Weekly Intelligence Notes #21-03
WIN 21 dated 30 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
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IRAQI BIOLOGICAL WARFARE TRAILER EVIDENCE -- CIA and DIA have published a new report to explain and justify their conclusion that several mobile trailers captured in Iraq were intended to produce biological weapons. Two trucks found in northern Iraq were filled with laboratory equipment "permanently installed and interconnected," creating "an ingeniously simple, self-contained bio-processing system," the report says. "The trailers probably are part of a two- or possibly three-trailer unit. Both trailers we have found probably are designed to produce a biological warfare agent in unconcentrated liquid slurry." A third trailer, found in Baghdad, is said to be a (rusty) mobile toxicology laboratory dating from the 1980s. It could have legitimate uses or be part of a weapons program. No trace of actual prohibited weapons were found in the trucks. The report dismisses all alternate explanations for the trailers.
Captured Iraqi scientists have claimed that the vehicles were for producing hydrogen for weather balloons that would support conventional artillery. The report acknowledges the trailers could be used to make hydrogen but says it would be inefficient compared to widely available commercial hydrogen generation systems. But one single defector source, an Iraqi chemical engineer, claimed, well before the invasion, to have managed a mobile laboratory, and this information was used in SecState Powell's presentation to the UN in February 2003.
The political pressure to find Iraqi WMD evidence is growing. Without a doubt Iraq had programs along this line. We know because we assisted them and Saddam, during their war with Iran (the next US target). Saddam apparently made a decision in the nineties to destroy or abandon most or all of it. Debriefing intelligence of his defecting sons-in-law indicated both the program's existence and its termination. One could believe one or the other. But the Iraq invasion was undertaken for other reasons -- US strategy -- that was enabled by 9/11, and then publicly and internationally justified by an imminent WMD threat to the US. It damaged our international reputation, and the current brouhaha may cause problems within the US. But by next year, election year, when Iraq oil will flow and the price of gas at the pump will come down dramatically, and with the government pushing money into the economy with deficit financing, and prosperity up, most of this will be forgotten. (Jonkers) (AP 28 May 03 //J. Lumpkin) (www.cia.gov/cia/publication/iraqi_mobile_plants/index.html)
POLYGRAPH TESTING TO INCREASE IN PENTAGON -- A provision in the House version of the 2004 defense authorization act "would remove existing limits on the number of polygraph examinations that the Department of Defense may administer," according to a House Armed Services Committee report. The new provision would also eliminate the regular annual report on the DoD polygraph program, which is one of the only public windows into the field. Instead of a public report, the Secretary of Defense would be obliged to make information on polygraph testing "available to the congressional defense committees." This may help deter "leaks." (Jonkers) (Secrecy News 29 May) (http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2003/hr1588-poly.html)
MEDIA INTELLIGENCE BIAS -- As the Administration is pressed to justify its WMD data interpretation, the redoubtable NY Times might well examine its record of WMD reportage. Judith Miller, NY Times WMD reporter, like the Administration, is said to have put great weight on reports by Ahmad Chalabi and other defector sources on WMD. The CIA and the Intelligence Community, experienced professionals in evaluating HUMINT reporting, did not buy the defector stories at face value. But the Administration hawks and the Pentagon political officers embraced them, for reasons of justifying their strategic plan. Most of Miller's wild WMD stories have not been substantiated, and there now is argumentation and speculation in the media that Miller's sources 'played her' to help justify the war, or that Miller deliberately 'weighted the evidence' to benefit the Administration's goals. A recent Times editorial noted that "The country needs to know if the spy organizations were right or wrong." By the same logic, we need to know if Miller and the NY Times too gullibly swallowed the WMD agenda and sources. (Jonkers) (URL http://slate.msn.com/id/2083736/ "Reassessing Miller" //J. Shafer 29 May 03, firstname.lastname@example.org)
JIHAD TERRORISM INTELLIGENCE -- A British Home Office report, dated May 9, 2003, based on information provided by MI-5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence agency, provides some insights into the resilience and flexibility of the loose amalgamation of Islamic extremist terrorist organizations. Whatever the current state of Al Qaeda, the report says, an even more dangerous threat may come from “nonaligned mujahedin” groups who are only loosely affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s organization but cooperate with it on a case-by-case basis across international boundaries in the furtherance of common goals.
