AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #01-09 dated 12 January 2009

Note to readers: Effective 2009 the Weekly Notes will be released TUESDAY evenings








Coming Events

Current Calendar Next Two Months ONLY - and new items for 2009:

Berntsen                                       Prince


Friday 30 January 2009

Gary Berntsen
Erik Prince

Gary Berntsen, decorated former CIA career officer, spent 23 years with the Agency. He was the CIA field commander for the Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, the subject of his 2005 book: Jawbreaker. At this event he will discuss Human Intelligence, Counterterrorism, and National Leadership, his recently published manual for incoming President Obama and White House staff. It includes highly specific recommendations and policy prescriptions for human intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

Erik Prince, Chairman/CEO of Blackwater Worldwide and The Prince Group. Using experience and tight controls outlined in numerous contracts with the U.S. Department of State, Blackwater’s security professionals successfully protected American diplomats in an environment where suicide bombers used cars as weapons, roadside debris concealed improvised explosive devices, and insurgents disguised themselves in law enforcement uniforms. Prince's Blackwater has trained more than 100,000 local police officers, SWAT team members, homeland security professionals, military personnel and others to prepare them to protect U.S. citizens at home and abroad. The firm was immediately called upon by scores of private merchant shipping and import firms to deal with rapidly increasing threats to vital shipping, oil tanker transports, and pleasure cruise lines, from piracy in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere. Controversial, daring, self-assured, well-trained, fearless....Prince and Blackwater evoke a wide range of opinions from the public and intelligence professionals. Prince is working on a forthcoming book about Blackwater Worldwide to appear from Regnery Publishing.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Tysons Corner, VA

10:30 a.m. for badge pick-up;
11 a.m. Gary Berntsen
Lunch at noon
1 p.m. Erik Prince

Space very limited. Register now.



WIN CREDITS FOR THIS ISSUE: The WIN editors thank the following special contributors to this issue:  fn, pjk and dh.  

They have contributed one or more stories used in this issue.

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



Jailed For 23 Years, An Old Spy Asks For a Fresh Start. In a spectacular case of criminally divided loyalties, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former U.S. naval intelligence analyst, was sentenced to life in prison 23 years ago for selling to Israel some of America's most guarded secrets. Ever since, Israeli leaders, including current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have lobbied for his release. Now Pollard himself is asking too. His lawyers and the Justice Department say he would like President Bush to commute his sentence to time served - the first time Pollard has submitted such a request. He's already figured out what he plans to do if the president grants his wish. "Upon his release, he intends to work on helping to develop alternative sources of energy so that the U.S. can reduce its dependence on foreign oil," Pollard's pro bono attorney, Jacques Semmelman, said in an e-mail. Pollard studied political science before taking his civilian job with the Navy in 1979.

Much of the U.S. intelligence community remains against a commutation. Pollard, a Jewish American, says he acted out of concern for Israel's security after noticing that potentially vital information was not being shared with the Jewish state. But Ronald Olive, the former Navy counterintelligence officer who oversaw the investigation against Pollard, says the spy handed over hundreds of thousands of secret documents, including information on sources and methods of intelligence gathering. "He gave Israel the ability to analyze the holes and weaknesses in our security system," Olive says. He said Pollard would automatically be eligible for early release for good behavior in 2015.

But former CIA director James Woolsey said he would support Pollard's release on two conditions: that he show contrition and renounce any profits from books or other projects linked to the case. In the mid-1990s, Woolsey advised President Bill Clinton to dismiss appeals by Israeli leaders on Pollard's behalf. But at that point, Pollard had been behind bars for just a decade. "We're now coming up on a quarter of a century," Woolsey said, a duration typically reserved for "only the hard-line Soviet bloc spies." (When Pollard was caught in 1985, Israel initially described his operation as rogue but then made him a citizen.) He said Pollard's release would send the right message at a time when Hamas is firing rockets on Israel. Semmelman would not say if Pollard's petition for early release contained an expression of remorse. The White House refuses to comment on pardon and commutation requests. [Ephron/Newsweek/12January2009] 

Panetta Picked to Head CIA. Leon Panetta has been chosen as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta, a former member of Congress who served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, has most recently been the director of the Panetta Institute, a non-partisan policy center at California State University in Monterey. 

Obama has also chosen Dennis Blair as his director of national intelligence. Blair, a retired admiral, had long been rumored for the post, but the announcement had been delayed, reportedly because of the extended time it took for Obama to choose Panetta to head CIA.

Panetta, a nine-term California congressman and accomplished deal-maker, will replace Michael V. Hayden as director of the 51-year-old agency and its global network of about 20,000 employees, the sources said. The choice of a longtime Washington veteran with little previous intelligence experience came as a surprise even to some Obama insiders, and Sen. Dianne Fienstein (D-Calif.) said her office had not been informed in advance of the selection.

In choosing Panetta, Obama, appears to have opted for a fresh start at an agency plagued by numerous scandals during the Bush tenure. Obama bypassed several candidates with CIA backgrounds for a politically savvy manager with personal ties to Obama and to Congress.

Officials familiar with the choice noted that Panetta, as Clinton's chief of staff, participated in the daily intelligence briefings in the Oval Office and had intimate knowledge of the interaction between the agency and the White House. Panetta also was a member of the Iraq Study Group.

Although Panetta was a surprise pick - his name was absent from most of the lists of contenders circulating in Washington in recent weeks - the selection was historically consistent with previous CIA directors, only a few of whom were agency veterans, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. [Kornblut&Warrick/WashingtonPost/5January2009 

Al-Qaeda Using Gambling Websites To Launder Money, Says Terror Expert. Islamic terrorist networks are using gambling websites to launder money, according to security analysts.

Terrorism experts warned the security services that the internet is increasingly being used to train terrorists and raise money and has become the primary medium for promoting radical Islam.

Al-Qaeda wants to create an "online university of jihad'' that is recruiting and training potential terrorists in Britain without them having to risk traveling to camps in Pakistan, they said.

The terrorist network has also used computer experts to develop encryption software, known as Mujahideen Secrets 2, to allow militants to communicate by email without fear of interception by intelligence services.

Speaking at a select conference on the terrorist threat to Britain, experts from Jane's Intelligence Group said an online community was growing with younger and more impressionable people inadvertently sponsoring terrorism.

Terry Pattar, a specialist in counter-terrorism with Jane's Strategic Advisory Services, said: "Al-Qaeda want to create a university of jihad online, both in a spiritual and financial sense.

"They want a community that can carry out attacks without having to travel abroad for training.''

He said the internet had been used to raise funds for Afghan terrorists and online gambling sites had been used to launder the money.

Youngsters are invited on to security-protected areas after they have been recruited by "proving themselves on online forums''. Analysts are encouraging moderate Muslims to enter the online discussion sites to dismiss the extremists' arguments that gain popularity among the young.

Security sources have told The Daily Telegraph that they are fighting a new battle against al-Qaeda on the internet.

The fight against extremists was one of "ideas, not weapons and a campaign of internet, not training camps'', an intelligence source said.

He described their target as "a 17-year-old who has no criminal record, who sees images on a screen, talks to his friends but never touches a terrorist''.

Terrorist tactics online include the work of a specialist group calling itself the Al Ansar Media Battalion. It posts videos of American and British troops being blown up to "make people here feel they are taking part in what is going on over there'', Mr. Pattar said.

Terror groups in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to use Google Maps as an information resource for targeting.

An insurgent sniper called Juba, who claimed to have killed 140 US soldiers, is said to have a substantial following under the name Baghdad Sniper on the Facebook social networking website. He is thought to have been killed by coalition forces.

The European Commission's anti-terrorism unit has promised to tighten legislation across the Continent in an attempt to target the grooming of young Muslims for terrorism over the internet.

Under the EU proposals, there would be a criminal offence of "public provocation to commit a terrorist offence'' which would include "the distribution, or otherwise making available, of a message to the public, with the intent to incite'' acts of terrorism.

The planned offence would carry a minimum jail term across the continent. Legislation already exists in Britain to jail for up to seven years those who incite terrorism over the internet. [Harding/DailyTelegraph/2January2009] 

CIA Spies Recruiting Record Number of British Pakistani Informers. The CIA has begun an unprecedented intelligence-gathering operation in Britain to help MI5 monitor 4,000 terrorist suspects.

The US intelligence service is recruiting and handling a record number of informers in the British Pakistani community with the tacit agreement of the British government, according to security sources in Washington and London.

More than four out of 10 CIA operations to prevent attacks on the United States are now conducted against targets in Britain.

This has led to friction between British and American spies, with some US intelligence officers irritated that resources are being diverted to gather intelligence on suspects in their closest ally's backyard.

British intelligence officers do not know the identity of all the CIA informants and are uneasy about some of the uses to which the intelligence has been put.

MI5 as a whole is glad of the help, however, and works closely with its sister service, with American spies sharing information when it directly concerns security in Britain.

Intelligence from CIA informers has helped thwart more than one terrorist atrocity on British soil.

British security chiefs have long turned a blind eye to the CIA's presence in Britain and, since the September 11 attacks, MI5 and the CIA have worked together closely to combat the threat from Islamist extremists.

MI5 tolerates similar operations by the Israeli agency Mossad, which briefs members of the north London Jewish community on threats to their security.

Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, estimates that there are around 4,000 people in Britain who pose a direct threat to national security.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Middle East intelligence analyst for the White House National Security Council, said many British Muslims travel to Pakistan for terrorist training. [Standard/5January2009] 

Two al-Qaida Operatives Killed by CIA, Official Says. Two senior al-Qaida operatives were killed in a CIA missile strike on New Year's Day in Pakistan, including a suspect in the suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the capital, in September, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said Thursday.

The two operatives also had been indicted in the United States for their logistics roles in the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, the official said.

The missile strike, which took place in the Wana region of South Waziristan, was carried out by a Predator drone aircraft armed with Hellfire missiles and operated by the CIA. It was among dozens of such attacks that have occurred along Pakistan's tribal belt over the past year as part of an escalated campaign against al-Qaida's sanctuaries.

One of those said to be killed was a Kenyan national known by the name Usama al-Kini, who was believed to be al-Qaida's chief of operations in Pakistan. The other, also a Kenyan native, was identified as Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan.

Both men were on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists and had been indicted in the Southern District of New York. The United States had been offering rewards of $5 million for information leading to the capture of either man.

Their deaths would place them among eight senior al-Qaida figures reported killed in CIA Predator strikes over the past six months. Others have included Rashid Rauf, the suspected mastermind of a plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic Ocean in 2006, and Abu Khabab al-Masri, who was described as an explosives expert in charge of al-Qaida's chemical and biological weapons efforts.

