AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #27-09 dated 28 July 2009






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Friday, 14 August 2009


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Ron Kessler's Secret Service Book Gen. Mike Hayden

Ronald Kessler

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Gen. Michael V. Hayden USAF (Ret)

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"Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service --revelations from the past, and current concerns."

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MQ18 Predator
Predator, above, and other UAVs to be visited
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AFIO 2009 Fall Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada
13 October to 16 October, 2009
Cold Warriors in the Desert: From Atomic Blasts to Sonic Booms

Symposium will feature presentations on the testing of atomic weapons, airborne reconnaissance platforms, and more. Onsite visits to Nellis Air Force Base - Home of the Fighter Pilot, the U.S. Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site - the former on-continent nuclear weapons proving ground, and Creech Air Force Base - the home of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (currently deployed for combat missions in the Middle East, yet piloted from Creech).

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

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

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Warrantless Criticism - an Op Ed by Michael V. Hayden. THE recent report of inspectors general on the President’s Surveillance Program operated by the National Security Agency has led some to make hasty and deeply flawed judgments about the value and legality of what was a critical part of protecting America from further attack after Sept. 11.
The program was crucial in addressing one of the most stinging criticisms of the 9/11 commission — the need to reduce the gap between foreign intelligence and domestic security. This was an especially difficult task, which helps explain both the program’s importance and its sensitivity. The program was lawful, effective and necessary.
The reflexive judgments to the contrary seem hasty at best. Although the inspectors general report notes that the compartmented nature of the program hurt its utility (it should be noted that restricting access to especially sensitive data is hardly a unique phenomenon in an intelligence community that forever has to balance using information and protecting it), it also notes that users of the information rated the program “of value,” “useful” and a “key resource,” albeit one that was most often used in combination with other intelligence sources.
Intelligence professionals call that “connecting the dots,” something for which we were roundly criticized after Sept. 11 as not sufficiently doing. The report also suggested that there were counterterrorism successes associated with the program but that these could not be discussed in an unclassified venue. Although little commented on, the report also mentions that “even those read into the program would have been unaware of the full extent” of reporting.
Let’s be clear: when the National Security Agency reported intercepted communications from this program, the reports were often disseminated in the normal intelligence production stream. An analyst would have no way of knowing the source of the information.
Some critics claim that Congress was not aware of the full extent of the program, but the ultimate judgment on the effectiveness of much of the program may actually have been the actions of Congress. In the 2008 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress judged it appropriate not only to provide additional legal underpinnings for much of what the agency had been doing but also to recognize the value of its activities by providing additional critically needed capabilities. In my briefings to Congressional overseers from 2001 to 2005, I continually made the point that we simply could not achieve the program’s operational effect under FISA procedures as they then existed and it is clear that Congress ultimately agreed.
There has been much controversy about the lawfulness of the program. Here I must point out that agency lawyers — career attorneys with deep expertise in the law, privacy and intelligence — assisted their professional Justice Department counterparts in their review of the program but remained comfortable throughout with the lawfulness of all aspects of the surveillance effort.
IN any event, the aspect of the program that was so contentious in March 2004, when some Justice Department officials objected, resumed in only slightly modified form within six months under a new legal regime that all the players in March’s crisis supported. And it should be pointed out that the elements of the program made public in news reports in December 2005 had been consistently deemed lawful by the Justice Department.
Some have been tempted to read ominous undertones into the report’s careful prose: a passing reference without further definition to the program’s “effect on privacy interests of U.S. persons,” the parting words that information collected under the surveillance program and FISA "should be carefully monitored,” and a reminder that there were other highly classified parts of the president’s program out there still publicly unacknowledged. Such phrases have already led to incorrect assumptions that the report concluded that the wiretaps violated the privacy of millions of American citizens.
Let me stress that Congressional overseers were told of all activities conducted by the agency under this authorization. We made clear that this program was not a minor effort but neither was it the “Big Brother” project that some have alleged. In fact, at every briefing we reported daily and cumulative activities for the program.
There is also one very large finding in the report that hasn’t received the attention it deserves: “No evidence of intentional misuse” of the program was discovered.
That is, the agency work force heeded, to the very best of its ability, the direction I gave them when the program was begun: do what the president has authorized us to do and not one photon or one electron more.
This debate on law and policy will no doubt continue, but learning will only begin when we turn down the volume, moderate our language and recognize that there is more information that will appropriately become available in time to allow both us and history to inform our judgments.
Michael Hayden was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 and the director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 [NYTimes/26July2009]

U.S. Spy Chief Sees more Private Sector Input. U.S. intelligence will seek more input from the private sector and outside experts such as academics to support core spy agencies, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said.

In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he described a future in which intelligence professionals remained at the center but outside elements also provided expertise.

Aside from foreign intelligence partners, the larger sphere would include academics, think tanks, other outside experts and commercial private sector partners, he said.

Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. spy agencies including the CIA, said uncovering secrets was not enough to keep the United State safe and that a huge amount of information was in the open.

He also said protecting the U.S. cyber infrastructure was vital to preventing increased vulnerability.

The U.S. government is still trying to determine who was behind the July 4 cyber attack against government websites in South Korea and the United States.

The United States was comparing data with foreign partners to track down who conducted the "unsophisticated" attack, Blair said. [Zakaria/Reuters/22July2009]

Senate Intelligence Panel Derides Spy Agencies on Several Fronts. A new Senate Intelligence Committee report takes spy agencies to task for what the panel deems a blind spot on attacks against computer networks, an over-reliance on contractors and the "abysmal" state of foreign language capabilities.

The panel, chaired by Dianne Feinstein , D-Calif., posted to its Web site a committee report for the draft fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill it approved July 16. It lays out committee priorities for the intelligence community.

"The committee is troubled by the lack of situational awareness about the opportunities, activities, and identities of cyber thieves or potential attackers on U.S. information networks," the report states. "Unfortunately, it will not be easy to remedy this, as incentives to report cyber intrusions and vulnerabilities are generally negative in the U.S. government and private sector. The committee believes this must change so that cyber security leaders can make well-informed decisions and respond to problems quickly."

The panel recommends, among other authorization bill provisions on cybersecurity, that the Obama administration propose legislation giving the director of National Intelligence the power to manage cyber defenses for any intelligence community computer or information network.

The report also proposes that the intelligence community develop a comprehensive strategy for improving its language capabilities, a shortfall that directly results in lost intelligence, according to the report.

"The committee is concerned about the abysmal state of the intelligence community's foreign language programs," the report states. "But almost eight years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the shift in focus to a part of the world with different languages than previous targets, the cadre of intelligence professionals capable of speaking, reading, or understanding critical regional languages such as Pashto, Dari or Urdu remains essentially nonexistent."

Although the intelligence community has begun to reduce its number of contract personnel, the committee argues in its report that it still has a long way to go, especially given how expensive contractors can be.

A 2008 study found that contractors comprised 29 percent of all intelligence community personnel, but collected 49 percent of the personnel budget.

A 3 percent reduction last year - overall, since some agencies continue to increase their number of contractors - should be answered by a 5 percent reduction this year, the committee recommends. The Department of Homeland Security's intelligence wing is a particular offender, according to the report: 63 percent of its workforce is made up of contractors, and a plan to reduce the percentage to 50 by 2015 is too modest.

There are other personnel and spending problems, according to the panel, at higher levels of the intelligence community. The administration still has not nominated a chief deputy to serve as the right hand man to Director Dennis C. Blair , reflecting a pattern of long vacancies in that position. Although the intelligence community has shown some improvement in managing its budget, it remains far behind other government departments and agencies, according to the report.

An annual intelligence authorization bill has not been signed into law since 2004, but a group of Republicans, including Vice Chairman Christopher S. Bond , R-Mo., wrote in their section of the report that the mostly classified fiscal 2010 legislation, approved 15-0 behind closed doors, should be able to pass the Senate.

Among provisions of the bill that have not been disclosed previously or that weren't included in previous years' versions of the measure that were not enacted into law:

- The legislation grants several requests for flexibility to move personnel, and an explanation of the bill expresses an inclination to support the removal of a personnel ceiling for the intelligence community,

- The national intelligence chief would be required to produce a study on intelligence collection efforts about biological weapons, then produce a strategy to address whatever shortcomings the study finds.

- The director also would be required to produce quarterly reports assessing the security threat posed by Guant�namo detainees that have been released or transferred. The language is a modified version of an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn , R-Okla., which would have required greater congressional and public disclosure of information about Guant�namo detainees being released or transferred.

"We find it ironic, and highly disturbing, that the American people can know when a sex offender resides in the community, but cannot be told when a former detainee moves in down the street," the group of Republicans wrote.

- As in previous years, the bill would repeal a law requiring that Blair's office be located in Washington. His office is currently located in Virginia, and Blair recently told the committee that the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel "informally advised" his office that it needed to obtain an exception to that law.

"The committee urges the ODNI to continue to study, and report to the congressional intelligence committees, about the impact if any of the ODNI's current location outside of the District of Columbia on the daily implementation of the ODNI's responsibilities with respect to the president, the Congress, and the elements of the intelligence community," the report states. [Starks/CQPolitics/22July2009] 

US Focuses New Intelligence Effort on Taliban. The U.S. military in Afghanistan is more closely integrating intelligence-gathering operations as part of its new drive against Taliban insurgents.

Assistant Defense Secretary Michael Vickers told reporters data from unmanned drones and other aircraft, intercepted messages, ground troops and other sources were being consolidated into a unified effort for the first time.

