Weekly Intelligence Notes
WIN 35-03 dtd 15 September 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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WMD MARITIME INTELLIGENCE SHARING -- Illustrating that not all actions out of France these days are negative, talks in Paris this month produced a set of principles for intercepting illegal arms shipments on the high seas and for sharing intelligence to halt WMD and illegal weapons flows. The US-initiated "Proliferation Security Initiative" (PSI) is supposedly not specifically targeted at any one nation, but the US representative noted that North Korea and Iran have already been designated as states of "particular proliferation concern." The US and ten allies (France, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Britain) plan for a series of land, air and sea training exercises over the next six months as "a very clear demonstration that what we're involved in here is not a diplomatic exercise." The first of the ten planned exercises is being held this month in the Coral Sea with subsequent exercises to come in the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas, among other locales.
The US is engaged in a drive to enlist more countries in the cooperative effort to shut down illegal weapons sales. The international law aspects of the interdiction at sea is, to say the least, tricky both legally and diplomatically -- one interpretation allows the interdiction under the right of self-defense while another equates forcible ship-boarding in open waters with piracy. The entire effort is fundamentally driven by intelligence.
Examples of earlier efforts to curtail the illegal shipments include:
* Taiwanese officials, acting in August on a tip from US intelligence, seized 158 barrels of dual-use chemicals (phosphorus pentasulfide) from a North Korean ship in Kaohsiung. [Although Taiwan is not a party to the PSI and its laws do not allow officials to board and inspect a ship alongside a pier without its captain's permission, its port officials simply withheld the harbor tugs that the ship needed to leave port until the captain agreed to offload the chemicals.]
* In April, French and German authorities convinced the French owner of the ship Ville de Virgo to order the ship, enroute to North Korea with 214 aluminum pipes for use in gas centrifuges for enriching uranium, to make an unscheduled stop in Alexandria. After the pipes were off-loaded, they were transported back to Germany where they had been illegally purchased through intermediaries.
* The North Korean freighter Kuwolsan, after forcibly resisting custom agents in the Indian port of Kandia in 1999, had its holds opened at gun point by Indian authorities to reveal an assembly line for ballistic missiles, tips of nose cones, sheet metal for rocket frames, machine tools, guidance systems and, in smaller crates, ream upon ream of engineers' drawings labeled "Scud B" and "Scud C." According to US intelligence officials the intended recipient was Libya, the recently UN unsanctioned aircraft terrorist nation.
* Japanese authorities in August assembled more than 100 inspectors to comb the North Korean ferry, the Mangyongbong-92, to search for missile parts and illicit funds. While none were found, the ship had to correct five security violations before it could sail. Earlier this year, two North Korean defectors testified before the US Congress that the ship carried up to 80 percent of the parts used in North Korea's missile program.
* Last December, at the request of the US, Spanish commandoes boarded a North Korean vessel in the Arabian Sea and discovered Scud missile parts bound for Yemen which were not listed in the ship's cargo manifest. No maritime laws forbid such cargo, and the ship was allowed to proceed. The US placed sanctions on the North Korean company that made the parts.
Unsaid in the various media reports on the campaign is that its effectiveness will depend first and foremost, once the political will is generated, on the timeliness and accuracy of intelligence. Other nations collect maritime intelligence in a systematic fashion but even the best do not approach the American capabilities to track shipping. While there obviously has been cooperation of the various intelligence agencies in a number of countries on North Korean WMD-related activities, the structure of the new "Initiative" and its international recognition may well broaden intelligence sharing even though the Chinese and the Russians have yet to join.
(Harvey) (USA Today 10 Sep '03, pg. 9 // B. Slavin; Wash. Times 5 Sep '03, pg. 15, // D. Sands; Philadelphia Inquirer 26 Aug '03, // H. Greimel/AP; Wash. Post 19 Aug '03, pg.5; NY Times 18 Aug ;03, pg. 1 // S. Weisman; Wash. Post 14/15 Aug '03, pg. 19 // J. Warrick; Wall Street Journal 13 Aug, '03 // C. Cooper; Christian Science Monitor 12 Aug ;03 // R. Marquand; London Times 11 Jul '03 by M. Evans; London Financial Times 11 Jul '03, pg. 11)
CIA REPORT ON AL QAEDA -- According to an unclassified CIA summary provided to DepSecDef Wolfowitz before Congressional Hearings last Tuesday, ten people identified as key financiers for Al Qaeda have been captured or killed in the last two years. The figure includes people with ties to humanitarian aid groups and other non-governmental organizations (NGO's) that U.S. authorities believe provide money to Usama bin Laden's organization. The paper names Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected Sept. 11 mastermind, and Abu Zubaydah as key money handlers in bin Laden's organization who have been captured.
