AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #30-09 dated 18 August 2009






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MQ18 Predator
See where the modern wizardry of "surgical remote strikes" begin. The Predator, above, and other UAVs will be visited
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AFIO 2009 Fall Symposium/Convention
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Cold Warriors in the Desert:
From Atomic Blasts to Sonic Booms

Symposium features 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:  dh, fwr and pjk.  

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

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Jihadis Search for Intelligence Penetration on Jihadi Website Forums. Periodically, jihadi internet gatherings raise concerns about scrutiny of their forums by security services. Investigations into the identity of forum members and their promotion and initiation of sensitive jihadi issues trigger these concerns. A recent posting entitled "The top seven Arab countries that intrude on or penetrate the Forums" accused some Western security services of monitoring jihadi forums and suggested ways to identify security agents who may be active in the forums.

A forum participant, nicknamed al-Taer al-Maymoon, warns that the secret services of seven Arab countries have a permanent presence in jihadi forums in general and in in particular. Some of these intelligence agents are prominent members of the forums and specialists in Shari'a. The countries intruding on jihadi forums, alleges al-Maymoon, are Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the Palestinian National Authority - where the latter is accused of selling the information obtained from the forums to the Zionists. Further, al-Maymoon said various Arab nations monitor jihadi forums either to collect intelligence for preventive purposes or to exchange intelligence with Western countries "waging war on Islam."

Forum members say there are two techniques used by security agencies to hunt down jihadis. First is the technical method. This includes stealing an email address and monitoring all incoming and outgoing emails; planting Trojans in the target's computer; using the target's nickname in the forums by posting subjects under his name and hacking into the target's computer. 

The second technique for hunting jihadis on the internet is comprised of "human methods":

- Posting subjects designed to attract the targeted jihadi. Consequently, relations will be established with the subject before luring him into a face to face meeting.

- Expressing opinions diametrically opposed to those found acceptable by Salafi-Jihadis, thus drawing them out as they rebuke or criticize the posting.

- Security agents, having established a connection with the target, will enhance the relationship in the forums by supporting the target's postings and by sending him private emails.

- Through such relationships, the agents will obtain the names of other jihadis from the target.

- Building trust with the target by pretending to help the cause.

Jihadi forum chatters continuously discuss and educate each other on the basics of internet technology, such as the ability of security agencies to reveal many details of forum members by tracing their IP addresses. Security agencies also use programs to scan the internet for the use of certain terminology, phone numbers and email addresses. The agencies use professionals to hack into jihadi forums and obtain their organizational structures, through which they can extract information on any member of the forum. The internet traffic goes through security filtration and if there is any match with the dictionary of suspicious words, a copy of the email is saved for further scrutiny. Airport screening methods and details of the security cooperation and exchange of intelligence between Western countries are also exchanged between forum members offering ways to evade these measures.

Although the internet knowledge discussed by forum members is factual and commonly available, other intelligence methods mentioned by jihadi forum participants are not fully accurate. The assertions that intelligence services use various methods to brainwash forum participants is a paranoiac exaggeration revealing an ignorance of basic counterterrorism techniques practiced by intelligence services. [Bakier/] 

The Good Spy Who Never Was. A former head of MI6 admitted what many long suspected, that fictional MI6 employee James Bond was good for recruiting, and the MI6 image in general. To a lesser extent, so were other fictional portrayals of MI6 that were less flattering.

MI6 discovered that James Bond, for all his silly fictional flaws, gave MI6 flattering public recognition. This enabled MI6 to recruit better people, more easily. Those who were suitable for MI6, were quick to appreciate that Bond's escapades were more entertainment than real, but all those Bond movies ensured that MI6 recruiters didn't have to spend much time explaining who they were, and what MI6 did.

Actually, it was the le Carre books that gave a more realistic description of the drudgery and boredom of real espionage operations. But that also helped with recruitment, as serious candidates were quick to discover that le Carre was more non-fiction than fantasy. MI6 personnel sometimes get nervous about how accurately le Carre portrays their tradecraft, but the spy business is a rapidly evolving enterprise, and le Carre is always at least a few years behind the latest innovations.

When it comes to gadgets, James Bond has actually demonstrated several actual, or planned, spy gizmos. That aspect of espionage work is real, but it plays a much smaller part in operations than Bond's antics would have you believe. Within the intel community, the main enthusiasm for Bond is related to the much improved image the fictional swashbuckler gives to members of a very secretive profession.  [StrategyPages/13August2009] 

Iran Bahais Face Espionage Trial. Seven members of the Bahai faith in Iran are to go on trial on Tuesday on charges of spying for Israel and of "insulting sanctities". Six of the Bahais were arrested in May, 2008. The other one was arrested two months earlier. They were the leaders of the Bahais in Iran.

The Bahai faith is banned by the Islamic revolutionary leadership of Iran which considers it heretical.