Top U.S. military officials have credited a similar consolidated intelligence approach with helping to break the back of Sunni and Shi'ite insurgent groups in Iraq.

The initiative is key to the success of President Barack Obama's more aggressive strategy in Afghanistan, where July has already been the deadliest month on record for U.S. forces and months more of heavy fighting are predicted.

The United States will more than double its military presence in Afghanistan this year to 68,000 troops, from about 32,000 last December, to quell insurgent violence that has reached its highest levels since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

The first major offensive of the Obama strategy occurred this month when 4,000 U.S. Marines swept into former Taliban strongholds in the southern Helmand Province.

Political analysts say the counterinsurgency strategy could strain American public support for the war by generating high casualties into the 2010 congressional election campaign.

Vickers suggested it could take Western forces until mid-2011 to gain the upper hand.

"In the immediate term - immediate term meaning the next year or so, one to two years, max - the objective is really to reverse the momentum that the insurgency had been gaining," Vickers said at a breakfast for defense writers.

He said the U.S. offensive would be backed by expanded fleets of unmanned aerial vehicles including Predator drones capable of air strikes on important targets.

The military is also building a large fleet of hunter-killer Reaper drones capable of extended periods of high-altitude surveillance.

The Predator and the Reaper are both manufactured by the privately held General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

"We have a combination of manned and unmanned (aircraft) that are providing this unblinking eye," Vickers said.

Drones and other aircraft including C-12 patrol aircraft are being integrated with other parts of the operation that include signals intelligence, biometrics, analysis and expanded links with troops on the ground.

"All of those had to come together and they are starting this year," Vickers said.

Over the past year, Predators have been used by the CIA against al Qaeda and other militant groups in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which U.S. officials say militants have used to launch attacks across the border in eastern Afghanistan.

Vickers did not refer specifically to the drone attacks but said al Qaeda had suffered significant setbacks in the past 12 months including the elimination of leading members.

"It can be characterized as a pretty significant disruption to their ability to plan and operate," he said. [Morgan/Reuters/23July2009] 

NSA Tries Out Cloud Computing. To do a better job of connecting bits of information from disparate databases, the National Security Agency is implementing cloud-computing technologies in a new intelligence collection system. Cloud computing is expected to provide the scale needed to pull together huge volumes of data of every type from many different sources throughout the country. The system will also help the agency set controls on who has access to the data. [InformationWeek/21July2009] 

Diplomat: Moscow Attributes Georgian Spy Scandal to Biden's Visit to Tbilisi. Moscow attributes the new spy scandal with Georgia to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Tbilisi starting on Wednesday, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

"Georgia is clumsily trying to make use of the spy mania issue to show its bravery and determination to the high-ranking visitors from afar," Karasin told Interfax on Wednesday.

"This is what these reports have been motivated by," Karasin added. [KyivPost/22July200] 

Egypt Intel Chief Named Most Powerful in Mideast. Omar Suleiman, the director of Egypt's general intelligence service and a possible successor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has been named the most powerful intelligence chief in the Middle East by Foreign Policy Magazine.

It is widely believed the president is grooming his son, Gamal Mubarak, to succeed him, but Suleiman is very popular and may have the backing of factions within the military.

Some Egyptian analysts see his popularity as a staged buffer to help Gamal succeed his father in a smooth transition, while others see him as one of various powerful contenders for the presidency.

Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian liberal activist and blogger, said that were Suleiman to run in the next presidential election she did not believe he would have a good chance of winning.

Ziada predicted the Egyptian government would use Suleiman as a mediator, putting him in power straight after Mubarak so that it will not look as though Mubarak were passing on the throne to his son.

Suleiman's apparent popularity was highlighted in a recent survey Ziada carried out independently on her blog, in which she asked participants to rank their choice for the next president.

In the first phase of the survey, she provided the participants with six candidates, and asked that they propose other candidates if they were not satisfied with the selection.

Many wrote back asking her to add Suleiman into the mix, she said.

In the second phase of the survey, however, Suleiman only garnered four percent of the 3,000 votes received.

Ziada argued that Suleiman's popularity was to a large degree confined and would not lead him to presidency.

Suleiman, 74, became director of the country's intelligence service in 1993 after an extensive military career, and is said to be one of a very small circle of people in whom Mubarak trusts.

Suleiman has helped Mubarak clamp down on Islamist opponents and the intelligence chief's combating of Islamist terrorists increased his standing in the eyes of Western intelligence services after 9/11.

More recently, Suleiman has been serving as a high-ranking diplomat and has been the main mediator in the indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas.

He is also Cairo's main interlocutor for several Palestinian groups engaged in reconciliation talks.

Mubarak has been president for the past 28 years and there is wide speculation that the 81-year-old leader will not be seeking another term in office. Some believe the President may even step down before the end of the his current tenure, set to come to an end with presidential elections slated for 2011.

Analysts say that even if Suleiman does not succeed Mubarak, he is still likely to maintain a powerful role in the regional scene.

Hala Mustafa, editor in chief of the Democracy Review, a political quarterly published by the Al-Ahram Institute, said it was very difficult to measure anyone's popularity in Egypt outside of the ballot box.

Rather than have Suleiman and Gamal Mubarak run against each other, she said it was more likely that Gamal would be groomed for the presidency and Suleiman for the vice presidency.

If Suleiman wishes to run for president he would have to resign from his position as intelligence chief and run either as an independent or as a candidate of the ruling party, Mustafa said.

The Foreign Policy Magazine report, authored by U.S. Department of Defense employee Patrick Devenny, places Suleiman at the head of a list of five other "spooks" who include Israel's Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, head of the Iranian Quds Force Qassem Suleimani, the Syrian military's deputy chief of staff Assef Shawkat and Saudi Prince Muqrin Bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, the director general of the Kingdom's General Intelligence Presidency.  [Klieger/MediaLine/2July2009] 

Postcards Containing Cold War Spy Messages Unearthed. Experts believe the short memos could be code sent between spies during the Cold War. The messages are covered in cryptic text based around a series of chess games and were posted in 1950 to Graham Mitchell, the then deputy director general of MI5.

They were sent from what is thought to be an undercover agent in Frankfurt.

The German city was a hub of espionage activity at the time as it was well positioned for spying on both the East and West.

Experts believe the short memos could be code sent between spies during the Cold War.

But they are not sure which side the men may have been spying for as Mitchell was suspected of being a secret Soviet agent at the time.

Following a series of operation failures he was put under investigation along with the director general Roger Hollis.

He was even suspected as being in cahoots with the notorious Cambridge Five and was named by the Spycatcher author Peter White as a spy.

No evidence was found against them but Mitchell took early retirement in 1963 as a result of the investigation.

The postcards were found by a member of Mitchell's household staff who kept them for more than 50 years.

They are now expected to fetch �1,000 when they are sold at auction.

The postcards were delivered to Mitchell's address in Chobham, Surrey, were all sent from a Dr. Edmund Adam in Frankfurt.

They are written on typewriters and dated throughout 1950.

Each of the messages revolves around chess, with a discussion of various moves and games written out in the text.

They each contain a series of numbers recognizable as chess moves, used by correspondents to play games at a distance.

One postcard, dated June 16, 1950 said: "Without against Dr. Balogh I always have now hard fights in my games.

"Against Collins I have been fallen into a variation of the Nimzowich-defence who surely should be lost!

"I shall try to find a new idea for defending. But only a little hope. But all my games go forward in a quick way.

"Have I sent to you any games from me? And what happened in your games?

"9. ..5435 10. 1432 12.-16./6. 16./6. = od"

Gordon Thomas, author and expert on the history of MI5 and MI6, said chess moves were a common way of communicating during the Cold War.

He said: "Mitchell was head of counter-espionage at MI5 and would have been responsible for recruiting double agents with the aim of getting them into the KGB networks.

"Frankfurt was a hub of activity for secret intelligence at that time, and was well and truly stocked by the agents of both East and West.

"This method of exchanging messages by postcards was well-known and very common.

"The Russians in particular favoured using chess as a method of communicating. It was a great national pastime and information would often be disguised as chess moves.

"There's even a section about it in the KGB handbook.

"For example, one move could ascertain what was happening and another could give instructions.

"Agents would be trained to understand chess moves and Mitchell was quite a good chess player.

"The chances are that these were instructions or intelligence to a Soviet agent or an informer.

"Of course they could just be innocent correspondence, but at the height of the Cold War it seems logical Mitchell would have more important things on his mind."

Heather Cannon, of Barbers Fine Art Auctioneers of Woking, Surrey, said: "It was commonly known that Mitchell was investigated on suspicion of being a spy.

"He was also known to play chess and it seems he had a regular correspondence with Dr. Adams.

"The messages could very well be codes that conveyed secret information between the two.

"But until they are broken we can never know for sure.

"They're certainly a very interesting find and we're expecting a lot of interest from people who are fascinated by MI5.

"Anyone interested in spies and codes would be intrigued by them, and perhaps the buyer would be able to spend time trying to crack the mystery."

Born in 1905, Graham Mitchell was educated at Winchester School and Oxford University before joining MI5 as an expert on fascist organisations. He died in 1984. [Telegraph/24July2009] 

NSA Names Director of Compliance. The director of the National Security Agency, the country's largest intelligence body, has for the first time named a director of compliance to monitor adherence to rules governing the surveillance of phone calls and e-mails, as well as other agency activities.

Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander named John DeLong to the position created this month.

The House intelligence committee included a provision in an authorization bill last month that recommended the creation of such a position. The committee chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), said Thursday he was encouraged that "NSA leadership takes compliance with surveillance authorities seriously and that they recognize the important balance between effective intelligence collection systems and legal protections for American citizens."

