-playing, posturing, strategies, illusions, deceptions and propaganda, it no longer makes any difference -- the pre-game warm-up for the invasion of Iraq is about to end. (Jonkers) (Newsweek, 3 March 2003, p. 6 // J. Barry)
IRAN ACTS AGAINST AL QAEDA SUSPECTS -- Iran has arrested several suspected members of al Qaeda recently as part of a crackdown on a major smuggling operation on the Iranian border with Pakistan. Iranian security forces dismantled a network used to smuggle Afghans or Afghan-Arabs linked to al Qaeda from Pakistan into Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province. In confirming the Iranian crackdown, a US official said: "Iran has made some arrests. It's made some the terrorists there uneasy. They're not too comfortable being there anymore." Iranian officials have insisted the arrests are not related to concern regarding possible US attacks but instead represent a long-standing policy of preventing suspicious Afghans and Arabs, ranging from al Qaeda suspects to drug smugglers, to come across the Pakistan border.
Sensitive to the US designation of Iran as one of the "axis of evil" nations, officials of all political stripes have said they do not want to be drawn into another war against Iraq. There is deep concern not only of the US reaction but of the chance that Iraq could use chemical weapons against Iran or push the Iranian guerrillas, Mujahedeen Khalq, based in Iraq, to carry out attacks inside Iran. The Iranian foreign minister, F.M. Kharrazzi, got into impeachment trouble recently for receiving the Iraqi foreign minister in Tehran, despite Parliament's effort to oppose this gesture. In connection with his defense against the Iranian Parliament's action to impeach him for being too friendly to Iraq, the Foreign Minister has announced that Iran has deported more than 500 members of al Qaeda back to the countries from which they came, or to their countries of origin. At least some al Qaeda seem presently to be like hot potatoes being hastily tossed back and forth between Iran and Pakistan. (Harvey) (NYTimes 17 Feb03 //E. Sciolino & E. Schmitt) .
WAR PROTESTERS CONDUCT VIRTUAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON -- Opponents of a U.S. invasion of Iraq flooded the nation's capital with phone calls, e-mails and faxes Wednesday in an organized protest with a technological twist. Organizers of the "virtual march on Washington" said that Senate offices and the White House were deluged with more than 1 million calls and faxes. (Levine 27Feb03)
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SECURITY POLICY RELEASED -- DoD released an Information Assurance policy today that sets specific controls and standards for how users should secure Defense Department networks. Directive 8500.2 is the second part of a strategy to address the changing security needs in the department.
DOD issued the first part, 8500.1, last October. It supplied a framework for DOD to follow to protect its information systems, according to Robert F. Lentz, Director of Information Assurance for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (ASD C3I). (Levine's Newsbits 27 Feb 03)
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY JOBS OPEN -- Just two days before 22 federal agencies are set to move to the new Department of Homeland Security, the White House has yet to fill three top positions responsible for protecting the nation's physical and digital infrastructure and managing the department's intelligence-gathering activities. The vacant posts are in DHS's Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP), a terrorist threat assessment and warning unit that includes five cyber-security divisions previously scattered across other federal agencies. March 1 is the deadline for most federal agencies reassigned to DHS to have completed the move to the department.(Levine 27Feb03)
THE ARCHEOLOGIST WAS A SPY: Sylvanus G. Morley and the office of Naval Intelligence, by Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler (retired professors of history at the New Mexico State University), University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 2003. Sylvanus G. Morley (1883-1948) has been highly regarded for over a century for his archaeological work among the Maya pyramids. As director of the Carnegie Archaeological Program, he supervised the reconstruction of Chichen Itza, one of today's most visited sites in Central America. Harris and Sadler present information showing Morley used his archaeological skills and contacts to covertly spy for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence during World War I. His primary charge was to detect and report German activity along the more than 1200 miles of eastern Central American and Mexican coastlines. To aid him in this special "fieldwork," Morley recruited other archaeologists, assigned them specific territories in which to work, and, together, they maintained a constant vigil. David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, says: "In this remarkable story of a remarkable man and his colorful associates, Harris and Sadler bring to vivid life an unknown story of early American intelligence. They illuminate the start of today's vast spy apparatus. A lively, scholarly, and useful job." The book can be ordered from the University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1591, 800-249-7737, www.unmpress.com, $32.50. (courtesy AFIO member Col. John A. Smith (USA, Ret),