Bahais claim some 300,000 members in Iran, where the faith originated.

Last year relatives of the six Bahai leaders arrested in May said they had been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran after intelligence ministry officers raided their homes in the middle of the night.

Hundreds of Bahai followers have been jailed and executed since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, the Bahai International Community says.

However, the government denies it has detained or executed people because of their faith.

The Bahais consider the man who founded their faith in the 19th Century, Bahaullah, to be a prophet. [BBC/14August2009] 

MI6 Boss Admits Difference in Values with US Over Torture. Sir John Scarlett, the head of MI6, has admitted to a difference in values with America in the fight against terrorism and their use of controversial interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

In the first interview with a current head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir John revealed a split with Britain's closest ally in the War on Terror over the behavior of the CIA, the American equivalent of MI6.

His comments come after the Obama administration published controversial guidelines issued to CIA interrogators under George Bush that revealed they had authorized waterboarding and a range of other "harsh" techniques that included sleep deprivation, stress positions, slapping and slamming detainees against walls.

Sir John said the US, which has a close intelligence relationship with the UK, was aware that Britain did not share America's values in this area, and stressed MI6's commitment to human rights.

Asked if he agreed that some of the things the Americans had done were "unacceptable", he told the BBC: "Our American allies know that we are our own service, that we are here to work for the British interests and the United Kingdom. We're an independent service working to our own laws - nobody else's - and to our own values."

Asked if that precluded torture, he added: "No torture and there is no complicity with torture."

Sir John said his officers were "as committed to the values and the human rights values of liberal democracy as anybody else."

But he added: "They also have the responsibility of protecting the country against terrorism and these issues need to be debated and understood in that context."

His comments came after David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, wrote an article for the Sunday Telegraph in which they said there was no policy "to collude in, solicit, or directly participate in abuses of prisoners" but admitted "it is not possible to eradicate all risk [of mistreatment]. Judgments need to be made."

MI5, the domestic security service, is facing a criminal inquiry into allegations that it colluded in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantanamo detainee, and a number of other prisoners from the camp have also brought legal cases against the government.

Sir John, who as director general of Britain's foreign intelligence service is known as "C", said the James Bond image of spies with a "license to kill" was a long way from the reality.

But Sir John did add: "This, the 'license to kill' issue. No, we do not. We do not have license to kill.

David Miliband said the reality was of "incredibly hard working, incredibly serious and incredibly dedicated people".

Sir John Scarlett was previously head of the Joint Intelligence Committee that advised the government on the intelligence case for the war in Iraq in 2003.

He admitted that had been a difficult time for the service but said he had "no regrets" about what happened.

Quoting from the Butler Report into the intelligence that took Britain to war, he said it "drew attention to the fact that a number of the reports and reporting lines proved to be unreliable and had to be withdrawn."

But he added: "I don't have regrets in the way that you're implying, but here I am talking about the work of SIS and the way in which SIS, first of all, performed in that particular situation and then responded to it afterwards." [Gilbrand/Telegraph/15August2009] 

Six Arrested in al Qaeda Plot on U.S. Base in Kuwait. Kuwaiti security forces arrested six Kuwaitis linked to al Qaeda who planned to attack a U.S. military installation.

The suspects had planned to bomb Camp Arifjan during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Kuwaiti security sources said.

It is unclear when the arrests took place.

Camp Arifjan, outside Kuwait City near the country's border with Saudi Arabia, is used as a logistical base and transit point for U.S. troops deploying to and from neighboring Iraq, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood congratulated Kuwait "on the reported arrest of terrorists targeting U.S. forces and Kuwait facilities."

The U.S. military had no further information.

"The operation was a Kuwaiti-led one, and so the Kuwaitis have the details on the intel and the people they apprehended," said Navy Capt. Jack Hanzlik, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

The plot also involved an attack on Kuwait's State Security Service headquarters and other government facilities, according to the Kuwait News Agency, which cited a statement from the Interior Ministry.

An investigation into the alleged plot is ongoing, the news agency reported.

Camp Arifjan is the forward headquarters for the U.S. Army Central Command in the region. It is a major logistics base for the U.S. military and generally houses thousands of American troops.

Most of the troops stationed there are a component of the 3rd U.S. Army, which is headquartered in Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, and supports U.S. Central Command missions in the Mideast, including Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the U.S. military. [CNN/11August2009]

Rights Group Urges Hamas to Charge Offices for Mistreating Detainees. A Palestinian human rights group called on the Palestinian Islamic Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip to hold officers accountable for committing abuses against detainees.

"The internal security service (ISS) has committed a series of violations against detainees' rights that the law has protected," said participants of a workshop of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) held in its Gaza headquarters.

The ICHR urged Hamas government, which controls Gaza, to hold officers and chief of the ISS answerable for the alleged abuses.