The NSA, which focuses on foreign intelligence gathering, was at the center of the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's use of warrantless wiretapping. The program was disclosed in December 2005 and replaced in January 2007 with a new effort overseen by a secret court.

A recent multi-agency report by five inspectors general said "extraordinary and inappropriate" secrecy about the warrantless wiretapping program undermined its effectiveness as a tool to fight terrorism.

DeLong has worked extensively in the technology and policy areas at the agency. He also served a stint at the Department of Homeland Security. His new job will include monitoring compliance with rules governing the protection of military and other computer systems.

DeLong will assist the inspector general and the general counsel in matters of "potential non-compliance" involving mission operations, spokeswoman Judi Emmel said. [Nakashima/WashingtonPost/23July2009] 

U. S. Files New Case Against Ontario Man. Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish, a Home Depot employee from the suburbs north of Toronto, was driving to the United States with his wife and three children last December when he was stopped at the border and arrested for spying.

The FBI said he had secretly worked for Saddam Hussein's feared intelligence service, and that during the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he had tipped off Baghdad that the U. S. military was training Iraqi volunteers in Virginia.

But seven months after leveling the blockbuster allegations, U. S. prosecutors have filed a new case against the Iraqi-Canadian that charges him with making a false statement but makes no mention of his involvement in spying.

Mr. Darwish is scheduled to appear in court in Baltimore on Aug. 7 for a rearraignment where he will plead to a single count of making a false statement. Neither his defense lawyer nor U. S. prosecutors would confirm he had made a deal or that the spying case had been dropped. "I can say that, in general, these filings suggest that something has been worked out, but I cannot confirm anything," said Joseph Evans, Mr. Darwish's lawyer.

A spokeswoman for the U. S. Attorney's Office in Maryland, Marcia Murphy, also declined to comment but said that "a rearraignment generally indicates a change in their plea."

Mr. Darwish is one of at least a dozen people accused of spying inside the United States for Iraq during the Saddam dictatorship.

Patrick Rowan, the Assistant Attorney-General for National Security, said the number of cases "underscores the reach of Saddam's intelligence service in America and the extent to which the former Iraqi regime was concerned with defectors and expatriate groups here."

The arrests stem partly from documents found by the U. S. military following the U. S. invasion. One Iraqi Intelligence Service document, dated March 27, 2000, says, "the friend Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish" had been paid for "assistance."

Another, dated Aug. 6, 2002, says Mr. Darwish "had provided information he received from a subsource of Iraqi descent that Iraqi volunteers (including the subsource) were being trained by the United States military in Virginia and were getting $2,000 per month," the FBI wrote.

But Mr. Darwish would seem an unlikely recruit for Saddam's secret intelligence network. Although born in Iraq, he was apparently not trusted by the Ba'athists because of his Iranian ancestry.

In 1980, when war broke out between Iraq and Iran, Mr. Darwish and his family were deported to Iran, Mr. Evans said. He eventually returned to Iraq but was forced to join Saddam's army and sent to the front.

He went AWOL instead and fled to Rome, where he lived on the streets until making his way to Canada. After becoming a Canadian citizen in 1994, he moved to Maryland.

In the city of Laurel, about mid-way between Baltimore and Washington, he worked as a cook at a restaurant called Gourmet Shish Kebab, which was owned by an Iraqi named Saubhe Jassim Al-Dellemy. The FBI alleges that Al-Dellemy was an Iraqi agent and that his restaurant was used as a meeting place for passing information.

Beginning in 2000, Mr. Darwish also began working for the Iraqis, the FBI alleges. He was paid $1,500 a month by the Iraqi Interests Section, Baghdad's diplomatic post inside the Algerian embassy in Washington, D. C. He was employed there until the fall of the Saddam dictatorship in 2003, and again briefly after that until he returned to Canada to an apartment in Richmond Hill.

In December, the U. S. Department of Justice announced that Al-Dellemy had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an Iraqi agent. The statement also mentioned an unnamed co-conspirator who had been a "conduit" for transmitting "information of interest" to the Iraqis.

If Mr. Darwish recognized himself in the statement, he did not act like it. Two days after it was released, he was arrested at the Peace Bridge border crossing. From Buffalo, he was transferred to Maryland and charged with conspiracy to act as an Iraqi agent.

He pleaded not guilty and the case was moving toward a trial when the proceedings suddenly stopped at the end of May. The new case was filed on July 8.

It accuses Mr. Darwish of signing an application for permanent residence in 2005 that failed to mention he had worked for the Iraqi Interests Section. Perhaps more significantly, it refers to him only as an "accountant and driver" for the Iraqis. [Bell/NationalPost/23July2009] 

US Man Was "Gold Mine" of Terror Intel. When the American-born al-Qaida recruit Bryant Neal Vinas was captured in Pakistan late last year, he wasn't whisked off to a military prison or a secret CIA facility in another country to be interrogated.

Instead, the itinerant terrorist landed in the hands of the FBI and was flown back to New York to face justice.

Months before President Barack Obama took office with a pledge to change U.S. counterterrorism policies, the Bush administration gave Vinas all the rights of American criminal suspects.

And he talked.

While an American citizen captured in Pakistan certainly presents a unique case, the circumstances of Vinas' treatment may point to a new emphasis in the fight against terror, one that relies more on FBI crimefighters and the civilian justice system than on CIA interrogators and military detention.

"This was by the numbers. It was a law enforcement operation and it worked," said a senior law enforcement official, one of several authorities who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

The official said Vinas provided "an intelligence gold mine" to U.S. officials, including possible information about a suspected militant who was killed in a Predator drone strike last November.

Another law enforcement official said that under questioning, the 26-year-old Vinas gradually provided a "treasure trove" of information, allowing U.S. counterterrorism officials to peer deep inside the inner workings of al-Qaida.

The FBI first learned about Vinas after Pakistani police arrested him in November 2008 in Peshawar, a city teeming with Taliban militants and al-Qaida operatives along Pakistan's northwest border with Afghanistan.

Vinas, born in Queens and raised as a Roman Catholic on Long Island, was turned over to the FBI. Authorities have long been concerned about al-Qaida's interest in recruiting outsiders who can blend in easily. It was not the first time an American had gone to Pakistan for Jihad. Others had preceded him such as the imprisoned "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla.

At first after his capture, Vinas appeared scared and dejected. When he was brought back to the United States, an official said, he "started to turn the corner" and trust them, little by little.

One of the first leads he gave investigators was admitting to his own role in helping al-Qaida plan an attack on U.S. soil.

"I consulted with a senior al-Qaida leader and provided detailed information about the operation of the Long Island Rail Road system which I knew because I had ridden the railroad on many occasions," Vinas later told a judge in a secret guilty plea to terrorism charges. Vinas said the terrorists wanted to launch a bomb attack on the train system.

It was Vinas' information about those conversations, officials said, that led authorities to issue a security warning last year around the Thanksgiving holidays about a possible plot against New York City-area transit systems.

Once Vinas was placed in U.S. custody, FBI agents spent a period of months conducting approximately 100 interviews with the man, a Muslim convert who spoke Arabic, Dari and Urdu.

Vinas, whose father hails from Peru and his mother from Argentina, told officials he left for Pakistan in September 2007, arriving in Lahore. He made his way to Peshawar.

Intelligence experts say that his terror bosses first sent him on a mission to fire missiles at a U.S. base in Afghanistan, most likely a way for them to test his loyalty. The first attack was not launched because of radio problems and the second failed to hit the base, according to Vinas.

After the botched mission, he agreed to become a suicide bomber and returned to Peshawar for more religious training.

In March 2008, Vinas later told his FBI interrogators, he turned up in Waziristan, a mountainous border region in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden and other terror leaders are suspected of hiding out.

There, he met a former Belgian taxi driver of Moroccan origin who "spouted off ideas about the possibility of attacking soccer stadiums in Europe, but didn't give a plan or details," according to a sworn statement Vinas later gave to Belgian prosecutors. The man also had been giving "speeches during Friday prayers at his local mosque where he served as the imam."

In Waziristan, the Belgian had taken training in constructing electric circuits used in combat operations such as improvised explosive devices and suicide jackets. Vinas told authorities he also took terror training in Waziristan, taught to handle weapons and plastic explosives, including C-3, C-4 and Semtex.

Vinas learned about voltage meters and battery tests and bomb circuits - the ingredients for a remote-detonated bomb - and how to rig an explosives-laden jacket for suicide bombers.

"The students familiarized themselves with seeing, sensing and touching different explosives," he told investigators.

Vinas described all this to the FBI, pinpointing the locations with photographs and maps and aiding bureau sketch artists. He answered every question FBI agents posed to him, one official said, and the information was shared with the intelligence community.

If it was "worthwhile and worth sharing, we put it out immediately," the official said.

Vinas' most important contribution, authorities said, was disclosing the locations of safe houses and suspected terrorists, officials said.

One of the operatives Vinas discussed with investigators was an al-Qaida recruiter, Abdullah Azzam, according to one official who spoke to The Associated Press about the case.

Azzam died in an airstrike on Nov. 19, about the time Vinas was taken into custody. Officials declined to say whether Azzam or others that Vinas discussed with authorities were targeted in Predator airstrikes with his assistance.

Vinas pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals. He faces life in prison, but his cooperation will likely earn him a reduced sentence. [Goldman&Barrett/AP/26July2009] 


Memoir Reveals Regret of Soviet Spy Anthony Blunt. It began with youthful idealism and ended in bitter regret.