The stepped-up campaign has been part of a U.S. effort launched after a series of high-level intelligence assessments concluded that al-Qaida was growing stronger in Pakistan. [Miller/MercuryNews/9January009] 

Accused Spy in Pretrial Hearings. A veteran of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations said he was stunned by the admissions accused traitor Noshir Gowadia made in October 2005 during interviews with the man who marketed himself as the "father" of the secret technology that helps B-2 stealth bombers evade heat-seeking missiles.

"This took my breath away," said Joseph Williams. "I have never heard anything like this before."

Williams said among Gowadia's admissions was that he helped the Chinese government design a cruise missile that can evade infrared detection. He said Gowadia repeated his admissions in a written statement.

Williams testified yesterday during pretrial motions in Gowadia's criminal trial in federal court.

Gowadia, 65, is facing 21 charges accusing him of selling secrets about the B-2 bomber to China, trying to sell military secrets to other countries, money laundering and making false statements. His trial is scheduled for April.

The government is also trying to seize Gowadia's Maui home.

Gowadia is trying to persuade U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor to throw out statements he made following a search of his home on Maui on Oct. 13, 2005. He is also asking Gillmor to throw out statements he made at Honolulu Airport in 2004 when government officials seized his laptop computer.

A hearing on Gowadia's request will continue next week. His lawyers have not indicated whether Gowadia will testify.

Williams said he interviewed Gowadia on nine separate days in October 2005. He said he found Gowadia to be intellectually brilliant but also egotistical. He said Gowadia gets frustrated when one does not see things the way he does.

Gowadia was an engineer for Northrop Corp. when he designed the B-2's propulsion system. At the time of his arrest, he was being considered for a subcontractor job to design a similar system for commercial aircraft. [Daranciang/starbulletin/10January2009] 

Yemen Begins Trial of Three Men Accused of Spying for Israel. A Yemeni state security court on Saturday began the trial of three young countrymen accused of spying for Israel.

The prosecution charged the three young men, aged between 23 and 26, with "establishing contacts with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and offering to work as agents for the Mossad intelligence agency."

They are also accused of operating under a fake organization called the "Islamic Jihad of Yemen" and spreading false statements and news and claims of responsibility for attacks on embassies and foreign interests in Yemen.

Prosecutors said the group's leader, Bassam Abdullah al-Haidari, 26, had sent letters by email to Olmert, offering to work for the Mossad. They said the defendants had received a positive reply from Israeli officials, who allegedly welcomed the offer for collaboration.

Al-Haidari and the two other defendants, Emad Ali al-Raimi, 23, and Ali Abdullah al-Mahfal, 24, denied the charges and asked the court to appoint a lawyer for them.

Prosecutors said the men had also demanded money from the Embassies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The three denied the charges, which they said were fabricated by a police official they had a dispute with.

Presiding judge Muhssien Alwan adjourned the trial until January 17.

The three men were part of a group of six suspects, who were arrested in October over alleged links to the Mossad. The three others were released by police for the lack of evidence. [Haaretz/10January2009] 

Gates Says Defense Needs Another $70 Billion in 2009. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has alerted lawmakers that he believes the U.S. military will need an additional $69.7 billion to continue operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this fiscal year.

In a three-page letter dated Dec. 31, Gates told House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., that the dollar figure is his "personal assessment and does not reflect the position of the Bush administration or the incoming Obama administration."

Combined with $65.9 billion in fiscal 2009 war funding already approved by Congress, Gates' estimate, accompanied by a detailed list showing how the added funds would be spent, would bring the Defense Department's share of war spending this year to $135.6 billion - significantly less than the roughly $170 billion appropriated for war costs bills last year.

But Gates' estimate does not reflect expected increases in U.S. force levels in Afghanistan because the proposal for a larger troop presence is under review.

The secretary's letter identified the need for $31.7 billion in operational costs that include incremental pay and benefits for 320,000 military personnel, predeployment training, transportation, aircraft flying hours and vehicle ground miles.

Gates estimated the military will need $10.8 billion for force protection equipment, such as body and vehicle armor and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Another $1.5 billion will be needed to defeat improvised explosive devices, according to the list Gates included with his letter.

Gates wrote that the military needs $7.5 billion to repair and replace vehicles lost or damaged in combat, and to replenish ammunition and other supplies. That figure includes funding for AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopter modifications, as well as money for tactical vehicles, trailers and tractors.

In addition, Gates' assessment included $600 million for four F-22 Raptor fighter planes to replace one F-15 Eagle and three F-16 Falcons.

The estimate includes $3.6 billion for military intelligence programs, $2 billion to accelerate efforts to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, $1.7 billion for support clinics, treatments and other programs for wounded veterans and families, and $3 billion for non-Defense Department classified programs.

Gates outlined $2.3 billion needed to accelerate the growth of the Afghan National Army and to man, train and equip the Afghan National Police. Separately, Gates outlined another $1.3 billion to train and equip the Afghan National Army.

In his letter, Gates emphasized that he will work with the Obama administration, which will "conduct a fresh review of these matters and provide an updated and more authoritative proposal early next year." [Scully/Congresionaldaily/9January2009] 

Prosecutors Urge Release of Testimony in CIA Case. Kyle "Dusty" Foggo is the highest ranking officer in the history of the CIA to be convicted of a federal crime, admitting he abused his influence to steer contracts toward an old friend who showered him with vacations, gourmet dinners and other gifts.

But if the public knew the full extent of his misconduct, they would be outraged, prosecutors said when they urged a judge to make public secret grand jury testimony in the case against Foggo.

Foggo was appointed in 2004 to be the agency's executive director and third-ranking officer under then-director Porter Goss. Foggo resigned in 2006 as he came under investigation.

Prosecutor Jason Forge told U.S. District Judge James Cacheris that the public has a right to know the depth of Foggo's misconduct, and the prosecution wants the judge to consider the transcripts during sentencing.

Defense attorney Mark MacDougall said the grand jury testimony includes gossip, speculation and leading questions. He said prosecutors were "looking to make a big public splash" and that Cacheris can arrive at a fair sentence based on Foggo's admitted guilt.

Prosecutors won't comment on what information within the transcripts they want released.

Foggo, in his plea agreement, only admitted to a narrow set of facts revolving around his efforts to help longtime friend Brent Wilkes obtain CIA contracts. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud for "depriving the United States and its citizens of their right to his honest services."

Separate charges revolving around Foggo's efforts to help a mistress gain CIA employment and assignments that would keep her close to him - which were only vaguely outlined in one of the indictments - were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

Prosecutors agreed as part of the plea bargain to seek a sentence no longer than three years and one month.

The case against Foggo is connected to an investigation of former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a California Republican who admitted taking bribes from Wilkes. Cunningham pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Wilkes was convicted and sentenced to 12 years. [AP/11January2009] 

British Spy Chief Lauds Anti-Terror Work. Britain's domestic intelligence agency, known as MI5, has spent most of the 100 years since it was founded in 1909 disguising its own existence. Even the identity of its director general and the location of its London headquarters were considered state secrets until the early 1990s, their disclosure a criminal offense.

So it was front-page news in Britain last week when MI5's director general, Jonathan Evans, gave the first interview by a head of the agency, as he marked its centenary.

Evans gave a small group of British reporters little in the way of fresh insights into the security threats facing Britain. But the fact that he met the reporters at all, at MI5's now widely known Millbank headquarters on the Thames embankment in central London, and that he spoke on the record, was news in itself.

He underscored the scale of the threat he said Britain faces from plots inspired by al-Qaida and hatched in Pakistan, using British citizens or residents to mount attacks. The template for such attacks was established by suicide bombings on London's transit system on July 7, 2005, which killed 56 people, including the four bombers.

In a speech last year, Evans said MI5 was tracking 2,000 terrorism suspects in Britain, including British Muslims as young as 15. But on Wednesday he seemed eager to temper public concern. He said Britain's successful prosecution of 86 terrorism cases in the past 18 months, mostly involving Islamic militants, and the guilty pleas of nearly half of those accused had had a "chilling effect on the enthusiasm of the networks" involved.

"They're keeping their heads down," he said, because of relentless surveillance and frequent prosecutions. While describing this as very encouraging, he also cautioned that "the networks have not gone away." MI5 intelligence indicated that militants still intended to attack Britain and that such an attack could occur at any time, despite the agency's vigilance.

Evans said that 75 percent of MI5's investigations involved connections with Pakistan, the ancestral homeland of about three-quarters of Britain's estimated population of 1.5 million to 2.5 million Muslims. The main threat to Britain, he said, came from al-Qaida's core in Pakistan and its "assets in this country."

Evans, 50, who took over in 2007, made it clear that he had little taste for the exposure customary for the leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies, with testimony before Congress and other public appearances. Reporters were not allowed to name the floor of the Millbank building where he has his office, and photographers were not invited. MI5 distributed its own photograph of Evans, showing him as a balding, genial-looking figure in an open-necked shirt.

Statistics he offered reflected changes in an agency known for years as a bastion of white male dominance, with many recruits drawn from Oxford and Cambridge. In the 1950s, the agency had about 850 employees. With an urgent recruitment drive after the attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, it now has more than 3,000.

More than half of MI5's officers are now women, Evans said, and 8 percent are from ethnic minorities. "My staff are on the streets every day trying to keep the nation safe," he said. But they are dealing with an adaptive enemy that has learned lessons from the increased surveillance.

While the need to set priorities for investigations means there is always the chance of an attack by extremists, who have escaped the agency's surveillance, he said, "I think it's quite likely that the next attack, or next attempted attack, will involve people of whom we have heard or about whom we know a bit." [NewYorkTimes/10January2009] 

Spy Trick Hides Messages in Plain Sight. In a move likely to thrill conspiracy theorists and government spooks, scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are testing the limits of illicit messages hidden inside everyday communications, such as photographs, videos and newspapers.

"If you open up the communication and it looks just fine, that's a successful communication," said Jeremiah Harmson, who did most of the calculations while working on his doctorate at RPI and now works at Google. "But if you can't read it or it just looks suspicious, then you have failed."

This practice, called steganography, is the flip side of cryptography. In cryptography, everyone involved knows a message has been sent. What's not known - except to the decoder - is the content of the message. From WWII-era Enigma machines to modern-day computer bit encryption, a lot of effort has gone into devising new ways of cracking these codes.

Steganography hides the fact that a message was even sent, usually by hiding it in plain sight. In the movie "A Beautiful Mind," the main character, played by Russell Crowe, becomes convinced that the Communists are hiding messages inside news stories and loses his mind trying to decipher them.

Crowe's character was paranoid, but his fears were not entirely unfeasible.

Messages can be very simple. Changing a "zero" to a "one" in a particular location could mean either "yes" or "no." Messages this basic would be virtually impossible to detect if hidden inside an image or other large file. In fact, the sender wouldn't even have to change anything.

Harmson used the example of a stock trader giving illegal inside information to a client or friend. If the trader sent a family photo and the bit in the upper right corner (for example) was a "one," that could mean buy. If the bit was a "zero," that could mean sell.

