AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #33-09 dated 8 September 2009







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Cold Warriors in the Desert:
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WIN CREDITS FOR THIS ISSUE: The WIN editors thank the following special contributors to this issue:  pjk, dh, clc and fwr.  

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How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade. From a Silicon Valley office strewn with bean-bag chairs, a group of twenty-something software engineers is building an unlikely following of terrorist hunters at U.S. spy agencies.

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.

Palantir's software has helped root out terrorist financing networks, revealed new trends in roadside bomb attacks, and uncovered details of Syrian suicide bombing networks in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the events. It has also foiled a Pakistani suicide bombing plot on Western targets and discovered a spy infiltration of an allied government. It is now being used by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Yet Palantir - which takes its name from the "seeing stones" in the "Lord of the Rings" series - remains an outlier among government security contractors. It rejected advice to hire retired generals to curry favor with the agencies and hired young government analysts frustrated by working with slow-footed technology. The company's founders knew little about intelligence gathering when they started out. Instead, they went on a fact-finding mission, working with analysts to build the product from scratch.

"We were very naive. We just thought this was a cool idea," says Palantir's 41-year-old chief executive Alexander Karp, whose usual dress is a track-suit jacket, blue jeans, and red leather sneakers. "I underestimated how difficult it would be."

Technology like Palantir's is increasingly important to spies confronting an information explosion, where terrorists can hide communications in vast data streams on the Internet. Intelligence agencies are struggling to identify and monitor such information - and quickly send relevant data to the analysts who need it. U.S. officials say the software is also crucial as the country steps up its offensive in difficult theaters like Afghanistan. There, Palantir's software is now being used to analyze constantly shifting tribal dynamics and distinguish potential allies from enemies, according to current and former counterterrorism officials familiar with the work.

"It's a new way of war fighting," says former Assistant Secretary of Defense Mary Beth Long. While there are many good systems, Ms. Long says, with Palantir's software "you can actually point to examples where it was pretty clear that lives were saved."

Palantir's chief rivals are I2 Inc., a 20-year-old software company with offices in McLean, Va., and a handful of defense contractors who have been building software for intelligence agencies for years. I2's general manager, Todd Drake, dismisses his upstart competitor as "the new sexy thing," saying that Palantir won't be able to make lasting inroads in a government market that prizes the stability of established companies. Palantir CEO Mr. Karp says such criticism doesn't trouble him. He says the company is already expanding rapidly.

Palantir's roots date back to 2000, when Mr. Karp returned to the U.S. after living for years in Frankfurt, where he earned his doctorate in German social philosophy and discovered a talent for investing. He reconnected with a buddy from Stanford Law School, Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of online payment company PayPal.

Palantir may look like a typical Silicon Valley start-up, with free food and the usual comforts to make work more like home. But with clients like the FBI and CIA, it's far from the usual software company.

In 2003, Mr. Thiel pitched an idea to Mr. Karp: Could they build software that would uncover terror networks using the approach PayPal had devised to fight Russian cybercriminals?

PayPal's software could make connections between fraudulent payments that on the surface seemed unrelated. By following such leads, PayPal was able to identify suspect customers and uncover cybercrime networks. The company saw a tenfold decrease in fraud losses after it launched the software, while many competitors struggled to beat back cheaters.

Mr. Thiel wanted to design software to tackle terrorism because at the time, he says, the government's response to issues like airport security was increasingly "nightmarish." The two launched Palantir in 2004 with three other investors, but they attracted little interest from venture-capital firms. The company's $30 million start-up costs were largely bankrolled by Mr. Thiel and his own venture-capital fund.

They modeled Palantir's culture on Google's, with catered meals of ahi tuna and a free-form 24-hour workplace wired so 16 people can play the Halo video game. The kitchen is stocked by request with such items as Pepto Bismol and glass bottles of Mexican Coca Cola sweetened with sugar not corn syrup. The company recently hosted its own battle of the bands.

One of the venture firms that rejected Palantir's overtures steered the company to In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit venture-capital firm established by the CIA a decade ago to tap innovation that could be used for intelligence work. As Silicon Valley's venture funding dries up, In-Q-Tel says it has seen a surge of requests from start-ups in the last year or so, many of which now see the government as an alternate money stream.

In-Q-Tel invested about $2 million in Palantir and provided a critical entre� to the CIA and other agencies. For his first spy meeting in 2005, Mr. Karp shed his track suit for a sports coat. He arrived at an agency - he won't say which one - and was immediately "freaked out" by security officers guarding the building with guns. In a windowless, code-locked room, he introduced himself to the first official he met: "Hi, I'm Alex Karp," Mr. Karp said, offering his hand. No response. "I didn't know you really don't ask their names," he says now.

Mr. Karp showed the group a prototype. The software was similar to PayPal's fraud-detection system. But instead of identifying and connecting cyber criminals, it focused on two hypothetical terror suspects and followed their activities, including travel and money transfers.

After the demo, he was peppered with skeptical questions: Is anyone at your company cleared to work with classified information? Have you ever worked with intelligence agencies? Do you have senior advisers who have worked with intelligence agencies? Do you have a sales force that is cleared to work with classified information? The answer every time: no.

But the group was sufficiently intrigued by the demo, and In-Q-Tel arranged for Palantir engineers to meet directly with intelligence analysts, to help build a comprehensive search tool from scratch.

Every other week for about two years, the engineers returned to Washington with a revised product, based on analysts' requests. The approach won over a number of tech-savvy younger analysts who asked their bosses to adopt the software.

Spy agencies like the CIA and military intelligence organizations have hundreds of databases each, most of which aren't linked up. A single database might contain reports from field agents or lists of known terrorists or companies thought to be financing terrorism. To conduct an investigation, analysts have to query individual databases separately, then try to make sense of the data - frequently with pen and paper.

With many of the existing search tools, analysts also can't access some files on terrorist suspects or other threats because a bit of data in the file is classified at a level higher than they are allowed to see. That is a problem, because making connections among new clues and existing data is a key to foiling terrorist plots. Among the missed opportunities cited by post-9/11 investigations were the failure to see that five of the 19 hijackers used the same phone number as ringleader Mohammad Atta to book their airline tickets, two used the same frequent-flier number, and five used two common addresses to make their reservations.

Palantir's software plugs these gaps by using a "tagging" technique similar to that used by the search functions on most Web sites. Palantir tags, or categorizes, every bit of data separately, whether it be a first name, a last name or a phone number. That means if only one piece of data in a file is classified top-secret, an analyst with a lower level clearance can still see the rest of the data. It also allows analysts to quickly tag information themselves as it arrives in the form of field reports from spies overseas, and to see who else in the agency is doing similar research so they can share their findings.

By connecting different databases, analysts can start making new links. Someone could see, for example, that one terrorist suspect flagged in one database has been living at the same address as the cousin of another suspect whose information is in another database, and that the two men flew to the same city after money was transferred to a particular bank account.

Some analysts say Palantir's strength is helping analysts draw inferences when confronted with an enormous amount of disparate data. Palantir's tool is getting a thumbs-up from officers using it. "It is much simpler to understand the results of inquiries, and provides more in-depth database links then the current programs in use by the Army today," says Captain James King, an Army intelligence officer.

A handful of agencies have adopted Palantir's software for specific projects. The Pentagon recently used it to track patterns in roadside bomb deployment. Officials say analysts were able to connect two reports and conclude that garage-door openers were being used as remote detonators and soldiers on the ground had a new device to look for.

Analysts at West Point recently used Palantir's software to map evidence of Syrian suicide-bombing networks buried within nearly 700 al Qaeda documents, including hundreds of personnel records that the military recovered in Iraq. The analysts did an initial sweep of the data without the Palantir tool and assembled a report on foreign fighters in Iraq who were paying Syrian middlemen to send over suicide bombers.

A second analysis with Palantir uncovered more details of the Syrian networks, including profiles of their top coordinators, which led analysts to conclude there wasn't one Syrian network, but many. Analysts identified key facilitators, how much they charged people who wanted to become suicide bombers, and where many of the fighters came from. Fighters from Saudi Arabia, for example, paid the most - $1,088 - for the opportunity to become suicide bombers.

Such details helped local law enforcement break up some of the rings, said one U.S. official familiar with the work. It also revealed the extent to which al Qaeda was relying on mercenary smuggling networks, rather than true believers, to get suicide bombers into Iraq.

In the past two years, Palantir's work in Washington has expanded from eight pilot programs to more than 50 projects, executives say. The Australian government is now a client, and the NSA is eyeing Palantir, as is the U.K., current and former government officials say.

The company expects to turn a profit on its government work this year - it recently started working with financial companies, but says it is too early to see any profits from that yet - and for revenues to reach $100 million within the next two years. Palantir also maintains a pro-bono roster. It examined the cyber attacks on the central Asian country of Georgia last year, and earlier this year helped Canadian researchers uncover a cyberspying operation on the Dalai Lama. The company is now working with a nonprofit investigative group in Washington to resolve open questions in the 2002 murder of The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

In 2007, Mr. Karp hired his first intelligence-agency alum, David Worn, to open a Washington office. Mr. Worn says he was among the younger agency analysts who felt trapped in an outdated system.

As he builds up the East Coast office, which now employs 20 people, Mr. Worn says that the company is still figuring out "how to live in those two worlds" of Silicon Valley and Washington. One thing that does seem to help: He and his colleagues make frequent trips to Palo Alto to make sure they don't lose "the vibe of the Shire," the home of the hobbits from Lord of the Rings. [Gorman/WallStreetJournal/4September2009] 

Terrorist on German Spy Service Payroll. German intelligence agency reportedly paid a convicted terrorist for spy services for years.

Verena Becker, a former Red Army Faction member arrested last week in connection with a political murder committed three decades ago, for years worked as a secret service informant.