The fact that networks remain active even when their leaders are arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to years in prison, the document adds, is a “current example of the phenomenon of motivated individuals whose history is of allegiance to particular terrorist groups, but who cooperate with people based overseas of different nationalities and historical terrorist allegiances, in pursuit of Al Qaeda’s terrorist agenda, without necessarily acting explicitly on behalf of any individual terrorist group.” Many U.S. and European counterterrorism investigators say the scheming of “nonaligned mujahedin” cells and even lone-wolf, nonaligned jihad fighters (like would-be airplane shoe-bomber Richard Reid) worries them more than the possibility of another centrally planned, extremely complex Al Qaeda operation similar to the September 11 attacks.
Both appear to be threats at the moment. The highly coordinated bombings of residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month, had all the earmarks of a classic Al Qaeda operation that, U.S. officials now believe, was actually ordered by high-level leaders of the group living in Iran. (NOTE: the Saudis apparently confronted the Iranian government with a list of a half dozen Al Qaeda suspects in Iran who they believe were behind the operation, now reportedly arrested). On the other hand, a subsequent series of attacks in Morocco appear to much more clearly fit the Home Office model of a “nonaligned” jihadi operation -- especially as investigations so far indicate that the Casablanca suicide bombers were not known suspects with Al Qaeda backgrounds. (RJ) (Newsweek 8 May 2003 // M. Isikov & M. Hosenball)
JOINT TASK FORCE TARGETING HORN OF AFRICA -- Since early December, a U.S. Central Command combined joint task force has been developing intelligence networks and partnerships with countries in the Horn of Africa to “detect, disrupt and defeat” transnational terrorist groups in the region including Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen. Until this month, the task force made its headquarters on the joint command and control ship USS Mount Whitney in the Gulf of Aden. The ship, which boasts a communications suite that affords real-time, worldwide connectivity over unclassified and classified networks, has returned to its home port. While on station it was protected by10 ships making up Combined Task Force-150, an international maritime force composed of ships from France, Germany, the United States, Spain and Italy.
A new headquarters has now been established for the task force ashore at Camp Lemonier, a facility which the US is leasing from the Djibouti government. During the past six months the task force, working with embassies and agencies in the region, has developed an "intelligence picture" of the region, and has built an "information-sharing" network with the local countries. This was not an inconsiderable task. They had to build trust among coalition partners in the region that the US was in the counterterrorism business -- and not in the business of providing information 'on' one coalition partner to another. In addition to sharing intelligence and offering training opportunities, the task force has agreements with several nations for “direct action missions” such as arresting suspects and handling those detainees within the bounds of sovereignty organizational network. (Jonkers) (Inside the Pentagon, 22 May 2003, p.1 //C. MacRae)
TOO MUCH CYBER SECURITY AT CIA?? -- While other government agencies struggle with their cyber security practices, the CIA apparently suffers from the opposite problem: too much security -- according to a recent study of the agency's use of information technology. In an unclassified report titled "Failing to Keep Up With the Information Revolution," former CIA officer Bruce Berkowitz -- now a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution -- found that the agency's intelligence analysts were hobbled by outdated software and cut off from many of the technological advances that workers outside the intelligence community take for granted. (Levine 29 May 03) http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/30920.html http://computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,81605,00.html
TERRORISM & GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS -- Justice Department officials have linked terrorism watch lists to the system that performs background checks to clear gun purchasers, department officials said today. "We have linked up various terrorist lists to be checked by the [National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)]" a senior Justice Department official said. "But the system is there for the Brady Law. It is used only for preventing prohibited persons [such as felons and illegal aliens] from purchasing firearms, but mere suspicion of criminal activity is not necessarily a prohibitive factor." (Levine 29 May 03) http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0526/web-fbi-05-29-03.asp
