Weekly Intelligence Notes #29-03
WIN 29-03 dtd 25 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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NORTH KOREA SITREP -- North Korea announced that it has completed reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods it removed from its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, which would give it enough plutonium to manufacture three nuclear weapons. How to deal with this member of the "axis of evil" is obviously being debated within the Administration. President Bush has announced the official line -- that multilateral regional negotiation, also involving China, Japan and South Korea, is the best way to handle the crisis. Others in the administration hold that further economic sanctions, or, in due time, surgical military strikes or even an invasion might be necessary to curb the North Korean program and regime. Such action would undoubtedly have to wait for the removal of US troops from the current line of demarcation to locations further south.
Intelligence leaks may be selectively used to push various particular approaches to the problem. For example, recent media reports indicated that there are not one, but multiple North Korean nuclear production sites. A precision strike is obviously less attractive or effective if North Korea has dispersed and hardened its processing sites. Other media reports indicate that US sensors are now picking up traces of krypton gas indicative of nuclear reprocessing activity. This is an argument for urgent action. One must evaluate all these media reports carefully, as intelligence, true or false, may be purposefully 'leaked,' for internal political reasons, or as part of a complex game of international power politics. (Jonkers) (Wall St Journal 22 July 03// C. Cooper)
THE IRAQ URANIUM IMBROGLIO (Cont'd) -- Two CIA memoranda to the National Security Council in October 2002 stated that reports of Iraq's purchase of 500 tons of uranium in Niger relied on weak evidence, and assumed Iraq was pursuing an acquisition that was arguably of questionable value because Iraq already had uranium supplies.
As a result of the disclosure of these two classified memoranda that CIA sent to the NSC, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Stephen J. Hadley, stepped forward to take the blame for the infamous "sixteen words" in the President's speech about an alleged Iraqi uranium purchase. Hadley told reporters that while he received the memoranda in October, he had no memory of the warning three months later when the issue came up again for the State of the Union address. This is perhaps understandable, given the flood of information with which these staffs have to deal. It leaves open the question of why the CIA position conveyed to the NSC in October was not repeated as succinctly the next January, although the general political atmosphere -- in which it was unrewarding and even unpatriotic to dissent, given the fact of the planned Iraq invasion -- may well have played a role. The reputation of the National Security Advisor herself is now shadowed. The game of musical chairs as to who might walk the plank in CIA or the NSC is still unfolding.
The game is also being played at another level, closer to the stereotype of "down and dirty politics." The undercover role of the wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson was blown by publishing her cover name in a conservative newspaper, reportedly at the instigation of two "senior administration officials." She was identified as working for the CIA in an undercover capacity on weapons of mass destruction issues -- at least she was undercover until last week, when she was publicly identified by columnist Robert Novak. Why was this done? Ambassador Wilson had reportedly been asked earlier to check on the veracity of the Iraqi "yellow cake" uranium contract documentation with officials in Niger, and found that they denied any such letters or activity. As the controversy on the issue continued, he eventually went public.
In response to the release of his wife's name and activity to the press, Wilson said that it was an attempt to intimidate others like him from talking about administration intelligence utilization. "It's a shot across the bow...that if you talk, we'll take your family and drag them through the mud as well." It may be noted that the alleged "senior administration officials" who named her, if their description of her employment was accurate, may well have violated the law. It also endangered her person and possibly the lives of her contacts in foreign countries. "If what the two senior administration officials said is true," Wilson said, "they will have compromised an entire career of networks, relationships and operations." What's more, it would mean that "this White House has taken an asset out of the weapons of mass destruction fight, not to mention putting at risk any contacts she might have had where the services are hostile."
The Washington game goes on, frequently down and dirty, mean and petty. But strategists in both political parties now believe that the lifespan of the WMD criticism furore may well be limited, largely depending on whether the occupation of Iraq goes well or poorly. That still could go either way. The next six months will tell. (Jonkers) (Newsday 23 July 03 //T. Phelps & K. Royce) (Yahoo AFP 22 July 03) (NYTimes 22 July //D. Sanger and J. Miller) (WashPost 23 July 03, p.1 //W. Pincus & D. Milbank) (http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-uscia223383072jul22,0,1332639.story)
AIR AND SPACE INTELLIGENCE PLATFORMS -- The struggle for the proper mix of intelligence satellites and aircraft (now increasingly, UAVs as well) has gone on for years. Satellites can collect where aircraft cannot go, but airborne systems have greater flexibility and are easier to upgrade. In the recent past, steps have been taken to integrate signals intelligence (SIGINT) airborne and satellite systems better, e.g., linking systems to allow triangulation of emitter positions, and using satellite identifications to alert airborne collection platforms. Now a wide-ranging review of intelligence needs, the Transformation Space Air Project (TSAP), is underway to help determine the optimum balance between intelligence satellites and aircraft by addressing all aspects of technical intelligence collection.
