WIN #15-04 dtd 10 May 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. TO DISCONTINUE RECEIPT OF WINs/EBBNs -- click UNSUBSCRIBE, or send and email to afio@afio.com and supply your name.

 

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CONTENTS of this WIN

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SECTION I -- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

            Abu Ghraib continues to Dominate the News

            Brits Appoint New MI6 Chief

 

SECTION II -- CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

          Challenges for Intelligence in American Democracy

            Russian Intel at Work in Czech Lands

 

SECTION III -- CYBER INTELLIGENCE

          Germans Nab Confessed Creator of Sasser Worm

            Tears Defeat British Iris Scanner

            U.S. Funds Computer Research on Disease Control

            New Encryption Technology needs new Hardware

 

SECTION IV -- EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

          New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board

 

SECTION V -- BOOKS, SOURCES, AND ISSUES

          Books

                    Diplomat vs. the Bush Administration

                        A Piercing Look at Halliburton

                        Green Berets on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

 

SECTION VI -- NOTES, LETTERS, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

          Letters

                    Fascism and Socialism

          Coming Events

                    11-13 MAY -- AFCEA TechNet International 2004

                    13 MAY - Borders Book Signing - Two Souls Indivisible

                    15 -16 MAY - Andrews Air Force Base Joint Services Open House

                    19 May -- Inside the Mind of a Terrorist at the Spy Museum

                    16 May 2004 -- The National Military Intelligence Association

                    20 May - Borders Book Singing - The D-Day Companion

                    23 May -- KidSpy School: Spy Gadgetry Workshop

                    29 May -- The Office of Strategic Services Society

 


 

SECTION I -- CURRENT INTELLIGENCE

 

ABU GHRAIB CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE NEWS -- The abuse of prisoners by the U.S. military, including military intelligence, continues to dominate the news. A leading question over the past week has been whether what happened at Abu Ghraib prison during the last quarter of 2003 was a one-time aberration or part of a systemic disorder in the holding of prisoners.

            There has been increasing evidence suggesting the problem is systemic. The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that it repeatedly asked the U.S. authorities to take action over abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The Red Cross has been visiting Abu Ghraib every five or six weeks since last year.

            The ICRC does not speak publicly about its prisoner visits but Reuter's reported from Geneva that it confirmed the accuracy of excerpts from a confidential ICRC report carried by the Wall Street Journal on 7 May. Rueters. The report was handed to U.S. authorities in February 2004.  Violations listed in the WSJ account were:

          Brutality against protected persons upon capture and initial custody, sometimes causing death or serious injury

          Physical or psychological coercion during interrogation to secure information.

          Prolonged solitary confinement in cells devoid of daylight.

          Excessive and disproportionate use of force against persons deprived of their liberty resulting in death or injury during their period of internment.

            The report said persons arrested in connection with suspected security offences or deemed to have an intelligence value and held under supervision of military intelligence "were at high risk of being subjected to a variety of harsh treatments ranging from insults, threats and humiliations to both physical and psychological coercion, which in some cases was tantamount to torture, in order to force cooperation with their interrogators." In spite of some improvements in the material conditions of internment, the ICRC found continuing allegations that suggested that ill treatment of prisoners “went beyond exceptional causes and might be considered as a practice tolerated by the coalition forces." Interrogation methods included: "hooding a detainee with a bag, sometimes in conjunction with beatings thus increasing anxiety as to when blows would come"; handcuffing so tight that they caused skin lesions and nerve damage; beating with pistols and rifles; threats of reprisals against family members; and stripping detainees naked for several days in solitary confinement in a completely dark cell."

            On 9 May, the Washington Post reported defense officials as saying that in April 2003, the Defense Department approved interrogation techniques for use at the Guantanamo Bay prison that permit making detainees disrobe entirely for questioning, reversing normal sleep patterns and exposing prisoners to heat, cold and sensory assault, including loud music and bright lights, the Defense officials told the Post the techniques on the list are consistent with international law and contain appropriate safeguards such as legal and medical monitoring.  The ICRC also accused the Iraqi police, under the supervision of the United States, of what appeared to be widespread abuse of power and ill-treatment, including threats to hand over persons in their custody to the Coalition Forces so as to extort money from them.