Messages can also be quite detailed. Take a three-megapixel camera image, which has three million pixels. Each pixel can be one of three colors: red, blue or green. It takes three pixels to determine a particular character or letter. A single image, therefore, has the potential to encode one million different characters - enough to fill a book.

Pushing frames together in a video would increase the amount of information that could be encoded as well.

If fully encoded, the video would be distorted and easily noticeable, even with the naked human eye, defeating the purpose of steganography.

In typical practice scenarios, a "prisoner" tries to send a message without being detected by a "warden" actively trying to find messages. The exact amount of information that can be hidden depends on the media (text, picture, audio, etc.), but in general, about 11 percent of an image can be changed before the "warden" finds out.

"How much I can hide and how large a payload I can encode without running into the risk of detection is one of the fundamental questions of steganography," said Jessica Fridrich, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at SUNY Binghamton in New York. "Jeremiah's work in this area is theoretical...and attempts to answer this question."

It's a question that will likely never be fully answered. Any way to hide a message will inevitably inspire others to create ways to detect it.

"It's a real cat and mouse game," said Fridrich. [Bland/MSNBC/23December2008]


His US Sentenced Served, Noriega Fights Extradition. As the only prisoner of war held on U.S. soil, inmate No. 38699-079 gets annual visits from the Red Cross and can wear his military uniform and insignia when he goes to court.

Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega frequently sees his wife and children, who make the trip to his private bungalow at a federal prison near Miami from their home in Panama. The one-time CIA operative is a dedicated news junkie, reads voraciously about history and politics and is working on a memoir.

Whether the vanquished dictator's story ends in prison or freedom, at home or abroad, depends on how courts in three countries on two continents decide to punish him for his drug-running past.

More than a year ago, Noriega completed his sentence for drug racketeering and money laundering and thought he was headed home. Instead, U.S. officials dropped a legal bomb: Noriega would be extradited to France to stand trial on more money laundering charges.

On Jan. 14, a federal appeals court will hear arguments on Noriega's claim that as a POW he should immediately be repatriated, 19 years after the U.S. invaded Panama to remove him from power.

"Gen. Noriega is not a complainer," said Frank Rubino, one of Noriega's attorneys. "As a soldier, he's been schooled in such a way that he was dealt this hand, and he will play this hand."

Three federal judges in Miami have rejected Noriega's theory. Still, Rubino said, the imprisoned strongman is unbowed.

"His mental state has remained firm, strong, strong-willed," Rubino said of his client, who gave his age as 73 last year in court, though the Federal Bureau of Prisons still lists him as 72. "He now has hope and faith that the appellate courts will triumph over politics and send him home."

Operation Just Cause began Dec. 20, 1989, with more than 26,000 U.S. troops deployed to Panama in what was the largest military operation since the Vietnam War. Noriega had been Panama's de facto leader since 1983.

Less than a year in office, President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion because Noriega had become increasingly belligerent toward the U.S., ignored democratic election results and essentially turned Panama into a way station and banker for Colombia's powerful Medellin cocaine cartel.

U.S. forces quickly overwhelmed Panama's defenses, with the whole operation taking less than a month.

Noriega took refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City. U.S. troops blasted the building with loud rock music until the Vatican complained, and Noriega finally surrendered.

He was immediately flown to Miami to stand trial and has been in U.S. custody ever since.

Noriega, who declined repeated interview requests, has said he believes his ouster was rooted in his refusal to help the U.S. support the Contras attempting to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist government in the 1980s.

It didn't come to light until well after the invasion that Noriega had long been on the CIA payroll as a key asset, including acting as a back channel to the communist government of Cuba's Fidel Castro. One Air Force colonel testified that Noriega was "the best source of information the United States had in Latin America."

Noriega was convicted of eight counts in April 1992 and got a 40-year prison sentence. Later that year, on the eve of his transfer to a maximum-security prison, Noriega's lawyers persuaded U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler to declare him a POW who should be accorded full protection under the Geneva Conventions. It was the first ruling of its kind in U.S. history, and set the stage for the court battle now stretching into 2009.

Hoeveler reduced Noriega's sentence to 30 years in 1999, and with time off for good behavior, the inmate was set for release Sept. 9, 2007. Then the French extradition request surfaced.

France wants to try Noriega on charges of laundering $25 million in cocaine profits through three major French banks and using drug cash to invest in three posh Paris apartments.

Panama has its own extradition request pending with the U.S., and President Martin Torrijos has said his country will file a similar request with France if Noriega is sent there.

Noriega was convicted in absentia in Panama of murder, embezzlement and corruption and sentenced to 60 years in prison, though that could be served under house arrest.

To the U.S., the case is simple: The Geneva Conventions do not prevent a country from honoring its extradition treaty with another country. The State Department has received diplomatic assurances from France that it will continue to treat Noriega as a POW, even if it does not formally declare him such.

The final decision on Noriega's extradition rests with the U.S. secretary of state. President George W. Bush's administration made it clear that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would sign the proper documents quickly if Noriega lost in the courts.

But with Bush's term nearly over, the decision on what happens to the man his father invaded a country to capture is out of the president's hands. The three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing arguments next week is unlikely to rule for several months, and additional appeals remain, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Noriega's lawyers insist the only way he can stand trial in France is if he is first returned to Panama, then extradited. They note that the Geneva Conventions say a POW must be repatriated when hostilities have ended or the prisoner has completed a criminal sentence.

Rubino, Noriega's attorney, suggested Panama would prefer that the general never come back.

"We think candidly they are very fearful of his return for political reasons," Rubino said. "They believe he does have a power base there."

Noriega could not return to power through legitimate means, not anymore, University of Panama sociologist Raul Leis said. Noriega's main impact might be the secrets he could reveal about current political figures from his days working with the CIA, Leis said.

"His presence could create concern because of what he could say against former collaborators and opponents," Leis said in Spanish. "Even though there's a small sector that yearns for the Noriega era," he said, that's not how most of the country feels today. [Anderson/AP/7January2009] 

U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site. President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran's main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran's suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.

White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office. But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran's major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country's only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily. But the tense exchanges also prompted the White House to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran's nuclear infrastructure, a major covert program that Mr. Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Barack Obama.

This account of the expanded American covert program and the Bush administration's efforts to dissuade Israel from an aerial attack on Iran emerged in interviews over the past 15 months with current and former American officials, outside experts, international nuclear inspectors and European and Israeli officials. None would speak on the record because of the great secrecy surrounding the intelligence developed on Iran.

Several details of the covert effort have been omitted from this account, at the request of senior United States intelligence and administration officials, to avoid harming continuing operations.

The interviews also suggest that while Mr. Bush was extensively briefed on options for an overt American attack on Iran's facilities, he never instructed the Pentagon to move beyond contingency planning, even during the final year of his presidency, contrary to what some critics have suggested.

The interviews also indicate that Mr. Bush was convinced by top administration officials, led by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, that any overt attack on Iran would probably prove ineffective, lead to the expulsion of international inspectors and drive Iran's nuclear effort further out of view. Mr. Bush and his aides also discussed the possibility that an airstrike could ignite a broad Middle East war in which America's 140,000 troops in Iraq would inevitably become involved.

Instead, Mr. Bush embraced more intensive covert operations actions aimed at Iran, the interviews show, having concluded that the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies were failing to slow the uranium enrichment efforts. Those covert operations, and the question of whether Israel will settle for something less than a conventional attack on Iran, pose immediate and wrenching decisions for Mr. Obama.

The covert American program, started in early 2008, includes renewed American efforts to penetrate Iran's nuclear supply chain abroad, along with new efforts, some of them experimental, to undermine electrical systems, computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies. It is aimed at delaying the day that Iran can produce the weapons-grade fuel and designs it needs to produce a workable nuclear weapon.

Knowledge of the program has been closely held, yet inside the Bush administration some officials are skeptical about its chances of success, arguing that past efforts to undermine Iran's nuclear program have been detected by the Iranians and have only delayed, not derailed, their drive to unlock the secrets of uranium enrichment.

Late last year, international inspectors estimated that Iran had 3,800 centrifuges spinning, but American intelligence officials now estimate that the figure is 4,000 to 5,000, enough to produce about one weapon's worth of uranium every eight months or so.

While declining to be specific, one American official dismissed the latest covert operations against Iran as "science experiments." One senior intelligence official argued that as Mr. Bush prepared to leave office, the Iranians were already so close to achieving a weapons capacity that they were unlikely to be stopped.

Others disagreed, making the point that the Israelis would not have been dissuaded from conducting an attack if they believed that the American effort was unlikely to prove effective.

Since his election on Nov. 4, Mr. Obama has been extensively briefed on the American actions in Iran, though his transition aides have refused to comment on the issue.

Early in his presidency, Mr. Obama must decide whether the covert actions begun by Mr. Bush are worth the risks of disrupting what he has pledged will be a more active diplomatic effort to engage with Iran.

Either course could carry risks for Mr. Obama. An inherited intelligence or military mission that went wrong could backfire, as happened to President Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba. But a decision to pull back on operations aimed at Iran could leave Mr. Obama vulnerable to charges that he is allowing Iran to speed ahead toward a nuclear capacity, one that could change the contours of power in the Middle East.

Israel's effort to obtain the weapons, refueling capacity and permission to fly over Iraq for an attack on Iran grew out of its disbelief and anger at an American intelligence assessment completed in late 2007 that concluded that Iran had effectively suspended its development of nuclear weapons four years earlier.

That conclusion also stunned Mr. Bush's national security team - and Mr. Bush himself, who was deeply suspicious of the conclusion, according to officials who discussed it with him.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate, was based on a trove of Iranian reports obtained by penetrating Iran's computer networks.

Those reports indicated that Iranian engineers had been ordered to halt development of a nuclear warhead in 2003, even while they continued to speed ahead in enriching uranium, the most difficult obstacle to building a weapon.

The "key judgments" of the National Intelligence Estimate, which were publicly released, emphasized the suspension of the weapons work.

The public version made only glancing reference to evidence described at great length in the 140-page classified version of the assessment: the suspicion that Iran had 10 or 15 other nuclear-related facilities, never opened to international inspectors, where enrichment activity, weapons work or the manufacturing of centrifuges might be taking place.

The Israelis responded angrily and rebutted the American report, providing American intelligence officials and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with evidence that they said indicated that the Iranians were still working on a weapon.

While the Americans were not convinced that the Iranian weapons development was continuing, the Israelis were not the only ones highly critical of the United States report. Secretary Gates, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said the report had presented the evidence poorly, underemphasizing the importance of Iran's enrichment activity and overemphasizing the suspension of a weapons-design effort that could easily be turned back on.

