AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #41-09 dated 10 November 2009

CONTENTS

Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE

Section III - COMMENTARY

Section IV - OBITUARIES, BOOKS AND COMING EVENTS

Obituaries

Books

Coming Events

HOLD THE DATE Friday, 11 December 2009 -
AFIO WINTER LUNCHEON, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Tysons Corner, VA   Speakers TBA.

Current Calendar New and/or Next Two Months ONLY

 

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

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

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

Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Top AF CIA Officer Tapped to Command USAFE. Gen. Roger Brady, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, will retire early next year and be replaced by Lt. Gen. Mark Welsh III, the Air Force has announced.

Welsh is the Air Force's top officer at the CIA, where he serves as associate director for military support. He has been confirmed by the Senate for promotion to general.

Brady will retire after 40 years in the Air Force. He has commanded USAFE since January 2008 and is the commander of NATO's Air Component Command and its Joint Air Power Competency Center.

Welsh spent most of his operational career flying A-10 Thunderbolts and F-16 Fighting Falcons, including as commander of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. He also served as vice commander of Air Education and Training Command and commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy.

He joined the CIA in August 2008, earning promotion to lieutenant general four months later.

The date of Brady's retirement and USAFE change of command has not been announced. [AirForceTimes/2November2009] 

Former DEA Agent Wins Settlement in Suit Against Justice Department. Two colleagues who once fought drugs in California have won satisfaction in a 15-year legal battle that shone a bright spotlight on the nation's spies.

Capping a remarkable courtroom ride, former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Richard Horn and attorney Brian Leighton secured a $3 million financial settlement from the Justice Department. The confidential settlement filed Tuesday ends a lawsuit that embarrassed past and present CIA officials.

"No one should have to endure what we did for 15 years," Leighton said Tuesday evening. "The government greatly miscalculated our endurance and resolve."

In the original lawsuit filed by Leighton in U.S. District Court in Washington, Horn claimed a CIA officer and a diplomat had collaborated in illegally eavesdropping on his conversations.

Leighton declined Tuesday to describe how the $3 million would be divided, but he called the payment "big time." As is customary, the settlement doesn't include any admission of wrongdoing by the Justice Department or individual defendants.

"It might also light a fire under future plaintiffs to vindicate their rights," Leighton said.

The Justice Department, too, gets something out of the settlement. After succeeding for years in keeping the entire lawsuit sealed, government officials were facing the possibility that sensitive practices and prior investigations would be exposed.

"This case has been pending for 15 years, and the parties and the United States have now reached a comprehensive, global settlement of claims after extensive negotiations," Justice Department attorney Alexander Haas stated in a legal filing Tuesday night.

A 59-year-old former federal prosecutor, Leighton worked closely with Horn when the DEA agent served in California's San Joaquin Valley. Since leaving the Justice Department, Leighton has primarily made his mark representing San Joaquin Valley agricultural clients.

Horn went on to serve as the DEA's top agent in Burma, where he said he ran afoul of a State Department diplomat.

"I am not inclined to talk about what I am doing now," Horn said via e-mail earlier this year. "I strive to live a quiet and anonymous life."

In one legal filing, Horn claimed he wanted "the truth (concerning) Burma's drug enforcement efforts, which were substantial, be told to the U.S. Congress and the executive branch; whereas the (State Department) and CIA ... desired to deny Burma any credit for its drug enforcement efforts."

Horn claims the conflict came to a head in 1993 when the CIA officer Arthur Brown illegally wiretapped him - including telephone conversations he had with Leighton, who was still in Clovis, Calif. - and shared the results with diplomat Franklin Huddle. Horn's DEA career subsequently ended after he was withdrawn from his Burma post.

Leighton agreed as part of the settlement to stop seeking contempt-of-court sanctions on former CIA Director George Tenet, former CIA officer Brown and four CIA attorneys. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth suggested that the past and present CIA men may have perpetrated a "fraud on the court" through inaccurate declarations.

"The court does not give the government a high degree of deference because of its prior misrepresentations," Lamberth wrote in July, adding later that the "misconduct by the government ... (raises) very serious implications."

Until Lamberth's angrily worded July decision, government attorneys had successfully argued that the lawsuit, first filed in August 1994, must be sealed to protect state secrets.

The conflict over secrets led Lamberth to take the highly unusual step of ordering that Leighton be granted the security clearances necessary for reviewing certain documents.

"This case has already been delayed long enough by the government's failure to disclose information that had long been unclassified," Lamberth said in September.

Tellingly, Lamberth further hinted in September that the government could be on a losing course if the case went to trial, as he suggested that "the only secret the government might have left to preserve is the fact they did what Horn alleges."   [Doyle/MiamiHerald/4November2009] 

CIA Agents Found Guilty of Italy Kidnap. An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans - all but one of them CIA agents - and two Italian secret agents of the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric.

The agents were accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from Milan and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

The trial, which began in June 2007, is the first involving the CIA's so-called "extraordinary rendition" program.

Three Americans and five Italians were acquitted by the court in Milan.

The Americans were all tried in their absence after the US refused to extradite them.

The CIA's Milan station chief at the time, Robert Lady, was given an eight-year term, while the other 22 Americans convicted were sentenced to five years in prison. One was not identified by prosecutors as a CIA agent.

The two Italian agents were given three-year prison terms.

Italian prosecutors said Abu Omar was taken as part of a series of extraordinary renditions carried out by the CIA - when terror suspects were moved between countries without any public legal process.

They told the court he had been kidnapped in daylight on a Milan street in 2003 and flown to Germany, and then Egypt, where he was held for years until being released without charge.

Judge Oscar Magi acquitted the CIA chief for Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, saying he was protected by state secrecy laws, as were the former head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari, and his deputy, Marco Mancini.

Mr. Pollari, who resigned over the affair, told the court earlier this year that documents showing he had no involvement in the kidnapping were classified under secrecy laws. [BBC/4November2009] 

Last Fort Lewis Deployment of the Year: Spies. Some of the U.S. Army's best spies recently departed Fort Lewis for Iraq, where they will help teach the Iraqi military how to play spy games at a high level too.

The arrival of the 1,000 soldiers of the 201st Battlefield Support Battalion represents the last major deployment for a Fort Lewis unit to Iraq this year. A total of about 9,000 soldiers with two Stryker infantry brigades, a fires brigade and I Corps deployed there earlier this year.

The job of the 201st is to provide a wide range of intelligence for American military units at 38 sites across Iraq, with staffs ranging from three to 300 soldiers.

They will coordinate spying from human sources, intercept cell phone and other electronic messages, do counterintelligence work, manage Arabic linguists, and monitor and target enemy positions, among other specialized tasks.

The brigade headquarters, located at Contingency Operating Base Adder outside Tallil, will provide strategic intelligence to I Corps, which runs daily military operations under the banner of Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Brigade commander Col. Robert Whalen said much of the work in the coming months will be dedicated to supporting Iraq's national elections in January.

And many members of the 201st will partner with Iraqi security forces, training them in collecting intelligence – one of the fields where Baghdad still relies heavily on the American military.

"Success will be a patient accumulation of things," Whalen said in a news release. "It will be seen in the professionalism of the Iraqi security forces as we pass on special skills to them, especially those from the long-range surveillance company. When we leave, the Iraqis won't miss a beat."

His unit is the successor of the 201st Military Intelligence Brigade, a mix of active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers who had been stationed at Fort Lewis since 1987. On July 3, 2008, the old 201st was deactivated and replaced by an all-active-duty version.

The brigade had less than a year to prepare for the deployment, Whalen said. Its soldiers trained among retired Central Intelligence Agency officers and Joint Special Operations Command service members. Whalen spent time in Morocco learning Arabic.