            The ICRC also found that British forces in Iraq had committed abuses and by 10 May Prime Minister Blair was under pressure to publish an ICRC report to that effect.  Other testimony to a systemic failure came from one of six MPs at Abu Ghraib now facing court martial. Spec. Sabrina D. Harman told the Post that in regard to detainees, "The job of the MP was to keep them awake, make it hell so they would talk."

            An Army investigation into prisoner abuse found the prison was chaotically run, that there were no apparent rules governing interrogations and that Harman's military police unit was ill trained for the job it was asked to perform.  Detainees, Harman said, would be handed over to the MPs by Army intelligence officers, CIA operatives or by civilian contractors. The prison had no standard operating procedures, she said, and Army and other intelligence officers made the rules as they went along.  Harman said that before being deployed in Iraq, her reserve unit received training at Fort Lee, Va. for combat support, not I/R (internment and resettlement). She said she was never schooled in the Geneva Conventions' rules on prisoner treatment. "The Geneva Convention was never posted, and none of us remember taking a class to review it," Harman said. "The first time reading it was two months after being charged. I read the entire thing highlighting everything the prison is in violation of. There's a lot."  The conventions state that prisoners of war must be treated humanely and not subjected to torture or scientific experiments. They cannot be threatened if they do not talk and cannot be put on public display.  Harman’s comments were in keeping with the investigation by Mjr. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba that found soldiers were poorly prepared and untrained to conduct I/R operations prior to deployment, at the mobilization site, upon arrival in theater and throughout their mission.

            According to The Washington Times, Combined Task Force 7, headed by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez in Baghdad, pushed for actionable intelligence as insurgency increased and Saddam Husayn remained as yet unfound. In turn, the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit and the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad pushed their mobile-intelligence units to vacuum up more Iraqis and bring them to Abu Ghraib.  The Times reported detainees were questioned by three-member interrogation teams made up of an Army 205th Military Intelligence Brigade officer, a civilian linguist on contract and another agency representative normally from either the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency or the Army criminal investigative command.

            On 7 May, The Guardian (London) quoted a former U.S. Army interrogator as saying many of those abused at Abu Ghraib were innocent Iraqis picked up at random and locked up by underqualified intelligence officers.  Torin Nelson said he was speaking out because he believed that military intelligence was seeking to blame the Abu Ghraib scandal on a handful of soldiers to divert attention from ingrained problems in the military detention and interrogation system.  Nelson served as a military intelligence officer at Guantanamo Bay before moving to Abu Ghraib with a civilian contractor last year. He blamed the abuses on a failure of command in U.S. military intelligence and an over-reliance on civilian contractors. Private companies were so anxious to meet the demand for their services that they sent cooks and truck drivers to work as interrogators, Nelson told The Guardian.  Nelson said that the same systemic problems were also responsible for large numbers of Afghans being mistakenly swept into Guantanamo Bay. He estimated that 30 to 40 percent of the inmates there had no connection to terrorism.  "All it takes is the signature of a low ranking NCO to send someone right around the world and have them locked up indefinitely but it takes the signature of the Secretary of Defense to let them go."

            A commentary on the abuse of prisoners that merited wider attention than it appears to have received came from Dr. David Kay.  Best known to the public as the man who led the U.S. search for WMD in Iraq, Kay is a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies with a concentration on counterterrorism as well as weapons proliferation. He told The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, VA., that he had repeatedly told people about problems with the interrogation of prisoners, but the military ignored him.  "I was there and I kept saying the interrogation process is broken. The prison process is broken. And no one wanted to deal with it," Kay said. "It was too, too distasteful. This is a known problem, and the military refuses to deal with it."  Anything less than severe action, which he described as a "hanging," against a two- or three-star general in charge means "in the Middle East, they are always going to believe we did it as part of a sanctioned process," Kay said. (Cameron L.C., DKR)

 

BRITS APPOINT NEW MI6 CHIEF -- In a controversial appointment, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair has named John Scarlett, 55, a career intelligence officer, as the new head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service.  Scarlett is currently chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee that compiled the Iraq dossiers that alleged that under Saddam Husayn that country had acquired WMD.  As no such weapons have been found, MI6, like the CIA, has come under criticism for relying on faulty intel. Hence the controversy surrounding Scarlett’s appointment as “C,” the cipher by which the head of MI6 is traditionally known.