In an interview, Mr. Gates said that in his whole career he had never seen "an N.I.E. that had such an impact on U.S. diplomacy," because "people figured, well, the military option is now off the table."

Prime Minister Olmert came to the same conclusion. He had previously expected, according to several Americans and Israeli officials, that Mr. Bush would deal with Iran's nuclear program before he left office. "Now," said one American official who bore the brunt of Israel's reaction, "they didn't believe he would."

Early in 2008, the Israeli government signaled that it might be preparing to take matters into its own hands. In a series of meetings, Israeli officials asked Washington for a new generation of powerful bunker-busters, far more capable of blowing up a deep underground plant than anything in Israel's arsenal of conventional weapons. They asked for refueling equipment that would allow their aircraft to reach Iran and return to Israel. And they asked for the right to fly over Iraq.

Mr. Bush deflected the first two requests, pushing the issue off, but "we said 'hell no' to the overflights," one of his top aides said. At the White House and the Pentagon, there was widespread concern that a political uproar in Iraq about the use of its American-controlled airspace could result in the expulsion of American forces from the country.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, declined several requests over the past four weeks to be interviewed about Israel's efforts to obtain the weapons from Washington, saying through aides that he was too busy.

Last June, the Israelis conducted an exercise over the Mediterranean Sea that appeared to be a dry run for an attack on the enrichment plant at Natanz. When the exercise was analyzed at the Pentagon, officials concluded that the distances flown almost exactly equaled the distance between Israel and the Iranian nuclear site.

"This really spooked a lot of people," one White House official said. White House officials discussed the possibility that the Israelis would fly over Iraq without American permission. In that case, would the American military be ordered to shoot them down? If the United States did not interfere to stop an Israeli attack, would the Bush administration be accused of being complicit in it?

Admiral Mullen, traveling to Israel in early July on a previously scheduled trip, questioned Israeli officials about their intentions. His Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, argued that an aerial attack could set Iran's program back by two or three years, according to officials familiar with the exchange. The American estimates at the time were far more conservative.

Yet by the time Admiral Mullen made his visit, Israeli officials appear to have concluded that without American help, they were not yet capable of hitting the site effectively enough to strike a decisive blow against the Iranian program.

The United States did give Israel one item on its shopping list: high-powered radar, called the X-Band, to detect any Iranian missile launchings. It was the only element in the Israeli request that could be used solely for defense, not offense.

Mr. Gates's spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said last week that Mr. Gates - whom Mr. Obama is retaining as defense secretary - believed that "a potential strike on the Iranian facilities is not something that we or anyone else should be pursuing at this time."

Throughout 2008, the Bush administration insisted that it had a plan to deal with the Iranians: applying overwhelming financial pressure that would persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, as foreign enterprises like the French company Total pulled out of Iranian oil projects, European banks cut financing, and trade credits were squeezed.

But the Iranians were making uranium faster than the sanctions were making progress. As Mr. Bush realized that the sanctions he had pressed for were inadequate and his military options untenable, he turned to the C.I.A. His hope, several people involved in the program said, was to create some leverage against the Iranians, by setting back their nuclear program while sanctions continued and, more recently, oil prices dropped precipitously.

There were two specific objectives: to slow progress at Natanz and other known and suspected nuclear facilities, and keep the pressure on a little-known Iranian professor named Mohsen Fakrizadeh, a scientist described in classified portions of American intelligence reports as deeply involved in an effort to design a nuclear warhead for Iran.

Past American-led efforts aimed at Natanz had yielded little result. Several years ago, foreign intelligence services tinkered with individual power units that Iran bought in Turkey to drive its centrifuges, the floor-to-ceiling silvery tubes that spin at the speed of sound, enriching uranium for use in power stations or, with additional enrichment, nuclear weapons.

A number of centrifuges blew up, prompting public declarations of sabotage by Iranian officials. An engineer in Switzerland, who worked with the Pakistani nuclear black-marketeer Abdul Qadeer Khan, had been "turned" by American intelligence officials and helped them slip faulty technology into parts bought by the Iranians.

What Mr. Bush authorized, and informed a narrow group of Congressional leaders about, was a far broader effort, aimed at the entire industrial infrastructure that supports the Iranian nuclear program. Some of the efforts focused on ways to destabilize the centrifuges. The details are closely held, for obvious reasons, by American officials. One official, however, said, "It was not until the last year that they got really imaginative about what one could do to screw up the system."

Then, he cautioned, "none of these are game-changers," meaning that the efforts would not necessarily cripple the Iranian program. Others in the administration strongly disagree.

In the end, success or failure may come down to how much pressure can be brought to bear on Mr. Fakrizadeh, whom the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate identifies, in its classified sections, as the manager of Project 110 and Project 111. According to a presentation by the chief inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency, those were the names for two Iranian efforts that appeared to be dedicated to designing a warhead and making it work with an Iranian missile. Iranian officials say the projects are a fiction, made up by the United States.

While the international agency readily concedes that the evidence about the two projects remains murky, one of the documents it briefly displayed at a meeting of the agency's member countries in Vienna last year, from Mr. Fakrizadeh's projects, showed the chronology of a missile launching, ending with a warhead exploding about 650 yards above ground - approximately the altitude from which the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was detonated.

The exact status of Mr. Fakrizadeh's projects today is unclear. While the National Intelligence Estimate reported that activity on Projects 110 and 111 had been halted, the fear among intelligence agencies is that if the weapons design projects are turned back on, will they know?

David E. Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times. Reporting for this article was developed in the course of research for "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power," to be published Tuesday by Harmony Books. [Sanger/Iranfocus/11January2009] 


What the CIA Doesn't Need You to Know, by Keith Thomson. At a conference at CIA headquarters last Thursday, I asked the Director, General Michael Hayden, how he would like to alter public perception of his agency.

Without hesitation, he said, "More discretion on the part of journalists."

Ironic, I thought. I'd been under the impression that by habitually stonewalling journalists, the Agency prompts them to dig deeper, exacerbating the problem. In further contemplation of Gen. Hayden's response, though, I contacted Fred Rustmann, who was a CIA operations officer for twenty-five years (now he heads CTC International Group, the private espionage company). "'No Comment' would be the only words out of my mouth," Rustmann said. "Too many times what we say gets twisted around by the media and we have no control over what is eventually printed. A secret organization doing secret work needs to remain secret. There is no obligation for openness to the public. And we should be able to operate that way in a democracy as long as there is certain oversight by lawmakers."

"The problem is overclassification," said Jefferson Morley, National Editorial Director for the Center for Independent Media and author of Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA. Morley was in federal court recently, battling the CIA to obtain forty-eight-year-old classified documents pertaining to the Kennedy assassination. "Overclassification is so pervasive that it undermines people's confidence in things that are legitimately kept secret."

"The core issue is that a secret intelligence service goes against the grain of democracy," said David Ignatius, the international affairs columnist for the Washington Post (as well as author of Agents of Innocence and other thrillers that are all but required reading in the intelligence community). "There has become a sub-specialty in journalism of intelligence reporting. The problem [for reporters] is the CIA works hard to keep its successes secret."

Last Thursday's conference offered me evidence that that policy may have merit. The occasion was a tribute to the late Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski along with the CIA's declassification of eighty related documents.

Kuklinski was a Pole who bridled at Soviet oppression and, in 1972, sent a note to a United States Embassy offering our side his help. Over the ensuing nine years, each day spent in anticipation that he would be found out and executed, he capitalized on his military position to covertly photograph 43,000 documents, including the Soviet plans for attacking NATO, the exact locations of command-and-control bunkers, details on some two hundred weapons systems, and techniques used for evading US satellite surveillance.

Codenamed GULL, Kuklinski passed the film to CIA officers via elaborate dead drops, nighttime tosses into moving cars, and secret meetings at graveyards that lend credence to the most fanciful Hollywood takes on espionage. And he delivered even more "product" via a cigarette-pack-sized two-way electronic transmitter, built for him by the Agency in 1979, which worked much like a modern text-messaging device.

"We often compare intelligence analysis to putting together a jigsaw puzzle without a picture to go by, and with a lot of pieces missing," Hayden said. "Colonel Kuklinski didn't just give us a piece or two - he gave us the picture itself."

According to Aris Pappas, a CIA Soviet military analyst during the GULL operation, "There are a lot of things that contributed to the fact there was no World War Three. The information that Kuklinski provided us significantly contributed to that outcome."

Another CIA conference attendee, New York Times reporter Benjamin Weiser, added, "Clearly [Kuklinski] made the threat that existed much more transparent. The U.S. was thus able to have an extraordinary window not only into the Soviets' plans, but into their minds."

Likely the strongest testimony on behalf of GULL comes via a detractor, Soviet Armed Forces commander Marshall Kulikov, who claimed that Kuklinski's intelligence value to the United States was greatly exaggerated. Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, also at the Langley conference, recalled a 1997 meeting at which he told Kulikov, "Thanks to Kuklinski, the entire Soviet Command, including you, would have been dead within three hours of a Soviet attack on NATO." Kulikov could only gulp.

Perhaps equally pertinent today is the following excerpt from Weiser's gripping Kuklinski biography, A Secret Life. Regarding the recent debate about the effectiveness of the CIA's human intelligence capability, Weiser wrote:

The Kuklinski case human intelligence operations can succeed when they are handled with scrupulous care and imagination. The operation reveals a side of the CIA that is not often seen - of case officers who joined the agency because they were attracted by the excitement and intrigue of undercover work and by the idea of public service. The CIA is the face America first offers people who, like Kuklinski, are inspired by Western ideals. To the extent the CIA fails to carry out such operations, the United States loses a powerful means of understanding nations, regimes, and groups that are hostile to the West.

Which brings me back to Hayden's request of journalists. "When their spotlight is cast on intelligence activities, sound judgment and a thorough understanding of all the equities at play are critically important," he said recently, adding, "When those operations are exposed, it reduces the space and it damages the tools we use to protect Americans."

With the GULL revelations, among other public outreach efforts, Hayden is taking significant steps to soften critics of the CIA's overclassification and other obfuscations - and perhaps even to rekindle America's confidence in the Agency. This isn't to say that the Fourth Estate should have a diminished role at Langley, or that CIA human intelligence operations can go without substantial legislative and executive oversight - as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "If you want a secret respected, see that it's respectable in the first place." But if among those intelligence operations there is even one comparable to the Kuklinski case, as a citizen and a journalist, I'm happy not to know about any of them. Until they're ready for declassification. [Thomson/HuffingonPost/18December2008] 

An Awful Pick - claims Ralph Peters. Would you ask your accountant to perform brain surgery on your child? That's the closest analogy I can find to the choice of Democratic Party hack Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Earth to President-elect Obama: Intelligence is serious. And infernally complicated. When we politicize it - as we have for 16 years - we get 9/11. Or, yes, Iraq.

