AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #36-09 dated 29 September 2009










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

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France Creates Office for Economic Intel. France is re-engineering its economic intelligence system to improve the collection of commercial data by some 2 million French companies to boost their competitiveness.

The reorganization of French economic intelligence arms, authorized by the country's Cabinet and detailed in the minutes of a Sept. 16 meeting, is intended to improve a critical function that officials said lags behind other countries, like the United States.

Notably, oversight of the function will shift from a post attached to the prime minister's office over to the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment but taking direction from the president's office.

The new director will be responsible for proposing government policy on economic intelligence and coordinating implementation, boosting French influence and presence in international institutions and foreign activities, and protecting the competitiveness of French companies.

"A lot of this has to do with material classified as defense secret," a government official said.

The office specifically will focus on assessing scientific, technological and international economic factors to protect the economic interests of France and its companies.

The new director - expected to be Cyril Bouyeur, an economic intelligence specialist at the Economy Ministry - will be announced in a few weeks and take direction from a committee headed by the president's national coordinator for intelligence, Bernard Bajolet. Bajolet, recently appointed as coordinator of national security by President Nicolas Sarkozy, is a career diplomat and former ambassador to Algeria.

"Economic intelligence is to the 21st century what marketing was in the 20th century," said Alain Juillet, who resigned three months ago as the government's head of economic intelligence. "The creation of the interministerial director is something we have wanted for several months. It had to be done."

Juillet was a senior official in the DGSE Intelligence service - France's equivalent of America's Central Intelligence Agency - before he was appointed to be economic intelligence head.

Asked whether the government uses borderline methods to gain commercially sensitive information and pass it on to French companies, Juillet said, "Why not, as long as it is legal?"

Juillet alleged the U.S. government used its intelligence networks to pass on confidential information that enabled an American company, Raytheon, to beat Thales, then Thomson-CSF, on a large Brazilian surveillance contract of the Amazonian basin dubbed SIVAM.

Raytheon declined to comment.

During the years after the end of the Cold War, the Clinton administration directed the CIA to put greater emphasis on economic intelligence, a move at the time justified in part because of the superior capabilities in the field of nations like France.

But the new position signals a "basic confusion," said Loic Tribot La Spi�re, the chief executive of the Centre d'Etude et Prospection Strat�gique consultancy.

The director would have the economy minister and the president as "two poles," with the former focused on commercial and competitive matters, the latter on national security.

The function of the economic intelligence head is hazy and needs to be developed, something the new appointment will address, Juillet said. [Tran/DefenseNews/21September2009] 

U.S. Says Pakistan, Iran Helping Taliban. The U.S. military commander in Afghanistan says he has evidence that factions of Pakistani and Iranian spy services are supporting insurgent groups that carry out attacks on coalition troops.

Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are being aided by "elements of some intelligence agencies," Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal wrote in a detailed analysis of the military situation delivered to the White House earlier this month.

McChrystal went on to single out Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency as well as the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as contributing to the external forces working to undermine U.S. interests and destabilize the government in Kabul.

The remarks reflect long-running U.S. concerns about Pakistan and Iran, but it is rare that they have been voiced so prominently by a top U.S. official. McChrystal submitted his assessment last month, and a declassified version was published last week. 

The criticism of Pakistan is a particularly delicate issue because of the United States' close cooperation with Islamabad in pursuing militants and carrying out drone airstrikes in the nation's rugged east.

More recently, the ISI has been a key U.S. partner in the capture of a number of high-level Al Qaeda operatives, including alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But U.S. officials have also complained of ongoing contacts between the spy service and Taliban groups.

U.S. frustration peaked last year when Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other U.S. officials secretly confronted Pakistan with evidence of ISI involvement in the suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Since then, U.S. officials have sought to avoid public criticism of the Pakistani service as part of an effort to defuse tensions in the relationship. Indeed, U.S. officials in recent months have said that the ISI had become more committed to the counter-terrorism cause after one of the service's own facilities in Lahore was the target of a suicide bombing.

McChrystal's comments are the first public indication in months that the United States continues to see signs of ISI support for insurgent groups. Experts said elements of the ISI maintain those ties to hedge against a U.S. withdrawal from the region and rising Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Iran has traditionally had an adversarial relationship with the Taliban, and McChrystal's report says that Tehran has played "an ambiguous role in Afghanistan," providing developmental assistance to the government even as it flirts with insurgent groups that target U.S. troops.

McChrystal did not elaborate on the nature of the assistance, but Iran has been a transit point for foreign fighters entering Pakistan. Experts also cited evidence that Iran has provided training and technology in the use of roadside bombs.

U.S. intelligence officials said Iran appears to calibrate its involvement to tie down U.S. and coalition troops without provoking direct retaliation.

Iran's aim "is to make sure the U.S. is tied down and preoccupied in yet another theater," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "From Iran's point of view, it's an historical area of interest and too good an opportunity to pass up." [Miller/LATimes/22September2009] 

State Secrets Limits Adopted by Obama Administration. The Obama administration said it will make it more difficult for the U.S. to block lawsuits against the government by claiming it must withhold state secrets to protect national security.

A group of senior Justice Department officials, along with Attorney General Eric Holder, will have to approve the use of the state secrets argument in court cases in which government agencies want to conceal classified evidence, according to a department memo.

The Bush administration repeatedly used the state secrets argument, saying the release of sensitive information could harm national security. The Obama Justice Department policy requires more extensive review by the agency and a "more rigorous" standard than under President George W. Bush, according to a department statement.

The state secrets argument has been used by the government in cases related to warrantless wiretapping and the transportation of terrorism suspects to secret prisons overseas. The Obama Justice Department has continued to assert the Bush administration's state secrets argument in legal cases since Obama took office.

Under the Obama policy, which takes effect Oct. 1, the Justice Department will defend the "assertion of the privilege only to the extent necessary to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security," according to the statement. The department will "narrowly tailor" the privilege to let cases go forward when sensitive information isn't essential to the case, according to the statement.

When government officials, including those in the Central Intelligence Agency, want to invoke state secrets, they must make the case to an assistant attorney general, according to the Justice Department. A committee of senior Justice Department officials will evaluate the matter and make a recommendation to the deputy attorney general who will then make a recommendation to Holder.

When there are "credible" allegations of government wrongdoing in a case, and assertions of state secrets might prevent the matter from moving forward, it would be referred to the appropriate inspector general, according to the statement. [Blum/Bloomberg/24September2009] 

US Officials Say Counterterrorism At The Expense of Counterinsurgency Will Doom Afghanistan and Pakistan. US military and intelligence officials are concerned that a proposed alternative plan to ramp up cross-border attacks in Pakistan and rapidly build the Afghan security forces in lieu of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy may take hold and lead to a catastrophic failure in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This alternative strategy, which was proposed by Vice President Joe Biden, calls for reducing the US military mission in Afghanistan and ramping up airstrikes and covert raids against the al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas.

But US military and intelligence officials warned that a strict focus on a counterterrorism mission concentrating on al Qaeda's leaders in Pakistan would cede the ground in Afghanistan to both the Taliban and al Qaeda and would have only a limited impact on al Qaeda's leadership.

A ramped up program of cross-border strikes into Pakistan would also likely lead to the destabilization of Pakistan's government and a possible revolt within the Pakistani military and intelligence services. And, a strategy that focuses heavily on counterterrorism tactics such as unmanned strikes and night raids would only play into the propaganda message of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

US officials have warned that focusing on al Qaeda while ignoring the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan underestimates the close relationships between the groups.

The relationship between the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda is cited as the prime example of the increased linkage between the Taliban and al Qaeda. Siraj Haqqani, the military commander of the Haqqani Network, which operates in eastern Afghanistan and in Pakistan's tribal agency of North Waziristan, has close ties to both Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden. He has recruited both foreign and local fighters to serve as suicide bombers and has employed them against Afghan and Coalition forces.

Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a senior Haqqani Network military commander, recently said the relationship between al Qaeda and the Taliban is strong. Sangeen made the statement in an interview with As Sahab, al Qaeda's propaganda arm. According to Sangeen:

"All praise is for Allah, Al-Qaeda and Taliban all are Muslims and we are united by the brotherhood of Islam. We do not see any difference between Taliban and Al Qaeda, for we all belong to the religion of Islam. Sheikh Osama has pledged allegiance to Amir Al-Mumineen (Mullah Muhammad Omar) and has reassured his leadership again and again. There is no difference between us, for we are united by Islam and the Sharia governs us. Just as the infidels are one people, so are the Muslims, and they will never succeed in disuniting the Mujahideen, saying that there is Al- Qaeda and Taliban, and that Al-Qaeda are terrorists and extremists. They use many such words, but by the Grace of Allah, it will not affect our brotherly relationship. Now they are also trying to disunite the Taliban, saying that there are two wings, one extremist and another moderate. However, the truth is that we are all one and are united by Islam."

The close ties between the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda were highlighted in General Stanley McChrystal's assessment on Afghanistan, which was leaked to The Washington Post. According to McChrystal, the Haqqanis' territories in Khost, Paktika, and Paktia provinces are ripe for al Qaeda camps.

