Weekly Intelligence Notes #08-04 dtd 24 March 2004
WIN #08-04 dtd 24 March 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 contributed to this issue.
CONTENTS of this WIN
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9-11 COMMISSION -- The bipartisan commission looking at missteps prior to the 9/11 attacks has begun public, senior-level hearings that, in addition to issuing condemnations of both the Clinton and Bush administrations for not being aggressive enough on terrorism, are uncovering several new intelligence-related items on the situation. This particular ten member panel is the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States which is established by Congress, scheduled to report out this summer, and recipient of much media attention because it has sought public testimony from everyone short of God himself. Several of the tidbits include:
· The senior officials of both administrations agreed that they recognized a severe terrorist threat to the US. The thrust of the commission's investigative staff report, however, suggested that neither administration assigned adequate attention to the threat [with the usual advantage of 20/20 hindsight that always figures in these post facto exercises].
· The Clinton administration had as many as four chances to kill or capture bin Laden between December 1998 and July 1999, but all the operations were scuttled because of uncertain intelligence and fears that civilians might be killed.
· "Having a chance to get bin Laden three times in 36 hours and foregoing the chance each time has made me a bit angry," a CIA unit chief wrote to a colleague, adding that George Tenet "finds himself alone at the table, with the other principals basically saying 'we'll go along with your decision Mr. Director,' and implicitly saying that the Agency will hang alone if the attack doesn't get [bin Laden]."
· In the spring of 1998, the Saudi government broke up a plot organized by bin Laden to launch attacks on US forces in Saudi Arabia using portable missiles. Scores were arrested, but the Saudis did not publicize the case at the time.
· US officials learned that Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistani intelligence, had assured Taliban leaders in July 1999 that he would provide three or four hours of warning before any US missile launch as he had the "last time" -- an apparent reference to the failed 1998 missile strike.
· Moreover, officials from both administrations assert that neither congress, the media, nor the general public would have supported a complete military invasion of Afghanistan aimed at eliminating al-Qaeda pre-9/11/01; nor would having killed Bin laden likely have prevented it.
This is the eighth public hearing of the Commission; however, it is a virtual certainty the remaining hearings will fail to achieve comparable media attention. (Washington Post 24 Mar '04, pg A1, by Dan Eggen and John Mintz)
BEHIND CENTCOM'S CLOSED DOORS -- Here, in the Joint Intelligence Center in CentCom at MacDill AFB in Tampa FL, officers expect to be the first to learn that Osama bin Laden has been captured or killed. Here, in November 2002, CentCom senior officers watched a live video of an unmanned aircraft over Yemen launching a Hellfire missile at a vehicle carrying six suspected terrorists, killing them all. Here, the U.S. Central Command staff and equipment are devoted to a single, sensitive task: hunting members of al-Qaida and the Taliban.
JICCENT or "Jic" is the nerve center for the Defense Department's counterterrorist operations and has become vital to the military and government in decision making. The room is one of many secure areas that make up CentCom's Joint Intelligence Center. Since Sept. 11, the center's 550 employees have maintained an around-the-clock pace, working seven days a week to satisfy the insatiable demand in Tampa and Washington for the latest information from battle zones covered by CentCom -- an area stretching, roughly, from central Asia to the Horn of Africa. Employees at "Jic" work with some of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art electronics and are privy to the nation's most sensitive secrets at the highest levels of classification and compartmentation. However, employees there seem to insist that a majority of their work is less-than-glamorous yet always fast-paced. The center's director Col. Stephen Robb, the 51-year- old Marine who has been at the helm since June 2001 and who claims that he "was a young man when [he] started this job," is looking forward to September when a new director will take over.