The extreme left, to which Panetta's nomination panders, howled that Bush and Cheney corrupted the intelligence system. Well, I worked in the intel world in the mid 1990s and saw how the Clinton team undermined the system's integrity.

Al Qaeda a serious threat? The Clinton White House didn't want to hear it. Clinton was the pioneer in corrupting intelligence. Bush was just a follow-on homesteader.

Now we've fallen so low that left-wing cadres can applaud the nomination of a CIA chief whose sole qualification is that he's a party loyalist, untainted by experience.

The director's job at the CIA isn't a party favor. This is potentially a matter of life and death for thousands of Americans. But the choice of Panetta tells us all that Barack Obama doesn't take intelligence seriously.

Mark my words: It'll bite him in the butt.

After the military, the intel community is the most complex arm of government. You can't do on-the-job training at the top. While a CIA boss needn't be a career intelligence professional, he or she does need a deep familiarity with the purposes, capabilities, limitations and intricacies of intelligence.

Oh, and you'd better understand the intelligence bureaucracy.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was blindsided - and appalled - by the Obama mafia's choice, has the essential knowledge of how the system works. She, or a similar expert, should have gotten this nod. But the president-elect wanted a clean-slate yes-man, not a person of knowledge and integrity.

We're witnessing the initial costs of Obama's career-long lack of interest in foreign policy, the military and intelligence. He doesn't think the top job at the CIA's important and just wants political cover on that flank. (Guess we got Panetta because Caroline Kennedy has another engagement.)

Forget a "team of rivals." Obama's creating a campaign staff for 2012.

Of course, he's reeling from the shrill rage of the crowd over his nomination of grown-ups to be his national-security adviser, director of national intelligence, administrator of veterans' affairs and, yes, secretary of state. (By the way, how could Hillary be dumb enough to accept a job where success is impossible?)

Panetta's appointment is a sop to the hard left, a signal that intelligence will be emasculated for the next four - or eight - years.

Think morale's been bad at the CIA? Just wait.

Conservatives played into this scenario by insisting that any CIA analysis that didn't match the Bush administration's positions perfectly amounted to an attack on the White House. Well, sorry. The intelligence community's job isn't to make anybody feel good - its core mission is to provide nonpartisan analysis to our leaders.

To be a qualified D-CIA, a man or woman needs a sophisticated grasp of three things: The intel system, foreign-policy challenges and the Pentagon (which owns most of our intelligence personnel and hardware). Panetta has no background - none - in any of these areas. He was never interested.

If you handed Leon Panetta a blank map of Asia, I'd bet my life he couldn't plot Baghdad, Kabul or Beijing within 500 miles of their actual locations. (Maybe he can see China from his California think tank?)

This shameless hack appointment is the first action by the incoming administration that seriously worries me. Get intelligence wrong and you get dead Americans.

[Ralph Peters was a career intelligence officer in the US Army.] [Peters/NYPost/7January2009]

Let's Give the CIA Its Due, by Charles McCarry. Richard M. Helms, the first director of Central Intelligence to rise from the ranks, was fond of saying that the CIA had been founded to make sure that there would never be another Pearl Harbor. Underlying this mission impossible was the wishful supposition that an America that knew everything could prevent anything. The CIA's job was to keep an eye - a jaundiced eye - on the whole world, friend and foe, weak countries and strong ones alike, as a means of preventing catastrophic surprises.

For more than 50 years, on the whole, the magic worked. And then, on Sept. 11, 2001, another Pearl Harbor happened. The CIA was not spared when blame was handed out. An intelligence failure had occurred and the result was the loss of 3,000 lives, billions in destroyed property, and incalculable damage to the American psyche.

In terms of the original illusion concerning an all-knowing intelligence service, the agency was fundamentally at fault. In reality, it is not likely that any system then in existence could have identified the terrorists (19 obscure youths out of a 2001 world population of 6.1 billion) and forestalled their crimes in the absence of a colossal stroke of luck. On 9/11, it was the terrorists, not their victims, who had all the luck.

When it comes to the assignment of blame, the CIA has by and large been a luckless organization. Although it made its share of mistakes (the Guatemala coup) and had its share of misfortunes (the loss of a U-2 over Russia), it did great things in early days. Then came the Bay of Pigs, the secret war on Cuba, the bungled attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, the "unforeseen" assassination of our ally President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. These and other messy outcomes - most if not all of which sprang from the enthusiasms of presidents and their advisers - have been played out against a leitmotif of distaste for the whole idea of having a secret intelligence service as part of the U.S. government.

As anyone who reads the newspaper or goes to the movies or watches television or attends politically correct dinner parties knows, a booming paranoia industry has grown up around the agency and the federal government in general. When, during the counterculture, the picture began to emerge of the CIA as an outpost of the Dark Side, insiders were shocked by the absurdity of the charge. In those days, the agency was composed of wall-to-wall, knee-jerk liberals - "nice boys who went to Yale and wouldn't hurt a fly," in the words of the only CCNY alumnus I ever encountered there. (For the record, I never met an assassin. Or a Republican, for that matter.)

All but a handful of the people I knew half a century ago, when for about a decade I served overseas as a CIA agent, are either dead or otherwise absent, and I don't know a soul who is employed in today's agency. Despite rumors of deep bureaucratic problems and deeper dissatisfaction in Langley, the profile probably hasn't changed much since my day. As in the past, the personnel likely are brighter than most, workaholic, patriotic, ambitious, a little too impressed with success in what they suppose is the real world. I hope for their sakes that they don't drink as much as the old boys used to do.

Also, I suspect that they are doing a better and a more ethical job for our country than most people think or would be willing to believe. And no doubt they are more than a little nervous at the prospect of a new administration, a new director, a new political orthodoxy, and quite possibly, yet another purge. New presidents and new directors have sometimes been hostile, and heads have rolled in the past for reasons that baffled.

In the Carter administration, for example, many of the organization's most senior and experienced operations officers were retired early or fired outright. Their mass departure took a large bite out of the agency's institutional memory, and abruptly terminated relationships all over the world that had been a generation in the making. Many of those dismissed were Ivy Leaguers, and whether or not that had anything to do with the purge, it ended an era and changed the CIA's culture.

Since the CIA rose to the top of the news this week with the nomination of a new director, the idea that the agency needs to change its culture yet again has come to the fore. If that means tighter control and more bureaucracy, one trembles for the future.

As an old man who remembers the intellectual exhilaration and the pleasure of having done good work that characterized the CIA when it was young, I wonder if it might not be better to speak and think in terms of restoring its culture. Allen Dulles, the first director under whom I served, seemed to want to recruit every bright young person in America, and once he had hired them, to give them every opportunity to use their brains to the utmost. Freedom of speech was the rule regardless of differences in rank. Ingenuity in the field was valued and rewarded. A mentor lurked in nearly every office. Significantly, that CIA had no headquarters; its people were scattered all over town in ramshackle temporary buildings and rented quarters.

It is doubtful that this Nirvana can ever be restored; the CIA is not the only culture in Washington that has been altered in the past 50 years. But wouldn't it be grand if the new management, as its first act, offered reassurance instead of recriminations to a troubled agency? Suppose, for starters, the boss said that on his watch, protocols would be clear, instructions would be plain, boundaries would be well defined, and within those limits, initiative would be valued, and that there would be no ex post facto rules.

He might also state that the allegations of abusive interrogation of captured enemies of the United States is a big issue for the CIA, but a separate issue, and that it will be handled and settled by due process in isolation from the good work that has been done by men and women who have been given a very difficult assignment and deserve credit and praise for what they have accomplished. After all, there has not been a single terrorist act on American soil since 9/11, and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have seen large numbers of their leaders and operatives hunted down and neutralized. Obviously the credit for this belongs to many people in and out of government, not just Americans but also some of our allies and friends. But surely the CIA was among the players.

Maybe the CIA, disheartened and distanced from its countrymen, could use a word of acknowledgment and a hint of better days to come. It might not be a bad idea to omit, for once, the customary spongeful of vinegar before proceeding with the usual reforms.

[Mr. McCarry is the author of 11 novels and eight nonfiction books. He is at work on a new novel.] [McCarry/WallStreetJournal/10January2009]



NYT Reporter, Spy, and Nazi Fighter Paul Hofmann Dies. In the "They don't make 'em like this any more" category: foreign correspondent, dapper author, and WWII Allied spy Paul Hofmann is dead at the age of 96. He outlived Hitler by 63 years.

Hofmann was born in Austria in 1912, went into journalism in his early 20s, and fled Vienna for Rome in 1938 when the Nazis occupied the city. In Rome he hooked up with the "anti-Fascist underground," but was drafted into the German army and stationed in Rome, where he worked as an interpreter for high level Nazi commanders. 

From General M�lzer's offices in the Hotel Excelsior on the Via Veneto, Mr. Hofmann passed information to the anti-Nazi underground. He was able to inform the underground about the deportation of the Jews from occupied Rome in October 1943 and the killing of 335 Italian hostages in March 1944 at the Fosse Ardeatine outside Rome in reprisal for the killing of 33 German policemen by Italian partisans.

In 1944, he deserted and was sentenced in absentia to death for treason. After the war he became a New York Times correspondent in Rome, and later reported for the paper from all over the world. [Nolan/NewYorkTimes/2January2009] 

James Potts, Directed Clandestine Operations in Africa for the CIA. James M. Potts, 87, the former director of the CIA's clandestine operations in Africa and longtime member of AFIO, died Dec. 22 at Collington Episcopal Life Care Community in Mitchellville of complications from a stroke.

Mr. Potts joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1951 and commanded stations in Western Europe, including Paris and Athens, and led the agency's work in Africa. He was twice awarded the agency's Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

After he retired in 1982, he was one of four high-ranking CIA retirees who in 1991 formed the Legal Defense Fund for CIA Employees to help colleagues in the final stages of an investigation of the arms-for-hostages scandal known as the Iran-contra affair.

The agency did not pay for the legal expenses of employees who had been charged with wrongdoing or retained lawyers to represent them in preliminary proceedings.

Until 1996, Mr. Potts worked as a consultant on international business matters and president and chief operating officer for the Parvus Co., a Silver Spring-based international consulting firm. He co-authored the book "Russian Diplomacy and Eastern Europe, 1914-1917" (1963) and wrote "French Covert Action in the American Revolution" (2005).

James Murray Potts was born in New Orleans and grew up in Pennsylvania, in Williamsport and Mount Lebanon. He graduated from Yale University in 1942.

During World War II, he served in the Navy aboard minesweepers in the Atlantic Ocean and the Aleutian Islands. After he was discharged, he started food-relief operations in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria for the nonprofit organization CARE.

In 1949, he became director of overseas operations for CARE, based in New York.

After he joined the CIA, he contracted polio and spent a year recovering in Warm Springs, Ga., before returning to work overseas.

He received a master's degree in international relations from Columbia University in 1951.