At a ceremony in Iraq last week, the 201st Brigade officially took over responsibilities from the Fort Hood, Texas-based 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

Whalen said the work of the Fort Hood unit means his soldiers should enjoy a smooth transition.

"They did an extraordinary job preparing us to take over operations here. They developed relationships, which is an important part of Iraqi society," he said. "Because of that, we are able to plunge right in from Day 1." [Fontaine/NewsTribune/3November2009] 

Sir Mark Thatcher said He Was a Spy for South Africans. Sir Mark Thatcher became an informer to the South African secret services in an attempt to avoid prosecution for his role in a botched coup in central Africa.

Thatcher met South African intelligence officials in 2004 to discuss the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea.

"I was told I was a nominated SASS [South African Secret Service] source," he said later in an interview.

The disclosure will further anger Simon Mann, the mercenary released last week by Equatorial Guinea. Mann has claimed the former prime minister's son played a key role and wants him to face justice.

Thatcher met an intelligence official from SASS while he was under investigation by the police for partly financing the plot. The next day he claimed he was told he had been accepted as an intelligence source.

Four days later he was arrested by the Scorpions, then an anti-corruption unit in South Africa, and subsequently charged under anti-mercenary laws.

Adam Roberts, an Economist journalist and author of The Wonga Coup, a book about the plot, said: "Thatcher told me that four days before his arrest he had been accepted as an intelligence source by SASS. He blames his arrest on a lack of communication between various government departments."

Thatcher now denies trying to strike a deal and says he has "no recollection" of telling Roberts that he had been accepted as an intelligence source. He claims he did not realise the man he met was an intelligence official and at that time he did not believe he faced the risk of prosecution.

The Equatorial Guinea government said it had evidence - including phone and bank records - that Thatcher and a Lebanese businessman, Ely Calil, were involved in the plot. [Ungoed-Thomas&Swain/TimesOnline/8November3009]

Spy Planes Hunt Pirates Who Seized British Couple. Spy planes are being used for the first time to track the movements of Somali pirates as they plunder hundreds of ships, a Nato report will reveal next week. Satellites may also be employed to identify gangs armed with rocket-propelled grenades and submachine guns off the Horn of Africa, according to the report.

The Nato revelations come amid growing concern for the plight of Paul and Rachel Chandler, the middle-aged British couple held by bandits after being captured on their boat 15 days ago. Reports this week claimed that they had been moved inland and were being fought over by armed rival gangs.

The need for better surveillance of pirates comes as the number of attacks on ships increases and the number of hostages taken multiplies. There was a lull in hijackings during this season's monsoon, but pirates have stepped up attacks in the past few weeks and are now holding some 10 vessels and at least 187 hostages.

The draft report, written by Lord Jopling, a Nato adviser, says the US Navy is flying unmanned aircraft from the Seychelles, 1,000 miles off the east coast of Africa, and argues that more spy planes and satellites should be employed to combat a growing threat. "Military experts agree that given the limited number of warships in the area, only a greater and co-ordinated use of air surveillance can help navies provide improved coverage and shorter response times," he wrote.

"In this regard, the deployment of Nato Awac aircraft in support of Operation Ocean Shield could usefully reinforce other surveillance assets already in theatre. Greater use should also be made of ship-based and land-based unmanned aerial vehicles."

The recommendations will help boost Operation Atalanta, an EU campaign to stop the piracy. The joint naval patrol includes vessels from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. A resolution to be presented by Jopling to Nato's assembly next week urges member governments and parliaments to contribute additional "aerial surveillance assets" and consider the deployment of satellites from the European space agency to help combat pirates off the horn of Africa.

Paul Chandler, 58, and his wife Rachel, 55, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, were on board their small yacht when they were kidnapped by Somali pirates in the early hours of 23 October. The pirates at first demanded a ransom payment of $7m (£4.2m), but reduced their demand to £100,000, which the UK government has since declined to meet.

Fears for their safety grew last week when they were at the centre of a battle between rival militia. One faction of the gang holding the Chandlers wanted to hand them over to Islamists believed to be linked to radical jihadists fighting Somalia's Western-backed government.

Brigands are holding a Spanish trawler and 33 crew members off Somalia and have reportedly threatened to start killing hostages. Pirates have been plundering the shipping lanes off Somalia for years. Warships from 16 nations are patrolling the area, but the sea gangs have extended their reach far into the Indian Ocean.  [Guardian/8November2009] 

Mossad Hacked Syrian Official's Computer Before Bombing Mysterious Facility. Agents of Israel's Mossad intelligence service hacked into the computer of a senior Syrian government official a year before Israel bombed a facility in Syria in 2007, according to Der Spiegel.

The intelligence agents planted a Trojan horse on the official's computer in late 2006 while he was staying at a hotel in the Kensington district of London, the German news magazine reported Monday in an extensive account of the bombing attack.

The official reportedly left his computer in his hotel room when he went out, making it easy for agents to install the malware that siphoned files from the laptop. The files contained construction plans for the Al Kabir complex in eastern Syria - said to be an illicit nuclear facility - as well as letters and hundreds of detailed photos showing the complex at various stages of construction, according to the magazine.

At the beginning - probably in 2002, although the material was undated - the construction site looked like a treehouse on stilts, complete with suspicious-looking pipes leading to a pumping station at the Euphrates. Later photos show concrete piers and roofs, which apparently had only one function: to modify the building so that it would look unsuspicious from above. In the end, the whole thing looked as if a shoebox had been placed over something in an attempt to conceal it. But photos from the interior revealed that what was going on at the site was in fact probably work on fissile material.

Early in the morning of September 6, 2007, Israeli fighter jets bombed the complex, located in the desert near the Euphrates river about 80 miles from the Iraq border. The attack, dubbed "Operation Orchard," seemed to come out of nowhere and was marked by a resounding silence from both Israel and the United States afterward.

Israel claimed the incident never occurred. The United States claimed ignorance, but a State Department official suggested the target was nuclear equipment obtained by "secret suppliers."

The Syrians were said to have been building the reactor with help from North Korea. The Israeli military's intelligence unit, known as 8200, was reportedly tipped off to this by the U.S. National Security Agency, which intercepted conversations between Syrian officials at the reactor and North Koreans.

Israel's concern about the facility really kicked into gear when it discovered that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to Syria in 2006, according to Der Spiegel. The magazine alleges that Ahmadinejad promised the Syrians more than $1 billion to hasten their progress on the project.

In early 2007, Iran's former deputy Minister of Defense defected to Turkey and told the CIA that Iran was funding a top-secret nuclear facility in Syria in conjunction with North Korea. Then, days before the Israeli attack on Al Kabir, the Mossad discovered that a ship from North Korea arrived in Syria loaded with uranium materials.

Israel's attack on the facility commenced late in the evening of September 5, when 10 Israeli fighter jets departed from a base in Northern Israel around 11 p.m. and headed west over the Mediterranean. Seven of them turned east to Syria, flying low, and took out a radar station with their missiles. About 20 minutes later they released their bombs on Al Kabir.

Afterward, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly sent a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad through Turkey saying no further hostilities were planned.

Israel, Olmert said, did not want to play up the incident and was still interested in making peace with Damascus. He added that if Assad chose not to draw attention to the Israeli strike, he would do the same.

In this way, a deafening silence about the mysterious event in the desert began. Nevertheless, the story did not end there, because there were many who chose to shed light on the incident - and others who were intent on exacting revenge.

Assad maintains that the facility was a conventional military installation. But Der Spiegel reports that in June 2008, a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency analyzed soil at Al Kabir taken after the bombing and found traces of uranium that were "of a type not included in Syria's declared inventory of nuclear material." Assad says the Israelis dropped the samples from the air when they bombed the facility in order to frame Syria.  [Zetter/Wired/3November2009]

Swedish Spooks Knocked Offline by Hack Attack. The website of the Swedish Signals Intelligence agency (Försvarets Radioanstalt, or FRA) was taken offline by a massive DDoS attack this week.