A pullback of Coalition forces would also create an incentive for the Pakistani military and intelligence services to revitalize their support for the Taliban, officials say.

An increase in Predator and Reaper strikes in Pakistan's border areas will also have a negative impact on relations with Pakistan, and might potentially destabilize the Pakistani government.

The Pakistani government has played a double game when it comes to US airstrikes in the tribal areas, which highlights the political sensitivities over the issue. The government officially condemns the strikes while privately approving them, and has tasked the military to provide intelligence on terror groups in the tribal areas. At least one US Predator base has been identified in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan. But to this day, US intelligence officials believe powerful elements within Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency are tipping off al Qaeda and the Taliban on strikes when they are able to.

US officials are also certain that a stepped up US ground campaign in Pakistan's tribal areas will force al Qaeda and allied groups to disperse to other areas in Pakistan, including in Baluchistan, Punjab, the Northwest Frontier Province, and Kashmir, all with the aid of elements within the military and intelligence services.

An over-reliance on airstrikes and covert raids would also play into the Taliban and al Qaeda's propaganda message, officials say. [Roggio/LongWarJournal/24September2009] 

Democrats Seek to Tighten Oversight of Surveillance Methods. Democratic lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to strengthen civil liberties protections against surveillance methods used in counterterrorism investigations, but senior Justice Department officials this week declined to endorse or reject their calls.

At hearings in the House and Senate, the officials repeatedly said they had no position yet on legislation that Democrats have introduced that would tighten standards and oversight of surveillance tools authorized under laws including the USA Patriot Act.

Those provisions allow investigators to use "roving wiretaps" to monitor suspects who may be trying to escape detection by switching cellphone numbers; obtain from third parties the business records of national security targets; and track "lone wolf" suspects who may not belong to a terrorist group but may be planning attacks.

Kris and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Todd Hinnen, who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said only that the administration supports extending the provisions set to expire in December.

But some Democrats see the debate as an opportunity to review domestic surveillance methods more broadly.

Among the most problematic provisions targeted by Democrats is one not due to expire. But Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine testified Wednesday that the national security letter - a tool that lets FBI agents obtain phone, bank and other personal records from third parties without judicial approval - has been subject to "serious misuse."

The Patriot Act, passed in late 2001, broadened the FBI's authority to use national security letters by lowering the standard for issuing them and by expanding the number of FBI officials who could sign them. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and two colleagues introduced a bill this week that would place a four-year expiration date on the letters' authority and tighten the standard for issuing them.

Under legislation introduced last week by Democratic Sens. Russell Feingold (Wis.) and Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the FBI would also have to show that people whose records are sought have some connection to terrorism or espionage. Both bills would also, to varying degrees, strengthen requirements for the use of other surveillance tools.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Judiciary Committee, asked whether anything in the Leahy bill would impede a major ongoing investigation of terrorism suspects in New York and Colorado. Kris said that topic was best discussed "in a classified setting." [Nakashima/WashingtonPost/24September2009] 

Syria Makes Overture to US. Syria is reorganizing its foreign intelligence operations and sidelining officials with unsavory pasts in an effort by President Bashar al-Assad to consolidate control and improve Syria's relations with the United States, Middle East specialists and former and current U.S. officials say.

Richard Norton, a Levant specialist at Boston University, former CIA counterterrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro and two serving U.S. intelligence officials who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the press said that the task of overseeing Syria's foreign intelligence operations has been transferred from the heavy-handed military intelligence agency, known as the Mukhabarat, to Syria's General Intelligence Agency (GI), which formerly handled domestic matters and now oversees relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The GI is headed by Gen. Ali Mamluk, who is advised by Samir al Taqi, a former legislator, the sources said. Mr. al Taqi runs the Al-Sharq Center for International Relations in Damascus and is associated with the Center for Syrian Studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

The intelligence shakeup began in February and continues. Mr. Cannistraro said much of the pressure for the transfer "came from the Saudis," who have been furious with Syria since the 2005 assassination in Lebanon of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a Saudi ally. Syria is suspected of involvement in the killing but has denied responsibility.

Mr. Norton added that the change was made by Syria to avoid "queering its current dialogue with the United States."

In general, the functions of Syrian military intelligence appear to have narrowed to providing assistance to the U.N. special tribunal investigating the Hariri murder and seeking to shield the Assad regime from blame.

Gen. Assef Shawkat, Mr. Assad's brother-in-law and the former head of Syrian military intelligence, who is rumored to have been involved in the Hariri killing, has been assigned to assist Maj. Gen. Arnine Charabi, chief of the Palestine section, who is working with British law firms to develop a scenario of the crime aimed at exonerating Syria from responsibility, according to the two serving U.S. intelligence officials.

There have been reports that Mr. Shawkat's family, including Mr. Assad's sister, Bushra, has been exiled to a Persian Gulf country and much of the family's property has been seized. However, one of the U.S. officials said this was disinformation.

Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, said, "Shawkat is not out of the intelligence business."

The shakeup appears to be an attempt by Mr. Assad to further consolidate his power internally. "We're talking about a changing of the guard, being done quite gradually in terms of political consistency," said one of the serving U.S. officials. "It's a transition of power - a slow process of putting people who are loyal to him, walking away from the old military elements of his father and relying on a civilian component instead."

Mr. Norton agreed. "What Bashar is doing is sidelining the old Ba'athist guard in military intelligence and replacing them with civilians loyal to himself," Mr. Norton said.

Mr. Norton added that the changes are part of the president's efforts to consolidate Syria's key governing institutions under his direct control and that this was evidence that at least some of Mr. Assad's inner circle consists of "reformist, smart, street-wise young technocrats" who want better relations with the West.

President Obama, who has assigned a high priority to advancing an Arab-Israeli peace agreement, has sought to improve relations with Syria in order to move the process forward.

Yet the U.S. has not yet named a new ambassador to Damascus despite earlier pledges to do so, and the administration still objects to Syrian support for Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group and political party that is also backed by Iran.

In Lebanon, the administration is disappointed that months have gone by without formation of a new government despite the election victory of a pro-Western alliance. Yet Mr. Norton said he had not detected any "Syrian string-pulling" in the Lebanese elections in which the pro-West coalition beat an alliance led by Hezbollah.

Mr. Norton also said Syria is loosening its grip on Hezbollah.

Many remain skeptical of Syrian good will. David Schenker, a Levant expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, "Syria runs hot and cold. When they are interested in improving relations or pleasing us, they toss us a bone or they look to protect their flank."

He said that the day after the Hariri murder, Syrian intelligence delivered a high-value target to U.S. operatives in the hope of deflecting popular outrage at Syria's alleged responsibility for the murder.

According to Mr. Cannistraro, "Syria has tried to cooperate with the United States in intelligence matters, only to be either snubbed or ignored" on occasion. He said Syria in 2003 offered to station U.S. forces on its soil before the Iraq war, and the Syrians opened their intelligence books, which identify assets in Europe, including front companies, in an attempt to track down al Qaeda members.

Mr. Cannistraro added that Syria "has given us invaluable help in hunting down members of al Qaeda, and they were instrumental in ex-filtrating some major Iraqi fugitives back to Baghdad after the 2003 war."

Two former U.S. intelligence officials said Syria cooperated with the United States last year in an attack that killed Abu Ghadiyah, a former lieutenant of the infamous Abu Musab Zarqawi, the late al Qaeda leader in Iraq. He was killed along with eight civilians near Abu Kamal about five miles inside Syria, foiling a planned attack on Iraqi civilians, according to the former U.S. officials. They spoke on condition that they not be named because they were discussing sensitive information.

The CIA would not confirm the account.

U.S. officials say Syria still permits some Arab suicide bombers to transit into Iraq and controls much of Lebanon's economy by means of counterfeiting, money laundering and drug trafficking.

"Those things are endemic to the way Lebanon is run," said former CIA official Judith Yaphe. All sides of every political persuasion take part."

Behind the scenes, according to Mr. Norton and Mr. Landis, however, U.S.-Syria relations are improving slowly.

Representatives of U.S. Central Command recently visited Damascus, followed by another U.S. military delegation that discussed border security and increased intelligence-sharing. According to Mr. Landis, Syria and Washington are also talking about easing U.S. sanctions against Syria.

Mr. Landis cautioned, however, that while there are people in Mr. Assad's inner circle who want closer ties with the United States, "the Syrians don't think that Obama can change the Middle East. Intelligence-sharing is good, and dialogue is constructive, but we will keep trying to force them out of Lebanon and killing Hezbollah, and Damascus will hang on to Iran and its ties to Hamas and Hezbollah, and Israel will cling to the Golan."

In other words, all of this "could go nowhere," he said. [Sale/WashingtonTimes/24September2009] 

UAE Kept Tight Lid On Disrupted Terror Plot. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year quietly broke up a major terrorist ring affiliated with al Qaeda that had plotted to blow up targets in Dubai - a banking hub that has long seemed immune to attacks by the terrorist group.

