Weekly Intelligence Notes #28-03
WIN 28-03 dtd 18 July 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
CONTENTS of this WIN
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DCI TENET ON IRAQ INTELLIGENCE IMBROGLIO -- Although the WMD issue has been extensively covered by the media, AFIO members deserve the full text of DCI George Tenet's statement as a basis for their discussions. The DCI statement follows:
"Legitimate questions have arisen about how remarks on alleged Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa made it into the President’s State of the Union speech. Let me be clear about several things right up front. First, CIA approved the President’s State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my Agency. And third, the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.
For perspective, a little history is in order. There was fragmentary intelligence gathered in late 2001 and early 2002 on the allegations of Saddam’s efforts to obtain additional raw uranium from Africa, beyond the 550 metric tons already in Iraq. In an effort to inquire about certain reports involving Niger, CIA’s counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn. He reported back to us that one of the former Nigerian officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office. The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss “expanding commercial relations” between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales. The former official also offered details regarding Niger’s processes for monitoring and transporting uranium that suggested it would be very unlikely that material could be illicitly diverted. There was no mention in the report of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all.
Because this report, in our view, did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad, it was given a normal and wide distribution, but we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Administration officials. We also had to consider that the former Nigerian officials knew that what they were saying would reach the U.S. government and that this might have influenced what they said.
In the fall of 2002, my Deputy and I briefed hundreds of members of Congress on Iraq. We did not brief the uranium acquisition story. Also in the fall of 2002, our British colleagues told us they were planning to publish an unclassified dossier that mentioned reports of Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa. Because we viewed the reporting on such acquisition attempts to be inconclusive, we expressed reservations about its inclusion but our colleagues said they were confident in their reports and left it in their document. In September and October 2002 before Senate Committees, senior intelligence officials in response to questions told members of Congress that we differed with the British dossier on the reliability of the uranium reporting.
In October, the Intelligence Community (IC) produced a classified, 90 page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s WMD programs. There is a lengthy section in which most agencies of the Intelligence Community judged that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Let me emphasize, the NIE’s Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them. But in the interest of completeness, the report contained three paragraphs that discuss Iraq’s significant 550-metric ton uranium stockpile and how it could be diverted while under IAEA safeguard. These paragraphs also cited reports that Iraq began “vigorously trying to procure” more uranium from Niger and two other African countries, which would shorten the time Baghdad needed to produce nuclear weapons. The NIE states: “A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of pure “uranium” (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out the arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake.” The Estimate also states: “We do not know the status of this arrangement. With regard to reports that Iraq had sought uranium from two other countries, the Estimate says: “We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources.” Much later in the NIE text, in presenting an alternate view on another matter, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research included a sentence that states: “Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR’s assessment, highly dubious.”
An unclassified CIA White Paper in October made no mention of the issue, again because it was not fundamental to the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and because we had questions about some of the reporting. For the same reasons, the subject was not included in many public speeches, Congressional testimony and the Secretary of State’s United Nations presentation in early 2003. The background above makes it even more troubling that the 16 words eventually made it into the State of the Union speech. This was a mistake. Portions of the State of the Union speech draft came to the CIA for comment shortly before the speech was given. Various parts were shared with cognizant elements of the Agency for review. Although the documents related to the alleged Niger-Iraqi uranium deal had not yet been determined to be forgeries, officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct – i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed."
By way of commentary on this explicit intersection of Intelligence and Statecraft of high interest to AFIO members, we may again note that:
(1) The invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam were part of a national strategy developed in the 1990's by an elite group (including the present VP and SecDef) to assure global stability through American power supremacy (Pax Americana) for the foreseeable future. The overthrow of the Iraq regime was part of the strategy, removing an uncontrolled source of potential trouble in the area, adding to Israel's security and laying a basis for breaking the impasse over Palestine congenial to Israeli interests, and to assure access and stability in regards to Middle East oil, a national interest. It was a strategic political decision.
(2) The context of the war against Saddam's Iraq was that it really never stopped after 1990, with broad sanctions crippling the Iraqi economy and infrastructure, intrusive inspections, extensive clandestine in-country operations, curtailments on Iraqi control and sovereignty by the imposition of the so-called "no-fly" zones and by the creation of an autonomous Kurdistan, and by persistent air attacks that rose to a full war-preparation crescendo with systematically wiping out of hundreds of nodes of the Iraqi air defense system during the year BEFORE the invasion began, using the cover story that Iraq attacked US air forces.