Completed in November 2002, the $1.2 million Fusion Center was built in fewer than 45 days. The idea for the design came after Col. Robb toured a CNN facility and found an open work environment that encouraged communication. Consuming the forward wall is a giant screen in five sections. Analysts can follow live action in Iraq and Afghanistan, hold top-secret video teleconferences or watch mainstream news programs. The middle of the screen features Top Scene, a system that allows three-dimensional models of buildings and terrain to be displayed. This gives analysts lifelike images of prospective targets, allowing for more detailed planning. A smaller part of the screen is used to track the thousands of U.S. vehicles, ships and aircraft in CentCom's area of operations. Each has a transponder that emits a signal to avoid overwhelming the system; filters are used to show the most important vessels. Directly behind this section are three parallel rows of desks, where analysts focus on broad "function'' areas, where they evaluate longer-term concerns such as high-value targets and weapons of mass destruction. And, three times a week, regardless of where he is, Gen. Abizaid uses the Fusion Center to hold one-hour video briefings with his commanders and officials in Washington.
According to many at "Jic," the most memorable day in the intelligence center may have been Oct. 7, 2001, when Air Force bombers and jets began hitting targets in Afghanistan to launch the war on terrorism declared by President Bush. CIA paramilitary units and Special Forces had been on the ground for weeks trying to build alliances with Afghans and root out al-Qaeda or Taliban members. U.S. soldiers were in a remote corner of the world, fighting a very different enemy. "We were really nervous because we didn't know what to expect," Robb said. "If you remember the emotions from 9/11," his deputy operations director, Army Lt. Col. Stuart Smead, said, "we were only three weeks out from that, and this was going to be a different kind of war."(By Richard Lardner (abridged)// Tampa Tribune, Mar 15, 2004) Full Story at: (http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGAJW0E2URD.html)
COUNTERTERRORISM CZAR GETS PEOPLE TO LISTEN -- Former Whitehouse counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke began making substantial accusations against the Bush administration Sunday night on CBS 60 minutes -- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/19/60minutes/main607356.shtml.
White House strikes back -- http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0304/032304gsn1.htm
CRITICAL SSCI REPORT -- The 310-page Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the intelligence community's performance before the invasion of Iraq which began last year is still being edited and portions blacked out so it can be publicly released. In keeping with the earlier statements and leaks concerning the contents of the report, the current senatorial press interviews and leaks point firmly to a very inadequate if not deplorable performance. The thrust of the present leaks is that the community turned vague, incomplete information into firm warnings about the threat posed by Iraqi WMD, especially in the 1 October NIE of 2002 issued just before the Congressional vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq. It appears both Democrats and Republicans on the committee agree on the key, strongly negative findings. The NIE stated Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and "if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade." The press report says that that judgment was made even though no Western official had seen an actual chemical or biological weapon in Iraq since 1995. [The article did not pursue the alternative reasoning that no Western official had seen the actual destruction of all chemical or biological weapons since 1995 either.]
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, has said of the report, "The picture in regards to intelligence is not very flattering." Consistently in keeping with his earlier 20/20 hindsight pronouncements, the most vociferous of the committee Democratic members, Sen. Carl Levin, said, "It is a shocking report. There's got to be some accountability somewhere in the process for failures, for missing information, for ignoring information." Reportedly, the report finds that because of poor coordination at the top, different intelligence agencies distributed different assessments among senior policymakers. [One is left to speculate if the committee would prefer that senior policymakers be denied the opinion of their own intelligence officers until such time as the DCI sees fit to bless the assessment for the President.] The committee paper states that the different assessments contributed to statements by senior administration officials that were not always supported by most intelligence agencies. [Not counting the numerous newly-minted "Centers," there are 14 intelligence organizations according to the usual count, but it is not known what is defined as "most." or how one obtains their approval short of an NIE and even then, what about dissents in the NIE?].