US COUNTERTERRORISM STRATEGY -- "Victory in the war against terror” is the strategic intent of the White House’s new Strategy for Combating Terrorism. Its four goals are: (1) defeat terrorists and their organizations; (2) deny sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists; (3) diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit; and (4) defend U.S. citizens and interests at home and abroad.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/counter_terrorism/counter_terrorism_strategy.pdf . (TOSIR 59, J.A. Miller, courtesy L. Sulc)
COMMON SENSE ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, by Sergeant First Class Red Thomas, U.S. Army (Ret.), Strategic Issues Today (Strategic Issues Research Institute), 18 February 2003. "Since the media has decided to scare everyone with predictions of chemical, biological, or nuclear warfare on our turf, I decided to write a paper and keep things in their proper perspective. I am a retired military weapons, munitions, and training expert. These weapons are about terror; if you remain calm, you will probably not die. This is far less scary than the media and their “experts” make it sound. Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you’d take for a big storm." Worth reading -- it will be provided to AFIO members soon in our hardcopy publications. (Jonkers) (TOSIR No.59, 27 Feb 03 // J. A. Miller, courtesy L. Sulc)
IN MEMORIAM - Isser Harel (Halperin), former Israeli Intelligence Chief, born 1912, died February 19, 2003 This obituary, printed in the UK daily 'Guardian', is interesting, reflecting on a turbulent life in turbulent times, and the uses and abuses of intelligence. Guardian text follows:
No one terrified Israel's enemies quite like Isser Harel, captor of Adolf Eichmann and chief of Israel's intelligence empire during the 1950s and early 1960s. Israeli politicians, too, had reason to fear Harel, who has died aged 91. Long after his official retirement, he would riffle through his card index of meticulous notes in search of incriminating evidence. Even within Mossad, Shin Bet and Aman (the external, internal and military branches of Israeli intelligence), many colleagues rued the day that they had crossed "Little Isser", as they nervously nicknamed him.
Short and stocky, his prominent ears always alert for conspiracies, Harel ruled Mossad from 1952 until 1963. In 1957 he gained the title memunah - overall chief - of Israel's secret services. Harel did not actually create Mossad. That honor went to the brilliant Reuven Shiloah, who set up "the institute" in 1951. But Shiloah became bored with administrative detail so, in 1952, Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, gave the job to Harel, already known as the puritanical head of Shin Bet. His finest moment came in May 1960, with the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann, the former SS officer who had overseen the carrying out of the "final solution", Nazi Germany's plan for the extermination of European Jews. For 15 years Eichmann had passed himself off as Ricardo Klement in Buenos Aires; for two years Harel's team of 11 had kept him under surveillance. Then Harel, present in the Argentine capital for the final weeks of the operation, gave the order for him to be abducted when getting off a bus. For nine days Eichmann was interrogated in one of the Israelis' safe houses, then heavily sedated and spirited away as a sick passenger on an airliner.
Though the plane was flying a junior member of the Israeli cabinet, Abba Eban, home after celebrating Argentina's 150th anniversary celebrations, the future foreign minister knew nothing of the incident. Once in Israel, Eichmann was tried and sentenced to death in 1961, and hanged in 1962 after an appeal. Harel gave his personal account in 'The House On Garibaldi Street' (1976). Harel had been born Isser Halperin to wealthy Jewish parents in Vitebsk, in the Volozhin region of tsarist Russia. His family fled to Lithuania in 1922 after their vinegar business was confiscated by Russian revolutionaries, prompting Isser's lifelong aversion to Marxism. In 1930 Isser entered British Mandatory Palestine on forged papers. Disillusioned after five years working on a kibbutz that he had founded, he and his young wife, Rivka, set up a private orange-packing company. In 1942 he changed his surname to Harel ("mountain of God" in Hebrew). Two years later, he became Tel Aviv head of Shai, the intelligence branch of the main Zionist underground, Haganah.
For four years Harel shadowed the activities of Menachem Begin's rival rightwing extremist underground movement Irgun, and in June 1948 Ben-Gurion ordered Harel to sink the Irgun ship Atalena off the Tel Aviv coast. The state of Israel had been founded that May, and for its first years Harel oversaw Shin Bet. Paradoxically, some of the keenest Mossad agents were former members of Irgun and Lehi (the Stern Gang), whom Harel brought in from the cold and recruited in 1955.
