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Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS
British Spy Bosses to Face Iraq Inquiry. Past and present intelligence services bosses will be among the first witnesses to give evidence to the inquiry into the Iraq war.
Sessions held from 21 to 27 November will focus on the dossier claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and UK diplomatic efforts before the conflict.
Ex-Joint Intelligence Committee head Sir John Scarlett and current MI6 boss Sir John Sawers will give evidence.
The inquiry is expected to report its findings by 2011.
Sir John Scarlett, who retired as director general of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) last month, oversaw the government dossier on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein.
Sir John Sawers, who took over as "C" - the boss of MI6 - this month, will be called to speak about his time as the private secretary with responsibility for foreign affairs to then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
They are among 20 past and present advisers, diplomats and military figures named as forthcoming witnesses by the Iraq Inquiry.
The first hearing will take place at London's Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, near the Houses of Parliament, on 24 November.
Others to give evidence in the period running up to Christmas include Sir Christopher Meyer, British ambassador to Washington until 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK's permanent representative at the United Nations between 1998 and 2003.
Ministers, including Mr. Blair, are to be summoned early in the new year.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said: "We will cover a wide range of topics during these hearings.
"Those topics will include UK government policy on Iraq between 2001 and 2003, transatlantic relations during this time, policy and intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, and planning by the military and other governmental bodies for the invasion and its immediate aftermath.
"We will also look at developments at the UN, including the negotiation of UN Security Council resolution 1441". The resolution, passed in 2002, warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it did not comply with the UN over alleged weapons of mass destruction".
Sir John added that the inquiry would not be looking at the legal basis for military action until January, which is when it will start calling ministers to give evidence.
The inquiry will cover the whole period from July 2001 to July 2009.
Previously, the Butler inquiry looked at intelligence failures before the war, while the Hutton inquiry examined the circumstances leading to the death of former government adviser David Kelly. [BBC/16November2009]
Cabinet Seeking to Help Release Thai Detained in Cambodia on Spy Charges. Thailand's Cabinet is considering options to help speed the release of a Thai national, an engineer detained in Cambodia on spy charges, and the government is seeking permission from Cambodian authorities to meet the detainee in jail.
The 31-year-old Siwarak Chothipong, an employee at the Cambodia Air Traffic Service (CATS), who was arrested last week after being accused of giving ex-premier Thaksin's flight schedule to the first secretary at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier urged his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen to apply international practice in dealing with the Thai engineer.
He said Cambodia has not given permission to Thai officials to visit Mr. Siwarak and there was no clear information that what specific charges have been made.
He added that the flight schedule should not be considered secret information. [MCOT/16November2009]
Trial of Gay Spy Threatens to Embarrass German Intelligence. An explosive trial about to start in Munich involves a spy accused of betraying state secrets to his gay lover. It promises to expose the shadowy world of Germany's foreign intelligence and may end up damaging the service.
It was a quiet and professional operation, exactly what one would expect in the world of intelligence. Acting quickly and decisively, two plainclothes officers apprehended a man at the Grosshesselohe commuter train station near Munich. They searched the man from head to toe for weapons, handcuffed him, led him to an unmarked car and sped away.
The bystanders were shocked, partly because some of them knew the man who had just been taken into custody. He was their colleague, Anton K., a man who, like them, worked for a special "company" whose offices are located just a 10-minute walk from the train station in the suburb of Pullach: the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency.
The defendants are Anton K., a BND agent for many years, and his interpreter. The trial revolves around money and the betrayal of secrets. Love, sex and a betrayed wife are also part of the checkered tale, which takes place against the seedy backdrop of Kosovo's criminal underworld. In other words, the case that the federal prosecutor general is now preparing is the stuff of a larger-than-life drama, the sort of material that would normally be found in the movies or in bestsellers.
While the outcome of the trial remains uncertain, it is already clear that there will be at least one loser: the BND. If the prosecution wins its case, the agency will face the embarrassment of having to admit that one of its agents was out of control for years, and that a career spy gave away state secrets in the height of passion while on assignment in Kosovo. But an acquittal would be just as embarrassing for the agency, because it would show that the BND had expended tremendous resources pursuing one of its employees.
The whole thing began on Feb. 21, 2005, when Anton K. reported for duty in Kosovo's capital, Pristina. Anton K., a former career soldier, was officially in Pristina as a diplomat working for the German Foreign Ministry. But his real assignment from BND headquarters was much more sensitive: K. was charged with building up a network of reliable sources - a challenging and dangerous job, particularly in a place like Kosovo.
K., who had left his wife and children behind in southern Germany, rented an apartment in the city's upscale diplomatic neighborhood. He changed his appearance so that he no longer looked like he had during his military days. He grew his hair to shoulder length and walked around the city in flip-flops and polo shirts.
A few weeks later, the new agent had already scored one of his first successes. K. was sitting in a street café talking to his family in Germany on his mobile phone, speaking in the Swabian dialect of southwestern Germany, when a young man approached him. He was Murat A., an inconspicuous-looking retail salesman with blondish brown hair who was then in his mid-20s and spoke with a perfect southern German accent. He called himself Afrim and said that he was of Macedonian-Albanian origin but had grown up in Offenburg in southwest Germany.
Afrim seemed to be the perfect interpreter. K. sent a request to BND headquarters to be allowed to use him as such. The request was quickly approved after the young man had passed a security check. From then on, Murat A. was also an official employee of the German Foreign Ministry. Then, the two men fell in love. Afrim moved into Anton's apartment. The BND agent should have reported this to his superiors, but he didn't. The professional and personal relationship between the two men continued in Kosovo unnoticed for about two more years. The BND was satisfied with K.'s work, and in early 2007 it extended his assignment until 2009.
But then K.'s wife contacted the BND. The couple had had a serious argument during K.'s Christmas vacation at the end of 2007. K.'s wife told the BND officials that her husband had removed her name from his life insurance policy and made his interpreter the beneficiary instead. She said that she could provide proof in the form of a letter from the insurance company.
Since then, the dispute has revolved around who exactly can be accused of misconduct - aside from the fact that the agent and his interpreter were required to report their relationship to the BND. Are they simply being sacrificed as "pawns" by a homophobic agency, as their attorneys claim?