The committee criticizes the DCI for consistently seizing on the worst-case scenario of the Iraq threat and overriding the views of intelligence agencies in areas where those agencies had expertise. USAF intelligence disagreement on the possible use of UAVs to deliver chemical or biological attacks is one example cited in the report; the second is DOE's intelligence disagreement on possible use of aluminum tubes in enriching uranium. Both examples have received considerable play in the press earlier, indicating the release of the data to the public despite the DCI "overriding" alleged. [One recollection, admittedly imperfect, is that the AF and DOE opinions were published as dissents in the October NIE.] Not surprisingly, committee members from both political parties agree that the CIA needs to improve the quantity and quality of its information-gathering from human sources.
Although not mentioned in the press article, it is probably a safe bet that the committee recommends better intelligence analysis and considerable expansion of linguistic talents by the community. Creation of at least one more layer in the bureaucratic hierarchy of the intelligence world is always a favorite of those whose intelligence experience is largely bound by the Washington beltway also. Conversely, it is almost certain there will be no recognition of the large gaps in information available to the analysts or of the effect on the warriors and the policymakers if the DCI consistently ignored the worst-case scenario. Over the years, intelligence reports are most often criticized for having too many caveats and "on the other hand" qualifications; it would appear that the thrust of the Senate in this instance is to fault the intelligence people for trying to be too positive in their support to the policy and military customers. [Harvey / JDiamond USA Today 15Mar04 p4]
BUSH CYBERSECURITY PLAN BLASTED BY SENATOR -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) charged the Bush administration with "lassitude and lack of leadership" in securing the nation's critical computer systems infrastructure. In a March 19 letter, Lieberman, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and a frequent critic of the White House's homeland security efforts, characterized the administration's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace as little more than vague generalities, without timeframes, deadlines or performance benchmarks. The strategy was originally announced February 2003.
RUSSIANS PROVIDE WEBSPACE FOR HAMAS TERRORISTS, OR DO THEY? -- The telecommunication company Caravan has claimed that it is not involved in support of the terrorists' website, a press release of the telecommunication company informs. On March 22 "Novye Izvestya" and some other information sources announced that Caravan had placed the website of the terrorist organization HAMAS at their servers, the company claims otherwise. (http://www.crime-research.org/news/23.03.2004/151) Hamas has chosen Russia (http://www.crime-research.org/news/23.03.2004/148)
HOTMAIL AND YAHOO USERS VULNERABLE -- Flaws in the filtering technology used by Web-based email services make it possible for hackers to smuggle viruses past defenses. Israeli security outfit GreyMagic Software warned today that this "severe security" vulnerability could allow attackers to run code of their choice, "simply by sending an email to an unsuspecting Hotmail or Yahoo! user". http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/36462.html
SECURITY WARNINGS: U.S. SHUTS DOWN INTERNET 'PHISHING' SCAM -- The U.S. government said Monday it had arrested a Texas man who crafted fake e-mail messages to trick hundreds of Internet users into providing credit card numbers and other sensitive information. http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/internet/03/22/crime.phishing.reut/index.html
'Phishing' Scams on the Rise -- http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-cybercrime22mar22,1,5692627.story
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/security/0,39020375,39149467,00.htm [Sulc / Ron Levine's NewsBits 03/22/04]
[IMPORTANT: AFIO does not "vet" or endorse these inquiries or offers. Reasonable-sounding inquiries and career offerings are published as a service to our members, and for researchers, educators, and subscribers. You are urged to exercise your usual caution and good judgment when responding or supplying any information.]