The disruption in May of the previously undisclosed plot came at a sensitive time for the UAE, which months earlier concluded an agreement with the United States that would allow the U.S. to sell it nuclear reactor technology and nuclear fuel. Congress has until Oct. 17 to block the agreement, which has been viewed with concern by some nonproliferation groups.

Three U.S. intelligence officials and one former senior U.S. government official confirmed that the terrorist scheme originated in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), a relatively poor member of the seven-emirate country.

According to these officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the incident, UAE authorities found evidence that the terrorists had conducted video surveillance of targets in Dubai including Dubai Towers, which will be the tallest building in the world when it is completed in December. The officials also said the plotters had designated suicide bombers for the operations, but had not yet made so-called martyrdom videos.

Juan Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, called the arrests a "significant ... disruption. It demonstrates al Qaeda's presence and perhaps even ill intent in the Emirates, but also signals strong cooperation from the Emirati authorities."

In the past, al Qaeda has not targeted Dubai in part because wealthy Arabs there have been a source of funding for the organization. Two of the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States were from the UAE.

The disclosure threatens to embarrass the UAE as it seeks Congressional approval for a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States.

The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, was in Washington earlier this month to lobby for legislative approval of the deal, which is expected to come before Congress in mid-October. Several lawmakers are expressing concerns about the UAE's export laws and the fear of weapons proliferation to Iran.

The deal, which was signed at the end of President Bush's second term, will go ahead if Congress decides to do nothing. It will allow U.S. firms to sell nuclear fuel and technologies to the UAE. The Emirates has agreed to buy nuclear fuel from the world market - possibly including the U.S. - but has promised not to develop its own uranium enrichment capability or reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

The intelligence officials who spoke to The Washington Times said a former minister of public lands for RAK, Muhammad Ali al-Mansuri, was arrested in connection with the investigation.

An Irish-based human rights group, Frontline Protection of Human Rights Defenders, confirmed on its Web site the arrest of Mr. al-Mansuri, whom it described as a human rights lawyer. It said he was arrested June 7 at 5 a.m. by RAK authorities and handed over to authorities in Abu Dhabi. Mr. al-Mansuri, who is a member of the RAK royal family by marriage, was released on bail at 2:30 p.m. the same day, the group said, but has had his travel limited and is thought to have been rearrested.

Present and former U.S. officials described the plan to target the towers and several other high profile locations in the country as a significant shift in how al Qaeda operates in the Emirates.

Nonetheless, Emiratis have also been helpful to the U.S. in the battle against al Qaeda. In November 2002, UAE authorities handed over to the U.S. Abd Rahim al-Nashiri, a senior al Qaeda leader who is regarded as the mastermind of the bombing in Yemen in 2000 of the USS Cole. Al-Nashiri is one of three al Qaeda leaders the CIA has acknowledged to have waterboarded during questioning.

According to a May 2002 letter from al Qaeda leaders that was declassified in 2006 by the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, N.Y., the royal families in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were explicitly threatened with attacks if their cooperation with the United States against al Qaeda continued. [Lake&Carter/WashingtonTimes/17September2009] 

British Intelligence Played "Big Part" in Iranian Nuclear Discovery. Britain played a key role in gathering intelligence to expose Iran's secret nuclear facility, according to Western diplomatic sources.

Officials in Pittsburgh said today that the British intelligence services played a "big part" in the hunt for concealed uranium enrichment capacity in Iran.

French and US intelligence agencies were also involved in the operation that led to exposure of the secret underground plant. Israel was among a number of other countries aware of what was being built.

Tunnelling and other excavation began in mid 2006, but the facility will not be operational until next year according to the current intelligence reports, the sources said.

Evidence that the plant was intended to provide nuclear fuel turns on the relatively low number of centrifuges in the facility, which is near Qum, 100 miles southwest of Tehran.

The plant had capacity for only 3,000 centrifuges, less than 10 per cent of the 50,000 that would be needed to power a civil nuclear reactor, according to the diplomatic sources. If used to make weapons grade uranium the plant would yield enough for about one warhead a year.

Although Iran's nuclear capability is still assessed as being "some way off", a Western diplomat said that Tehran had all it needed in terms of technology and resources to build a bomb.

Russia was privately briefed on the intelligence on Wednesday and is expected to issue a statement from Moscow tomorrow. After hearing of the secret plant, President Medvedev said he believed that sanctions were inevitable. His spokeswoman said the statement was expected to be "in the same spirit" - paving the way for a united front on new sanctions that would include Moscow for the first time.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran had told it that the new plant would enrich uranium to a level of 5 per cent - high enough for nuclear fuel, but not potent enough to make the fissile material for an atomic bomb.

However, Mr. Obama said today: "The size and type of the facility is inconsistent with that of a peaceful facility."

This is not the first time that covert intelligence work has been used to expose Iran's nuclear plans.

Speaking after his joint press conference with President Obama, Gordon Brown said: "This is the third time they have been caught red-handed not telling the truth about their intentions."

He was referring to information unearthed by an Iranian opposition group that led to the discovery of the underground plant at Natanz in 2002 and a CIA operation to hack into Iranian computer networks in 2007.

The CIA uncovered evidence that the country had secretly tried to design a nuclear warhead. American officials believe that effort was halted in late 2003.

In advance of today's announcement, Mr. Obama sent some of his most senior intelligence officials to brief Olli Heinonen, the IAEA's chief inspector. Other American diplomats and intelligence officials shared the findings with China, Russia and Germany, all of whom are important players in the negotiations with Iran. [TimesOnline/27September2009] 

Executive Order Update. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, has asked senior Pentagon officials to make final comments on the revised presidential order on classified information.

Gen. Clapper stated in a Sept. 7 memorandum to senior officials that the Pentagon is leading government-wide efforts to revise Executive Order (EO) 12958 as part of a presidential task force. The goal of the revision is "transparency and open government," he stated.

Gen. Clapper will make clear in a letter to White House National Security Adviser James L. Jones that the Pentagon supports the final draft of the new order but remains "adamantly opposed to any EO changes that would significantly increase security and administrative costs without clear associated gains."

Gen. Clapper also will oppose the order if it "would have the effect of impairing our wartime mission; not significantly contribute to the president's objective; displace agency head authorities; or not be realistically executable."

The Pentagon's biggest worry, the draft letter states, is the creation of the new National Declassification Center, which will require both people and money to implement.

The final draft contains an added sentence stating that "protecting information critical to our nation's security and demonstrating our commitment to open government through accurate and accountable application of classified standards and routine, secure and effective declassification are equally important priorities."

Another key added provision in the final version is the new policy stating that "if there is significant doubt about the need to classify information, it shall not be classified."

The new order will keep the three current classification levels, top-secret, secret and confidential, and will direct information classifiers that if there are doubts, data should be classified at the lowest level.

Categories of information that will be classified include military plans, weapons systems or operations; foreign government information; intelligence activities, intelligence sources or methods, cryptology; foreign relations or foreign activities including confidential sources; scientific, technological or economic matters relating to national security; U.S. data on safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities; "vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security," and data on weapons of mass destruction.

The order also calls for information to be declassified after 10 years unless it is very sensitive, and then it should be released after 25 years.

Information also cannot be classified if it will hide crimes, inefficiency or administrative errors or "prevent embarrassment to a person, organization or agency." No classification can be made if it restrains competition or prevents or delays the release of information not requiring national security protection, according to the draft order.

The order will give the director of national intelligence new authority to block the release of information by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel.

Plans call for the declassification center to be constructed over the next three years, with the first records to be moved into the facility by November 2012. [Gertz/WashingtonTimes/24September2009] 

NCIS Offers Cash Reward for Information About Spies. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Far East field office has started a public information campaign to get the word out about rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person who commits or conspires to commit espionage. The rewards can run as high as $500,000.

According to NCIS Intelligence Analyst Jon Jenkerson, the program is designed to make the public aware that there are spies targeting Naval personnel and that espionage is a real and dangerous threat.

"Our goal is really simple," said Jenkerson. "We want to get out the message to the Department of Defense (DoD) community here in Japan, specifically Yokosuka, that there are foreign intelligence services targeting Department of the Navy (DoN) personnel who work on these bases - we want to get the word out about the threat they pose to service members and their families while they are here in Japan."

NCIS, which has exclusive investigative jurisdiction within the DoN for crimes involving espionage and subversive activities, hopes the campaign will help teach the public about how to spot suspicious activity that may actually be espionage.

"Spying in real life isn't like what you see in the movies," said Jenkerson. "Most individuals don't realize they are being targeted by foreign intelligence services. These [foreign intelligence officers] are professionals. They are very well-trained. They know what they're doing, and they're not going to make it known to you. It's not their goal to have you understand who they are working for and what they are trying to do."

While spotting a spy is not easy, NCIS believes there are a number of simple indicators for which Sailors, civilians, contractors and family members can be on the lookout. Individuals who exhibit unexplained wealth or affluence, bring classified information home with them, commit multiple security violations, fail to report repeated contact with a foreign national or foreign travel, or exhibit strange behaviors such as working at odd hours, should be reported to NCIS.