Anthony Blunt - English gentleman, art adviser to Queen Elizabeth II and Soviet spy - felt the decision to give British secrets to the Kremlin was "the biggest mistake of my life."

Blunt wrote of his remorse in a 30,000-word memoir completed shortly before his death in 1983 and released Thursday by the British Library. It was given to the library in 1984 on condition it not be made public for 25 years.

Blunt was the infamous "fourth man" in a ring of upper-class Britons who spied for the Soviet Union. He, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby and Donald Maclean attended Cambridge University in the 1930s and - fired by opposition to the spread of fascism across Europe - were drawn into espionage.

The document reveals few new details of Blunt's career as a spy, but recounts how he was recruited at Cambridge by the charismatic Burgess.

Blunt said he considered joining the Communist Party like many of his fellow academics, but was urged not to by Burgess. Burgess had already been recruited by the Soviets and told to "go underground" and get a job in the British government.

Blunt said that "Guy, who was an extraordinarily persuasive person, convinced me that I could do more good by joining him in his work."

"The atmosphere in Cambridge was so intense, the enthusiasm for any anti-fascist activity was so great, that I made the biggest mistake of my life," he added.

During World War II, Blunt worked for the MI5 intelligence agency - and handed over secret documents to the Soviets. The memoir gives few details about Blunt's espionage, and does not reveal the names of his Russian contacts.

Blunt wrote that after the war he tried to put spying behind him, resuming his career as an art historian and becoming Surveyor of the King's Pictures, a job he held under King George VI and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

"In fact I was disillusioned about Marxism as well as about Russia. What I personally hoped to do was to hear no more of my Russian friends, to return to my normal academic life," he wrote.

"Of course it was not as simple as that, because there remained the fact that I knew of the continuing activities of Guy, Donald, and Kim."

Burgess and Maclean, both British diplomats, fled to Moscow in 1951 after Philby tipped them off that Maclean was about to be exposed. Blunt said a Russian contact advised him to defect, too, but he decided against it.

"I realized quite clearly that I would take any risk in this country, rather than go to Russia," he wrote.

Blunt and Philby both came under suspicion, but avoided exposure as Soviet spies. Blunt wrote that he was able to use his contacts in MI5 to get into Burgess's apartment and remove documents linking him and Philby to the case.

Philby continued to work for Britain's MI6 overseas intelligence service until he, too, fled to Moscow in 1963. Soon after, Blunt was denounced by Michael Straight, an American whom he'd helped to recruit three decades earlier.

He confessed to British spymasters, but in return for information was allowed to escape disgrace, keep his knighthood and continue as art adviser to the queen.

Blunt wrote that he believed, "naively," that the story would never be made public. However, in 1979 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher publicly unmasked him as a Soviet spy, and he was stripped of his knighthood.

Blunt said he considered suicide but decided it would be cowardly to leave his friends and family with "the double shock of my suicide and the revelations which would have followed immediately."

Blunt said that after he was exposed he took refuge in "whisky and concentrated work."

The manuscript, which has been known about for years but never made public, is likely to disappoint historians because it does not contain any sensational revelations.

Art critic Brian Sewell, who knew Blunt, said the document was "a damp squib." He said Blunt's infamy prevented him from being able to research a more detailed version of events.

"He couldn't get to the newspaper libraries. Nobody would give him any help," Sewell said.

"In the end he simply gave up, so the broader picture never got anywhere near being written." [WashingtonPost/22July209] 

Documents Show Castro Feared Invasion by US After Kennedy Assassination. An "emotional and uneasy" Fidel Castro mobilized his armed forces and went on Cuban national television after President Kennedy's assassination out of fear the United States would blame him and invade in retaliation, government documents say.

The National Security Agency, in recently released declassified documents, reported that Castro feared the United States would use the Kennedy assassination as an excuse to oust his Communist government.

Lee Harvey Oswald, arrested in Kennedy's killing, had been to the Soviet Union and was active in a pro-Castro group in the United States.

The NSA documents quoted an unnamed American ambassador as believing Cuba and the Soviet Union were behind Kennedy's killing. Castro tried to counter with allegations that Oswald really was a spy for the CIA or FBI.

"This caused Castro to wonder whether the assassin was ... the mere instrument of a monstrous plot of American militarists, who, by eliminating Kennedy, would put (President) Johnson in a position from which there would be only one way out: to drain off anti-Cuba hysteria by an action of declared war," the NSA reported.

In another NSA report, Cuban officials suggested "ultrarevolutionary circles" in the United States engineered the assassination because they believed Kennedy had failed to strongly confront Havana.

"They (the Cuban officials) are concerned with the anti-Cuban and anti-Soviet past which will exert a substantial influence on the foreign and domestic policy of the USA," the NSA report said.

Castro responded to Kennedy's death by quickly going on television to discuss the assassination and to dispute allegations that Oswald was a Communist supporter of Cuba.

In addition, Cuban forces were put on alert and shifted to strategic positions around Havana and the northern coast.

"Castro feared that the assassination would unleash passions and violent and blind hysteria of the American people against Cuba and Russia," the NSA reported.  [MySanAntonio/22July2009] 

From Ian Fleming to John Le Carre - Authors Have Long Been Fascinated by the World of Espionage. But, asks the BBC's Gordon Corera, What Do Real Life Spooks Make of Fictional Spies? Much of what the public knows about the UK's Secret Service, or MI6, comes from the world of fiction - whether Ian Fleming's James Bond or John Le Carre's George Smiley.

The intertwining of fact and fiction dates back to the birth of the British intelligence service. In the early years of the 20th Century, the British public was whipped into a frenzy of "spy mania" driven by novelists and newspapers.

It was an era in which the UK was fearful of the rise of Germany and particularly its navy.

William Le Queux wrote the novel, The Invasion of 1910, which was serialized in the Daily Mail. The paper took care to adjust the invasion route the Germans were supposed to take in order to include the towns where its circulation was highest.

There was a widespread belief that the Germans were everywhere, posing as waiters and barbers, stealing secrets and preparing for war. Public pressure grew to do something and so a Secret Service Bureau was established. One half, which would become MI5, was designed to hunt for German spies. The other, which would become MI6, was to steal German secrets.

Even at that early stage, fiction was rubbing off on the real world of espionage, says Alan Judd, the biographer of Sir Mansfield Cumming, who was the first head of what became MI6.

"Le Queux knew some of the people in the War Office, I had no doubt that he had some influence on it all - certainly the culture and the climate," says Judd.

But the mythology created by fiction may have gone back even further, to the era of the Great Game - the battle between the British and Russian empires for supremacy of Central Asia, which began in the early 19th Century.

Britain had no professional spying service at the time, just the occasional gentleman amateur and soldier. But their stories were written up for the public, most dramatically in Rudyard Kipling's Kim.

These forerunners of the professional spy "did some very brave things" says Sir Colin McColl, MI6's chief between 1989 and 1994.

"And so there was a sort of general feeling that this was a good thing done by brave people. And that was followed by a whole series of authors in the first part of the 20th Century - [John] Buchan and so on. I mean terrific stuff."

The fiction created a romanticism around spies which attracted many people to work for the service.

Among them was Daphne Park, who joined in the 1940s and rose to become a controller at MI6.

"I suppose it did start with reading [Rudyard Kipling's] Kim, reading John Buchan and reading Sapper and Bulldog Drummond and I think from a quite early age I did want to go into intelligence. I didn't know what kind or how it would be. But I always wanted it."

As well as attracting individuals to sign up for desk jobs, the daring antics of fictional spies also helped MI6 in its core work of recruiting agents - people willing to spy for the service and pass on secrets.

"There have been a lot of people with whom we've dealt across the world... [that] have come to us or worked with us because they felt we knew far more than anybody else knew," says Sir Colin.

And much of the world knows MI6 though the man known as 007. James Bond's creator Ian Fleming never served in MI6 but he did work in naval intelligence during World War II and modelled Bond on a number of real life intelligence officers.

His creation - particularly once it moved to cinema - has done much to define public perceptions of MI6, although the real chief is called C not M. Egyptian intelligence services reportedly bought up copies of Fleming's books to use on their training courses.

So do people think it is like Bond?

"They usually do," says Sir Colin. "[But] no it isn't you see - we were not in the business of going out and shooting people down dark alleys. That was a completely different world."

But Bond still has his uses. "Everybody watches Bond. And so why shouldn't a little bit of Bond rub off on our reputation," says Sir Colin. "If you looked at the number of people who helped us at any one time, a large number of them were Brits who were doing it for nothing - perhaps a bottle of whisky at Christmas. You know we had wonderful support and that is hugely valuable... based on the reputation."

However, Fleming's character seems to have made less of an impression on the Russians, according to former KGB colonel Mikhail Lyubimov.

"Bond was never considered to be a serious film in the KGB," says Mr. Lyubimov, curtly.

The other figure who has done much to shape the public understanding of MI6 is John le Carre. The portrayal of often flawed characters draws a mixed reception from real life spies.

"I mean there were two feelings I think in the service over the years," explains Sir Colin McColl. "There were those who were furious with John Le Carre because he depicts everybody as such disagreeable characters and they are always plotting against each other and so on.... So people got rather cross about that.

"But I thought it was terrific because, again, it carried the name that had been provided by Bond and John Buchan and everybody else, it gave us another couple of generations of being in some way special."

Ms. Park, it's fair to say, is not a fan.