Fra.se was intermittently inaccessible from Monday night until Thursday morning, when full service was restored. The agency was in the news recently after Swedish legislators passed a law allowing FRA to tap internet communications networks that pass through Sweden.

The monitoring effectively started last month, reports Finnish security firm F-secure, which notes that Russia's international internet traffic passes through Sweden.

It's unclear who's behind the attacks, but Russian cybercrime operations or possibly file sharers lashing out against the Pirate Bay clampdown are among the possible suspects.

In a statement, FRA said that the temporary disruption to its web site had no effect on its work.

An apparently separate denial-of-service attack downed about 40 websites belonging to police and media outlets in Sweden last week. [TheRegister/5November2009]

Israel Spy Agency Tried to Recruit Alleged Killer. A Jewish settler who was arrested for allegedly having murdered two Palestinians was approached by Israel's internal security agency to be an informer after the attacks.

Jack Teitel, a 37-year-old immigrant from the United States, was arrested in October on suspicions of murdering the men in 1997 while visiting Israel as a tourist, the police announced on Sunday. He is also suspected of being behind a string of bomb attacks since 2006.

When Teitel returned to Israel in 2000, three years after the murders, he was questioned by the Shin Bet internal security service and the police over the killings, but no charges were filed.

It was at that moment that the domestic intelligence agency asked him to serve as its informant in extreme right-wing circles.

The agency confirmed it had tried to recruit Teitel after the 2000 interrogation, saying in a statement that it "had but a limited number of interviews with him, without result. The contacts were then cut."

Dubbed the "Jewish terrorist" by the Israeli press, police said Teitel has confessed to the murder of a Palestinian taxi-driver in east Jerusalem and a shepherd in the West Bank, saying the killings were to avenge Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel.

Teitel is also alleged to have placed a bomb near a convent outside Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, two year ago, wounding a Palestinian.

In another bomb attack, a 15-year-old boy was seriously wounded when a device was concealed in a parcel sent to his parents, members of a Jewish sect which embraces Jesus.

Another bomb wounded a leading left-wing Israeli professor, Zeev Sternhell, while two other attacks targeted police stations, police said.

The father of four is a resident of the Shvut Rachel settlement in the occupied West Bank. [AP/6November2009] 

Videos Grow as Intelligence Tool. It's pretty common for a commander planning a mission in Afghanistan to conduct video surveillance beforehand using an unmanned aerial vehicle. But now it's also possible to search through an extensive archive of past video surveillance.

Videos dating back a week, a month, even a year show what has changed at key points of interest such as roads, buildings and terrain, highlighting potential dangers.

"It's kind of like YouTube for the military," said David Barton, who invented the capability with his brother Jason.

All the commander needs, Barton said, is a standard desktop computer, free Java software and adLib software produced by the Bartons' Suffolk, Va., firm, EchoStorm.

It may be as easy to use as YouTube, but adLib is a lot more sophisticated. The stored videos are indexed and searchable and may be embedded with other useful intelligence.

Thus, they can be used to track particular targets of interest, such as a suspicious truck that might appear in different surveillance videos over the course of several days, Barton said.

And by searching through videos by longitude and latitude, it is possible to see how a location has changed over time, he said.

The software and archived videos are being used for mission planning and damage assessments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to support Predator UAV missions in Pakistan, Barton said.

AdLib is among dozens of technologies, including several similar video intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, being examined by the U.S. Joint Forces Command for their ability to quickly deliver intelligence to troops in combat.

In the adLib system, archived ISR videos are labeled with "metadata tags." These are small strings of computer code that are automatically attached to the videos to provide information, such as longitude and latitude, date, time, altitude, that make it possible for computers to search and find the right videos, Barton said.

Additional tags can be attached manually to serve as bookmarks that point viewers to relevant images within a video, such as the suspicious truck or unusual activity outside a targeted building on a given date.

So, "if you wanted to know what happened at a particular location on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m., you need only enter those search criteria to immediately retrieve the video footage," Barton said.

Some of the searchable video is stored in "federated" databases, meaning that they are linked electronically to create a single large archive whose videos are available to anyone with adLib software and permission to use the archive. As with the Internet, it doesn't matter where the videos are physically stored; the system will find and retrieve them, Barton said.

In other instances, as with the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., intelligence videos are kept in isolated databases and are available only to a select audience.

AdLib is used by the Army, Air Force, special operations units, the Joint Forces Command and the Department of Homeland Security, and at any given time, it is providing videos simultaneously to 200 to 300 users in war zones, Barton said.

But EchoStorm isn't alone in the military "video and data management" arena.

Among the players is the Digital Results Group of Cambridge, Mass., which produces a system called Ageon ISR. The company says its system overlays videos with such intelligence information as photographs, maps and troop locations to create a fuller picture for planning operations.

Ageon, too, promises to deliver data readily to troops in the field. The system, say its developers, delivers "operations and intelligence information to virtually anyone, anywhere using nothing more than a common laptop or mobile device."

On the one hand, the U.S. military wants that. On the other hand, it's not so sure.

"We're very focused on getting ISR data to the tactical edge. That could be a staff sergeant in a Humvee with a laptop," said Air Force Col. George Krakie, the ISR chief at the Joint Forces Command's intelligence directorate.

But after several years of "patting ourselves on the back" for delivering a flood of data to the battlefield, military intelligence experts are having second thoughts, he said.

"Just dumping raw data on the war fighter at the tactical edge does him no good. He doesn't have time to sift through it," Krakie said. What the staff sergeant in the Humvee really needs is intelligence that has been analyzed, he said.

But delivering that is a challenge. The ability of UAVs, cameras and other sensors to collect intelligence is prodigious, but the ability to analyze it is lagging behind.

Consider what persistent surveillance by a UAV yields: "a kilometer-by-kilometer footprint of an urban environment," Krakie said. "A human cannot look at all that information and pull out what's important."

More of that must be automated. "We need algorithms" that will point out possibly important activity so that analysts can then examine it in detail, Krakie said.

The burgeoning capability to deliver intelligence data to troops on the front line has sparked a debate over a practice known as "post before process," Barton said.

Essentially, raw intelligence data is being made available - posted - before it has been processed by analysts.

One philosophy is to "let the end users decide whether it's useful or not," Barton said. "If you're on the ground in the Army going out on patrol, wouldn't you want to see a recent video" of the area about to be patrolled?

The countervailing philosophy is Krakie's - that there is so much raw intelligence that it inundates without illuminating.

One answer is to develop a more centralized intelligence collection and storage infrastructure that has greater capability to analyze data and exerts greater control over their release.

But Barton is betting on letting the user decide. "Post before process is going to be the biggest shift [in intelligence culture] over the next couple of years," he said. [Matthews/Defensenews/8November2009] 

Institute to Publish Names of Czech "Communist Secret Agents." The Czech Institute for the Studies of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR) and the Archives of Security Forces will publish a list of members of the communist intelligence which was part of the Czechoslovak communist police (SNB).

Apart from the list that will be published by the USTR on its website on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the institute will also make public the personal cards and photographs of former communist intelligence service agents.

It will also be possible to find the names of agents who worked abroad until the fall of communism in the former Czechoslovakia on November 17, 1989.

The institute received the documents in 2008 from Czech UZSI civilian intelligence service.

According to the UZSI, the institute received 13,500 files from it that concerned, for instance, the monitoring of certain buildings or the communication between the Prague headquarters of the communist intelligence service and intelligence groups operating abroad.

The UZSI has also handed to the institute over 7000 files of its secret collaborators, the database and a card index. The UZSI retained only about 5 percent of the documents, which it still considers classified. 