At the same time, Defense discussions are on-going about Navy joining Army's next-generation airborne SIGINT program, the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS), which is slated to replace the Army's fleet of RC-12 Guardrails and RC-7 Airborne Reconnaissance Lows. Since Army expects to award a single development contract for the SIGINT system in early 2004, there will be pressure for Navy decisions in the relatively near future. Congress has expressed concern about the Navy's aging EP-3s, urging that their collection requirements be shifted to the RC-135 Rivet Joint fleet. The Navy had planned for its EP-3 collection platforms to be replaced by the Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA), but has dropped that plan. (Note: the MMA is still expected to replace other special-mission P-3s, including the aircraft flown by the VPU-1 and VPU-2 squadrons that operate with long-range electro-optical cameras, infrared sensors, chemical detectors, power measurement devices and other sensors to detect and analyze emissions across a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum).
The new Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, has encouraged the services to pursue common mission equipment. The advent of an intelligence 'czar' in Defense with real power, coupled with the growing awareness of the importance of intelligence in modern warfare, could actually redress the customary tendency in the military of favoring paying for 'things that go bang' versus 'paying for things that make smart bangs possible.' (Harvey) (Aviation Week and Space Technology 14 July '03, pg. 26,/// R. Wall)
US SPACE CONTROL WARFARE PLANS --The US Air force plans to field ground-based systems to neutralize the reconnaissance (and communications) satellites of unfriendly powers, when necessary. The USAF 'Counter-Surveillance Reconnaissance System' is slated for deployment in 2005 to 2008. It is a part of the emerging Defense effort for space control, which is defined as 'guaranteed US access to our satellite capabilities, coupled with the ability to counter the space assets used by adversaries.
In terms of offensive space control capabilities, the Pentagon in 1997 conducted a space control demonstration in which a ground-based laser was fired at one of our own satellites. Presumably such a laser might dazzle and blind an imaging satellite's sensitive optics. The counter-surveillance program is budgeted at $66 million in 2004. As for our own satellite's defenses, the first task is to provide a warning system to detect and identify potential threats to them, involving both ground and space-based sensors. This effort is budgeted at $6.6 million for 2004. The two space control programs together are budgeted at $250 million over the next five years. The control of space is a fundamental part of the Pax Americana strategy, superceding the old Mahan formulation of "Who controls the seas, controls the world," to "Who controls Space, controls the world." (Jonkers) (Defense News 21 July03, p./ 38 //J. Singer)
DHS ADVISORY 23 JULY 2003 -- There exists a potential for a significant impact on Internet operations due to vulnerability in Microsoft Operating systems, including computers using the following: Windows NT 4.0, Windows 4.0 Terminal, Services edition Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) (WOW - What a title) is issuing this advisory in consultation with the Microsoft Corporation to heighten awareness of potential Internet disruptions resulting from the possible spread of malicious software exploiting a vulnerability in popular Microsoft Windows operating systems. Microsoft updates, workarounds, and additional information are available at: http://microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/MS03-026.asp (SA Gary Harter -- Email: email@example.com Online: http://www.nipc.gov/incident/cirr.htm)
CRACKING PASSWORDS IN MINUTES -- If your passwords consist of letters and numbers, beware. Swiss researchers released a paper on Tuesday outlining a way to speed the cracking of alphanumeric Windows passwords, reducing the time to break such codes to an average of 13.6 seconds from 1 minute 41 seconds. The method involves using large lookup tables to match encoded passwords to the original text entered by a user, thus speeding the calculations required to break the codes. Called a time-memory trade-off, the situation means that an attacker with an abundance of computer memory can reduce the time it takes to break a secret code. (Levine 22 July 03) http://news.com.com/2100-1009_3-5053063.html
US "SMART" PASSPORTS -- US citizens will be issued with "smart" passports carrying a digitally signed photograph by late 2004, according to Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary for Passport Services at the US Department of State. (http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993975) (Levine 23 July 03)
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SECURITY STANDARDS -- Calling the Homeland Security Department "incapable of doing anything to save the civilian IT infrastructure," former White House cyber-security 'czar' Richard Clarke called on software users and buyers to set security standards themselves. "You can't count on the government to defend critical networks," Clarke said at the National Information Assurance Leadership Conference. (Levine 22 July 03) http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/22845-1.html