Or is there more to the case, and is it really about the betrayal of state secrets? And why can't the BND solve its problems internally, as every spy novel aficionado would expect?
The BND petitioned the federal prosecutor general to launch an investigation and used a false pretext to order its two employees, the agent and the interpreter, to return to Munich, where they were arrested, K. on the platform at the Großhesselohe train station and Afrim at his hotel. They were released the next day, apparently because there was insufficient incriminating evidence to justify detaining them.
The two men gave up their apartment in Kosovo and moved together to a town outside Stuttgart, where they are now awaiting trial after having spent 40 days in pretrial detention last spring.
It will be a difficult case for the Munich court. The judges will have to get to grips with the complicated situation in Kosovo and within the intelligence community. Particular attention will be paid to K.'s meetings with his sources. Reports about such conversations with informants are normally transmitted directly to the BND via secure networks.
The federal prosecutor general is accusing the agent of having made these classified reports "accessible" to his domestic partner. In addition, he is charged with having passed on internal BND information about individuals and structures, as well as a document that contained classified information from a European partner agency, apparently British intelligence. Anton K. is accused of divulging classified information either through careless talk, by leaving it on the screen of an open laptop or by revealing it "in the bedroom."
The allegations against Murat A., who is believed to have obtained insights into "the entire network of sources of the BND's Kosovo office," are at least as serious. The interpreter allegedly had connections to organized crime, as well as having been involved with the Albanian and Macedonian intelligence agencies. A charge that Afrim submitted improper expense claims to the value of €14,700 for alleged loss of income, seems less serious. The prosecution has not even claimed that Afrim passed on the classified material to their parties.
The attorneys representing Anton K. and Murat A. say that the charges are "absurd." A., in his capacity as K.'s interpreter, was already present during the supposedly incriminating conversations with informants, they point out. Besides, the attorneys argue, the document from the partner agency was turned over openly and contained no classified information. And according to A.'s attorney, Christian Stünkel, his client's supposed contact with organized crime was part of an assignment K. had given him. Murat A. was apparently asked to gather information about a local crime boss in the city of Tetovo.
Stünkel also says that his client had believed that he was working for the German Foreign Ministry, at least until he was arrested, and that his alleged activities for local intelligence agencies are "nothing but the BND's assertions."
"The core of the affair is so ridiculous," says K.'s attorney Sascha Jung, "that it's a complete mystery to us as to why the BND would knowingly risk the damage potentially resulting from its actions." [Rosenbach&Goetz/Spiegel/18November2009]
Senate Panel Says 80 Percent of Cyber Attacks Preventable. If network administrators simply instituted proper configuration policies and conducted good network monitoring, about 80 percent of commonly known cyber attacks could be prevented, a Senate committee heard Tuesday.
The remark was made by Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, who added that simply adhering to already known best practices would sufficiently raise the security bar so that attackers would have to take more risks to breach a network, "thereby raising [their] risk of detection."
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security heard from a number of experts offering commentary on how the government should best tackle securing government and private-sector critical infrastructure networks.
Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, told senators that public apathy and ignorance played as much a role in the current state of cyber security as the unwillingness of corporate entities to take responsibility for securing the public's data.
"Many consumers have a false sense of security due to their belief that most of the financial impact resulting from the loss of personal data will be fully covered by corporate entities like the banks," he said. "In fact, much of these losses are transferred back to consumers in the form of higher interest rates and consumer fees."
As for corporate and government entities that collect and store the public data, they "do not understand themselves to be responsible for the defense of the data," said Clinton, whose group represents banks, telecoms, defense and technology companies and other industries that rely on the internet. "The marketing department has data, the finance department has data, etc, but they think the security of the data is the responsibility of the IT guys at the end of the hall."
A 2009 Price Waterhouse Cooper study on global information security found that 47 percent of companies are reducing or deferring their information security budgets, despite the growing dangers of cyber incursions.
Federally mandated cyber security standards are not the answer, Clinton said, since they would be seriously counterproductive to national economic and security interests. To improve cyber security, the public sector would have to institute sufficient market incentives to motivate companies to protect the public's interests. His group plans to release a proposal next month laying out some recommendations.
Philip Reitinger, director of the National Cyber Security Center at the Department of Homeland Security, said that end users also need to be made aware of the simple things they can do to protect themselves - such as keeping software and anti-virus programs up to date.
Civil liberties were also a concern of the panelists as they discussed privacy issues around the government's implementation of Einstein 1 and 2 - programs designed to help monitor and protect government civilian networks - and Einstein 3, which the National Security Agency is currently developing for the same purpose.
Civil libertarian groups have dogged the government about a lack of transparency in how the programs collect, monitor and distribute data.
James Baker, associate deputy attorney general, said the Justice Department had done extensive legal analysis of Einstein 2 and made the department's Office of Legal Counsel opinions regarding the matter publicly available.
"Our analysis of that program is that it does comply with the Fourth Amendment and... meets the various statutory requirements that are out there," he told the panel. "In terms of minimization and use of the information,... there are procedures in place... to ensure that personally identifiable information generated from that program are handled appropriately."
Reitinger said that DHS provides privacy and civil liberties training for those with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team who are responsible for implementing Einstein. He also said that the DHS's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications has an oversight officer whose job is to ensure compliance with the rules.
"We have received some praise for our privacy impact assessments with Einstein 1 and 2," he noted. "It is our intention to be as transparent as possible [with Eintstein 3].
But Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the panel, "We object to the secrecy that has shrouded the Einstein programs."
Excessive secrecy, he said, "undermines public trust and communications carrier participation, both of which are essential to the success of this and other cyber security initiatives."
He called for independent audits "to ensure that Einstein does not inadvertently access private-to-private communications."
One panelist, Larry Wortzel, a retired army intelligence officer, made the case for the NSA to take the lead on the government's cyber security initiatives, despite the agency's public stance that it has no interest in assuming the position.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D - Rhode Island) left the panelists with several questions to ponder about the NSA, asking them to provide responses in writing at a later date.
"If, in fact, the NSA has technical capabilities beyond those of the providers, why should you be relying on the providers in areas where the NSA actually has greater capability?" he asked.