"He dares to say that it is a world of cold betrayal. It's not. It's a world of trust. You can't run an agent without trust on both sides." Le Carre, who served briefly in MI5 and MI6, declined to be interviewed.

As the British Secret Service has come out of the shadows, some of the myth and mystery has certainly disappeared. Some insiders believe this is inevitable and for the best, laying to rest some of the crazier ideas about the world of MI6.

But there are a few, all the same, who may rather miss it. [BBC/24July2009] 

Join The Intelligence Trail - London's In-Depth Intelligence And Espionage Guided Walk - As Britain's Spies Celebrate Centenary. As Britain's Security Service (MI5) and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) celebrate one hundred years of operations this Summer, The Intelligence Trail guided tour enables walkers to see the key locations where the intelligence services operated and key decisions taken, starting from 29th July.

"Considering Britain's pre-eminent role in world affairs in the last one hundred years, it is undeniable that the histories of the intelligence services can be described as 'colorful' as they played 'The Great Game' with friends and foes at home and abroad," said the Trail guide - known only as 'Mr. X'. "Being involved in two World Wars, the Cold War, and the Middle East remaining a constant hotspot, the intelligence services have played a pivotal - and sometimes controversial - role in all of them."

There is no doubt that the spy genre - the worlds of James Bond, Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt and George Smiley - is intoxicating for many and The Intelligence Trail rightly capitalises on this. On each tour, the first customer to correctly recite a code phrase (heard on the daily Intelligence Trail Hotline, updated each morning) to 'Mr. X' receives half price entry. Discounts also exist for those coming to the morning tours accompanied by a friend or partner.

Secret tunnels and hidden passageways, covert exfiltration, 'Sex-ed up' dossiers, sexed-up agents, and famous actors and performers are all talked about on the Trail among other things. Similarly, many London commuters will be unaware that some of the London Underground and railway stations they stream through every day have been the location of key episodes. Furthermore, did MI6 have its own underground line to ferry employees to their office?

Anyone interested in intelligence affairs knows only too well that for decades after WWII Britain's intelligence services and government departments such as the Foreign Office and Admiralty had been penetrated by the Soviets. The names George Blake, William Vassall, and the members of the Cambridge Spy Ring (Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby) are synonymous with Soviet success and a failure among the British to detect them before it was too late.

This however came to an abrupt end in 1971 with the expulsion of over one hundred KGB and GRU agents - from which they never recovered. Payback time was further facilitated with the recruiting of KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky, who provided MI6 with valuable intelligence from 1974 until his dramatic exfiltration from Moscow in 1985. What is less known is that Gordievsky's MI6 handler for several years - including the time of his hasty exit from Russia - was none other than John Scarlett - former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (and 'Sex-ed up Dossier' notoriety) and current MI6 Chief.

Britain's intelligence services have always had a reputation for gizmos and gadgets - no doubt inspired by MI6's original Chief, Mansfield Smith-Cumming - but more mundane objects have made their mark on Britain's intelligence efforts. Had Hitler invaded Britain for instance, the Auxiliaries - guerrilla-like cells of the Home Guard - were trained in rigging milk churns packed with explosives underneath bridges to harass the potential invaders at every opportunity.

Fifty years later the humble milk churn played its part in giving MI6 one of the biggest intelligence coups in history, when former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin and his family defected to Britain in 1992. Previously responsible for the transferring of around 300,000 secret files from the KGB's Lubyanka to a new Moscow facility, Mitrokhin began taking notes of the most interesting files whilst avoiding any suspicion from his employers.

His notes were carefully hidden in two milk churns underneath one of his countryside dachas. When the churns reached London in the diplomatic bag, they were accompanied by another four cases of material. The Russians now faced the prospect of thousands of past and present intelligence officers being identifiable to the West.

Given the common perceptions of the intelligence services however - whether from the television series 'Spooks', the recent Facebook furore, or Bond himself - it can be easy to position the services between the proverbial rock and a hard place. ''The intelligence services are accountable for their actions, without doubt.'' comments 'Mr. X'. ''They deserve criticism if there's an intelligence failure - either at ground level or at the assessment stage; losing laptops does not endear them to taxpayers either.''

''But the intelligence services are also victims of the 'business' they operate in. They do not have a well-oiled corporate PR machine peddling out 'success stories' at every given opportunity, in contrast with large commercial organisations. They can't do that. A success story for them represents failure for another organisation - a terrorist group or hostile intelligence agency for example, who can hastily change their modus operandi as a result. In this respect, it's inherently tough for them, and we should not forget there are extremely brave and dedicated men and women working in the intelligence services - and the uniformed services also - who deserve our support.''

Tours run from Wednesday through to Sunday; private group bookings can also be arranged. The Intelligence Trail rendezvous point is the Royal Marines Memorial on The Mall beside Admiralty Arch. Tours last approximately two and a half hours.

About The Intelligence Trail: The Intelligence Trail is London's in-depth intelligence and espionage guided walk, highlighting some of the key episodes in the history of Britain's intelligence services in the last 100 years. The tour guide - 'Mr. X' - is a BA (Hons) graduate in International Relations, specialising in security affairs, and former politics and economics lecturer. For further information, visit the website or The Intelligence Trail page on Facebook. [Gray/PRWeb/23July2009] 

Secret CIA Program: Whats and Whys of Canceled Counterterrorism Initiative. Barely 6 months old, the Obama administration faces a political problem caused by how the CIA handled a secret counterterrorism program. Although President Barack Obama has insisted he wants to look forward and push an ambitious domestic agenda, a series of intelligence-related issues has the administration and Congress looking back at the George W. Bush years. Here is a primer of what we know.

Q. What is going on?
A. CIA Director Leon Panetta briefed congressional committees last month about a program to put elite paramilitary teams into areas such as Pakistan where they could kill or capture top al-Qaida operatives. The program was kept secret from Congress for more than seven years at the request of former Vice President Dick Cheney, according to members of Congress and former intelligence officials. The program was never operational and even seems to have been dormant at various points. When word of the program's existence recently surfaced, Panetta canceled it and informed Congress.
The CIA has been reluctant to discuss the operation publicly, but CIA spokesman George Little said: "The program (Panetta) killed was never fully operational and never took a single terrorist off the battlefield. We've had a string of successes against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, and that program didn't contribute to any of them."

Q. If the program is dead, what is the problem?
A. There are two areas of concern, legal and political.

Q. What are the legal issues?
A. President Gerald Ford in 1976 banned the CIA from carrying out assassinations. The order came after revelations that the CIA tried and failed to assassinate leaders such as Fidel Castro during the late 1960s. Based on that, there are questions about any CIA assassination program being legal. Some people say that killing U.S. foes, such as enemy combatants, is not illegal.
The second problem is that the agency kept the program secret from Congress, which oversees the agency's activities, and did so at the request of Cheney.

Q. Did the CIA violate the law?
A. Defenders of the CIA say no, while some Democratic lawmakers say yes.
The canceled program was authorized by a 2001 presidential finding, say the agency's defenders, who note the frenzied atmosphere in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Bush administration made no secret of its eagerness to find al-Qaida leaders. The war on terrorism, which weakened civil rights in general, also is invoked to explain the CIA program.
That the CIA program failed to reach operational status is noted by defenders to justify that Congress was not told.

Q. What are the political issues?
A.The latest disclosure comes at a time of increased anger by Democrats at the Bush administration - over the CIA specifically, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in general, and the use of techniques some call torture against detainees as part of the war on terrorism.

Q. Has there been action by the Obama administration?
A. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture, according to widely quoted anonymous Justice Department officials. Whether that probe goes to Cheney is unknown. [Muskal/ChicagoTribune/25July2009] 


The Cold War's Hot Kitchen, by William Safire. Exactly one-half century ago, one of the great confrontational moments of the cold war seized the world's attention: Nikita Khrushchev, bombastic anti-capitalist leader of the Soviet Union, and Richard Nixon, vice president of the United States with the reputation of a hard-line anti-communist, came to rhetorical grips in the model kitchen of the "typical American house" at the 1959 American exhibition at Sokolniki Park in Moscow.

I was in that kitchen, not because I then had anything to do with Nixon, the exhibition's official host, but as a young press agent for the American company that built the house. The exhibit was designed to show Russians that free enterprise produced goods that made life better for average Americans. However, my client's house was not on the official tour.

Instead, "Nik and Dick," as the adversaries were promptly dubbed, were steered into the RCA color television exhibit, a consumer marvel at the time. This display of technical superiority must have irritated the Russian leader, who noticed the taping going on and demanded "a full translation" of his remarks be broadcast in English in the United States. Nixon, in his role as genial host, readily agreed, expressing a hope for similar treatment of his remarks in Russia.

Khrushchev then promptly denounced a recent proclamation by the United States of "Captive Nations Week" - dedicated to praying for "peoples enslaved by the Soviet Union" - as an example of thoughtless provocation. "You have churned the water yourselves," he warned the vice president. "What black cat crossed your path and confused you?" Then he wrapped his arms around a nearby Russian workman: "Does this man look like a slave laborer?"

Nixon, trying to be Mr. Nice Guy, noted that Russian and American workers had cooperated in building the exhibition and added: "There must be an exchange of ideas. After all, you don't know everything - " At which point Khrushchev snapped, "If I don't know everything, you don't know anything about communism - except fear of it." On the defensive, Nixon said, "The way you dominate the conversation ... if you were in the United States Senate you would be accused of filibustering."

Coming out of the RCA studio and being led into the innocuous Pepsi exhibit, Nixon looked glum; by playing the gracious host in the face of an aggressive debater, he had made a mistake soon to be replayed by leaders around the world. His military aide, Maj. Don Hughes, was looking around for a venue - off the planned route - where the vice president could regroup in front of the crowd of reporters.