            Scarlett is also controversial for his role in the inquiry into the suicide of David Kelly, a senior government weapons expert who killed himself after being identified as the source of leaks to the BBC about the intelligence leading up to the Iraq war. Allegations that the Iraq dossier had been "sexed up" under pressure from Downing Street were rejected by Lord Hutton, who headed the inquiry.

            A separate review into the way intelligence was handled, chaired by Lord Butler, the former Cabinet Secretary, has yet to report. This has prompted criticism from the opposition Conservatives. The Tory spokesman for foreign affairs, Michael Ancram, said in a statement, "Given that John Scarlett is central to that review, and that the inquiry has not yet reported, I believe that this appointment, at this time is inappropriate."

            Scarlett joined MI6 in 1971 and has served as head of station in Moscow as well as being posted to Nairobi, Paris and elsewhere. He is to take up his appointment and start signing letters in green ink, another tradition, in July.  He succeeds Sir Richard Dearlove, who is retiring to become master of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

            A photograph of Scarlett appeared in British newspapers on 6 May, the first time a picture of an MI6 chief had ever been published. That prompted the Tory Daily Telegraph to moan that, “Spies shouldn't be seen or heard: letting daylight in on the magic of the spy world destroys the romance. Oh for the days when we didn't even know the real name of ‘C.’" (DKR)

 


 

SECTION II -- CONTEXT AND PRECEDENCE

 

CHALLENGES FOR INTELLIGENCE IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY -- Few figures in public life have had as long and distinguished a career, and one in which intelligence was a key element, as the Hon. Lee H. Hamilton. Currently he is vice-chair of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 commission) as well as president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council. Before that he was a congressman from Indiana for 34 years.  Among other positions, he was chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). On 5 May, he spoke at the opening of an exhibition, “The Enemy Within: Terror in America, 1776 to Today," at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. The following is an edited and abridged version of his address.

 

"Good intelligence is essential to our national security. A superpower like the United States simply cannot survive without it.

 

The work of the intelligence community played a key role in our victory in the Cold War. And on September 11, 2001, we all learned that the mission for the intelligence community is as vital and urgent as it has ever been.  Intelligence is the most important tool that we have in preventing terrorist attacks - at home and abroad. Better intelligence is everybody's favorite solution to preventing terrorism. And intelligence is also a crucial component of our work to curb weapons proliferation. The stakes could not be higher.

 

Policymakers simply must be able to trust that they have the best possible intelligence as they deal with these new threats. Good intelligence does not guarantee good policy, but bad intelligence can ensure bad policy. If a policymaker has quality intelligence, issues are framed; decisions are clearer; and consequences can be anticipated.

 

The demands on our intelligence agencies are huge and growing.

 

The demand for intelligence is just insatiable among policymakers, and there is an increasing reliance on intelligence for military operations. Just as every senior corporate executive wants his own economist, every federal agency and every military service wants an independent intelligence capability.

 

The fact is the intelligence community cannot do everything at once and do it all well. Responsibility is on the consumers to set, in some orderly manner, the priorities. They do not do a very good job of that, finding it easier and less demanding to ask for intelligence on everything. Intelligence officials must contribute to this process of prioritizing. They need to say what is feasible and what the trade-offs are.

 

In this process, it is important that intelligence is not politicized.  Twenty years ago, I said in a speech: 'the needs of policy should not determine the conclusions of analysis. Intelligence should drive policy; not vice versa.' That was true then, that is true now.

 

In my experience, Presidents and Administrations tend to get the intelligence they want. After all, they appoint leading officials who set priorities.  But collection and analysis must be separated - to the maximum extent possible - from policy formation and politics. Policymakers should not use intelligence as a tool to make a policy look good - they should use intelligence to make good policy.

 

Another difficulty is data - mountains of it. The challenge is sifting through the huge amounts of information, analyzing it, deciding what is important and what is trivial, coordinating different agencies, and getting the right information to the right person at the right time. This is a task of exceeding difficulty. It takes systems analysis and management to an extraordinary degree. As we have heard a lot since 9/11, the challenge is connecting the dots. That is not so easy when you collect so many dots.

 

A related challenge is developing new capabilities. One area that has received much attention is languages. What is the use in intercepting a message if you can't read it? In a globalizing world with global threats, we need to understand what a lot more people are saying. And we need people who can translate - and analyze - messages in those languages.

 

We also need people with highly specific technical skills. Sometimes it seems that technology is developing faster than we can keep up with it. We need people who have a good understanding of network security; wireless technologies; nanotechnology; biometrics; data mining. The list goes on and on.