"Why should the NSA only be invited into a provider's network in certain situations when the NSA might be in a better position than the provider to know when it's under attack? And how can the relationship between providers and the NSA be anything but ongoing and continuous when cyberattacks are unremitting?", he added. [Wired/18November2009]
Terror Suspect Zazi Seeks U.S. Intelligence Files. Lawyers for terror suspect Najibullah Zazi, arrested last summer on charges he plotted to kill Americans with homemade bombs, want prosecutors to search the files of U.S. intelligence agencies to see if there is information which could help the defense.
In a filing in Brooklyn federal court, defense attorney Michael J. Dowling of Denver said that while the case is covered by special procedures for classified information, prosecutors still have an obligation to contact intelligence agencies for such information.
Dowling told Newsday he was referring to the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and other government units.
Such requests for exculpatory information are routine in criminal cases. In Zazi's case, the information being sought relates to witnesses or potential witnesses, including financial data and information about their drug abuse and mental illness, according to the filing.
But the fact prosecutors are invoking the classified information procedures act to protect evidence could complicate the way any secret information is used in the case.
Zazi, 24, an immigrant from Afghanistan living in Phoenix, was arrested in September after a joint NYPD-FBI terror task force learned he was allegedly involved in a New York City bombing plot timed around the anniversary of Sept. 11.
Video surveillance uncovered Zazi buying quantities of chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and acetone which can be used to make explosive devices. Zazi also traveled to New York right before the anniversary of the 2001 terror attack.
Officials have said at least three others were involved in the purchases. No one else has been charged in connection with the plot, however, and officials have not said if a stash of chemicals were ever found. Zazi is being held without bail pending trial. [Destefano/Newsday/18November2009]
Lithuania Hits Back Over New CIA Jail
Claims. Lithuania hit back over new claims that the Baltic state had hosted a secret CIA facility allegedly used to interrogate Al-Qaeda suspects.
"There are more important things in Lithuania than spending two days denying the gossip of ABC journalists," Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas told the Baltic News Service. "We have to follow hard facts rather than rumors and wild tales. Therefore it is vital that we conduct an investigation and clear any doubts."
ABC, citing unnamed Lithuanian officials and a former American intelligence operative, claimed a site outside the capital Vilnius was used to interrogate up to eight Al-Qaeda suspects at a time from 2004 to 2005.
BNS said a Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry team visited the site - a former riding complex - last week.
The property was reportedly bought from a local family in 2004 by a US-registered company and a "building within a building" constructed, where suspects allegedly were interrogated using torture techniques such as sleep deprivation.
BNS said the US owner sold the property to the Lithuanian state in 2007 and it became an intelligence service training centre.
ABC first alleged in August that the ex-Soviet republic turned staunch US ally had hosted a CIA facility. It cited unnamed former intelligence officials and records of flights between Afghanistan and Lithuania.
The Lithuanian government denied those claims, but President Dalia Grybauskaite last month said she had "indirect suspicions." She was not in power when the alleged site was in operation.
The parliamentary probe was launched two weeks ago. Its results are due on December 22. [AP/18November2009]
Israel Arrests Five Palestinian Intelligence Officers. For the first time in some three years, Israel arrested five senior Palestinian Authority officers near Salfit in the West Bank. The defense establishment confirmed the number of Palestinian officers arrested, but did not reveal additional details about the circumstances of their arrest. According to the Palestinians, talks are being held between the PA and Israel in efforts to secure their release.
All five of those detained are officers in the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, and include Salfit region intelligence commander, Mohammad Abdel Hamid. The IDF also issued the Palestinians with a demand for the arrest of an additional officer who was not apprehended.
A Palestinian security source in Salfit believes the arrests were made in relation to an investigation currently being carried out by the General Intelligence Service against a man suspected of collaborating with Israel.
The PA suspects that the arrests are another attempt to weaken the PA in the shadow of the political dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the PA reported that they are in contact with Israel in a bid to secure the release of those arrested. [YnetNews/18November2009]
UK Judges Slam State Secrecy in Torture Case. Britain's High Court has ruled that more secret information relating to the alleged torture of a former Guantanamo detainee, Binyam Mohamed, should be disclosed.
Senior judges on Thursday criticized the government, arguing that its pressure for secrecy on the case was improper in a nation claiming to be a "democracy."
Ethiopia-born Mohamed has accused Britain of complicity in his torture by agents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), following his arrest in Pakistan in 2002 and during his detention in Morocco. He was eventually relocated to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before his release and return to the UK earlier this year.
Judges also challenged Foreign Secretary David Milliband's warnings that the US would stop sharing information on terror if the CIA's interrogation techniques were published, noting that some of the details had already been made public by Washington.
Despite the voluntary declassification of the documents by US President Barack Obama in April, London is still blocking their publication, pleading 'national security concerns.'
The court complains that the government has also banned the judges from publishing the full reasoning for their decision.
Meanwhile, some of the public documents online that describe the interrogation techniques used on a high-ranking al Qaeda prisoner, Abu Zubayah, paint a horrific picture of continuing mistreatment and abuse of prisoners.
These techniques include waterboarding, also referred to as 'simulated drowning,' sleep deprivation and putting detainees in confined spaces with insects. [PressTV/18November2009]
The Next Generation of Spy Plane. CBS "Early Show" weather anchor and features reporter Dave Price was to fly in a U-2 spy plane in the "Edge of the Earth" series.
However, before doing that, he gave viewers an inside, exclusive look into what just might be the future of U.S. espionage aviation - the Global Hawk.
Though the U-2 still provides the most detailed photo images for intelligence gathering, the Global Hawk could one day replace the 50-year-old U-2.
The Global Hawk is an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that collects digital images at high altitudes. The plane is 116 feet wide, 44 feet long and can stay in the air, sometimes, for an entire day.
Dave called the Global Hawk an "airborne technological wonder."
The aircraft, Dave pointed out, has many similar characteristics to other surveillance and intelligence-gathering planes, but is so technologically advanced, its mechanics work mainly from a laptop - and there is no pilot on board.
Still, its missions operate in a very similar way to the U-2's. They begin with briefings and pre-flight checks. The difference, however, is where the pilot sits - in front of a computer.
However, as one pilot pointed out, "It's real."