I hollered at Major Hughes, "This way to the typical American house!" He didn't hesitate, steering Nixon, Khrushchev and their entourages off the path and toward the structure we called "the Splitnik," because it had a path cut through the middle to allow crowds to walk through the interior.

Problem: the momentum of the following crowd threatened to push the party all the way through the house without stopping. Thanks to Gilbert Robinson, a coordinator of the exhibition (and later head of State Department public diplomacy in the Reagan years), I arranged to make a certain section of fence disappear, allowing a crowd from the other side to spill in and trapping the official party inside the house. Nixon made a beeline to the railing that exposed the kitchen.

Nixon: "I want to show you this kitchen. It's like those of houses in California. See that built-in washing machine?"

Khrushchev: "We have such things."

Nixon: "What we want to do is make more easy the life of our housewives."

Khrushchev: "We do not have the capitalist attitude toward women."

Next problem: during this opening banter, I was in the kitchen, but the principals' backs were to the reporters, who couldn't hear. Harrison Salisbury of The Times, who spoke Russian, was trying to squeeze past burly Russian guards into the kitchen; I explained to them that he was the refrigerator demonstrator. They let Harrison in; he sat on the floor and took notes for the press pool.

Because the Russian press had derided the American claim that the house was affordable to workers - calling it "a Taj Mahal" - Nixon noted that this house cost $14,000, and a government-guaranteed veterans mortgage made it possible for a steelworker earning $3 an hour to buy it for $100 a month. Khrushchev was sarcastic: "We have peasants who also can afford to spend $14,000 for a house."

Nixon eventually steered the topic of competition to weapons. "Would it not be better to compete in the relative merit of washing machines than in the strength of rockets?"

"Yes, but your generals say we must compete in rockets," responded the Soviet leader. "We are strong and we can beat you."

Nixon, aware that the Soviets then led the United States in rocket thrust, finessed that: "In this day and age to argue who is stronger completely misses the point. With modern weapons it just does not make sense. If war comes we both lose."

Khrushchev started to interrupt, but Nixon pressed: "I hope the prime minister understands all the implications of what I just said ... Whether you place either one of the powerful nations in a position so that they have no choice but to accept dictation or fight, then you are playing with the most destructive power in the world."

Khrushchev fell silent, and Nixon continued: "When we sit down at a conference table it cannot be all one way. One side cannot put an ultimatum to another."

Khrushchev: "Our country has never been guided by ultimatums ... It sounds like a threat."

Nixon: "Who is threatening?"

Khrushchev: "You want to threaten us indirectly. We have powerful weapons, too, and ours are better than yours if you want to compete."

Nixon: "Immaterial ... I don't think peace is helped by reiterating that you have more strength than us, because that is a threat, too."

As Nixon gained strength in the debate and his opponent grew defensive, Elliott Erwitt of Magnum Photos talked his way past the guards and captured Nixon gently jabbing his finger into the surprised Khrushchev's chest.

The guards eventually caught on to my entry trick, and when I tried to get the Associated Press photographer Hans Von Nolde in as "garbage disposal unit demonstrator," it turned out that General Electric did not have such an appliance in that low-cost kitchen. In desperation, Hans lobbed his camera over the heads of the debaters into my arms. When I thought the shot was taken, I tossed the camera back. "You had your finger over the aperture, idiot!" shouted Hans, and passed it back, drawing glares from the guards.

More careful this time, I composed a shot with Nixon gesticulating and Khrushchev listening (and including my boss's wife, Jinx Falkenburg, in the background). A beefy Russian bureaucrat elbowed his way into the picture and I couldn't crop him out without losing the washing machine on the right. I clicked the shutter, including all the Kremlin big shots and the interloper (catching him with his eyes closed; served him right). The Associated Press quickly put it on its wire service before Russian censors could clamp down on transmissions, making their leader look less than dominant, and it made front pages around the world.

Western news coverage made Nixon the winner of what Salisbury had originally slugged "the Sokolniki summit" but Harrison was willing to change that slug-line to the equally alliterative "kitchen conference" at my plea (my client was the house builder, not Nixon and certainly not the Russian park). Curiously, when the RCA television tape of the first part of the confrontation was telecast days later - in which a friendly Nixon had let Khrushchev push him around - the relatively small audience watched it with the mindset from the press that Nixon had "stood up to the bully." The print message had already penetrated, especially when reinforced by the Erwitt photo of Nixon's finger jab.

As madcap as many of the sidelights of that day were, they took place against a tense backdrop. The Soviet leadership, already master of much of Europe and then allied with China, was determined to dominate the world, to spread communism and undermine capitalism; that was no myth, and the ultimate victory of the West over that spread of dictatorship was by no means as certain as it seems in hindsight.

At such a moment, the leadership's assessment of its main opponent's will to resist - if necessary, to fight - becomes a major factor in national strategy. Intelligence agencies strain to get such top-level personal assessments right. The shrewd Khrushchev came away from his personal duel of words with Nixon persuaded that the advocate of capitalism was not just tough-minded but strong-willed; he later said that he did all he could to bring about Nixon's defeat in his 1960 presidential campaign.

After John F. Kennedy won, the new president had a June 1961 summit meeting in Vienna with Khrushchev, and gloomily told the Times reporter James Reston afterward that "he just beat the hell out of me." Assessing Kennedy as a soft touch, Khrushchev put up the Berlin Wall and then shipped Soviet missiles to Cuba; it took that nuclear confrontation to show the Russian that his personal assessment of Kennedy's will was quite mistaken.

A few hours after the kitchen conference, at our ambassador's residence, I was introduced to Nixon, who showed his grasp of capitalism's priorities by commenting, "We really put your kitchen on the map, didn't we?" At a state dinner 13 years later, accompanying President Nixon to Moscow as a speechwriter, I recognized the bureaucrat who had pushed his way into my kitchen picture and ultimately to the top of the Communist heap: Leonid Brezhnev. [Safire/NYTimes/24July2009] 


Research Requests

Did you work with Calvin Tenney - OSS/CIA? The niece of Calvin Tenney (OSS/CIA) asked an AFIO member if if any AFIO or OSSmembers had worked with Calvin overseas or here in the U.S.  I can relay any information members would be willing to share to her. I am Roger Denk and can be reached at

Book Reviews

Treachery: Betrayals, Blunders, and Cover-ups: Six Decades of Espionage Against America and Great Britain by Chapman Pincher, reviewed by Jeanne Nicholson. "Why didn't the dog bark?"

Chapman Pincher, considered by many the most effective critic of the British security system, raises this intriguing question (pivotal to a Sherlock Holmes mystery) in the opening pages of his sweeping new indictment, Treachery - a riveting account of duplicity and incompetence at the highest levels that has important implications for the future security of Britain and America.

The "dog" in question was Sir Roger Hollis, who was head of Britain's security service MI5 from 1956 to 1965, at the height of the Soviet Union's clandestine efforts to achieve nuclear superpower status. The son of a Bishop and a respected member of the British ruling class, Hollis had been accused of being a Soviet spy at the time - a spectacular charge based in part on MI5's conspicuous failure to apprehend Russian agents while he was at the helm. The charge was never proven. He died in 1973.

Pincher was among those who published these accusations in the past. Now, using a massive cache of recently released documents - many from inside Britain's MI5 - alongside his exclusive interviews, Pincher adds compelling details to the charge that Hollis (codenamed Elli) was one of the most spectacularly successful Russian spies ever.

He reveals that the Russians rated Elli so highly that to protect his identify personal contacts with him were forbidden unless absolutely necessary, and then only with the permission of the Russian intelligence service's central command. He concludes that the mystery of how Russian agents had been so stunningly successful for so long could be resolved only if Hollis were one of them.

"This possibility was horrific," Pincher writes, "because Hollis remained in MI5 for twenty-seven years, heading it for nine." Hollis would have been privy to almost every significant state secret and able to eliminate any file he wished. Clearly, the treachery not only threatened the British and the American forces during World War II, but placed the whole world in gravest jeopardy.

After six decades of investigating the massive Russian espionage assault on Great Britain and the United States, Pincher says, "The Elli case is so important and has been given such derisory attention by officialdom (a cover-up was perpetrated at the highest levels) that I decided to pursue it with every possible resource. This book contains the record of my long quest for Elli." He adds, "It is particularly relevant with the current rise in Russian espionage activity in Great Britain and the United States."

It is a stunning read, not to be missed. [Nicholson/ProvidenceJournal/26July2009] 


Robert L. Kleyla, Lt. Col USAF (Ret.) longtime AFIO member, and of the Returned & Services League, was featured in Conboy and Morrision's "The CIA's Secret War in Tibet" where Kleyla is described as serving as one of the officers managing the CIA air fleet in the ROC. He served U.S. interests for many decades. Kleyla died on Monday, July 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Father of Robert L. Kleyla, II and Van M. Kleyla. Also survived by three grandchildren and friend and companion Lillian Purdy. Friends may call at DeVOL FUNERAL HOME, 2222 Wisconsin Ave. NW (parking opposite 2233 Wisconsin Ave.) on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Graveside service and interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, October 8, at 3 p.m. with Full Military Honors.

Meir Amit, An Israeli Spy Whose Snares Included the 'Honey Trap.' To hear Israeli intelligence chief Meir Amit tell it, the 1967 clash that established his country as the most fearsome military force in the Middle East wasn't a Six Day War after all.