OPERATIONS OFFICERS/ DO TYPES -- Urgent Need! Former DO officers with current clearances are needed to work part or full-time on formulating strategy to capture major counter-terrorism support contract. Contact Peter Waldorf, USIS, phone 703-448-0178, fax 703-442-0519, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
PRINCIPAL ENGINEER -- Data Mining & Data Management in the Intelligent Systems Division (Washington, DC area) for a "leader in the defense and intelligence industry research headquartered in Boston with significant operations in Washington, DC." The Principal Engineer – Data Mining & Data Management will be the Intelligent Systems Division technical lead to assist in evaluating prototype technologies and applications in testbed facilities, deploying and testing systems across multiple client sites, and collecting and transmitting customer requirements and feedback to developers and strategic partners. Customer contact and aiding in new business development will be important, as well as writing business proposals. The Principal Engineer will build a team of problem solvers to deliver solutions to clients needs in the government agency market. Requires minimum of 7-10 years experience with software solutions, including at least three years experience in the defense/intelligence marketplace and three years managing multiple teams. The successful candidate will have experience in one or more of the following fields: Data Management, Data Mining, Data Analysis, Data Fusion, Knowledge Based Solutions, other intelligence-related software. Strong applications skills in analyzing and manipulating real world operational data is a must. Knowledge of Unix, Sun, C++, Java, SQL is important. Current TS/SCI lifestyle poly clearance a must. EDUCATION -- A Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and/or Computer Science with 7-10 years experience. SALARY / BENEFITS -- A competitive compensation package will include a base salary + bonus + an exceptional benefits package + relocation assistance. Send resume & salary history to: Lynda Ferren, Director, Research, Willows Research Partners, 855 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA 01845, Fax: 978-687-1886, Email: Lynda@WillowsRP.com
PROGRAM MANAGER/PRINCIPAL ENGINEER -- Technical areas of interest include information assurance, optimization, embedded systems, agent-based computing, and operating systems security, computing system architectures, stochastic control and artificial intelligence.
PROGRAM MANAGER/ PRINCIPAL ENGINEER -- The work will include object-oriented design, development and implementation of algorithms for autonomous vehicle systems. Applications include complex systems, agent-based computing, dynamic control systems and artificial intelligence.
SIMPLIFYING ARABIC -- Arabetics, a simplified Arabic alphabet that can be read right-to-left in the traditional Arabic manner or left-to-right in English fashion, is the result of a two-year effort by Saad D. Abulhab, director of technology at New York's Baruch College, to make Arabic less intimidating to Arabic-language students and software programmers. His goal in making the language less difficult to learn was to render it in a bidirectional format, and his solution was designing letters that maintained their form regardless of where they appeared in a word, could be printed in block style, and would remain separate characters rather than linked in a flowing cursive script. Abulhab's project involved the study of 22 Arabic-based languages, including, Kurdish, Persian, and Urdu. In traditional Arabic, a letter can take four distinctive shapes depending on where it appears in a word, which can be a headache to software programmers who must design programs powerful enough to render an Arabic font. Abulhab notes that not only does such software require a right-to-left format, but also a shaping engine to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of Arab letters. To solve this problem Abulhab has developed a font, Mutamathil -- Arabic for "symmetric and uniform"-- that he has patented. The researcher does not consider Arabetics to be a replacement for the traditional Arabic alphabet, but a tool that can help overcome people's reluctance to learn the language because of its unusual characteristics. [NYTimes has already archived the story into their fee-based service. Those wishing to see it might have to pay. Here's the link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0A16FA345A0C768DDDAA0894DC404482
