Weekly Intelligence Notes #42-03 5 December 2003
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are commentaries on Intelligence and related national security matters, based on open media sources, selected, interpreted, edited and produced by AFIO for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. Don Harvey contributed to this report.
CONTENTS of this WIN
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THOUGHTFUL WORDS, FOR A CHANGE, ON “WAR INTELLIGENCE” -- In his new book, Intelligence in War, the eloquent British historian of war, Sir John Keegan, concluded that intelligence -- good or bad -- matters far less than brute force in winning wars [see WIN 41 on INTELLIGENCE IN WAR: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda by John Keegan (Knopf, Nov 03, $30, 448 pages; ISBN 0-375-40053-2). "War is ultimately about doing, not thinking," this author of 16 other books about war and military tactics writes. "Decision in war is always the result of a fight, and in combat willpower always counts for more than foreknowledge," he argues. Sir John readily acknowledges that good intelligence is essential to successful battles and campaigns, opening his book with the Duke of Marlborough's dictum: "No war can be conducted successfully without early and good intelligence." But Sir John rejects the romantic myth that victory depends mainly on spies, stolen secrets and cracked codes. To support his thesis, he recounts a series of case studies from Nelson and the French fleet defeat, to the Civil War battles, through the naval battles and campaigns of the World Wars. In each case, he contends the role of intelligence was highly overrated.
A number of military historians, political scientists, diplomats and defense experts have begged to differ. Most would agree with Richard Holbrooke, the former diplomat who was the chief negotiator in the Balkans conflict's end who says, "Is Keegan right in arguing that intelligence is overrated? Yes, but intelligence is also indispensable. And its greatest successes are preventative." [A true but rarely-voiced perception.]
Bruce Hoffman, director of RAND's Washington office and a terrorism analyst, says, "Keegan is largely right on the role of intelligence in conventional wars, but he is not right about counterinsurgencies in any century, when intelligence is the sine qua non of success." Modern wars, he argues, are not fought only with military tools. "So intelligence has a very different role today. You can no longer fight, much less win them just with military strength."
Roger Cressey, the former chief of staff to President Bush's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and a former director for transnational threats on the NSC under President Clinton, agrees while noting that America is being forced to fight modern wars under far greater constraints than ever before. "Intelligence isn't particularly important if you have a scorched-earth policy...But if you are trying to win hearts and minds by killing as few civilians as possible, good intelligence on, say, where insurgents, as opposed to noncombatants, are located, is hugely important."
John Hamre, a former deputy secretary of defense who led a survey group to Iraq last summer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says that even the projection of the overwhelming force that Sir John endorses is dependent today on good intelligence. "You can no longer separate intelligence from overwhelming force," said Mr. Hamre, who now heads the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, "We have that force because we have tactical intelligence." He adds, "We can now integrate national-level intelligence with the tactical level...Our force is so overwhelmingly powerful because of good intelligence, not because we fly or move faster than they do...we have a wide range of sensors that are largely beyond the knowledge of our opponents...It's multidimensional, and both passive and active, and it is what makes our force so overwhelming."
Kenneth Pollack, a former Clinton administration official now at the Brookings Institution, argues that modern warfare would increasingly be dominated by those who control what he calls the "information spectrum." He believes, "In an age of long-range strike weaponry, brilliant munitions, hypereffective sensors, whoever has greater information will be able to bring far greater fire power on a much wider range of targets and in a much shorter time than ever before. The U.S. military is now in a class by itself." The very nature of modern warfare, he argues, makes it increasingly vital that a country have accurate information about intentions and capabilities of an adversary.
In an interview Sir John seemed willing to modify an argument in his book to reflect the potentially dire consequences of bad intelligence about terrorists armed with NBC weapons. While he wrote that intelligence was the "handmaiden, not the mistress of the warrior," he added that with respect to groups like Al-Qaeda and decisions on preventive war, intelligence may well be "an indispensable servant of force."