Inside the command center, the computer terminals are essentially a cockpit.
The primary mission for these pilots, Dave said, is to support the troops on the ground and get them imagery they specifically request, such as a picture of what's over a hill for embedded troops in Afghanistan looking to move.
And even though they might not be physically on board, Global Hawk pilots feel the same sense of risk and reward.
One pilot told CBS News, "When you get the right info to the right commander at the same time and he can save a life, it's extremely satisfying."
Dave added that the technology is also a comfort for pilots' families. He said one pilot's wife said she's thankful her husband can come home every night, and she knows he's safe.
The U-2 is still used because its film technology doesn't lose any detail at close range, whereas the Global Hawk's images become pixilated. [CBS/19November2009]
Competency Hearing for Accused Maui Spy to Begin. A former B-2 stealth bomber engineer who is accused of spying for China is heading to federal court for a hearing on his competency.
Noshir Gowadia has been held without bail since his 2005 arrest on suspicion of selling cruise missile secrets. He has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of conspiracy, money-laundering and falsifying tax returns.
The hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang is to determine if Gowadia is mentally competent to assist in his own defense.
In recent months, Gowadia underwent testing at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Ill.
The charges against Gowadia also assert that he offered to sell classified stealth technology to foreign business people in Israel, Germany and Switzerland. [KPUA/20November2009]
British Intelligence Spies Xbox Live for In-Game Ads. Pleased with their efforts back in 2007 to promote awareness of their institution and responsibilities through video games, the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is looking to return to make a scene through in-game advertising once again.
The British intelligence agency is planning a new, six-week Xbox LIVE campaign where they solicit in-game advertising in some of the holiday season's biggest titles including Assassin's Creed II, Left 4 Dead 2, and Modern Warfare 2. They'll also be pushing GCHQ themes and gamerpics for download.
The GCHQ believes video games are a natural outlet from which they can appeal to prospective recruits, acknowledging the "quick thinking, problem solving, and teamwork" inherent in gaming make for positive GCHQ material. Now before you start dreaming about being the next Bond thanks to the agency's involvement with MI5 (Security Service) and MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service), the GCHQ notes that their latest recruitment drive looks to staff around 250 "graduate and professional level" positions in IT and other technical fields. Nevertheless the agency is looking forward to better promoting their cause to a suitable target group through Xbox Live. [Guardian/20November2009]
Elderly US Couple Pleads Guilty in Cuba Spy Case. An elderly US couple charged with spying for Cuba for almost 30 years pleaded guilty in the conspiracy, with the husband agreeing to serve a life sentence, the US Justice Department said.
Walter Myers, 72, a former State Department official with top-secret security clearance, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud, according to the department.
Wife Gwendolyn Myers, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information to Washington's Cold War enemy Havana, and will serve between six and 7.5 years behind bars.
The pair also agreed to forfeit 1,735,054 dollars - the total salary Walter Myers earned from the US government between 1983 and 2007, when he made repeated false statements to investigators about his security status.
"For the past 30 years, this couple betrayed America's trust by covertly providing classified national defense information to the Cuban government. Today, they are being held accountable for their actions," David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.
"These guilty pleas should serve notice that we remain vigilant in protecting our nation's secrets and in bringing to justice those who compromise them."
The couple entered their pleas in the US District Court in Washington before Judge Reggie Walton.
The Myers - Walter had been known as Agent 202 and Gwendolyn was Agent 123 - were arrested on June 4 after an undercover FBI sting operation having allegedly passed on secrets for decades to Washington's Cold War foe.
Shortly after the arrest, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who the couple allegedly met in 1995, dismissed the spying charges as a "ridiculous tale," saying the pair deserve "all the honors of the world" for keeping Cubans safe.
US authorities painted a picture of an intricate and brazen scheme carried out since the late 1970s after Myers traveled to Cuba in 1978 at the invitation of a representative of Havana's mission to the United States in New York who turned out to be a Cuban Intelligence Service officer.
Myers had begun working for the State Department a year earlier as a lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia.
But from 1988 to 1999 he began to work for the department's bureau of intelligence and research (INR). In 1985, he was given top-secret security clearance which was then upgraded to a higher level in 1999.
By the time he retired, Myers was working as a senior Europe analyst at INR and had daily access to classified information stored on computer databases, the Justice Department said.
A scan of his computer showed that from August 2006 until his retirement in October 2007 Myers had viewed more than 200 sensitive or classified intelligence reports on Cuba, which has been under a US embargo since 1962.
The couple would allegedly get encrypted messages from Cuba via shortwave radio, and Gwendolyn Myers, who worked as an analyst at a local bank, would pass on information to her contacts by exchanging shopping carts in grocery stores because she said it was "easy enough to do," the department added.
In early 2009 the FBI launched an operation against the couple, who met four times with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Cuban intelligence officer.
Myers told the agent that he usually smuggled information out of the State Department by memorizing it or by taking notes.
When asked by the agent if he ever sent information to Cuba that was classified higher than secret, Myers replied "oh yeah... oh yeah."
Apart from being contacted via coded messages on shortwave radio, the couple traveled all over South America and the Caribbean to meet with Cuban agents. [AP/20November2009]
CIA in Recruitment Pitch to Arab Americans. A new television advertisement to be broadcast nationwide in the United States shows an Arab-American family preparing for dinner in a sleek apartment. Middle Eastern tapestries decorate the walls, platters of food are spread out across a large table - it has all the trappings of a modern-day iftar.
It is not until the end of the 30-second spot that you know what is being sold: "Your nation, your world. They are worth protecting," says a narrator, speaking English with a Middle Eastern accent. "Careers at the Central Intelligence Agency."
The advertisement is part of an unprecedented push by the CIA to recruit Arab-Americans to its ranks. It was unveiled this week - along with another spot targeting Farsi-speaking Iranian-Americans - at a screening in Dearborn, Michigan, a community outside Detroit with the highest concentration of Arabs in the United States.
A CIA spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said the advertisements were designed to fill "a need" at the agency.
Although the CIA does not release statistics of the ethnicity of its agents, it has said that only about a third of analysts and 40 per cent of overseas operatives are proficient in a foreign language.
Ms. Harf did not provide specifics on how many new officers the agency is seeking, though she said the plan was to make the CIA "reflect the world it covers".
