Weekly Intelligence Notes #04-04 16 February 2004
WIN #04-04 dtd 16 February 2004
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. Adm Don Harvey and Gene Poteat contributed to this issue.
CONTENTS of this WIN
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ANOTHER "NO SMOKING GUN" REPORT -- Unless one is tracking it very carefully, determining just what is developing with the seven repeat seven on-going investigations of US intelligence reporting on the possibility of terrorist attacks and on pre-invasion of Iraq intelligence is confusing. One initial conclusion of one of the investigations has almost been lost in the furor of media reporting concentrating on the White House initial refusal to make available the entirety of the contents of the President's Daily Briefs produced before the 9/11 attacks. This one was the comment of the Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in early February after perusal of reports. The Chairman, former Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, said, "There were no smoking guns, nothing that would make you sit up and say, 'Wow.' "The White House had consistently said that Mr. Bush had no credible specific intelligence information prior to 9/11 that would have let him pre-empt the attacks. "We very much got a flavor of what kind of information was coming to both President Clinton and President Bush," Mr. Kean said. Told of Mr. Kean's comments and after they had been given a copy of the report summarizing what the four colleagues [who had read the reports in some detail] found in the PDBs, other commission members did not contradict Mr. Kean.
It is virtually certain the press will continue to concentrate on possible or alleged political struggles between the White House and the Commission as to cart blanche access to the PDBs, leaving the substance of the endeavor as an afterthought. [Harvey] [NYT 11Feb04 // Philip Shenon]
IMAGERY INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT TO THE TROOPS -- Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, Director of NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency -- formerly known as NIMA), has spoken to the press on his view of the lessons learned from the Iraqi war with regard to national imagery support to the military in the field. He noted that the US has been able to exploit more of the electromagnetic spectrum to detect the subtleties of change in the theater of operations and to move massive amounts of imagery quickly. The problem is getting the correct data to those who can use it. "The challenge, since we're not going to get a huge infusion of people, is how do we automate the filtering process to allow the analysts to concentrate on the issues that are truly ambiguous and challenging, which only a human being can deal with. The big thrust of ours [would involve the extensive use of] automatic target recognition algorithms and that sort of thing to take the burden off the analyst." In the current environment when intelligence is looking for individuals rather the large hunks of metal that characterized the Cold War challenges, he said, "You need to use all forms of intelligence. There's a huge premium on melding signals intelligence, imagery, MASINT (measurement and signature intelligence) and do it rapidly. You need to be able to move it around and present the common operating picture at all levels."
The retired General also noted the flaw, so far, in that network-centric concept. The problem is that long-term, wide-area observations don't really exist. They either are not persistent (satellites) or they do not have very wide fields of view (most UAVs). "We don't surveil an area as large as the metropolitan area of Baghdad, " he said. [An Army team of specialists gathering "lessons learned" in the Iraq and Afghanistan area also has concluded that while Army UAVs provided vast amounts of intelligence during high-intensity operations, they have been of "limited value" during stability operations. The Army team alluded to the UAVs slow flight speed and "relatively small peripheral vision" limitations.] General Clapper pointed out, "A lot of people do not know what we can do, so there's no substitute for a small cadre of professionals forward-deployed in the environment of the warfighter. One of the things I'm focusing on is the realization that we need a cadre of our [NGA] workforce that is prepared to deploy." NGA had as many as 90 people in 26 teams in the field to support operations in Iraq, but he said that is not enough. He wants a rotational base of 200 - 300 trained, ready-to-deploy analysts.