However, DoN employees should also be on their guard against passing seemingly harmless information to those who do not have a need to know. Foreign intelligence services may target an individual at a bar or restaurant and ask informal questions. Answers to simple questions from people who appear to be fellow patrons may be combined with other information to create a detailed account of a project, workplace or other subject that is sensitive in nature. For this reason, practicing operational security, or OPSEC, in all situations is the first line of defense against espionage.

"OPSEC is not just something you have to go through training for once a year, it's something that is very important for... the Navy and Marine Corps to do their job and do it effectively," said Jenkerson. [SoldierofFortune/27September2009] 

Prosecutors Make Closing Arguments at CIA Trial. Prosecutors are making closing arguments in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro's arguments signal the final phase of the first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary renditions program.

A verdict is expected by year's end.

Prosecutors say the 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, organized the February 2003 kidnapping of Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from Milan.

Prosecutors say terror suspect Nasr was eventually flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. Nasr has since been released but remains in Egypt and has not testified at the trial.

The Americans are being tried in absentia. [AP/28September2009] 

Defense Department Official Convicted in Espionage Case. A Defense Department official was convicted of providing classified information to a Chinese government agent and lying to the FBI about it.

A federal jury in Alexandria convicted James W. Fondren Jr. on three counts, prosecutors said. He was acquitted on four other espionage-related counts. Fondren was the second Pentagon official charged in an espionage ring that provided highly sensitive military information to China.

Fondren, 62, faces as much as 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 22. He has been on paid administrative leave from his job as deputy director for the Washington Liaison Office of the U.S. Pacific Command. [Markon/WashingtonPost/25September2009] 


MI5: To Defend the Realm. Happy Birthday, MI5. The UK's counter-intelligence agency celebrates its centenary next month and my, how it's changed: from an organization so completely veiled in secrecy that even the British government would not admit it existed, to one in which its Director-Generals now talk openly to the media - and even write books on their time there.

Its foundations were inauspicious to say the least. The perceived intelligence disaster of the Boer War prompted the Committee of Imperial Defense to review the failure of the British Secret Service. However, it was discovered that no such organization existed. So the CID recommended the creation of a new branch of government, the Secret Service Bureau, the origins of MI5.

It was headed by Captain Vernon Kell, a veteran of the Boxer rebellion in China; while Director-General, he was known simply as "K". The Bureau launched with a tiny staff consisting of a single ex-Scotland Yard detective and three clerks; compare this to today when the occupants of Thames House (MI5) and Vauxhall Cross (MI6), on opposite sides of the river, number several thousand.

Kell's great success was the arrest in the opening days of the First World War of the entire German spy ring in Britain, which conveniently centered on a barber's shop in north London. The arrest of Karl Gustav Ernst, his assistant Wilhelm Kronauer, and 21 of their network effectively eliminated what had been intended as a large enemy operation. It also ensured that when, in January 1916, the Secret Service Bureau was split in two and assigned the cover names MI5 and MI6, the "Imperial Security Service" would be perceived as too valuable and important an instrument to disband at the end of hostilities.

MI5 would remain under Kell's control, exercising independence from successive political administrations while avoiding causing embarrassment, until the end of his tenure in June 1940. Indeed, his only confrontation with any prime minister occurred when Stanley Baldwin demanded MI5 place Edward VIII's American lover, Wallis Simpson, under surveillance. Kell initially refused the order, but eventually relented, having been persuaded by his deputy and senior staff that the operation was indeed intended to defend the realm.

Most Cabinet ministers were content to allow MI5 a large measure of freedom because of the quality of the information it gathered. This was often gleaned from informants inside the Communist Party of Great Britain, or from secret sources such as KASPAR, a microphone concealed in the central London offices of the Young Communist League. MI5 also had the benefit of MASK, the clandestine wireless messages transmitted to and from the CPGB's covert radio located in Wimbledon. For three years until March 1937, when the CPGB changed its code based on a popular edition of Treasure Island, MASK ensured that discreet counter-measures stymied every Communist-inspired scheme, strike and coup. It also offered proof that the CPGB was not a legitimate political party, but a sinister outfit controlled from Moscow.

Since Kell's departure, MI5's 14 successors have ensured the Security Service has been free of political influence. Staffed mainly by women, it has tapped telephones, intercepted mail, opened diplomatic bags, recruited sources, managed double agents, liaised with Allied agencies and maintained a watch on suspected spies, saboteurs and subversives for 100 years without engendering the scandals that have hamstrung its counterparts in Europe and the United States.

As far as is known, it has suffered hostile penetration on only four occasions - two of which were during the Second World War. The first concerned William Rolph, a retiree who had volunteered to spy for the German intelligence organization, Abwehr. When MI5 confronted him, he committed suicide in his office in Piccadilly. To avoid arousing the suspicions of the Abwehr, however, MI5 asked the coroner to record that Rolph had died of a heart attack. The second saw secretary Celia Luke, a Communist Party member, leak information from MI5's famous registry. She was dismissed, but not prosecuted.

Apart from the Cambridge-educated Anthony Blunt, who worked for MI5 from June 1940 to October 1945 while reporting simultaneously to the NKVD, the Soviet Union's secret police organization, only Michael Bettaney, an Oxford graduate, has passed on classified material from inside MI5. He was arrested in 1983 and sentenced to 23 years' imprisonment.

Early in the Second World War, MI5 achieved a breakthrough by allowing a Welsh nationalist, Arthur Owens, to transmit a daily weather report from his prison cell in Wandsworth to the enemy. Owens had been recruited by the Nazis and was arrested in 1939. However, he agreed to work as a double agent, and contacted his German handlers from jail.

Owens gave access to the Abwehr's top-secret communications across Europe which, protected by an Enigma machine cipher, were thought to be impregnable. However, Owens' daily transmissions were re-ciphered on the enemy's Enigma channels, thus allowing cryptographers at the signal's intelligence service's headquarters in Barnet to crack Germany's Enigma codes.

Postwar austerity, combined with a reluctance to be accused of acting like the Gestapo, ensured that MI5 would find its work hampered against Communist subversion and Soviet espionage. Limited resources and a growing reliance on tips by well-informed defectors resettled in the US reduced MI5's status within Whitehall.

It was the ill-fated and brief affair conducted in 1961 by the war minister John Profumo that demonstrated how vulnerable the British system of government was to a poorly planned entrapment operation. Unaware of any relationship between Profumo and Christine Keeler, MI5 sought to persuade Eugene Ivanov, an identified GRU officer based in the Soviet naval attach�'s office, to defect by recruiting his friend, the society osteopath Stephen Ward, to act as an intermediary. Caught in the middle was Profumo, whose career then collapsed as he attempted to conceal his affair. He had been approached by the Cabinet Secretary to assist MI5 and Ward in honeytrapping Ivanov, but had misinterpreted the encounter as a warning to distance himself from Keeler.

The MI5 molehunter Arthur Martin, when asked what he had achieved during his lengthy counter-espionage experience, had replied "bringing down the Macmillan government". Certainly, the Denning Report, which was laudatory about the role and performance of the Security Service, alerted the public to the kind of operations that had been conducted behind the scenes to protect the country against Kremlin-orchestrated subversion.

If publication of the Denning Report, which revealed for the first time the mandate given to MI5 by the Home Secretary, marked the end of an era of deference, it also provided a temporary respite from political interference and supervision. Unknown to the Cabinet, MI5 had been wracked by the fear that it had suffered hostile penetration by at least one mole. The details would emerge in 1986 with embittered retiree Peter Wright's book Spy Catcher, a breathtaking glimpse at MI5's dirty laundry.

Three years later MI5 was legitimized by the passage of the 1989 Security Service Bill which, guided by Stella Rimington, the first woman Director-General, gave the Service statutory powers and requirements. There followed a dramatic change in role, with the collapse of the Soviet threat and the acquisition of the lead responsibility for countering domestic terrorism, then focused on Northern Ireland.

The application of classic, conventional counter-intelligence methodology, which challenged the Provisional IRA as if it were a hostile intelligence agency, proved dramatically successful. But it was the unanticipated appearance of home-grown Muslim extremists that ended an era of complacency and a political desire to dismantle a security apparatus that was seen to have outlived its usefulness.

There were insufficient resources to deploy against known threats from radical zealots, and there followed the tragedy of a suicide plot hatched by fundamentalists whose individual dossiers, initiated by telephone intercepts and physical surveillance, had been shelved by an inexperienced MI5 officer. The officer, on that fateful occasion, was unable to fulfill MI5's motto: "To Defend the Realm". [West/Telegraph/27September2009] 

Rethinking Which Terror Groups to Fear. Eight years after 9/11, the specter of terrorism still haunts the United States. Just last week, F.B.I. agents were working double time to unravel the alarming case of a Denver airport shuttle driver accused of training with explosives in Pakistan and buying bomb-making chemicals. In Dallas, a young Jordanian was charged with trying to blow up a skyscraper; in Springfield, Ill., a prison parolee was arrested for trying to attack the local federal building. Meanwhile, the Obama administration struggled to decide whether sending many more troops to Afghanistan would be the best way to forestall a future attack.