Although not stated in the article, it appears reasonable to conclude that all the individuals contacted agreed on what has become a modern cliché of U.S. intelligence comment: more HUMINT is required in coping with terrorism, and the U.S. has been weak in this aspect. At a time when any group with even an observer role in the intelligence business presumes itself qualified to demand punitive actions and/or corrective measures for the intelligence community, it is heartening to read measured views. [Harvey / NYT 22 Nov 03, JMiller]
CONVICTED SPY DENIED LIFE SENTENCE APPEAL -- U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan recently ruled that the former naval intelligence analyst and convicted spy for Israel, Jonathan J. Pollard, had lost his chance to object to his punishment. Pollard had admitted in 1987 to handing over numerous highly classified documents to Israel, but his request to appeal his sentence and to review classified governments did not come until 2000, more than a decade after the sentence was issued by a former chief judge. The district judge also ruled that the spy's attorneys offered no compelling justification that they needed to know the contents of the sealed intelligence documents connected with the case. The defense attorneys have said they will appeal the court's decision on access to classified documents to the U.S. Court of Appeals and will also ask that court for an opportunity to appeal the life sentence. The defense's statements to the press alleged violations of Pollard's Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights of due process and counsel. The press account of the judge's decision did not allude to Pollard's receipt of Israeli citizenship after several years of denial of his employment; the account also omitted mention of the widespread publicity of several years ago given to Israel's attempt to influence the Clinton administration to free the American traitor.
There has been a marked fall-off of attempts, either American or Israeli, to secure Pollard's release reported in the press since September 11, 2001. [Harvey / WashPost 14Nov03, pg. A16]
CIA STANDS FIRM ON IRAQ ASSESSMENTS, COUNTERS MYTHS - Judgments Not 'hyped' to Compensate for Earlier Underestimates -- Stuart Cohen, senior CIA official and former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, issues an article that debunks what he calls "10 myths" that have arisen since the war. A shorter version appeared in the Washington Post on November 28, 2003. Cohen takes a hard look at the facts of the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002 on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction and his findings dispel popular myths making the media circuit. "The NIE judged with high confidence that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 km limit imposed by the UN Security Council, and with moderate confidence that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons," Mr. Cohen says in the statement. "These judgments were essentially the same conclusions reached by the UN and by a wide array of intelligence services -- friendly and unfriendly alike. The only government in the world that claimed that Iraq was not working on, and did not have, biological and chemical weapons or prohibited missile systems was in Baghdad."[His myth vs. fact explanations below are abbreviated. For full delineation and nuances in his expressions, see: http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/press_release/2003/pr11282003.html]
Myth #1: “THE ESTIMATE FAVORED GOING TO WAR”: Intelligence judgments, including NIEs, are policy neutral. CIA does not propose policies and the Estimate did not seek to sway policymakers toward a particular course of action. It described what was judged Saddam's WMD programs and capabilities and how and when he might use them and left it to policymakers, as is always done, to determine the appropriate course of action.
Myth #2: “ANALYSTS WERE PRESSURED TO CHANGE JUDGMENTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION”: The judgments presented in the October 2002 NIE were based on data acquired and analyzed over fifteen years. Any changes in judgments over that period were based on new evidence that led to new analysis. These judgments were presented to three different Administrations, created by participants across the entire US Intelligence Community who swore, under oath, they were NOT pressured to change their views on Iraq WMD or to conform to Administration positions on this issue.
Myth #3: “NIE JUDGMENTS WERE NEWS TO CONGRESS”: Over the past fifteen years these assessments on Iraq WMD issues have been presented routinely to six different congressional committees including both Congressional oversight committees. These committees never came back with a concern of bias or an assertion that the NIEs were wrong.
Myth #4: “WE BURIED DIVERGENT VIEWS AND CONCEALED UNCERTAINTIES”: Diverse agency views, particularly on whether Baghdad was reconstituting its uranium enrichment effort and the purposes of attempted Iraqi aluminum tube purchases, were vetted. Alternative views by State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, DOE’s Office of Intelligence, and the USAF, were showcased in the NIE and acknowledged in unclassified papers on the subject. These alternative views were not buried as footnotes, as some claim. All alternative views were worded, positioned and presented as approved by the agencies of those views. Uncertainties were highlighted in the Key Judgments and throughout the main text. Any reader would have had to read only as far as the second paragraph of Key Judgments to see: "We lacked specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD program."