Mr. Potts was a member of the vestry at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Bethesda and the Society of the Preservation of the Greek Heritage.

A son, Andrew Potts, died in 2005.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Mary Potts of Mitchellville; two sons, James Potts of Oakland, Calif., and Brian Potts of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; and four grandchildren. [Sullivan/WashingtonPost/10January2009] 

Major General Jack E. Thomas USAF, Retired - AFIO Board Emeritus Member, died peacefully at home on December 11, 2008, at the age of 98. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 30, 1910, to Samuel Joseph and Mary Ann Thomas. 

General Thomas graduated from the University of Utah in 1931 with a B.A. in Political Science. Subsequently, he received an M.S. in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. 

His intelligence career spanned more than 60 years. His military intelligence career began in 1941 with the 47th Bomb Wing. He became a Colonel in 1948, a Brigadier General in 1961, and Major General in 1964, shortly after his appointment as the Headquarters USAF Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, at the Pentagon. He was one of the first USAF General Officers who was not a pilot or a U.S. Military Academy graduate. General Thomas was the senior intelligence officer for two Air Force Chiefs of Staff - General Curtis E. LeMay and General J.P. McConnell. He retired in 1969. 

Following his retirement from the Air Force, General Thomas served for nine years on the staff of the Director of Central Intelligence and then served as a full-time consultant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense between 1978 and 2004. General Thomas served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and the Board of the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA), among other organizations. Annually, the NMIA awards the "Major General Jack E. Thomas Award" to a USAF-selected recipient for "Exceptional Intelligence Professionalism." His decorations include the USAF Distinguished Service Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal presented by the Director of the CIA, the Legion of Merit for his World War II service in Italy, and several foreign medals. In 1998, he was presented the prestigious Baker Award, taking his place among a long list of other notables such as Senator Barry Goldwater; Ambassador Vernon Walters; and former Secretary of Defense, Dr. James Schlesinger. 

General Thomas is survived by his widow, Margaret Rohrer Thomas of Fresno, California. Also surviving are four nephews, Patrick (Nancy) and Colin (Teri) Thomas of Salt Lake City, David (Becky) Rohrer of Visalia, CA, and Paul Rohrer of Selma, CA, and three grandnieces (Emily Lazaroti, Erin Thomas, and Brynn Thomas), and close friends Kathy Thomas and Carla Bass. A service for General Thomas will be held March 6, 2009 at the Fort Meyer chapel, followed by internment at Arlington National Cemetery. [WashingtonPost/12/28/08]

Victor H. Krulak - Retired Marine Lieutenant General. Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Victor H. "Brute" Krulak, celebrated for his leadership in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and for his authoritative book on the Marines, "First to Fight," died Monday at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. He was 95 and had been in declining health for several years.

In a career that spanned three decades Krulak displayed bravery during combat and brilliance as a tactician and organizer of troops.

"Brute was very forgiving of young Marines who made mistakes," said retired Col. G.I. Wilson, a combat veteran. "But he was hell on senior officers who preferred careerism and bureaucracy over decisive action. He detested those who lost sight of looking after their enlisted Marines and young officers."

Born in Denver on Jan. 7, 1913, Krulak was a 1934 graduate of the Naval Academy - where he picked up his nickname, a jest on the fact he was 5 foot 4. As a junior officer he served in Marine actions in Central America, where his views on counterinsurgency were formed.

In World War II, as a lieutenant colonel, he led a battalion in a weeklong battle as a diversionary raid to cover the invasion of Bougainville. Although wounded, he refused to be evacuated. For his bravery he was awarded the Navy Cross.

Under heavy fire from the Japanese, the Navy sent patrol boats to evacuate wounded Marines. Krulak befriended one of the young commanders, John F. Kennedy. Decades later the two shared a drink of whiskey in the Oval Office after Kennedy was elected president.

After World War II, Krulak held several key jobs, including commander of the 5th Marine Regiment and later chief of staff for the 1st Marine Division during the war in Korea. Later he served as commander of the Marine boot camp in San Diego and, from 1962 to 1964, as special assistant for counterinsurgency to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Pacific he made 54 trips to Vietnam.

His ideas about mining Haiphong Harbor and relying on small unit actions in South Vietnam to win the support of the populace clashed with the strategy of Army Gen. William C. Westmoreland, commander of all U.S. troops from 1964 to 1968. He opposed Westmoreland's decision to establish an outpost at Khe Sanh, which resulted in one of the bloodiest sieges of the war.

Krulak had hoped to become Marine Corps commandant, but President Johnson in 1968 nominated Gen. Leonard Chapman Jr. Krulak retired and began a second career as an executive for Copley newspapers and as a columnist. He retired as an executive in 1977 but continued to write.

In 1984, his book "First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps" was published, examining the history and culture of the Marine Corps. It remains on the official reading list for Marines and has been said to carry the DNA of the organization that prides itself on being the worst enemy that a foe of the United States can imagine.

"The Marines are an assemblage of warriors, nothing more," Krulak wrote. He called on Marines to maintain a "religious dedication" to being ready to "go and win - and then come back alive." He disdained Pentagon bureaucracy and, even as he celebrated the Corps' history, he called for Marines to "remain on the cutting edge of the technology that will keep its specialty effective."

Bing West, former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and author of books on Marines in Vietnam and Iraq, said Krulak "was legendary for the depth of his intelligence."

In a 2007 speech to the Marine Corps Assn., Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised Krulak for "overcoming conventional wisdom and bureaucratic obstacles thrown in one's path." Among other things, Krulak advocated that the Marines form a special forces unit when other Marine leaders opposed the idea.

All three of Krulak's sons served in Vietnam: Charles and William as Marine infantry officers, Victor Jr. as a Navy chaplain. After retiring from the Marines, William followed his brother into the Episcopal clergy.

Charles, as a general, served as Marine commandant from 1995 to 1999, and followed in his father's footsteps as an innovator and champion of the enlisted man. Along with his sons, Krulak is survived by four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Krulak's wife, Amy, died in 2001. Funeral services were set for 2 p.m. Jan. 8 at the chapel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. [Perry/LosAngelesTimes/31December2008]

MG James Milnor Roberts, Jr., USA (Ret.) 9/16/1918 - 1/2/2009 On Friday, January 2, 2009 of Arlington, VA. AFIO member General Roberts landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was the former Chief of Army Reserve, Executive Director of Reserve Officer's Association (ROA), President of High Frontier and Chairman of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Society. Organizations he was a member of were Society of Cincinnati; District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (DCSSAR) Trustee Emeritus; Sons of the Revolution (SR); Capitol Hill Executive Service Club and St. Charles the Martyr Knights Templar. Please visit the General's website: . 

General Roberts was the beloved husband Priscilla Bruce Roberts. Also surviving are his children of Virginia Sykes Roberts who passed away in 1995, James M. Roberts III (Mary Grace), MaryLee Roberts Newman (Michael), Deborah Gillespie (Terry) and Todd Roberts (Miriam); grandfather of Elizabeth and Mark Roberts, Ted and Philip Newman, Sean and Michael Gillespie and David and Brian Roberts. 

The family will be receiving friends at the Murphy Funeral Home of Arlington, 4510 Wilson Blvd. on Sunday, January 11 from 12 noon until time of services at 1 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Fort Myer Memorial Chapel on Thursday, March 12 at 1 p.m. Interment will full military honors, Arlington National Cemetery.   [WashingtonPost/7January2009]

Rear Admiral Robert T. Connor, Staten Island's 10th and longest-serving borough president, died yesterday, two days after his 90th birthday, in Sunrise Senior Living in Fort Belvoir, Va., his home since 1998.

Mr. Connor blended his love for the U.S. Navy, a flair for politics and involvement with the intelligence community into a career in public service that spanned 50 years. Throughout a 15-year political career, he maintained an association with the Navy, retiring as a rear admiral of the New York Naval Militia in 1977 to accept an appointment by President Jimmy Carter as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy.

In 1962, he ran for office for the first time. He was the Republican candidate for Congress, losing a close race to Democrat John M. Murphy in a district made up of Staten Island and a strongly Democratic portion of Brooklyn. That was the last time he would lose an election. The following year he was elected councilman at large, an office that was later abolished when a federal court declared it unconstitutional.

Mr. Connor scored an upset in 1965 when he defeated the incumbent, Albert V. Maniscalco, a Democrat, for the borough presidency. He was the first Republican elected to that office in 50 years. He was re-elected in 1969 as a Republican-Conservative and in 1973 as a Democrat-Conservative, having switched party enrollment that year. Both victories were of landslide proportions.

The change in party registration stemmed from a controversy over a proposed agreement between the two major parties to ban their candidates from accepting minor party nominations. Connor refused to surrender the Conservative Party nod and the agreement fell apart.

As borough president, Mr. Connor represented Staten Island on the former Board of Estimate, a powerful body in city government. The board comprised three citywide officials - the mayor, City Council president and comptroller - and the five borough presidents. The board's voting structure was declared unconstitutional in 1989 and the board itself was abolished, a major impetus for Staten Island's secession movement of the 1990s.

But while it existed, Mr. Connor made it a platform for his advocacy of economy in government and fiscal conservatism, especially during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s that brought the city to the brink of bankruptcy.

"In 1974, Bob Connor hired me out of the Marine Corps," recalled former City Councilman Jerome X. (Jay) O'Donovan. "He was a classic military leader who brought home his skills to the political world. He was someone who had strong patriotic values, cared a great deal about his community and was actually a giant in Staten Island politics."

While serving in the City Council and Borough Hall, Mr. Connor continued to be active in the Naval Reserve. Upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942 - he had attended Boston College earlier - he was commissioned an ensign in the Navy and was on active duty through the end of World War II.

Mr. Connor was appointed by Gov. Rockefeller and reappointed by Gov. Hugh Carey as commander of the New York State Naval Militia with the rank of rear admiral. He performed two or more weeks annually of active duty on Navy ships or aircraft, since he was designated a Naval aviator and was qualified for command at sea.

Nearing the end of his third term as borough president, he decided not to run again and instead accepted Carter's appointment to the Navy Department. He served in that office into President Ronald Reagan's first term, having been named a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service. One of his principal duties was representing the Secretary of the Navy on visits to ships and stations on ceremonial occasions throughout the world.

Following his retirement, Mr. Connor performed consulting services for various maritime interests, including the Port Authority and Barber Steamship Lines of Annapolis, Md.

He was the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws from St. John's University, an honorary bachelor's degree from City University of New York and a certificate from the Naval War College. He was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, the Retired Officers Association and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

He moved in the early 1980s to Sarasota, Fla., where he pursued his interests in sailing, tennis, politics, writing and travel. In 1986, he switched his political enrollment back to the Republican Party. In 1998, he moved to The Fairfax, a military retirement residence in Fort Belvoir.