 

No one should expect a quick process here. It takes years to build up and maintain these skills, whether you are talking about languages or computers or simply knowledge about certain parts of the world. We need training within the community. It takes people traveling to and living in foreign countries. And it takes people getting accustomed to new tools and new tasks.

 

We also need to develop better understanding of foreign cultures and religions - as well as languages and technologies - within our institutions of higher learning. And we need more attention paid to open-source information: newspapers, periodicals, academic studies, satellite television, radio programs, Internet web sties, books, pamphlets, and religious tracts that can alert us to broad patterns developing around the world. Often the rest of the world is very open in expressing their feelings and intentions towards us. If we pay close attention to what they are saying, we can take better care of our security and our interests.

 

Another thing that people around Washington always talk about is getting better human intelligence, or HUMINT. Many talk of it as the 'silver bullet.' But as important as it can be, it is not a silver bullet.  A well-known critic from several years back said the U.S. spy system, 'is a self-serving sham carried out by careerist bureaucrats who have managed to deceive several generations of American policymakers and the public about the necessity and value of their work.' He went on to say that agencies collect, 'entirely too much useless information at too great risk in too many friendly countries,' and do a "very poor job in getting good political intelligence through espionage."

 

Those comments were made by Aldrich Ames after his conviction. Ames is a betrayer of his nation, directly responsible for the deaths of many people. We do need better HUMINT - to catch traitors like Ames.

 

Technology alone will not make us more secure. We need to put people on the ground who can detect and alert us to terrorist plots. We need to penetrate stateless terrorist networks and dispersed cells. And we need to penetrate opaque countries like North Korea and Iran. The good news is that HUMINT is cheap in comparison with technical collection systems. The bad news is that HUMINT is very hard to develop.

 

Just as important as developing our own capabilities is developing our relationships with foreign intelligence services. Our intelligence community cannot be everywhere at once. We need help to gather information, evaluate threats, and prevent attacks. Already cooperation has been essential in rooting out al Qa’ida in countries as diverse as Pakistan, Germany, Yemen and the Philippines. We must continue to strengthen relationships with foreign intelligence agencies to meet this challenge.

 

There is much skepticism, even cynicism, about the intelligence community among the American people. Part of this is due to over-classification of information. Some estimates of the number of classified documents reach into the trillions. When everything is classified, then nothing is classified. We must find a way to reduce the amount of information being classified, an amount that is overwhelming us. Now don't misunderstand me. We have to protect our sources and methods. But sometimes we are our own worst enemy on this issue. Our attitude seems to be: 'when in doubt, classify.' We shoot ourselves in the foot by keeping so much information secret - it only feeds public suspicion.

 

The more information we can make public, the more people can understand complex issues, and appreciate the process, management, and work of the intelligence community.

 

Finally, let me say how valuable I think the International Spy Museum is.  The American people should have more vehicles to learn about the work of the intelligence community. They need to think and learn more about intelligence. In an age of terrorism, we may not win our most important fights on the battlefield; many will take place in the secret world of bank accounts, infiltration, information intercepts, and analysis. Intelligence is not a cure-all, but it is an important tool that can help us take action. 

 

The Spy Museum plays an important role in shining a bit of light on what DCI Tenet referred to recently as 'the unclear, the unknown, and the deliberately hidden' world of intelligence. And as the museum demonstrates - and our children and grandchildren can attest - learning about that world can also be a lot of fun. Through the good work of the Spy Museum and other institutions like it, we can help make intelligence fit a little better into our American democracy." (Peter E., DKR)

 

RUSSIAN INTEL AT WORK IN CZECH LANDS -- The Czech security service, the BIS, has virtually accused the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR, of interfering in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic. In comments for Jane’s Intelligence Digest, sources in the BIS said they suspect that over half of the staff at the Russian embassy in Prague is covertly working for the SVR.

            Despite the fact that the Czechs have been a member of NATO since 1999 and this month became one of 10 new EU member states, Russian intelligence is as active as ever, the Moscow Times writes, citing Jane's. Now there are major concerns that the SVR is stepping up its activities with the aim of penetrating Czech political and business circles to the point where it can influence strategic decision-making. This raises serious questions about the extent to which Moscow’s expanding network will pose a direct threat to the security of the EU.