German media reports said she was paid as much as $70,000 for tips that led to the arrest of several other RAF terrorists.

Last week Becker was arrested in her apartment in Berlin because police found new evidence linking her to the 1977 murder of Siegfried Buback - then Germany's top terrorist hunter.

Buback in April 1977 was driven to work when two masked individuals on a motorbike approached the car and emptied their machine guns into it, killing Buback and two bodyguards. The killing marked the beginning of the German autumn, a period of bombings, abductions and assassinations staged by the RAF, the far-left terrorist group that terrorized Germany for more than two decades.

A court convicted the four RAF terrorists - Christian Klar, Knut Folkerts, Guenter Sonnenberg and Brigitte Mohnhaupt - of planning and executing the Buback murder, but the prosecutor's son Michael Buback and several experts have long questioned the validity of that verdict.

Becker in 1977 was sentenced to life in prison for seriously wounding a police officer (she was pardoned in 1989). She should have been a serious suspect for the Buback murder as well: When Becker and Sonnenberg were arrested, they were in possession of the weapon that killed Buback - but Becker was never tried for that.

Instead, she tipped off German authorities on the whereabouts of Klar and Mohnhaupt and the structure of the RAF. Buback's son Michael for years has researched his father's murder and has always believed that Becker was protected by German authorities.  [UPI/4September2009] 

Lack Of Translators Still Hampers Intelligence. U.S. national security agencies remain woefully short of foreign-language speakers and translators nearly eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 resulted in a war on an enemy that often communicates in relatively obscure dialects, current and former officials say.

The necessary cadre of U.S. intelligence personnel capable of reading and speaking targeted regional languages such as Pashto, Dari and Urdu "remains essentially nonexistent," the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence wrote in a rare but stark warning in its 2010 budget report.

The gap has become critical in the war effort, especially in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, where al Qaeda and Taliban operatives text message, e-mail and talk in languages that the intelligence community had largely ignored before 2001.

Intercepting phone and radio calls in the region's native tongues is critical to monitoring terrorist camps and movements in Pakistan's tribal areas, officials said.

The National Security Agency (NSA), based at Fort Meade, Md., channels the calls to translation centers, where linguists are supposed to quickly translate the words into English so that they can be distributed in reports and raw transcripts to commanders and policymakers. But such quick follow-through does not always happen.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the senior Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Washington Times that US agencies remain "behind the eight ball" in catching up on dialects not deemed important during the Cold War.

Intelligence officials say they've offered significant sums of money to try to lure more translators, but recruitment remains slow and some attractive candidates have trouble passing the review for security clearances.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta, who has vowed to change the culture at Langley, sent out a message in May to employees announcing "an aggressive plan to build the truly multilingual work force we need." He said he wants to double the number of analysts and clandestine service officers who speak foreign languages and "dramatically transform the way CIA trains in foreign language capability."

A former intelligence officer who worked on methods to intercept calls while in Afghanistan told The Times that finding or training people to speak obscure languages is easier said than done.

The former officer, who asked not to be named because the information is classified, said intelligence agency representatives have visited polyglot locations such as Detroit to recruit native speakers.

"They were able to find many recent immigrants and first-generation U.S. citizens with needed language skills," he said. "But none of them could pass a background check."

To listen to and translate al Qaeda telephone calls, or interrogate a suspect, translators must attain a top-secret clearance. But investigators often found that the candidate belonged to a mosque where extremism was preached, or had relatives back home deemed "not trustworthy," the former officer said.

"They are likely to be swayed by their family," the source added. "At least that is the conventional wisdom."

He said he had personal knowledge of tapped phone calls going untranslated for days because of personnel shortages. There are only a handful of security-cleared Kurdish speakers in the United States, Canada and Britain - countries that trade intercepted communications.

"Anything that goes on in northern Iraq, where Kurdish is spoken, is really tough for us," the former officer said. He recalled an Iraqi bomb maker in the Kurdish north whose calls were intercepted but not translated for days, allowing him to stay on the move.

The source added that inhabitants of the Korengal Valley, in the Taliban- infested Kunar province in Afghanistan, speak their own little-known dialect.

The Senate intelligence committee is now applying its own pressure. Its budget report for fiscal 2010 stated, "persistent critical shortages in some languages contribute to the loss of intelligence information and affect the ability of the intelligence community to process and exploit what it does collect."

The report devoted only a few paragraphs to the issue and didn't spell out in detail why the CIA, the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency are not fully staffed with foreign-language specialists.

Without a full cadre of native speakers, the intelligence community must rely on trained Americans. But Pashto, Dari and other dialects are difficult to learn and take years to master. Americans cannot duplicate the intricate knowledge of native speakers.

"Once they are trained that well they can make more money elsewhere," the former intelligence officer said. Indeed, the NSA relies on private contractors to do some of the translating, as does the military.

The FBI makes up one prong of the U.S. intelligence community cited in the Senate panel report. The bureau contends that it has assembled a strong cadre of regional language speakers, in-house and with private contractors.

Its role is critical: It translates thousands of al Qaeda documents seized here and abroad, and interrogates terrorism suspects around the world. The FBI also may have a larger interrogation role now that the Obama White House has taken control of interrogations away from the CIA.

"We have recruited many more language specialists since 9/11 as well as our part in the Virtual Translation Center," Assistant FBI Director John Miller said. The center is a multiagency facility intended to pull various language skills into one place.

"On the subject of the recently announced joint interrogation teams, one of the strengths of it is that you are working off a multiagency platform, so between all the participating agencies, you should be able to find the right speaker with the right dialect for the mission," Mr. Miller said in an e-mail.

But Stephen Kohn, a Washington lawyer who has represented two FBI whistleblowers who have suspected failings in the bureau's anti-terrorism efforts, said the committee's criticism applies to the bureau, too.

"They just don't have the speakers, especially in any type of operational capacity," Mr. Kohn said.

The lawyer bases his view on his representation of whistleblowers Sibel Edmonds and Bassem Youssef, two FBI employees who made charges of discrimination and incompetence inside the bureau's counterterrorism efforts. Ms. Edmonds was a translator, and Mr. Youssef is an agent who worked in counterterrorism. Mr. Kohn quizzed senior FBI managers about their capabilities in depositions in both cases.

"In the Cold War, people studied Russian or Chinese and came up through the ranks speaking those languages. But in the war on terror, with these languages, it just came upon the United States," Mr. Kohn said. "It was all of a sudden different languages are needed. No one spoke it. In the entire FBI, at the GS-15 level and above, there were three fluent Arabic-speaking agents at the time of 9/11. Three in 15,000. The same thing for the CIA.

"If they made Arabic or any of these other languages required, those people who were in line to get management jobs, and had friends, wouldn't get the jobs. So I can tell you at the FBI, as startling as this sounds, they decided consciously not to require Arabic speaking for any supervisory position in the entire FBI."

Mr. Kohn said few, if any, managers, speak regional languages, so they must rely on translators. "This at best constitutes a delay that has caused major operational problems," he said.

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson disputed Mr. Kohn's characterization of few managers being able to speak regional languages.

"That is incorrect. 95% of our linguists are native speakers of the foreign languages who are well-versed in the cultures and religions. We have linguist supervisors proficient in Hindi, Urdu, Farsi and Arabic - who have been promoted from the linguist ranks," Mr. Bresson said in an e-mail.

"The bureau is well positioned in many of the languages that support the war on terror; however, we still need linguists in many of the less-commonly spoken languages to be able to address 100% of our requirements. For now we have the capability to handle all of our highest priority needs."

Mr. Kohn said the problems in the FBI cited by his clients are not unique.

"What Bassem told me was it is the same problem the CIA has, the same problem NSA has," Mr. Kohn said. "All of these agencies did not adequately prepare before and have not staffed up after. The Senate committee's observations are 100 percent on point even today. The failure of the intelligence community to require foreign language skills as a prerequisite for promotion has undermined national security and created a disincentive for recruitment."

Mr. Hoekstra, asked to explain the lack of progress, said, "I just think this is one where they had other priorities they think they should have been working on. It's just a lack of focus, lack of priorities and a lack of management."

The Senate committee is looking for results. It wants agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy by year's end, and it added budget money to fix what it called "this perpetual problem." [Scarborough/WashingtonTimes/31August2009] 

Spy Says Peaceful Nuke Program Ridiculous. Michael Ross is a dual Canadian-Israeli citizen and former Mossad agent who worked for the agency between 1989 and 2001. He tells of his career as a spy in a book "The Volunteer: A Canadian's Secret Life in the Mossad." One of his many duties included serving as a spy in Iran.

Q: When did you work in Iran?
A: In the early 1990s, when Iran started developing its nuclear weapons program; it later became an ongoing operation.

Q: What was your purpose there?
A: We checked whether or not it was possible to operate in the selected areas where Iran was likely to set up nuclear weapons facilities.

Q: Was being a spy in Iran a huge challenge?
A: Activities in Islamic regimes are bound to be difficult. As a Westerner you immediately stand out as a foreigner. We needed to take strict precautions to protect our cover. When countries like Syria barely had telephones working, Iranians were already branching out to computers. It's a regime that wants to keep a technological edge.

Q: What else stood in your way?
A: Iran was pretty isolated. If we got in trouble our special forces couldn't reach us, and this is the regime that does not have problems shooting its own people. This became obvious after the last elections.

Q. Don't you think Iran may just want a peaceful energy program?
A: There is no doubt about the fact that it is a weapons program. The scope of the program is huge. They are hiding it ... where they have set up heavy water plants and they have weapons laboratory in Tehran. How could anybody say it is not a weapons program? It is ridiculous. Iran is one of the major producers of oil. It imports half of its gasoline - that's why they spend so much effort on their nuclear program and not on developing gasoline refineries. [Denisiuk/Metro/31August2009]

China Surveillance. The Pentagon has rejected a demand by China to halt air and naval surveillance of the country.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said the recent demand made by Chinese officials at a meeting in Beijing under the auspices of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement was rejected.