Myth #5: “MAJOR NIE JUDGMENTS WERE BASED ON SINGLE SOURCES”: Major judgments in the NIE on WMD were based on multiple sources–often from HUMINT, SATINT, and COMINT. While not applicable here, it is worth noting that multiple or sole-sourcing isn’t a valid measure of the quality of intelligence. A single human source with direct access to a specific program and whose judgment and performance have proven reliable can provide the "crown jewels"; as was the case in the early 1960s when Col Oleg Penkovskiy, then this country's only penetration of the Soviet high command, provided information enabling President Kennedy to stare down the Soviet threat in Cuba. His information informed US intelligence analysis for more than two decades thereafter. In short, the charge is both wrong and meaningless.
Myth #6: “WE RELIED TOO MUCH ON UN REPORTING AND WERE COMPLACENT AFTER UN INSPECTORS LEFT IN 1998”: We never accepted UN reporting at face value. UNSCOM and the IAEA saw firsthand what was going on in Iraq inside facilities that. But it did not provide all the information needed. Hence the reason the October 2002 review of Iraq's WMD programs is called a National Intelligence ESTIMATE and not a National Intelligence FACTBOOK. On most issues, hard evidence takes intelligence professionals only so far. The job remains to fill in the gaps with informed analysis. The departure of UNSCOM inspectors in 1998 did reduce information about what was occurring in Iraq's WMD programs, but we were not blind after 1998. Efforts to enhance collection were vigorous, creative, and productive. Intelligence collection after 1998, including information collected by friendly and allied intelligence services, painted a picture of Saddam's continuing efforts to develop WMD programs and weapons that reasonable people would have found compelling.
Myth # 7: “WE WERE FOOLED ON THE NIGER ‘YELLOWCAKE’ STORY”: This was not one of the reasons underpinning the Key Judgment about nuclear reconstitution. After noting that Iraq had considerable low-enriched and other forms of uranium already in country—enough to produce roughly 100 nuclear weapons—the Estimate sets forth the Niger issue with appropriate caveats, for completeness. It is standard practice in NIEs and other intelligence assessments to mention unconfirmed reports, with caveats; it helps consumers of the assessment understand the full range of possibly relevant intelligence.
Myth #8: “WE OVERCOMPENSATED FOR HAVING UNDERESTIMATED THE WMD THREAT IN 1991”: Judgments were based on the evidence and analysis produced over a 15-year period. The NIE noted that key aspects of Saddam's WMD efforts in the 1990s had been underestimated. UNSCOM, too, missed Iraq's BW program and the IAEA underestimated Baghdad's progress on nuclear weapons development. What was learned was the difficulty in detecting key Iraqi WMD activities, so the Estimate specified what we knew and what we believed and warned policymakers that these might underestimate important aspects of Saddam's program. In no case were any of the judgments "hyped" to compensate for earlier underestimates.
Myth #9: “WE MISTOOK RAPID MOBILIZATION PROGRAMS FOR ACTUAL WEAPONS”: Those who conclude no threat existed because actual weapons have not yet been found do not understand the significance posed by biological and chemical warfare programs in the hands of tyrants. There is little difference between a standing chemical and biological weapons capability and one that could be mobilized quickly with little chance of detection. The Estimate acknowledged Saddam was seeking rapid mobilization capabilities. Iraqi denial and deception activities would have made it difficult to detect the activation of such efforts.
