AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #42-08 dated 3 November 2008








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Post-9/11 CIA Has Shifted Its Emphasis. The CIA has more than doubled the number of science and technology officers sent overseas to support foreign spy operations since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Hundreds" of the specially trained officers have moved abroad to provide eavesdropping and communications devices, disguises and other high-tech support for field agents as the CIA has re-emphasized intelligence collection from human sources, according to agency information.

The CIA said the increase represents a 150% hike in overseas staffing for its Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T), which fills the role made famous by "Q" in James Bond films. The agency won't disclose the exact number of officers involved because its budget and staffing are classified, but the figures represent a rare public acknowledgement of the heightened pace of its foreign operations. The shift also reflects an increased emphasis on "close access" programs, in which information is collected directly from sources on the ground, as opposed to remotely via satellite or aircraft.

The intelligence community's needs for high-tech equipment have "changed fundamentally" since the start of the war on terrorism and "demand... has increased dramatically," says Stephanie O'Sullivan, the deputy CIA director who heads the Directorate of Science and Technology. For example, she adds, "there was a big explosion after 9/11 in the need for tracking and locating technology" to hunt leaders of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Overall staffing within the directorate has grown "a little bit... by a couple of hundred," O'Sullivan says. Many of the science and technology officers moved abroad were reassigned from domestic duties, she adds.

The changes follow a 2004 presidential directive to re-emphasize "human intelligence" collection at CIA and add 50% more operatives and analysts.

The growth in overseas postings of science and technology officers is a reflection of how you attack (today's) targets," says Jeffrey Richelson, author of The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. Working against terrorists, "you need more reliance on... the planted listening device or the (hidden) video camera that can photograph comings and goings in a particular area," adds Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive, a George Washington University research center in Washington.

The directorate usually gets more attention for developing disguises, bugged pens and other gadgets, but the DS&T's scientists and engineers are at least as likely to be working on advanced computer applications or analyzing a video released by al-Qaeda.

The directorate now has 30% of its staff working in offices outside the CIA. DS&T technicians help on aerial reconnaissance work at the Pentagon, for example.

The CIA says demand for the directorate's services has grown anywhere from two to 10 times since the terrorist attacks in 2001. Much of that has been driven by the increased emphasis on counterterrorism missions.

Congress and several independent commissions on intelligence reform also have pushed the CIA and other intelligence agencies to better incorporate cutting-edge technology into their operations. [Eisler/USAToday/27October2008] 

Washington Post on "Partnering for Cyberspace Security" - Kerr Address at AFIO Symposium. In two recent speeches that have attracted little notice, Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence, has called for a radical new relationship between government and the private sector to counter what he called the "malicious activity in cyberspace [that] is a growing threat to everyone."
Kerr said the most serious challenge to the nation's economy and security is protecting the intellectual property of government and the private sector that is the basis for advancements in science and technology.
"I have a deep concern . . . that the intelligence community has still not properly aligned its response to what I would call this period of amazing innovation -- the 'technological Wild West' -- by grasping the full range of opportunities and threats that technology provides to us," he said at the annual symposium of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers on Oct. 24. The full Kerr talk can be found here.
"Major losses of information and value for our government programs typically aren't from spies . . . In fact, one of the great concerns I have is that so much of the new capabilities that we're all going to depend on aren't any longer developed in government labs under government contract."
Calling for "a fundamental rethinking of our government's traditional relationship with the private sector," Kerr said that "a high percentage of our critical information infrastructure is privately owned, and both government and industry must recognize that an individual vulnerability is a common weakness."
Hackers steal proprietary information, shut down systems and corrupt the integrity of information by inserting erroneous data, he said. He described "supply-chain attacks" in which adversaries plant vulnerabilities in communications hardware and other high-tech equipment "that can be used later to bring down systems or cripple our infrastructure."
Kerr offered some far-reaching solutions in a talk Wednesday during another symposium, sponsored by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, which is part of his organization.
One approach would have the government take equity stakes in companies developing technical products, in effect expanding the practice of In-Q-Tel, the CIA entity that invests in companies.
Another proposal is to provide the same protective capabilities applied to government Web sites, ending in .gov and .mil, to the private industry's sites, ending in .com, which Kerr said have close to 98 percent of the nation's most important information.
He also suggested that the government ask insurers whether they cover "a failure to protect intellectual capital." That way, Kerr said, the insurers, through their premiums, "provide an incentive for companies, in fact, to pay attention to protecting their intellectual property."
In the past, Kerr said, when the director of central intelligence or the FBI chief faced similar problems, they would meet privately with leaders of companies involved in new technologies, seeking cooperation and perhaps access to their products. "What's the modern equivalent of what used to be done?" Kerr asked.
"We have a responsibility . . . to help those companies that we take an equity stake in or those that are just out there in the U.S. economy, to protect the most valuable assets they have, their ideas and the people who create them," he said. [Pincus/03Nov2008]

U.S. May Sell Global Hawk Spy Plane to Korea. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted that the U.S. may sell global hawk, the long-range high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, to Korea, saying "We are sympathetic to the interest in this" in a press conference. His statement came after the 40th annual Security Consultative Meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee at the Pentagon, Washington D.C.

It is the first time the U.S. has officially revealed it may sell the surveillance aircraft to the Korean government, although Washington is thought to have been leaning toward the sale since the beginning of this year.

Meanwhile, when asked about the health of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and contingency plans for the North's sudden upturn, Minister Lee replied, "Kim Jong-Il has not been seen in public for a while now, but we, both the Korean and the United States intelligence services, estimate that he still has control over his administration." [Chosun/20October2008] 

Yemen Upholds Death Sentence on Spy. A Yemen court of appeal confirmed on Monday a death sentence on espionage charges against a Saudi who had been stripped of his citizenship, while it acquitted a Yemeni national.

Hamad al-Dhahouk, a former Saudi soldier of Yemeni origin, and Abdul Aziz al-Hatbani, an officer in Yemen's army, were both sentenced to death in February by a court specialized in handling terrorism cases.

They were convicted of passing false information to the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa claiming that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were financing a terrorist cell in Yemen to attack tourists in Egypt, with the knowledge of the Yemeni government.

The court found "the evidence provided was valid against" Dhahouk, 50, whose Saudi citizenship was revoked in 1995.

Hatbani, on the other hand, was set free.

At their initial trial, which began in June 2007, the prosecution accused Dhahouk of passing documents containing the false information to the Egyptian embassy and demanding money in return.

Dhahouk said during interrogation that he had been a soldier in Saudi Arabia but was expelled from the country in 1995 during a visit by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

He claimed that the Saudi authorities told him "Go with your president," and revoked his Saudi citizenship.

Earlier this month, the same court began the trial of three Yemenis who are alleged to have spied for Iran. [MiddleEastOnline/21October2008] 

Sex Spy Won't Appeal Jail Term. A North Korean spy who used sex to secure military secrets has decided not to appeal her five-year jail sentence.

Won Jeong-Hwa, 35, who had come to South Korea in the guise of a defector, was found guilty of espionage and violating security laws.

'She decided not to lodge an appeal, concerned about the attention of the media when she stands before the court again,' defence lawyer Lee Sang-Hoon told Yonhap news agency.

The lawyer added his client also expected the appeals court to uphold the lower court's decision given previous similar cases.

The sensational sex-for-secrets case came to light in Aug when investigators announced the arrest of Won and her stepfather Kim Dong-Sun who was also charged with spying.

Won had fled to northeast China after committing a theft in the North but returned home and in 1998 became a spy for Pyongyang's espionage agency.

In 2001 she entered South Korea and was tasked by Seoul's spy agency with touring military units to give anti-communist lectures. She used the occasions to contact army officers.

During her trial she expressed remorse and renounced her hardline communist homeland. [Straitstimes/21October2008] 

Iranian Forces Arrest "Spy Pigeons" Near Uranium Plant. Security forces have "arrested" two suspected "spy pigeons" near Iran's controversial uranium enrichment facility.

One of the pigeons was caught near a rosewater production plant in the city of Kashan in Isfahan province, according to the report in the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper.

It cited an unnamed source as saying some metal rings and invisible strings were attached to the bird.

"Early this month, a black pigeon was caught bearing a blue-coated metal ring, with invisible strings," the source was quoted yesterday as saying of the second pigeon.

The source gave no further description of the pigeons, their current status nor what their fate would be.

Iran's heavily bunkered underground uranium enrichment plant is at Natanz, not far from Kashan.

It is not the first time the Islamic Republic has accused members of the animal kingdom of collaborating with its enemies.

Last year the country's media reported that 14 squirrels were arrested for espionage.

"The squirrels were equipped with the spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services," the IRNA news agency wrote.

The activity at the uranium enrichment plant is the focus of Iran's five-year standoff with the West, which that fears it aims to develop nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies the charge. [HeraldSun/20October2008] 

Spy Suspect "Performed Black Magic" to Protect Commander. An army interpreter accused of spying for Iran told a court how he performed black magic to protect his commander in Afghanistan from the Taliban.

Iranian-born Daniel James, a Territorial Army corporal who worked for Britain's top general in Afghanistan, General David Richards, was called up to serve in the country in May 2006.

The 45-year-old, of Cliff Road, Brighton, denies betraying Britain for Iran. In his court appearance at the Old Bailey, James claimed to have performed a ceremony as a black magic priest to protect his commander.