"We have given the PRC that position numerous times, most recently at the MMCA," Mr. Morrell told Inside the Ring.

He went on to state: "Without commenting on intelligence operations that may or may not be taking place, I can say that the U.S. Navy operates in international waters all over the world, including off the coast of China. We are perfectly within our rights to do so, just as the Chinese or any other navy would be. Such missions should not be viewed as a security or economic threat to anyone."

China's Defense Ministry issued a statement last week blaming U.S. air and sea surveillance for "military confrontations between the two sides."

"The way to resolve China-U.S. maritime incidents is for the U.S. to change its surveillance and survey operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop such operations," the statement after the two-day military meeting said.  [Gertz/WashingtonTimes/3September2009] 

Russian FSB Detains Georgian Spy. A Russian cab driver admitted spying for Georgia during his trial at a Supreme Court in Russia's southern republic of North Ossetia.

Russia's Prosecutor General's Office said Alexander Khachirov was recruited while in Georgia, when he was approached by Georgian border authorities. Investigators said Khachirov's taxi was fitted with a hidden video camera which he used to secretly film Russian military movements and gather intelligence for Georgia.

Khachirov could face up to 20 years in prison for state treason.

A Russian military court last week sentenced Lt. Col. Mikhail Khachidze, a deputy unit commander in the North Caucasus Military District, to six years in prison for high treason and espionage and stripped him of his rank.

Khachidze was recruited by Georgian military intelligence in October 2007 and passed them military secrets.

Khachidze was arrested in August 2008 during the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia. [RiaNovosti/3September2009] 

Thai Court Rejects Viktor Bout's Bail Request. A Thai court refused on Wednesday to release alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on bail and under guarantees from his lawyer and Russian diplomats.

Bout's family earlier appealed to the Bangkok Criminal Court to release him on bail in a motion submitted by his defense and Russian Embassy officials.

The court said it could not grant Bout bail because the Thai prosecutors representing the United States had submitted an extradition appeal to a Thai court and due to the "high risk of the Russian leaving Thailand."

The amount of bail offered by the Bout's family was $45,000.

Bout's wife has said he has no intention to leave Thailand until court proceedings are completely finished.

One of Bout's lawyers said on Wednesday that the defense could try two more times to request Bout's release on bail until his case is submitted to the appeals court.

Former Russian army officer Bout, 42, was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents.

The Bangkok Criminal Court refused in August to extradite Bout to the United States, where he is accused of conspiring with others to sell millions of dollars' worth of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), among other illegal arms deals, and "threatening lives of U.S. citizens."

Thai prosecutors representing Washington in the trial lodged an appeal on August 26 against the Bangkok court's ruling. The appeal process could take several months but the appeals court ruling will be final, as Thailand's Supreme Court does not review extradition cases.

Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, has been linked to some of the world's most notorious conflicts, allegedly supplying arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The United States is seeking Bout's extradition on charges he conspired to sell FARC weapons including more than 700 surface-to-air missiles, thousands of guns, high-tech helicopters and airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles. He has been indicted on four terrorism-related charges in New York and could face up to life in jail.

Bout's nickname, the "Merchant of Death," came in 2000 from a minister at Britain's Foreign Office who was concerned about Bout allegedly ferrying weapons around Africa. He has been the subject of UN sanctions, a Belgian money-laundering indictment and an assets freeze by the United States. [RussiaNovoski/2September2009] 

CIA Asks Justice to Probe Leaks of Secrets. Besieged by leaks of several closely held secrets, the CIA has asked the Justice Department to examine what it regards as the criminal disclosure of a secret program to kill foreign terrorist leaders abroad.

Two U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the case, said the leak investigation involved a program that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told Congress about in June and that surfaced in news reports just a month later.

The vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence declined to discuss any possible leak investigations but told the Times on Thursday that a growing number of disclosures of highly secret programs, tactics and other information had caused "irreparable damage" to the U.S. intelligence community.

"They foil our attempts to carry out classified missions," Sen. Christopher S. Bond said in an interview. "They tell our intelligence community: We don't have your back; we're stabbing you in the back. Our allies ask us, 'How can we trust you to deal in classified matters in private, when the details are leaked to the press?'"

Bond, a Republican from Missouri, said he heard this refrain in recent meetings with heads of European, South Asian and Middle Eastern allied intelligence services. "Nobody has told me they won't cooperate, but they are asking the question," he said. [WashingtonTimes/4September2009] 

Jury Convicts Three Men of Conspiracy to Use Fake Diplomatic Identification. Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that three men with connections to the sovereign citizen movement were convicted by a federal jury today of participating in a conspiracy to use fraudulent diplomatic credentials.

David L. Robinson, 66, of Lawrence, Kan., Daniel W. Denham, 50, of Kingsville, Mo., Larry P. Goodyke, 52, of Henderson, Nev., were found guilty of all charges contained in an Aug. 6, 2008, federal indictment.

The co-defendants are involved in various sovereign citizen groups that reject governmental authority and claim that most branches of the federal government are illegitimate entities.

Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Robinson, Denham and Goodyke participated in a conspiracy to use, as well as to buy and sell, fraudulent diplomatic identification cards beginning sometime prior to July 11, 2006, until Oct. 18, 2007. The three-by-four-inch laminated cards, which identified the bearer as an "Ambassador," contained a photograph of the bearer of the card, the seal of the U.S. Department of State and the words "Diplomatic Identification." Goodyke also created license plates for those with diplomatic credentials; the license plates bore the seal of the Department of State.

Customers paid from $450 to $2,000 to receive a diplomatic identification card after the defendants told their customers that the cards would grant them sovereign status. As sovereign citizens, the defendants claimed, their customers would enjoy diplomatic immunity and would no longer have to pay taxes or be subject to being stopped, detained, or arrested by law enforcement personnel.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about four hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 24, 2009.

Robinson and Denham were the original leaders of the group. Robinson's role in the conspiracy primarily consisted of explaining the process to individuals who were interested in obtaining a fraudulent diplomatic identification card, then obtaining for the individual an apostille. An apostille is a document, issued by a state government, certifying that an underlying document has been signed by a notary public. The apostille was needed for the individual's Act of State - a one-page, single-spaced document through which the defendants and their customers purported to renounce their citizenship of the United States. The defendants claimed that an Act of State was required before the individual could receive an identification card.

The defendants falsely told their customers that the return of an apostille on a notarized document made it legally binding, and provided proof that the state reviewed and found legitimate the individual's claim of status as a sovereign citizen, thus providing him with diplomatic immunity. In reality, an apostille in no way legitimizes, or legalizes, the contents of a document, but simply certifies the legitimacy of a notary stamp on a document. By issuing an apostille, the state is certifying that the submitted document (the Act of State) was notarized and stamped by a licensed notary. The apostille number was then used on the fraudulent identification cards.

Denham referred customers to Robinson in order to acquire an apostille, then Robinson referred customers to Denham to order their identification cards.

Goodyke and co-defendant Blake W. Bestol, 48, of Cheyenne, Wyo., were customers of Robinson and Denham who ordered fraudulent identification cards from them. Bestol pleaded guilty on July 28, 2009, to buying fraudulent diplomatic credentials.

Goodyke and Bestol became involved in the conspiracy by modifying, improving, and revising the cards. Goodyke also sold and transferred numerous cards to others. Bestol developed modifications to the identification cards to increase their effectiveness. Bestol forwarded these modifications to Goodyke and Denham, who incorporated them into future versions of the diplomatic identification cards, according to the indictment.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Robinson, Denham and Goodyke were found guilty of multiple counts of illegally using fraudulent diplomatic credentials bearing the seal of the U.S. Department of State. Robinson was also found guilty of wrongfully using a government seal or instrument for displaying one of the fraudulent diplomatic identification cards to a Kansas City, Mo., police officer when he was stopped on Sept. 20, 2007.

Under federal statutes, Robinson is subject to a sentence of up to 65 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $3,250,000. Denham is subject to a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $2 million. Goodyke is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1.5 million. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexander Menzel, Jr., and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel J. Stewart and Brian Casey. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Services and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department. [DOJ/31August2009] 

Bernier Papers Contained Crucial Intelligence. Maxime Bernier may be gone from the Canadian federal cabinet, but the controversy that ousted him from the lofty foreign affairs post a year ago is not forgotten.

Weeks of political nightmare for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in 2008 were resurrected yesterday with accusations in the Quebec newspaper Le Devoir that the secret documents he mistakenly left at a former girlfriend's apartment contained "crucial intelligence for (Canada's) enemies."

The 560 pages of material to prepare Bernier for the April, 2008 NATO summit included Canada's stance on the treatment of Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan, missile defence, the presence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Dalai Lama and arms control in the Middle East.

It was, noted Le Devoir, a treasure trove of sensitive information that included details of what Bernier planned to discuss with his foreign counterparts. Much of the material, obtained under the Access to Information Act, was blacked out by government censors.

Bernier resigned on May 26, 2008 after Julie Couillard returned the material to the federal government. The Montreal real estate agent had been married to and dated men connected to Quebec's biker gangs.

Bernier condemned the article yesterday. "The journalist grounds his assertion not on the nature of the information itself - which he has not seen - but on the fact that the word 'Secret' is marked on sections of the documents ... and the fact that paragraphs were taken out by civil servants before he obtained the document, which was totally predictable since we're talking about secret documents," he wrote on his personal website.  [TheStar/3September2009] 

Al Qaeda-Linked American Terrorist Unveiled, as Charges Await Him in U.S. A week after the 9/11 attacks, a young Muslim at the University of South Alabama told the school's newspaper it was "difficult to believe a Muslim could have done this."