There are no clear numbers about the prisoners held by the internal security service which mainly deals with political issues and fights cooperation with Israel. The service also carries out frequent detention campaigns against activists and supporters of Fatah movement in the Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas Interior Ministry has slammed the ICHR over the accusations, considering the statements "a political and security escalation serving hostile parties."

A statement by the ministry added that the ICHR "was trying to cover the abuses the Fatah-led forces committed against Hamas in the West Bank."

Hamas has been controlling Gaza since it routed pro-Abbas forces and ousted his Fatah movement in 2007. [Xinhuanet/11August2009] 

Feds To Use Wiki For Cybersecurity Collaboration. The Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Center plans to deploy a wiki to facilitate collaboration among federal agencies on cybersecurity.

NCSC and other agencies will use the wiki for real-time information sharing on threats, attacks, and responses and as a repository for technical and standards information. NCSC is headed by DHS deputy undersecretary of national protection and programs and former Microsoft exec Phil Reitinger, and one of its primary missions is to coordinate federal cybersecurity efforts.

"NCSC is engaging industry expertise to develop a Web 2.0- and 3.0-enabled collaboration platform - this is an important piece of the larger NCSC vision of meaningful collaboration across government," a DHS spokeswoman said in a statement. "Once completed, the wiki and other mechanisms will leverage the individual strengths and technical competencies among the federal government's cyber security centers."

Improving coordination of the various cybersecurity initiatives in government is priority of the Obama Administration, though the results have been mixed. Former NCSC director Rod Beckstrom stepped down earlier this year amid complaints of a cybersecurity turf war, and the national cybersecurity czar position remains unfilled. The wiki is a other sign of the administration's intentions for improved coordination, but tangible results remain to be seen.

Other agencies that will be working with NCSC on the wiki are the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, the Department of Defense Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, the Intelligence Community Incident Response Center, the Defense Cyber Crimes Center, the National Security Agency's Central Security Service Threat Operations Center, and the FBI's National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force.

The wiki will serve as one tool among several that Reitinger and the NCSC are employing to bring cybersecurity efforts together, including the creation of common procedures and data standards, weekly reporting requirements, and coordination with other federal agencies that have standards and policy authority.

According to a pre-solicitation notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, DHS plans to award collaboration start-up WiiKno with a contract unless other bidders step forward and to ramp up the wiki later this year. [Hoover/InformationWeek/12August2009] 

Secret files Reveal Prince's Diplomat Pal "Is a KGB Spy." A high-profile foreign ambassador could be expelled from Britain after it was revealed that top secret intelligence files suggest he is a KGB spy.

Kairat Abusseitov, Kazakhstan's attache to London, is already at the centre of cash-for-lobbying claims surrounding Prince Andrew and multi-million-pound oil deals in the former Soviet republic.

Now evidence passed to The Mail on Sunday suggests he has been a KGB agent for 20 years.

Mr. Abusseitov has met the Queen, holds discussions with senior Ministers and has been involved in confidential United Nations discussions on terrorism and nuclear weapons.

But according to the secret files, he was recruited by the KGB in 1988 as a spy and is codenamed 'Delano'.

Part of a 175-page file, obtained from former Soviet intelligence archives, reveals details of his alleged career as an agent.

The revelation is the latest controversy to hit Britain's relations with Kazakhstan and the role of Prince Andrew, the Foreign Office's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

Mr. Abusseitov is honorary president of the British Kazakh Society and Prince Andrew is its honorary patron.

Both regularly attend its events. The society also brings the ambassador into regular contact with some of Britain's most powerful companies, including defense firm BAE Systems.

But a KGB report, written in 1992, says: 'Kairat Khuatovich Abusseitov served as an agent of Republic of Kazakhstan KGB Intelligence Department during the period June 1988 till May 1992...'

Discussing Mr. Abusseitov's future suitability as an agent abroad, the report's author, Major A.V.Efimov, of the KGB's First Criminal Investigative Department, says: 'He has the chance of going abroad as a member of the Centre of Strategic Research's delegations, and his perfect knowledge of English allows him contact with those foreigners who interest the KGB.'

Major Efimov then recommends: 'Appointing Abusseitov as a part-time servant of Kazakhstan KGB First Intelligence Department, with a monthly reward of 700 roubles.'

Ambassador Abusseitov confirmed he had regular contact with the KGB during the Eighties and Nineties - and with Major Efimov - but said: 'I was never his agent and I was never paid by the KGB. I was not a spy for him or anyone else

in the KGB and I was never paid by them.' [Lewis/DailyMail/15August2009] 

Two Terrorists Welcomed Home By Yemenis. Thousands of Yemenis waving flags and banners gave a hero's welcome to a well-known cleric and his assistant who returned home from the United States after serving more than six years in prison on terrorism charges.