The General's words and attitude illustrate the virtue of having an experienced officer heading an intelligence agency headquartered in Washington -- the recognition of how intelligence that appears valuable at the strategic level is worthless at the operational level in the field if not appropriately sought from and tailored promptly at the warfighter's level. The problem is not that of the national authorities but that of those who structure, train and man the operational intelligence force. [Harvey / DFulghum - Aviation Week & Space Tech, 3Nov03]
HUTTON INQUIRY CLEARS BLAIR GOVERNMENT -- Known as "The Hutton Inquiry" --The UK report cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government of lying or acting in bad faith. The charge broadcast by BBC that Downing Street deliberately falsified or 'sexed up' intelligence was: "An allegation against integrity of the Government of the gravity which was unfounded and which created a major controversy." Furthermore, Lord Hutton concluded: there was no dishonourable or duplicitous strategy devised by Blair and his officials to leak Dr. Kelly's name covertly in order to assist the government in its battle with BBC". Complete report along with details of Kelly's suicide post mortem at: http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/ [JoeG & SureshR]
AFGHAN OPIUM - AN INTELLIGENCE TARGET -- NATO's Supreme Commander, Gen. James Jones, USMC, said recently that the drug trade in Afghanistan must be curbed because it is "an economic lifeline which probably fuels what's left of the Taliban and Al Qaeda." Afghanistan produced about three-quarters of the world's opium - the raw material for heroin - last year; the UN estimates the output was up over 6 percent over 2002 and could be worth $2.3b. Hundreds of illicit drug labs have sprung up to process opium into heroin for shipment to Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and other markets. While the 6,100 NATO-led peacekeepers patrol mostly in Kabul, the 10-11,000 mainly American soldiers are pursuing suspected members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The British, after being charged with solving the drug problem, tried to pay farmers to eradicate poppy fields. But the financial incentive only led new farmers to jump in (the UN estimates there are 264,000 poppy-growing families), and no alternative as lucrative has been found. A kilogram of heroin that can fetch $2,000 in Pakistan yields $10,000 in Turkey. The price differential illustrates why Al Qaeda has begun sending drug-carrying vessels into the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea enroute to more lucrative markets outside Pakistan. The alternative to the usual overland routes rose to the surface in mid-December with the US Navy seizure of three Al Qaeda-associated craft near the Strait of Hormuz loaded with hashish/heroin/methamphetamines worth over $14 million.
The Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Robert Charles, announced in January that the US will soon begin a major drug-eradication effort in Afghanistan, targeting the opium production which is now at levels similar to peak production under the Taliban. He indicated the $310 million campaign will target not only the producers but also the drug warlords, many of whom help finance global terrorism. Antonio Maria Costa, the UN's top counternarcotics official, said recently that foreign troops must move against smugglers and narcotics labs if Afghanistan is to win its war on drugs amid increasing concerns that the country could drift into being a "narco-state."
The NATO, UN and US public statements of concern of the growing gravity of the problem have probably increased the pressure on the intelligence community to produce more specific and timely reporting on the drug trade. It can be surmised that identifying the malefactors and their operating methods is not an insuperable problem and, in fact, is dwarfed by the political problem of how to throttle the warlords and to also provide a continuing incentive for alternate crop production.
[Harvey] [LATimes 9Feb04,// Scarborough WashTimes 29Dec03 & 22Jan04 / NYT, 11Feb04 / Seper in WashTimes 22Jan04/ Christian SciMon 11Feb04]
INDO-PAKISTANI WAR NEAR-MISS -- Capt Bill Horn writes "This article is a sobering reminder of how close we came to a general Indo-Pakistani war in the Winter of 2001-2002. It is this attitude among many of India's senior military and their continuing and large military buildup that raises concerns for the future, and not only for the possibility that India might attack Pakistan. The types of potent high-tech weapons that India is acquiring would make her a dangerous adversary should changed circumstances cause us to cross swords. Let's hope that the on-going Indo-Pak talks can reduce the tensions and the rate of militarization."
http://www.hindu.com/2004/02/06/stories/2004020604461200.htm Gen. Padmanabhan mulls over lessons of Operation Parakram by Praveen Swami (John Shissler via BHorn)
VERSION ONE - INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT IN THE BIBLE -- It is often noted that espionage is an ancient enterprise with roots at least as old as the Bible. But what is rarely if ever recalled is that intelligence oversight and accountability are *also* part of the Biblical record, and that the Deity imposed a severe penalty upon those who distorted intelligence and inflated threats. A Washington Times op-ed writer attempted to defend the CIA by citing the first half of the Biblical precedent.
"Some Americans find in the CIA a convenient scapegoat, failing to recognize that throughout history espionage has been used to protect peoples from their enemies. Ancient Israel had spies: 'Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan [to see] whether the cities they dwell in are camps or strongholds.' (Numbers 13:17-19)," wrote Ernest W. Lefever of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in the Washington Times, Feb. 11, p. A18.