DEVIL’S GAME: The Civil War Intrigues of Charles A. Dunham by Carman Cumming. [Univ. of Illinois, $35, 326p, ISBN 0252028902, April 04] A showcase for political and military genius, the Civil War was also a breeding ground for epic frauds, according to this engaging historical study of a great period con-artist. A New York City lawyer and Democratic hack, Charles Dunham found the wartime atmosphere of suspicion and hysteria a perfect climate for his talents as forger, propagandist and agent provocateur. Working (probably) with Union officials, Dunham invented a stable of fictional identities, some of whom fomented fake Confederate raids, sabotage operations and assassination plans, while others reported on these imaginary plots in Northern newspapers to arouse public ire and smear Copperhead opponents of the war. The network of false personas grew so complex that at one point Dunham offered a reward for his own capture and was duly arrested. At war’s end, his machinations grew murkier, as he set up a “School of Perjury” to provide phony witnesses, including his wife and brother-in-law, to investigators looking for evidence to incriminate Jefferson Davis in Lincoln’s assassination. When that scam landed him in prison, he started a new one offering fake proof of Andrew Johnson’s complicity in the murder to Radical Republicans trying to impeach the President. Although Dunham’s labyrinthine schemes can sometimes be eye-glazing, his skillful lying and sheer chutzpah make for entertaining reading. His main historical interest, though, lies in the immense number of false leads he generated to tantalize Lincoln conspiracy theorists. Journalism professor Cummings, author of Secret Craft: The Journalism of Edward Farrer, does a fine job of untangling fact from fiction. His thorough research and careful judgments throw a revealing light on many outstanding controversies in Civil War covert operations and Lincoln conspiracy studies. Photos. [PubWkly 22Mar04]
BLOOD FROM STONES: The Secret Financial Network of Terror by Douglas Farah. [Broadway, $24.95, 288p, ISBN 0-7679-1562-3, May 2004] An account of how Farah happened on al-Qaeda’s diamond-smuggling operations while he was the Washington Post’s bureau chief in West Africa in 2001. Farah details the sequence of events that led to his now famous exposé of the Mephistophelian alliance between al-Qaeda and Liberia’s notorious former president Charles Taylor, and the summary rape and ruin of West Africa while Taylor orchestrated the inequitable trade of diamonds for uniforms, weapons and cars to perpetuate the nightmarish strife. However, this is not where the book ends—it’s where a new unsettling story begins. After Farah’s article ran in the Post, he and his family were forced to leave Africa for their own safety. On arriving home, Farah says, he was met by a bitter and embarrassed CIA determined to discredit him in order to cover the fact that they knew nothing about al-Qaeda’s involvement in West Africa. Over time, the CIA’s behavior led to the revelation of damning information about the United States’s entire network of intelligence agencies, rife with infighting, disorganization and lack of central control. Farah’s drum-tight presentation of evidence to substantiate his allegations will be difficult to dispute, and his stark and straightforward writing style makes this book hard to put down. [PubWkly 22March04]
IRAQ WAR DVD-SET -- From History Channel. A year after the invasion of Iraq, the picture of the second Gulf War that has emerged remains shrouded by misconceptions, misinformation and controversy. This three-volume exploration covers every aspect of the conflict with extensive footage of aspects of the fight. It includes interviews with the soldiers and journalists. Five-part series sheds light on the conflict, probing beyond the pre-packaged tales and "embeds" to facets of the fight to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Draws on CBS News archives, looking into war rooms where the plans were fashioned and the front lines where they were put into action. The road to Baghdad is chronicled in detail, from sandstorms that slowed the Allied advance to the struggles surrounding the coordination of the fighting in the Kurdish-controlled north. Episode Guide: Invasion; Tough Going; At Baghdad's Doorstep; Fall of Saddam; Aftermath. $49.95 http://store.aetv.com/html/product/index.jhtml;jsessionid=QB54Y4XLHSTYCQOXHDDR5V0B022MQIY4?id=71370
YOU'RE STEPPING ON MY CLOAK AND DAGGER by Roger Hall [Naval Institute Press, $15.95 pb, 224p, 1-59114-353-5, April 2004] was first published in 1957. "A splendid contribution to the nation's hilarity…The funniest (unofficial) record of rugged adventure in the OSS. And Hall has earned his right to his laughter." -- The New York Times wrote when it first appeared. "Hall recounts his experiences as an American Army officer assigned to the Office of Strategic Services during WWII. He chronicles his time as a junior officer fleeing tedious training assignments in Louisiana to his rigorous OSS training in the US, UK, and Scotland for its Special Operations unit. Quick to pick up the skills needed for behind-the-lines intelligence work, Hall became an expert instructor, but was only reluctantly given operational duties because of a reputation as an iconoclast. In this droll account, Hall describes his first parachute jump in support of the French resistance as a comedy of errors that terminated prematurely. His last assignment in the ear zone came when then Capt. William Colby -- future DCI -- handpicked him to lead the second section of a Norwegian special operations group into Norwy via Sweden." -- Publisher blurb. Hall is a 1941 UVA grad, author of two novels, and worked as cartoon editor for True magazine.
