Weekly Intelligence Notes #22-03
WIN #22, dated 6 June 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 LUNCHEON: 24 June 2003, Tysons Corner, McLean, Virginia -- 11:30 - 2pm, Holiday Inn Hotel -- great program, register now! firstname.lastname@example.org
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CONTENTS of this WIN
SPECIAL OPERATIONS CAPABILITIES INCREASED -- Congress has authorized doubling the spending for new equipment and high-tech gadgetry for the Defense Department's growing force of special operations troops. Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) active and reserve troopers will increase in number from 10,000, to 49,000 personnel. The forces can be employed in the "seam" between peace and war, addressing transnational and 'asymetric' threats, including terrorist groups. SOCOM's budget will increase 37%, to $6.7 Billion. It will include upgrading long-range helicopters, modifying gunships, and a mini-sub to put Navy seals ashore, among other things.
Obviously there is possibility of a bureaucratic turf clash with CIA's Directorate of Operations, which also has license to hunt worldwide. CIA will also receive large (unspecified) amounts of new money for its paramilitary activities in the FY 2004 budget. (Jonkers) (WashPost 5 June 03, p. A31,//W. Pincus & D. Morgan)
IRAQ LESSONS FOR NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE -- The strategic targets that normally are the focus of U.S. intelligence satellites took a back seat to tactical targets in Iraq when the shooting started. This was an old lesson to be periodically re-learned, but even NRO 'old-timers' were surprised at the quantum step increase in tactical dependence on overhead systems. Spacecraft became integral to tipping off other intelligence collection systems and became integral to the kill-chain process. The lessons learned (or re-learned again, take your pick), were:
-- First -TASK ALLOCATION. Clearly capacity allocations must be reexamined to allow strategic collection while supporting increased tactical requirements.
-- Second - CONOPS. With a distributed architecture, NRO had "a number of alternative analysis centers" and was able to get a lot done more rapidly instead of dealing with bottlenecks at one or two locations. But there were a lot of difficulties with processor connectivity by the absence of a sound Concept of Operations (CONOPS).
-- Third - SYSTEM RELIABILITY IN A TACTICAL SITUATION. It was very high, at the 99.8 percent level. However, when it failed, it failed at exactly the wrong time. …Reliability requirements that were set for strategic missions are clearly different in a shooting conflict and you cannot have it go down at that time.
-- Fourth - "TRAIN THE WAY YOU FIGHT." Some of the operators didn't know what to do with these fantastic new intelligence data kits that NRO had evolved and given to them, and how to integrate that into their tactics. The NRO must schedule interactive exercises with combatant commands. They, in turn, must work on putting dynamic adversary signals into their tactical training. (Jonkers) (Aerospace Daily, 23 May 03 //R. Tuttle)
IRAQ INTELLIGENCE & THE WMD PARADOX -- Prior to the war, the most senior Administration officials unequivocally asserted that Iraq's possession of biological and chemical weapons and its nuclear weapons development program were an immediate threat to the national security of the US. and justification for unseating the government of Saddam Hussein and preparation for war. The Vice President, in an Aug. 26, 2002, speech said, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction."
A DCI National Intelligence Estimate was published in the summer of 2002 on the Iraqi WMD threat. When DCI Tenet declassified some of the findings, Senator Graham complained that only those findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq had been declassified, while others that raised questions were not. A DIA estimate during the same time period reportedly defined the Iraq WMD threat as 'probable.'
SecDef Rumsfeld reportedly was not fully satisfied with CIA and other intelligence briefings he received and created a small cell to look over the raw material and reports and provide interpretations. Vice President Cheney visited CIA a number of times and interacted with the analysts. SecState Powell personally sat with CIA analysts to prepare himself for his presentation at the UN.
The military were led to expect Iraqi use of WMD. Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Baghdad, said he "truly thought," based on intelligence he had been given before the war, that chemical weapons had been distributed to Iraqi Republican Guard units whose commanders had authority to fire them. "It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons. . . in some of the forward dispersal sites."