What Dr. Lefever failed to mention is that the spies sent by Moses came back with a hyped National Intelligence Estimate, with unhappy results.
"The land, through which we have gone, to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants... and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them." (Numbers 13: 32-33).
Only Joshua and Caleb dissented from this majority view.
Because they wittingly or unwittingly exaggerated the capabilities of the Canaanites, God sentenced the spies to death, displaying no judicial deference to the intelligence agencies.
"The men who
brought an unfavorable report about the land died by a plague before the
Lord," we are told. "But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh
alone remained alive, of those men who went to spy out the land."
(Numbers 14: 36-37).
[Aftergood / Secrecy News, 2/11/04]
VERSION TWO - AN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER LOOKS AT BIBLICAL ASSIGNMENT -- Much is being written and discussed about the quality of intelligence on Iraq before --and after-- the Iraqi occupation. The basics come down to: "Was the intelligence accurate?" or "Was the intelligence misinterpreted by the nation's leadership?" In most cases who is right or wrong is decided by the leadership. History is replete with examples of the use, and misuse, of intelligence.
Moses sent out 12 of the best and brightest from the tribes of Israel to spy out the “promised land” of Canaan. One of these spies was Joshua. The spies were tasked to see the land and the people that dwell therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many, whether the land be good or bad, whether the Canaanites dwell in tents or strongholds, and whether the land be fat or lean. They did their job well, bringing back first-hand intelligence. They reported their findings unto all the congregation of Israelites, adding that the Canaanites were big and strong, and would put up a good fight to defend their homeland. The congregation, not liking the message, wanted to stone the messengers. The results: the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 more years.
Joshua, having succeeded Moses, wanted to try again. Having learned his lesson, he sent only two, unnamed spies secretly to assess Jericho. The spies' first stop was at the 'safe' house of Rahab, a harlot, who sheltered them. We know the story well, Rahab helped the spies, Joshua fought the “battle of Jericho,” and the “walls came tumbling down.”
The lesson is easy. If you are going to spy, keep it secret if you want the advantage, leverage the element of surprise, and don’t report your findings nor plans openly to others [i.e., a Senate, Congress, or pal in the media]. Joshua won by keeping secrets. Spying works only when the collected data requires little analysis or interpretation -- and the leadership understands their role in the process. [Poteat]
MICROSOFT WINDOWS CODE LEAK - Largest Cyber Issue Of The Week -- Last Thursday, Microsoft representatives announced "Today we became aware that incomplete portions of Windows 2000 and NT 4.0 source code was illegally made available on the Internet," said Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla. "It's illegal for third parties to post Microsoft source code and we take that activity very seriously." The FBI is investigating. Computer security experts said the release of Windows source code could pose a significant threat to Internet security, depending on what portion of the code was leaked.
Finding that leak in Universities or abroad, however, makes a haystack look preferable. Microsoft later disclosed that more than 150 Universities were given the source code for security research purposes [universities often being the hotbed for budding hackers and disaffected malware writers] meaning portions of the code can be anywhere. The code was also being given by Microsoft to foreign governments [Australia and India] to assuage their fears it contains hidden backdoors for U.S. govt snoops and to validate its security for their own sensitive deployments.
One concern over the leak of the code concerns "Zero day" exploits which are highly effective attacks that occur when hackers discover a way to exploit a security vulnerability before or at the same time as a software maker learns of the flaw. Attackers can then use this information to launch a virus or worm that exploits the security hole before a patch can be released to fix the problem. "Just look at the vulnerabilities that are discovered by people who didn't have access to the source code," said Thor Larholm, senior security researcher at Newport Beach, Calif.-based PivX Solutions, when interviewed by NYTimes. [CJLaClair / Krebs in NYT 12Feb04]
PROTECTING ACCESS TO COMPUTERS WITH USB SMART CARD LOG-IN -- "Dekart Logon" is a solution designed to provide an additional level of security for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Access to the Windows environment can only be gained after inserting a USB key or smart card into the appropriate slot and by entering the correct PIN code. Dekart Logon offers a number of security options: you can select to have Windows access blocked once the key is removed, during a screen saver timeout or other user assigned prompts. This flexibility automatically reduces the possibility of human error by maintaining predefined security levels even if the user leaves their PC unattended. Platforms: Windows 2000, Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows XP See http://www.dekart.com/products/authentication_access/logon/.
