Weekly Intelligence Notes #37-03
WIN 37-03 dtd 30 Sep 2003
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. RADM (ret) Don Harvey contributes articles to selected WINs. [Roy Jonkers – yes, doing better every day -- is away at this time. He will return to the office, and to his superb editorship of the WINs, in a few weeks.]
NOTE #1 REDUX: AFIO'S NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 2003 – ONLY FOUR WEEKS AWAY
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CONTENTS of this WIN
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JUSTICE DEPT LAUNCHES FORMAL INQUIRY INTO WH ID/LEAK OF CIA OFFICER -- Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist, is at the center of a controversy over the disclosure of the name of CIA officer. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson has been appearing on talk shows about his weapon's report for the CIA [he says Bush’s claim that Iraq tried to buy enriched uranium in Africa as part of its nuclear weapons program was incorrect] and his suspicions that his criticism led to retaliation -- by Karl Rove -- against Wilson’s wife -- the now exposed CIA Officer. A full-fledged Justice Dept investigation is underway over this unauthorized disclosure. The White House denies Rove or other senior officials had a role in the disclosure and has assured the DOJ they will cooperate with the investigation and will preserve all data.
Democrats -- with eyes on elections -- want AG Ashcroft to appoint an independent counsel to investigate and prosecute since some believe DOJ won’t be impartial. No decision has been made. In response to Justice Department inquiries, CIA lawyers answered 11 questions, affirming the woman’s identity was classified, that whoever released it was not authorized to do so, and that the news media would not have been able to guess her identity without the leak. All together grounds for a criminal investigation.
HOW SERIOUS? The leak of the name is a violation of two laws that bar revealing the identities of covert operatives: the National Agents’ Identity Act and the Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act. Leaks not only identify the officer, but can endanger all of the foreign (and often hard won) contacts and recruitments, and expose other agents and sources in what are often complex foreign operations. Accidental -- or deliberate -- identifications can undo years of work, and possibly cost lives.
ABC News reported that Wilson called the disclosure “pretty despicable,” adding that, “My sources tell me that at a minimum Mr. Rove condoned it. I can’t say he was responsible or even approved it, but my sources tell me he condoned it.” The WH disagrees and denies Rove was involved. The Washington Post reported Sunday that two top WH officials also called at least a half-dozen journalists and revealed the identity and occupation of Wilson’s wife, widening the list of suspects. Several news sources have refused to report the CIA Officer's name, and others have removed her name from their coverage -- the latter a meaningless gesture in the era of the Internet where online data is cached, often mirrored worldwide, and once released, is readable from scores of search engines or news-oriented websites. [Multiple news sources: WPost, ABCNews, MSNBC.com, et al.]
SERIOUS [non-political] CRITICISM OF THE IC -- Representative Porter J. Goss, the longtime chairman of the HPSCI, a former clandestine officer of CIA, and a highly-respected objective supporter of the Intelligence Community, sent a 25 September letter to the DCI detailing serious criticism of the IC's performance in assessing the situation in Iraq prior to the US invasion. Although Mr. Goss's full committee has not yet voted on the letter's conclusions, the ranking committee Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman, also signed it. Members of the HPSCI spent four months combing through 19 volumes of material used to make the administration's case for the Iraq war. The committee reviewed the underlying information used by the IC to write the October 2002 NIE on Iraq, the most comprehensive analysis available to Congress before the war. In one difference between the two committee leaders, Harman believes the NIE judgments "were deficient with regard to the analysis and presentation." Conversely, Goss believes the judgments were not deficient and were properly couched to reflect the incomplete nature of the intelligence. According to "a congressional source," Goss "does not believe that the community's judgments were inaccurate."
It would appear the entire letter was allowed to be copied or handed to the newspaper breaking the story. Partial or complete quotes from the letter included in the account:
** As a general statement, the letter concluded, "Lack of specific intelligence on regime plans and intentions, WMD, and Iraq's support to terrorist groups appears to have hampered the IC's ability to provide a better assessment to policy makers from 1998 through 2003."