The communist intelligence service that operated within the communist police was involved in espionage activities outside Czechoslovakia.

The Archives have published their files in which they stored information concerning foreign institutions - political parties, state bodies, military centers, scientific institutions, companies and various emigrant and church organizations.

In the past, the UZSI also published documents of the communist intelligence concerning the events of 1989, the 1968 Prague Spring reform movement and the fight of the Czechoslovak secret police, StB, against Czechoslovak emigrants.

In 2005 it opened a study room offering the documents in digital form. [PragueMonitor/9November2009] 

US Hikers Face Spy Charges in Iran. Three American hikers taken into custody by Iranian guards near the border with Iraq on July 31 are facing charges of spying.

Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted by the IRNA news agency as saying the investigations were continuing against the three, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, and that a statement on their fate would be made in the near future.

"The three Americans arrested near the border of Iran and Iraq are facing charges of spying and the inquiry is continuing," he said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Berlin there was "no evidence" for Iran to charge the Americans.

Family and friends of the three have said they were hiking in a mountainous border region in northern Iraq near a famous waterfall when they unintentionally strayed into Iran. [News24/9November2009] 

DOD Intelligence Analyst Ordered to Pay $1,000 Fine for Breaching Classified Program. A Fort Belvoir-based analyst for a Department of Defense intelligence agency was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for compromising a computer program being used in a joint FBI-U.S. Army terrorist investigation.

Brian Keith Montgomery, an analyst for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, used his top-secret clearance to gain access to a computer program he was not cleared to view, he admitted in his guilty plea. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides mapping information to the military's intelligence community.

Montgomery's actions "significantly compromised the federal investigation," prosecutors said in court documents. "Numerous resources were expended attempting to identify the individual who obtained the information and undo the harm caused." Authorities did not go into detail on the nature of the terrorist investigation.

But in letters to Judge Thomas Rawles Jones, Montgomery's co-workers and boss painted a picture of him as a highly valued analyst who made a mistake that should not result in jail time or his being fired.

"Although I do not condone Brian's lack of judgment and poor decision making during this incident, I am willing to accept the facts the he made a horrible mistake," his boss J. Dale Walden wrote. "I feel he can still have a positive impact on the agency and the analytical tradecraft he holds so dear."

Montgomery has served in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing up-to-the-minute intelligence that has saved the lives of American soldiers, one co-worker wrote in a letter to Jones.

In the letter, the co-worker recalled one instance where soldiers were about to depart for a surprise attack mission, when Montgomery came "rushing in." The analyst had just noticed a "pattern of life" in the area the team was about to attack.

"If we did not receive this information, then the element of surprise would have surely been gone," he wrote. "From my personal experience he possibly saved my life and the lives of my teammates."

Walden said in his letter that he wants Montgomery to get his security clearance back and the co-worker wrote, "I can't afford not having (Montgomery) supporting the forces whom are on target every day and night, every month, and what is now, every year." [Klopott/WashingtonExaminer/9November2009] 


Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE

Overseas Turf War Between the CIA and DNI Won't Die. Can anyone end the dispute between the nation's intelligence chiefs? The National Security Council tried and failed; National Security Adviser Jim Jones tried and failed. Now it looks as if Vice President Joe Biden's effort to referee the dispute between CIA Director Leon Panetta and his boss, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, has not completely resolved the differences either.

At issue in the pair's long-running tension is the right to name the chief intelligence officer in any U.S. mission abroad. A typical embassy has representatives from several intel agencies - CIA, FBI, NSA, military intelligence, et al. - and one of them is designated the top dog, responsible for liaising with the intelligence agencies of the host country, among other things. For decades, that job has fallen automatically to the CIA station chief. But after the DNI was created in 2004, a question arose: As head of 16 intelligence agencies, should the DNI have the right to name someone other than the CIA station chief as the top intel officer in each mission?

Since the legislation creating the DNI was hastily put together, the question - like many others - is not clearly answered. Successive CIA directors have pointed out that because the main task of the top intel person in any mission is to interact with the host country's spy agencies, the CIA station chief is the natural choice. The DNI view, however, is that in some missions, the CIA role is relatively small, and it might make sense for the representative of another agency to take the lead role.

When Blair and Panetta were appointed by President Obama, the question was still unanswered, and the matter was taken to the NSC for adjudication. In May, when Blair issued a directive claiming the right, "in rare circumstances," to nominate a non-CIA person as the top intel official in foreign missions, Panetta immediately took issue with it, and the dispute quickly escalated.

"This was a symbolic fight - it's about who's in charge of the playground," says Amy Zegart, a UCLA professor and national-security expert. "Blair was trying to show who's boss, and Panetta was trying to protect the power of an agency that's going through a difficult time."

The Senate intelligence committee backed the Blair directive, arguing in its 2010 intelligence-authorization bill that the DNI was "exercising his authority under the law." The CIA, however, continued to press its case.

With the NSC and Jones unable to come to a judgment, the matter was taken up to Biden, who held at least two meetings with Panetta and Blair over the past several months. Biden's office, the CIA and the DNI have all refused to comment on these meetings, but officials familiar with the deliberations say that last month the Vice President came down on Panetta's side.

An Administration official said "the key goal [is] to avoid confusion among American ambassadors and foreign partners as to who on the U.S. country team is responsible for intelligence. Clarity and consistency count. For that reason, among others, there won't be any change in the role of CIA station chiefs, who have managed the nation's overseas intelligence system for well over 60 years." The official adds, "Since the DNI was established, station chiefs have also served as DNI representatives, and that arrangement, too, will continue."

Former CIA station chiefs say that's as it should be. "Directors of the CIA may come and go, DNIs may come and go, but the continuity of relationships with foreign partners is critical," says Robert Grenier, who was station chief in Islamabad in 2001 and is now chairman of the advisory firm ERG Partners. "The CIA has managed these relationships for decades."

But even now it's not clear that the issue has been fully resolved. Part of the problem is there has not been a general announcement to the intelligence community about Biden's decision. Some experts surmise that this is to spare Blair's feelings. But intelligence insiders say the DNI is taking the view that the matter is still being adjudicated. And indeed, Blair has not rescinded his directive, leaving room for continuing ambiguity.

DNI spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said "There may be an agreement to disagree on this [and] that we all need to move on. It might be that this one may not be resolvable." The crucial thing, Morigi says, is that this dispute "doesn't preclude [the DNI and CIA] from getting their work done" on other matters. [Ghosh/Time/1November2009] 

Stasi Dumped Syringes, Serum in '76 Montreal Olympics. After injecting athletes with performance-boosting drugs at the Montreal Olympics, East German officials dumped the leftover serum and syringes in the St. Lawrence River, newly uncovered documents indicate.

East Germany startled the world at the 1976 Games by capturing 40 gold medals, second only to the powerhouse Soviet Union.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this month, revelations of widespread doping emerged, leading to criminal trials and compensation for athletes unwittingly dosed with steroids.

A chance discovery in the Berlin archives of the notorious Stasi, the East German secret police, led University of Waterloo history professor Gary Bruce to a 95-page file on the spy service's operations at the Montreal Games.

A Stasi officer's final report on the Games contains an apparently none-too-subtle reference to the drug program under the subheading Destruction of the Rest of the Special Medicine, noting: "About 10 suitcases of medical packaging, needles, tubular instruments, etc. were sunk in the St. Lawrence River."

Bruce said eight of the report's nine pages were missing - likely destroyed in a massive Stasi purge of highly sensitive files at the end of the Cold War. But he has no doubts about the memo's subject matter.

"It's not usual to destroy legal medications, or sink them in the bottom of a river."

The documents make it clear that Stasi chief Erich Mielke saw the Games as a means to improve East Germany's standing in the world by ensuring all went well on the athletic field and that nothing went wrong away from it.