"We are actively looking for people who are from first and second-generation American communities, people who know the cultures that we need to operate in, know the language," she said, adding that CIA receives 160,000 "competitive" applications a year. "Those things are intangibles that are much harder to teach."
But if the CIA hopes to attract more Arabic and Farsi speakers, it must overcome the stigma attached to it by many who populate the ethnic Arab and Persian communities in the United States.
The agency, which is deeply involved in the fight by the US against al Qa'eda, is viewed with skepticism for its alleged role in harsh interrogations and the extraordinary rendition program, where terror suspects are secretly transferred for questioning to foreign countries with less stringent torture laws.
It also suffers from the negative views many have of its sister agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which oversees highly controversial programmes, such as domestic wiretapping and the surveillance of mosques and Islamic charities, which have greatly increased since the September 11 attacks.
"There definitely is an image problem," said Khalil AlHajal, community editor at the Dearborn-based Arab American News newspaper. "For many people, just because of the record of torture and extraordinary rendition, the CIA will never be able to get in with them."
This is not the first time the CIA has reached out to US citizens of Arab and Iranian descent. In fact the agency has been recruiting in Dearborn, home to more than 30,000 Arab-Americans according to the latest census, since 2002.
The CIA has sponsored dinners of local Arab organizations in an effort to improve its reputation, and it has bought advertisements in online and local print media, including the Arab American News. "They're making an effort and it's clear," said Mr. Al Hajal said.
CIA recruiters, for their part, say their efforts have been greeted warmly in Dearborn and elsewhere.
"There are people in this community who are such patriotic Americans, who look at the CIA and say 'that's a place I want my kids to work'," Ms. Harf said of Dearborn.
Christina Petrosian, chief of advertising and marketing for CIA's recruitment and retention centre, added: "They are very receptive to us here."
Ms. Petrosian said the commercial's production team consulted with focus groups and current Arab-American CIA employees as they sought ideas for the new television commercials. Efforts were made, she said, to use themes that would appeal to Arab and Iranian sensibilities.
The commercial featuring the Arab family dinner, for example, tries to capture the Arab emphasis on family and friends, Ms. Petrosian said. She said that wall hangings and dinner settings were chosen as "connectors to the Arab world".
"It's the overall Arab style in a contemporary way," she said. "This is one way where we can show them, through a different medium, that we understand their culture and they are welcome to come here and join the CIA family."
The other advertisement, which targets Farsi speakers, features an array of Iranian-American professionals: a female scientist, lawyer, economist and a man who appears to be holding a Quran. "We are the CIA," the characters say at the end of the 30-second advertisement.
That commercial was designed to resonate with the "Persian heritage of intellectuals and innovators that have been respected for thousands of years", Ms. Petrosian said.
Both advertisements, which are expected to air on TV and websites in the next few months, are also trying to pitch the idea that Arab-Americans and Iranian-Americans can retain their culture and faith and still be patriotic.
But recruiting Iranian-Americans may prove particularly difficult, community leaders say.
Many Iranians here still view the CIA with wariness for its involvement in the coup d'état in 1953 that deposed the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq.
"They are very skeptical of the CIA," Michelle Moghtader, the director of community outreach for the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, said, characterising the agency's recruitment effort as "an uphill battle".
"I know many Iranians willing to serve their country in other ways, but the CIA is that one sort of entity that is somewhat taboo."
Ms. Moghtader said Iranian Americans who work for the CIA tend to keep quiet about their occupations, fearing a backlash from the community. "It is a very sensitive subject," she said. [Stanek/TheNational/20November2009]
Chinese Cyber-Spying Grows Against US. China's government appears increasingly to be piercing U.S. government and defense industry computer networks to gather useful data for its military, a congressional advisory panel said on Thursday.
"A large body of both circumstantial and forensic evidence strongly indicates Chinese state involvement in such activities," the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its 2009 report to Congress.
The 12-member, bipartisan commission was set up in 2000 to analyze the implications of growing trade with China.
Beijing has begun to broaden its national security concerns beyond a potential clash across the Taiwan Strait and issues around its periphery, the 367-page report said.
China is the most aggressive country conducting espionage against the United States, focused on obtaining data and know-how to help military modernization and economic development, it added.
The amount of "malicious" computer activities against the United States increased in 2008 and is rising sharply this year, it said, adding, "Much of this activity appears to originate in China."
The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The commission said the Chinese government had placed many of its capabilities for computer network operations within elements of the People's Liberation Army.
"China's peacetime computer exploitation efforts are primarily focused on intelligence collection against U.S. targets and Chinese dissident groups abroad," it said.
The report cited conclusions of Northrop Grumman Corp, one of the Pentagon's top contractors, that implicated the Chinese government in extensive cyber activities against the United States.
Omitted was any thorough description of the techniques used for forensic analysis of such suspected cyber espionage.
A Northrop Grumman study was prepared for the commission and released in October. It said Beijing appeared to be conducting "a long-term, sophisticated, computer network exploitation campaign" against the government and U.S. defense industries. [Wolf/Reuters/20November2009]
Dolphins Will Be Deployed at Bangor Starting Next Year, Navy Says. Specially trained Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions will help guard Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor starting next year, the Navy announced.
Their job will be to stop swimmers or divers from infiltrating the Trident submarine base. Marine mammals are already being used to find possible intruders at other Navy bases, including at King's Bay, Ga., the home of the rest of the nation's Trident fleet.
It is the culmination of a 3 1/2 year environmental process to clear the way for what the Navy calls a swimmer interdiction security system.
The Navy looked at several options to protect against possible attack from swimmers, but officials said they couldn't find a better way of meeting new terrorism-driven security requirements. The marine mammals were its preferred alternative from the beginning.
Other finalists included combat swimmers or using remotely-operated vehicles. Neither system exists, however, and would have had to be developed, and neither could detect intruders. They could only respond after being alerted by an existing detection system.
Dolphins and sea lions can find intruders by themselves and have been doing so for years at other bases, the Navy said.
Several pubic hearings on the plan were held in the Puget Sound region. The overriding complaint espoused at them was that Hood Canal is too cold for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Former Bainbridge Island resident and dolphin biologist Toni Frohoff said average water temperatures at the Bangor submarine are considerably cooler than the Caribbean where many of the dolphins are found.