Now, eight years later, he is professing to launch attacks himself and calling on others to join the fight, as terror-related charges await him at home in Alabama.

Abu Mansour al-Amriki - or "The American" - has become one of the most recognizable and outspoken voices of terrorist propaganda.

He has been in war-torn Somalia for several years, fighting the secular government there with a group known as al-Shabaab, which has ties to Al Qaeda and was labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government last year. Only recently has he taken on a starring - and jarring - role in al-Shabaab's outreach efforts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into him for several years. In fact, a grand jury in Mobile, Ala., has already indicted him on charges of providing material support to terrorists, a source said. It's unclear when the indictment was filed.

Al-Amriki first surfaced in October 2007, when Al-Jazeera TV aired a report about the "common goal" of Al Qaeda and hard-line militants in Somalia. The report described al-Amriki as "a fighter" and "military instructor," but he concealed his face with a cloth wrap throughout the report.

In April, he showed his face for the first time, during a highly-polished, 30-minute recruitment video posted online. It featured anti-American hip-hop and sporadic images of Usama bin Laden.

In the video, he purportedly led a group of al-Shabaab militants in an ambush of pro-government forces in Somalia. Speaking about one man killed in the fight, he said, "We need more like him, so if you can encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors, anyone around, to send people like him to this jihad, it would be a great asset for us."

The violent world that 25-year-old al-Amriki now inhabits is a stark contrast to the sleepy, suburban life he left behind.

He was born Omar Hammami in May 1984, and he grew up outside Mobile, Ala., in the city of Daphne.

Despite inching toward a population of 25,000 in recent years, Daphne still maintains "the ambience of a small town where the people are friendly and caring, and newcomers soon become good friends," according to the city's Web site. The city has streets with names like "Whispering Pines Road."

In fact, U.S. News & World Report calls it one of the "Best Places" in the country. And among Daphne's top assets, according to the city's Web site, are its "reputable schools."

Hammami attended Daphne High School. He was raised Baptist like his mother, but his father is Muslim, and "some time in high school" Hammami converted to Islam, a woman who went to high school with Hammami said.

The woman, Shellie Brooks, said she is not sure what led Hammami to convert. But the father of a student who went to school with Hammami said Hammami would tell others "he was not fulfilled by his Baptist experience."

Brooks said Hammami would take time out from classes throughout the day to pray.

"It was kind of odd just because it had never been done before," Brooks said. "There weren't many Muslims that went to Daphne High School. He basically just went outside, and you'd see him kneeling and praying as Muslims do."

She said, "Everybody was really accepting of it."

After converting, he frequented the Islamic Society of Mobile, one of the most popular mosques in the Mobile area. A call to the mosque was not returned.

As for Daphne High School, it looks like the all-American high school straight out of the TV show "Friday Night Lights" - complete with the picturesque football field and massive flood lights. Before classes each morning, a small group of students gathers in front of the school to hold hands in Christian prayer. A short time later, a different group carries out an American flag, lifts it to the top of a pole, and stands hands-over-hearts as the "Pledge of Allegiance" is recited over a loudspeaker.

The school's principal, Don Blanchard, remembers Hammami as a good student who didn't get into too much trouble.

"Omar, he was just one of us, he was a good kid," Blanchard said.

Brooks described Hammami as a "very intellectual guy."

"He was in honors classes, and any gifted classes he was in," she said. "He was really well liked. He had a tons of friends, and of course things changed a bit when he converted because his beliefs changed."

According to school yearbooks, Hammami didn't participate in any organized school activities. But his last school photo in 2001 shows a smiling, skinny boy with short hair - almost unrecognizable as Abu Mansour al-Amriki except for the unmistakable nose and ears. That same year, at age 17, he left high school a year early and enrolled at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Shortly after he started classes at the University of South Alabama, Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks. A week later, the school newspaper The Vanguard ran a story about the impact the attacks might have on Muslim communities. It quoted the new president of the school's Muslim Student Association: Omar Hammami.

"Everyone was really shocked," Hammami told The Vanguard at the time. "Even now it's difficult to believe a Muslim could have done this."

Hammami told The Vanguard he was worried there could be misguided acts of retribution against Muslims.

"The only way to diffuse this is to get the word out," said Hammami, who would later drop out of college and travel to several countries before landing in Somalia. "With ignorance comes fear and with fear comes violence."

Violence is what Hammami, as al-Amriki, now says is necessary in Somalia - even as he remembers the life he left behind in Alabama.

"The only reason we're staying here away from our families, away from the cities, away from, you know, ice, candy bars, all these other things is because we are waiting to meet with the enemy," he said in the April video posted online.

Blanchard expressed surprise that the person he once knew could now be in Somalia.

"I guess you never know what's going to happen the next day, or what somebody, what influences they may have or come across that leads them on a path other than what it appeared that they might be on," Blanchard said.

Al-Amriki's most recent message came out in July, a month after President Barack Obama promised "a new beginning" with the Muslim world during a speech in Cairo.

"Despite the fact that you have been ... forced [by Muslim fighters] to at least pretend to extend your hand in peace to the Muslims, we cannot and shall not extend our hands," al-Amriki said in an audiotape. "Rather, we shall extend to you our swords, until you leave our lands."

The United States and other countries have recently been assisting Somalia's government in its battle against al-Shabaab. Somalia has had no stable government since 1991, when dictator Siad Barre was ousted from power. A newer secular government has had trouble keeping Muslim militants at bay, and in 2006 fighting with al-Shabaab intensified after Western-backed Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia. U.S. officials say if al-Shabaab prevails, Somalia could turn into a haven for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The FBI, in particular, has been keeping a close eye on al-Shabaab's moves. In addition to Hammami's case, for much of the past year the FBI has been looking into how dozens of young men from the Minneapolis area and elsewhere were recruited to train and possibly fight alongside al-Shabaab in Somalia.

In October 2008, 27-year-old college student Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis became "the first known American suicide bomber" when he blew himself up in Somalia, killing dozens, according to the FBI. Since then at least four more men from Minneapolis have been killed in Somalia, according to their families.

A grand jury in Minneapolis has been investigating the case for several months, and three men have already pleaded guilty to terror-related charges, including providing material support to terrorists. The indictments said the men traveled to Somalia "so that they could fight jihad" there.

The FBI in Mobile and Washington declined to comment for this article, referring questions to the U.S. Attorney's office in Mobile, which could not be reached.  [Levine/FoxNews/3September2009] 

FBI Investigates Laptops Sent To Governors. The FBI is investigating why unsolicited laptops have been sent to 10 governors' offices across the nation. The shipments have spurred cybersecurity concerns.

The mystery machines arrived last month at governors' offices in West Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming, and Washington state and were turned over to law enforcement, according to media reports. Shipments to six other states were intercepted.

State officials assumed the computers were not sent as a gift, and could contain a Trojan horse, keylogger, botnet program, or some other malware meant to penetrate the security of state or federal networks. As of Thursday, however, the FBI had not disclosed what it had found on the PCs, Kyle Schafer, chief technology officer for West Virginia, told InformationWeek.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin's office received five of the machines, which spurred a state of "heightened security awareness," Schafer said.

"We're making all agencies much more aware of things potentially being delivered that they don't recall ordering, and making sure they don't plug anything into our network that doesn't belong there," Schafer said.

Two HP computers were shipped to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in August. Both had been paid for with a credit card in the governor's name, but his staff said the card did not belong to him. The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports a similar pattern - of online purchases made with credit cards bearing the names of, but not belonging to, other governors - has emerged in other states.

The National Governors Association has issued a bulletin warning governors' offices about the mystery shipments. The computers were ordered from Hewlett-Packard and arrived in two separate shipments bearing either the HP or Compaq brand. The first shipment arrived on Aug. 3, according to news reports.

HP in a statement to the Associated Press acknowledged that the orders were fraudulent and said the company is working with law enforcement.

If the systems are found to contain malware, then the apparent scheme would mirror criminal distribution of malware-loaded USB devices around company offices. The idea is to have employees find the devices and plug them into a computer, launching malicious applications that could give crooks access to the corporate network.

Oddly perhaps, states at the end of the alphabet appear to have been targeted: Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Vermont. [Gonsalves/InformationWeek/4September2009] 

FBI Investigates Ex-Defense Official for Espionage. Walter Kendall Myers spent more than two decades deep in the bureaucracy of the U.S. State Department until this week, when federal authorities accused him of a life of intrigue and espionage as a clandestine agent for one of the United States' longtime antagonists: the communist government of Cuba.

The 72-year-old retired State Department employee - who had enjoyed top-secret security clearance - and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, appeared in federal court Friday, charged with serving as illegal agents for Cuba for nearly 30 years and conspiring to deliver classified information to its government. They pleaded not guilty.

According to documents unsealed Friday in Washington, Myers, a former analyst on Europe for the State Department, and his bank employee wife agreed in 1979 to deliver U.S. secrets to Cuba.

A peek inside the apartment of husband-and-wife spy suspects reveals a shortwave radio, a sailing guide to Cuban waters - and now a copy of The Spy's Bedside Book , according to new court documents in the case.

The filings in the case of the Washington couple accused of spying for Cuba for almost three decades paint a Cold War-esque picture of their lives.

Investigators found a copy of the spy-lore book in the apartment of Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn. The 1957 anthology was compiled by Our Man In Havana author Graham Greene - a former British intelligence officer - and brother Hugh.

The apartment where two accused Cuban spies live is just 2.6 miles from the Cuban government's equivalent of an embassy - too close for authorities to stop them if they tried to flee there, a U.S. magistrate said Wednesday. He ordered the couple jailed until trial.

''Once they enter that building,'' U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola wrote in his detention order, ``they will have effectively fled from the United States.'' 