            Sources in the BIS told Jane's that the SVR has invested billions in Czech currency into purchasing property including hotels, casinos and other lucrative businesses in Prague, as well as in the Western Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary, which has become a known haven for Russian organized crime gangs, as well as SVR operations.  In view of the concerns currently being expressed by serving BIS officials, it remains to be seen whether the potential risks to Western security will be taken seriously, either by NATO or within the EU, according to Jane's. 

            Russian special services have ignored the BIS’s claims. The SVR press-service told Gazeta.Ru, so far they have no official comment on the issue. (pjk, DKR)

 


 

SECTION III -- CYBER INTELLIGENCE

 

GERMANS NAB CONFESSED CREATOR OF SASSER WORM -- German police have arrested two men believed to be responsible for the Sasser, Agobot, Phatbot and at least 27 other computer worms.

            One of the arrested was Sven Jaschan, an 18-year old living near the German city of Bremen, according to the Daily Telegraph (London). Police in Lower Saxony said Jaschan confessed to creating the Sasser worm that infected millions of computers around the world that used Windows XP or 2000.  Microsoft, the police said, confirmed their suspicions regarding the youth picked up on 7 May at his home at Waffensen an der Wuemme, near the city of Bremen. The FBI and CIA had been searching for a suspect called Sven J. In a raid on the man's home, police seized several computers and found the Sasser computer code.

            Sasser struck, among many others, the European Commission, Taiwan's postal service, Australian rail traffic controllers and the Spanish court system. A Finnish bank had to shut its 130 branch offices in a preventive move to keep the worm from infecting its computers. On 9 May, one German website celebrated Jaschan as a hero for his blow against global capitalism, the Telegraph reported.

            The outbreak began at the start of May and had come largely under control by the middle of last week. It was the third major Internet infection this year after Mydoom.A in January and Bagle.B in February.  A computer worm, unlike a virus, does not have to travel through e-mail but can spread by itself to any unprotected computer linked to the Internet.

            Microsoft senior vice president Brad Smith said a breakthrough came on 5 May when a group of fewer than five Germans approached the company with information about the alleged virus writer. The group inquired about the company's $5 million anti-virus reward program, and Microsoft agreed to pay the group $250,000 pending a successful conviction. If the youth is convicted, it would be the first successful prosecution under the Microsoft reward program, which was launched in November 2003.

            Also on 7 May, German police arrested a 21-year-old unemployed man in Loerrach who allegedly admitted creating the widespread Agobot and Phatbot worms with other programmers. Both men face charges of computer sabotage, which in Germany carries up to five years in prison. However, because of Jaschan's youth, it was thought unlikely he would be sent to prison.

            The motives of the alleged Sasser author were as yet unclear, but the German weekly Der Spiegel in the issue appearing 10 May suggested the adolescent may have wanted to drum up business for his mother, who owns a company offering assistance to computer owners. (Cameron L.C., DKR)

 

TEARS DEFEAT BRITISH IRIS SCANNER -- It seems that iris scanners, at least the ones being tested in Britain, can make the eyes water with the tears preventing the scanner from working. Long eyelashes and hard contact lenses do the same thing, according to The Register.

            According to Roland Sables, the man in charge of a test of the scanners, they failed to match people with their iris details in just four percent of cases. But, critics pointed out that given the population of the Britain, that would mean that nearly 2.5 million people would not be correctly identified if the scanner is introduced to provide biometric data for passports and a talked about British national identity card.

            A member of Parliament, Bob Russell, the man with the weepy eyes, said the scanner might also cause problems for people who were particularly photo sensitive, or suffered from epilepsy. (Newsbits, DKR)

 

U.S. FUNDS COMPUTER RESEARCH ON DISEASE CONTROL -- Federally funded scientists are to prepare computer models to track the spread of infectious diseases, the National Institutes of Health has announced. Under the plan that will cost more than $28 million, researchers in the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study project are to devise models of communities of varying size, then simulate the effects of different outbreaks and the potential for success of response options, according to Eric Jakobsson, bioinformatics and computational biology director at the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences. His institute will distribute funding over five years to four teams of scientists. (Lawrence S., DKR)

 

NEW ENCRYPTION TECHNOLOGY NEEDS NEW HARDWARE -- The influential IEEE association is expected to ratify in June the 802.11i security standard that uses for the first time Advanced Encryption Standard, a powerful 128-bit encryption technology. Wired.  To be used the new technology will require new hardware.