** As to Iraq's ties to terrorists, study of three volumes of data indicated "substantial gaps" in credible information from human sources that would have allowed the IC "to give policymakers a clear understanding of the nature of the relationship." Instead, the IC had a "low threshold" or "no threshold" on using information obtained on Iraq's alleged ties to al Qaeda. "As a result, intelligence reports that might have been screened out by a more rigorous vetting process made their way to the analysts' desks, providing ample room for vagary to intrude," the letter states. The agencies did not clarify which of their reports "were from sources that were credible and which were from sources that would otherwise be dismissed in the absence of other corroborating intelligence.
** As to the underlying intelligence used to conclude that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, the letter said, "Our examination has identified the relatively fragile nature of this information." It notes the internal disputes of the IC regarding the high-strength aluminum tubes Iraq attempted to buy and points out the dual-use nature of equipment in other attempted purchases cited in the NIE. The letter dispelled the statements of some officials that there existed more concrete intelligence that could not be released due to its classified nature in saying, "We have not found any information in the assessments that are still classified that was any more definitive."
** As to Iraq's possession of chemical and biological weapons, the letter stated, "The absence of proof that chemical and biological weapons and their related development programs had been destroyed was considered proof that they continued to exist."
** As to the general intelligence collection performance of the IC and its use of available data, the letter concluded the IC used largely outdated, "circumstantial" and "fragmentary" information with "too many uncertainties" to conclude that iraq had WMD and ties to al Qaeda. It found "significant deficiencies" in the community's ability to collect fresh intelligence on Iraq, and said it had to rely on "past assessments" dating to when UN inspectors left Iraq in 1998 and on "some new 'piecemeal' intelligence," both of which "were not challenged as a routine matter."
** As to assertions that "there was a disconnect between public statements by administration officials and the underlying intelligence," the two signers of the letter said, "We do believe...that if public officials cite intelligence incorrectly, the IC has a responsibility to go back to that policymaker and make clear that the public statement mischaracterized the available intelligence."
The DCI's spokesman has disputed the conclusions and accused the panel of not conducting "a detailed inquiry on this study." "To attempt to make such a determination so quickly and without all the facts is premature and wrong," the spokesman said. "Iraq was an intractable and difficult subject. The tradecraft of intelligence rarely has the luxury of having black-and-white facts. The judgments reached, and tradecraft used, were honest and professional -- based on many years of effort and experience."
The only ray of optimism that can be summoned up on this development by those dedicated to the continued effective performance of the intelligence establishment is that perhaps this particular indictment will be at least partially lost in the general cascade of other, less credible criticisms of intelligence in the current political environment. That the IC will endeavor energetically to correct faults can be assumed.
[D.Harvey -- Source: WPost.com, 28 Sept '03, pg. A01, by Dana Priest]
NEW TACTICAL UAV GOING TO IRAQ -- Army reps have announced that a new UAV, the Raven, is scheduled to be shipped to Iraq in the next few weeks. Essentially a smaller version of the Pointer UAV, the 4.5-lb., 4.5-ft-wingspan Raven is battery-operated, is hand-launched, has a range of about six miles with 80 minutes of endurance, flies at 27-60 mph, has a 600-ft.-per-min. climb rate, is recovered by flying low and pitching up to enter a stall to let it fall to the ground, and is designed to survive 200 flights. Sensor suite is either day or infrared fixed sensors installed to be forward or sideward-looking. The first five systems are destined for the 101st Airborne Division with each system including two UAVs and a portable 17-lb ground station. Ten more Ravens would be sent to Iraq right away once the Army receives money to buy them. Although funding for the total buy is not yet identified, the Army wants up to 105 systems. The Raven is considered a critical interim system until the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) umbrella modernization project version of a small UAV is selected, developed and fielded. The Raven fielding allows the Army to begin to catch up with the Marines, who have long been using a small UAV of this type, the Dragon Eye.