James said the general was not present when he conducted the ceremony but that he used a picture of him.

James also told the court of his life as a dancer plucked from obscurity by the TV presenter Jonathan Ross to become "king of salsa". James said he had worked as a body builder, kick boxer, and ranked third in the country at power lifting, before moving into salsa, when he was approached by Ross, then a TV researcher.

James, the sixth of nine children to an estate agent father in Tehran, moved to Britain at the age of 15. He went to school at fee-paying St Mary's College in Brighton but left without any qualifications, later becoming interested in sports and martial arts.

James, who was raised a Muslim, travelled to Cuba where he became interested in the native Yoruba religion and became a priest, he said.

He joined the TA in 1987 because, he said, he wanted to give something back to the country that had taken him in, and signed the Official Secrets Act.

James said that while based in Kabul he organized salsa lessons, Spanish classes, volleyball, cricket, football, women's football and Latin dance parties.

He said he played a key role liaising with officials on behalf of Richards and his team, including booking a football pitch owned by the Afghans at short notice for the arrival of Tony Blair's helicopter.

Richards last week described his former interpreter in an intelligent but "very complex" character who lobbied hard for promotion.

Richards said James' behavior sometimes "approached the bizarre" but he was in an influential position because his staff "were completely dependent on him".

He said James was doing a job that was normally the task of a sergeant. The court has heard that James was embittered that he had not been promoted to sergeant.

James denies two counts under Section (1c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911, communicating sensitive information to another person and collecting documents useful to the enemy on a USB drive.

He further denies willful misconduct in a public office. [Guardian/23October2008] 

Congress Withholds Funding for Spysat Program. Congressional appropriators have cancelled funding for a joint U.S. military-intelligence program to field two commercial-class satellites to collect medium-resolution imagery.

The action was taken by members the House and Senate appropriations committees in the classified annex to a massive U.S. bill funding government activities, including defense, for 2009, according to Michael Birmingham, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

The Broad Area Space-based Imagery Collector, or BASIC, program was approved by the Department of Defense and ODNI earlier this year, with a first launch scheduled for 2012 or 2013. The program has been the subject of controversy from the start due both to differences between the military and intelligence community about the acquisition strategy and to questions about its compliance with presidential policy.

That policy directs U.S. government agencies, including the national security community, to rely to the maximum practical extent on commercial providers for satellite imagery. Two such providers, DigitalGlobe of Longmont, Colo., and GeoEye of Dulles, Va., count the U.S. government as their biggest single customer; both recently launched satellites built with funding assistance from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that are capable of distinguishing ground features half a meter across or even smaller.

The BASIC plan calls for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office to procure two satellites comparable to those operated by DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, with imaging apertures 1.1 meters across. The satellites, expected to cost $1.7 billion, would be funded by the military intelligence budget, with the Pentagon having primary responsibility for acquisition decisions.

The BASIC ground segment would be funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using national intelligence program funding. The ODNI and Pentagon share decision-making responsibility for that segment of the program. [Ferster/AP/21October2008] 

Husband And Wife Convicted in Russia Of Offering Secrets To China. A Russian court convicted a husband-and-wife team of trying to sell state secrets to Chinese military intelligence officers. In an odd twist, China probably already possessed the information that the couple was trying to sell. 

The Moscow City Court convicted Yury Alekseyev, 55, and his wife, Irina Starikova, 49, of espionage Monday, sentencing Alekseyev to 12 years and his wife to nine years in prison. The couple was also fined 1 million rubles ($37,800). The pair was caught trying to sell "secret documents of a military technical character" about the Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier for $300,000, the FSB said, Interfax reported. The FSB said it caught the duo red-handed with the information on March 29 last year. 

It was unclear where the couple worked and how they obtained the information. 

China currently has no operational aircraft carriers. Russia only has the Admiral Kuznetsov. However, in the late 1990s, the Chinese bought the only other Kuznetsov class carrier to be produced, the Varyag. A former commander in the Chinese navy wrote in Jane's Defense Weekly in 2005 that China had purchased blueprints for the carrier, a fact Jane's later confirmed from Russian sources. The general also wrote that "the defense industry employed Russian aircraft carrier designers to come to China and give lectures." [Wendle/TheMoscowTimes/12October2008] 

Colombian Intelligence Chief Steps Down Amid Spy Scandal. The head of Colombia's intelligence services, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, has resigned after admitting that her agents spied on left-wing political opponents of the country's President Alvaro Uribe.

An opposition senator has accused the intelligence services of monitoring his movements and those of other members of his Democratic Pole party.

Ms. Hurtado says she is stepping down to preserve the honor of the security services. She says that neither she nor President Uribe had ordered the surveillance.  [ABC/24October2008] 

Cold War Espionage Transcripts Unsealed. In response to a petition filed by the National Security Archive and several historical associations, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the previously secret grand jury transcripts of eight witnesses related to Cold War espionage prosecutions. 

The nearly 300 pages of transcripts from the Brothman/Moskowitz grand jury reveal important new details about the testimony of Elizabeth Bentley, the so-called "Red Spy Queen," and Harry Gold, who led authorities to David Greenglass and the Rosenbergs. In addition, NARA released the testimonies of Vivian Glassman, Edith Levitov, and Frank Wilentz from the Rosenberg grand jury.

The government, through the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, had opposed the release of the Brothman/Moskowitz materials. On August 26, 2008, however, Judge Alvin Hellerstein decided they were of "substantial historical importance" and ordered them released. The government declined to appeal that ruling.

During the 1940s, Abraham Brothman gave secret industrial information to Elizabeth Bentley, who turned it over to the Soviet Union. Bentley eventually ended that relationship, but Harry Gold replaced her as a conduit to the Soviets. Both Bentley and Gold eventually became FBI informants and provided information that let authorities to Brothman and his business partner Miriam Moskowitz. Both Brothman and Moskowitz were convicted of obstruction of justice and served terms in prison. The Brothman/Moskowitz and Rosenberg cases were linked from the start, sharing some key witnesses and the same cast of investigators and prosecutors. The same judge also handled both cases.

One of the transcripts that will be released documents a third grand jury appearance by Harry Gold, a colorful character who played a principal role in both spy rings. [PublicRecord/24October2008] 

British Ministry Of Defense To Axe 1200 Employees. The British government is to axe a quarter of the military and civilian staff at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) despite being warned the cuts risk leaving it incapable of predicting threats to the UK or its interests worldwide.

The loss of 1,200 of the 4,330 staff will see every branch of the MoD losing posts, with those dealing with threats to the UK and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan among the worst affected.

The posts being axed include intelligence analysts watching potential threats to the UK; staff officers controlling the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and those providing urgently needed equipment to troops.

Senior officers in charge of the various branches warned that the cuts could lead to them not being able to do their job.

Director of Defense Intelligence Air Marshal Stuart Peach warned of a risk of being unable to provide timely intelligence or warning of threats to the UK and its interests abroad.

Lt-Gen Andrew Figgures, deputy chief of defense staff in charge of equipment procurement, said he could not see how the cuts could be fully implemented "while the current operational tempo endures".

Even then they would delay equipment needed for current operations with the staff handling urgent requirements cut by a third making it "more difficult" to support troops dealing with crises abroad.

Lt-Gen Peter Wall, deputy chief of defense staff in charge of operations, warned of the UK headquarters controlling operations in Iraq and Afghanistan not being able to deal with more than one crisis at a time.

Every section of the ministry is being heavily reorganized under the cuts, which will allow the MoD to move staff out of two Whitehall buildings, the old War Office and St George's Court, concentrating all staff in one building.

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which says the cuts are all about freeing up expensive property in London, is consulting MoD civil servants about possible strike action.

John Hutton, defense secretary, said the cuts were "obviously difficult but unavoidable", adding: "The trick is to be clear about the absolutely essential areas we've got to support. We've got to have an effective procurement operation; an effective operations set-up, and an effective welfare and personnel function."

But the equipment capability branch, which is in charge of procurement, will be severely hit, losing 139 of its 445 staff, a 31 per cent cut. Policy and commitments, which controls operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is to have its staff cut from 418 to 350, while personnel loses 217 of its 641 posts, the biggest cut of all.

The cuts to the Defense Intelligence Staff (DIS), which loses 121 of its 592 staff, run in the face of the recommendations of Lord Butler in his review into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq.

Analysts at the DIS disagreed sharply with the intelligence included in the government's Iraq dossier and Butler recommended extra funding to allow it have greater influence on national intelligence assessment. [TimesOnline/26October2008]

Intelligence Agencies Face Austerity. The steep buildup in government spending on intelligence programs continued over the past year, according to figures made public on Tuesday, but American intelligence agencies are also bracing for a new era of austerity.

Spending on intelligence operations increased by some 9 percent last year, to $47.5 billion, Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, said on Tuesday. That figure includes most intelligence spending, including the budget for the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the operations of spy satellites, but it does not include several billions that the military services spend annually on intelligence operations.

When the military spending is included, the new figure confirms that the American intelligence budget has doubled over the past decade, primarily to meet the demands of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a worldwide campaign against Al Qaeda. In 1998, the last time until 2007 that the intelligence budget was publicly disclosed, it stood at $26.7 billion; at that time, there were more F.B.I. agents working in New York City than C.I.A. officers operating around the world.