(3) The Iraqi invasion was made possible in terms of domestic politics by the terrorist event of 9/11, which was used to craft a US 'carte blanche' to attack anybody in the world proclaimed to be a current or potential threat, and provided the patriotic impetus for war;
(4) The planned attack on Iraq was subsequently justified to the American public and internationally by "war propaganda" accusations about the imminent threat of Iraqi WMD. War propaganda is historically often 'over the top' and 'not quite correct,' as the cause for war must be painted as righteous to justify the killing. Intelligence estimates, with their 'probably this' and 'possibly that' won't do it.
(5) Some of the estimates as well as the political interpretations of intelligence have not been borne out, leaving both the intelligence community and the political leadership at risk of diminished credibility.
On balance, disagreements on Iraq centered not so much on the objective of Iraqi regime overthrow as on the way it was accomplished, with what appeared to be unnecessarily high diplomatic, procedural, image and intelligence credibility costs (although the exercise of absolutely superior brute power can have beneficial political effects that in the hard-nosed real world offset these costs).
The political and media finger pointers for the "uranium intelligence imbroglio" have pointed at the White House staff, the SecDef's "special" intelligence review section, and at CIA as a focal point for the Intelligence Community. The DCI has taken responsibility for the erroneous "sixteen words" in a Presidential address. Nevertheless, many questions about the accuracy of intelligence assessments on Iraq and their usage remain, and we must await the complete "Kerr" report for further judgments on the adequacy of US intelligence collection and analysis on Iraq. Some Republican and Democratic politicians have called for the DCI's resignation. It would be untimely and unfortunate, as this DCI has exceptional personal access to the President, knows his Agency and is respected by its people as well as the Intelligence Community, knows his stuff and articulates it well, and has years of top level National intelligence leadership experience, all vital aspects of strength for our intelligence posture and national security. (Jonkers) (CIA Public Affairs - CIA Website via AFIO Website www.afio.com)
IRAQ SITREP -- The public media reflect the unfortunate daily US casualties, but the violence against American troops in the past six weeks has generally been limited to the so-called "Sunni Triangle," which includes parts of Baghdad.
In the rest of Iraq there is pragmatic adaptation and acceptance of the occupation, and the secret police is missed by no one. Some 67 of Iraq's cities and 85 percent of the smaller towns now have fully functioning municipalities. Bazaars are full of food stuffs at prices similar to that under the previous regime. Several ministries, including that of health and education, have also managed to get parts of their operations going again. Most hospitals are functioning again with essential medical supplies trickling in for the first time since 1999, when they were severely impacted by punishing US sanctions. Also, some 85 percent of primary and secondary schools and all but two of the nation's universities have reopened with a full turnout of pupils and teachers. The petroleum industry is being revived (not surprisingly) with plans to produce up to 2.8 million barrels of crude oil a day before the year is out.
There has been no mass exodus anywhere in Iraq. On the contrary, many Iraqis, driven out of their homes by Saddam, are returning to their towns and villages. Their return has given the building industry, moribund in the last years of Saddam, a boost. Iraqi exiles and refugees abroad are also coming home, many from Iran and Turkey. Last month alone the Iranian Red Crescent recorded the repatriation of more than 10,000 Iraqis, mostly Kurds and Shiites. In Iraq today there are no "displaced persons," no uprooted communities and no long lines of war victims in search of a safe haven. Life is creeping back to normal. Weddings, always popular in summer, are being celebrated again, often with traditional tribal ostentation. The first rock concert since the war, offered by a boys' band, has already taken place, and Iraq's National football (soccer) squad has resumed training under a German coach.