He put the fabled Markus Wolf, head of the Stasi's foreign espionage wing, in charge of Operation Finale, a tightly controlled effort to monitor East German athletes in the years leading up to the Games as well as during the 16-day sporting festival.

The secret police especially feared defections and tried to ferret out any hints of disloyalty among team members.

Officers from the Stasi and other East Bloc security services met at KGB headquarters in Moscow before the Games to co-ordinate efforts, says Bruce.

The KGB worried the Ukrainian and German emigre "colonies" in Montreal might bombard athletes with anti-Communist pamphlets.

None of this came to pass, but the Stasi didn't take any chances.

Before the Games even began, two athletes were kicked off the team for chatting with an Austrian hotel clerk during a foreign training exercise.

The archival records show there were 67 informants among the 511 East German Olympic team members - a ratio of more than one in every 10 athletes.

There is no indication in the files as to how willing they were to spy on fellow team members. But Bruce's overall sense of what motivated Stasi informants leads him to suspect some athletes co-operated out of fear of reprisal - including possible exclusion from future international events - while others were quite happy to help out.

"They enjoyed the thrill in some fashion of being a member of the secret police," he said. "And so some of them were quite willing to inform when the Stasi approached them."

Some members of the East German delegation, including a translator, were actually Stasi officers.

Seemingly innocent social interactions were keenly scrutinized for early signs of a planned defection.

The Stasi noted that one athlete received a visit from his grandfather who lived in the United States. Another passed his phone number to a Canadian girl at a dance. And a female team member aroused suspicion by staying out all night with an Italian athlete.

One East German with apparent marital problems was sent home early in case he decided western refuge was the solution to his troubles.

There was an overture to one East German swimmer to join the American team, said Bruce. "But the Stasi intercepted that note before it got to the athlete."

Stasi spies were also concerned the media in Montreal would ask about drug use, and later expressed disappointment with the numerous references in Canadian newspapers to East German athletes being doped.

While suspicions were rampant, the extent of the doping program did not emerge until after reunification of the two Germanies.

Many athletes had no idea the little blue pills they took contained anabolic steroids. Several later suffered serious health effects including cancer, cysts and liver problems, and female athletes delivered babies with birth defects.

Former East German sports chief Manfred Ewald, who helped orchestrate the scheme, was convicted in July 2000 for his role. He died two years later.

But in the summer of 1976, scandal and shame were a long way off, and the Stasi's fears of Olympic calamity quietly slipped away after the Games, much like the remaining special medicine.

"For the most part," says Bruce, "they were very, very happy with how things had gone in Montreal." [CTV/8November2009]

Locals Recall Fall of Berlin Wall. Whenever retired U.S. Army Col. Bob Mangold had someone new working in his intelligence office, he'd make them get in a car and drive out to look at the Berlin Wall.

Mangold, of Cortland, said he did this for the 50-or-so military linguists working under him in the Berlin office of the Joint Refugee Operations Center because it was sobering.

Seeing the wall up close with bricked-up buildings embedded in its western face, with the shards of broken glass sticking out of the top to deter escape, with the East German guards patrolling with orders to shoot defectors on sight gave his staff the proper context for their job of interrogating people who made it across.

''When you walked up to that, or drove by it, for a military person, it meant to me that this was serious business. Those folks on the other side meant business. You can't take any chances, and you have to be on your guard,'' the 66-year-old Cortland resident said Sunday.

The wall, which was a daily reality of Mangold's life from 1972 to 1975, came down 20 years ago today, after being erected in the early 1960s. Berlin was also a special case during the Cold War, occupied by both the Allies and Soviets, with different zones in each, but it was smack in the middle of East Germany, which was created when the victorious Allied and Soviet forces divided the country after World War II.

East German leaders decided to wall off the two halves of Berlin because of a flood of people who were crossing into West Berlin. Guards were ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross, and people did anything to get over or under the wall.

''Younger people would try to escape,'' Mangold said.

He recalled one case in which twin brothers living on the eastern side of the wall dug a tunnel from their home into the United States sector of Berlin. When this happened, the police would pick them up and take them to Mangold's office, where interrogators would question them to find out who they were.

He wanted to be clear during the interview that he adhered to Army guidelines on interrogation, stating that he never resorted to tactics such as sleep deprivation or torture. Citizens gambling with their lives by trying to make it over the wall were resettled in Western Germany, he said, and both civilians and military personnel from the other side were valuable.

"(We questioned them on) the whole gamut of subjects, from their economic and industrial capabilities to social problems. You were interested in the whole, on everything you could find out,'' Mangold said.

The information would be passed on up the lines through the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. They were interested in piecing together a holistic snapshot of what life was like on the other side of the wall. Mangold's view of the eastern end extended as far as his line of sight from platforms that were built higher than the wall on the Western end of Berlin.

Mangold's glimpses into the other side of the Cold War conflict were sometimes eerie. He said one of the young border guards made it over to the other side after a dash through the checkpoint. The guard was found in his uniform, hiding in a hut in Western Berlin.

''How he made it, I'll never know ... The CIA ultimately took him,'' Mangold said.

Other defectors were not so lucky. Mangold said some of those who were shot attempting to cross the wall were left to slowly die where they fell.

In 1989, as one East Bloc government after another fell, the case was the same in East Germany, which led to the demise of the wall.

Leo Nypaver of Howland served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Berlin in 1948, before the Wall was built, but during the Berlin Airlift, when RAF and United States Air Force cargo planes kept the city supplied with food after Soviet forces tried to force the Allies out with a blockade of the city.

Nypaver helped to build an airfield at one of the city's airports to help accommodate more planes. He said there were so many flights that the constant drone of aircraft engines was in the background.

The city had still not dug out from the effects of six years of aerial bombardment in World War II and heavy combat in the last days of the war, when it was taken by the Soviets.

''There was rubble everywhere,'' Nypaver said. ''We used the rubble for the runways.''

Nypaver said he saw the wall while he was on vacation in Germany in 1986 with his wife. He said he could see the gun turrets on the walls manned by a special branch of the East German armed forces, who kept watch over the border.

Twenty years ago today, Mangold remembers breathing "a great sigh of relief" when he heard the news that the wall was coming down.

"It meant freedom for all those people and it lessened the possibility of war," he said.

Mangold said, on the 20-year anniversary of the wall's fall, he wanted people to remember everyone who tried making it across and could not.  [RodgersandGorman/TribToday/9November2009]


Section III - COMMENTARY

The CIA's Bureaucracy Problem, by Ishmael Jones. An Italian court recently sentenced 23 CIA employees in absentia for their role in the 2003 Abu Omar rendition.

We should capture terrorists anywhere, any time, but we should get the job done right and with a minimum of bureaucracy. Real spying is inexpensive and requires few people. The basic act of espionage is a single CIA officer meeting a single source - a person with access to secrets on terrorists or nuclear proliferators, for example - in a dingy hotel room in a dysfunctional country.

Any CIA operation that is revealed to the public, however, shows these telltale signs: The operation looks busy, a lot of people are involved, and large amounts of money are spent. Often you'll hear the CIA accused of being risk averse. I agree. However, risk aversion is a complex concept. The CIA will sometimes conduct risky operations in order to achieve a more important goal: looking busy. In the Abu Omar operation, 21 Agency employees flew to Italy to abduct a single terrorist suspect - as an eminent scholar put it, "21 people to get one fat Egyptian!" - who was already under surveillance by the Italian police. The 21 people stayed in five-star hotels and chatted with headquarters on open-line cell phones, all at great expense and awful tradecraft. The number of people managing the operation from headquarters was enormous. But it was a successful operation in that it spent a lot of money, made a lot of people look active, and suggested the CIA's willingness to take risk.