As we now know, no WMD were used by Iraqi forces (in either this war, or the Gulf War), or have thus far been found by either UN inspectors allegedly keyed by US intelligence, or our military forces occupying Iraq using our best intelligence -- in spite of total territorial control, and in spite of the fact that Iraq has been covered for decades by not only US clandestine and technical intelligence (HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT) and special operations; but also by UK, Israeli, Turkish and other allied intelligence, during the last decade virtually like a wet blanket. In 2003 Iraq had no chemical warfare capability, no nuclear capability, and only a postulated biological warfare research capability (which anyone with a laboratory has). Did Intelligence miss the boat on the changes in Iraq's posture, or was this information postulated but unacceptable politically? Did Intelligence "cave in" under relentless political pressure? Or did the political leadership interpret intelligence to their liking and needs to justify the war they saw as necessary?
Various investigations are now underway, including (1) CIA, which will issue a report by 1 July, (2) the Congressional intelligence committees, (3) the PFIAB (Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board), which will investigate how an allegedly forged report of a presumed Iraqi purchase interest in uranium from Nigeria found its way into the President's speech, and (4) the Defense Department, which has dispatched a special Iraq Survey Group, headed by Major General Keith Dayton, to Iraq to take over the WMD search from the smaller WMD units of the Army and Marines. This ISG will include 1,300 to 1,400 people from the United States, Britain and Australia and be based in Baghdad, with about 300 actually searching in Iraq and others doing analysis and questioning people with possible knowledge of weapons. The ISG will consolidate the efforts of the various intelligence collection operations currently in Iraq under one national-level headquarters.
Possibly reflecting the potential damage to the reputation of US intelligence, DCI George Tenet issued a statement reaffirming that -- "Integrity and objectivity are hallmarks of the intelligence profession. Our role is to call it like we see it -- to tell policymakers what we know, what we don't know, what we think, and what we base it on. That's the code we live by and that is what policymakers expect from us. That is exactly what was done and continues to be done on intelligence issues related to Iraq. I am enormously proud of the work of our analysts. The integrity of our process was maintained throughout and any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong."
Given the political stakes, something will be found. The reality remains that the invasion of Iraq was part of a global US strategy. This strategy, as it applied to Iraq, continued long-established US policy. Iraq is rich, and occupies a critical place in the Middle East, and was unpredictable, not susceptible to US control. In general, the US has opposed the secular socialist-leaning authoritarian leaders of Arab states (Egypt, Libya, Iraq) who overthrew corrupt monarchies, as they could not be controlled and thereby threatened the US life-line of oil, a vital US national interest. The US has been de-stabilizing Iraq on-and-off since the 1970's (US clandestine Kurdestan operations revealed by the scandalous leaks of the Church/Pike Hearings), with time out during the war with Iran. The overthrow of Hussein has been policy for more than a decade. The invasion was enabled by 9/11, and needed public justification. As DeSecDef Wolfowitz has noted, "for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason." (the others were the tenuous connections to al-Qaeda, and the 'evilness' of Saddam).
Intelligence estimates are frequently couched in caveats, and can be interpreted and used -or not used - by policymakers to achieve their aims. Intelligence estimates are just that - sometimes linear projections based on previous verities, and sometimes affected by mirror-imaging. They have even been known to be wrong. In this case the Administration's war-justification propaganda was reasonably obvious, an understandable exaggeration for the general public and the troops. Now WMD explanations need to be found - and will be - to limit political fallout. The overthrow of Hussein has few mourners (except for the tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties), and potentially has a number of strategic benefits, but it can be argued that HOW it was done carried some unnecessary costs. One must hope that the Intelligence community will not have to share disproportionately in those costs. (Jonkers) (WashPost 31 May 03, p. 1 // W. Pincus) (J. Yaphne) (CIA Website - crosslink from www.AFIO.COM (NYTimes 34 June 03 //J. Risen) (NY Times 30 May 03 //D. Stout) (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/30/international/worldspecial/30CND-WEAP.html)
FIRST RESPONDER EMERGENCY WIRELESS NETWORK -- First responders may eventually turn to personal digital assistants before their radios in emergencies, tapping into an interoperable wireless network recently developed and tested by federal scientists and engineers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has completed the first round of tests on a wireless emergency network. Local, state and federal emergency workers have found their radio systems, which use many different frequencies, to be an often-hopeless mode of communication. (Levine 3 June 03) http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/22298-1.html