But important as they were, those news reports masked a surprising and perhaps heartening long-term trend: Many students of terrorism believe that in important ways, Al Qaeda and its ideology of global jihad are in a pronounced decline - with its central leadership thrown off balance as operatives are increasingly picked off by missiles and manhunts and, more important, with its tactics discredited in public opinion across the Muslim world.

"Al Qaeda is losing its moral argument about the killing of innocent civilians," said Emile A. Nakhleh, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency's strategic analysis program on political Islam until 2006. "They're finding it harder to recruit. They're finding it harder to raise money."

Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and forensic psychiatrist, counted 10 serious plots with Western targets, successful and unsuccessful, that could be linked to Al Qaeda or its allies in 2004, a peak he believes was motivated by the American-led invasion of Iraq the year before. In 2008, he said, there were just three.

Dr. Sageman has been in the forefront of those who argue that the centrally led Al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is giving way to a generation of dispersed, aspiring terrorists linked largely by the Internet - who still pose a danger, but of a lesser degree.

"I said two years ago it was a diminishing problem, and everything I've seen since then has confirmed it," Dr. Sageman said of what counterterrorism specialists call Al Qaeda Central.

Dr. Sageman is not alone in that assessment. Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the National War College in Washington, cites the arcs of previous violent extremist groups, from the Russian People's Will to the Irish Republican Army, that she studied for her new book, "How Terrorism Ends."

"I think Al Qaeda is in the process of imploding," she said. "This is not necessarily the end. But the trends are in a good direction."

Yet the question of how much comfort to take from such an assessment, and whether it should change American counterterrorism policy, remain wide open, as shown by the Afghanistan debate and the charges against the Denver man, Najibullah Zazi.

Even counterterrorism officials who agree that Al Qaeda is on the wane, for example, say the organization might well regroup if left unmolested in a lawless region in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Somalia. Moreover, they point out that even a lone terrorist with modest skills can produce mass carnage. Six years before 9/11, with no aid from a sophisticated network, Timothy McVeigh used a simple fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma City to kill 168 people. And the 2001 calamity was the work of, at most, a few dozen plotters.

Nevertheless, some government officials do take quiet, if wary, satisfaction in two developments that they say underlie the broad belief that Al Qaeda is on a downhill slope. One is the success of military Special Operations units, the C.I.A. and allies in killing prominent terrorists.

Three days apart in mid-September, American special forces in Somalia firing from helicopters killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a leader of a Somalian organization, Al Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, and the police in Indonesia killed the most-wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia, Noordin Muhammad Top, in an assault on a house in Java.

In Pakistan, missile strikes from C.I.A. drone aircraft have taken a steady toll on Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies since the Bush administration accelerated these attacks last year, a policy reinforced by President Obama. A count of such strikes, compiled by the Center for American Progress in Washington, found a handful in 2006 and 2007, rising rapidly to 36 in 2008, and another 36 so far in 2009, nearly all in Pakistan's tribal areas.

In addition to thinning the ranks of potential plotters, the constant threat of attack from the air makes it far harder for terrorists to move, communicate, and plan, counterterrorism officials say. And while the officials say they worry about a public backlash in response to the civilians killed during the air attacks, those officials also say the strikes may be frightening away potential recruits for terrorism.

The second trend is older and probably more critical. The celebration in many Muslim countries that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has given way to broad disillusionment with mass killing and the ideology behind it, according to a number of polls.

Between 2002 and 2009, the view that suicide bombings are "often or sometimes justified" has declined, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, from 43 percent to 12 percent in Jordan; from 26 percent to 13 percent in Indonesia; and from 33 percent to 5 percent in Pakistan (excluding some sparsely populated, embattled areas). Positive ratings for Osama bin Laden have fallen by half or more in most of the countries Pew polled.

Peter Mandaville, a professor of government and Islamic studies at George Mason University, says a series of public recantations by prominent Islamist scholars and militants in recent years have had an effect. But the biggest catalyst has been bombings close to home.

"Right after 9/11, people thought, wow, America is not invincible," Mr. Mandaville said. "It was a strike against the U.S., and they were for it." But when large numbers of innocent Muslims fell victim to attacks, "it became more and more difficult to romanticize Al Qaeda as fighting the global hegemons - basically, 'sticking it to the man.' "

Support for bombings plummeted in Jordan, for example, after three bombs hit hotels in Amman in November 2005, including one at a wedding party. In Iraq, the slaughter of civilians by the group that called itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia prompted Sunni tribal leaders to make common cause with American forces. In Pakistan, proliferating bombings, including the 2007 attack that killed Benazir Bhutto, soured most people of all social classes on Qaeda-style violence. In addition, Al Qaeda, for all its talk of global religious war, offered no practical solutions for local problems: unemployment, poverty, official corruption and poor education. "People realized bin Laden didn't have anything to offer," Dr. Mandaville said.

Weighing the importance of such statistics is tricky, however. Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University who is often consulted by government agencies, is a dissenter from what he acknowledged has become a majority view among counterterrorism specialists about the decline of Al Qaeda.

Despite the sinking poll numbers, Mr. Hoffman said, "Al Qaeda's core demographic is young hotheads aged 16 to 28, and I still don't think it's lost its appeal to that demographic."

He said many terrorist groups kill their compatriots and become unpopular, but still remain in business. "Terrorism ends, sure," he said. "But with Al Qaeda it may be 50 years, and we're only eight years away from 9/11."

Even those who are convinced Al Qaeda is growing weaker offer a cautious prognosis about what that might mean. They say that what is growing less likely is an attack on American soil with a toll equal to or greater than that of 9/11. But they concede that the example of Al Qaeda will continue to produce copycats: "Bin Laden has given others a narrative, a grand story of struggle, and he's given them tactics as well," Dr. Mandaville said.

Dr. Sageman said the United States should approach the threat not with hysteria, but with a careful analysis of the motives and patterns of people drawn into violent plotting.

"Terrorism," he added, "is here to stay."

The news last week made that crystal clear, but it also made clear a corresponding reality: counterterrorism, too, is here to stay, and is achieving some successes. Al Qaeda has no entirely safe haven today, and the Afghanistan debate is over how to keep it that way. And if the arrest of Mr. Zazi sent a shudder through many Americans, it's worth remembering that it came before any bombs went off. [Shane/NYTimes/27September2009] 


CIA's Epic Fail Turns 60; Blown Soviet A-Bomb Case Still Stings, by Nicholas Thompson. Sixty years ago, Harry Truman announced that the United States had determined that the Soviet Union had set off a nuclear bomb. It was officially now the end of the United States monopoly on nuclear weapons, and the trigger for the great debate in the fall of 1949 about whether we should one-up Moscow and build a Hydrogen bomb - or whether we should try to head all competition off.

I recently published a long story in Foreign Policy, based on my book, that explores how this debate played out that fall. But we all know the quick summary of what happened: Truman announced that we would build the H-bomb and the arms race truly began.

To mark the anniversary, the National Security Archive has published a trove of documents about American intelligence and how it determined that the Soviets had actually run their test. One of my favorite parts is the almost-unbelievable evidence about just how badly the CIA bungled its research into Soviet nuclear progress.

As historians have long known, the CIA was predicting, as late as 1948 and 1949, that the Soviets would most likely not have the bomb until 1953. But now we know the error was even worse: in mid September 1949, even after the Air Force had found evidence of the detonation and alerted the White House, and just before Truman announced the fact to the world, the CIA was still predicting that the bomb wouldn't go off until 1953. Talk about miscommunication between our intelligence agencies. No wonder as recently as 2008, the CIA was still trying to keep documents clandestine that showed just how epic their fail of '49 really was. [ThompsonWired/21September2009] 

Inside Bob Gates' Overhaul of the Pentagon, By Noah Shachtman. Defense Secretary Bob Gates has made legions of fans - and almost as many enemies - in military circles with his no-holds-barred, no-expense-spared approach to waging today's conflicts. "My attitude [is]: If you're in a war, it's all in. I don't care what we have left over at the end," Gates told me for my WIRED magazine profile of him, out today. Since he entered the Pentagon almost three years ago, Gates has fired generals, spent hundreds of billions, deployed tends of thousands of extra troops, invented whole new segments of the defense industry, and radically reordered the Pentagon's arsenal - all in the name giving the U.S. an advantage over its current enemies, now. Never mind some far-off, theoretical fight with China or Russia in the future. Never mind (well, mostly) how the politics play out at home.

The attitude largely explains why Gates backed the Obama administration's shift on missile defense. Sea-based interceptors are ready to go, and have a proven track record again Iran-style threats. Those ground-based anti-missiles that the Bush White House planned for Eastern Europe? Not so much.