Sheik Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and his assistant, Mohammed Mohsen Zayed, later held a half-hour meeting at the royal palace with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who worked with U.S. officials to secure their release, said one of their lawyers, Mohamed Naji Allaw.

Al-Moayad and Zayed were arrested in 2003 in an elaborate sting by two FBI informants who lured them to Germany. They were convicted in a U.S. court in 2005 of supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas and attempting to support al-Qaeda.

Al-Moayad, a high-ranking member of Yemen's opposition Islah party, was sentenced to 75 years in prison, and Zayed received 45 years. An appeals court threw out the convictions, ruling the defendants' rights were violated by what it called "highly inflammatory and irrelevant" testimony and evidence.

They pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of supporting Hamas and were sentenced to time served. [SanDiegoUnionTribune/12August2009] 

Taliban Drug Proceeds Lower Than Thought, U.S. Report Says. The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency have concluded that the amount of drug money flowing to the Taliban in Afghanistan is far lower than widely estimated but remains critical to the insurgents' ability to survive, according to a Senate report released Tuesday.

The two spy agencies believe that Taliban leaders receive about $70 million a year from Afghanistan's lucrative poppy crop - far lower than the $400-million estimate released last year by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Al Qaeda's dependence on drug money is even less, according to the report by the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which found that "there is no evidence that any significant amount of the drug proceeds go to Al Qaeda."

The lower estimates suggest that other avenues of funding - including money from wealthy donors in Arab states in the Persian Gulf region - remain important sources of support for insurgent and terrorist networks straddling the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the report notes that "the insurgency is a relatively cheap war for the Taliban to fight," meaning that the militants do not need significantly larger subsidies from drug trafficking to finance their operations.

The report comes as the United States is revamping its approach to combating the lucrative narcotics trade in Afghanistan, whose poppy fields account for more than 90% of the world's heroin.

After focusing mainly on crop eradication during the Bush administration, the U.S. is shifting to targeting drug kingpins and the criminal networks that control narcotics activities in Afghanistan, from harvesting to processing to export.

In one of its most disconcerting conclusions, the Senate report says the United States inadvertently contributed to the resurgent drug trade after the Sept. 11 attacks by backing warlords who derived income from the flow of illegal drugs. The CIA and U.S. Special Forces put such warlords on their payroll during the drive to overthrow the Taliban regime in late 2001.

"These warlords later traded on their stature as U.S. allies to take senior positions in the new Afghan government, laying the groundwork for the corrupt nexus between drugs and authority that pervades the power structure today," the report says.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government has been stained by allegations of corruption and connections to drug trafficking. Still, Karzai is widely expected to be reelected next week.

To combat corruption and improve intelligence gathering on opium networks, the United States has assembled a new intelligence cell at Bagram air base that is led by Drug Enforcement Administration operatives.

A senior DEA official quoted in the report said authorities in Kabul, the Afghan capital, recently began employing new electronic eavesdropping equipment to monitor the cellphone communications of drug kingpins and government officials suspected of corruption.

By midsummer, 100 Afghan nationals fluent in the region's languages and dialects were engaged in the eavesdropping effort, but the program has been hampered by equipment difficulties and lack of electricity in major cities including Herat, Kandahar and Jalalabad.

For the first time, the U.S. military is also pursuing drug traffickers who help the Taliban. "Some 50 of them are now officially on the target list to be killed or captured," the report says.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is expected to revise its estimate of the drug money flowing to the Taliban, reducing the figure to about $125 million this year. U.N. analysts told Senate aides they had miscalculated the scope of the problem beyond Kandahar and Helmand provinces, where the Taliban is particularly strong.

Taliban fighters are typically paid $10 a day, according to the report, "and $125 million a year buys a lot of rifles, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades and pays a lot of foot soldiers." [Miller/LATimes/12August2009] 

MI6 Officers In Revolt After Sir John Sawers Appointed New Spy Chief. MI6 officers are in a state of 'near mutiny' over the appointment of Sir John Sawers as their new chief, which they view as a 'political stitch-up'. 

Senior security sources say that Gordon Brown has sought to increase Downing Street's influence over the Secret Intelligence Service by drafting in Sir John from the Foreign Office to become the next 'C'. 

Spy chiefs had expected Charles Farr, a serving MI6 officer who is Whitehall head of counter-terrorism operations, to take over from Sir John Scarlett in November.

His appointment was seen as a 'done deal' until the Prime Minister stepped in to pick Sir John, who it is feared is more likely to do No 10's bidding. 

MI6 sources in New York, where Sir John is Britain's ambassador to the UN, say that he had no idea the job was even available until he received a call from No 10 asking him to apply.

Security sources say the appointment has left staff at the Vauxhall Cross headquarters in revolt and talking openly of their displeasure. An MI6 officer told a contact: 'It's far worse than when Scarlett took over. He was tolerated when he came back even though he was seen as too close to the politicians. There has been a near mutiny over Sawers. The atmosphere is quite tense.'