The size of the 2009 budget, under which the intelligence agencies are currently operating, remains classified.

Yet current and former intelligence officials said that some belt tightening has already begun because of the current economic crisis, and that further large increases in the budget are unlikely, no matter who becomes the next president. They said discussions currently under way to determine the 2010 budget reflect White House demands for greater spending restraint.

The Bush administration for years refused to disclose the amount that the United States spends annually to run C.I.A. states overseas, operate satellites and on other intelligence activities, saying that revealing the budget would give too much information to America's enemies. But members of Congress, acting on a recommendation by the Sept. 11 commission, passed a law in 2007 requiring that the director of national intelligence disclose the intelligence budget within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Besides the C.I.A.'s hugely expensive operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the agency is currently operating in Baghdad its largest overseas outpost since the Vietnam War, the C.I.A. is also trying to follow through on a presidential order to expand the ranks of its clandestine service by 50 percent.

In part because of the cost of this initiative, which requires recruiting and training new officers and building up the C.I.A's infrastructure abroad, intelligence officials said the agency was still several years from meeting the goal set by the White House. [Mazzetti/NYtimes/28October2008] 

Mexico Drug Spy Allegedly Leaked DEA Info. A Mexican official says a drug spy is telling officials he infiltrated the U.S. Embassy and leaked DEA information to the Beltran-Leyva cartel.

The official says the man worked for Interpol at Mexico City's airport and at the U.S. Embassy and is now considered a protected witness. It is unclear if he is under Mexican or U.S. care.

The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The official says the man gave the information to Mexican Embassy officials in Washington. His statements are being investigated.

The Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported on Monday that the cartel informant said he had infiltrated the U.S. Embassy.

It said the informant told Mexican prosecutors that he had worked as a "criminal investigator" at the embassy and that he had passed along information on U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operations in Mexico. The embassy had no immediate comment on the report.

The Beltran-Leyva cartel is the same organization that allegedly employed at least five agents of Mexico's Attorney General's Office for Organized Crime.

Employees of that unit charged with fighting organized crime allegedly were paid by members of the Beltran-Leyva cartel to pass along information on federal investigations of their organization and other traffickers.

Two top employees of the organized crime unit and at least three federal police agents assigned to it may have been passing information on surveillance targets and potential raids for at least four years, the unit's head, Assistant Attorney General Marisela Morales, told a news conference.

One of the officials was an assistant intelligence director and the other served as a liaison in requesting searches and assigning officers to carry them out.

All but one of the officials has been arrested.

The agents and officials received payments of between $150,000 and $450,000 per month for the information, Morales said.

The case represents the most serious known infiltration of anti-crime agencies since the 1997 arrest of Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, the head of Mexico's anti-drug agency, who was later convicted of aiding drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who has since died.

The Beltran Leyva brothers are one of the groups that make up northern Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, the country's largest drug trafficking confederation.

Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said that investigations were continuing to see whether any other informants had infiltrated prosecutors' offices.  [CBS/26October2008] 

DNI Directive Eases Clearance Restrictions on Foreign Ties. The Director of National Intelligence issued a directive this month that will make it easier for a person whose spouse or immediate family is not a U.S. citizen to gain a security clearance for access to intelligence information.

The new policy lowers a barrier that has long impeded intelligence agency hiring of qualified area experts, linguists and others simply because of their family ties.

Under the prior policy (Director of Central Intelligence Directive 6/4), one of the criteria for obtaining access to classified intelligence was that "The individual's immediate family must also be US citizens." Although an exception to that standard could be granted by a senior official, it was only permitted in case of a "compelling need."

Now, a clearance for those with foreign ties can be granted without a "compelling need," though it may still involve additional processing.

"Subjects who have immediate family members or other persons who are non-United States citizens to whom the subject is bound by affection or obligation may be eligible for access to SCI and other controlled access program information as the result of a condition, deviation, or waiver from personnel security standards."

The new policy was presented in Intelligence Community Directive 704, signed by DNI J. Michael McConnell on October 1, 2008.

The new policy is part of a ongoing transition towards "risk management" (as opposed to "risk avoidance"). This is an approach to security policy which accepts a modicum of increased risk in order to advance mission performance.  [SecrecyNews/27October2008]

Killer of Alleged CIA Agent Paroled. A former Georgian soldier convicted of killing a U.S. diplomat and alleged CIA spy was released on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Anzor Sharmaidze was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1994 after being convicted of murdering Freddie Woodruff, an officer of the political department at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and reportedly the CIA's station chief in Tbilisi. Sharmaidze's prison term was later extended due to escape attempts.

"Two-thirds of Anzor Sharmaidze's sentence has been served, which gave him the right to request parole.... He was released on Friday [Oct. 24] along with several other prisoners," a spokeswoman for Georgia's Penitentiary Department, Salome Makharadze, told AFP.

Sharmaidze initially confessed to shooting Woodruff dead in 1993 while the American was in a car being driven by a bodyguard of then-president Eduard Shevardnadze.

During the trial, witnesses said Sharmaidze had fired a shot randomly at the car while drunk and that the bullet had struck Woodruff in the head.

Sharmaidze later retracted, saying he had been beaten and forced to make the confession.

Woodruff's family has repeatedly called on Georgian authorities to reopen the murder inquiry because of lack of evidence against Sharmaidze.

Critics believe Woodruff may have been killed amid fighting between American and Russian intelligence services for influence in Georgia following its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. [AgenceFrance/26October2008] 


CIA Accused of Sabotage in Thames. On a chilly October night in 1964, the shipping forecast warned of fog on the Thames. Just after midnight, an East German freighter, the MV Magdeburg, slipped out of her Dagenham dock and headed slowly down river. On deck were 42 Leyland buses bound for Cuba.

Coming the other way was the Yamashiro Maru, a Japanese ship, sailing empty. The ships met at 1.52am. The Magdeburg was making the tight turn around Broadness Point when the Yamashiro Maru ploughed into her starboard side at more than 10 knots, holing her below the waterline and pushing her across the river.

'It was an accident, an act of God,' insisted Keith Toms, a tug crewman on the Thames that night. And that was the conclusion. No one was killed, there was no inquiry, no one was accountable and only Leyland Motors, forced to replace the buses, suffered.

Now a historian has found documents that add weight to the suspicions of academics that the ship was rammed at the behest of the CIA - as part of an effort to sabotage anyone breaking the US embargo on Fidel Castro's Cuba.

With the Americans threatening to blacklist any shipowner breaking the 'transportation blockade', Leyland Motors decided to use an East German ship. It was in the maritime archives of the former German Democratic Republic that John McGarry found evidence given by Gordon Greenfield, the British pilot of the Magdeburg, stating that the Japanese ship broke international law by navigating the wrong way and giving misleading signals. The captain and pilot of the Yamashiro Maru refused to speak.

Greenfield said in his statement: 'The Yamashiro Maru appeared to sail towards the south of the middle channel, but I interpreted her exchange of signals to mean that she was about to turn to starboard in order to pass me on her port side. At this time there seemed to be no danger of a collision.'

Tracked down 44 years later, Greenfield said: 'Given the atmosphere of the day, I suppose it's not surprising people read something into what happened but there's no truth in it, there was no blame attached.' He did agree that, despite reports of thick fog, visibility was so good that the two ships could see each other clearly well before Broadness Point.

In 1975, Washington Post reporters Jack Anderson and Les Whitten cited sources who claimed that a British intelligence wiretap on Cuban offices in London gave the CIA the Magdeburg's movements, despite two Prime Ministers, Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Wilson, backing the export deal engineered by Leyland's famed salesman Donald [later Lord] Stokes.

Anderson, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, is dead, but Whitten, 80, told The Observer that they had two sources. 'Jack's contacts were in the CIA and my contacts were in the National Security Agency. I don't remember a lot but I do know our sources were pretty good, the best really.'

Harold Elletson, director of the New Security Foundation in Berlin, said: 'It would be naive to think that the CIA wouldn't dare sink an East German ship in the vital estuary of a Nato ally. They were under pressure to get results and they had a huge budget for sabotage. In 1962 the British freighter Newlane was machine-gunned loading Cuban sugar. The CIA poisoned 14,135 bags of Cuban sugar on the British ship Streatham Hill in 1962 in Puerto Rico.'

Douglas-Home backed Leyland and President Lyndon Johnson refused to speak to him. In April 1964, minister Rab Butler was called to see Johnson. 'His reward was a tongue-lashing,' wrote Anthony Howard in the Spectator, 'during which the great, glowering figure behind the desk reached in his pocket to produce a wad of dollar bills which he flourished as he instructed Her Majesty's Britannic Foreign Secretary to come to him in future if his country wanted a cash handout rather than go selling buses to Cuba.'

Anthony Glees, professor of intelligence studies at Buckingham University, said: 'That it was a deliberate sinking doesn't sound entirely implausible. I've a very low estimation of the CIA and its work throughout the Cold War - it's a history of failure. What would have been inconsistent is that they had an operation in the Thames they got away with.'

But perhaps Magdeburg's controversial cargo was a coincidence. Keith Toms, then a 19-year-old deck hand, said: 'It was frightening, a ship like that turning over. I remember people crying out for help. Trinity House, the pilots' union body, was a very powerful body. No one would be castigated. People accepted that accidents happen. It was such a busy river, and even without fog collisions happen in daylight. I was surprised it sank, you wouldn't get enough force in a normal collision.'