Alberto Coll, a Cuban American who lost a senior job at the Navy War College after he was convicted of lying about a trip to Havana, was also investigated for espionage, according to an FBI document.

Coll was never charged with espionage, and has long denied any wrongdoing beyond the 2004 trip, which he declared was to see a sick aunt. His lawyer acknowledged he had visited a "girlfriend.''

Five years after the trip, the Department of Justice refuses to release details of the investigation of the former deputy assistant secretary of defense, saying the files are classified as "Secret.''

In a response to a Miami Herald request for all FBI records on his case, a bureau official wrote an Aug. 25 declaration explaining why the documents were classified.

"Specifically, the FBI's investigation focused on espionage and censorship in violation 18 USC 793, fraud and false statements in violation of 18 USC 1001 and foreign registration act'' wrote David M. Hardy, head of the Record/Information Dissemination section at FBI headquarters' Records Management Division.

The "foreign registration act'' requires agents of foreign governments to register with the State Department, and is sometimes used to accuse spies.

Coll told The Miami Herald in a telephone interview that he was aware of how the investigations into his actions began, but insisted he did nothing wrong other than lying about the visit.

"We have known that's the kind of investigation the government started,'' Coll said. "In the case of Cuba, the [U.S.] government is going to investigate everything, including the possibility of espionage. . . Obviously, at the end of the day, there was no evidence.''

Coll, who was born in Cuba in 1955 and came to the United States in 1969, served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflicts under President George H. Bush, and later as head of the strategic studies department at the Navy War College in Rhode Island. He held a secret clearance in both jobs.

On June 7, 2005, he pleaded guilty to the charge of lying about his trip to Cuba. He was sentenced to one year's probation and received a $5,000 fine, left the War College and now teaches at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. The majority of people accused of illegal travel to Cuba face fines, not criminal charges.

Although he was perceived as a conservative when he worked at the Pentagon, while at the War College he often advocated for improved U.S. relations with Cuba. After his conviction, he continued to argue for easing or lifting U.S. sanctions on the island.

A month after his conviction, the Justice Department said no documents could be released because of Coll's right to privacy.

The Herald filed suit in U.S. court in Miami arguing that the documents were part of a criminal investigation that should be made public; that Coll has a much diminished right to privacy because his government jobs and advocacy on Cuba issues makes him a public figure; and that the investigation relates to his position as a public figure.

The Justice Department turned over several documents to Judge Adalberto Jordan last year, but asked they be kept under seal for his review on what documents or parts of documents could be made public. And on Aug. 25 the department filed a memorandum arguing a broad range of reasons for why no part of the documents should be made public.

Among those reasons were the need to protect: the privacy of Coll and others; "the interest of national security or foreign policy;'' "internal personnel rules and practices of a [government] agency;'' confidential sources and information; techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations and prosecutions; personnel and medical files.

"In the absence of bad faith, or some other compelling showing that there has been an abuse of discretion, Court should not second guess the agency's judgment,'' the memo added.

In a 2006 book, Washington Times defense writer Bill Gertz described Coll as "an apparent spy'' and said officials had told him they believed Coll had been "recruited'' by Cuba. The book, Enemies: How America's Foes are Stealing Our Vital Secrets and How We Let it Happen, offers no evidence and doesn't say Coll leaked any secrets.

"The FBI has a job to do. . . investigate wild, scandalous allegations,'' said Coll's Rhode Island defense attorney, Francis Flanagan. "Simply put, if you investigate someone for murder and they are not found culpable, they call that an innocent man.'' [Tomayo/MiamiHerald/7September2009] 

New Zealand Public Servant Loses 'Spy Plan' Notebook. A New Zealand public servant who works in the Treasury department has lost a notebook that details a possible merger of New Zealand's main spy agencies.

The possible merger of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was revealed in the hand-written notes, found lying in a Wellington street by a Radio New Zealand journalist.

Treasury Secretary John Whitehead issued a statement saying the incident was regrettable and he had apologized to the Prime Minister.

The notes, written about a fortnight ago, said a merger of the country's intelligence agencies is one of three possible outcomes of a review being conducted by former Foreign Affairs Secretary Simon Murdoch.

The State Services Commission and Prime Minister John Key have confirmed Murdoch has been employed to look at opportunities for the security services to work more effectively together.

The notes also suggest a possible tie-in with yet another intelligence agency, the External Assessments Bureau, which operates out of the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Treasury statement said arrangements were being made for the notebook's return and issues raised by the incident were being followed up internally.

Prime Minister John said it is too early to say what will come of the review, which is still underway, but a merger may be one recommendation. He said he asked for a review to look at whether the agencies have the right structure, the future areas of growth or change for the services, and to assess their value for money.

The State Services Commission said work on the review the country's security services is at an early stage and it will not comment on any options until Mr. Murdoch's report is complete. [Xinhua/8September2009] 


Release of Files by the National Archives. The National Archives has released another 140 historical Security Service files today, adding to over 4,000 already on public display. The files cover a roughly equal number of subjects from the inter-war period, the Second World War and the Cold War era, dealing with topics such as German and Soviet intelligence agents and officers, right-wing extremists and Communists or suspected Communists.

Among the individuals covered by the files are Hitler's deputy Martin Bormann; the actor and director Sam Wanamaker; Wilhelm von Rauter, a German spy in America detected by the British Imperial Censorship Service; leading scientists Lord Solly Zuckerman, Sir Benjamin Lockspeiser and Geoffrey Pyke (the cousin of Magnus Pyke); the architect Graeme Shankland; and William King-Hall, the MP and founder of the Hansard Society.

To find out more about these files, see History: 27 August 2009 releases. [MODOracle/1September2009]

15 of History's Most Notable Spies. A career in espionage is easily one of the most coveted of all childhood fantasies, due largely to the unending stream of spy movies, comics, books, and real-life stories we're inundated with growing up. While James Bond is at the top of everyone's list, in reality things can be a bit different; spies come in all shapes and sizes, and range from honorable to criminal. Some are remembered for their daring and others for their half-witted desperation and lust for money, but one thing rides certain throughout the disparate stories they tell: It takes guts to be a spy. While the greatest spies will, by virtue of their success, never be known to us, these are the 15 most notable spies in our recent history. Regardless of their final motives or original intent, they've all earned their own version of immortality by contributing to our unending fascination with the shadowy world they've walked.

Mata Hari. Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, Mata Hari is one of the most widely known names in history. Beautiful, scandalous, sexy and shrewd, this exotic dancer and courtesan is believed to have worked her way into the fabric of World War I as a double agent. Technically kept out of the fray by her Dutch citizenship at the time, she traveled between countries freely, and it wasn't until a cracked German code was intercepted that she was pinned by French authorities for espionage. Doubts surrounded the entire affair ever since, but Mata Hari was executed by firing squad on these suspicions, and blamed for the death of 50,000 troops. She's rumored to have said of herself, shortly before the end, "Harlot, yes, but traitor- never."

Nathan Hale. American folk hero and revolutionary war centerpiece Nathan Hale is widely regarded as the first American spy. He could be called the patron saint of the CIA, and a statue of his likeness watches over Langley, even today. He's the man who said the oft-quoted line "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country," which keeps him in the same story-book category of heroes as Ben Franklin and the rest of the cadre of world-changers from that epic era. Hale, then a Captain in the Continental Army, spent only about a week behind enemy lines during the Battle of Long Island, but in that time he cemented his place in history by earning the respect of even his executioners.

Sidney Reilly. Way back in the ancient times, before MI6 and the CIA, there was Scotland Yard. And from this old-timey British spy-hub, there was a man on a mission, and his name was Sidney Reilly. A Ukrainian born Jew, born Georgi Rosenblum, Reilly would come to be known as the Ace of Spies as he swaggered his way across Europe and Asia in the name of Crown and Country. His entire life was shrouded in mystery while simultaneously flaunted and recorded for posterity. He is the basis for Ian Fleming's creation: James Bond. Amazing that today, we don't come across this extraordinary man's name unless we've got our noses buried in history books.

The Cambridge Five. You've undoubtedly heard the phrase (or an analog) "the fifth man." There's an origin for every phrase, and for this one there is a spy story. While only four of the original group were ever discovered and captured, the group was always known to be five members at its core, and the Cambridge Five made waves during the great red-scare at the end of the second World War and into the 1950's by spying for the Soviets in the UK. The four known masters of this spy ring were Anthony Blunt, Donald Duart Maclean, Kim Philby and Guy Burgess. The group was well placed in Royal SIS circles and even had posts in the USA. They were ratted out to be part of a ring of five men by then-fellow KGB operative and defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1961.

Aldrich Ames. Another double agent, Ames worked counter-intelligence for the CIA - a post he used to give up the names and locations of every American operative in range of the KGB. He was grabbed in 1994, along with his wife, when the FBI finally called shenanigans on his outrageous spending habits. He had been living the life of a rich man on a $60,000 a year salary, while his wife had been racking up $6,000 phone bills every month. He may not have been the most intelligent spy when it came to covering his tracks in the public sphere, but he did manage to pass an extensive polygraph examination at the height of his scrutiny, twice. Today, Ames is serving life in a federal prison, while two million dollars sits in an undisclosed bank account waiting for his unlikely release. Over two million more has already been seized by the US government.

Christopher Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee. More widely known as "the Falcon and the Snowman," Boyce and Lee were an unlikely duo that formed out of convenience and managed to punch a serious hole in the USA's national security through their lo-fi efforts on behalf of the Soviet Union back in the 1970's. Boyce was working for an aerospace company on contract with the US government at the time, and was given top-secret clearance. When he began collecting the information he "accidentally" came by, he decided to make a move on it. He started trafficking the intelligence through his friend, Lee, a drug-runner, through Mexico to the Russian embassy there. It wasn't until his friend was later arrested by the Mexican police on an unrelated charge that a microfiche was discovered, and their jig was up. Boyce was captured some years later, after a string of bank robberies used to fund his endeavors to become a pilot so he could fly to Russia.