Sir John spent about seven years with MI6 early in his career. But having left to become a conventional diplomat, he is not seen as 'one of us' by SIS officers, who pride themselves on providing impartial advice free of the taint of political influence.

A security source said: 'This is seen as a more blatant attempt at political control than even Blair managed.'

Sir John's suitability for the job has already been called into question after it emerged that his wife Shelley published family details, the location of their London flat and photos of the couple on holiday on her Facebook page.  [WN/12August2009]

Woman Pleads Guilty in CIA Case. A former contract worker for the CIA pleaded guilty in Detroit to fabricating background checks of federal employees and potential employees. The suspected motive: laziness and greed.

Two sources familiar with the case said that Kerry Gerdes, 26, simply avoided conducting the interviews as a fast track to getting paid.

Gerdes pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit to making false statements to the government and faces up to a year in jail and $20,000 in potential fines.

"The defendant was entrusted by the United States to conduct background investigations of applicants to sensitive positions," U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg said. "The false reports submitted by Gerdes were a betrayal of the trust placed in her."

Prosecutors said that between December 2006 and May 2007, Gerdes worked as an investigator on a contract basis for the CIA and submitted about 80 false investigative reports.

Gerdes was responsible for interviewing people who knew current and potential federal employees. Her reports were used for hiring decisions and granting security clearance for people, Berg said.

Sources said she was paid per background check and simply didn't do the required work as a way to quickly move on to the next paycheck.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Gerdes is free on a personal bond. Her attorney, Richard Helfrick of the Federal Defender's Office, did not return phone calls Tuesday. [Schmitt/FreePress/12August2009] 


Spies Like Us: History Revealed in Art. How many museum exhibits began with the fading signature of Nathan Hale in a 250-year-old book?

An intriguing exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum discovers curious connections between the two most famous spies of the Revolutionary War, art from its own collection and one of the state's most influential families.

Part espionage tale, part detective story, "Spies Like Us! Nathan Hale and Major Andre" puts a human face on American history while reintroducing a worthy trio of 19th century artists.

"It's a great way to teach about American history," said WAM Executive Director James Welu. "And it's a great way to show exciting art from our own collection."

Speaking of history, the exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Worcester Art Museum Library in 1909.

Often regarded as America's "first spy," Hale, who was born in 1755, served as a teacher after college and joined the Continental Army after the outbreak of hostilities. While seeking information about British movements in New York disguised as a Dutch teacher, he was captured and hanged.

The exhibit features a bronze sculpture of Hale facing death, two paintings of the capture of British spy Maj. John Andre and the rare book bearing Hale's signature, one of only about 10 surviving examples of his handwriting.

An aide to a British general, Andre had been sent to New York to receive secret information about West Point from American traitor Benedict Arnold.

Though Hale died at 21 and left no known portraits, Frederick MacMonnies' 3-foot-tall sculpture depicts him, according to eyewitness accounts of his execution, as a tall, athletic man facing death with his hands and feet bound but accepting his fate with courage and dignity.

Completed more than 50 years after Andre's arrest, the paintings by Asher Durand and Thomas Sully emphasize the patriotism of three colonial militiamen who captured him and refused a bribe of his watch and horse to let him go.

Welu and Librarian Debby Aframe organized the exhibit after a serendipitous discovery piqued their interest in the two spies from warring nations hanged more than two centuries ago.

In 2007, Aframe was rummaging through a box of old books which had been donated to the museum library for its triennial sale when she saw "Nathan Hale his book 1769" handwritten on the fly leaf of a book about science.

The book was among several old volumes donated to the museum by Ellen Rice, of Concord, from the estate of her late mother, a Worcester resident who often bought used books at WAM sales.

Could it be, Aframe wondered, the same man famously remembered for uttering "I regret I have but one life to give for my country" before his British captors hanged him without a trial as a spy?

"I saw the name, Nathan Hale, and I thought 'No way. This can't be the real thing,"' said Aframe. "...It makes you realize what might be in your attic."

The museum hired a conservation scientist who used X-ray florescence spectrometry and determined pigments in the signatures were "historically appropriate."

And Aframe had experts from the American Antiquarian Society and Skinners Inc. auction house examine the book, which they found to be the third of a three-volume set of scientific and mathematical treaties compiled by Benjamin Martin and published in London in 1759.

She discovered that in 1769 Hale was a 14-year-old who'd just entered Yale University. But, curiously, there was another student named Nathan Hale in the same class.

Researching three other signatures on the page, she learned one of them, Asher Wright, had been Hale's servant who accompanied him into the military where Hale served as a captain in Knowlton's Rangers, scouting specialists who became the core of the Continental Army's first spies.