25-30 April - CICENTRE'S SPYRETREAT will be an espionage-themed luxurious Retreat & Conference. The retreat is at the five-star Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA, and is modeled on CiCentre's popular (and always sold out) Spycruises. Some space remains for this one, so do not delay. Explore the presentations and panel discussions from international intelligence professionals, authors, and historians (and register) at http://spytrek.com. While the CiCentre events are renown for providing more fascinating, insider info per-day than some grad school intelligence courses, by holding this at the Homestead, you -- and accompanying family members or SOs -- can also enjoy a vacation of luxury among pristine golf courses, pampering spas, exquisite restaurants, and a variety of outdoor activities. Reservations should be made ASAP by calling Spy Trek at (1-866-SPY-TREK). Visit The Homestead Resort (www.thehomestead.com) to see all the amenities.
30 APRIL - AFIO LUNCHEON DETAILS - RYSZARD KUKLINSKI: PATRIOT & SPY -- An espionage classic as told by his CIA case officer, the intelligence analyst, and the reporter who knew him. A HUMINT Colloquium at the AFIO SPRING LUNCHEON, FRIDAY, 30 April 2004. Three presenters who knew him firsthand: Benjamin Weiser, New York Times reporter and author of the just-published, “A Secret Life” (Public Affairs); Jim Simon, the CIA Analyst; and David Forden, the CIA Case Officer called “Daniel” provide, "a rare look at a single human intelligence operation...which reflected every aspect of the intelligence process." Time: 10:30 a.m. for badge pick-up. Weiser speaks at 11 am; lunch at noon; all three panelists at 12:45 to close at 2 pm. $30/person - current AFIO members and their guests, only. Where: Tyson's Corner Holiday Inn. Directions at Reserve right away with Visa, MasterCard or AMEX via email to email@example.com, by fax to 703.991.1278, or by voice to 703.790.0320. Weiser's just-released "A Secret Life" ... is an "epic spy story -- uplifting, inspiring, and amazing in its factual detail" will be on sale, along with other newly released intelligence books. Intelligence Officer review of Weiser book is on AFIO website at:
SUNDAY, 16 MAY 2004 - THE NATIONAL MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ASSOCIATION WILL BE CONDUCTING THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSAY AND AWARDS BANQUET on 16 May 2004 at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel, Tysons Corner, VA. A reservation form is available on their website at http://www.nmia.org
29 MAY - THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES SOCIETY -- forerunner to CIA -- will holds its 62nd anniversary reunion dinner on May 29, 2004 at the luxurious Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Several hundred OSS veterans, their families, and distnguished guests are expected to attend the banquet -- part of a weekend celebration -- that will observe the founding of OSS in June 1942. During the weekend, guests will also attend the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. AFIO members are invited to attend the "business-attire-or-better" banquet and celebration at an all inclusive cost of $150/person. Contact OSS Society President Charles Pinck at 202-207-2915 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
19 JUNE - AN EVENING OF SPY MUSIC DETAILS - AFIO'S NIGHT AT THE BOSTON POPS -- Filling up fast. June 19, 2004 at Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. Conductor Keith Lockhart leads Boston Pops Orchestra in an exciting evening full of surprises including James Bond spy themes. The event begins at 6 o’clock with a pre-concert hors d’oeuvres reception and a glamorous sultry-spy fashion show by Boston's renowned Yolanda. Register NOW online at before event sells out. For more information on event, contact Event representative, GaryW at WassinRichland@aol.com
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