Robert Hanssen. Among the same ranks as Aldrich Ames, Hanssen was an FBI Agent who spent two solid decades spying for the Soviets and Russians before he was caught in 2001 to massive media attention. In fact, one of the most key pieces of information Hanssen ever leaked was only acted upon by his Soviet employers when Ames provided confirmation, leading to the execution of a Russian General who had successfully spied for the Americans for 20 years. Hanssen made millions in his spy role, beginning just three years after his first post with the FBI, and continued on to be the most successful of his peers until his luck finally ran out. Hanssen was no idealist, he stated himself that he only did it "for the money."

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Making history by becoming the first civilians to be executed for espionage in the United States, the Rosenbergs had been accused and found guilty of divulging secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviets in the early 1950's. They were both put to death by the Sing Sing electric chair at sundown on June 19th, 1953 in New York. Scientists deplored their deaths, but they weren't the only ones. Among others, Pablo Picasso and the Pope also condemned their executions. At the time there was great debate in certain educated communities as to whether the United States should have had a complete monopoly over nuclear weapons, and the Rosenbergs were a sympathetic case. They certainly weren't the only ones trafficking this information, either. That being said, they kept their lips sealed through to the end.

Klaus Fuchs. Working concurrently to the Rosenbergs to get atomic bomb data to the Soviets, Fuchs was convicted in 1950 and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. They do things a bit differently in British courts, apparently. His confessions implicated a man who would just three years later become the chief witness against the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He is largely credited with playing the largest role of all spies in the USSR's successful acquisition of nuclear bomb technology - at break-neck speed - something that had until that point baffled the American scientific and intelligence communities.

John Andr�. Major John Andr� was captured on a mission for British Secret Intelligence, in which he was attempting to purchase the surrender of West Point from American General Benedict Arnold. He's been called the British Nathan Hale, and was compared to the American while in captivity. He was found to be so likable in this way that the American guards themselves befriended him.

Belle Boyd. She's been called the "Cleopatra of the Secession," and she gave information to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson during the war. Belle was turned against the Union army when a group of soldiers assaulted her mother and she was forced to fire upon and kill one in her defense. Since that moment, though she was later exonerated in court, she did not ever seem to get over the ordeal, and began eliciting information from the army officers using her feminine wiles. She would then ferry the information using slaves, as she was in Virginia at the time. Unlike most members of this list, Belle would die of natural causes in her old age while staying in Wisconsin.

Oleg Penkovsky. Known as "Agent Hero," Oleg is credited with being responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Oleg had been a Colonel in the Soviet GRU, and was supplying the Americans with information throughout the 1950's and 1960's. It was his information that allowed the analysts to find the silos and missile cargo in the low-resolution spy-plane photos. In 1963, he was tried and convicted of treason and espionage in Soviet courts, leading to his execution, though there is no known record of how this execution took place, but the old Russian way is a simple bullet to the back of the neck.

George Koval. Though he was born American, Koval was moved as a child and eventually resettled in Russia for an extended period. While there he was recruited and later sent back to the United States to acquire nuclear information, which he succeeded in doing. He went to school and secured a position as an engineer on the Manhattan Project, allowing him free access to boundless intelligence that he would report back to his Soviet overseers. After Koval's death in 2006, (then) Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously decorated him as a Hero of the Russian Federation.

Jonathan Pollard. Texan-born Pollard was sentenced to life in prison for espionage as a spy for Israel in 1987. He had been working as an intelligence analyst for the US Government. He worked for cash, diamonds, and heritage, and was even vouched for by Benjamin Netanyahu himself in an attempt to gain clemency or pardon after his capture. He was only discovered when a fellow employee had noticed him removing classified material from the work center.

Richard Sorge. A Soviet spy of the highest order, Richard Sorge is famed for his exploits during the second World War in both Germany and Japan. He was highly successful, but was ultimately captured by the Japanese and imprisoned there. In 1944, Sorge was executed by hanging in the prison he had spent the last three years of his life. During the Cold War, he and his likeness were ubiquitous icons of Soviet pride and nationalism due to his service and dedication throughout his career.  [Tesfaye/EthiopianReview/3September2009] 


British Government's Deal Involving Lockerbie Bomber Shatters "Special Relationship" with US, by Michael Rubin. On Aug. 20, Scottish authorities freed Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

Even though he was sentenced to life in prison, he served just over 11 days for each of the 270 men, women and children killed on the ill-fated airliner, or in the village below.

Two weeks later, the political storm is worsening.

Documents show that what the British government said was a compassionate release for a cancer-stricken man had more to do with British commercial interests.

The diplomatic fallout will be even greater.

Not only did Libyan celebrations destroy the goodwill which Prime Minister Gordon Brown hoped would jump-start Anglo-Libyan relations, but his clumsy and transparent attempt to substitute an oil contract for justice has shredded the seven-decade U.S.-U.K. Special Relationship beyond repair.

The Special Relationship developed in the face of tyranny - first Nazi, then Soviet - which led Americans and Brits alike to treasure liberty and freedom and no longer take democracy for granted.

U.S. and Britain's interests are never identical, but petty politics took a backseat to principle and broader strategic interests.

Debate in Washington about how to respond to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait ended when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher telephoned George H.W. Bush to tell him that it was no time "to go wobbly."

Sacrificing allies for oil did not cross either leader's mind. In the wake of 9/11, George W. Bush declared to a Joint Session of Congress, "America has no truer friend than Great Britain."

Alas, today it is clear that Bush was wrong.

The Special Relationship was a compact not between countries, but between generations. As the "Greatest Generation," which liberated Europe retired and began to die, appreciation for Anglo-American solidarity wore away.

The trust upon which the relationship was grounded eroded as British officials - former Labor Minister Clare Short, for example - exposed sensitive espionage operations for political gain.

Partnerships take investment. Because public pacifism undercuts British support for its own military, Washington can no longer count on London to pull its own weight.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's campaign video, replete with captured British soldiers waving the Iranian flag, resonates. Whatever spin British politicians put on their military's "softly-softly" approach in southern Iraq, it was a failure.

Accommodating extremists for short-term gain backfires. It is not the stuff upon which serious alliances are built. As fighting toughens, the Pentagon worries about Britain's commitment in Afghanistan.

Washington is not blameless. President Obama's gifts to British officials - DVD collections and iPods loaded with his speeches - lacked tact. His return of a bust of Winston Churchill, loaned to the White House after 9/11, was an unnecessary slap.

The Anglo-American alliance was always made of tough enough stuff to withstand errors of etiquette. Not even the most committed Anglophile, however, can save the alliance when British politicians are willing to subordinate principle to the highest bidder.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. [Rubin/NYDailyNews/2September2009] 

Wall St. Journal - The Real CIA News: Interrogations Were Carefully Limited, Briefed on Capitol Hill, and Yielded Information that Saved Innocent Lives. Whoever advised people to be skeptical of what they read in the papers must have had in mind this week's coverage of the documents about CIA interrogations. Now that we've had a chance to read the reports, it's clear the real story isn't the few cases of abuse played up by the media. The news is that the program was thoughtfully developed, carefully circumscribed, briefed to Congress, and yielded information crucial to disrupting al Qaeda.

In other words, it worked - at least until politics got in the way.

That's the essential judgment offered by former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson in his 2004 report. Some mild criticism aside, the report says the CIA "invested immense time and effort to implement the [program] quickly, effectively, and within the law"; that the agency "generally provided good guidance and support"; and that agency personnel largely "followed guidance and procedures and documented their activities well." So where's the scandal?

Mr. Helgerson describes how the CIA collaborated with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and even outside experts to develop specific guidelines for 10 enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that passed legal muster. The enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) "would be used on 'an as needed basis' and all would not necessarily be used. Further, the EITs were expected to be used 'in some sort of escalating fashion' . . ." The agency had psychologists evaluate al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, to ensure he would not suffer physical or long-term mental harm.

As the program expanded, the CIA "implemented training programs for interrogators and debriefers." By early 2003 it had created guidelines on detention and interrogation and required "individuals engaged in or supporting interrogations be made aware of the guidelines and sign an acknowledgment that they have read them." The guidelines also made "formal the existing . . . practice of requiring the field to obtain specific Headquarters approvals prior to the application of all EITs." This was hardly a rogue CIA.

Congress also knew about it. The IG report belies House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claims that she wasn't told about all this. "In the fall of 2002, the Agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs. . . . Representatives . . . continued to brief the leadership of the Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of EITs and detentions in February and March 2003. The [CIA] General Counsel says that none of the participants expressed any concern about the techniques or the Program . . ." Ditto in September 2003.

As for examples of "unauthorized techniques," the IG explains that the most "significant" - an accusation that an interrogator threatened a detainee with a gun and a power drill - was the subject of a separate investigation. As for the rest - "the making of threats, blowing cigar smoke, employing certain stress positions, the use of a stiff brush on a detainee, and stepping on a detainee's ankle shackles" - the IG report says the "allegations were disputed or too ambiguous to reach any authoritative determination" and "did not warrant separate investigations or administrative actions."

The most revealing portion of the IG report documents the program's results. The CIA's "detention and interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world." That included the identification of Jose Padilla and Binyam Muhammed, who planned to detonate a dirty bomb, and the arrest of previously unknown members of an al Qaeda cell in Karachi, Pakistan, designated to pilot an aircraft attack in the U.S. The information also made the CIA aware of plots to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi, hijack aircraft to fly into Heathrow, loosen track spikes to derail a U.S. train, blow up U.S. gas stations, fly an airplane into a California building, and cut the lines of suspension bridges in New York.