On June 5, 1967, Israel's air force destroyed Egypt's air force on the ground in a series of morning bombing raids that represented as much an intelligence victory as a military one. It was the culmination of years of careful work penetrating the Egyptian armed forces. The results were decisive and swift.

"Don't call it the Six-day War, call it the three-hour war," Mr. Amit, the Mossad's chief from 1963-1968, told a conference held to mark the 1967 war's 25th anniversary in Washington. "And I must take pride in the intelligence."

Mr. Amit, who died July 17th at 88, is credited with reforming the Mossad into a more professional intelligence agency, one with ties to foreign services and more access to computers and other non-human intelligence sources. Yet he understood that preying on human weaknesses worked best.

In one spectacular operation in 1966, Mr. Amit engineered the defection of an Iraqi fighter pilot who landed his MIG-21 at an Israeli air base. The plane - among the most modern of the U.S.S.R's fighters - was immediately shared with the Central Intelligence Agency, helping to cement the bonds between the two nations' intelligence agencies.

The Iraqi pilot was inspired to defect by someone he took to be his American girlfriend but who was actually a Mossad agent.

Mr. Amit "pioneered the use of female agents, the 'honey trap,'" says Dan Raviv, author of "Every Spy a Prince," a history of Israeli espionage.

A creative thinker, he strove in vain to establish diplomatic contacts in Egypt in the years preceding the war, even as he helped catalog vast lists of targets for Israel's air force to strike.

After Egypt's leader provoked Israel by blockading the Straits of Tiran in May of 1967, Mr. Amit jetted to Washington on an unprecedented diplomatic mission to secure U.S. forbearance for a first strike on its neighbors.

A long-serving member of the Israeli Defense Force, Mr. Amit was born in Palestine in 1921, the son of Ukranian immigrants. He grew up on a Kibbutz, and joined the Haganah, the Jewish proto-army in the 1930s. He served as chief of staff to IDF commander Moshe Dayan, and was appointed head of the army's intelligence branch.

In 1963, he succeeded Isser Harel, the legendary Mossad chief who had engineered the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.

Mr. Amit broke with the past, eschewing revenge for the Nazi era and establishing a gleaming new headquarters for the Mossad that replaced its ramshackle home dating from before independence. A series of high-profile operations ensued, including some that went wrong. In one, an agent managed to penetrate the highest level of the Syrian government before being detected and executed in 1965.

He sometimes meditated on the gestalt of intelligence, which could be "boring" because it took years to build up a useful picture of the enemy, yet had moments "far beyond" the most gripping John Le Carre novel.

And to Mr. Amit, success could breed failure. He believed the 1967 victory, for example, spawned a dangerous complacency.

Shai Tsur, Mr. Amit's grandson, says his grandfather believed "the failure of the 1973 war, especially on the part of military intelligence, was a direct product of this 'konseptziya,'" the idea that Israel was so strong that its neighbors would never attack.

In recent years, Mr. Amit warned of the dangers posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and served as chairman of Israel's Center for Special Studies in Tel Aviv, which maintains a giant sandstone monument in the form of a maze as a cenotaph for the nation's fallen intelligence agents.

In a statement Tuesday, Israel's president, Shimon Peres, said, "Generations of Israelis, entire generations of children owe Meir Amit a debt of gratitude for his immense contribution - a large part of which remains secret." [Miller/WSJ/22July2009] 

CIA Code Expert Found Dead on Palm Springs Trail. A Central Intelligence Agency employee who died on a trail near Palm Springs was identified Saturday as a 64-year-old Fort Collins, Colo., resident.

Robert Allen Liebler was found dead on a trail about 100 feet west of West Arenas Road and South Tahquitz Drive about 11 a.m. Sunday, July 26th, amid 100-degree-plus heat, according to a coroner's spokesman.

Liebler was a Colorado State University professor and CIA communications expert, who had been working in the Palm Springs area, the Desert Sun reported.

Liebler, who had a doctorate from the University of Michigan, specialized in discrete mathematics and did security work for the U.S. government, a friend and former colleague, Ben Manvel, told the newspaper.

Liebler worked for the "brains branch" of the CIA, developing secret codes for stealth communication, he said.

Liebler, reported missing Saturday, was in Palm Springs working with a local think tank, Manvel said. He began his hike up the Carl Lykken Trail with a friend about 3:45 a.m. Saturday. About three hours later, he told the friend he was cramping up and headed back.

Liebler and his hiking partner were going to meet a group of about 15 other people who had taken the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the top of Mount San Jacinto, according to police.

Liebler's body was found about 75 feet off the nearest trail.

In the past six months, four bodies have been recovered from the shadeless terrain above Palm Springs. [NBCLosAngeles/26July2009] 

Robert (Bob) Leslie Tuck - CIA/Radio Liberty Official. Tuck, of Chapel Hill, NC, died at Hillcrest Convalescent Home on June 23, 2009. His passing was peaceful, with his wife of 64 years, Evelyn McNutt Tuck, at his side, holding his hand. Tuck was a former CIA and Radio Liberty officer. Tuck was born 17 May 1922, was a graduate of North Central College, Naperville, Ill., and of Columbia University, N.Y. His work at the Russian Institute (now the Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Studies of the Soviet Union) at Columbia University led him to a job at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1949, where, over the years, he worked within several directorates. He served as policy director for Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany, 1961-1972, and then returned to New York where he assisted with Radio Liberty's domestic programming, before returning to Munich in 1976 to serve as the deputy director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He retired in 1981. The recollections of Robert L. Tuck (2006, 88 pages) include information on Tuck's family history and his childhood and early adolescent years, higher education, and work with the Central Intelligence Agency and Radio Liberty.

In the recollections, Tuck recounted life in various towns in Colorado and Illinois during his youth; provided information on the social life and customs of college students at North Central College in Illinois and Columbia University in New York; detailed the history of the Russian Institute (now the Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Studies of the Soviet Union) at Columbia University; and described Shanks Village, N.Y., an early housing community, supported by Columbia University and developed for married students.

Tuck briefly discussed the different directorates within the Central Intelligence Agency for which he worked and his experience in Regensburg, Germany, with Detachment R. His Radio Liberty recollections document attempts to overcome Soviet jamming, the 1981 bombing of the Radio Free Europe station, and the 1991 coup in Moscow. . [RichardC /UNC Archives/28July2009]



28 - 29 July 2009 - CTDS 2009 - FREE 2-Day Training and Development Seminar Presented by MVM and the Silver Eagle Group for Government professionals and industry leaders. This free two day event features training from CI Centre, Center for Personal Protection and Safety (CPPS), Conflict Kinetics, CSG, MVM, and SEG.
The goal of the CTDS program is to facilitate awareness of and preparedness for the current demands and evolving threats in today’s global environment. Participation in each component of this year’s program is on a first come, first serve basis. CTDS 2009 Featured Courses -• Jihad / Narco-terrorism• Rapid Response Planning Process• Advanced Urban Tactics• Hostage / Terrorist Survival• Marksmanship Performance Baseline Testing. CTDS will be held at the Silver Eagle Group, 44620 Guilford Dr. Ashburn VA, 20147
CI Centre Counterterrorism training course: This seminar will provide the necessary foundation for understanding what the radicalization process teaches about Islam to potential jihadist recruits, and how Islam is used by extremists to justify militant jihadism. The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies provides a wide range of dynamic, in-depth and relevant education, training and products on counterintelligence, counterterrorism and security, taught by some of the most experienced professionals in the field today.
Seats 50 per day and available Day One from 8am – 12pm and Day Two from 1pm — 5pm
Select your own calendar based off of featured events. Food available for purchase on site.<RSVP> 571-223-4511 CI Centre: Provider of education and training in Counter-intelligence, Counterterrorism, and security studies.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009; 6:30 pm - More Sex(pionage) - Continued Tales of Spies, Lies, and Naked Thighs [at Spy Museum] "God gave me both a brain and a body, and I shall use them both…”—Rose O’Neal Greenhow, Confederate Spy
It’s one of the oldest tricks of the trade: sexpionage. From ancient intrigues to current schemes, spies, counterspies, and terrorists may conduct their undercover activities under the covers! International Spy Museum Board Member and author H. Keith Melton will reveal how seduction is used as a tool to attract and manipulate assets, to coerce and compromise targets, and to control spies in both reality and fiction. Featuring authentic KGB sexual entrapment videos and newly-released technical details of the infamous Russian “honey traps,” Melton will tell all about the spies who stop at nothing to get their man—or woman! For your further titillation, the country’s leading intelligence bibliographer, whose name we cannot disclose, will review the literature of “sex and espionage” with recommendations for further reading. 18 and older only. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station
Tickets: $20; Advance Registration required. Tickets are non-refundable and do not include admission to the International Spy Museum. To register:

Thursday 30 July 2009, Noon - 1 p.m. - Washington, DC - SPY MASTER: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West [at the Spy Museum] He was one of the youngest generals in the history of the KGB, and his intelligence career spanned the better part of the Cold War. As deputy resident at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC, he oversaw Moscow’s spy network in the United States, and as head of KGB foreign counter-intelligence, he directed several Soviet covert actions against the West. In his memoirs, Spymaster, KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin (Ret.) provides an unparalleled look at the inner workings of Moscow’s famed spy agency. Join Kalugin to hear firsthand how he became disillusioned with the Soviet system, fell out with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and what he thinks of recent intelligence riddles from Moscow, including the death of Russian intelligence defector Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. Join the author for an informal chat and book signing. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station TICKETS: FREE. No registration required.