            The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.) is a non-profit, technical professional association of more than 360,000 individual members in approximately 175 countries. It is regarded as a leading authority in technical areas ranging from computer engineering, biomedical technology and telecommunications, to electric power, aerospace and consumer electronics, among others.

            AES, a standard currently approved for government use, will provide strong encryption and sophisticated ciphers, but will also require new access cards and in many cases new AP (access points), according to Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. (Newsbits, DKR)

 


 

SECTION IV -- EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 

NEW YORK CITY CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARD -- The NYC Review Board in one of the largest police oversight agencies in the country and is seeking an experienced investigator to fill a managerial vacancy in its staff. 

 

CIVIL SERVICE TITLE:  Investigative Manager CCRB

LOCATION:  40 Rector St. 2nd Floor, NYC

SALARY:  $67,600

 

DESCRIPTION:  CCRB is an independent and non-police mayoral agency.  It is empowered to investigate, make findings and recommend action on complaints against NYC police officers that allege the use of excessive force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and/or offensive language.  The Board's staff is composed entirely of civilian employees.  CCRB receives and investigates over 5,000 complaints each year.  Team managers direct the activities of a team of approximately 15 investigators who interview civilian witnesses, obtain relevant documentary evidence, and interview police officers represented by union attorneys.  Team managers ensure that investigations are thorough, objective, and expeditious.  They provide law enforcement expertise and teach investigative techniques and strategy to investigators, many of whom are recent college graduates.

 

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates should have a BA or BS degree and ten years of experience in law enforcement and/or investigations and at least 18 months managerial or supervisory experience.  Candidates should have strong interpersonal, analytical and writing shills, and be knowledgeable about police procedures and legal principles governing search and seizure law and the use of force.  Familiarity with NYCPD records is desirable.  NYC Residency is required within 90 days of appointment.  Additional information is available at www.nyc.gov/ccrb. To apply, submit resume and cover letter to Beth Thompson, Director of Personnel, Civilian Complaint Review Board; 40 Rector St. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006 -- or fax (212) 676-6037.

 


 

SECTION V -- BOOKS, SOURCES, AND ISSUES

 

Books

 

DIPLOMAT VS. THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION -- by Joseph Wilson, Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's C.I.A. Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir, (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 513 pp., illustrated, $26.)  Last July, the conservative newsman Robert Novak exposed Valerie Plame, wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a covert CIA operative. Novak attributed the disclosure to senior Bush administration officials.

            How Novak obtained the information about Mrs. Wilson has become a serious legal matter. It is, after all, a federal offense to disclose the identity of a CIA covert operative. In December, after a preliminary three-month inquiry by the Justice Department and the F.B.I., AG Ashcroft referred the matter to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago. Fitzgerald has conducted a grand jury investigation as a special counsel but no one has been charged. 

            Mrs. Wilson’s outing came a few days after the New York Times published an article by Wilson that questioned whether the administration had manipulated intelligence to support going to war with Iraq. Wilson also suggested a report he drew up in 2002 had been buried. The report cast doubt on a claim that Niger had supplied Iraq with raw uranium ore in the previous decade. President Bush referred to that claim in his 2003 State of the Union address.

            The CIA sent Wilson to Niger to investigate the claim and he concluded that it was false. The C.I.A. told him it had become involved because Vice President Cheney had asked whether there was any truth to the reports about Iraq's interest in Niger's uranium, Wilson writes. The White House has maintained that Cheney did not learn about Wilson's trip until the Times article appeared.

            Wilson writes that he believes Cheney's chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby, and Bush's political mentor, Karl Rove, were key figures in orchestrating attacks against him.  Libby, he suggests, was quite possibly the person who exposed his wife's identity. He also believes that Elliott Abrams, who was involved in the Iran-contra affair during the Reagan presidency and who now works in the National Security Council, may also have been involved.

            Wilson sees two likely motives for the leak. One is revenge, the other a wish to discourage other intelligence officials from speaking up. It was, Wilson writes in a passage characteristic of his dislike of the Bush administration, "the first salvo from an administration desperate to prevent the complete unraveling of the fabric of lies, distortions and misinformation that it had woven and fed the world to justify its war." 