Myth #10: “THE NIE ASSERTED THAT THERE WERE ‘LARGE WMD STOCKPILES’ AND BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T FOUND THEM, BAGHDAD HAD NO WMD”: From experience gained at the end of Desert Storm, it is clear that finding WMD in the aftermath of a conflict wouldn't be easy. Iraq probably possessed one hundred to five hundred metric tons of CW munitions fill. One hundred metric tons would fit in a backyard swimming pool; five hundred could be hidden in a small warehouse. A biological weapon can be carried in a small container. (It was already decided that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapon.) When the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), led by David Kay, issued its interim report in October, acknowledging that it had not found chemical or biological weapons, the inspectors had visited only ten of 130 major ammunition depots; two depots alone are roughly the size of Manhattan. After Desert Storm, US forces unknowingly destroyed over 1,000 rounds of chemical-filled munitions at a facility called Al Kamissiyah. Baghdad sometimes had special markings for chemical and biological munitions and sometimes did not. In short, much remains to be done in the hunt for Iraq's WMD. [Abridged from CIA Press Release, 28Nov03]
? -- Computer security in focus as George Bush makes national security the watchword of his presidency. Some Silicon Valley leaders worry cybersecurity seems to have slipped off the administration's radar screen.
CYBERSECURITY SUMMIT IN SANTA CLARA, CA -- Top Security Pros Head to National Cyber Security Summit. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,1401335,00.asp
Summit info at: http://www.us-cert.gov/events/summit/ [Levine / Newsbits, 3Dec03]
ANDREWS AFB ENHANCES VIDEO SURVEILLANCE -- Andrews Air Force Base is enhancing its video surveillance network to automatically detect unusual behavior, the software provider for the project said today. The upgrade is part of a larger effort to improve the base’s physical security infrastructure, according to Lt. Col. David Branham, director of public affairs for the base. Andrews, in Washington’s Maryland suburbs, houses the presidential plane, Air Force One, as well as aircraft for Congress, the cabinet and visiting dignitaries.
TRAITORS: The Worst Acts of Treason in American History from Benedict Arnold to Robert Hanssen – by Richard Sale [Berkley; Penguin/Putnam, Nov 03, 304pp, bib, index, ISBN 0-425-19185-0, $15 pb]. Sale covered terrorism and counterintelligence for UPI. He provides full case studies of Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth, Elizabeth Bentley, Whittaker Chambers, John Walker and Bob Hanssen, and includes some lesser-known traitors to make other points. In each instance he points to psychological defects as causative. While ideology might have played a role in some betrayals, in most cases it centered on ego and money. [unseen]
WINNING MODERN WARS: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire – by Wesley K. Clark [Public Affairs; Perseus, 2003, 240pp, index, ISBN 1-58648-218-1, $25 HC]. Clark, former supreme allied commander in Europe, and current Presidential aspirant, challenges Bush administration strategy for going to war with Iraq. He sees flawed pre- and post-war planning siphoning off of vital American resources for a bottomless war on terror. He outlines how the US lost credibility. A sound book muddled at times by need to criticize administration for political points.
RED: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America – by Ted Morgan [Random House, Nov 03, 608pp, photos, index, ISBN 0-679-44399-1, $35]. Post WWII hysteria actually began in aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, says Morgan. With the Palmer raids in 1919, the American struggle against communism began in earnest, through the Dies Committee in the 1930s, and HUAAC post-WWII. Hoover carried it forward in the 1960s and 1970s at FBI. Morgan warns that Ashcroft might be introducing another round of McCarthyism through our war on Islamic terrorism. Or is this more from those who want security, but no locks on any of the doors? Probably the latter.
IRAQ DISARMED -- by Hans Blix [Pantheon, March 2004, 304pp, ISBN 0-375-42302-8, $25 HC]. Veteran Diplomat/arms inspector Blix recounts his experiences in buildup to war in Iraq. To be released on one-year anniversary of invasion.
