Weekly Intelligence Notes #17-03
WIN #17-03 dated 3 May 2003
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
AFIO NATIONAL QUARTERLY LUNCHEON -- SEE SECTION V
CONTENTS of this WIN
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SENATE FY 2004 INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION BILL -- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSI) voted unanimously (19-0) on 1 May to 'dramatically' increase funding for the Intelligence Community in the Fiscal Year 2004 intelligence authorization bill, which defines spending priorities but does not specifically approve expenditures. The budgets of the nation's 13 Intelligence agencies are classified, but the nation's total spending on the IC in the current FY 2003 is publicly believed to be about $35 billion. A "dramatic" increase could mean a possible bump-up to $40 Billion.
The Committee included specific funding for the creation of a government-wide "watch list" for terrorist suspects, as well as money to improve information-sharing among government agencies. One novel component of the bill earmarks $8 million for the creation of a program to encourage college students to pursue intelligence careers. This would create the Intelligence Community's equivalent of the military's Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) -- one of AFIO's goals, and along the lines of a similar intelligence education legislative effort supported by AFIO and spearheaded by Prof. Robert Heibel at Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pennsylvania. Other provisions would (1) allow defense intelligence agencies to quickly hire linguists, weapons experts and other specialists on short notice; (2) call for the creation of pilot programs allowing analysts direct access to raw intelligence data collected by other agencies; and (3) require an assessment of the vulnerability of classified computer networks. The bill also requires a report on lessons the intelligence community learned in the war in Iraq, where the nation's the agencies appear to have had a mixed record of satisfying media and political demands, such as finding Saddam Hussein and the so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction - the notional public rationale for the invasion. The Intelligence community is holding the bag for this political notion.
The bill must still be considered by the full Senate. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has not yet voted on its version of the authorization bill. (Jonkers) (LA Times, 2 May 2003 //G. Miller)
TERRORIST THREAT INTEGRATION CENTER OPENED -- The TTIC, which began operations on 1 May 2003 with a skeleton staff of 60 in temporary quarters at CIA headquarters in Langley, will begin operations by immediately taking responsibility for compiling the top-secret Daily Threat Matrix, an analysis that forms the backbone for much of the administration's strategy in assessing terrorist attacks. Director John O. Brennan, a 23-year CIA veteran, said that the center will allow the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and other agencies to better "connect the dots" in assessing terrorist threats by improving the flow of information within the U.S. intelligence community. "Just by definition, this is very new and very different," Brennan said. "We are not going to be doing things in a redundant fashion. What we're trying to do is have TTIC serve as the central hub to provide information and receive information throughout the government."
The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) was first announced by President Bush in his State of the Union address, probably in response to growing political criticism of the Intelligence Community. The TTIC is already under political attack from several sides. The first is for inefficiency, since it seems to proliferate centers- on-top-of centers -in the Intelligence Community and the new Homeland Defense Department. TTIC officials acknowledged that many details remain to be worked out, including what kinds of reports will be provided to other agencies. The administration plans to place the center in its own building that will also house CIA and FBI counterterrorism operations.
The second concern is about civil liberties. In response TTIC Deputy Director Jim Bernazzani, an FBI special agent, said the threat center will not collect its own intelligence or run counter-terrorism cases. "There will be no TTIC personnel walking the streets of a city in the United States collecting information, nor will there be TTIC personnel making decisions about investigations."
The TTIC opens its doors at a time of impressive CIA and FBI counter-terrorist successes worldwide. The State Department's terrorism report said attacks by "international terrorists" dropped significantly, from 355 in 2001 to 199 attacks last year. The number of deaths fell from 3,295 in 2001 (which included fatalities from the Sept. 11 attacks) to 725 in 2003. The threat of terrorism, however, will always remain to inspire us to greater and greater security measures. (Jonkers) (WashPost 1 May 03, p. 10 //D. Eggen)
PLANE ATTACK PLOT AGAINST US IN PAKISTAN -- An Al Qaeda plot to crash a small aircraft loaded with explosives into the US Consulate in Karachi has been uncovered and broken. The plot against the consulate was discovered with the arrests this week in Karachi of Walid Ba'Attash and five other men accused of belonging to Al Qaeda. About 300 pounds of explosives and a cache of weapons were also seized. This plot, along with one uncovered last year in which Al Qaeda planned to fly a small plane into a US warship in the Persian Gulf, demonstrates a "fixation" on using aircraft in attacks, according to the Homeland Security Department, which warned pilots and airport managers about the threat of similar attacks in the United States. (Jonkers) (NYTimes 3 May 2003)
WHITE HOUSE APPOINTMENT -- Air Force General Gordon, formerly the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and currently a Presidential National Security Advisor on Terrorism, has been named by President Bush to the White House position formerly held by Governor Tom ridge, who now heads the Department of Homeland Security. General Gordon will coordinate policies with this Department.