CYBER TERROR VULNERABILITY -- Lawmakers are charging that government agencies and industry are not doing enough to protect the country’s power plants, industries and financial institutions from the threat of cyber terrorism attacks. At one recent hearing, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) complained that “not nearly enough” research and development is underway. He argued that government agencies have neither sought nor set aside adequate funding to implement the goals of the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act passed last fall. (Levine 29 mAY 03) http://www.hillnews.com/news/052803/cyberterror.aspx
PUBLIC - PRIVATE TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS --The Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technology (CCAT), a public-private research and development partnership funded by the Defense Department, announced Thursday that it has received more than 100 responses to its recent solicitation for innovative technologies related to defense and homeland security. (lEVINE 29mAY03) http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0503/052903td1.htm
DARPA LIFELOG MULTIMEDIA DATABASE OUT FOR BID -- Coming to you soon from the Pentagon: the diary to end all diaries -- a multimedia, digital record of everywhere you go and everything you see, hear, read, say and touch. Known as LifeLog, the project has been put out for contractor bids by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the agency that helped build the Internet and that is now developing the next generation of anti-terrorism tools. (Levine 3 June 03) http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/a/2003/06/02/national1444EDT0620.DTL
IRS SECURITY WEAKNESSES -- Critical information security weaknesses at the Internal Revenue Service demonstrate the importance of moving past the development of an information security program to actually implement the measures outlined in the plan. The General Accounting Office found almost 900 weaknesses across the 11 IRS organizations included in its review, particularly in the areas of access and authorization. All of the weaknesses can be traced to IRS' incomplete implementation of its agency wide security program, according to the report dated May 30. (LEVINE 2 MAY 03) http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0602/web-irs-06-02-03.asp http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0603/060203tdpm1.htm
EARLY COLD WAR OVERFLIGHTS 1950 -1956: SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS --Volumes I (Memoirs) and II Appendixes, compiled and edited by R. Cargill Hall & Clayton D. Laurie, Eds, Office of the Historian, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), (Washington DC, 2003, ISBN 0-9724322-0-5, for sale by NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161, tel 703 605 6000, fax 6900) . Outstanding, interesting reading of early US and UK missions, intruding over "denied territory" to gather vitally needed intelligence on the Soviets and their allies early in the Cold War. These highly classified missions involved incredible dangers and hardships. This is not dry history -- but first-hand accounts. Fascinating reading. What is today routine and done by satellites or high performance vehicles, in the early 1950's was done by RF-86's and RB-57's or 45's. A great contribution to public knowledge of early post-WW II intelligence. Highly recommended! (Jonkers)
AFIO NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM -- There has been a slight change in the dates. We shall be meeting over the weekend of 1 November, and at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in Chantilly on Monday, 3 November. More next week. (RJ)
JOBS IN IRAQ -- Armed security Iraq, base pay $41,000 w/bonus, $60,000-65,000. Static Security sites, WMD. No age requirements and must pass physical. Rations and Quarters furnished. (Julie Swaggenty. ARMOR GP, Richmond, VA., 804 262 0990)
INTELLIGENCE EVENT HOSTED BY THE MITRE CORPORATION -- MITRE is hosting a one-day event entitled "Intelligence Analysis Futures Day" on June 27th, 2003 at the Northeast Regional Research Center in Bedford, MA. This event will be focused on research and development and will include speakers from MITRE, Governmental departments (e.g. Homeland Security and NIMA), the military, and academia. This event will be broadcasted by VTC to other MITRE sights including Colorado Springs, Ft. Meade, Miami, Tampa, and D.C. Pre-registration is required, so please contact Pam Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-271-6994. For more info, please go to our website at http://nrrc.mitre.org/.
Joseph G Writes, Ref. THE 36TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTACK ON THE USS LIBERTY -- Sunday June 8, 2003 is the 36th anniversary of the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty, an American Navy Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) ship. Israeli jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats repeatedly attacked the ship and its crew in international waters off the coast of Sinai in the Mediterranean sea with rockets, cannon, machine gun, napalm and torpedoes during the third day of the 'five-day war.' As a result 34 American crewmen died and 172 were wounded. Many of the casualties were intelligence professionals.
Israel immediately apologized for what it claimed was a case of mistaken identity, an accident of the Israeli-Arab 5-day War (5 -10 June 1967), stating that its forces mistook the USS Liberty for an Egyptian ship. The US vehemently protested via diplomatic note, but accepted the explanation and the apology. In April the following year Israel paid $3,680,639 for the deaths and injuries, and later paid an additional $8Million for the near-complete destruction of a ship loaded with electronic gear with an original cost of about $30Million.