To confirm the authenticity of the Hale signature, Aframe contacted the Connecticut Historical Society which sent her a disk containing copies of the few surviving examples of his handwriting. "They found the signatures to be a perfect match," she said. For the show, Aframe created a map showing the movements of Hale and Andre during their short spying careers. She also provided a genealogy that documented interesting links between Hale's family and Worcester, the Bay State and WAM.

Welu observed that Hale's brother Enoch married Sarah Preston Everett who was the niece of statesman and orator Edward Everett. As a U.S. senator, Everett delivered the windy two-hour speech that preceded Abraham Lincoln's memorable Gettysburg Address. While traveling later in Europe, Everett purchased a Renaissance painting, "St. John the Baptist," which the WAM acquired in 1984.

Another relative, Edward Everett Hale, served as a Congregationalist minister in Worcester and later wrote the famous short story, "The Man Without a County."

Later, Hale's son, Philip L. Hale, began the Worcester Art Museum in 1898 and also taught drawing.

While modest in number, the three artworks and rare book add a new dimension to a well-known episode of American history.

"It might be a small exhibit," said Welu. "But it draws objects from our own collection to celebrate a great American hero whose family has connections to Worcester and this institution."

"Spies Like Us!" runs through Sept. 20. [Bergeron/DaileyNewsTranscript/15August2009] 

Who Needs Spy Satellites? Google Earth Pinpoints Where Missile Targeted Taliban. The leader of Pakistan's Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, may or may not be dead after a CIA missile hits his father-in-law's home in the remote "Zangarha area" of the country. But now we can see exactly where that missile hit, and we don't even need access to a spy satellite. Thanks to Google Earth, we get the image above.

Stefan Geens pinpointed the location on his blog Ogle Earth using location information gathered from news accounts. He also figured out where the supposed burial ground was. A decade ago, only a handful of people would have had access to such satellite imagery. Today, anyone can download it for free. CIA and military satellites are still higher resolution, but it makes you wonder how fast the geo-information gap between governments and citizens is closing.

We've also seen recently how the Untied States Holocaust Memorial Museum is using Google Earth to graphically document the ongoing genocide in Darfur. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to hide from Google Earth, which makes us all Big Brother in a sense. That's a good thing (better us than a single government or corporation).

Unfortunately, Google Earth is only retrospective. You can't see what is happening across the globe right now. Maybe one day it will be closer to real time. [TechCrunch/10August2009] 

Soviet Union Wanted to Topple Honecker in 1987. The Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to topple East German leader Erich Honecker to clear the way for revamping the communist state in 1987, two years before the Berlin Wall fell, Berliner Morgenpost reported.

The government in Moscow sought out the East German spymaster Markus Wolf, who had ties with the KGB and spoke fluent Russian, to plot the overthrow of Honecker, Morgenpost said, citing research and interviews. Wolf resigned his post as the chief of Stasi foreign intelligence in February 1987, saying wanted to retire and write books.

The following month, Wolf met in Dresden with then-KGB deputy chief Vladimir Kryuchkov and Hans Modrow, a high-ranking East German communist party member who was designated as the most likely successor to Honecker. At the time, Wolf was unable to get the country's security forces to back him, Morgenpost said.

Gorbachev, who had implemented the "glasnost" and "perestroika" agenda to change the Soviet Union and open its political system, had grown impatient with Honecker's hard-line policies, including orders to shoot those trying to escape East Germany to the West. Honecker was ousted two years later amid massive pro-democracy protests which forced the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. East Germany ceased to exist after the 1990 German reunification. [Donahue/Bloomberg/13August2009] 


Holder & the CIA: To What End? U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's expected appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogation abuses is a bad idea for a host of reasons. The prospect of continuing Democrats' decades-old propensity for tying the hands of intelligence personnel is the most compelling.

Giving such personnel more reasons to shy away from fulfilling their sometimes unpleasant but always necessary missions is not something the Obama administration should do in the face of instability, terrorism and nuclear threats around the globe. Yet Mr. Holder's special prosecutor no doubt would produce that sort of chilling effect.

What Holder seeks also is a legitimate question. Insiders say legal and evidentiary obstacles make criminal convictions unlikely. Most of the cases are five or more years old and have been reviewed by career prosecutors, who concluded they're not worth pursuing. And a special prosecutor surely would exacerbate long-standing tensions between the CIA and the Justice Department - agencies that must work together to protect the American people.

It's curious, too, that Holder would want to counter President Obama's stated desire to move beyond the interrogations issue. With so little to be gained and so much at risk, Holder should drop his special-prosecutor intentions in favor of the greater national good. [PittsburghTrib/14August2009] 

The AIPAC Case and Prejudice, by Gary Wasserman. The conspiracy case against two former AIPAC lobbyists came to an inglorious end in May when the government dropped all charges after 3 1/2 years of pre-trial maneuvers.