FISA SURVEILLANCE AT AN ALL TIME HIGH -- Domestic U.S. government surveillance of suspected foreign intelligence and terrorist targets under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reached an all-time high in 2002. According to the latest FISA annual report from the Department of Justice, "all 1228 applications presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2002 were approved." In 2001, 934 applications were approved. The text of the April 29 letter report can be found at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/2002rept.html (Secrecy News 5/1/03)
CHINA SUBMARINE SUNK -- In a major disaster, China's Eastern Fleet Submarine No. 361, operating in the Yellow Sea between Shandong and the Korean peninsula, experienced an accident during an exercise "because of mechanical malfunction" that killed the entire 70-man crew. The sub did not sink and was towed into port. The most likely cause was an outpouring of deadly chlorine gas, a well-known hazard caused by seawater mixing with acid in the boat's batteries. This is the worst submarine accident since the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk off Murmansk in August 2000, that killed all 118 men aboard.
It appears to have been a conventional Ming class sub, built about 20 years ago, based on early Russian submarine designs. It is said to be better than the German WWII U-boats, but not by much. The accident appears to be another in a long line of problems in China's submarine forces, including an explosion of a Xia sub during construction, continued problems with noise on the Han-class attack subs, and troubles with batteries on the four diesel-powered Kilo subs purchased from Russia. China is believed to have about 65 subs, of which maybe 50 are operational. China only recently began allowing its subs to venture further from the coast because of concerns about seaworthiness of the fleet, but now they are engaged in joint operations exercises, and are undertaking long patrols - 45 to 60 days. China's sub fleet operations are of interest to the US in relation to a possible (even if remote) military threat to Taiwan. (Jonkers) WashPost 3May 03 p. A19 //J Pomphret / RADM E. McVadon ret)
DARPA / TIA PRIVACY PROTECTION --The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $3.5 million contract to Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to create a privacy-protection system as part of DARPA's controversial Total Information Awareness program. If successful the system could potentially be used by businesses to ensure that their privacy policies are enforced even while opening corporate databases to new data-sharing arrangements.
DARPA's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program has been a lightning rod for privacy advocates concerned about the agency's plan to collect transactional data from a wide variety of private-sector databases. PARC plans to develop a "privacy appliance" that would help blunt some of those concerns by making it harder for intelligence agencies and other government users to get personally identifiable information -- names, addresses, or Social Security numbers, for example -- from such databases, or even to narrow queries in such a way that only a handful of people meet certain criteria. (Jonkers) (Yahoo News 2 May 03 Techweb)
HOMELAND SECURITY CYBER EXERCISE --The Homeland Security Department and dozens of federal, state and local agencies will launch a simulated five-day terrorist attack on May 12 designed to include a small role for cyberwarfare. The game will involve a hypothetical attack by a radiological "dirty bomb" in Seattle and a biological attack via infectious pneumonic plague in Chicago.(Levine's Newsbits 5/5/03) http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/22003-1.html
THE MAIN ENEMY: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB, by Milt Bearden and James Risen, Random House, May 2003, ISBN 0-679-46309-7, select Bibliography, Index. This book was just received, and not yet read. It is an exceptional experiment in writing history, an effort by a CIA insider and an outside journalist to combine forces. The authors adhered to a strict division of labor to abide by rules imposed by the CIA on its former officers. Bearden's manuscript was submitted for CIA publications review, while Risen did not. The book is based on hundreds of interviews with dozens of CIA and KGB officers. One of the blockbuster publication announcements was that there might still be another, yet undiscovered traitor inside the US Intelligence Community. The book contains a conclusion that four of more than a dozen Russians who spied for the US and who were caught in the mid-1980's, could not have been betrayed by the three treasonous moles within the IC, Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Edward Lee Howard. The book will be reviewed in an upcoming edition of the WINs. More importantly, the authors will speak at the forthcoming AFIO Luncheon on 24 June (Section V below). Hear them and discuss their findings -- a rare opportunity! (Jonkers) NYTimes 4 May 03 //C. Drew) http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/04/politics/04SPY.html
TERRORISM 2002 REPORT -- The US Department of State's 2002 Patterns of Global Terrorism, officially released on 30 April 2003 (see TTIC article above) may be viewed online at http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2002/ (NCIX Website Update Advisory #12-2003)
UK SOE FILE RELEASE -- New releases from the Public Record Office of the United Kingdom include "the Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel file on Hardy Amies, and correspondence between Prime Minister Edward Heath and US President Richard Nixon on Vietnam." See: http://www.pro.gov.uk/releases/april2003/list.html
AFIO NATIONAL QUARTERLY LUNCHEON -- will be held on Tues. 24 June 2003. Confirmed speakers are Milt Bearden, well-known CIA veteran and James Risen, Pulitzer Award winning journalist with the New York Times, co-authors of the just-published book entitled "THE MAIN ENEMY: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB." The book is an action-packed history of the "silent war" between the CIA and the KGB, told by the men who fought them, as related by a veteran intelligence officer and a distinguished journalist. It should be a great session. The speaker for the other slot will be announced as soon as confirmed. To register, email your name (and those of your guests) to firstname.lastname@example.org and authorize credit card payment for $27.50 per person (by email, phone (703 790 -0320) or fax (703 790 0264)
BOOK SIGNING -- Dan Pinck, author of "Journey to Peking: A Secret Agent in Wartime China," will discuss his book about his exploits as part of the OSS in China during WW II. Dan will talk about - and autograph - his book at the International Spy Museum (9th and F streets NW) in Washington DC on Thursday May 15 during two sessions, 12 noon-1 pm (at the Museum Store), and 1 pm - 1:30 pm (in the Garbo Meeting Room upstairs). There is no charge to attend. (RJ)
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