PUBLIC INTERNET TERMINALS EXPLOITED -- For more than a year, unbeknownst to people who used Internet terminals at Kinko's stores in New York, Juju Jiang was recording what they typed, paying particular attention to their passwords. Jiang had secretly installed, in at least 14 Kinko's stores, software that logs individual keystrokes. He captured more than 450 user names and passwords, using them to access and even open bank accounts online. (Levine 22 July 03) (http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/editorial/6359407.htm)
CORPORATE WARRIORS: THE RISE OF THE PRIVATIZED MILITARY INDUSTRY, by P.W. Singer, Cornell University Press, August 2003, ISBN 0801441145. Major Western governments have been privatizing services once performed by their uniformed services, as described in P.W. Singer's book. Singer divides corporate participants in three categories, (1) Firms that provide combat-training and consulting, including participation in armed conflict, (2) Consultants who offer advice, but do not engage in combat, and (3) Support firms that offer non-lethal aid, such as mine-sweeping, maintenance, software, logistics and supply. The Defense Department understands how much faster and cheaper things can be done if they are contracted out. Private contractors are used in anti-drug operations in Colombia. Many security tasks in Iraq are already being done by private companies. US intervention in Liberia could be accomplished more easily if private contractor personnel augmented American combat forces. It goes without saying that all of this impacts on the Intelligence Community and its operations. (Jonkers) (unread, based on Defense News, 21 July 03, p. 64 //G. Ratnam)
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE LARGEST COVERT OPERATION IN HISTORY,” by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, April 2003, ISBN 0871138549. Representative Charlie Wilson, who is quoted to the effect that his power in the House of Representatives had come primarily “as a result of his work with the Israeli lobby,” apparently played a key role in supporting anti-Soviet guerillas in Afghanistan by fostering ties between Israel and Pakistan. Journalist Crile tells the story as a rollicking tale involving beautiful women (including those escorted by Wilson to and from Israel), clandestine arms deals involving unlikely partners, and involvement by the Congressman with CIA operative Gust Avrokotos operating in utter disregard for the rules.
Charlie Wilson himself ended up overseeing much of this eccentric weapons program for Pakistan out of his own congressional office, and it turned out to be a wild and remarkable success story. The Spanish mortar, for example, was designed to make it possible for the mujahideen to communicate directly with American navigation satellites to deliver repeated rounds within inches of their designated targets. The weapon’s name was purposefully misleading, chosen to conceal the fact that major portions of this “Spanish mortar” were being built by the Israelis. Milt Bearden, the station chief who would dominate the war’s later years, actually came to rely on the steady stream of crazy new weapons that kept coming on-line from this offbeat program. His strategy called for introducing a new weapon into the battle every three months or so, in order to bluff the Red Army into thinking their enemy was better armed and supported than it was.
"When the weapon was first used it wiped out an entire Spetsnaz outpost with a volley of perfect strikes. And as soon as Bearden learned from the CIA’s intercepts that the commander of the 40th Army had helicoptered to the scene, he knew that from that day on, the Soviets would have to factor in the possibility that the mujahideen had acquired some deadly targeting capability. For that reason alone, the weapon was a success even if never fired again. Bearden became so intoxicated with this kind of psychological warfare that he later developed plans to have a group of mujahideen shoot dead Russian soldiers with crossbows. To him, the vision of men who might kill you with a bow and arrow one day or with a satellite-guided mortar the next would be unnerving to any army.” (P-393).This is a best-seller. (Jonkers/unread, based on reviews by Jeffrey Howard and by Shaheen Sehbai, // http://www.satribune.com/archives/jul20_26_03/P1_charlie.htm)
AFIO SURVEY -- A number of you were asked to fill in some blanks in our personnel system -- your responses showed again what a tremendously rich association this is, in terms of its members and their accomplishments across all phases and aspects of the national intelligence endeavor. Thank you! (RJ)
COUNTER INTELLIGENCE ANALYST JOB OPENING -- A CI Analyst position has opened at Livermore, California, and is posted at the Laboratory's external web site at http://www.sandia.gov/employment/index.html
PERHAPS. It appears that the three specific incidents detailed have not been confirmed and may well be phony, an attention-getter. But at the local Shell station in McLean where I fill up the warning against using cell phones is listed just below the line about not smoking. It says "Turn Off Your Cell phone and do not use them around the pumps." I believe the underlying warning was and is valid. You draw your own conclusion! (RJ)
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