It was a curious case: First, the lobbyists, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged under an obscure section of the Espionage Act of 1917, a law that had been used only once before - unsuccessfully and never against private citizens for disclosing classified information. Second, they were targets of a bizarre sting in which they were fed false information suggesting that the lives of U.S. and Israeli operatives in Iraq were at risk and that American officials were refusing to take steps to protect them. The accusation was not that they brokered this information to some foreign enemy but that they offered it to everybody they could, hoping, among other things, to get a reporter from The Post to publish it so that it might draw the attention of the right U.S. officials and save U.S. lives. In short, even if the two were guilty as charged, they look more like whistle-blowers than spies.

But the most curious element of the case is why it was ever brought. Why set up a sting unless you believe there's some underlying pattern of wrongdoing to be exposed? What were the counterespionage people after?

After three years of working on a book on this case, I am still not sure. But now the wired informant in the middle of the affair, Larry Franklin, has raised the specter of bias. The former Pentagon analyst who leaked the bogus tip to the lobbyists told the Washington Times last month that investigators "asked about every Jew I knew" in his office. Anti-Semitism was "part of this investigation and may have been an initial incitement of this investigation."

If so, Ground Zero would be the 23-year-old case of Jonathan Pollard. Here one had a real spy, an American Jew working for the Navy who, out of concern for Israel as well as cash, copied and delivered thousands of classified documents. After his arrest in the 1980s, the belief took hold within counterintelligence circles that he was part of a larger spy ring. This led to the search for a "Mr. X," a high-ranking national security official who had helped direct Pollard to needed documents and continued to operate within the government. So the creation myth was born.

That no Mr. X was ever found is beside the point. More relevant is that Pollard could support an operational frame for organizing and understanding a murky, dangerous world. This anti-Zionist concept holds that Israeli objectives run contrary to U.S. national interests; that many American Jews, including those in senior policymaking positions, suffer from divided loyalties; and that pro-Israel political influence holds sway over U.S. government decisions.

While this politically incorrect frame is not going to be discussed in public speeches, its outline appears with a vengeance in the Rosen-Weissman case.

Franklin was apparently sent out by his FBI handlers to tempt Jews. He tried Adam Ciralsky at CBS News, who had once sued the CIA for anti-Semitism, and Richard Perle, who was on his way to vacation in France, as well as Pentagon employees who had done nothing more than work with Franklin. All turned down the offer of information.

But the bait tempting the AIPAC lobbyists was tastier. After not seeing them for a year, Franklin asked for a meeting, and in an Arlington coffee shop he told Weissman that both American and Israeli agents in Iraq were being targeted by Iran. Could they please use their contacts to tell our White House to stop this plot, he asked, because no one was listening to him? And by the way, this is secret. The lobbyists fell for the plea to save lives. They told the Israelis, they told The Post and they tried to tell the National Security Council. And they were charged with conspiracy.

Ironically, the Rosen-Weissman prosecution makes a botch of the anti-Zionist frame. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the mightiest of the Zionist organizations, looks pathetically vulnerable. Its stature wasn't enough to keep the most pro-Israel administration in recent history from pursuing for four years a ramshackle conspiracy case. Seemingly untouchable AIPAC was touched hard by wiretaps, raids on its offices and subpoenas. Under government pressure, intimidated AIPAC leaders fired the two lobbyists, cut off their legal fees at times and distanced themselves, and their allies on the Hill, from even verbal support.

After years and millions of dollars spent investigating the nefarious "Israel Lobby," the case produced no stolen secrets, no money changing hands, no covert meetings, no high-level, dual-loyal officials, no harm to the national interest and no spies. Pardon me, but where's the corned beef?

If a powerful lobby threatens national security, shouldn't the patriotic supporters of that organization be informed of the evidence? Or if government officials have allowed prejudice to covertly victimize innocent people shouldn't that behavior be made transparent? Or, if an important ally is using ethnic ties to turn supporters into spies, shouldn't the public know?

Of course the case hasn't been all bad for conspirators. The same year AIPAC fired its lobbyists, it used the troubles to raise a record $45 million. And having opponents exaggerate a lobby's power ends up enhancing that power. 

Both the FBI and AIPAC have to be pleased to see this case go away; one to conceal mistakes and biases, the other to hide weakness and disloyalty to its own.

The writer is a professor of government at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.   [Wasserman/WashingtonPost/9August2009] 

Intelligence Chiefs Clash Over CIA Appointments, by Ronald Kessler. In an early test of wills, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has tried to override some of CIA Director Leon Panetta's choices for CIA station chiefs.

Blair has attempted to expand his domain by trying to install personnel from other intelligence agencies to represent the National Intelligence office as the senior intelligence representative in each country over CIA station chiefs.