A Navy analysis found that the dolphins' metabolism would allow them to handle Bangor's winter water and air temperatures. Although the Navy expects no problems from the cold, the dolphins will stay in temperature-controlled in-water enclosures, according to documents relating to the plan. They'll only patrol in cold water in two-hour shifts.
The dolphins and sea lions are trained at the Navy's Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. None will be captured from the wild.
The Navy first proposed to deploy dolphins along Bangor's 4-mile shoreline nearly 20 years ago, but the Progressive Animal Welfare Society and other groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the Navy didn't assess the impact on the dolphins in its environmental review. A district court agreed and the Navy agreed not to proceed until it completed an environmental impact statement. Then the military lost funding for security and the plan was shelved until the September 11th attacks led to stiffer security requirements.
Five tribes that harvest in the Hood Canal feared that the marine mammals' waste might foul their shellfish beds, so the Navy changed the plan to house the dolphins and sea lions in enclosed pools instead of open-mesh pens.
The dolphins, accompanied by handlers in small power boats, will work at night. If they find an intruder, they'll swim back to the boat and alert the handler, who will place a strobe light on a dolphin's nose. It will race back and bump the intruder's back, knocking the light off. The light will float to the surface, marking the spot. The dolphin will swim back to the boat, join the handler, and they'll clear out as security guards speed to the strobe to subdue the intruder.
Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If they find a suspicious swimmer, they clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The intruder can then be reeled in.
The dolphins' sonar is better than any that man has made and they're best for moving quickly in open water. Sea lions can see and hear better underwater and are better for shallower work around piers. [Friedrich/KitsapSuny/18November2009]
Rebel, President, CIA Spy. Following his claims that the US plotted against him for regime change, Mr. Charles Taylor Monday admitted that he maintained links with the US Central Intelligence Agency that he established during the formative stages of his rebellion.
"The organization [NPFL] provided information to the CIA. The NPFL at the time did provide information to the CIA and there was information from the CIA to us too. There was exchange of information, mostly from between 1991-92," Mr. Taylor said.
"The NPFL and the CIA exchanged information on certain operations. They were mostly internal to the Liberia operation," he added.
"The government of Liberia associated in so many ways in exchange of information with the CIA. Throughout my presidency, an agency of my government collaborated with the CIA," the former president said.
Mr. Taylor explained that the collaboration with the CIA continued when he became president in 1997.
After his cross-examination got off to a stumble last week over the use of "new evidence," Charles Taylor admitted to prosecutors that he shared information with the spy agency of the same country he has accused of plotting his downfall: the United States. Mr. Taylor also dismissed as "nonsense" prosecution allegations that he has been misusing his phone privileges while in jail to try to influence testimony of his defense witnesses.
When court resumed, the prosecution's lead counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis indicated her team's willingness to go ahead with Mr. Taylor's cross-examination, having had more time to "rearrange strategies" after the court refused to allow the use of "new evidence" which had not been part of the prosecution's case and was not raised in Mr. Taylor's direct-examination. As the cross-examination proceeded, Mr. Taylor denied suggestions that he was an agent of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He admitted, however, that his rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), exchanged information with the CIA - a collaboration and exchange that continued into his presidency.
Despite this previous collaboration with an agency of the United States, the accused former president has consistently accused the United States of plotting his downfall through support to rebel forces who fought to unseat him in Liberia, and his subsequent trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Also in his cross-examination, the prosecution accused Mr. Taylor of misusing his phone services in his Hague cell to influence prospective defense witnesses to tell lies in his favor. Mr. Taylor denied Ms. Hollis' suggestion that he has been calling prospective defense witnesses in Sierra Leone and Liberia, telling them to "testify in a certain way" or promising to give them money if they traveled to The Hague and told lies in his favor.
"I have never misused the privileged access lines. To the best of my knowledge, I have never been advised that I cannot use the privileged access lines to talk to prospective witnesses," he said.
Mr. Taylor dismissed as "nonsense" Ms. Hollis' suggestions that when he (Taylor) resigned as president of Liberia and sought asylum in Nigeria, West African leaders had to accompany him to Nigeria because they wanted to make sure that he got to where he was supposed to go.
Mr. Taylor agreed with Ms. Hollis that while in Nigeria, the host government imposed certain conditions on his asylum status - but such restrictions, he said, were not established specifically for him. He said that the restrictions were part of Nigerian law for anybody obtaining asylum in the country. The restrictions, as stated by Ms. Hollis, included restrictions on Mr. Taylor's involvement in military and political activities in Liberia; not traveling out of Calabar, Nigeria, without authorization; and not talking to the press without informing the Nigerian authorities. Mr. Taylor responded that while in Nigeria, he had several press interviews and he was able to travel to visit several individuals, including then Nigeria president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr. Taylor dismissed the notion that President Obasanjo imposed these restrictions on him because of evidence that while as president of Liberia, he had meddled in the politics of other countries and there were concerns that he would do the same thing with Liberian politics while in Nigeria.
The former president dismissed as "misleading" prosecution suggestions that West African leaders invited him for peace talks in Ghana in 2003 and then forced him to resign as president of Liberia. Mr. Taylor told the lead prosecutor that her team needs to do their work well.
Mr. Taylor is responding to charges that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied allegations that he supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels in return for Sierra Leone's blood diamonds and that he helped them plan certain operations during which atrocities such as rape, murder and amputation of civilian arms were committed. From July 14 to November 10, 2009, Mr. Taylor testified in direct-examination as a witness in his own defense. He is currently being cross-examined by the prosecution. [AllAfrica/11November2009]
Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE
Spy Agencies' Quest: What Makes A Terrorist? Investigators are still trying to determine whether Maj. Nidal Hasan's alleged deadly rampage at Fort Hood was a calculated act of radical Islamist ideology or the deranged act of an alienated loner.
But even as military and law enforcement officials continue their probe, the incident has sparked a renewed focus on how Islamic extremists and al-Qaida sympathizers become radicalized in the first place.
The U.S. government has focused significant intelligence resources on the question of radicalization in recent years, but they admit the dynamics are still not well understood.