The complete truths concerning this incident, and the issue of Israel's claim of mistaken identity, was a controversial topic in 1967 and continues to be debated to this day. One question is why did the U.S. send an unarmed, unescorted intelligence collection ship into a dangerous war-zone? In May-June of 1967 the hostile confrontation between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan was threatening to break into warfare. The confrontation took place in the context of the Cold War, since the Soviet Union supplied the Arab states with armaments while Israel was supported by the US. There was an urgent US need to know what was going on. The USS Liberty was deployed and reported directly to the Joint Chiefs in Washington. On June 5th the war did break out -- the Israelis struck with a devastating attack. Israeli tanks penetrated deep into the Sinai. Fearing escalation and the risk of nuclear war, the U. S. reportedly warned Israel not to invade Syria, which had remained inactive while Israel attacked Egypt.
Author James Bamford, in his recent book on the National Security Agency, "Body of Secrets," contends that Israel's planned offensive against Syria to capture the strategic Golan Heights was abruptly postponed when USS Liberty appeared off Sinai. The attack then was launched once Liberty was knocked out of action. Israel's claim that Syria attacked first could have been disproved by Liberty's communications intercepts.
For how dangerously close the Soviets came to intervening, see LBJ's book, "The Vantage Point" (Holt, 1971) at page 302, concerning the "hotline" transmissions by the President to and from Chairman Kosygin. Likewise, for the tense orders to the nuclear armed, Mediterranean U. S. Sixth Fleet, given orally directly by Defense Secretary McNamara out of the Situation Room in Washington, D. C. on June 10th.
Two current books present diametrically opposing views on the issue of Israeli culpability. The first is "Assault on the Liberty" (Random House 1987, update Raintree 2002) by James M. Ennes, Jr., a career navy man and officer on the bridge at the beginning of the attack. He presents compelling eyewitness accounts of Israeli aerial reconnaissance one and two hours prior to the attack. The second is "The Liberty Incident" (Epilogue), (Brasseys 2003) by A. Jay Cristol, a veteran naval aviator and Federal bankruptcy judge from Florida, who ably presents the case for the defense. Cristol is the only investigator to claim interviews with Israeli participants.
Many journalists and surviving crew members contend that there has never been a complete and proper investigation of the incident. They point out that if indeed this was a 'mistake', no Israeli personnel have ever been punished for "gross negligence" for repeatedly firing upon a vessel with 6 foot U.S. Navy markings (GTR-5) on both bows and stern, a 30 foot dish on the afterdeck, no cannon armament whatever, and flying a large American flag.
What has been established in the opinion of some journalists is that President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara downplayed the details for allegedly domestic political reasons, misstating the casualties at 10 dead and 100 wounded. (Ref: LBJ's 1971 book, "The Vantage Point" p. 300). The pertinent White House tapes at the Johnson Library that may shed light on these matters have yet to be examined by professional historians. Author James Bamford charges the Johnson administration with a cover-up, revealing for the first time that there also was an EC-121 surveillance aircraft in the vicinity electronically recording the attack, including transmissions of the Israeli planes and boats. Bamford suggests that these unreleased classified documents would shed a politically embarrassing light on the entire episode and its aftermath.
The newly opened spy Museum in Washington DC, with its excellent, wide-ranging exhibits, has sidestepped the controversy by ignoring the USS Liberty incident, and the disturbing USS Pueblo incident as well. Both, however, are covered by displays in the National Cryptographic Museum located near NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland and open to the public.
This Memorial Day as we remembered our nation's honored dead, we included the losses from the USS Liberty -- we honor them and we salute them all. /// (Joseph G.)
§ EDITOR'S NOTE: What set the deplorable Liberty incident apart from such related disasters as the North Korean attack on the USS Pueblo is that it was executed by a friend, literally biting the hand that fed them. Even if one recognizes that national security knows no friends, particularly in conditions of extreme threat and war, the incident leaves a bad taste. Those US signals intelligence personnel who know the inside details cannot and will not speak, loyal to their oaths. It won't be long before they are all gone. In this editor's opinion the documents with the intercept evidence won't be opened for another fifty years, if ever, as it might cause unneeded political embarrassment. The incident, in any case has become a mere footnote, buried by history and selective memory. But the USS Liberty's dead, wounded and survivors deserve to be remembered, with our support and our salute, with full honors. (RJ)
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