Dr. Kristian Gustafson, CIA historian at Brunel University, was skeptical: 'What the cousins didn't do was spray in each other's countries. But was America irrational about Cuba? Absolutely. People did crazy things.' [Guardian/26October2008] 

Abu Nidal, Notorious Palestinian Mercenary, "Was a US Spy." Iraqi secret police believed that the notorious Palestinian assassin Abu Nidal was working for the Americans as well as Egypt and Kuwait when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents - written by Saddam Hussein's brutal security services for Saddam's eyes only - state that he had been "colluding" with the Americans and, with the help of the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, was trying to find evidence linking Saddam and al-Qa'ida.

President George Bush was to use claims of a relationship with al-Qa'ida as one of the reasons for his 2003 invasion, along with Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. Western reports were to dismiss Iraq's claim that Abu Nidal committed suicide in August 2002, suggesting that Saddam's own security services murdered him when his presence became an embarrassment for them. The secret papers from Iraq suggest that he did indeed kill himself after confessing to the "treacherous crime of spying against this righteous country".

The final hours of Abu Nidal, the mercenary whose assassinations and murderous attacks in 20 countries over more than a quarter of a century killed or wounded more than 900 civilians, are revealed in the set of intelligence reports drawn up for Saddam's "presidency intelligence office" in September of 2002. The documents state that Egyptian and Kuwaiti intelligence officers had asked Abu Nidal, whose real name was Khalil al-Banna, to spy for them "with the knowledge of their American counterparts". Five days after his death, Iraq's head of intelligence, Taher Jalil Habbush, told a press conference in Baghdad that Abu Nidal had committed suicide after Iraqi agents arrived at the apartment where he was hiding in the city, but the secret reports make it clear that the notorious Palestinian had undergone a long series of interrogations prior to his violent demise. The records of these sessions were never intended to be made public and were written by Iraqi "Special Intelligence Unit M4" for Saddam. While Abu Nidal may have lied to his interrogators - torture is not mentioned in the reports - the documents appear to be a frank internal account of what the Iraqis believed his mission in Iraq to be. The papers name a Kuwaiti major, a member of the ruling Kuwaiti al-Sabbah family, as his "handler" and state that he was also tasked to "perform terrorist acts inside and outside Iraq". His presence in the country "would provide the Americans with the pretext that Iraq was harbouring terrorist organisations," the reports say.

"Coded messages indicate that the Kuwaitis asked him indirectly to find out whether al-Qa'ida elements were present in Iraq. Our conclusions were confirmed when he [Abu Nidal] started to mitigate his actions with irrational answers when asked about the data against him. He attempted to sidetrack his answers by not being specific and referring to historical matters. It was noted by the investigators that he went from short, ambiguous and unclear replies to generalities... he seemed perturbed... But once he became convinced of the weight of the evidence against him concerning his collusion with both the American and Kuwaiti intelligence apparatuses in co-ordination with Egyptian intelligence, he realised that his treacherous crime of spying against this righteous country had been exposed..."

Abu Nidal was no stranger to Iraq. He had operated from Baghdad, Damascus and the Libyan capital of Tripoli when the regimes wanted to use him as a "gun for hire". It was Iraq which paid him to organize the attack on the Israeli ambassador to London, Shlomo Argov, in 1982, an attempted assassination which prompted Israel to accuse Yasser Arafat of responsibility and to begin its disastrous invasion of Lebanon, and Colonel Muammur Gaddafi later established a close relationship with Abu Nidal. In 1985, his crazed gunmen attacked Israeli-bound passengers at Rome and Vienna airports, killing a total of 18 people. His biographer Patrick Seale, who suggests that for some time Abu Nidal even worked for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, has written of how, when he feared treachery in his own ranks, a suspected spy would be buried alive, fed through a tube for days and then - if Abu Nidal's "court" deemed death appropriate - a bullet would be fired down the tube.

His own interrogation at the hands of Saddam's secret police, will therefore appear equally appropriate punishment for so cruel a man. Among the other crimes of which he was accused in the Iraqi intelligence report was the preparation of 14 booby-trapped suitcase bombs to be used on foreigners - Swiss and Austrian, according to the intelligence file - in the northern Kurdish area of Iraq, at the time a US-supported "safe haven", and an attempt to recruit new members for his so-called Fatah Revolutionary Council among Palestinians wounded by the Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza who were recovering in Baghdad hospitals.

There are some oddities in the report and some unanswered questions. It says, for example, that Abu Nidal originally infiltrated Iraq from Iran on a false Yemeni passport years earlier, but that this was facilitated by his own representative in Kuwait, named as Nabil Uthman. Abu Nidal was said to have communicated to Kuwait via coded messages sent through Lebanon and Dubai. The papers give his date of birth as 1939 - he is believed to have been born in Jaffa in what was then Palestine in 1937 - and state that he resided in Libya in 1984 but "had no links with the Libyan authorities". He is also stated to have been imprisoned by the Egyptian security services for two months. The man who is said to have provided Abu Nidal with a "safe house" in Baghdad was interrogated in 2002 alongside the Palestinian and is named as Abdulkareem Mohammed Mustapha.

His end is, however, recorded bleakly. "Upon being asked to accompany those charged with guarding him to a more secure location to continue the interrogation procedures, he requested that he be allowed to change his clothes. On entering his bedroom, he committed suicide. Unsuccessful attempts were made to resuscitate him..." Nothing is known of the fate of Abdulkareem Mustapha, only that he was "submitted to court". 

"The corpse of Sabri al-Banna", the final report concludes, "was buried on 29/8/2002 in al-Karakh's Islamic cemetery [in Baghdad]. Until a final resting place is found, a marker designates the place of burial and it was documented on video as well as on still photographs as 'M7'." No "final resting place" for this savage man appears ever to have been found. [Independent/21October2008] 


Terrorists Could Use Twitter For Mayhem, Army Report Muses. Terrorism and Twitter go together like Darth Vader and Tribbles - the former aspiring to instill fear, the latter chirpy and not very threatening.

Yet a draft Army intelligence paper, "Al Qaida-Like Mobile Discussions & Potential Creative Uses," contemplates just that combination.

The October 16 paper, posted on the Federation of American Scientists Web site, was written by the Army's 304 Military Intelligence Battalion Open Source Intelligence Team.

It touches briefly on "Pro Terrorist Propaganda Cell Phone Interfaces," using cell phone GPS data to assist terrorist operations, mobile phone surveillance, possible use of voice changing technology by terrorists, "Potential For Terrorist Use of Twitter," and other mobile phone technology and software that bears further consideration.

In one "Red Team" scenario - the red team being the traditional attacker in attack/defense scenario planning - the report imagines a terrorist operative using a cell phone with built-in camera or video capability to send Twitter messages to other terrorist operatives in near real-time updates, "similar to the movement updates that were sent by activists at the [Republican National Convention]." The goal would be to provide troop strength intelligence and to coordinate an ambush.

Another scenario imagines a terrorist operative wearing an explosive vest, capable of being detonated remotely, and carrying a mobile phone to send and receive Twitter messages. This could allow a remote terrorist observer "to select the precise moment of remote detonation based on near real-time movement and imagery" coming from the bomb-wearing terrorist, the report speculates.

Concerns about how new technologies may be used are hardly new: Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a communiqu� to make it clear that vehicles taking pictures for Google's Street View service are not allowed to photograph military bases. Google Earth has reportedly been used by terrorists to help plan attacks against British troops in Basra, Iraq. The Taliban in Afghanistan reportedly have been using Skype to evade eavesdropping by Western intelligence services.

And the report itself acknowledges the limits of its musings, noting that the contemplated scenarios deserve further research.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, sees the report "as a student exercise, not as a serious threat assessment."

"Terrorists can use credit cards and can openers, so they can probably use Twitter too," he said in an e-mail. "But that doesn't make it a national security concern." [Claburn/InformationWeek/27October2008] 

Two Convicted in Denmark for Preparing Terror Attack. Two men who were secretly filmed mixing the type of explosive used in the 2005 London transit bombing were convicted of preparing a terrorist attack.

Hammad Khuershid, a Danish citizen of Pakistani origin, and Abdoulghani Tokhi, an Afghan, were arrested in an anti-terror sweep last year after Danish agents filmed them conducting a small test blast with triacetone triperoxide, which was used by the suicide bombers who killed 52 British commuters.

During the trial, prosecutors said Khuershid had links to an al-Qaida operative. The prosecutors said it was not clear whether Khuershid and Tokhi were preparing an attack in Denmark or abroad. Denmark has repeatedly been threatened by Islamic extremists after the uproar triggered by cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in Danish newspapers in 2005.

Investigators found handwritten bomb-making manuals in the men's homes that prosecutors said Khuershid had copied at the pro-Taliban Red Mosque in Islamabad.

They said he also had spent time in the Pakistani region of Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border. Khuershid has admitted he was in Waziristan, but denies receiving any military training.

Khuershid and Tokhi had pleaded innocent and said the explosive was to be used for fireworks. They sat motionless as the City Court in Glostrup, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, handed down the guilty verdict. It was not immediately clear whether they would appeal.