The UAVs the Army has been operating in Iraq largely serve higher command echelons; the advent of the Raven should be a welcome addition to the field units. US forces have been relying heavily on UAVs to detect potential attackers and to support efforts to round up suspected militias. To keep the ISR situation in Iraq in perspective, however, the LT. Gen. in command of the First Marine Expeditionary Force recently testified to the Senate that the bulk of intelligence on insurgents, about 95 percent, still is provided by Iraqis, not by technical collection means. [DHarvey - Source: Aviation Week and Space Technology 22 Sept '03, pg. 57 by Robert Wall]
ASHCROFT LAUNCHES PATRIOT ACT WEBSITE -- Attorney General John Ashcroft has kicked off a new effort to explain, sell, and defend the USA Patriot Act. The new website is at www.lifeandliberty.gov - which explains: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” At a speech last month at the American Enterprise Institute, he explained that new powers granted under the Patriot Act have expanded cooperation among law enforcement agencies and helped deter terrorism. Recent news accounts by critics of the Act purporting to show its misuse, convinced this reviewer that the Act is working remarkably well and enabling new arrests and convictions -- on terrorism and the war on drugs -- that otherwise would have been hampered by what were unduly complicated stratagems as part of clever defense maneuvers aimed at evasion, to the detriment of the National Security. [EB]
TIA TERMINATED, BUT NIMD LIVES ON -- In the culmination of a public controversy, Congress recently eliminated funding for the Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) data-mining program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and shut down the DARPA Information Awareness Office, TIA's parent entity that was formerly headed by Adm. John Poindexter. "The [House and Senate] conferees are concerned about the activities of the Information Awareness Office and direct that the Office be terminated immediately," according to the conference report on the FY 2004 defense appropriations bill. The move does not mean the end of other government data-mining research programs that are comparable to the aborted TIA. "The conference agreement does not restrict the National Foreign Intelligence Program from using processing, analysis and collaboration tools for counterterrorism foreign intelligence purposes," the report states. See: http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2003/tia.html
One TIA-like program conducted under the auspices of U.S. intelligence is the "Novel Intelligence from Massive Data" (NIMD) initiative of the little-known Intelligence Community Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA). Pursued with a minimal public profile and lacking a polarizing figure like Adm. Poindexter to galvanize opposition, NIMD has proceeded quietly even as TIA imploded. The existence of NIMD was first noted last year by Jim McGee of CQ Homeland Security. More recently, on July 24, 2003 he wrote in CQ Homeland Security that NIMD was "roaring down a parallel research track to TIA." NIMD was also cited in a May 21, 2003 article in the New York Times. A summary description of the NIMD program is available on the ARDA web site here:
The surviving classified data-mining programs "have all the safeguards of programs under the jurisdiction of the National Foreign Intelligence Program to protect civil liberties of U.S. citizens," said Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) on September 25. "These are very important to the ongoing war on terrorism overseas. The conferees have agreed to allow this effort to continue," he said. [S. Aftergood, FAS, Secrecy News -- 09/26/03]
BIOWARRIOR: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological War Machine: by Igor V. Domaradskij and Wendy Orent. [Prometheus Books, 2003, 250 pg, photos, ISBN 1-59102-093-X] Domaradskij, once a microbiologist in the Soviet Union in covert defense ops against offensive biological weapons, moved in 1970 to weapons development at Biopreparat, to develop new germ weapons. Now 80 years old, he explains his activities and purports to demonstrate the difficult decisions he had to make that forced him to shift from scientist “for the good” to death merchant. Better, say several reviewers, is Ken Alibek’s “Biopreparat in Biohazard” published last year, but WMD may still need to review this latest account. [publisher promo, LJ Reviews]
AN END TO EVIL: How to Win the War on Terror: by David Frum and Richard Perle. [Random House, January 2003, ISBN 1-4000-6194-6]. Despite the victory in Iraq, the world remains an unsafe place for Americans – and the US government unready to defend its people, say these two authors. They provide an account of America’s vulnerabilities – and a program they say that will defend the nation. Both are well-known Washington hardliners. [from publisher promo].