He took over Mossad when the CIA was desperate for information on the Soviet Union. Through his friendship with its head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton, Harel allayed American suspicions of Israel's supposed ties with the USSR, and claimed to be the first to hand the Americans the full text of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's famous 1956 "secret speech" denouncing Stalin. But derring-do came at a cost. Some said Harel was recklessly endangering Jews still trapped behind the iron curtain. He redeemed himself by exposing several Soviet agents, most notoriously Israel Beer, the debonair former anti-fascist guerrilla in the Spanish civil war, who had become a confidant to Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres.
More controversially, in 1953 Harel bugged the offices of Mapam, a leftist party opposed to Ben-Gurion's ruling Mapai. He also placed a maverick journalist under administrative detention, funded a journal to undermine critical publications and whitewashed news of an Israeli intelligence debacle in Egypt. The extent to which these were personal initiatives or the result of orders from above is not clear.
Sensing a chance for peace in the region, in 1955 Harel tried to organize a meeting between Egypt's President Nasser and Ben-Gurion. A year later, the Suez war destroyed such hopes. Undaunted, Harel formed a secret relationship with King Hassan, who allowed some 80,000 Moroccan Jews to leave for Israel in return for valuable security advice. Harel persevered with Shiloah's dream of a "peripheral alliance" between Israel and potential non-Arab allies in the Middle East. In 1957 he befriended Taimur Bakhtiar, first head of Iran's feared intelligence agency Savak, and later prime minister. A year later, he formed the Trident network with Savak and Turkey's National Security Services as "a dam to stop the Nasser-Soviet flood". He also armed and trained Iraqi Kurds, and built bases and airfields in Turkey and Ethiopia, via the fictitious CIA-funded Reynolds Concrete Company. In return, Mossad monitored developments in the Red Sea from a vast clandestine complex in Addis Ababa.
In 1962 Harel's agents turned their attention to operation Damocles - the hounding, and occasional murder, of German scientists who were allegedly developing Egyptian rockets and chemical weapons. Israeli diplomats assiduously nurturing ties with West Germany found Harel's campaign, encouraged by Foreign Minister Golda Meir, extremely embarrassing. The final ignominy came when Egypt showed off advanced missiles in a televised military parade - weaponry that Mossad should have detected.
By March 1963, when Harel refused to curb his anti-German hit squads, a reluctant Ben-Gurion forced his resignation as Mossad chief, and replaced him with Meir Amit, a young technocrat who headed military intelligence. Many loyal operatives resigned in protest, including future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir; the strength of the resulting controversy in the Knesset was a principal cause of Ben-Gurion's resignation the following June.
The feud between Harel and Amit lasted into the next century. Harel briefly reinvented himself as special security adviser to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol (1965-66), and served one term in the Knesset (1969-73), but his heyday was over. Yet Harel's reliance on "the human factor" remains an indispensable legacy of Israeli intelligence to this day. (Jonkers) (Guardian 20 Feb 03) (courtesy B. Gerber) ( email@example.com,Internet )
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. Full directions can be found on AFIO website at www.afio.com and click on Luncheon Directions under announcement. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
(1) A.K. writes: A "dirty bomb" in a shoe would be the ultimate "hot foot"!
(2) Tom B. writes: I use a book by Paul Pillar, Terrorism & U.S. Foreign Policy in a course I teach at a local university (on terrorism). In the book, he makes the point many times that Americans--and the American government as well--have a lot more to fear from an old fashioned bomb than they do from some kind of chemical, biological, or nuclear device. You'd never know it after the nation's encounter with duct tape last week. Based on this latest episode (but it is by no means the only one) I feel we're becoming less educated with respect to terrorist threats.
I am also disappointed with the debriefers who promulgated the latest scare. There is a whole section in the "Al-Qaeda Handbook" that deals with how prisoners are to prepare themselves (mentally, etc) in case they are caught and sent to prison. A big part of it is Disinformation; another prime ingredient is Patience -- patience if you're preparing to carry out an operation, patience if you're captured.
I've got money to bet that says the majority of debriefers haven't looked at the Handbook, much less read it. (Ed. Comment: I won't take that bet!) RJ
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