NEW PROTEST GROUP ON SCENE - The Protest Warriors -- Members of the group, among other things, "crash" leftist anti-war demonstrations with signs such as "Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People - Let's Give It Another Chance," and "Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything." (It should have said, "Communism Has Killed Only 100 Million People...") Publicity about The Protest Warriors has struck a chord, especially on college campuses, The Times says. The protest group now has a website: www.protestwarrior.com. [LarryS, / WashTimes Natl Weekly Edition, 24-30Nov03]
9 DECEMBER - OPEN HOUSE AT THE INSTITUTE OF WORLD POLITICS -- The Institute of World Politics (IWP), the graduate school for the study of National Security and Statecraft, is holding its year-end, pre-spring semester open house on Tuesday, December 9, 2003. Attendees will have a chance to meet and mingle with the Institute's prominent and impressive faculty and personally discuss course and degree-specific details. The Open House will be held at the Institute @ 1521 16th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036. For further information visit the website at www.iwp.edu or phone at (202) 462-2101 (888) KNOW-IWP. [Highly recommended]
AFIO JANUARY LUNCHEON - FEATURING COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT LEDEEN -- The first AFIO Luncheon of 2004 will be on Tuesday, January 20th at the Tysons Corner Holiday Inn starting at 10:30 A.M for badge pickup. The first speaker [TBD] starts at 11 a.m., with lunch at noon, followed by post-lunch speaker Michael Ledeen, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who specializes in U.S. foreign and security policy. Dr. Ledeen's background includes stints with the NSC, State and Defense departments, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and several teaching positions worldwide. He is also currently commissioner of the U.S.-China Commission. Ledeen’s “The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We’ll Win” now out in paperback, will be available for purchase. Registration $29.50 pp for members and their invited guests, via email or phone/credit card (703-790-0320) or firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to us at 703.790.0264. In your fax or email, supply credit card info, name of self/guests for badges, your reply email address. No payments at door. Deadline is 10 January.
ROBERTS’ INTELLIGENCE SCHOLARS PROGRAM - TRAINING OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS APPROVED -- A Kansas University professor's idea for training federal intelligence analysts has been approved by both houses of Congress. The ROTC-style program received $4 million in funds in the Intelligence Authorization Act, which was approved by Congress and is expected to be signed by President Bush. The program, the brainchild of Felix Moos, KU professor of anthropology, believed that the 9-11 terrorist attacks were a sign of lax information-gathering by U.S. intelligence units. "The idea was that since our analysis in intelligence isn't always complete, we really need a new generation of young analysts who have a much broader and different training," he said in May. "They need language training and knowledge of different cultures. If America's going to be engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea, we need a new generation who thinks along really different lines."
Moos proposed the idea to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who included the measure in the bill. It will be called the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program. The act authorizes the Community Management Staff, a division of the CIA, to create a pilot project to test the idea next year. Students would receive scholarships to learn about particular areas of the world and then serve with the CIA for a set amount of time. The project targets "areas in which the current analytic capabilities of the intelligence community are deficient" and areas where they're projected to be deficient. A CIA spokeswoman said officials hadn't determined where the project would be tested or how long scholarship recipients would be required to serve. The pilot project will involve no more than 150 students during its first year. [Rombeck, Journal-World, 27Nov03]
SCOTLAND YARD APPOINTS WOMAN CHIEF -- The Special Branch of Scotland Yard has appointed Cdr Janet Williams as their first woman chief. The branch faces its heaviest load with the Special Branch running 90 counter-terrorism operations in November, alone. Williams will be in charge of 560 officers gathering intelligence on terrorist activity in Britain and will oversee the protection of the Prime Minister and visiting dignitaries. In her early 40s and married with children, Cdr. Williams was a recruit of the Metropolitan Police, from which she graduated in 1982. She rose from constable to Chief Supt prior to this appointment. She has also served with Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch, known as SO13. There are two other Yard SB senior women officers - Cdr Cressida Dick, head of Operation Trident (an anti-black gun crime program), and Det Chief Supt Sharon Kerr, who heads the Flying Squad. Scotland Yard's Special Branch was formed in 1883 to fight Irish terrorism. The civil liberties group Statewatch said in September that the SB has doubled in the past 25 years, bigger than at the height of the Cold War or the IRA's bombing campaign. [CLaClair / telegraph.co.uk, Dec 1]
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