            Some readers are likely to find the most interesting parts of the book are those where Wilson describes his youth and then various overseas postings, including that of being the acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq in the run up to the 1991 war on that country. Wilson writes grippingly about getting Americans out of the country before the fighting began and in holding his own with Saddam Husayn. (Cameron LC, DKR)

 

A PIERCING LOOK AT HALLIBURTON -- by Dan Briody, The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money,(Wiley, 304 pp., $24.95).  Briody uses his considerable investigative skills to rake up a good deal of mud about the Halliburton Corp. and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, both of which acquired vast no-bid contracts for work in Iraq but also been caught in less than scrupulous conduct.  Briody, who recounts the rise of the two companies from the oil fields of west Texas to the corridors of power in Washington, asserts that they bought politicians and manipulated the contracting process while raking in record profits.

            The post–Cold War Pentagon has become enamored of outsourcing tasks previously undertaken by the military. Briody places Vice President Cheney, CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, at the heart of this shift back when he was Defense secretary in the cabinet of Bush Senior.  Despite poor editing that has left the book repetitive in places, Briody comes across as casting much needed light on how public need, private profit and the conduct of war interact in the present-day United States. (DKR)

 

GREEN BERETS ON THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL -- by John L. Plaster, Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite,( Simon & Schuster, 384 pp., $25).  Plaster has written a powerful memoir of the Studies and Observations Group, a Green Beret unit specializing in secret reconnaissance forays into Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. He recalls his own and his comrades’ exploits leading eight-man teams of local people behind North Vietnamese lines to scout, sabotage transport, and take prisoners along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

            The book is full of stirring war stories and, away from hostile territory, lively accounts of the commandos hard-partying and their solidarity against more decorous officers. Nor does Plaster omit the somber mourning rituals for comrades killed in action. In fact, SOG reconnaissance teams were often enough found and attacked by the North Vietnamese with little to show for their efforts and the casualties they took. (DKR)

 


 

SECTION VI -- NOTES. LETTERS, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

LETTERS

 

FASCISM AND SOCIALISM -- L.S. writes about the quotation by President Bush cited in the review of Robert O. Paxton’s Fascism, Then and Now, in WIN 14-4: “Equal to the other factors cited in Fascism's rise, I believe, was revolutionary socialism. I hope Mr. Paxton mentioned what the President did not (if indeed he was quoted accurately). Nazism shared that nasty feature, as well as others, with Bolshevism.” 

 

COMING EVENTS

 

11-13 MAY - WASHINGTON DC CONVENTION CENTER -- AFCEA TechNet International 2004, "Combating Emerging Threats."  Contact: AFCEA Events 703-631-6125, web site: http://www.technet2004.org.

 

13 MAY - BORDERS BOOKSTORE IN PENTAGON CITY -- Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship that Saved Two POWs in Vietnam by James S. Hirsch.  In Two Souls Indivisible, James S. Hirsch, a former New York Times reporter and the best-selling author of Hurricane, tells the harrowing, inspirational story of the friendship that helped two American fliers survive the horrors of the North Vietnamese POW camp known as the Zoo. Major Fred Cherry was the first black officer captured by the North Vietnamese. (He is believed to be the only tortured POW in Vietnam who never disclosed more than name, rank, and serial number, and his portrait hangs prominently today in the Pentagon.) Lieutenant Porter Halyburton was a young Navy flier raised in a segregated corner of the South. Their captors threw them together in a cell believing their racial differences would break them apart. Instead, Cherry and Halyburton overcame their initial suspicions and forged a bond that would save their lives. Cherry and Halyburton will attend this event with Hirsch.

 

15 -16 MAY - ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE -- The Department of Defense is putting on its annual Joint Services Open House at Andrews AFB on the weekend of May 15-16. It is a fantastic opportunity to see our military equipment up-close, including our warplanes of almost every vintage, to climb around a lot of the equipment, talk to the crews, and enjoy some world-class stunt flying.  For more information visit the Website link http://www.dcmilitary.com/mwrforecast/4_6/news/28449-1.html.