-- Police forces across the UK are set to adopt a high-tech vehicle number plate reading technology next year following a successful pilot, which resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs and stolen vehicles and goods. The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system, reported on earlier this week by silicon.com, was tested by nine police forces for six months in a trial codenamed Project Laser. The police haul included £100,000 ($165,000) in drugs, 300 stolen vehicles worth over £2 million ($3.3 million) and £715,000 ($1.2 million) in stolen goods--and 3,000 arrests. (Levine 29 May 03) http://zdnet.com.com/2110-1105_2-1011220.html
NEW ELECTRONIC ORDER IN THE COURT -- As Judge Lewis A. Kaplan took his seat in Courtroom 12D in United States District Court in Manhattan, the plaintiff's lawyer raised a question. He needed help connecting a laptop that contained a PowerPoint presentation that a witness would use during questioning. A court clerk sprang into action, and minutes later the cover page of the witness's presentation appeared on the courtroom's monitors. As a result of an initiative by federal and state judges, Judge Kaplan's courtroom is one of many across the country where computer technology is becoming as much a fixture as the American flag. (Levine 29 May) http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/29/technology/circuits/29cour.html
ESPIONAGE'S MOST WANTED: The Top Ten Book of Malicious Moles, Blown Covers, and Intelligence Oddities, by Tom E. Mahl, Brassey's Inc., Washington DC 2003, ISBN 1-57488-489-1, Bibliography, Index. A book to sample. It provides a range of short stories of the good, the bad and the ugly of the world of espionage. It includes code-breaking coups, personalities, spy gadgets, and a range of oddities. For easy light reading and browsing. (Jonkers)
TALENTED AFIO ASSOCIATE MEMBER SEEKS EMPLOYMENT -- Over fifteen years experience in planning, management and marketing of corporate special events meetings and fund-raising. Record of successful conference management, marketing planning and promotion, fund-raising events, innovative marketing communications, and special event management. For example, managed the official corporate hospitality at the Wimbledon Championships, The Barcelona Olympics, the Ryder Cup etc. Excellent computer skills. BA degree with post-graduate studies in Marketing and Commerce. Interested Employers contact AFIO email@example.com referencing this WIN Employment notice. (Jonkers)
IN MEMORIAM -- NINE NAVY CREWMEMBERS on an intelligence mission, who died in Laos in 1968 when their OP2E Neptune aircraft crashed in the mountains, were recovered during six missions between 1993 and this year. Their plane left a base in Thailand on Jan. 11, 1968, on a mission to drop sensors in Laos to detect enemy movements. They never came back. It is not too late to render a last salute to those long gone. (RJ)
Capt. Delbert A. Olson of Casselton, N.D.
Lt. j.g. Dennis L. Anderson of Hope, Kan.
Lt. j.g. Philip P. Stevens of Twin Lake, Mich.
Lt. j.g. Arthur "Charlie" Buck, Cleveland, Ohio
Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard M. Mancini of Amsterdam, N.Y.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael L. Roberts of Purvis, Miss.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald N. Thoresen of Detroit.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth H. Widon of Detroit.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Gale R. Siow of Huntington Park, Calif.
Nan L. Writes on CIA Post-WWII Activity -- I just sent you an article on 'How the CIA opened the door to Ex-Nazis.' What is your opinion about this?
ED. Reply: Interesting, but tendentious. Obviously, Intelligence 'assets' used in legitimate US missions do not have to be angels. Secondly, CIA and the clandestine services ONLY do what they are ordered to do by the legitimate political authority, which is elected by us. That authority does the best it can according to its own political philosophy, experience and wisdom. The latter is occasionally judged to have been lacking, particularly when time passes and context changes, and always crystal clear with the help of perfect hindsight. What was done in the late 1940's was necessary for US security when the Nazis were defeated and the US had to meet the challenging menace of Soviet communism, suddenly changing from being wartime friends with "Uncle Joe Stalin" (both US government propaganda for the public and some of our top leadership "drinking their own bathwater"). We needed intelligence on the USSR in a hurry. It was plenty tense in Europe after the War in the forties. We used what we could get, including information from German intelligence. (RJ)
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