A new Iraqi army or constabulary is being formed, which will provide nationwide law and order and probably pursue elements of the former regime. It is always best for an occupying power to find local satraps to undertake this kind of work. The current house-bashing by American forces, hauling off individuals and tying up their family members, wins no friends and creates resentment. The greatest danger to the future Iraq is the growth of organized crime. On balance, however, contrary to media focus on difficulties (one remembers the Vietnam warp), on casualties (no more than daily Washington DC rate), and on political questions about intelligence, life in Iraq is proceeding to normalization. (Jonkers) (A. Taheri, 17 July 03) (email@example.com)
GLOBAL SECURITY WARNING TRENDS -- A number of international security developments are not getting the public and policy attention they deserve, according to RAND Corporation analysts. These include:
(1) Nuclear space defense weapons may impact on US space-borne intelligence capabilities. Within the next five years not only Russia and China but also Pakistan, North Korea, and even Iran, may acquire the ability to cripple US intelligence satellite operations by exploding a nuclear weapon in space and rendering electronic components ineffective.
(2) Population perturbations that may impact state control, to wit (a) Russia’s shrinking population, which, if current trends persist, will diminish its capacity to battle against smuggling, terrorism, and weapons proliferation. (b) The decimation by the HIV/AIDS pandemic of African militaries, meaning that some of them are likely to lose control over national security, territorial integrity, and public order, opening the door to brutal chaos in more states, and (c) Rising Hindu nationalism and extremism in India may push its Muslim citizens to shift their allegiance from the state to some sort of larger international Islamic movement and cause internal instability in this nuclear state.
(3) Political Moves in South Asia to Watch -- (a) The 225-mile anti-terrorism wall being built by Israel to stop terrorist attacks will profoundly change the geographical and political landscape of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (b) The growing Tehran-New Delhi collaboration, as well as India's rapprochement with China, may affect South Asia and the Middle East, and (c) The festering India-Pakistan dispute over the Indus Water Treaty could fundamentally transform the Kashmir conflict, already one of the major threats to South Asia stability.
It may be noted that a great deal of quiet-but-disquieting potential strategic risk or threat uncertainty centers on India, a nuclear power. US diplomacy is seeking to counter this by courting closer relations. (Jonkers) (“Headlines Over the Horizon,” Atlantic Monthly, July-August 2003 -- WIIR 146)
CYBERCRIME IMPACT ON WORLD ECONOMICS -- Cyber crime causes damage to global economics in billions of dollars and many experts think that it is a rapidly increasing threat to national security and social well-being. USA is a leader in quantity of cyber attacks and makes 35.4% of cyber attacks in the world. South Korea takes the 2nd place - 12.8%; China - 6.9%; Germany - 6.7%; France - 4%; Great Britain - 2.2 %. As to the level of cyberattacks, (the quantity of cyberattacks for 1000 Internet-users) South Korea takes the first place and makes 23.7%. Poland is the second in the list - 18.4 %; Chechnya - 14,2 %; France -14,2 % and Taiwan takes the fifth place - 14%. (Levine 9 July) http://www.crime-research.org/eng/news/2003/07/Mess0903.html
FINGERPRINT SYSTEMS INTEGRATION LAGGING -- The integration of fingerprint databases has fallen behind schedule, creating continued risks to national security, according to a Justice Department Inspector General report released last month. For several years, Justice has been merging the IDENT system from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). In 1999, the Justice Management Division was assigned to lead the efforts. (Levine 11 July) http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0707/web-doj-07-11-03.asp
HOMELAND SECURITY LIABILITY PROTECTION -- The Homeland Security Department today proposed regulations to shield technology vendors from liability for vendors of domestic defense products that cause unintended damage, injury or death. The regulations would implement the Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002. That law, a subtitle of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, aims to spur development of antiterrorism technologies by protecting vendors. (Levine 11 July) (http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/22735-1.html) (http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0707/web-rule-07-11-03.asp )
SECRETS TO BEST PASSWORDS -- The use of good, hard-to-guess passwords can make it difficult for a malicious hacker to break into your computer account. Avoiding predictable keywords and using different methods to introduce variety into your passwords makes it easy for you to remember them but virtually impossible for others to guess them. Check Computerworld reference for tips. (Levine 11 July) http://computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,82883,00.html