Gates' reputation also puts the Defense Secretary in a rather, um, interesting position when it comes to Afghanistan. Stanley McChrystal, the general Gates named in May to be the top general there, is asking for more troops. But Gates is on the record as being "deeply skeptical." His read on the Soviet experience there tells him more grunts may not be the way to defeat the Taliban. Will Gates continue a spare-nothing approach? Or does even this "all in" Secretary of Defense have his limits? [Shachtman/Wired/22September2009] 



Book Says US Spies Pump Dubai Visa Applicants for Intel, by Borzou Daragahi. The CIA stepped in to prevent the United States from closing a consulate in the Persian Gulf city-state of Dubai, arguing that it was a gold mine of human intelligence from Iran.

That's according to a new book, "City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism," by former Associated Press correspondent Jim Krane.

The State Department tried "more than once" to shut down its consular services office in Dubai for budget reasons. But it ran up against the resistance of senior intelligence officials. For decades, they'd been gleaning precious information about Iran by grilling hundreds of Iranian visa applicants, according to the book.

The CIA several times over the years managed to convince the State Department to make cuts elsewhere, Krane writes in the book, released in the U.S. this week.

Iranians applying for U.S. visas in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai are "monitored, interrogated and, sometimes, recruited into spying on their own government" by Iran specialists and Farsi speakers working for the CIA or other American agencies, the book says.

Those with Iranian military or government backgrounds are asked to return time and again, with agents "pressing them to collect more and deeper details," while holding out the possibility of a U.S. visa so they can visit friends and family or consider emigration, Krane writes.

"Some of these Iranians are recruited as long-term spies," said Krane, who told the Times his sources were U.S. diplomats who served in the U.A.E. "I was given to understand that most of the Iranians' visa applications were eventually rejected."

Krane, who covered Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf for the Associated Press, said the so-called "visa window operation" dates back to the 1979 revolution.

"The CIA's visa window has been so lucrative over the years that the agency has on several occasions vetoed the State Department's plans to shutter the Dubai consulate for budgetary reasons," he said in a telephone interview. "The upshot is that the U.S. is able to gather significant intelligence on Iran without having an embassy, and it can do it from the comfort of Dubai."

Tens of thousands of Iranians live in Dubai and many more regularly visit for business or tourism, flying in across the Gulf on one of hundreds of weekly flights from various Iranian cities to the multicultural commercial and port city.

From Dubai, Washington monitors Iran's business relations, trade and cash flows in an intelligence operation that has been ongoing since the 1980s.

Over the years the tiny consulate, dwarfed by the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, grew from a half-dozen American staff members to take over at least three floors in the Dubai World Trade Center, with spying a priority, said Krane, who is now pursuing a doctorate at Cambridge University in Britain.

In 2006, the State Department opened a new Dubai department called the Iran Regional Presence office, the first U.S. mission aimed at Iran since Washington and Tehran severed ties following the 1979 Iranian revolution. [Daragahi/LATimes/16September2009] 

Was My Father a British Spy?, by Jimmy Burns.  An early family photograph shows me as a toddler, clearly in awe of my dad, while hugely curious at the same time. My father is painting a landscape from a cliff's edge in the Basque country where we used to spend family holidays, and I am craning my neck up as if to see what is on the canvas.

In fact much of my childhood was spent in an unresolved search for who my father really was; my early years of manhood a tentative sparring match with the elusive person whose secrets I was determined to discover.

My early memories of Tom Burns are of a father present on some weekends, but otherwise away on seemingly endless work trips abroad related to his work as a publisher. I was grateful for the gifts he brought back during one period (the late 1950s) when a trip to the Americas or Asia retained a certain magic aura about it - my first blue jeans from New York or a koala from Australia were delivered into my hands like moonstones.

I think I was about eight when my father took me on a rare shared shopping expedition near our home in Westminster and introduced an old friend, who struck me as just as dashing and mysterious as he was. After shaking my hand firmly, he drew my father away briefly and talked in a lowered tone, out of earshot, before turning towards St James's and leaving, as he had approached us, with a stiff walk and an umbrella rhythmically poking the air.

"Who was that?" I ventured.

"Never you mind, he works on government business," was more or less the reply. I reluctantly left it at that, having been promised an ice-cream on the way to the Army & Navy store.

Boarding school in a remote Jesuit reserve of northern England in the mid-60s imposed a new kind of separation from my father and with it came a renewed quest for his true story.

It was the same school that my father and uncle had attended, and it was proud of its military tradition - portraits of the old boys awarded VCs in the two world wars lined the main dining room, while a cenotaph was carved with the names of the many more who had fought and died. Yet my father's name was absent. While old enough to fight in the second world war, he had never talked about seeing military action, still less serving as the dads and grandads of friends had. Uncle David, who died in the first world war, is named, and this made my father's lack of military distinction that much more acute when I was a young lad.

I can't remember ever confronting my father at this stage with the question, "Daddy, what did you do in the war?", although I did later make a discovery that suggested this was a period of his life he may have had reasons to avoid talking about.

It was during one of his absences away on a foreign assignment, when I was back home on holiday, that I ventured into his study and began to go through the contents of his desk.

Much of it was a mess of documents and newspapers I had no inclination to read. A prolonged search led me to a drawer and there, hidden away, lay a German Mauser pistol and a miniature Minox camera, used in taking microfilm photographs of documents.

Quite what they were doing there baffled me, and I was unwilling to ask. And yet, by a strange coincidence, not long after that my father sparked my imagination by taking me to my first James Bond film, thereby instilling in me a romantic sense of the world of espionage and some of its inhabitants.

I began to harbour a fantasy of my father as Bond in wartime, with a special license not only to kill Nazis but to snap secret Soviet documents.

However, it was only after university, when I became a journalist, that I felt confident enough to try to bring my father down to earth as someone I wanted to find out more about, if only to understand more about myself.

I learned a little about his wartime activities from him, and was introduced to more strangers I suspected were not who they said they were. My father told me that during the war he had worked as a press attach� in the British embassy in Madrid, "trying to keep Hitler from taking Gibraltar".

The frustration I felt by his refusal to talk in any detail about quite what this involved was only partly allayed by a memoir he wrote in a hurry after being diagnosed with cancer, in which he made veiled references to his work in intelligence and propaganda, and attempted to clear his conscience for past infidelities by writing movingly about my Spanish mother, whom he married in Madrid in 1944.

It was only after his death in 1995 that I set myself the task of drawing together the missing details of my father's canvas, trying to locate the few survivors of a rapidly disappearing generation of men and women who had known him from the 1930s and earlier.

The trail began in an old people's home in an English country town. An ailing pensioner recalled having signed the Official Secrets Act before working with my father in the embassy in Madrid. It continued to a mountain village outside Madrid, where an old, crippled Spaniard told me of the years he had run errands as a messenger boy for the allies in Madrid and how my father - his boss - had built up a major pro-allied propaganda section that covered the Iberian peninsula and North Africa.

Former colleagues and friends of my father who had long retired from government service, along with a wartime Spanish police file I unearthed, pointed to my father's involvement in the black arts of deception. Yet as I embarked on writing a biography of him I was conscious that the true picture of the secret world I now knew he inhabited remained incomplete.

Only in February last year did the wall of Whitehall silence crack. An unexpected phone call from a friendly source informed me that I could look at personal files on my father held in secret by MI5 for 67 years.

Contained within two bulging folders were hundreds of top secret documents which made it clear that my father, on account of his faith (Catholic), perceived personality (arrogant and duplicitous) and, above all, his pro-Franco leanings, had made as many enemies as friends in the intelligence world during the war.

The files contained intelligence reports written by my father, which were highly rated by the Joint Intelligence Committee, and show that he was involved in several successful covert operations against the Nazis in Spain and occupied France. But the files also reveal that his Catholicism and perceived reckless womanising were a source of critical comment by others within Whitehall, as was his support of certain Spanish journalists who were later suspected of being German spies.

"Source says that Burns madly in love with Conchita Olivares," reported one MI5 officer, alleging that the woman in question was trailing my father to parties in Madrid. Olivares was the daughter of the Spanish consul in London and the sister-in-law of a Spanish marquis, whom elements within British intelligence suspected of being actively pro-axis.

The source in fact provided no proof substantiating the idea that my father was betraying state secrets to Olivares, and the subject was soon dropped, presumably because of a lack of any incriminating facts on what anyway proved a short-lived mutual passion.

Yet my father's detractors did not give up easily. The files show that at one point, his personal secretary - a Moneypenny type codenamed M12 - was given the task of seducing him to help build a case against the alleged traitor. The operation backfired when M12 not only reported that my father had not laid a finger on her, but also persuaded her that he was better informed about Spain than many of his compatriots.

Attempts to have Tom Burns removed from his Madrid post ultimately floundered when Victor Cavendish-Bentinck, the influential head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, wrote in his defence, asserting that his reporting had made an important contribution to the allied cause.

Ironically, those who compiled and signed off on the most negative reports on my father were Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt and Thomas Harris, who were exposed as, or suspected of being, Soviet agents while working for MI6 and MI5 on Iberian affairs.

Reading his MI5 file helped me reach a more measured judgment of my father. Thus, while the file exonerates him of being a frivolous Walter Mitty type, his wartime record falls short of the illusion I may have once held of him as James Bond. For the five years it took to research and write about my father, the natural affection I felt for him as his favorite child has grappled with this quest for the truth.