The disputes between Panetta and Blair are "more personal" than the wrangling that occurred over similar issues between former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell, according to a former high-ranking CIA official. So far, Panetta is holding firm to his choices and is winning the turf battle. 

The skirmishing and jockeying for power raise the question of why we have a national intelligence director in the first place. The idea was that the National Intelligence director, with a staff of a few hundred, would help unify and coordinate the 18 agencies that now compose the intelligence community. But that office now has 1,500 employees and mainly gets in the way.

So, what have those employees done to improve intelligence? Very little, according to a wide swath of people I have talked with in the intelligence community.  [Kessler/Newsmax/August2009]




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.

29 August 2009 10:30 a.m. - Seattle, WA - AFIO Pacific Northwest hosts meeting at The Museum of Flight with presentation on "China, 21st Century Challenge" by Ltc Roger Dong, USAF. Roger S. Dong, Lt Col USAF Ret) will be making presentation on economic political and military developments in China and will discuss the ramifications of the growing power of China and what the U.S. might do to respond to this 21st century challenge. Co. Dong was a China specialist for the Air Force and DoD for 32 years and served as a Defense attach� in Taiwan and an Asst Air attach� (Air Liaison Officer) in Hong Kong. He has lectured at the World Affairs Council, Economic Round Table and many community service organizations on the subject: China, our 21st Century Challenge.
To Register: $25 pp, payable in advance, by check to AFIO, and sent to AFIO PNW, 4616 25th Ave NE Ste 495, Seattle WA 98105.
Questions: RSVP to Fran Dyer at

1 September 2009 - New York, NY - MEETING CANCELED - The AFIO New York Metropolitan Chapter 9/01/09 meeting with Air Force Lt. General David Deptula has been canceled as a result of military considerations.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009, 6:00 p.m. - Las Vegas, NV - The AFIO Las Vegas Chapter meets to hear John B. Alexander, Ph.D. on "Africa: Irregular Warfare on the Dark Continent"
The event takes place at the Nellis Air Force Base Officers' Club. Join them at 5 p.m. in the "Check Six" bar area for Liaison, beverages and snacks/dinner.
Dr. Alexander's presentation is based on a Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) monograph of that title and on a Harvard-JSOU symposium conducted last fall in Washington. He will discuss critical issues prevalent in Africa today: tribes and tribalism, poverty, the impact of population growth, disease, public tolerance (both globally and continentally) for extraordinary levels of casualties, epidemic corruption (and kleptocracies) as well as the unique, widely-diverse geography of the continent. Alexander has been a leading advocate for the development of non-lethal weapons.
To register or for further information call Christine Eppley at 702-295-0073 or email her at

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.

17 September 2009, 11:30 am - Colorado Springs, CO - AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter hears Bryan Cunningham on "National At Risk."Talk to occur at the Air Force Academy, Falcon Club. Markle Foundation's Bryan Cunningham speaks on "Nation at Risk." Cunningham is with the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. RSVP to Tom Van Wormer at

Tuesday, 22 September 2009; 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - Terror Media: Free Speech or Dangerous Weapon? at the Spy Museum
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:

Wednesday, 7 October 2009 - Saturday, 10 October 2009 – Washington, DC - ThrillSpy International Film Festival. ThrillSpy International Film Festival, sponsored by the National Museum of Crime and Punishment and the International Spy Museum, provides a showcase and celebration of the exciting thriller and spy genre of films and novels, will hold its inaugural event in Washington this October. ThrillSpy brings together new independent filmmakers with fans and content distributors who appreciate their creativity. The festival is a four-day event which includes film screenings in Washington’s Penn Quarter, educational lectures, socials, book signings, a tour of the International Spy Museum, and concludes with a ThrillSpy Awards Masquerade Gala. Films this year include special selections from the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. The opening night film is the D.C. premier of The Champagne Spy by Nadav Schirman, an international award-winning documentary about a true “Bond-like” Cold War spy. The festival will also showcase Maryland director Brian Davis’ Academy Award–winning documentary If A Body Meet A Body, which highlights the lives of three employees at the world’s busiest coroner’s office. Street Boss will also make its U.S. debut at ThrillSpy. This crime thriller explores how the FBI brought down one of Detroit’s most infamous mobsters.
For more information please contact or visit

13-16 October 2009 - Las Vegas, NV - AFIO National Symposium - Co-Sponsored with the U.S. Department of Energy, Nellis AFB, Creech AFB.

Register Here while space remains


AFIO 2009 Fall Symposium/Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada
13 October to 16 October, 2009
Co-Sponsored with the
Co-hosted with the AFIO Las Vegas Chapter

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).

Secure Online Registration is here while space remains

Updated agenda for planning your hotel and travel arrangements

Please note: buses will be departing very early on Wednesday morning from hotel, so attendees are encouraged to reserve sleeping rooms at hotel starting Tuesday evening, 13 October.

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 Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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


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