The al-Qaida terrorist network has worked hard to build and maintain an active media arm, which pumps out propaganda videos, training materials and other exhortations across the Internet. Much of it is aimed at inspiring extremists across the globe to join the cause, but it remains unclear how effective the messages are.
"Generally speaking, there needs to be an intermediary - someone who helps you along the path to radicalization," says a senior intelligence official. "For the actual embrace of the global jihad, you can be launched on that path by your own research on the Internet, but in most cases, you do need some kind of a guide."
In the Fort Hood case, investigators are looking into Hasan's correspondence with radical Yemeni American cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who used to deliver sermons at a Northern Virginia mosque that Hasan attended.
Aulaqi currently lives in Yemen, where he has frequently praised terrorist attacks, along with the Fort Hood rampage. It remains unclear, however, whether Aulaqi played any role in encouraging Hasan's alleged attack.
Similarly, in recent terrorism cases in the United States, authorities are still struggling to determine how the suspects became radicalized.
In some of these cases, the suspects managed to develop worrying ties to al-Qaida or one of its affiliates.
Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant, was arrested last month and charged with conspiring to blow up targets in the U.S. He has pleaded not guilty, but U.S. officials say that he traveled to Pakistan last year allegedly to train with al-Qaida.
Another recent case involved two men arrested in Chicago last month on allegations of plotting terrorist attacks in Western Europe, including against a Danish newspaper that printed a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. A federal indictment alleges that the two have ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani extremist group tied to al-Qaida.
"The more dangerous cases by far, whether they are self-radicalized or not, is when there is a connection to a major terrorist organization - when they had the wherewithal to get training and assistance in getting explosives," says a senior U.S. intelligence official. "They have much better operational discipline than the lone-wolf cases."
A separate spate of apparent lone-wolf cases has also been worrying law enforcement officials.
In Springfield, Ill., and Dallas, there were two separate cases in which suspected militants tried to detonate what they thought were bombs. Each had been given decoy mechanisms by FBI agents, who had penetrated their plans.
Neither of these suspects is alleged to have ties to an existing terrorist network.
"In general, those are the most difficult cases to penetrate and disrupt, but fortunately they are the most inept," the senior intelligence official says.
These cases help illustrate how the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden is trying to adapt. Al-Qaida leaders are less secure in their safe haven of Pakistan than at any time since Sept. 11, 2001, according to U.S. officials, and its followers are being forced to operate more independently.
The changes are creating new challenges for U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
"My ability to understand the people I'm dealing with today is far different and far more difficult," Philip Mudd, the assistant director for national security at the FBI and a veteran CIA analyst, said at a conference last month. "The revolution has meant the people we're facing are al-Qaida central, they're affiliates, they're like-mindeds, [and] they're a kid in a garage, each of whom poses a unique threat."
Beyond the core members of al-Qaida, the U.S. intelligence community is trying to track affiliated groups, including offshoots like al-Qaida in Iraq; sympathetic groups, such as al-Shabaab, a Somali extremist group; and all kinds of homegrown radicals.
"It's no longer the centralized, hierarchical organization it was in the 9/11 era," says a senior U.S. intelligence official. "Bin Laden and [his deputy Ayman al-] Zawahiri don't control each individual operation. When you have four or five different guys planning operations, perhaps of a smaller magnitude than 9/11, it's harder to follow."
Publicly, U.S. officials have sought to downplay the risk from independent, homegrown terrorists.
"Homegrown Muslim extremists who have little if any connection to known terrorist organizations have not launched a successful attack in the United States," Michael Leiter, who runs the National Counterterrorism Center, told Congress in September. "The handful of homegrown extremists who have sought to strike within the homeland since 9/11 have lacked the necessary tradecraft and capability to conduct or facilitate sophisticated attacks."
But a recent case in Italy has some experts wondering whether radicalization patterns may be shifting, at least in Europe.
A Libyan man named Mohamed Game attacked an Italian army barracks in Milan on Oct.12 with an improvised explosive device similar to the one used to attack the London Underground in 2005. The bomb was poorly constructed, leaving the bomber seriously wounded and lightly injuring an Italian soldier.
Frederico Bordonaro, an Italian security analyst, says the case is important because Game and his two accomplices do not fit the typical profile of a homegrown terrorist.
"They were only moderately involved in local religious activities," he writes in an upcoming article in the CTC Sentinel, a journal published by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "They have no experience fighting in wars, and they do not have criminal records. As in the case of two Moroccans arrested in December 2008, the three men formed a terrorist cell independently without logistical support of established organizations."
At the same time, he agrees with U.S. intelligence officials that these independent extremists have, up to now, been less dangerous.
"I think it can be harder to detect and track, but that it's not more effective than the more typical radicalization," he said in an interview. "However, we shouldn't underestimate the danger of 'do-it-yourself' terrorism." [NPR/17November2009]
Scientists Who Spy: 8 Tales of Engineering & Espionage. Former government physicist P. Leonardo Mascheroni, an outspoken critic of U.S. nuclear strategy, is in the FBI's crosshairs. In October, the feds raided his home, seizing computers, documents, books, and cell phones. The FBI hasn't publicly stated what it's investigating, but Mascheroni maintains that he's been wrongly accused of nuclear espionage because he gave a CD with sensitive information to the Venezuelan government.
Just what was on the disk? Well, during his days as a scientist, Mascheroni championed hydrogen-fluoride laser fusion, which in theory could produce a cleaner and more reliable nuclear weapons arsenal. He pitched it to Congress in 2007, and when they shot him down, an alleged Venezuelan representative agreed to pay him $800,000 for a laser study, according to Mascheroni. He says he delivered a CD containing only unclassified documents, but was never paid. Mascheroni claims none of that matters since he was never going to build the laser - the whole thing was a ploy to get the United States to take his technology seriously, he says. Well, they are taking him seriously now.
Mascheroni isn't the only scientist who has been accused of espionage. Former government physicist Stewart Nozette allegedly sold out the United States for only $11,000. Nozette had worked for a host of government agencies, including NASA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense, and had previously had access to top-secret information about nuclear weapons and missile defense. In September 2009, a man who claimed to be an Israeli intelligence agent offered Nozette hard cash for his knowledge of U.S. missile detection systems. However, the Israeli agent was actually undercover FBI.