Now the book is done, I feel I have honored the memory of Tom Burns OBE, but perhaps in a different fashion to the way I once did - not as a hero, but as a vulnerable and complex human being who served his king and country as best he could. [Jimmy Burns's new book, Papa Spy: Love, Faith and Betrayal in Wartime Spain, is published by Bloomsbury, priced �18.99.] [Burns/Guardian/26September2009] 


Film Tells Story of America's Famous Whistleblower. Four decades after he stunned the nation by leaking the top-secret Pentagon Papers study of the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg walks the halls of the past in his dreams.

In his sleep, he imagines that he still works as a researcher at the Rand Corp., advising Pentagon officials on policy, handling classified documents, studying the science of war.

"Being at Rand was the ideal life for me," Ellsberg says, almost as an afterthought. "In my dreams, I am doing classified work, trying to solve social problems."

Over the decades, Ellsberg, 78, hasn't been welcome at Rand. He committed the most startling breach of security in the company's history, walking out on Oct. 1, 1969, with the first briefcase full of classified documents destined for public release.

That bold move - and the actions that followed to get them published - are the subject of a new documentary film, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers."

The movie had its West Coast premiere only a few blocks from Rand. Ellsberg, ever the agitator, sent college students with flyers to headquarters to urge his former colleagues to attend the screening and try to understand why he did what he did.

None came. Ellsberg acknowledges that some wounds never heal. At a Rand reunion several years back, no one would shake his hand. When he tried to visit Rand, a nonprofit think tank providing analysis of public issues for government agencies, he was escorted out by security guards.

He had read the 7,000 page study of the Vietnam War known as The Pentagon Papers and became convinced that the history of U.S. involvement dating back to 1945 was a study in lies. He wanted to end the war and although to this day he does not take credit for that, he says his actions and those of other anti-war activists helped shorten the conflict.

The film by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith suggests his actions triggered the Watergate scandal and drove President Richard Nixon from office. There are audio tapes of Nixon railing against Ellsberg as a traitor in conversations with Henry Kissinger, who called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America."

The release of the classified study in The New York Times and in other newspapers triggered one of the most important First Amendment legal battles the country has ever seen and led to a powerful U.S. Supreme Court ruling for freedom of the press.

Both Nixon and Kissinger were convinced that Ellsberg had more secret documents he planned to release and they launched an offensive that included a break-in at his psychiatrist's office and culminated in his espionage trial in Los Angeles.

The charges were dismissed and a mistrial declared because of "outrageous governmental misconduct," including the break-in and disclosures that the judge had met with Nixon during the trial and was offered the job of FBI director.

All of it is depicted in the film, which is billed as a combination political thriller and love story. Early reviews have been positive.

At Ellsberg's side is his wife, Patricia, his greatest ally in his long political odyssey.

"Many people come up to me and say, 'Your husband is my hero,'" she says. "I can say after almost 40 years of marriage, he is my hero. He embodies patriotism and a higher loyalty than to an institution or a policy."

Ellsberg has been arrested for acts of civil disobedience 78 times and she has also been taken off to jail for demonstrating, she says.

"The transformation Dan went through is the transformation our society needs to go through," she says during a question-and-answer session after a screening.

Ellsberg travels the country speaking, protesting and urging others to do what he did - leak important information that reveals government untruths. He talks about the American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the latter has the potential to become "Vietnamistan" if the U.S. increases troops there.

Ellsberg remains a study in contradictions: He is a former Hawk on the war who risked everything for peace; a Marine battalion commander who turned against the war; a man capable of waxing nostalgic about his days at Rand but also giving notice that he plans to soon release more classified documents about the nuclear threat.

The complexity of the man intrigued Ehrlich and Goldsmith, the documentary filmmakers who decided to resurrect Ellsberg's story for a new generation.

"This was a subject close to both of our hearts," said Ehrlich. "We focus on people driven by conscience to act at great personal risk. What could have more resonance than the story of Dan Ellsberg?"

Ehrlich's films have included "Those Who Refused to Fight It," about World War II conscientious objectors; Goldsmith's "Everyday Heroes" was about the domestic Peace Corps.

They began their quest to make the Ellsberg movie four years ago, raising money from a long list of contributors credited at the end of the film. Their interviews with key figures in Ellsberg's story include a rare appearance by his co-defendant in the espionage case, Anthony Russo, who died shortly after telling his story on camera. The film is dedicated to him.

Ehrlich and Goldsmith raced to finish it in time for Academy Awards qualifications and wrapped it just two weeks ago, in time for the Toronto Film Festival and screenings in New York and Los Angeles.

Its future distribution plans are uncertain and fund raising continues. At a party after the Los Angeles premiere, one donor announced she would give $50,000 to keep the momentum going.

"To young people, it's a fresh story," said Goldsmith. "I would like them to see that it's possible to dissent and not be a traitor."

As for Ellsberg, who spent months copying the top secret study on a Xerox machine, he now has his own Web site and is posting his opinions across the Internet in various forums. He notes that it took The New York Times three months to review the Pentagon Papers study and decide to publish it.

"If that had happened today," he said, "I would have posted it directly on the Internet." [Deutsch/AP/28September2009] 


Elizaveta Mukasei - Legendary Soviet Spy Mistress Dies at 97.  Elizaveta Mukasei, a Soviet spy who formed half of one of the most famous husband-and-wife duos in the history of espionage, has died aged 97, according to Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.

Mukasei worked in tandem with her husband Mikhail on a string of undercover operations abroad in a career that spanned the 1940s under Joseph Stalin to the late 1970s.

The pair operated under the codenames "Zephyr" (Mikhail) and "Elza" (Elizaveta) and such was the sensitivity of their work that the modern successor to the KGB has yet to disclose full details of their operations.

Elizaveta Mukasei's death in Moscow was announced by Sergei Ivanov, the spokesman for the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in a statement published by Russian news agencies.

Her death came soon after that of her husband, who died in August 2008 at the age of 101. Ivanov said she had died on Saturday.

"Under these seemingly naive codenames (of Zephyr and Elza) they served their Russia for more than 50 years, loyally and inconspicuously, and sometimes at the risk of their own lives," said Ivanov.

"May their memory glow and their descendants thank them eternally!" he added.

The deeds of Soviet spies in the Cold War remain a subject of great respect and celebration in Russia under its strongman prime minister and ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

Elizaveta Mukasei spent most of her working life as "nelegal", a Russian term for spies who worked abroad undercover in the West in the Cold War and sent intelligence back to Moscow Centre.

The details of her career remain sketchy and largely limited to the information made public by the SVR.

She was born in 1912 in the southern Russian city of Ufa in a "poor working family" which later moved to Tashkent to escape poverty, and studied at Leningrad University.

Between 1939 and 1943 - including years when the Soviet Union was the ally of the United States in World War II - she worked "on mission" in Los Angeles where her husband was operating under the cover of deputy Soviet consul.

She took courses in German, Polish and coding in Moscow in the late 1940s and also found time to be secretary of the artistic council for the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT).

In 1955 she set off on her biggest mission, described as "espionage work in special circumstances abroad" in a still unidentified Western European country.

"Elza", who had received a full training in telecommunications, managed to maintain a two-way radio link with Moscow Centre throughout her stay abroad.

The couple also traveled on missions throughout Europe in that period, uncovering information that received the "highest estimation" back in Moscow, according to the SVR biography.

The couple only returned to Moscow in 1977, after which they devoted their energies to instructing a new generation of young Soviet spies at Moscow Centre in the art of espionage.

Like her husband, she also wrote a string of "textbooks" for the KGB's spy school and was decorated with top honors by the state. [Wilson/AP/21September2009] 


Online Course: History of the Intelligence Community. In partnership with the New York Times Knowledge Network, CQ Press announces a lifetime learning opportunity for anyone interested in the evolution and inner-workings of the U.S. intelligence community. With CQ Press author Mark Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence and national security, the four-week online course will offer live, interactive sessions that include web lectures and moderated discussion. All run through the New York Times' learning environment, Epsilen, registrants will have access to readings, a New York Times repository, graphics, images, slideshows, and video.

The course will examine the history of U.S. intelligence from its early days before World War II through the present. The course focuses on both key events and longer-lasting themes that have shaped U.S. intelligence, including its relationship with policy makers, demands on and advances in collection, the role of analysis, the role of operations, the balance between civil liberties and national security, and Congressional oversight. The course begins with the assumption that intelligence is a normal function of government and attempts to address the subject in a non-polemical and non-political manner. This course will be of interest to those who seek to understand intelligence in a deeper and broader context.

If you have any questions about the New York Times Knowledge Network courses, please contact us at

Following is the link to the course description on:


CNN Interview with Peter Earnest on Russian Provocation and Video Trickery. CNN's Campbell Brown and her panel discuss the circulation of a suggestive entrapment videotape on a Russian web site released with all the earmarks of seeking to smear a U.S. diplomat, and Peter Earnest [Executive Director, International Spy Museum; Immediate Past Chairman, AFIO] interprets and assesses the meaning of the tape..