The pair could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law. No date was immediately set for sentencing.

Denmark's PET security police put the men under surveillance after receiving a tip from a foreign intelligence agency. PET agents monitored their phone and computer communication and installed video cameras in Khuershid's home.

They were arrested in the Copenhagen area in September 2007. Denmark's intelligence service said at the time that the suspects were Islamic militants with direct links to leading al-Qaida figures.  [Olsen/AP/21October2008] 

Bin Laden Writing His Memoirs. World's most wanted fugitive, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is reportedly writing a book on the struggle of his terrorist network that dispenses money, logistical support and training to radical groups in over 50 countries.

The book, being written in Arabic, will later be translated into English. Bin Laden decided to write the book to counter "propaganda" against Al Qaeda.

Bin Laden is writing the book with the assistance of a "young man with a Middle Eastern background who will later translate the text into English", the channel reported. The book will reportedly highlight atrocities allegedly being committed on Muslims by the Western world.

Bin Laden will also discuss how the medieval Crusades greatly impacted the growth of Western influence in world affairs and ultimately helped the US to control the oil reserves of the Muslim states.

The book will shed light on the evolution of Al Qaeda and 9/11 terror attacks on the US.

Bin Laden, who was born in Riyadh on March 10, 1957, is a member of the prominent bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia.

The Al Qaeda leader has been indicted in a US federal court for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of 10 most wanted fugitives.

Though bin Laden has not been indicted for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, he has reportedly claimed responsibility for the strikes. Reports suggest he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979, or a degree in public administration in 1981.

Bin Laden also operated from Pakistan for a brief while in the 1980s as part of the mujahideen movement against the Soviet forces that had occupied Afghanistan. [PTI/25October2008] 

Pair Detained in Guantanamo Takes Mounties, CSIS to Court. Two former Montrealers imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay are taking the RCMP and CSIS to court as part of a bid to prove their confessions to terrorism resulted from torture by the U.S. and others and are therefore worthless.

Lawyers for Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Ahcene Zemiri have asked the Federal Court of Canada to order the security agencies and the departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice to hand over details of interviews the men say they gave to RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers at the U.S. naval station prison in Cuba in 2003 and 2004.

The lawyers say the officers probed their clients' knowledge of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Ahmed Ressam, the failed Algerian refugee claimant in Montreal who plotted to bomb the Los Angeles airport in December 1999.

The interview and any related materials, the men's lawyers believe, could shed light on their claims of torture at the hands of U.S. and other foreign interrogators and are essential for preparation of their defence at upcoming habeas corpus proceedings in U.S. District Court.

The U.S. government is expected to be asked what lawful basis it has for detaining the men indefinitely as "enemy combatants."

U.S. federal and international law prohibit use of evidence obtained through torture and the government denies any of its interrogation practices at Guantanamo Bay meet its legal definition of torture. It acknowledges, however, that Mr. Slahi was the subject in 2003 of a "special interrogation plan," authorized by then-secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Slahi, 38, is a Mauritanian who came to Montreal from Germany in November 1999 and stayed for two months as a landed immigrant before returning to his native land.

The U.S. believes he was a major conduit between al-Qaeda cells in Europe and Canada and its former home base in Afghanistan, and that his arrival in Montreal was to help activate the "Millennium Plot" cell of Algerian militants that included Mr. Ressam and others. Further, it believes that while living in Germany he helped recruit three of the 9/11 suicide pilots.

Mr. Slahi admits belonging to al-Qaeda in the early 1990s when it fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. He also acknowledges his cousin was a senior lieutenant for Osama bin Laden and that he once called him on the master terrorist's satellite phone, which was monitored by western intelligence. But he has denied any involvement with the group for more than a dozen years.

After returning to Mauritania in January 2000, he says he was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities and later landed in a Jordanian prison for eight months where he says he was tortured. In August 2002, he became internee No. 760 at Guantanamo Bay.

Mr. Zemiri, 41, is an Algerian who arrived in Montreal in 1994, married a Canadian two years later and obtained permanent resident status. He attended the same Montreal mosque and socialized with the same group of Montreal Algerians as Mr. Ressam.

He was arrested by Niagara Falls police in 1998 in the company of a man believed to be a high-ranking member of the Canadian chapter of the Armed Islamic Group, part of the al-Qaeda network. Following Mr. Ressam's 1999 U.S. arrest for the Millennium Plot, he claimed - but later retracted - that Mr. Zemiri had given him a substantial amount of cash and a camera. Fearing Canadian authorities would deport him back to Algeria because of his connections to Mr. Ressam, he left Canada for Afghanistan in 2001. His wife returned to Canada and he soon found himself living in the caves and tunnels of the mountainous Tora Bora region with what he says were about 200 other Arab male refugees trying to flee Afghanistan.

Around the same time, Mr. bin Laden and several hundred of his followers were also at Tora Bora under attack from U.S. airstrikes and U.S.-controlled Afghan troops, and trying to escape to nearby Pakistan.

Mr. Zemiri was soon captured and imprisoned by the Afghans in Kabul, where he says he was tortured. In spring 2002, he was taken to Guantanamo Bay as prisoner No. 533. He has not seen his wife since they parted in 2001 or his six-year-old son, Karim.

Initial demands for the RCMP-CSIS interview materials from the men's defense teams were refused by the government in August, prompting their lawyers to apply to the Federal Court for judicial review.

Despite not being Canadian citizens or having lived in Canada for several years, the men remain entitled to the protections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, their lawyers insist.

In refusing the new demands for interview documents, Department of Justice lawyer Gerard Normand suggested the Supreme Court decision does not extend to the habeas corpus hearings before the U.S. District Court. Instead, lawyers should seek the information through the U.S. courts.

Under U.S. law, however, the government is not required to obtain documents in the possession of a foreign government for the purpose of disclosing them to the defence for a court proceeding.  [MacLeod/OttawaCitizen/24October2008] 



Robert Furman Dies at 93; Oversaw WWII Nuclear Espionage Efforts. For more than 60 years, Robert Furman lived a quiet suburban life as a businessman with a successful building and contracting company.

The engineer had worked on a large construction project as a young man - few people knew exactly how large - and built the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua and hundreds of other structures.

He was a president of the Rotary Club and the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.) Chamber of Commerce and sang baritone in barbershop quartets. He died Oct. 14 of metastatic melanoma at a retirement community in Adamstown, Md., at 93.

It was only in the past few years, as historians and scholars began to knock on his door, that Furman revealed the full extent of his achievements during World War II and his extraordinary life of intrigue.

He was at the center of two of the most remarkable developments of the war: the building of the Pentagon and the development of the atomic bomb. Yet his roles as an engineer and as the point man in an international espionage operation were cloaked in such secrecy that his name did not appear in official documents for decades.

Robert Ralph Furman, born Aug. 21, 1915, in Trenton, N.J., graduated from Princeton University in 1937 with a degree in civil engineering, eventually working for Turner Construction Co. in New York.

A member of the Army Reserve, Furman was activated in December 1940 and assigned to the Washington headquarters of the Quartermaster Corps Construction Division. He was named executive officer to Clarence Renshaw, a captain in charge of construction of a new War Department office building just across the Potomac River from Washington. Furman had a desk outside the office of then-Col. Leslie Groves, Renshaw's boss.

Furman, then a lieutenant, became a key figure in the day-to-day construction operation that began in September 1941. With 13,000 workers toiling round-the-clock, the enormous five-sided building went up quickly. Furman supervised everything from materials to manpower, even dealing with illicit alcohol sales on the night shift. Every fifth day, he was on overnight duty, making a circuit of the entire building on foot.

The Pentagon was completed in 17 months, and in mid-1943, Furman was ready for a new assignment. Groves had been promoted to general and was in charge of the top-secret Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb. He picked the young Furman, now a major, as his chief of intelligence.

On his frequent visits to the secret U.S. research site in Los Alamos, N.M., Furman met nuclear scientists Robert Oppenheimer and Hans Bethe. When Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr was smuggled out of Denmark late in 1943, Furman was his personal handler and quizzed him about German research efforts.

When a long-shot plan to kidnap Werner Heisenberg, Germany's leading physicist, failed, a new spy was brought into the picture and assigned to Furman. Morris "Moe" Berg was a Princeton graduate with a law degree from Columbia University who was fluent in seven languages. He had played 15 years in the major leagues as a catcher with several teams and had taken secret films of Tokyo while on a baseball tour in the 1930s. The films were used to guide American bombers during World War II.

By 1944, Berg had been retired from baseball for five years. He made his way through liberated and neutral parts of Europe, keeping Furman informed of his meetings with scientists across the continent. Furman frequently went to Europe himself, meeting Berg and future CIA chief Allen Dulles on undercover missions. He often wore cheap French suits to remain inconspicuous.

Groves decided that all the uranium in Europe should be in Allied hands - even uranium stored near the front lines - and chose Furman to find it. Sometimes under fire from German snipers, Furman recovered vast stores of the element needed for nuclear fission.

When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, Furman was in charge of rounding up Germany's top scientists. U.S. forces quickly detained Heisenberg and nine other scientists and spirited them to England, where they could not defect to the Soviet Union.