RAID ON THE SUN: Inside Israel’s Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb: by Rodger W. Claire [Random House, April 2004, ISBN 0-7679-1400-7]. Twenty years ago, eight American-trained Israeli pilots set off on a mission that seemed suicidal: fly 1000K below radar, take out Saddam’s nuclear reactor, and fly back – all on one tank of fuel. They made it, and now Claire gives the full, white-knuckle story. [publisher promo].
LINCOLN’S WAR: The Untold Story of America’s Greatest President as Commander in Chief by Geoffrey Perret [Random House, April 2004, ISBN 0-375-50738-8]. Of interest to intelligence bibliophiles is the author’s examination of Lincoln’s dealings with his spies. Also provides a look at his general and admirals, his controversial Secretary of War Henry Stanton, his idiosyncratic confidant, Secretary of the Navy Gidion Wells, and his dealings with manufacturers such as Samuel Colt. [publisher promo]
GREEK FIRE, POISON ARROWS, AND SCORPION BOMBS: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor [Overlook Press via Penguin-Putnam, Sept 2003, maps, illus., bibliography, index, ISBN 1-58567-348-X]. Yes, not a new phenomena. Mayor shows that ancient civilizations had considerable working knowledge of chemistry and natural poisons and she describes how animals, flammables, and poisons were used on the battlefields -- often with gruesome descriptions of immense animal cruelty. Pigs being covered with pitch, set on fire, and forced to stampede into approaching troops, being only one of several.
LOCAL RESPONSE TO CBW: Updated version of a previously released document. Improving Local and State Agency Response to Terrorist Incidents Involving Biological Weapons US Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command. June 2003 Update. [GregO]
NAVAL INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS ANNUAL MEETING. Friday, 17 October 03 -- Suitland, MD -- at the National Maritime Intelligence Center. Anyone who is or has been a US naval intelligence professional or worked with naval intelligence (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Joint or Defense Agencies) is invited. Program: 0900-1130 DNI, RADM Porterfield; Marine Corps DirInt, BrigGen Ennis; Commander ONI, CAPT Bortmes; and speakers from U.S. Coast Guard, ONI, and Naval Intelligence Placement Officers. A social hour & then luncheon featuring keynote speaker DIA Director, VADM Lowell Jacoby. Event includes NIP's annual Red Tie Award presentation, along with Chairman's report and Board election. Optional tour of the NMIC follows luncheon. Advance reservations required. E-mail email@example.com or send snail mail to NIP, PO Box 9324, McLean, VA 22102-0324, or telephone (202) 554-8095; [Reservation must be received no later than Tuesday, Oct 13]. Payment: $35 at the door. [BHorn]
UK Multi-Episode Series on CAMBRIDGE SPIES will be broadcast in U.S. on “BBC-AMERICA: Episode 1 airs Saturday, Oct 25, 2003 at 10:00 pm Cambridge Spies is the far-too soppy, forgiving story of four of Britain’s most notorious spies, who we watch go from idealism and friendship to treachery and betrayal. Episode 1 begins in England in the 1930s and we see the meeting of the four - Philby, Burgess, Blunt and Maclean. - at Cambridge and the beginning of their misbegotten conspiracy to “change the world for the good” by joining the Communist Party. The series follows them from their early university days, throughout their careers as spies in a five-part drama written by Peter Moffat. Certain events and characters have been created or changed for dramatic effect. Episode 1 will be rebroadcast on Sunday morning at 2 a.m. [Oct 26, 2003] For information on the series and broadcast dates:
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CORRECTION: Today we heard from Mrs. Shackley [see WIN #36, Notes, "Shackley Assistance Sought"] with an update on the condition of her daughter, Suzanne [who suffered a car accident]. No brain damage occurred. She did, however, sustain a few broken bones as a result of the accident. Reports indicate that she is recovering rapidly. Suzanne's mother was impressed with all the calls from the prior notice -- gratified -- but wished to get out the word that things are far better than first reported. Consider this a correction of the early reports. "Get Well, Speedy Recovery" messages can be sent to her at: 1325 N Barcelona St, Pensacola, FL 32501.
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