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

October 11, 2009 - Wheaton, IL - The AFIO Midwest Chapter visits Cantigny - First Division Museum. The Museum is located at 15151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189. ( Registration is $10. Arrival is at 1:00pm where we will then take a tour of the Robert McCormick Mansion, the First Division Museum and the tank park. Dinner is scheduled at 5:30pm and is $25. Please contact Angelo Diliberti at 847-931-4184 for more details. Please RSVP ASAP to Attendees will need to provide information for security purposes and to register for FREE parking.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 1130 hrs - Tampa, FL - The AFIO Suncoast Chapter meets for an Octoberfest with Derek Harvey, Director of COE, speaking at the Officers' Club. Luncheon will at the MacDill Officers' Club -- check-in registration will commence at 1130 hours, opening ceremonies and lunch at noon, followed by guest speaker with a most interesting and timely presentation. The lunch entree is Octoberfest style pork, red cabbage, fresh salad, and German chocolate cake for dessert -- again, all for $15.00, inclusive. We will have the wine and soda bar open at 1100 for those that wish to come early for our social time.
Our chapter was honored to be invited to the grand opening/ribbon cutting of the new CENTCOM Joint Intelligence and Operation Center (JIOC) on 26 August. During that ceremony CENTCOM's commander, General Petraeus, spoke at some length about the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Intelligence Center of Excellence (COE) to be located in the new JOIC. Shortly after, we were successful with arranging Derek Harvey, the Director of the COE, to join us as our guest speaker on 13 October.
As some back ground: "Derek Harvey, a recently retired Colonel for the US Army and current senior leader within the Defense Intelligence Agency, became one of General Petraeus' most trusted anlaysts during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was recently hand selected by GEN Petaeus to head the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Intelligence Center of Excellence (COE). The COE mission is to provide responsive, reliable and relevant all-source analysis to decision makers conducting and supporting operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The COE works to coordinate, integrate and focus analytic effort across the intelligence community."
The COE is a new entity in the intelligence and security environment, and well/highly placed. We think you will be well informed/served by Mr. Harvey's comments and following discussions.
We recommend you not miss this luncheon and guest speaker--
Reply ASAP to with your name and any guests accompanying; your check payable to 'Suncoast Chapter, AFIO' (or cash) should be presented at time of check-in for the luncheon.
Should you not have 'bumper stickers' or ID card for access to MacDill AFB, please so state in your response. If we don't have your license number at hand in our member/guest roster we'll be in quick contact with you to gather needed data. And don't forget, all of you needing special roster access should proceed to the Bayshore Gate entrance to MacDill AFB (need directions, let us know).
We look forward to your response -- hopefully also seeing you at the O'Club, 13 Oct. If not, we'll have you on the list for our December luncheon.
Questions/Inquiries to Nathaniel (Nat) Alderman, Jr..Past Officer, Current ExCom Member v/ 727 576-2024 or by email to

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
NNSA Logo  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 October 2009, 11:30 a.m. - Scottsdale, AZ – The AFIO Arizona Chapter hosts Jon Altmann who will speak on "Reserve Intelligence - More than just a Weekend Activity." Jon Altmann, a retired Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist, will discuss the real time role that the US Navy's Reserve Intelligence units play since Desert Storm and 9-11. His topic will be "Reserve Intelligence - More than just a weekend activity." Our speaker will bring members of the Phoenix US Navy reserve unit to assist him in the presentation.
Event is being held at: McCormick RANCH GOLF COURSE (7505 McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale AZ 85258 ~ Phone 480.948.0260) Our meeting fees will be as follows: • $20.00 for AFIO members• $22.00 for guests. For reservations or questions, please email Simone or or call and leave a message on 602.570.6016.

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

18 - 21 October 2009 - San Antonio, TX - the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation presents 6th Annual GEOINT Symposium. Intelligence, Defense, and Homeland Security Community professionals are invited to hear from the DNI, USD(I), CDR, NORTHCOM, D/NGA, D/NRO, D/DARPA, USAF A2, CDR, US Army Intelligence Center, the IC CIO's, and many others. In addition, almost 200 exhibitors will show their products and services in an exhibit hall of over 100,000 sq. ft. Details on the event are at:
AFIO members are urged to view and, if possible, consider attending this always impressive event.

18-19 October 2009 - Tel-Aviv, Israel - The 2009 Annual Conference of the International Intelligence History Association will be held at Bar-Ilan University. The conference program can be viewed here.

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:

22 October 2009 - San Francisco, CA - The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Dr. Kalev Sepp, Senior Lecturer in Defense Analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities. Dr. Sepp will be discussing global counterterrorism strategy and policy oversight regarding special operations world-wide. He will include his observations concerning his recent trip to North Korea. RSVP required. The meeting will be held at United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco (between Sloat and Wawona). 11:30 AM no host cocktails; noon - luncheon. $25 member rate with advance reservation and payment; $35 non-member. E-mail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate meat or fish): or mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011.

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:

28 October, 2009 - Rockland, Maine, 11:30am. - The CIA Retirees Assn (CIRA) New England chapter Fall meeting will be held at Samoset Resort ( Guest speaker Will DeLong, security analyst for FEMA/MEMA, on current DHS security programs. For further info contact Richard Gay, CIRA/NE program chair: 207-374-2169

5 - 6 November 2009 - London, UK - "A Centenary Conference on The British Security and Intelligence Services"
This impressive event will be a review of the formation, growth, maturity and future of the British Security and Intelligence Services on the occasion of their Centenary The precise location in central London will be supplied registrants, only. A formal Gala Dinner occurs on November 5.
The group hosting the event has offered a special rate for AFIO members who register for the "Full Conference" before October 10 for a rate of £175; after that date the event price is £245.00
AFIO member fee for dinner reception only [Nov 5] is £90. ALL PRICES EXCLUDE VAT @ 15%
For further information, view PDF of the event.
To register, click here to download Word document and follow the instructions.
Questions? Email
The list of confirmed speakers, and the topics, make this a "do not miss" event.
: • Northern Ireland, Parliament, Politics and the ISC; • Spooks, D-Notices, Media; • The Falklands Conflict – a keynote panel; • View from the Commonwealth; • A view from the United States; • The modern era, and the future of intelligence; o JTAC; o interagency cooperation; o Personnel; o A wider community for intelligence; o The future practice of intelligence; • Keynote Speakers;
• The Foundations and The Early Years; • Operation Kronstadt, Sir Paul Dukes and Sidney Reilly; • The inter-war period; • The WWII Era; • The Cold War – keynote panel introduction; • SIS in the Cold War; • Cambridge Spies and the Molehunts; • The impact of Gordievsky; • The history of tradecraft and its development; • Personnel, recruitment and development; • A review of the historical and fictional literature on the Security Services;
Key Speakers and Chairman already confirmed:
Professor Christopher Andrew, Official Historian of the British Security Service (MI5) “Defend the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5”
Rear Admiral Nick Wilkinson, CB, former D-Notice Secretary and author of the recently published “Secrecy and the Media, The Official History of the D Notice System”
Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, KCMG, Official Historian of the Falklands War
Major General Julian Thompson, CB, OBE, Commander of 3 Commando Brigade, Falklands War
Hugh Bicheno, author of “The Unofficial History of the Falklands War”
Gill Bennett, former Chief Historian of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nigel West, intelligence historian and author of “TRIPLEX”
H. Keith Melton, noted historian of tradecraft and the clandestine devices, advisor to U.S. government agencies.
Hayden Peake, Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection
Victor Suvarov, GRU defector to the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), author of “The Chief Culprit!
Tom King (Lord King of Bridgewater) former Defence Secretary, former Northern Ireland Secretary, founder Chairman of the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
Dan Mulvenna, ex-RCMP Security Service counterintelligence officer, Professor lecturing on counterintelligence and counter terrorism to the U.S. Intelligence community at the Counterintelligence Centre in Washington, D.C.
Harry Ferguson, former MI6 and NIS officer, novelist and historian, author of “Spy”, and “Operation Kronstadt”
Gordon Corera, Security Correspondent, BBC, Presenter of Radio 4 Series “MI6: A Century in the Shadows”

Thursday, 12 November 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.

17 November 2009, 6:30 p.m. - Miami, FL - The Ted Shackley AFIO Miami Chapter at FBI Field Office
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has invited AFIO Members and their selected , cleared guests to attend a special briefing and Class at the Miami Field Office at 6:30 PM on November 17, 2009 . There is no charge for this event.
This very special briefing and Class will be from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. A light snack, courtesy of AFIO, will be served.
We will be addressed by the top officials of the Miami Field Office on very important topics.
In order to be cleared to attend, we must submit the following information to the FBI:
1. Your birth name.
2. Your address.
3. Your date of birth.
4. Your social security number.
Please provide this information to me within the next 10 days. If you intend to invite a special, trusted guest , we need the same information. Once you respond, I will provide you with the information you need, including address and the Gate clearance protocol.
Replies to: Tom Spencer at or call 305 648 0940

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


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