Back in the United States in July 1945, Furman visited Los Alamos. He personally escorted more than half of the U.S. supply of enriched uranium to San Francisco, where he boarded the USS Indianapolis, the Navy's fastest cruiser, and took it to the Pacific island of Tinian. Four days after Furman stepped off the Indianapolis with the nuclear material, the ship was torpedoed and sunk. More than 800 U.S. lives were lost; most victims survived the sinking but succumbed over days to sharks or the elements.

The first atomic bombs were assembled on Tinian, and on Aug. 6, 1945, Furman watched the B-29 Enola Gay take off on its fateful trip to Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped.

A year later, Furman left the Army and opened Furman Builders Inc. in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Md.

He married in 1952, raised a family and kept his long silence.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Mary Eddy Furman; four children, Martha Keating of Church Creek, Md., Julia Costello of Mokelumne Hill, Calif., David Furman of Kensington, Md., and Serena Furman of Stow, Mass.; a brother; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson. [Schudel/LAtimes/2October2008] 

David Denison Bradburn. Major General USAF (Ret.) David Denison Bradburn, a friend to many of us at NSA in the 1960's to the 1980's passed away peacefully, after a long illness, on October 18, 2008. 

MG Bradburn was born in Hollywood, CA on May 27, 1925 to Clarence Earl Bradburn and Florence Lyle Easton. He graduated from West Point in 1946 and piloted B-26 aircraft in Korea. He subsequently became a pioneer in space surveillance, developing secret Corona satellites in the 1960's, and eventually becoming Director of Special Projects for the Air Force. Bradburn later helped negotiate space weaponry provisions of the SALT II treaty with the USSR. 

MG Bradburn was President Emeritus of the Beach Cities Symphony in Redondo Beach, an avid photographer, and a world traveler. A devoted and loving family man, he is survived by his wife of fifty-one years Bertha, four children, eleven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  [LATimes/24October2008]

Gloria Overall, 86, CIA Secretary, Performer. When Gloria Overall was a teenager, she was - quite unexpectedly - asked to play an accordion solo for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It was in the late 1930s and FDR was visiting his home in Warm Springs, where he went swimming as part of the treatment for his polio. Mrs. Overall was a teenager and a member of a school marching band playing for the president. During a lull in the day's events, her music teacher asked Mrs. Overall to play a solo for the president, said her son Mark Saunders of Waldorf, Md.

She quickly decided to play "Home on the Range," a song she knew to be one of FDR's favorites, he said.

"She was about 5 or 6 feet away and it was very exciting. She was a great admirer of his," he said.

Mrs. Overall, 86, of Atlanta died Monday of organ failure at Hospice Atlanta. 

Mrs. Overall lived most of her life in a home her parents bought in the early 1930s in Druid Hills. Her mother had been a publicist for Gloria Swanson, and named her daughter after the film actress.

Mrs. Overall attended North Avenue Presbyterian School, today known as Westminster. She was a cousin of John Marsh, the second husband of Margaret Mitchell, who wrote "Gone With the Wind," but never met the author, her son said.

Mrs. Overall was a very outgoing person who wasn't afraid to be the center of attention, said her longtime friend Katherine Barr, who met her while at North Avenue Presbyterian School.

"She really didn't mind getting up in front of people," said Ms. Barr of Atlanta.

Mrs. Overall worked as a civilian employee at Fort McPherson during World War II. She also was a secretary at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta before becoming a secretary in the office of security for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington in the 1970s, her son said.

At the CIA, one of her duties was picking up correspondence at post office boxes through the city that had been mailed by agents overseas, both American and foreign, her son said. She retired in 1990 and returned to her home in Atlanta.

Additional survivors include her husband, Milton Overall of Atlanta; a daughter, Suzanne Warenzak of Conyers; a son, Brian Saunders of Sugar Hill; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.  [Tagami/TheAtlantaJournalConstitution/23October2008

Julia Pirie, MI5 Agent.  Julia Pirie, who has died aged 90, spent two decades as an MI5 agent at the heart of the Communist Party of Great Britain, most of it as personal assistant to the party's general secretary.

A small, dumpy woman with the appearance of a confirmed and rather matronly spinster, Julia Pirie was the most unlikely of spies. But her unassuming demeanour masked a sharp intellect and the powers of observation essential for the task of a secret agent.

She was recruited to infiltrate the party at the beginning of the 1950s, at a time when many Britons still remembered the Soviet Union as a valued wartime ally and Communists retained considerable influence within the trades union movement.

Julia Pirie would pass over her regular reports and photocopied documents to her MI5 handlers during cricket matches at the Oval cricket ground, a procedure that left her with a lifelong love of the game.

She was told to resign from her party post in the 1970s, by which time, she said, the Communist Party had become a rather pathetic and increasingly irrelevant organisation. She went on to collect intelligence on the Provisional IRA during several missions in Europe.

Effortlessly adopting the cover of a harmless, elderly English spinster intent on sightseeing, Julia Pirie once travelled to Barcelona, renting a flat immediately below one occupied by IRA officials. The flat, rented by members of the Catalan terrorist group Terra Lliure, was being used by the IRA as a safe house and a temporary store for shipments of gold bullion supplied by the Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Julia Pirie's inability to control the reverberation and echo coming from her own equipment led to some precarious and alarming moments. At one point her apartment was raided by the Barcelona police, putting the entire operation at risk. Julia Pirie was aware from monitoring their communications that the IRA terrorists were nervous of discovery, and the arrival of a number of armed police officers was unlikely to reassure them.

But she managed to persuade the police that she was simply an innocent English spinster, and calmly continued her monitoring operation until her MI5 handlers, alarmed at the latest turn of events, pulled her out for her own safety.

Elizabeth Mary Julia Pirie (known to her family as Elizabeth, but, later, as Julia to her colleagues in MI5) was born at Harbury, Warwickshire, on July 8, 1918, the only daughter of Allen Grant Pirie and Elizabeth Mary Pirie. Her father, an advocate from Aberdeen, died in 1923 as a result of wounds received in France while serving in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Soon afterwards Elizabeth's mother decided to return to Calcutta, where she had been born and brought up, taking her daughter with her.

Elizabeth was educated at the Loreto convent at Shillong, in a rural area of Assam, where she recalled tigers roaming around the school. On the outbreak of war in 1939 she returned to Britain, determined to join the war effort. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women's section of the British Army, and saw service as a driver of staff cars and ambulances in Shrewsbury before volunteering after D-Day for work in France and Germany.

She was among the first Allied soldiers to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and would later speak movingly about the effect this experience had on her.

After serving with the British Army on the Rhine, she left the Army and went to work as secretary and personal assistant to Kitty, Duchess of Atholl, who, as chairman of the British League for European Freedom, was an ardent campaigner against Soviet control of eastern Europe. It was during this time that Elizabeth Pirie joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, which had provided female agents for the Special Operations Executive working with the French Resistance.

She then worked for the International Maritime Organisation before being approached by MI5, possibly as a result of her links with FANY, and asked to infiltrate the Communist Party of Great Britain working as a typist. She worked for F4, the section within MI5 which monitored the Communist Party's activities and its links with the trades union movement.

Given her position as personal assistant to the general secretary, John Gollan, it seems highly likely that one of Julia Pirie's earliest coups was to provide information that allowed MI5 to obtain the entire secret membership of the party. Selected members of the party were told to keep their membership secret so that they could be used by the KGB or Soviet military intelligence (the GRU) in operations in Britain.

Peter Wright, a former senior MI5 officer, revealed in his book Spycatcher that in the late 1950s one of the F4 agent handlers obtained details of the location of the secret membership files from an agent inside the party. The files were stored in the Mayfair flat of a wealthy party member, and the property was put under blanket surveillance. When the owner's wife rang him to say that she was going out for an hour, but would leave the key under the doormat, an MI5 officer swiftly went round to take an impression.

Armed with the key, MI5 simply waited until the occupants went away to the Lake District for the weekend, then let themselves in and copied the secret files, rendering the potential Soviet agents useless. This was Operation Party Piece, one of a number of operations against the Communist Party that led Wright to claim: "For five years we bugged and burgled our way across London at the state's behest while pompous bowler-hatted civil servants pretended to look the other way."

Wright also described how bugging the party's King Street headquarters was made more difficult by the way in which the leadership constantly changed the location of key meetings, eventually moving them to a windowless basement room.

An agent inside the building tipped off F4 to the location of the room and said that an old coal chute led down to it from the pavement. The response was another MI5 coup, known as Operation Tie Pin. This took place on a Saturday night when no one was likely to be in the party headquarters. The entire staff of MI5's "A" branch surveillance team, known as "the Watchers", was carefully choreographed to play the part of drunken revellers walking past the building in different directions, disguising the noise as an MI5 technician surreptitiously placed a false door containing a bugging device over the chute to allow continued monitoring of the meetings.

As personal assistant to the general secretary, Julia Pirie would certainly have been aware of the change of location for the secret meetings and remains the most likely source of the MI5 tip-off.

But within the Communist Party she was completely trusted, accompanying the general secretary to regular meetings and conferences behind the Iron Curtain. The fact that she usually attempted to avoid these "dreary" visits to the Eastern Bloc only reinforced her cover.

Despite the "threat within" that the party was believed to be, Julia Pirie revealed to her handlers that Gollan had very little power and was entirely beholden to Moscow and the Communists within the trades unions.

The Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956 was the catalyst for a loss of party members that was to increase with the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968. Gollan responded to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia by saying: "We completely understand the concern of the Soviet Union about the security of the socialist campe_SLps we speak as true friends of the Soviet Union." With membership plummeting, from 56,000 during the Second World War to 20,000 by 1978, Julia Pirie was pulled out.

After retiring from active operations in the 1990s, she lectured to groups of MI5 trainees and the police before indulging her love of travel, visiting Russia, Europe, Africa, Australia, the Caribbean and the United States.

She remained extremely generous with her time and her commitment to those she regarded as her close family, regularly keeping in touch with relatives of all ages.

Despite the intense pressure of working under cover for much of her life, she always retained her quiet sense of humour and warm laugh. She never lost her keen interest in sport, particularly cricket, and was an avid and skilled bridge player.

Until her death on September 2 Julia Pirie continued to receive her pension from the Communist Party, paid monthly into her account from a bank in Italy. She was unmarried.  [Telegraph/28October2008]


The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II, By Patrick K. O'Donnell. Like a scene from Where Eagles Dare, a small team of American special operatives parachutes into Italy under the noses of thousands of German troops. Their orders: link up with local partisans in the mountains and sabotage the well-guarded Brenner Pass, the crucial route through the Alps for the Nazi war machine. Without the supplies that travel this route, the German war effort in Italy will grind to a halt.

The Brenner Assignment reveals, for the first time, the facts behind the most daring covert operation of World War II. Since Roman times, the Brenner Pass had been an essential trade and military route through the Alps. When the war broke out in Europe, it became a major supply artery for the Third Reich, as well as a symbol of the Hitler/Mussolini "Pact of Steel." Military historian Patrick K. O'Donnell has drawn on thousands of recently declassified files, private documents, and personal interviews to write the never-before-told account of a handful of brave men who were dropped into enemy territory with orders to cut off access to the Brenner Pass by any means necessary.

The unforgettable cast of characters includes the dashing and daring team leader; the romantic idealist who plans the operation; the seductive Italian countess who is also a double-agent; and the maniacal SS officer who will stop at nothing to kill the team and their partisan collaborators.

The Brenner Assignment is also a World War II story that resonates today, revealing lessons for the war on terror and illustrating the complex nature of insurgency.

Packed with action, suspense, intrigue, and even romance, this exciting true tale of survival and sabotage behind enemy lines is one of the greatest untold adventure stories of World War II.

There will be a book signing at the Georgetown Barnes and Noble on M Street on Nov 19th at 7:30. Mr. O'Donnell plans on giving books to OSS veterans who attend. For more information visit



06 November 2008 - San Francisco, CA - The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Cynthia Dowgewicz-Hordyk, Manager, Intelligence Program, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) San Francisco Field Division. Under a revision to Executive Order 12333, which defines the United States Intelligence Activities, a portion of the Drug Enforcement Administration became a member of the Intelligence Community (IC). That portion of DEA provides intelligence coordination and information sharing with other members of the IC and homeland security to enhance the efforts to reduce the drug supply, protect national security, and combat global terrorism. Ms. Dowgewicz-Hordyk will explain some of the differences between intelligence in law enforcement vs. in the Intelligence Community and discuss some of the challenges of entering this new arena.
The meeting will be held at United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco (between Sloat and Wawona). 11:30 AM no host cocktails; noon - luncheon. $25 member rate with advance reservation and payment; $35 non-member rate or at door. E-mail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate meat or fish) no later than 5PM 10/27/08: or mail check made out to "AFIO" to:
Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011. (650) 622-9840 X608.

Thursday, Friday 6 -7 November 2008, 7:30 am to 6 pm - Washington, DC - "Issues for the New Administration" the theme of the18th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security

The registration fee is $170.00 per day or $325.00 for both days. Additionally there will be a charge of $60.00 per person for the reception/dinner on Thursday evening, November 5. Student prices are outlined on the registration form.
Location: Renaissance Washington DC Hotel, Renaissance Ballroom, 999 9th St NW, Washington, DC
Selected Topics and Speakers include:
Thursday, November 6: The Nature, Scope and Scale of National Security Threats Inside and Outside the United States with Suzanne E. Spaulding, Joel F. Brenner [NCIX], David Kay [IAEA/UNSCOM], Joseph Billy, Jr. [FBI].
Managing the Intelligence Enterprise with M. E. “Spike” Bowman [NCIX], Wyndee Parker [HPSCI], William C. Banks [Syracuse], Michael J. Heimbach [FBI], James R. Locher III.
A Sustainable Legal Regime for Foreign and Domestic Intelligence with Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker [U of Pacific], Lara M. Flint [Senate], John Rizzo [CIA], James A. Baker [OIPR], James McPherson.
Luncheon – Keynote Speaker: Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse, Senate, RI
The War in Georgia and the Future of U.S./Russian Relations with John Norton Moore [UVA], Hon. Sergey I. Kislyak [Amb Russia], Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Hon. James F. Collins [Carnegie], Hon. Lawrence Eagleburger, Dimitri K. Simes [Nixon Center].
Challenges for the Private Sector in National Security with Judith Miller [Bechtel], Angeline G. Chen [Lockheed], Raymond A. Mislock [DuPont], Alan J. Kreczko [former NSC], Scott Charney [Microsoft].
Dinner – Keynote Speaker: Hon. Michael McConnell, DNI
Friday, November 7, 2008 - Due Process and Issues Surrounding Detention: Considerations for the New Administration with Harvey Rishikof [NWC], Kate Martin [CNSS], CDR Glenn M. Sulmasy, USCG Academy, Matthew Waxman [Columbia], Benjamin Wittes [Brookings].
Prosecution by Military Commission: A Question for the Next Administration with Scott L. Silliman [Duke], John D. Altenburg, Jr., Charles D. Swift [Emory], Jameel Jaffer [ACLU], David B. Rivkin [Baker Hostetler].
Luncheon – Keynote: Hon David B. Sentelle, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit
Ethical Issues for National Security Lawyers with Albert C. Harvey, James E. Baker [Georgetown], Kathleen Clark [Wash Univ], John D. Hutson [Franklin Pierce], Alberto J. Mora [USN].
For complete program and further information:

8 November 2008 - Pasadena, CA - AFIO Member Major General John K. Singlaub to be honored as 2008 Veteran of the Year The honor is being bestowed on MG Singlaub by the UCLA Athletic Department and the Los Angeles Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in a special ceremony that will take place at the Twelfth Annual Veterans and Armed Forces Appreciation Day on November 8, 2008 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Major General Singlaub is a prominent figure in the intelligence community and will be honored during the 3rd quarter of the UCLA football game. The AFIO Los Angeles chapters asks, if you are interested in attending this event, write them at for a PDF of the flyer, or call Victoria Sanelli 310-825-7381 let her know that you are with AFIO or with the AFIO Los Angeles Chapter.

Sunday, 9 November 2008, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Washington, DC - Parade of Trabants at the International Spy Museum. The ugly duckling of East Germany’s roadways finally gets its day. To celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall Trabant collectors will caravan to DC, parking their cars on F Street, NW in front of the Museum. When the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989 thousands of East Germans rushed to reunite with friends and family. Their typical mode of transportation? The Trabant. What was once the most common vehicle in East Germany, despite its poor performance and smoky two-stroke engine, was their automotive liberator. The Trabant is now an affectionately regarded symbol of East Germany and of the fall of communism. It is even featured in the International Spy Museum’s permanent exhibit within an East German streetscape. The Trabant has become a genuine collectors' car with a devoted following. Incredibly, it seems that this tiny car, often inaccurately described as having a cardboard body, has captured the hearts of car lovers all over the world.
Trabants are quite rare in the US, but on 9 November 2008, a caravan of the communist-bloc cars will converge on the International Spy Museum to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The public will have the unique opportunity to not only view nine of the cars, which will be parked in front of the Museum, but also have the chance to win a ride in a Trabant. While the cars are on display, experts will be on hand in front of the Museum on F Street, NW, to answer questions about Trabants, the Cold War, and Communism, while the local German band, Blaskapelle Alte Kameraden, creates a festive atmosphere. This event is free-of-charge.
Experts who will be available: Peter Earnest, Museum Executive Director; Dr. Thomas Boghardt, Museum historian and author; and Trabant Collectors. German music will be played. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC. No charge to attend.

12 -13 November 2008 - Fair Lakes, VA - The NMIA hosts a Symposium on "Preparing the Intelligence Professional of the Future: Meeting the Challenge."  The event is being held at Northrup Grumman Center, Fair Lakes, VA. The conference, sponsored jointly by the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSDI) and NMIA [National Military Intelligence Association], will feature presentations from a variety of organizations and speakers on intelligence education and training. Under Secretary of Defense (USDI) James R. Clapper, Jr., will be providing the keynote address. Ellen McCarthy, Director Human Capital and Security Office, USDI, panel to discuss future military training and professional development. DoD Training Transformation. Reese Marsden, OUSDI, military service training program with service training academy representatives. Dave Kogar and Mieke Eoyang, SSCI and HPSCI, congressional perspective. Steve Fowler, Director Training and Education, CINTT Corp, panel on distance learning. DIA and Sherman Kent School, virtual intelligence simulation. Dr. Mark Lowenthal, representing the Intelligence and Security Association, will be speaking on what is needed to meet future needs of the IC. HUMINT and CI training, industry approaches, and the new ODNI-sponsored A-Space and RASER are other topics. The symposium will conclude with a discussion by DIA-designate LTG Ronald L. Burgess, Jr.
Further information at 

Thursday, 13 November 2008, 7 pm - 10 pm - Washington, DC - DINNER WITH A SPY: An Evening with Milt Bearden - at Spy Museum.