[Boletta / Security Focus MSoft Newsltr - #175]
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Information Management Technical Officer with MLS Degree
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IMPACT OF INVESTIGATIONS & HEARINGS ON IOs -- "I am gathering sources and interviews for an immediate article (and, probably, follow-up) in Salon, the internet magazine, on the effect of inquiries, hearings, etc. on intelligence and officers in the pre-9/11-through-WMD's-and-Iraq war period, including Plame incident. Deadline is pressing, but I expect there will be a follow-up. I'm former CIA, and a long-term journalist. All answers treated in confidence if desired." Immediate replies to: Bayard Stockton. 805-966-2695 or email@example.com
DEATH OF RYSZARD KUKLINSKI - HUMINT Cold War Spy & Polish Defector -- Author/NYT Reporter Benjamin Weiser was interviewed by National Public Radio following the sudden death of Ryszard Kuklinski who died at age 74. Public Affairs Books has just published Weiser's comprehensive account of Kuklinski's extraordinary Cold War HUMINT operations. "A Secret Life -- The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country" [Public Affairs Books, Jan 04, $27.50]. "The epic spy story of the Cold War." - Bob Woodward. "A spy story for the ages, one that is not cynical, but uplifting. The anti-le Carré" - Evan Thomas. The audio of the NPR interview is at. (http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId=1671258)
Want a transcript of this story? (http://www.npr.org/transcripts/story.html)
AT THE ABYSS: An Insider’s History of the Cold War by Thomas C. Reed [Presidio, $25.95, 362p, ISBN 0-89141-821-0, March 04] Reed, Secretary of the Air Force under Reagan, sets forth the horrors of nuclear war and the important impact WWII events had on both sides -- US and Soviet -- to maintain the fragile peace. He gives a critical insider's view of Republican politics during those years [particularly of Nancy Reagan and others in the Reagan cabinet and White House] and his high regard for physicist Edward Teller and various uniformed personnel. -- showing that things turned out so well because neither side had trigger-prone participants.
LAB 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory by Michael Christopher Carroll. [Morrow, $24.95, 320p, Photos, ISBN 0-06-001141-6] released February 14.
Two miles off Long Island -- 85 miles from New York City -- sits Plum Island. On this island is a US government biological research center which studies exotic and virulent diseases: African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, foot-and-mouth disease and West Nile virus. From declassified files and interviews, New York lawyer Michael Carroll argues that the island is dangerously insecure, and suggests that Plum Island is unprepared for accidents or terrorist actions. He also asks if there might be a connection between Lyme disease and Plum Island research, since the initial outbreak of the disease in 1975 occurred in Old Lyme, CT, close to Plum Island. West Nile virus also appeared close to the Island. Carroll offers descriptions of the dangers inherent in studying deadly viruses that could race through human populations, disrupt the food supply or cripple industries and our economy --dangers heightened by the absence of real island security. The author recognizes that it is crucial the US have laboratories like USAMRID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease] in Frederick, MD and Plum Island, and provides suggestions on how to make the research lab safer.