CIA officials are quick to deny that the organization is risk averse by pointing to risky operations that went wrong. This darker, more complex, passive-aggressive aspect of risk aversion seems to say: We can certainly do risky operations, but here's what happens when you make us get off our couch and do them.

Take a look at any CIA activity that is revealed in the future and ask yourself: Was this a traditional, inexpensive intelligence operation involving a meeting between a CIA officer and a human source to gather intelligence? Or was this an operation designed to spend a lot of money, to make a lot of people look busy, and to give the appearance that the CIA is willing to take risk?

Whenever we see CIA employees released from bureaucracy, we see success. The tactical intelligence production within Iraq is excellent; the early Afghan campaign, featuring no offices and a flat chain of command, just a few guys and bags of money, was extraordinary. ["Ishmael Jones" is a former deep-cover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He is the author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, published last year by Encounter Books.] [Jones/NationalReview/7November2009] 

Uncovering Syria's Secret Nuclear Site, by Michael Crowley. In case you haven't gotten your issue of Der Spiegel this month, the German mag has some very cool details on the intelligence work that led to the discovery - and eventual destruction by Israeli airstrike - of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor being built with North Korean help:

In the spring of 2004, the American National Security Agency (NSA) detected a suspiciously high number of telephone calls between Syria and North Korea, with a noticeably busy line of communication between the North Korean capital Pyongyang and a place in the northern Syrian desert called Al Kibar. The NSA dossier was sent to the Israeli military's "8200" unit, which is responsible for radio reconnaissance and has its antennas set up in the hills near Tel Aviv. Al-Kibar was "flagged," as they say in intelligence jargon.

In late 2006, Israeli military intelligence decided to ask the British for their opinion. But almost at the same time as the delegation from Tel Aviv was arriving in London, a senior Syrian government official checked into a hotel in the exclusive London neighborhood of Kensington. He was under Mossad surveillance and turned out to be incredibly careless, leaving his computer in his hotel room when he went out. Israeli agents took the opportunity to install a so-called "Trojan horse" program, which can be used to secretly steal data, onto the Syrian's laptop.

The hard drive contained construction plans, letters and hundreds of photos. The photos, which were particularly revealing, showed the Al Kibar complex at various stages in its development.... One of the photos showed an Asian in blue tracksuit trousers, standing next to an Arab. The Mossad quickly identified the two men as Chon Chibu and Ibrahim Othman. Chon is one of the leading members of the North Korean nuclear program, and experts believe that he is the chief engineer behind the Yongbyon plutonium reactor. Othman is the director of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission.

A year later, the nascent plant was a pile of smoking rubble. This episode has always struck me as curiously under-discussed in foreign policy circles.  [Crowley/TNR/6November2009] 

Iran a Hard Target to Penetrate, by Andy Johnson. It's time to hit the pause button and cease the attacks on the intelligence community over its 2007 judgment that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program. The rush to declare the community guilty of sins ranging from incompetence to perfidy may serve the political purposes of some, but it only further weakens an already bruised relationship between the intelligence and policy communities.

Shock waves reverberated through the Washington policy establishment two years ago when the National Intelligence Council took the unprecedented step of publicly releasing its judgment that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 owing to increasing international scrutiny.

The 2007 judgment was a reversal of the intelligence community's equally confident 2005 assessment that Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons despite international pressure. Details supporting the surprise switch were absent from the public version of the estimate, reserved only for senior policymakers in the administration and overseers on the congressional intelligence committees.

Doubters immediately challenged the finding, citing Tehran's history of drive and deception in pursuit of nuclear-club membership. Allied nations reportedly took issue with the notion that Iran had halted its program and claimed to have their own intelligence to the contrary. Reaction from critics inside the Beltway and among pundits was bare-knuckled, with some questioning the competency and objectivity of the intelligence community.

After all, wasn't this the same community that wrongly claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was aggressively trying to build a nuclear weapon prior to the war? Was the community now seeking to correct the assumption-based bias of its 2002 Iraq weapons of mass destruction analysis by taking a more cautious, but equally as flawed, approach on Iran's nuclear intentions?

And why had the community publicly released its 2007 judgments in the first place if not to counter and embarrass Bush administration officials for their increasingly bellicose statements toward Iran?

With the public disclosure in September that Iran was constructing a secret uranium-enrichment facility at a military base near Qom, and further, that U.S. intelligence had been tracking the facility for some time, the credibility of the judgment was in tatters in the eyes of many. Amid recent charges that the 2007 estimate had been "willfully misleading" and "politically skewed," unnamed senior officials have been quoted conceding the need to rethink the premise that Iran had halted its weapons program in late 2003.

The stated goal of the National Intelligence Council is to provide "the best, unvarnished, and unbiased information - regardless of whether analytic judgments conform to U.S. policy." The National Intelligence Estimates it produces are vetted throughout the intelligence community and reviewed by a board chaired by the director of national intelligence and the heads of intelligence agencies before being issued. The conspiratorial notion that the entire community from then-national intelligence Director Mike McConnell down to senior intelligence analysts had willfully misled policymakers in 2007 is hard to swallow.

The problem with the 2007 Iran estimate is not as much what it said but what it didn't say. Or more to the point, was it wise in the first place to release the report publicly if details supporting the reversal in judgment could not be divulged? The community invited a controversy it knew it couldn't quell by issuing the truncated, unclassified product. The decision may have served the legitimate purpose of helping inform the public debate on Iran, but it also spotlighted both the messenger and the message. When information began leaking that allied intelligence services and even the International Atomic Energy Agency thought the Iran nuclear program to be robust and ongoing, the community was isolated and unable to defend itself.

Is it possible that the community was in possession of conclusive information that other intelligence services either did not possess or had discounted? Short answer: Yes, it is possible. But doesn't the Qom facility pull the rug out from underneath the community's judgment? Not necessarily.

The community defines Iran's nuclear weapons program - relegated to a footnote in the 2007 estimate - to include nuclear-warhead design and weaponization in addition to covert uranium-enrichment efforts. The Qom facility may turn out to be a smoking gun that Iran was or is aggressively pursuing an undeclared capability to enrich uranium for weapons use, but is there a plausible reason why Iran would seek to produce this fissile material independent of a concurrent warhead-design effort to build an operational bomb? Conventional thinking would say no. But conventional thinking also assumed that Saddam Hussein retained Iraq's vast chemical- and biological-weapons stockpiles before the war when in fact he kept their destruction secret from the world.

The intelligence community should commission a new review of Iran's nuclear intentions and capabilities. To do so would not signal a disavowal of the 2007 findings but represent an acknowledgment that analytic snapshots must be continuously challenged and, if necessary, recast in light of new information.

Iran is a hard target, difficult to penetrate. Casting misguided stones at the intelligence officials dedicated to deciphering the vexing question of Iran's nuclear program only compounds the challenge and threatens to politicize the unbiased intelligence that the president and Congress needs.

[Andy Johnson is the national-security director at Third Way, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank. He is the former staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and has 26 years' experience in the national-security sector.] [Johnson/WashingtonTimes/5November2009]


Section IV - OBITUARIES, BOOKS AND COMING EVENTS


Obituaries

Louis D. Blom, NSA Analyst. Louis D. Blom, a retired National Security Agency analyst and a World War II veteran, died of complications from dementia Oct. 28 at the Charlestown retirement community. He was 84.

Mr. Blom, the son of a steelworker and a librarian, was born in Corona, N.Y., and raised in Baker, La.

After graduating from Baker High School in 1941, where he had been an outstanding football player, Mr. Blom enlisted in the Army Air Forces.

Trained as a radio operator and top-turret gunner, Mr. Blom flew 38 combat missions in Europe aboard bombers.

After the war, he studied geology under the GI Bill of Rights at Louisiana State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees.

He worked for the Army Corps of Engineers briefly before joining the NSA, where he worked at Fort Meade as an analyst for more than 30 years until retiring in 1987.