His first marriage to the former Carol Pouch ended in divorce in 1978. During their marriage, the couple lived in Dongan Hills. His second marriage, to Connie Wehrman in 1979, also ended in divorce.

Surviving, in addition to his former wives, are his son, Robert T. Jr.; his daughter, Susan Bird, and four grandchildren. A ceremony with full honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be determined. Arrangements are being handled by Murphy's Funeral Home, Falls Church, Va.  [Azzara/StatenIslandAdvance/7January2009]

Colonel David Smiley, Special Forces and Intelligence Officer.  Colonel David Smiley, who died on Thursday aged 92, was one of the most celebrated cloak-and-dagger agents of the Second World War, serving behind enemy lines in Albania, Greece, Abyssinia and Japanese-controlled eastern Thailand.

After the war he organised secret operations against the Russians and their allies in Albania and Poland, among other places. Later, as Britain's era of domination in the Arabian peninsula drew to a close, he commanded the Sultan of Oman's armed forces in a highly successful counter-insurgency.

After his assignment in Oman, he organised - with the British intelligence service, MI6 - royalist guerrilla resistance against a Soviet-backed Nasserite regime in Yemen. Smiley's efforts helped force the eventual withdrawal of the Egyptians and their Soviet mentors, paved the way for the emergence of a less anti-Western Yemeni government, and confirmed his reputation as one of Britain's leading post-war military Arabists.

In more conventional style, while commanding the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues), Smiley rode alongside the Queen as commander of her escort at the Coronation in 1953.

During the Second World War he was parachuted four times behind enemy lines. On one occasion he was obliged to escape from Albania in a rowing boat. On another mission, in Japanese-controlled eastern Thailand, he was stretchered for three days through the jungle with severe burns after a booby-trap meant for a senior Japanese officer exploded prematurely.

Though a regular soldier, Smiley was frequently seconded to MI6. As an assistant military attach� in Poland after the war, when the Soviet-controlled Communists were tightening their grip, he was beaten up and expelled as a spy, after an operation he was running had incriminated a member of the politburo.

After that he headed the British side of a secret Anglo-American venture to subvert the newly-installed Communist regime in Albania led by the ruthless Enver Hoxha. But Kim Philby, who was secretly working for the Russians, was the liaison between the British and Americans; almost all the 100 or so agents dropped by parachute or landed by boat were betrayed, and nearly all were tortured and shot. This failure haunted Smiley for the rest of his life.

Smiley's exploits led some to suggest that he was, along with several other candidates, a model for James Bond. It was also widely mooted that John le Carr�, albeit unconsciously, had taken the name of his hero from the real-life Smiley.

Born on April 11 1916, David de Crespigny Smiley was the youngest son of Major Sir John Smiley, 2nd Bt, and Valerie, youngest daughter of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 4th Bt, a noted jockey, balloonist, all-round sportsman and adventurer, also famed for his feats of derring-do.

After the Pangbourne Nautical College, where he excelled in sport, David went to Sandhurst in 1934. He served in the Blues from 1936 to 1939, based mainly at Windsor, leading the life of a debonair man-about-town, owning a Bentley and a Whitney Straight aircraft. Before the outbreak of war, he won seven races under National Hunt rules. In his first point-to-point with the Garth Hunt, he crashed into a tree, suffering serious injuries. Over the years Smiley was to break more than 80 bones, mainly as a result of sport; on two occasions he broke his skull, once in a steeplechase and once when he dived at night into an almost-empty swimming pool in Thailand.

After the war, he held the record for the most falls in one season on the Cresta Run in St Moritz; bizarrely, he represented Kenya (where he owned a farm) in the Commonwealth Winter Games of 1960.

After war broke out, the Blues sailed for Palestine, where one of Smiley's first jobs, as a lieutenant, was to shoot his troop of 40 horses when it became clear they were of no use in modern combat. His introduction to warfare was against Vichy French forces in Syria. For his nocturnal reconnaissance work in ruins near Palmyra he was mentioned in despatches.

Later in 1940 Smiley joined the Somaliland Camel Corps, arriving at Berbera the very day it was decided to evacuate British Somaliland. Returning in frustration to Egypt, he persuaded General Wavell, a family friend, to recommend him for the newly-formed commandos, in which he became a company commander with the rank of captain. Sneaking from Sudan into Abyssinia, Smiley operated for the first of many times behind enemy (in this case Italian) lines.

In 1941 he returned to his regiment to command a squadron of armoured vehicles being sent from Palestine to raise the siege of Habbaniya, 60 miles west of Baghdad in Iraq, where the king and regent had been overthrown in a pro-German coup led by Rashid Ali. Under Colonel John Glubb, he led a charge alongside Bedouin levies in full cry (they were known to Smiley as "Glubb's girls", because of their long black locks). After helping to capture Baghdad, Smiley's squadron was sent to Mosul with the task, among other things, of capturing the German ambassador, who escaped.

His squadron then moved east, to capture the Persian capital, Tehran, followed by "two weeks' celebration with plenty of vodka, caviar and women". After a spell in Palestine, Smiley led a Blues squadron of dummy tanks into the Western Desert pretending first to be British Crusaders and then, on a further foray, American General Grants, which were repeatedly attacked by Stukas. When Rommel broke through, they withdrew to Cairo. Three months later Smiley commanded a squadron of armoured cars at the battle of El Alamein - his last bout of conventional warfare.

After training at a school for secret agents in Haifa and taking a parachuting course with his friend David Stirling and his Special Air Service (SAS) near the Suez Canal, Smiley joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organisation set up at Churchill's instigation to "set Europe ablaze" by helping local partisans sabotage the Nazis' infrastructure. He was parachuted with his life-long friend Neil (Billy) McLean into the mountains of Albania, then occupied by the Italians (and later by the Germans). For eight months he organised the fractious partisans in a series of ambushes and acts of sabotage (bridge demolition, sometimes by climbing under them at night while German troops were patrolling above, became a Smiley trademark). He was awarded an immediate MC. In early 1944 he was again parachuted into Albania, with McLean and Julian (later Lord) Amery, to liaise with the royalist guerrillas loyal to King Zog.

After leaving Albania, where his activities brought Smiley a Bar to his MC, he was transferred to the Siamese section of SOE, known in the Far East as Force 136, where he liaised with guerrillas operating against the Japanese who ruled the country through a proxy government. It was then that he was injured by the premature explosion of a booby-trap meant for a Japanese officer.

After recovering in Government House in Calcutta, where he consorted with both Nehru and Gandhi, he was parachuted behind enemy lines into eastern Siam, shortly before the dropping of the atomic bombs and the surrender of Japan, whereupon he organised the liberation of several prisoner-of-war camps, including the one on which the film The Bridge on the River Kwai was based. Though only a major, he personally took the surrender of the 22nd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army.

On Lord Mountbatten's orders, Smiley re-armed a Japanese company and led them against the Communists of the fledgling Vietminh (who later became the Vietcong) in French Indo-China. Among other exploits, he freed 120 French women and children who had been taken hostage by the Communists. The only British officer in an area the size of Wales, he then took the surrender of Vientiane, Laos's capital, from another Japanese general. For his activities in Siam and Indo-China Smiley was awarded a military OBE.

He later ruefully noted that, at that time, the Vietminh were backed by the American OSS (the CIA's forerunner); Smiley was wary of what he considered to be America's na�ve enthusiasm for proclaimed democrats and its hostility to the British and French empires.

After his early post-war exploits in Poland and then his efforts to roll back communism in Albania were betrayed by Philby, Smiley returned to more conventional duties in Germany and thence to command his regiment, the Blues, at Windsor.

In 1955 he was appointed military attach� in Sweden, from where he made surveillance trips with his young family along the Russian border with Finland and Norway. But the pinnacle of Smiley's post-war career was his three-year tenure as commander of the Sultan of Muscat and Oman's armed forces during a civil war which threatened to bring down one of Britain's more reactionary allies in the Gulf.

By now in his early forties, Smiley ran a gruelling counter-insurgency which gradually drove the guerrillas back from the scorching plains into their mountain retreat, the 10,000ft high Jebel Akhdar, which had never been successfully assaulted. With two squadrons of the SAS under his command, Smiley planned and led a classic dawn attack on the mountain fastness, finally crushing the enemy.

After leaving Oman in 1961, Smiley was offered the command of the SAS, but chose to retire from the British Army and file occasional reports for Raymond Postgate's Good Food Guide.

He was not able to relax for long. Within two years he had been persuaded to help bolster royalist forces in Yemen. Liaising with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and MI6, who arranged for former SAS and other mercenaries to accompany him, Smiley made 13 trips to Yemen between 1963 and 1968.

Often disguised as a local, Smiley travelled on foot or by donkey for weeks at a time across Arabia's most rugged terrain. He won the admiration of his colleagues, both Arab and British, for his toughness, bluntness, and shrewdness as an adviser. King Faisal, whom Smiley greatly admired, personally expressed his appreciation.

After ending his Arabian career, Smiley moved to Spain, where, for 19 years, he grew olives, carobs and almonds, and continued to advise Albania's surviving anti-Communists, by now all in exile, before returning to live in Somerset and then Earl's Court.

To Smiley's delight, he was welcomed back to Albania in 1990, as the Communist regime, which had sentenced him to death in absentia, began to collapse. He forged a friendship with the country's first post-Communist leader, Sali Berisha.

Smiley was appointed LVO, and Knight Commander of the Order of the Sword in Sweden and Grand Cordon of the Order of Skanderbeg in Albania.

In 1947 he married Moyra, daughter of Lord Francis Scott KCMG, DSO, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch's youngest son. He is survived by his wife, two sons, a stepson and a stepdaughter.  [Telegraph/9January2009]


NCTC 2009 Counterterrorism Calendar. The National Counterterrorism Center is pleased to present the 2009 edition of the Counterterrorism (CT) Calendar. This edition, like others since the Calendar was first published in a daily planner format in 2003, contains useful information across a wide range of terrorism-related topics: terrorist groups, wanted terrorists, and technical pages on various threat-related issues. The Calendar marks dates according to the Gregorian and Islamic calendars, and contains significant dates in terrorism history, as well as dates that terrorists may believe are important when planning "commemoration-style" attacks. Visit for more information.