In more general terms the paper also describes Al Qaeda's central leadership as "reeling from the impact of the counter-terrorist successes and our allies." Two-thirds of Al Qaeda's identified leadership have been killed or captured, some 4,000 adherents have been arrested around the world, and the network is said to have lost a lot of its institutional ability to launch large-scale, coordinated strikes. "While the group has a large bench of middle managers and foot soldiers, it is rapidly losing its cadre of senior planners who have access to and the trust of bin Laden, the leadership and organizational skills needed to mount sophisticated attacks, and the savvy to operate in an increasingly hostile counter-terrorism environment." Of the leaders still at large, bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, are thought to be somewhere in the mountainous region along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Though it generally presents an optimistic view of the war with Al Qaeda, the paper sounds a warning: "Even if the Al Qaeda organization is defeated and its worldwide cells are left to fend for themselves, bin Laden's call for attacks on the United States will continue to resonate among Muslim extremists. It takes only a handful of terrorists with little more than creativity, dedication, and luck to successfully cause mass casualties."
The CIA statement justly celebrates significant US and allied success in damaging the group of terrorists that hit us in recent years. Many good men and women have worked hard and successfully in a worthy cause. But the statement also obviously sounds the call for more or continued US intelligence community (and military and law enforcement) resources. The open-ended nature of this doomsday call needs rational, constructively critical, deliberation. (Jonkers) (Fox News 10 Sep 03) (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,96911,00.html)
FBI ANALYST TRAINING -- In a classroom at the FBI's National Training Academy new FBI recruits are participating in a mock terrorism exercise. But these are different kinds of recruits. They will not become FBI field agents, who come to this campus to hone their shooting skills and engage in cops-and-robbers exercises at a mock village that looks transported from a Hollywood back lot. Rather, these are analysts whose training is strictly in the classroom -- a cultural revolution that is a work in progress. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is talking up pay and advancement opportunities for analysts and has made a priority of having more of them. The Bureau is aiming to have about 1,500 analysts on board by the end of next year,. Nevertheless, when the buildup is complete the old-style FBI agents will still outnumber analysts by ten to one.
The College of Analytical Studies was launched after Sept. 11. Both CIA and DIA assist with instructors and course materials. The basic course lasts six weeks. The students are divided into classes of 24 each, and two classes are in progress at any given time. The curriculum ranges from a history of the FBI to courses on building computer-generated timelines or matrices that provide visual evidence of possible outcomes to a case. Many hours are spent getting familiar with secret government computer databases. Other offerings include a four-hour course on the Constitution and two hours on ethics. Every student is given a copy of a book called "The Thinker's Toolkit," a problem-solving manual written by a former CIA analyst. Among the required reading is a section called "Why We Go Astray," which discusses cultural bias and other issues. Teamwork is stressed. An award is given to the person who is considered the best "team player" at the end of the training. The final exam, known as the comprehensive practical exercise, gives the students a chance to show what they've learned.
Analysts are not new at the FBI. Over the years, the Bureau has employed hundreds of analysts, mostly in supporting roles helping investigators solve cases. In the post-Sept. 11 world, besides working to crack individual cases, they are helping prepare national threat assessments and participating in a joint venture with the CIA. Therefore this is a different type of training, focused on stopping terrorists rather than chasing them after the fact. "You need someone with a much larger worldview -- with language capabilities and cultural insights that have not traditionally abounded in the Bureau," said former Attorney General Thornburgh, who served former President Bush. The FBI has tried to boost the ranks of its analysts in the past -- notably after the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. But the efforts did not take root, according to the Thornburgh study, because the analytical staff was "poorly trained, had limited experience, lacked needed information and processing tools, and was easily diverted to operational support activities." There now is the political will and institutional leadership to make this new approach succeed. If it does not, whole hosts of Congressional, media and political adversaries of the FBI, or critics of the effort to reorient the Bureau in the new direction, are ready with proposals for reorganization, such as the oft-mentioned proposal to emulate the British MI5 approach. One must hope that the FBI leadership will be given the time to prove its concept. (Jonkers) (LA Times, 8 Sep 03 // /R. B. Schmitt)
AUTOMATED US ELECTRICAL GRID VULNERABLE TO INTRUSION -- Since last month's Northeast Blackout, utilities have accelerated plans to automate the electric grid, replacing aging monitoring systems with digital switches and other high-tech gear. But those very improvements are making the electricity supply vulnerable to a different kind of peril: computer viruses and hackers who could black out substations, cities or entire states. Researchers working for the U.S., Canadian and British governments have already sniffed out "back doors" in the digital relays and control room technology that increasingly direct electricity flow in North America. (Levine's Newsbits 2 Sep 03) http://www.securityfocus.com/news/6940
INFORMATION WAR: OFFSHORE PROCUREMENT VULNERABILITIES -- The extreme difficulty in discovering a Trojan horse or back door hidden deep within a complex application, buried among numerous modules developed offshore in a global software marketplace, is forcing those assigned to protect sensitive national security information to take defensive actions. The threat of hidden Trojan horses and back doors surfaced this summer when the governments of the U.S. and China announced plans to strengthen national security policies covering information processed by applications written in the global software marketplace. (Levine 2 Sep 03) http://computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,84723,00.html
CYBER NET RISK INSURANCE -- Practically all businesses today depend on computer networks and the Internet to function. As a consequence, they face a growing array of online risks. Yet, the vast majority of companies don't have insurance for these risks, creating serious potential financial exposure (and also, it would seem, a new opportunity for business insurance ventures). Internet risks include hacker intrusion and disruption, distributed denial of service attacks, viruses and worms, identity theft, privacy violations, unauthorized use, loss and misuse of date, computer crashes, and a variety of computer crimes. (Levine 2 Sep 03) http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/ericjsinrod/2003-09-10-sinrod_x.htm
CELL PHONE DIRECTION-FINDING -- A new commercial service in the UK charges $48 per year and 48 cents per request to locate individuals using their mobile phones, with a claimed accuracy of 50 yards or less. This mobile phone-locating capability as a Law Enforcement/Intelligence function has received widespread publicity around the globe, as terrorists were located when chatting on their phones (which they have consequently learned to avoid). It is now also available commercially, at least in the UK. (WashTimes 7 Aug 03//p. C10)
GLOBAL TERRORISM & INCIDENT REPORTING -- Ben Venske has created an IntelCenter that provides useful monthly updates on global terrorist and related violent anti-government incidents Check: http://www.intelcenter.com/ . The listing of incidents is broad, providing a perspective on world-wide irredentism, resistance to occupation, ethnic strife, narcotics war, economic war (poor against rich), inter-tribal or clan conflict, and religious/ cultural violence, now all swept up as terrorist incidents.