In recognition of his work with the NSA, Mr. Blom was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Award in 1981 and the Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 1984.

The longtime Dayton resident, who moved to the Catonsville retirement community three years ago, had been a Little League coach. In addition to being an avid sports fan, he enjoyed handball, golf and skiing.

He also enjoyed reading about world history and international politics, and action and espionage fiction.

Mr. Blom was a longtime member of St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, 12500 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Grace Rita Gemmellaro; five sons, Paul Blom of Dayton, Daniel Blom of Valkaria, Fla., Darren Blom of Jacksonville, Fla., Kevin Blom of Orlando, Fla., and Steven Blom of Helena, Mont.; and nine grandchildren. Another son, Michael Blom, died last month.  [Rasmussen/BaltimoreSun/4November2009]


Books

"Defence of the Realm" - history of MI5 - author, Christopher Andrew, Interviewed on Diane Rehm Show - available online at either of these links:

http://wamu.org/audio/dr/09/11/r2091110-29517.ram  in RealPlayer format, and at http://wamu.org/audio/dr/09/11/r2091110-29517.asx in Windows Media Player format. [Reeves/LaClair/WAMU]

'CIA World Factbook 2010' Is the Ultimate Reference Guide to Every Country, reviewed by David M. Kinchen. A good friend of mine chided me a couple of years ago when I mentioned I was going to buy the latest edition of the "World Almanac and Book of Facts," something I do almost every fall when the new edition comes out. He said all the information is available on the Internet.

I told him I got into the habit of having a reference guide on my desk as a newspaper reporter and editor on five dailies and I wasn't about to quit now. The "World Almanac" is an essential reference book, along with a dictionary, a good book of quotations, a thesaurus, atlases, etc. More often than not, it's faster to access a printed page than the Internet.

For those who are similarly stubborn about having a printed reference book close at hand, one source is "The CIA World Factbook 2010" (Skyhorse Publishing, 904 pages, $14.95). Several other sources and the online form are listed at bottom of this review.

I'm guessing that copies of the "Factbook" are in the hands of just about everybody in Congress, the State Department and many other people, simply because it's the most comprehensive one volume guide to every nation in the world.

Each of the world's nations - as well as the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern oceans - is profiled with a historical introduction and analyzed in a user-friendly manner, with every imaginable statistic listed. You'll learn about the type of government, the area of the country - in the metric system, more about that later - the population, religions practiced, ethnic makeup, etc., etc.

There are maps in the "Factbook" that do not measure up to those by Defense Mapping Agency, nor come close to the beauty of those produced by National Geographic Society. So the Factbook maps won't make you throw out your atlas (Yes, I have a number of them, too), but will be helpful.

Other features:

- Details on prominent political parties, and contact information for diplomatic consultation.

- A full description of the population of each country, with information on literacy rates, HIV prevalence, and age structure.

- A complete economic overview from household income to Gross Domestic Product.

- Information on transportation and communication infrastructure.

- New data on military expenditures and capabilities.

- User-friendly headings, sub-headings, an index, and a list of physical coordinates of major places for easy reading.

There are also appendices offering useful abbreviations, a list of international organizations and groups, international environmental agreements, the conversion of weights and measures, and more. Originally intended for use by government officials, this useful reference guide is a must for every student, traveler, journalist, and businessperson.

About the use of the metric system, there's a note at the end of the book stating that only the U.S., Liberia and Burma still use the English system. The metric system - meters, kilometers, kilograms, etc. - is official in the U.S. but, sadly, is not widely used outside the scientific and technology community. It's long overdue that we adopt the system. The conversion tables will help you convert square kilometers to square miles. For instance, Belize has an area of 22,966 square kilometers, or slightly smaller than Massachusetts, as the Factbook says. The World Almanac, in its nations section, gives the size in square miles for Belize at 8,867 square miles - and also provides the 22,966 figure. By the way, CIA, Belize, where I lived for several months in 2008, also uses the English system, as well as providing metric speed limit and distance numbers on highway signs near Mexico and Guatemala for travelers from those countries who are used to the metric system.

To sum up, this is an important reference book and resides cheek by jowl next to my "World Almanac." [Kinchen/Huntingtonnews.net]

Of couse AFIO members know they can get a free digital copy of the frequently updated, current CIA Factbook by going to the CIA website
at this link: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html    Changes are made to the various country profiles and those changes can be received automatically using RSS service at this link: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/your-news/index.html

The CIA World Factbook also can be purchased in printed form from these two sources:

US Government Printing Office, 732 N. Capitol St., Washington, DC 20401; Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-6:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST); Telephone: [1] (202) 512-1800; toll free: [1] (866) 512-1800; FAX: [1] (202) 512-2104;http://bookstore.gpo.gov/

National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22161; Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST); Telephone: [1] (800) 553-6847 (only in the US); [1] (703) 605-6000 (for outside US); FAX: [1] (703) 605-6900;http://www.ntis.gov/

4 Great Books on the Cold War. On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Daily Beast sorts through the best new and old books on the Cold War and the fall of communism.

The File: A Personal History, by Timothy Garton Ash. A most astute political commentator and historian, Timothy Garton Ash spent years in Eastern Europe researching the various communist regimes, but the infamous East German secret police, the Stasi, did him one better and began investigating him. After the wall fell and the GDR collapsed, Garton Ash went back to read the impressive dossier the Stasi collected on him to re-create his own youth and glimpse inside the relentless bureaucracy of the totalitarian state. Fans of Garton Ash should also seek his superb work of reportage, The Magic Lantern, on what he saw and experienced in 1989.

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire, by Victor Sebestyen. In the last few months, numerous books have come out that attempt to synthesize the compelling story of the fall of communism, but Revolution 1989 comes closest to being the essential volume. Sebestyen's elegant narrative lays out in crisp episodes what was happening in Russia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan throughout the tumultuous 1980s. His portrait of Gorbachev is particularly sharp - and asks us to reconsider the Soviet leader's surprising role 20 years ago. As a refugee from Hungary in 1956, Sebestyen brings a personal touch to these historic moments.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John le Carré. Although The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is perhaps John le Carre's most famous novel, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is his great masterpiece featuring George Smiley, now in retirement, who must track down and expose a high-ranking Soviet mole. It is a fictional re-creation of the devastating revelations in Britain in the 1950s and '60s, when the Cambridge Five (Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, and a mysterious fifth) were exposed as spies. No one writes about the Cold War like le Carré, and there is no better novel to understand that convoluted world of espionage and high treason.

The Wall Jumper: A Berlin Story, by Peter Schneider. There is no better time to read this unjustly overlooked novel about the very human meaning of the Berlin Wall. Schneider's deft collection of stories takes in the wall's impact on the lives, loves, and hopes of Berliners from both sides. Schneider's short novel presents a textured and nuanced understanding of the wall that Ian McEwan wrote "[is] sustained by its wit as well as by its psychological acuity and a spirit of free inquiry - this is no Cold War apologia for Western capitalism, and the bar-room exchanges suggest succinctly the elusive quality of personal freedom." On the 20th anniversary of the wall's fall, there's no better place to start understanding what it means than with Schneider's book.  [TheDailyBeast/9November2009]


COMING EVENTS

EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....

Thursday, 12 November 2009; 12 noon to 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.

12 November 2009 - online - Henley-Putnam University hosts free online webinar -- “Insider’s Guide” on career opportunities in federal law enforcement, intelligence, terrorism and counterterrorism, and personal protection. The series launches November 12th at 11am PST with the Insider’s Guide to Careers in Federal Law Enforcement webinar, led by Colonel Michael Angley, former U.S. Air Force Special Agent and Public Relations Officer for Henley-Putnam University. An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Law Enforcement will take place on November 12th from 11:00am – 11:45am PST. Those interested in participating in the webinar should register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/998553210. The webinar is open to the public and completely free of charge.