ALGER HISS’S LOOKING-GLASS WARS: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy by G. Edward White [Oxford Univ., $30, 286p, ISBN 0-19-515345-6, March 2004] White, professor at the UVA Law School, portrays Hiss as an unrepentant and lifelong liar. Hiss not only lived a lie as a State Department official in the secret employ of the Soviets, but also through decades of denial in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary. Hiss found his raison d’être in the useless charade of seeking vindication. White argues that had Hiss not maintained his innocence, “he would have been just one other undercover agent who had lied, betrayed his country, and gotten caught.” In other words he would have been a mediocrity: an idea his wunderkind ego could not tolerate. But through persistent denial—and by encouraging unwitting supporters to champion his cause—Hiss was able to convince himself that the jig was not up, since his deceits continued to be believed in eloquently vocal quarters. Indeed, White writes that Hiss “tailor[ed his narrative of innocence] to suit the changing tastes of an elite segment of public opinion, from whom all of the information and perceptions about Hiss originated.” But now, he notes, even that elite sees the light, and Hiss stands convicted once more. With its incisive analysis and readability, this is a worthwhile addition to the vast Hiss literature. [Publisher Weekly review]
OPERATIVES, SPIES AND SABOTEURS: The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS by Patrick K. O’Donnell [Free Press, $27, 384p, ISBN 074323572X, March 2004]
There are been several books on the history of the OSS and the novel "Q-style" inventions used during covert operations, but O'Donnell does it here with great story-telling ability and a number of new insights, no doubt based on waves of files finally declassified in the past few years. From secret messages to exploding cigars, a slew of OSS operatives tell what it was like running missions before the era of high-tech: no satellites, cellphones, computers, or pure-as-snow operatives facing oversight at home. The good ol' days. Hardened criminals were recruited to black bag embassies, and the French who fled to North Africa and England were often brought into service. Women agents used womenly charms -- all of them -- to furtively obtain codes or mission plans while an exhausted lover slept, and these women were rewarded minus the double-standard tsk-tsk of today. There was wooden-leg encumbered Virginia Hall, who arranged constant sabotage missions against the Gestapo, to the seductress "Cynthia" using sabotage of another sort. Psyops against the Germans spread rumors of disease, defeat, and desperation. O'Donnell wraps it up with a chapter on the unusual weapons -- including umbrella pistols and exploding baseballs.
CIA LAUNCHES IRAQI TIPS REWARD PROGRAM -- If you have information relating to Iraq which you believe might be of interest to the U.S. Government, please contact CIA through a secure online form here: https://comm.cia.gov/cgi/irp_form.cgi They will carefully protect all information you provide, including your identity. To help them confirm and act quickly on your information, you must provide your full name, nationality, occupation and contact information including phone number. This allows the U. S. Government to grant rewards for valuable information. They will maintain strict confidentiality.
REWARDS AVAILABLE FOR INFORMATION ON…
Imminent attacks: If you have information regarding an imminent attack by insurgents or terrorists they ask that you also contact a Coalition Force member or Iraqi police immediately.
Weapons of mass destruction: The presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq puts at risk the health and safety of all Iraqis. The U.S. Government offers rewards to Iraqis who give specific and verifiable information that helps Iraqis rid their country of these dangerous materials and devices. Rewards will be available for specific and verifiable information on:
The location of stocks of recently made chemical or biological weapons munitions, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, or their component parts; The location of chemical or biological laboratories and factories, development and production sites, and test sites associated with WMD, or sites where these materials were secretly disposed of; Weapons system plans, military orders, or other relevant documents about biological and chemical weapons, missiles, or unmanned aerial vehicles; Iraqis who are able and willing to provide detailed information on Iraq's WMD programs and efforts to hide them.
Ba'thist leaders: U.S. Government Rewards are available for the following information on former Ba'thist regime leaders, including 10 million U.S. dollars for information leading to the capture of former Revolutionary Command Council Chairman `Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri:
The current location and activities of these individuals; Who these individuals are meeting with and their future plans.
Insurgency and terrorism: Insurgents loyal to the former regime, and terrorists are trying to undermine Iraq's future. Rewards are available for specific and verifiable information that helps in their capture or otherwise to deprive them of sanctuary and support, such as information on:
Al-Qa'ida, Ansar Al-Islam, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and affiliates in Iraq; Individuals or groups obtaining explosives and other weapons to use against Coalition forces, Iraqi police, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps members, schools, businesses, or civilians; Individuals or groups providing insurgents and terrorists with safe houses, training, logistics support; Individuals or groups involved in, or knowledgeable about, terrorist smuggling routes into Iraq; Individuals or groups recruiting, facilitating, fundraising, and otherwise supporting terrorism in Iraq; Facilitators providing documents that assist terrorists' travel to Iraq; Travel agencies, NGOs, and front companies involved in facilitating terrorists' travel to Iraq.
Missing Coalition personnel: Rewards are available for information on missing Coalition service personnel, as well as Gulf War officer, U.S. naval aviator Michael Speicher
For additional information, visit http://www.cia.gov/cia/english_rewards.htm
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