When Milt Bearden started at the CIA in 1964, he had little notion that his service around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South Asia would lead him to become the most highly decorated operations officers in its senior service, a respected author, and a Hollywood advisor. His 30 years of service spanned the height of the Cold War to the demise of the Soviet Union and included leading the CIA covert war supporting the Afghan resistance in their fight against the Soviet army. This conflict, recently portrayed in Charlie Wilson’s War, is just one of the films for which Bearden has served as an advisor. His long time friendship with Robert DeNiro influenced 2006’s The Good Shepherd—an intense account of the early days of the Agency. Be one of only 20 guests at Zola for a three-course meal where you’ll talk with Bearden about his extraordinary career and cinematic connections and enjoy the dialogue between this insider and CIA veteran International Spy Museum executive director Peter Earnest. Please call 202.654.0932 or write to register or with special dietary needs.
WHERE: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station.
TICKETS: $250 includes three-course dinner with wines.  Space is extremely limited – advance registration required! Tickets are non-refundable and do not include admission to the International Spy Museum. To register, call 202.393.7798; order online at; or purchase tickets in person at the International Spy Museum.

Monday, 17 November 2008, 0900 - 1500 - Laurel, MD - The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation invites all to their annual General Membership Meeting. If not a member, this is a perfect time to join and discover this and many other superb programs the host throughout the year. The meeting will be held at the Kossiakoff Center of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 0900-1500. Registration and breakfast begin at 0815 and lunch will be served 1230-1330. This year’s theme: "Outlook for NSA in the 21st Century." U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin speaks at 10:15 to 11:00. Lt Gen Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, will be our keynote speaker. Joining General Hayden on the agenda will be GEN Al Gray, former Commandant of the Marine Corps and SIGINT pioneer, and Mr. Charles Allen, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Analysis, Department of Homeland Security. An impressive program! Current Museum Members are requested to mail the $15 registration fee to NCMF, POB 1682, Fort Meade, MD 20755 by 12 November. The non-member fee is $25. Please call the Foundation office at 301-688-5436 to pay by credit card. Directions to the Kossiakoff Center, located at 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723-6099, (240-228-5000), are on the reverse side. We look forward to seeing you there. Visit the NCMF website at for more information on their activities.

Monday, 17 November 2008, 6:30 p.m. - Washington, DC - Rose Mary Sheldon [co-author with Thijs Voskuilen] on "The Secret History of History" at the International Spy Museum - OPERATION MESSIAH: APOSTLE PAUL, AGENT PROVOCATEUR?

WHAT: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”—Galatians
Was the self-proclaimed successor to Jesus actually working for the Roman administration in Palestine and other parts of the Empire? Col. Rose Mary Sheldon, co-author [with Thijs Voskuilen] of Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity, challenges the idea that Apostle Paul was a true follower of Jesus much less a saint. Drawing from Paul's biography and his own letters, Sheldon finds numerous clues to suggest that the former persecutor never left the ranks of the Roman government but instead went undercover by feigning conversion en route to Damascus. Voskuilen and Sheldon's shocking theories about Paul's real purpose in promoting Jesus as the Messiah will give you a startling new perspective on the dramatic and turbulent early days of Christianity. Thijs Voskuilen is unable to join Dr. Sheldon to make this a joint presentation.
WHERE: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station. TICKETS: $15. Advance registration required. Tickets are non-refundable and do not include admission to the International Spy Museum. To register, call 202.393.7798; order online at; or purchase tickets in person at the International Spy Museum.

20 November 2008 - Colorado Springs, CO - AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter meets to hear Sheriff Terry Maketa on "Law Enforcement and Intelligence." Sheriff Maketa is Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado. The program starts at 11 a.m. with the program starting at noon. Event takes place at the Falcon Club (Old Officers' Club) Inquiries and reservations to

Thursday 20 November 2008, 6:30 PM - Los Angeles, CA - The AFIO Los Angeles Chapter November meeting features Ambassador David Aaron former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Carter and currently Director of the RAND Corporation's Center for Middle East Public Policy. Please join us for this event, RSVP by November 17, 2008 via email Refreshments will be served. Please note that this meeting will take place in the evening. Location: Loyola Marymount University (Hilton Business Building) Room 302 LMU Campus Map

20 November 2008, 7:00 PM - Arlington, VA - The Defense Intelligence Alumni Association has the right idea! Not a meeting, not a lecture, no PowerPoint presentations.....but a special Evening Tasting of Five Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. They invite Members to this special Tasting of Whiskies Produced by The Balvenie Distillery. Event to be held at the Lyon Park Community Center 414 North Fillmore St in Arlington, VA. Light fare will be served. The price, only $30 per person. The Balvenie distillery is located in the town of Dufftown in the region of Speyside, which has the greatest concentration of malt distilleries in Scotland. Family owned for five generations, The Balvenie is unique in growing, malting, and kilning its own barley, having a full cooperage on site, a full-time coppersmith, and a Malt Master in David Stewart who has spent 45 years with the distillery. The Balvenie is Scotland’s most hand crafted whisky. We will taste five whiskies in The Balvenie range. The tasting will be conducted by "Dr. Whisky," Samuel Simmons, The Balvenie Brand Ambassador USA. Dr. Simmons has hosted tasting events and whisky tours, written and taught Scotch whisky history, and sat on prestigious whisky judging panels.
At Edinburgh University in Scotland, he earned a Ph.D. in English Literature and became both Poet Laureate and President of the Edinburgh University Water of Life Society. He was a tasting and selection panelist and the first ambassador for the international Scotch Malt Whisky Society. He has been featured in Scotland on Sunday and The Malt Whisky Yearbook 2008 and 2009. Dr. Whisky (, his online blog of tasting notes and whisky history, is widely respected within the industry and received a people’s choice award in the 2007 Drammies.
RSVP by 10 November to DIAA, Attn: Whisky, P.O. Box 489, Hamilton, Virginia 20159 Enclose checks for $30 per person payable to DIAA, Inc. No refunds after 13 November. Inquiries to Marty Hurwitz at

1 December 2008 - Miami, FL - The Board of Directors and Members for The Ted Shackley Miami Chapter of AFIO cordially invites you to a membership cocktail party honoring Gen. John K. Singlaub. Hosted by our chapter, we will gather to honor this Great American and hope you will save the first week of December date. All paid members and those wishing to renew membership or join are welcomed. We will also welcome invited guests to enjoy cocktails plus dinner.  Location: TBA  Your printed invitation will be forth coming
Hosts:          Tom Spencer, Esq.,  Robert Heber and special guest
Time:           6:00 to 8:30pm   Food and Beverage will begin promptly at 6:00
Contact:       Tom Spencer:     Robert Heber: 786-473-7000

Tuesday 2 December 2008, 5:30 - 8 p.m. - New York, NY - " The Coming Collapse of China" is the theme of the AFIO NY METRO Chapter Dinner featuring author/lawyer Gordon Chang.“Beneath the surface, there is a weak China, in long-term decline and even on the verge of collapse.” A fascinating topic/speaker! Chang previously wrote "Nuclear Showdown."
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Registration; 6:00 PM: Meeting Start, BUFFET DINNER AND OPEN BAR – Until 8:00 PM. Location: STEELCASE BUILDING, 4 Columbus Circle, Manhattan Between 57th & 58th Streets on 8th Ave.
COST: $40. Per Person; $20. Per Student. RESERVATIONS: Strongly Suggested, Not Required.
Inquiries to Jerry Goodwin, President, AFIO - New York Metropolitan Chapter, at 646-696-1828 or at

03 December 2008 - Ft Meade, MD - The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation conducts special Pearl Harbor Remembrance Program. Program will review the attack from the Japanese perspective and a Japanese historian will be part of this fascinating reexamination of history. Further information to appear here in coming weeks. Visit the NCMF website at

Saturday, 6 December 2008 - Florida - The AFIO North Florida Chapter meets at the Orange Park Country Club. Meet and greet (and partake of Quiel's delectable hors d'oeuvres!) starts at 11:00 am, with lunch at noon, followed by program and Chapter business, then adjourn by 3:00 pm.
This is a very important meeting, as we will be attending to two key issues:  First, we will hold election of officers -- a proposed slate will likely be announced in either the next newsletter or via later e-mail, but of course nominations will also be accepted from the floor.  In addition, we are working on updating our Chapter Bylaws as required to bring them more in line with the 2008 Chapter Bylaws Policy & Bylaws Boilerplate published by National HQs -- We will have a list of proposed changes for review at the meeting or, with luck, published in the newsletter for review beforehand.  Information on a program will hopefully also be included in the newsletter.  One agenda item for the meeting will definitely be a report on the recent AFIO National Conference attended by Dane Baird.
Please RSVP to Quiel at  as soon as possible -- now is not too early! -- and as usual family and guests are cordially invited.  See you there!


For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events


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