14 November 2009 - Orange Park, FL - The AFIO North Florida Chapter will be holding a meeting. Speaker TBA. For further information about the upcoming chapter meeting, contact Vince Carnes at qbegonia@comcast.net For further information contact Ken Meyer at kmeyer12@bellsouth.net or 904-777-2050

17 November 2009, 6:30 p.m. - Miami, FL - The Ted Shackley AFIO Miami Chapter at FBI Field Office - EVENT HAS SOLD OUT
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 by current registered attendees only to: Tom Spencer at TRSMiami@aol.com. or call 305 648 0940 Event has Sold Out.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009; OPTIONAL VIP Reception: 5:30 – 6:30 pm, Panel presentation: 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - Russia Rules: The Moscow Murders - at the Spy Museum. “KGB decides what interests KGB.”— Major Pribluda in Gorky Park
When Alexander Litvinenko died of polonium poisoning in London in November 2006, critics of Putin’s Russia saw the hidden hand of the KGB. Eight years earlier, the former KGB and Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer had accused his superiors of ordering him to assassinate Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. Business as usual for the KGB and its successor organization? In a country whose historical government tradition is to eliminate spies and dissidents in exile, allegations of state-sponsored assassinations abound. Hear the insiders’ views on real and alleged Soviet/Russian assassinations in modern times from two former KGB officers who have first-hand experience in the system: Oleg Kalugin, a retired , major general of the KGB, onetime deputy resident and acting chief of the KGB Residency at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, and author of The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage against the West; and Andrey Rostov, a former senior KGB intelligence officer in the U.S. and Latin America in the late 1980s/early 1990s. They will be joined by Olga Oliker, senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, who will illuminate the issue from her perspective as a specialist in security sector reform and Russian foreign policy.
Guests can choose to enhance this unforgettable evening with an exclusive opportunity to mingle with the speakers in a VIP reception that includes Russian hors d’oeuvres and Russian-influenced cocktails prior to the program.
Program plus VIP Reception Tickets: $100 per person (includes pre-program, exclusive reception with speakers)
Program Only Tickets: $20 per person Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station To register: https://web.spymuseum.org/e-commerce/ItemList.aspx

Thursday, 19 November 2009, 11:30 - Colorado Springs, CO - The Rocky Mountain Chapter of AFIO to hear expert on NORAD and NORTHCOM on "Unconventional Threats by Nation States."  CAPT Scott M. Stanley, USN, Deputy Director of Intelligence, NORAD / U.S. Northern Command, will be the speaker. He will address the dual-mission challenges of NORAD and NORTHCOM, specifically, the conventional threats posed by traditional nation-states, and those threats to the homeland as presented by non-state actors (i.e.,transnational terrorism).  He will also touch on the role played by our defense intelligence professionals in support of civil authorities.Event takes place at the Air Force Academy Falcon Club. Please RSVP to Tom Van Wormer at 719-481-8273 or robsmom@pcisys.net

19 November 2009, 11:30 a.m. - Scottsdale, AZ - The AFIO Arizona Chapter hosts Dr. Jim Shamadan who will speak on "Resolution of the Starflash Explosives Factory Fiasco."

Dr. Jim Schamadan did his undergraduate work in chemical engineering and received his M.D., cum laude from Ohio State University. A military medical officer in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict, he served as a physician in Kuwait and Iraq during Desert Storm. From September 2001 until January 2003, Dr. Schamadan served as Special Assistant to the Governor of Arizona for Homeland Security. Dr. Shamadan’s talk will cover the events in September 1997, when over a decade ago Federal officers executed a search warrant and associated arrest documents for the owner of a munitions manufacturing facility known as Starflash Ranch in New River Arizona. In addition to the main ranch house, they discovered several booby-trapped underground bunkers, training videos, and a manufacturing facility called “The Shed." Federal authorities had planned to destroy the bunkers using novel technical means but citizens of New RIver opposed this action and the matter reverted to State authorities. The speaker will discuss how the episode ended using information about this incident that has not previously been released.
Event is being held at: McCormick Ranch Golf Club (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 sl@4smartphone.net or simone@afioaz.org or phone and leave a message on 602.570.6016. Art Kerns, President of the AZ Chapter, president@afioaz.org

Thursday, 19 November 2009; 12 noon – 1 pm - Washington, DC - Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union’s Cold War Against the Catholic Church at the Spy Museum. From the persecution of local priests to an assassination order against Pope John Paul II, Soviet intelligence zeroed in on the Catholic Church. Based on never-before-seen documents and transcripts, including the assassination order against the Pope signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and nine other Politburo members, lifetime journalist and advisor to President Ronald Reagan, John Koehler, has put together a startling history of Soviet espionage and violence. Spies in the Vatican shows how large a threat the Soviets perceived the Catholic Church to be to stability in Eastern Europe—a concern not entirely unfounded, since the Pope’s visit to heavily Catholic Poland in the 1980’s triggered the beginning of the Solidarity movement in that country, contributing to the fall of Communism.
Free! No registration required! Join the author for an informal chat. Where: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station

21 November 2009, Kennebunk, ME. PROTECTING AMERICA IN THE MISSILE AGEThe Maine Chapter of the Association of Intelligence Officers will present the American Heritage film "33 Minutes" at its November 21 meeting.  33 minutes is the time it would take for a ballistic missile from anywhere in the world to reach the United States and wipe out a city or even a state.  With stunning visuals and commentary by world experts  this documentary explores the history of missile defense, our current capabilities, and the growing threat to America.  The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street in Kennebunk.  For information call David Austin. 207-364-8964.

1 December 2009 - Arlington, VA - The Defense Intelligence Forum meets - Location of luncheon is the Alpine Restaurant, 4770 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207. This event will follow the Chatham House Rule. Dr. Max G. Manwaring will speak on the Mexican Drug Wars -- Guns, Gangs, and Ganja. Dr. Manwaring, a retired Army colonel, is Professor of Military Strategy in the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. He is the author and coauthor of several publications dealing with Latin American security affairs, political-military affairs, insurgency, and counterinsurgency. Pay at the door with a check for $29 per person payable to DIAA, Inc. Social hour starts at 1130, lunch at 1200. Make reservations by 24 November by email to diforum@verizon.net. Give names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and choices of chicken, veal, or salmon. PAY WITH A CHECK. THE FORUM DOESN'T TAKE CASH!

Thursday, 3 December 2009, 12:30 pm - Los Angeles, CA - The Los Angeles area Chapter hosts FBI Special Agent David Gates on the FBI's role at international airports and the Bureau's counterterrorism efforts at LAX. Gates worked the Counter Terrorism Task Force at LAX. The meeting will take place on the campus of Loyola Marymount University. If you need directions send an email to AFIO_LA@yahoo.com. Lunch will be provided for $15, payment accepted at the door. For attendance reservations please forward email confirmation by no later than 11/26/09: AFIO_LA@yahoo.com.

8 December 2009 - Hampton Roads, VA - The December meeting of AFIO's Norman Forde Hampton Roads VA chapter will occur in the evening on this date. Further details will follow. Inquiries to Melissa Saunders, President, AFIO Norman Forde Hampton Roads Chapter, mwsaunders@cox.net 757-897-6268

8 December 2009 - San Francisco, CA - The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the Air Force and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Policy. Reed will be discussing the political history of nuclear weapons: where they came from, the surprising ways in which the technology spread and the lessons learned from that proliferation. 
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): afiosf@aol.com and mail check made out to "AFIO" to the delightful: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011.

9 December 2009 - Albuquerque, NM - The December meeting will feature Jim Hoffsis' presentation on the UAVs featured during the AFIO National Symposium.


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

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