NCIX BOOKLET -- The NCIX booklet BE ALERT!, which contains information on the foreign intelligence collection threat to US official and business travelers, may now be ordered, on a restricted basis, by linking to (http://www.ncix.gov/pubs/misc/pub_be_alert.html) (http://www.ncix.gov/pubs/misc/pub_be_alert.html) (SA Steve Argubright // Stepfa@ncix.gov)
AMERICA'S SPLENDID LITTLE WARS: A SHORT HISTORY OF U.S. MILITARY ENGAGEMENTS 1975 - 2000, by Peter Huchthausen (USN ret), Viking 2003. The story starts with Vietnam and ends before this year's invasion of Iraq. In a dozen episodes the author provides a thorough picture of what America's warriors have been up to since the 1975 evacuation of Saigon, without even considering covert operations and peacekeeping missions. Most of the activity took place in what used to be called the Near East, from Lebanon to Somalia to the Balkans, in addition to that traditional hunting ground for the US, the Caribbean. The author, a retired naval officer, shines when writing of operations and naval armaments, but the reviewer judged him a bit short on providing political context. The title, incidentally, derives from Secretary of War John Hay's ironic description of the 1898 war against Spain as a "splendid little war," one that fits well with both the recent (and ongoing) Afghanistan and Iraq wars. (Jonkers //Unread, based on review by H.W. Brand, WP Book World 20 July 03 /p.3)
THE SAVAGE WARS OF PEACE: SMALL WARS AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN POWER, by Max Boot, New York: Basic Books, 2002. This is an eminently readable survey of America's small wars, an almost incessant enterprise from the Revolution onward (putting to rest the notion of a democracy as non-violent or inherently peaceful), written by Wall Street Journal editor Boot. As the merits and limitations of the US taking on the role of an imperial police force are increasingly debated, it is useful to recall that this is not the first time America has attempted to do so. Interestingly, the US marines were the service of choice for the great majority of these conflicts. (It resulted in a USMC "Small Wars Manual" published in 1941, that might have been usefully read in Vietnam and still applicable.) Boot covers both the successes and some of the darker aspects (charges of war crimes, use of torture to extract information, and troop mutinies). What makes the book timely are the tie-ins the author provides between wars of the past and the realities of the present. Issues such as exit strategies, expected casualties, the difficulties of working with local allies, and the complexities of state building, are not things the US is facing for the first time. Well written, timely and provocative, and well worth reading. (Jonkers//unread, based on Review by Richard Norton, Naval War College Review Summer 2003, p. 162)
SWEEPSTAKES ON NEW BRITISH SPY DRAMA ABOUT MI-5 -- A new British spy drama about the inner workings and operations of Britain's security intelligence service, "MI-5", will have its American premiere on Tuesday, 22 July at 9 pm ET on A&E Network. To promote the show here in the US, A&E Network is sponsoring a "Spies & Lies Sweepstakes" via their website. The Grand Prize is a trip for two on the upcoming SPYCRUISE to London on the QE2 plus a week's stay in London and an exclusive reception at Westminster hosted by British intelligence author Nigel West. The CI Centre, which manages the Spy Cruise, is an AFIO corporate partner, and AFIO is an official co-sponsor of SPYCRUISE. Additional prizes include a trip to the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC; two round trip tickets to London via Virgin Atlantic Airways; and a Toshiba Pocket PC. Here's your chance to win a free trip on the well-regarded SpyCruise. To enter the sweepstakes, go to: http://www.aetv.com/tv/shows/mi5/. For more information about SPYCRUISE, go to http://spytrek.com. For information about the CI Centre, check www.cicentre.com. (Jonkers)
IWP OPEN HOUSE FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS -- The Institute of World Politics (IWP) is hosting its summer open house for prospective students on Wednesday, July 30 from 5 to 8 P.M. Individuals interested in pursuing advanced degrees or simply continuing an education in National Security and Statecraft should consider attending. There you will get the opportunity to meet and mingle with a variety of the Institute's faculty consisting of highly impressive and well respected scholar-practitioner's. The event will be held on IWP's location at 1521 16th St, NW, Washington D.C. 20036. For further information concerning the Institute, it's open house, or to view a selection of courses to be provided in the upcoming academic semester, visit their website at http://www.iwp.edu/ (G. Poteat)
LARRY S. WRITES ON CELL PHONES IGNITING VEHICLES -- Inasmuch as many people use cellular telephones and many of those people also refuel their automobiles themselves, staff being so difficult to obtain and retain nowadays, please be careful when refueling, especially when (but not only when) little ones are inside the vehicles. The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations.
-- In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.
-- In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car.
-- And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.
You should know that Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes! Members, we want to keep you safe!! (LS)
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