Tuesday, 13 January 2009, 6:30 p.m. - Williamsburg, VA - The new AFIO Hampton Roads Chapter has planned a meeting at Williamsburg Public Library. For details and further information contact Melissa Saunders at

Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 11:30 a.m. - Albuquerque, NM - The AFIO Tom Smith New Mexico Chapter meets in the "back room" at the Calico Cafe / Vernon's Steak House, next to the historic old El Camino Motel, 1/2 mile north of Osuna on the west side of 4th Street. For information on speaker and topic contact Bob Clark at

Thursday, 15 January 2009, 11:30 a.m. - Colorado Springs, CO - AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter meets to hear about Radical Islam. Event occurs at the Air Force Academy Officers Club to hear Mike Popolano, retired FBI agent. Mike will speak on radical Islam. Please RSVP to Tom Van Wormer at 719-5708505 or

15 January 2009 – San Francisco, CA – The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Stanislav Levchenko, former Russian KGB Major. Levchenko defected to the United States in October 1979, and was instrumental in detailing the KGB's Japanese spy network to the U.S government, including Congressional testimony in the early 1980’s. A Soviet court condemned Levchenko to death in 1981. Levchenko published his autobiography, On the Wrong Side: My Life in the KGB, in 1988. Major Levchenko's talk will focus on the new Russia and its imperial designs.
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. RSVP required. E-mail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate meat or fish) no later than 5PM 1/05/09: or mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, PO Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011. (650) 622-9840 X608.

Saturday, 17 January 2009, 2 p.m. - Kennebunk, ME - The Maine Chapter of AFIO topic will be Identity Theft and Money Laundering.
The chapter will meet at the Kennebunk Free Library in Kennebunk to hear speaker will be Andrew Featherman, noted lecturer and privacy expert, who will discuss the current issues of identity theft and money laundering which plague this country. For further information or to attend contact David Austin at or call him at 207-364-8964

18 January 2009, 4 p.m. - Charles, IL - The AFIO Midwest Chapter meeting. The AFIO Midwest Chapter meeting will be held at the St. Charles Place Restaurant. Speaker tba.
The St. Charles Place Restaurant is at 2550 E Main Street, St Charles, IL. Contact Angelo DiLiberti for details: 847-931-4184. Please reply ASAP. New members welcome.

22 January 2009, 12:30-2:00 p.m. - Los Angeles, CA - AFIO Los Angeles Chapter meeting. The AFIO L.A. chapter event features Mark Gorwitz a private researcher with expertise in the nuclear
proliferation area on the topic of Iran's nuclear program at the LMU campus. Please RSVP via email by January 16, 2009

7 February 2009, 11:30 am - Melbourne Beach, FL - AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter meeting features Capt Giles R. Norrington. Norrington, USN (Ret) was a former POW at the Hanoi Hilton. He was a Navy Pilot, shot down over North Vietnam in his RA-5C Aircraft on his 22nd mission, on 5 May 1968. He was a POW until 14 March 1973 and spent time in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. His topic - highly appropriate for these times as well, is "Getting Through the Tough Times." To attend this important event, or call her at 321-722-3010.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009, 6:00 p.m. - Nellis AFB, NV - The AFIO Las Vegas Chapter Meeting features "The Real History of the Civil Air Transport / Air America" The featured speaker for the evening will be Mr. L. Michael Kandt, General Secretary Air America Association. Mr. Kandt will speak on the "The Real History and Accomplishments of the Civil Air Transport/Air America" Mr. Kandt will have on display two prints of original oil paintings that represent events during operations in Laos.
Place: The Officers' Club at Nellis Air Force Base.
Dinner: The Officers' Club has an excellent, informal dinner venue along with a selection of snacks. You are welcome to arrive early and join us in the "Check Six" bar area. Water will be provided during the meeting, but you may also purchase beverages and food at the bar and bring them to the meeting. Once again, please feel free to bring your spouse and/or guest(s) to dinner as well as our meeting.
For further information or to register email Eppley, Christine J. [] or call her at 702-295-0073

20 -21 February 2009 - Baltimore, MD - Ethics in the Intelligence Community 2009 - The 4th Annual Conference of the International Intelligence Ethics Association
List of topics: • The Foundations of Ethics in Intelligence; • The Ethics of Intelligence Assassinations: The Israeli Experience; • The Application of Stakeholder Analysis to Covert Action; • Legitimizing Intelligence Ethics: A Comparison to Ethics in Business; • Surreptitious Physical Searches: An Ethics of Privacy; • Many Spheres of Harm: What's Wrong with Intelligence Collection; • The Ethical Implications of the Downing Street Memos; • The Role of Ethics Reform in Turkey's Bid to Join the EU; • Evolution of British Intelligence & Counter-Terrorism: Northern Ireland, 1969 - 1998.; Location: The Johns Hopkins University at Mt. Washington Conference Center Baltimore, Maryland.
Register now and save $50.00. This year, on-line registration is available and encouraged by all attendees. You can reserve your space at the conference and get a hotel room at the same time!
Registration Fees: Individual - Institution - $450; Individual - $375; Student - $250
For more information about registration fees, including fees for early and late registration, go to
Registration fees include continental breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday, and continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
Lodging: The Mt. Washington Conference Center has 48 guestrooms for conference attendees. Single rooms with a queen-size bed and double rooms with two double beds are available.
The room rate is $150 per night. If you have any questions, please feel free to contract them at

26 February 2009, Noon to 1 pm - Washington, DC - The Spy Within: Larry Chin and China’s Penetration of the CIA
In October 1982, the FBI received chilling information from the CIA—the Agency had learned China was running a spy inside US intelligence, but the spy’s identity, where he worked and for how long, and what information he was passing was unknown. Over the next three years, investigators worked frantically to identify the mole, to discover the secrets he’d betrayed and the agents he’d endangered, and to collect the evidence to prosecute him for his betrayal. The investigation ultimately revealed that for more than thirty years, Larry Chin, the CIA’s leading Chinese linguist, had been a top Chinese penetration of the Agency. In the first book to explore Chin’s betrayal, Tod Hoffman uses exclusive interviews, previously unreleased documents, and his own practical expertise as a former spy-catcher for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to spin a captivating cat-and-mouse tale. Join Hoffman as he discusses the untold story of one of America’s biggest spy cases.
International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station
TICKETS: No registration required. Free.

4 March 2009, 6:30 p.m. - Washington, DC - Josephine Baker: Singer, Dancer, Spy - A discussion at Spy Museum
“I am ready to give the Parisians my life.”—Josephine Baker
From Broadway to the Rue Fontaine, the extraordinary Josephine Baker was the toast of the international nightclub circuit. Born in the United States, the talented African American singer-dancer moved to France to escape racism in America and became an enormous star. She triumphed at the Folies Berg�re and enjoyed the acclaim of European society. Her affection for France was so great that when World War II broke out, she volunteered to spy for her adopted country. Her caf� society fame enabled her to rub shoulders with those in the know, from high-ranking Japanese officials to Italian bureaucrats, and report back what she heard. She heroically stayed in France after the invasion working closely with the French Resistance to undermine the Nazi occupation. Her espionage exploits are just one chapter in Baker’s extraordinary life. Join Jonna Mendez, former CIA chief of disguise, as she reveals Baker’s intelligence work and places it in the context of her exciting and celebrated life.
International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, 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.

5 - 6 March 2009 - Houston, TX - "Terrorism, Crime & Business" Symposium - Understanding the Fundamental Legal and Security Liability Issues for American Business. A conference sponsored by St. Mary's University., School of Law, Center for Terrorism Law. Four Main Symposium Themes: • An overview of the aims and objectives of the global terror threat posed by al-Qa’eda-styled terror groups, sub-State terror groups, and “lone-wolf” terrorists.
• An analysis of the specific threats to American business sectors that are deemed part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure,” i.e., energy, petrochemical, electric utilities, communication, transportation, health, banking and finance, agriculture, water and shipping. • An understanding of the varied legal issues associated with terrorism and criminal negligence claims against businesses that have suffered a terror attack or serious criminal act in cyberspace or the physical world. • A comprehensive review of how to develop appropriate physical security methods.
SPEAKERS and LOCATION: The symposium will be held at the Federal Reserve Bank, 1801 Allen Parkway, Houston, Texas. The registration fee is $300.00, which includes breakout refreshments, a hosted lunch,
and extensive printed materials, e.g., Terrorism Law: Materials, Cases, Comments (5th Ed. 2009). Participants may qualify for Continuing Legal Education Credits (CLE). For registration information and details, contact Ms. Faithe Campbell at (210) 431-2219; Additional information is also available at the Center for Terrorism Law website:

26 - 27 March 2009 - Raleigh, NC - "Sexspionage" The 6th annual Raleigh Spy Conference salutes lady spies - and their counterparts on the other side - with expert speakers delivering riveting tales of Sexspionage, the new term characterizing the current emphasis on gender in the murky world of international intrigue. Lady spies have played a crucial role in espionage for centuries, from ancient civilizations through the Biblical era, world wars, the Cold War and today's sophisticated environment of modern espionage. As the flood of newly declassified documents over the past 15 years attests, female operatives were responsible for many of the most daring intelligent operations of the modern era - while others played a notorious role working against the US. And the role of sex in spy adventures has taken center stage though the ages.
Speakers: Brian Kelley, retired CIA operations officer, presents videotaped, jailhouse interviews of convicted spies and their wives (the spouses of former FBI agents Earl Pitts and Richard Miller along with the former wife of CIA officer, Jim Nicholson); wives who were complicit in their husband's espionage (Barbara Walker, Anne Henderson Pollard and Rosario Ames) along with an interview of the former Soviet citizen who seduced FBI agent Richard Miller on behalf of the KGB.
Ron Olive, retired special agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and author of "Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History was Brought to Justice," that uncovered the role of Pollard's wife Anne.
I.C. Smith, former FBI Special Agent, presents the story of Katrina Leung, known inside the FBI as "Parlor Maid," who managed to seduce her two FBI case agents, compromising them during the course of the twenty year operation. She was first used by the FBI as a double agent, then "doubled back" or "tripled" by Chinese intelligence against the FBI and later becoming the only known "quadruple" (re-doubled back against the Chinese by the FBI) agent yet exposed.
Terry Crowdy, British espionage writer and researcher will offer the role of female spies and tales of seduction from antiquity, the Christian era to modern lady spies at work today. Crowdy's book "The Enemy Within" is considered one of the top surveys of espionage.
Nigel West, the keynote speaker, is a former MP - and a leading expert on modern espionage. He is the author of the forthcoming "Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage," due out before the conference.
Costs: Full registration for all sessions and one ticket to the Spy Gala: $250
For this special conference, ladies are invited to attend for $125.00, one-half off the registration cost.
Veterans, members of the military and the intelligence community: $175
Seniors over 62, teachers and students: $145.
Special discount for ladies! Only $125.000 for the entire conference package.
You can register online or call 919-831-0999.
Event Location: Plans are under way to hold the 6th Raleigh Spy Conference at the Museum of History. Stay tuned for more details as event plans are finalized.

2 May 2009 - Washington, DC - The OSS Society William J. Donovan Award Dinner Honors General David H. Petraeus, USA, Commander, United States Central Command at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC. Black Tie/Dress Mess. Cocktails, $150 pp. 6:30 p.m., Dinner 7:30 p.m. For further information or to register call 703-356-6667 or visit

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


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