While the report doesn't take a position on the value of enhanced techniques, the facts speak loudly that they caused detainees to yield important information. The report notes that early on Zubaydah provided some information, but that the waterboard resulted in "increased production." It also notes that since the use of the waterboard, "Zubaydah has appeared to be cooperative."

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who planned the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, was not waterboarded. "However," says the report, "following the use of [enhanced techniques], he provided information about his most current operational planning as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of [enhanced techniques]."

Then there's Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who directed the 9/11 attacks. The report cites him as the "most prolific" provider of information. Yet it later notes that KSM, "an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete." The report explains that KSM was then waterboarded 183 times, and it redacts the rest of the section. This suggests that what interrogators gleaned was valuable enough that it requires classification even today.

This conclusion is buttressed by two other CIA documents released this week, one from 2004 and another from 2005, that outline interrogation results. One provides details of how interrogations brought down Hambali, mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings. KSM provided information about al Qaeda operative Majid Khan, who had been tasked with delivering money to an operative named Jubair. Khan, who had been caught, revealed information to capture Jubair, who divulged that he worked for Hambali, and provided information for Hambali's arrest. KSM then admitted that Hambali's brother was his likely successor, and that brother in turn provided information to take down an entire terrorist cell in Karachi. Hambali admitted these terrorists were to be trained to fly airplanes into U.S. targets.

The two CIA papers don't discuss enhanced interrogation, though the IG report suggests that KSM provided little of this information prior to his waterboarding. Some will argue that these details could have been elicited without enhanced techniques. We'll never know. The question is whether Attorney General Eric Holder and his new special counsel intend to second-guess the decisions of CIA officials who were operating in the shadow of 9/11 and who, we now know, successfully unraveled terror plots and saved lives.

Which brings us to another salient part of the IG report: CIA officials well understood that they might be second-guessed years later by politicians. "During the course of this review, a number of Agency officers expressed unsolicited concern about the possibility of recrimination or legal action resulting from their participation. . . . officers expressed concern that a human rights group might pursue them for activities . . . they feared that the Agency would not stand behind them." Another said, "Ten years from now we're going to be sorry we're doing this . . . [but] it has to be done."

The outrage here isn't that government officials used sometimes rough interrogation methods to break our enemies. The outrage is that, years later, when the political winds have shifted and there hasn't been another attack, our politicians would punish the men and women who did their best to protect Americans in a time of peril. [WallStreetJournal/27August2009]

British Intelligence Officers Often Forced to Make Deals, by Con Coughlin. Whether it's saving Nazi war criminals from the gallows, or turning a blind eye to the torture of al-Qaeda suspects by overzealous American interrogators, British intelligence officers are often required to make deals that would be considered repellent in any other walk of life.

For Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), protecting the realm from potentially lethal threats will always take priority over other considerations, such as bringing mass murderers to justice or negotiating with the world's most reviled dictators.

And it is this approach, where basic concepts such as right and wrong have little meaning, that lies at the heart of the government's current embarrassment over its controversial deal with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator.

When British intelligence officers first explored the possibility of doing a deal with Gaddafi, they did so not because they believed the Libyan leader was about to mend his authoritarian ways. To this day Libya remains a brutal military dictatorship, where the slightest hint of opposition to Gaddafi's rule is brutally repressed.

Their prime motivation in opening negotiations with Tripoli was to prevent Libya from developing a nuclear weapons arsenal which, given Gaddafi's well-documented history of involvement in international terrorism, was seen as a major threat to national security.

But in their desperation to get Gaddafi to give up his various weapons of mass destruction projects - which also included the development of chemical weapons - they were obliged to gloss over the consequences of Gaddafi's various terrorist activities. To this day the murderers of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, shot dead outside the Libyan People's Bureau in April 1984, remain at large, as do those responsible for shipping tons of Semtex explosive to the IRA.

The problem for the government is that the rules intelligence officers play by are very different to those expected of elected officials. MI6 might think it good business, as it did at the end of the Second World War, to recruit Nazis who would otherwise have been hanged for war crimes, but it was not something that would ever have received widespread public approval.

Similarly, the international acclamation Tony Blair received in December 2003 for negotiating the nuclear deal with Libya would have been more muted if all the details of the agreement had been made public. No one would argue with the importance of persuading a deeply unstable regime such as that headed by the Gaddafi clan to desist with their attempts to develop nuclear weapons. But failing to hold the Libyan regime to account for its various terrorist activities - the agreement's underlying quid pro quo - was a heavy price to pay, and one whose consequences Mr. Brown is now coming to regret.

Sir Mark Allen, the former MI6 officer responsible for negotiating the original Libya deal, is now a senior executive with BP and is said to have lobbied hard for the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, to improve relations with Tripoli. But while Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds may improve Anglo-Libyan trading prospects, it has seriously damaged Britain's international standing. [Coghlin/Telegraph/8September2009] 



Virginia Warren Hahn: CIA Retiree Volunteered With Talking Book Service. Virginia Warren Hahn, 83, a longtime Alexandria resident who made volunteerism her life's work after retiring from the Central Intelligence Agency, died Aug. 17 of cancer at ManorCare Health Services in Arlington County.

Mrs. Hahn was a records officer with the CIA from 1952 until her retirement in 1982. She told a family member shortly before her death that when she retired from the CIA, she wanted to do volunteer work - but the right way.

"I knew that too many people committed to volunteering without putting in the required time," she said. "You couldn't count on those people, however well-meaning they were. I was determined not to be one of them."

In the 1980s, she became involved with the Talking Book Service of the Alexandria Library, having come to appreciate talking books while caring for her mother. For nearly 20 years, she volunteered three days a week with the program, a service for the blind or visually handicapped.

At Christ Church in Alexandria, where she was a longtime member, she was active with Senior Adult Ministries and was known for her work with the gift shop. In addition to manning the shop every Friday for many years, she was a member of its board and served as volunteer coordinator.

This year, Mrs. Hahn received the Annie B. Rose Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alexandria Commission on Aging. The award recognizes Alexandria residents "whose exemplary achievements span a lifetime of public service."

She was born Virginia Whitehead Nesbitt Warren in Asheville, N.C. She graduated from George Washington University in 1948.

Mrs. Hahn enjoyed gardening and was a devotee of British TV comedies. Well into her 80s, she maintained a regimen of twice-daily workouts at the Alexandria YMCA.

Her husband, David Boston Hahn, died in 1957.

Survivors include two daughters, Mary Elizabeth Boston Hahn and Virginia Whitehead Nesbitt Hahn, both of Alexandria. [Holley/WashingtonPost/30August2009] 

Edward Ryan, Former CIA Station Chief Also Supervised Paper Soldier Collection. Edward Ryan, 90, a retired CIA station chief who amassed one of the largest collections of paper toy soldiers in the United States, died Aug. 29 of pulmonary fibrosis at his home in Chevy Chase.

Mr. Ryan was a Navy veteran of World War II and was working for the Office of Naval Intelligence when he transferred in the late 1940s to the newly established CIA. He served in Stockholm, Paris and Berlin, and he was chief of base in Berlin.

During his career, he directed the CIA office that collects signals intelligence and also was chairman of the agency's fine arts commission, a job in which he oversaw the installation in the headquarters lobby of the 1973 memorial to agency personnel who have died in the line of service.

When he retired from the CIA in 1980, he received the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

Meanwhile, his collection of paper toy soldiers - in perpetual formation on shelves in the library and basement of his home - grew into one of the most extensive in the country, according to a 1999 profile in The Washington Post.

He first began collecting toy soldiers as a child in the 1920s, an interest fueled by reading pulp adventure stories about World War I. At first, he and his brother made their own soldiers out of clothespins. Then they began buying figures of lead and wood. But he never forgot a set of paper soldiers his father bought him in 1928 during a family vacation to Paris.

Mr. Ryan, the son of a surgeon, was born Feb. 20, 1919, in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1936, he received a bachelor's degree in English from Yale University, where he was a member of the track team and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

During World War II, he was aboard the light cruiser Birmingham in the Pacific when it went to the aid of the aircraft carrier Princeton, which had been heavily damaged in an air attack during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On the afternoon of Oct. 24, 1944, explosions rocked the Princeton, possibly caused by bombs exploding in the ship's magazine, showering debris over the Birmingham and killing hundreds of its crew members.

Mr. Ryan received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among other decorations.

He studied Russian at the Navy Language School toward the end of World War II and was posted to the American consulate in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. When the Soviet government requested that the U.S. Navy withdraw Mr. Ryan, the sole military officer at that post, he was reassigned to Helsinki.

Mr. Ryan spoke French, German and Swedish as well as Russian and Finnish.

After his retirement from the CIA, Mr. Ryan worked for the aerospace and defense contractor Rockwell International until 1985, when a heart attack led to a second retirement. But when he learned that the CIA needed operations training officers, he offered his services. He was with the agency for another 12 years.

His wife, Edna Coufal Ryan, died in 2004. Survivors include a daughter, Cordelia Chamberlin of Waterford, Va.; a sister; and four grandchildren.

During his travels around the world, Mr. Ryan continued to build his toy soldier collection. He particularly enjoyed living in Europe, where the making of paper soldiers had begun in such places as Strasbourg, France.

"Napoleonic armies were constantly passing through Strasbourg on their way into eastern Europe or coming back," Mr. Ryan told The Post. "All those regiments, and the very spectacular uniforms of that period, were constantly passing under the eyes" of the locals, who started to make their own paper soldiers.

"They'd buy some soldier a beer, and while he was drinking his beer, they'd make a sketch of his uniform. Then they'd go and make a paper soldier out of it," Mr. Ryan said.

Sheets of paper soldiers were published throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the United States, such companies as Milton-Bradley and Parker Brothers began making them in the 1850s. Their popularity began to fade after World War I.