The most recent update covered (1) five incidents in Afghanistan, including one on 31 August in which 3 US soldiers were wounded, (2) one incident in Burma, (3) one in Bangladesh, (4) one in Algeria, (5) one in Colombia, (6) four incidents in Corsica (France), (7) one in Ecuador, (8) eight in India/Kashmir, (9) twenty-three attacks on US forces in Iraq, involving twelve US dead and twenty-three wounded, (10) three incidents in Israel, (11) one in Morocco, (12) three in Nepal, (13) one in Pakistan, (14) thirteen incidents in Russia /Chechnya, (15) five in Serbia / Kosovo/Macedonia, (16) one in Thailand, (17) one in Venezuela, (18) one in Turkey, and (19) one incident in Uganda.
The list is not all-inclusive -- it merely reflects where incidents occurred during the past month. It highlights a number of flash points: Afghanistan/US, Iraq/US, India/Kashmir, France/Corsica, Russia/Chechnya, Serbia/Kosovo/Macedonia, and Israel/Palestine. At least two of these, France/Corsica and Serbia/Kosovo/Macedonia are well below our average media coverage screen. France's problems with Corsica are not directly related to US interests, and France is currently out of fashion. The problem with Kosovo has never gone away. Advocates for a 'Greater Albania' or an expanded independent Kosovo, still, as before, reportedly drawing upon criminal gangs at their core, are engaged in terrorist acts within Kosovo as well as in Serbia and Macedonia. The US/liberal analysis of the Yugoslav problem was seen as skewed by many, and remains in question. US policy and intelligence today are focused elsewhere. (Jonkers) (http://www.intelcenter.com/)
On global terrorism, see also Venske's book: "The al-Qaeda Threat: An Analytical Guide to al-Qaeda's Tactics & Targets", by Ben Venske & Aimee Ibrahim. AFIO member David Jimenez calls it a landmark baseline of high utility for all levels of law enforcement. "Their in-depth study, through meticulous research, translations from excerpts, and summarizations in an analytical fashion gives the reader a sense of what it all means...For anyone seriously devoted to understanding al-Qaeda, this is a must-have reference." (David Jimenez, President, Texas Association of Crime & Intelligence Analysts)
RAND CORPORATION WMD PREPAREDNESS PAPER -- "Individual Preparedness Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks." See http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1731/. For Quick Guide, see http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1731.1/MR1731.1.pdf (courtesy G. O'Hara)
TERRORIST SUICIDE ATTACK RESEARCH REPORT -- A new report from the Congressional Research Service takes a sober look at suicide bombings, a subject that is difficult to consider dispassionately. "What are suicide attacks? What have been the patterns and motivations for terrorist organizations using suicide attacks in the past? What terrorist groups and other organizations are most likely to launch such attacks? How great a threat are terrorist suicide attacks to the United States, at home and abroad? How can the United States counter such a threat?" See "Terrorists and Suicide Attacks" by Audrey Kurth Cronin,
Congressional Research Service, August 28: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL32058.pdf (Secrecy News 12 Sep 03)
EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE -- I am looking for a terrorism expert who can write articles on the effects of terrorism in Venezuela, Africa, etc. Articles about 750-800 words, for small $$. Contact - A. Locke, EJM Consulting,
Larry S. writes on CIA ANALYST "SPOOKS" -- On July 14 2003, I sent the following letter to the Wall Street Journal (even friends need to be joshed occasionally for educational purposes): "In your lead editorial on July 14, an otherwise excellent piece, you refer to CIA intelligence analysts as 'spooks.' Use of that word in serious treatment of intelligence matters is out of place. Intelligence analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence of the CIA, 'spooks'? The Journal knows better. Signed L.S. Former CIA operations officer."
The letter was never published. This kind of rib may not be published but maybe, just maybe, an editor or two may get the point. DDI folks, spooks. I still chuckle. (L.S)
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