 

19 MAY -- INSIDE THE MIND OF A TERRORIST AT THE SPY MUSEUM -- Dr. Jerrold M. Post is a specialist in the psyche of terrorists. He has studied and tested terrorists across the globe and explored the role of extremism, fundamentalism and culture in the creation of the modern day terrorist. Post, founding director of the CIA Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, will discuss the mind of the terrorist and answer questions from the audience at the International Spy Museum, 800 F Street N.W., Washington, D.C. on 19 May at 7 p.m. Admission is $20; for members of The Spy Ring and the OSS Society, $16. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register, visit www.spymuseum.org or call Ticketmaster at 202- 432-SEAT, 410-481-SEAT, or 703-573-SEAT; or 202.393.7798 (202.EYE.SPY.U) 

 

19 MAY - FT. MYERS OFFICERS' CLUB, ARLINGTON, VA -- The Board of Directors for the Potomac Chapter of the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA) is pleased to announce the next event in its Intelligence Transformation luncheon series with featured guest speaker: LTG Patrick M. Hughes, USA (Ret), Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  LTG Hughes will brief us on his new position within the Department of Homeland Security and his role in transforming intelligence operations between DoD, CIA, law enforcement agencies, and other federal, state and local activities involved within the Global War on Terrorism.  This luncheon is co-sponsored by the Capitol Club Chapter of the Association of Old Crows (AOC). To attend, RSVP to Lori Tugman (ltugman@mindspring.com or 703-921-1800) by Friday, 5/14. Please provide your name, title, office/company, phone number, and e-mail address when RSVPing. Your reservation will be confirmed via e-mail. Cancellation deadline is 5 PM, 5/14.

 

20 MAY - BORDERS BOOKSTORE IN PENTAGON CITY -- The D-Day Companion, by Dr. Russell Hart, Dennis Showalter, Dr. Andrew Gordon, and Dr. Christina Goulter.  Osprey Publishing’s The D-Day Companion brings together twelve of the most respected military historians working today to provide a unique and incisive examination of the momentous events surrounding June 6, 1944. Four of these historians-Dr. Russell Hart, Associate Professor of History at Hawai’i Pacific University; Dennis Showalter, Professor of History at Colorado College; and Drs. Andrew Gordon and Christina Goulter, teachers at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College-come to Borders to share their views on history’s greatest amphibious assault and to discuss their unique contributions to this impressive book. Covering the strategic battles and turning points through the eyes of commanding generals, planners, tacticians and men on both sides of the Allied/German line, The D-Day Companion provides an insiders view of the planning, build-up, naval and air efforts, deception plans, and beach fighting involved in the operation. Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of the campaign and is illuminated with remarkable photographs and maps. This is a beautiful book that gives new depth and fresh perspective to the events of D-Day. Come talk to the authors and pick up a copy of The D-Day Companion as a Father’s Day gift for your favorite military history buff.

 

23 May -- KIDSPY SCHOOL: SPY GADGETRY WORKSHOP AT THE INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM -- 800 F Street N.W., Washington, D.C. on Sunday, 23 May from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. From cameras that shoot through a button-hole to a secret listening device in the heel of a shoe --spies have always used the slickest tools in town. Here's the chance for KidSpies to invent their own way-cool spy gadgetry for a top secret agent on a mission! At our Invention Lab, ideas are encouraged, prototypes made, and concepts tested. Will your spy-idea work "in the field?" You could be the "Q" of the future! Ages 11-15; No Grown Ups Allowed! Tickets: $25 per KidSpy Members of The Spy Ring (Join Today!): $22 per person. Space is limited – advance registration required!  To register, visit spymuseum.org or call Ticketmaster at 202- 432-SEAT, 410-481-SEAT, or 703-573-SEAT; or 202.393.7798 (202.EYE.SPY.U)

 

27 MAY - WASHINGTON, DC, INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM -- Inside Stories: Tales from the OSS, America's First Intelligence Agency. Three OSS veterans will open your eyes about espionage in the Second World War Heroism, daring undercover exploits, clever disguises, and luck were everyday fare at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- forerunner of the CIA. Hear about the extraordinary accomplishments of these American spies, intelligence officers, and commandoes, and the pivotal role this organization played in the Allied victory in WWII. Three OSS veterans: Fisher Howe, Elizabeth McIntosh, and Maj. Gen. John Singlaub (Ret.), will share stories about the OSS and their missions. The session will be moderated by historian Patrick O'Donnell, author of the newly released Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of the OSS. Presented in collaboration with the OSS Society. Tickets: $20. Members of The Spy Ring (Join Today!): $16 Members of the OSS Society: $16. Space is limited – advance registration required! For more info. visit http://www.spymuseum.org/do/programs.asp#1.

 

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 distinguished 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 osssociety@aol.com.  

 


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