Mr. Ryan wrote books about Napoleon's elite cavalry and one of Napoleon's generals as well as a book about paper soldiers, "Paper Soldiers: The Illustrated History of Printed Paper Armies of the 18th, 19th & 20th Centuries" (1995).

He added to his collection until the end of his life. The tiny paper legions represented memories of his boyhood. "But mainly it's history," he told The Post, "the periods which they represent, and which they recall." [Holley/WashingtonPost/1September2009] 



9 September 2009, 11:30 am - Albuquerque, NM - The AFIO Tom Smith New Mexico Chapter luncheon. It will be at the Calico Cantina/Vernon’s Steakhouse. You will find it at 6855 4th Street, on the west side of the road, about � mile north of Osuna. It is adjacent to the El Camino Motel (the El Camino dates back to the 1920’s when 4th Street was part of the northern extension of Old Route 66. We’ll again meet in the back room of the Caf� behind the package store. Questions to Pete Bostwick at

Thursday, September 10, 2009, 12:30 - 2 pm - Washington, DC - The Heritage Foundation and The Institute of World Politics join to host conference upon publication of new anthology: "Cultural Intelligence for Winning the Peace." The book and conference asks: Are we engaged in a clash of civilizations? The answer is not simple: cultures interact daily, often to everyone's benefit, free of deadly conflagration, and American culture was once in the ascendancy. But if the end of the Cold War led many to believe that "globalization" would be accompanied by greater toleration and harmony, 9/11 abruptly ended that delusion. We must understand the effect of tradition, history, and ideas, especially in areas where Islamist radicals find fertile breeding ground. Superior military power may temporarily prevail against them, but we have learned, at considerable cost, that other militants all too soon take their place, skillfully taking advantage of vulnerable populations. To win the war against these enemies, we must take into account the cultural "human terrain" where they operate. The essays in the new anthology, "Cultural Intelligence for Winning the Peace," edited by Dr. Pilon, address this challenge. They include: the military utility of understanding non-U.S.culture; factoring in culture as we tackle the challenges of asymmetric conflict; the importance of avoiding a 'cookie cutter' approach to disparate societies; the need to address the constantly changing nature of culture; the phenomenon of female suicide bombers; as well as on-the-job learning for intelligence and information officers finding themselves ill-trained and under-prepared in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, finally, the need to incorporate cultural considerations in strategic communication, the critically important ingredient of the next - some have called it the fifth - generation of warfare, whose ultimate success is measured by an enduring rather than illusory peace.
Location of event: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium at 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002; ph 202 546 4400
To register for the event:

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

Thursday, 17 September 2009, 2 - 3:30 p.m. - Washington, DC - " Afghan Police Reform and the Future of Afghanistan" the subject of presentation at the Reserve Officers Assn. Event is cosponsored by Royal US Institute (London), the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, and the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia. It features MICHAEL CLARKE of the RUSI and ANDREW GARFIELD, senior fellow, FPRI, and U.S. Director, RUSI.
The authors will present a new study on how best to reform the Afghan National Police and will present their findings in a report to be released at this briefing and on both organizations' websites.
Michael Clarke is the Director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies. Andrew Garfield is a Senior Fellow at FPRI and US Director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.
Event is being held at One Constitution Ave., NE, Washington, DC. It is free and open to the public, but reservations required.
For additional information and to RSVP contact: Alan Luxenberg, Tel: (215) 732-3774 x105 or by Email:
Updates for this briefing will be posted at:
This event will be webcast To register for the free webcast visit:
For a preliminary report by Andrew Legon on the project findings, visit:

Thursday, 17 September 2009 - Washington, DC - Counterintelligence Open Source Symposium on "Supply Chain Vulnerabilities - Understanding the Risk" by the ONCIX. The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) and the Open Source Center (OSC)/Open Source Academy (OSA) are sponsoring a one-day unclassified symposium to initiate dialogue on these and other extremely topical issues as we begin to address vulnerabilities in our acquisition community and the risks inherent to the supply chain in a global marketplace.
One of the great threats to the marketplace, and the acquisition community, is the threat to products in supply chain acquisitions. Supply chain attacks can occur at any stage of the technology lifecycle - from sourcing of raw material through delivery of end items to the final customer. The acquisition community needs to be proficient at recognizing and addressing these vulnerabilities. In order to accomplish this we must strive to put in place effective procurement related strategies, establish effective means for communicating supply chain threat information, and push to highlight "best business" practices that demonstrate effective supply chain risk management programs.
Event occurs at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.
For registration and information on the program and speakers:

19 September 2009 - Kennebunk, ME - The Maine Chapter of the AFIO hosts Speaker on U.S. Policy Towards China. The Chapter will host Harold Clukey, U.S. Air Force officer during the Korean War. Shot down while on a mission, Clukey was a prisoner of war of the Chinese Communists for 6 months before his release was arranged through the International Red Cross. Based on his experience Clukey will present a unique view of United States policy toward China from the Korean War to the present time. The meeting will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street, Kennebunk and is open to the public. For information call: 207-364-8964

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
U.S. Dept of Energy
and the
  USAF Warfare Center
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

To download 1-page PDF registration form, complete, and mail or fax to us,
it is HERE

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

14 October 2009 - Laurel, Maryland - The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation Hosts General Membership Meeting on "Cyber Challenges Facing the U.S. in the 21st Century." The NCMF hosts their general membership meeting and have invited SecDef Robert Gates and CIA Dir Leon Panetta to be the speakers. The theme is "Cyber Challenges Facing the U.S. in the 21st Century." Sen. Barbara Mikulski will give a few words to the membership. A continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be provided. On October 15-16 NSA's Center for Cryptologic History sponsors their Symposium on Cryptologic History. The them: "Global Perspectives on Cryptologic History." For further program information and fees visit

15 - 16 October 2009 - Laurel, Maryland - NSA’s Center for Cryptologic History sponsors the Symposium on Cryptologic History on "Global Perspectives on Cryptologic History."  This special symposium is held every two years. Historians from the Center, other parts of the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Defense will join distinguished scholars from American and foreign academic institutions, along with veterans of the profession and others interested in cryptology, for two days of reflection and debate on the cryptologic past.  Under this year’s theme, "Global Perspectives on Cryptologic History," participants will consider the impact of cryptology within the context of transnational history. The panels include a range of technological, operational, foreign relations, organizational, counterintelligence, policy, and even literary themes. Past symposia have featured scholarship setting out new ways of considering cryptologic history. The mix of practitioners and scholars on occasion can be volatile, but the result is a significantly enhanced appreciation for the context of past events. This year’s symposium promises to tackle controversial subjects head-on. Breaks and luncheons, presenting rare opportunities for lively discussion and interaction with leading scholars and distinguished experts, will be included in the registration fees. The symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Kossiakoff Center in Laurel, Maryland. Make plans to join us for either one or both days of this intellectually stimulating conference. For more information, contact Dr. Kent Sieg, Symposium coordinator, at 301-688-2336 or

Tuesday, 20 October 2009; 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - CIA Magic: The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception at the Spy Museum. In the early days of the Cold War, the CIA initiated a top-secret program, code-named MKULTRA, to counter Soviet mind-control and interrogation techniques. Realizing that its officers and agents might need to clandestinely deploy newly developed pills, potions, and powders against the adversary, the CIA hired America’s most famous magician, John Mulholland, to write two secret manuals on sleight-of-hand and covert communication techniques. Twenty years later, virtually all documents related to MKULTRA—including Mulholland’s manuals—were thought destroyed. Only recently, a surviving copy of each manual, complete with photographs and illustrations, was discovered. In their new book, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception, H. Keith Melton, internationally renowned espionage historian, and Bob Wallace, former director of the CIA’s Office of Technical Services (OTS), reveal for the first time Mulholland’s complete illustrated instructions for CIA officers on the magician’s approach to manipulation and communication. This eye-opening evening will explore the rich overlap between stage magic and espionage and reveal the “never before seen” secrets of how the magicians’ art also enhanced the spy’s craft.
Tickets: $20 per person Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station To register:

Thursday, 22 October 2009; 12 noon – 1 pm – Washington, DC - Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 at the Spy Museum. As MI5, Britain’s legendary security service, marks its 100th anniversary, the agency has given an independent scholar unrestricted access to its records for the very first time. Join Cambridge University professor and International Spy Museum emeritus advisory board member Christopher Andrew, the author of Defend the Realm, as he reveals the precise role of MI5 in twentieth-century British history: from its foundation in 1909, through two world wars, and its present roles in counterespionage and counterterrorism. Andrew describes how MI5 has been managed, what its relationship has been with government, where it has triumphed, and where it has failed. Defend the Realm also reveals the identities of previously unknown enemies of the United Kingdom whose activities have been uncovered by MI5. It adds significantly to our knowledge of many celebrated events and notorious individuals, and definitively lays to rest a number of persistent myths. 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

23-24 October 2009 - Bethel, CT - The Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association - New England Chapter (NCVA-NE) will hold a fall MINI-REUNION Event to occur at the Stony Hill Inn, US Rt 6, Bethel, Ct. For additional information, you may call (518) 664-8032 Questions: Victor Knorowski, 8 Eagle Lane, Mechanicville, NY 12118, E-mail:

Wednesday, 28 October 2009, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Newport News, VA - AFIO Norman Forde Hampton Roads Chapter hosts Cyber Security Workshop
Where: Christopher Newport University, Newport News. Co-hosted by AFIO Norman Forde Hampton Roads and with CNU's Center for American Studies (CAS).
The Workshop entails a mid-day session (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) featuring a keynote speaker, followed by a panel of four cyber security experts from government and business sectors. A light reception will follow the panel discussion. For more info:

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


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