1 August 2009 - Viera (Melbourne), FL - The AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter luncheon will feature Captain Richard P. Jeffrey USN Retired, Pearl Harbor survivor. Captain Jeffrey’s account of the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was video-taped by the U.S. National Park Service and is now an Oral History in the archives of the USS Arizona Memorial in the harbor at Pearl where it may be viewed by visitors. Captain Jeffery is a U.S. Navy Academy Class of 1939 graduate. He is a survivor of the 7 December 1941, Pearl Harbor attack, having been an Ensign aboard the Battleship USS Maryland. Later he served on General Eisenhower’s Headquarters Supreme Commander Allied Forces staff in Europe.
The luncheon takes place at the Indian River Colony Club. For further information or reservations contact George Stephenson, Chapter President (321 267-6292) or Donna Czarnecki Chapter Treasurer.

Saturday, 8 August 2009 - Orange Park, FL - The AFIO Northern Florida Chapter meets to hear Maj Brian Bailey, USMA, West Point, on Geospatial Issues and Strategic Successes.
The meeting will be held at its traditional location, the Country Club of Orange Park on Loch Rane Boulevard, west of Blanding Boulevard.
Social hour runs from 11:00 am to noon, lunch from noon until about 12:45 pm, followed by a brief break. Guest speaker presentation will begin at about 1:00 pm, and Chapter business and discussions at 2:00 pm. Adjournment will be by 3:00 pm. A reminder that all compatriots and their spouses, guests and potential members are cordially invited...indeed, encouraged! This meeting’s principal guest speaker will be Major Brian Bailey, currently serving on the faculty at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. Among Brian’s special duties, including Kuwait where he held a classified position in communications, have been geospatial and technologically driven assignments. In addition to geospatial issues relative to tactical and strategic successes, Major Bailey will address other communications challenges in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. His interface with key technology has placed him in the forefront of his peers, including mention in a White House communiqu�. He recently became one of the first home-based technologists. He and his family logically make their home near West Point. RSVP right away for the 8 August 2009 meeting to Quiel at or 904-630-7175. The cost will be $16 each, pay the Country Club at the event.

NEW DAY - Monday, 10 August 2009, 6:30 p.m. - Washington, DC - How To Break A Terrorist [at the Spy Museum]. “Respect, rapport, hope, cunning, and deception are our tools."—Matthew Alexander
Interrogation is the ultimate battle of wills. The most expert interrogators have an arsenal of tactics at-the-ready. Gauging their target, they must quickly assess which psychological strategies will work to gain the most reliable results. Air Force officer Matthew Alexander is part of a small group of military interrogators who went to Iraq in 2006 trained to get information without using harsh methods. He sat face-to-face with hardened members of Al Qaeda and convinced them to talk. Alexander, author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq, will describe the true story of the critical interrogation he conducted that led to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Alexander will share his riveting experiences and reveal what it takes to be a great interrogator.
Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station
TICKETS: $12.50; Advance Registration required. Tickets are non-refundable and do not include admission to the International Spy Museum.
To register:

Friday, 14 August 2009 - Tysons Corner, VA - AFIO National SUMMER Luncheon...AFIO SUMMER LUNCHEON, Friday, 14 August 2009,


10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret), NSA - CIA - AIR FORCE
Afternoon Speaker
Former Director of
Central Intelligence Agency
and the
National Security Agency

PLEASE NOTE: General Hayden's remarks at this event
are presented on a
"For Background Use, Only - Not for Attribution" basis.

Current policies and the U.S. Intelligence Community

Ronald Kessler- Morning Speaker

Best-selling Intelligence Author, Journalist
on his impressive upcoming book
[to be available at event]:

IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect

EVENT LOCATION: The Crowne Plaza
1960 Chain Bridge Road • McLean, Virginia 22102
Driving directions here or
use this link:


Thursday, 20 August 2009, Noon - 1 p.m. - Washington, DC - The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America [at the Spy Museum] In 1993, former KGB officer Alexander Vassiliev was permitted unique access to Stalin-era records of Soviet intelligence operations against the United States. The notes Vassiliev took and subsequently made available to Library of Congress historian John Earl Haynes and professor Harvey Klehr, offer unprecedented insight into Soviet espionage in America. Based on this unique historical source, Harvey and Klehr have constructed a shocking, new account of Moscow’s espionage in America. The authors will expose Soviet spy tactics and techniques and shed new light on a number of controversial issues, including Alger Hiss’s cooperation with Soviet intelligence, journalist I.F. Stone’s recruitment and work for the KGB, and Ernest Hemingway’s meeting with KGB agents. Join the author for an informal chat and book signing.
Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station TICKETS: FREE. No registration required.

17 September 2009 – San Francisco, CA – The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and member of AFIO's Honorary Board. R. James Woolsey speaks on: Spies, Energy and the New World of the 21st Century: The relatively comfortable world of having a stolid bureaucratic energy and a secure national infrastructure has been replaced by something far more difficult to deal with. As we make decisions about what direction our society should take regarding energy, keeping in mind that we need for it to be increasingly clean, secure, and affordable, what threats and problems should be at the center of our concerns, and what are some of the approaches that can help us deal with all three needs? United Irish Cultural Center 2700 45th Avenue, SF. 11:30 AM no host cocktails; noon - luncheon. $25 member rate with advance reservation and payment; $35 non-member rate. RSVP/pre-payment is required. E-m ail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate meat or fish) and mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009; 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - Terror Media: Free Speech or Dangerous Weapon? at the Spy Museum
“We need more [martyrs], so if you could encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors and anyone around you to send people like him to this jihad, it would be a great asset for us.”—“Abu Mansoor the American” in a recruiting video for Al-Shabaab, April 2009
With the communications explosion, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PKK, and others have used their own media outlets to glorify suicide bombings, incite violence, recruit terrorists, and fund-raise online. Should governments shut down these media outlets to protect their citizens from harm? Should terror media be shielded as “protected free speech”? To what extent does one keep defending free speech....up to the point it kills you or your loved ones? Or ignore it if it kills others who you care little about? Where does one draw the line, if any? And how can new media be used against violent extremists? The panel exploring these issues includes: Juan Zarate, former deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism and former assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes; Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has helped shut down Hezbollah and other terrorist owned-media around the world; Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who has spoken out in support of free speech regardless of viewpoint or consequences including deaths; and Todd Stein, legislative director for Senator Lieberman, and formerly a lawyer on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, who wrote the seminal document for the U.S. Congress exposing how terrorist organizations use online media to disseminate their message. Tickets: $15 per person. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station To register:

Thursday, 24 September 2009; 12 noon – 1 pm – Washington, DC - Author talk by Jennet Conant on: The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington - at Spy Museum. In 1940, with the threat of German invasion, the British government mounted a massive, secret campaign of propaganda and political subversion to weaken isolationist sentiment in America and manipulate Washington into entering the war against Germany. For this purpose, Winston Churchill created the British Security Coordination (BSC) under William Stephenson, “Intrepid,” whose agents called themselves the “Baker Street Irregulars.” Jennet Conant, author of The Irregulars, will discuss the exploits of one of Stephenson’s key agents: Roald Dahl. Beloved now for his books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, in WWII Dahl used his dazzling imagination for espionage purposes. His dashing good looks and easy charm won him access to the ballrooms and bedrooms of America’s rich and powerful, and to the most important prize of all—intelligence. Free! No registration required! Join the author for an informal chat and book signing. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station

Wednesday, 30 September 2009; 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - Rediscovering U.S. Counterintelligence: The Inside View - at the Spy Museum. “Significant strategic victories often turn on intelligence coups, and with almost every intelligence success, counterintelligence rides shotgun.”—Jennifer E. Sims, former deputy assistant secretary of state for intelligence coordination
Research, analysis, agile collection, and the timely use of guile and theft are the handmaidens of intelligence. The practice of defeating these tactics —counterintelligence—is an art unto itself. Burton Gerber, a veteran CIA case officer who served 39 years as an operations officer, was chief of station in three Communist countries, and now teaches at Georgetown University, and Jennifer E. Sims, professor in residence, director of intelligence studies, Georgetown University, and former deputy assistant secretary of state for intelligence coordination, have recently co-edited Vaults, Mirrors, & Masks: Rediscovering U.S. Counterintelligence. In this fresh look at counterintelligence, the co-editors will explain its importance and explore the causes of—and practical solutions for—U.S. counterintelligence weaknesses. Audience participation in this probing conversation—from the protection of civil liberties to challenges posted by technological change—will be strongly encouraged. Tickets: $15 per person Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station To register:

13-16 October 2009 - Las Vegas, NV - AFIO National Symposium - Nellis AFB, Creech AFB. Details and registration forthcoming.

AFIO 2009 Fall Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada
13 October to 16 October, 2009
Cold Warriors in the Desert: From Atomic Blasts to Sonic Booms

Symposium will feature presentations on the testing of atomic weapons, airborne reconnaissance platforms, and more. Onsite visits to Nellis Air Force Base - Home of the Fighter Pilot, the U.S. Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site - the former on-continent nuclear weapons proving ground, and Creech Air Force Base - the home of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (currently deployed for combat missions in the Middle East, yet piloted from Creech).

Preliminary Agenda HERE for scheduling of your travel

Registration forthcoming

Harrah's Hotel Registration is available now at: Telephone reservations may be made at 800-901-5188. Refer to Group Code SHAIO9 to get the special AFIO rate.

To make hotel reservations online,
go to:
Special AFIO October Symposium Las Vegas rates are available up to Friday, September 11, 2009

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


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