According to an FBI affidavit, Nozette agreed to answer an initial round of questions about weapons systems and government satellites in exchange for $2,000. For round two, the undercover FBI agent left $9,000 in a P.O. box, and Nozette provided more classified information about early warning systems and U.S. strategies for defense or retaliation against large-scale attack. Nozette was arrested in October and now faces life in prison on charges of espionage.
Abdul Qadeer Khan is the scientist credited with transforming Pakistan into a nuclear power. But this national hero had a dark side. Dr. Doom, as he's known in the media, ran a black market nuclear proliferation network, which he confessed to five years ago. Khan was placed under house arrest after he confessed to selling Iran, North Korea, and Libya technology to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. In 2008, inspectors found evidence that he may have sold nuclear warhead designs as well. However, in an apparent nose-thumbing at the United States, a Pakistani court freed Khan from house arrest in February.
Dubbed "The Spy Who Started the Cold War," Engelbert (Bertie) Broda was an Austrian scientist-turned-spy who fueled the lead-up to the Cold War by funneling Britain's nuclear secrets to Moscow, which included U.S. blueprints for the early nuclear reactor used in the Manhattan Project. The documents that Broda supplied helped the Soviet Union catch up in the race to build the bomb.
The Brits suspected Broda - codenamed "Eric" by the Soviets - was a mole while he was working at Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, but they were never able to pin anything on him. This past June, information from KGB and MI5 files came out that confirm once and for all the Broda was the Soviets' inside guy. Broda died in 1983 after a successful career at the University of Vienna.
Quan-Sheng Shu, a Shanghai born expert in cryogenics and liquid hydrogen rocket systems, was busted in 2008 for selling rocket technology to the Chinese. At a minimum, the information could help China's space program. However, U.S. officials say the data that Shu sold, which he gleaned while collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA, puts the United States at a national security risk because it advances China's military and intelligence technology.
Shu, a naturalized American citizen, admitted to selling the technology to China, but argued that the knowledge he sold is freely available online, and says the equipment could be purchased from any number of companies around the world. However, prosecutors maintained that he violated the U.S. arms embargo on China, so Shu pled guilty to two counts of violating the federal Arms Control Act and one count of bribing Chinese officials. He was sentenced to over four years in prison and has already paid more than $387,000 in restitution.
Corporate espionage may not endanger nations and capture front-page headlines, but the dollar amounts involved are nonetheless staggering. When Gary Min walked away from DuPont after 10 years as a polymer scientist in 2006, he didn't exactly leave empty-handed. Before signing on with rival company Victrex, Min admitted to downloading and stealing industrial secrets from DuPont worth an estimated $400 million. Min pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
A physicist-turned-spy who was code-named "Percy" by the Soviet Union was never caught, and was never even positively identified. The KGB claims that Percy worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and that he passed them secrets regarding the refinement of plutonium and the design of the first atomic bombs built in the United States. Some experts believe that Percy was the physicist Theodore Alvin Hall, who has admitted to turning over nuclear secrets in order to break the American monopoly on nuclear weaponry, and who lived out his later years in England. But Hall never confirmed or denied that theory, and other experts believe that the real Percy was never revealed.
Also working at Los Alamos, code-named "Rest," was Klaus Fuchs. He was also responsible for feeding atomic weaponry secrets to the USSR. Unlike Percy, Fuchs was caught and convicted of espionage and served 9 years behind bars.
Russian immigrant Sergey Aleynikov spent this past 4th of July in a holding cell after being picked up by the FBI. The software developer had recently left a job at the financial giant Goldman Sachs, and according to the FBI, he took more than office supplies with him when he left. The feds charged him with "theft of trade secrets," and confiscated the computers in his New Jersey home.
According to the complaint, Aleynikov took off with computer codes relating to high-speed, high-volume stock market trades that make millions by looking for price trends over the course of milliseconds and making automatic trades. But a recent report that charges against Aleynikov may be reduced and that he may avoid jail time suggest that the programmer may not have intended to sell the code, after all - or it could signal that Goldman Sachs doesn't want to talk about its secret code in open court. [DiscoverMagazine/19November2009]
Section III - COMMENTARY
The Real Intelligence Wars: Oversight And Access, by Marc
Ambinder. For months, the CIA director, Leon Panetta, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Adm. Dennis Blair (ret.), fought an intense and acrimonious turf battle over covert action oversight and access to White House officials. Last week, the two men agreed to a truce when they signed a classified memorandum brokered by the National Security Adviser, James Jones.
Through intermediaries, Panetta and Blair crossed swords over who should appoint senior intelligence representatives in foreign countries. Now, through interviews, new details are emerging about other, more sensitive conflicts between the two men and their agencies, including which agency is responsible for oversight of the CIA's controversial and classified Predator drone program.
According to the agreement, the details of which were confirmed by several officials, the CIA will retain responsibility for appointing senior intelligence representatives in foreign countries. But other parts of the agreement seem to favor Blair. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) will now be at the table whenever the CIA covert action programs are discussed at the White House. Also, Blair now has the authority to assess whether covert action programs fit with the nation's intelligence strategy.
Competition between the CIA, the nation's intelligence service, and the DNI, its new intelligence manager, has become fierce in the Obama administration. A victory for one side is seen by the other as a loss of power and authority. As part of the agreement, Blair and Panetta plan to meet weekly with National Security Adviser Jones. Face time with the president is preserved for both men. Blair, or his representative, briefs the president daily. Panetta has a standing meeting with the commander in chief at least one a week. In bureaucratic terms, both the CIA and the DNI need buy in. They need the White House to recognize their formal and informal authorities.
The conflict became public earlier this year, after the CIA protested when the Director of National Intelligence appointed a senior National Security Agency representative to be the DNI's representative in Kurdistan. Traditionally, the CIA's chief of station had served as the foreign nation's principal intelligence representative. But the NSA has a bigger footprint in Kurdistan, and the DNI decided that he would be better served by appointing an NSA officer to be his representative. Then, the DNI and the CIA got into a dispute over the identity of the top intelligence officer for Pacific Command. Blair, former PACCOM commander in chief, wanted his own guy; Panetta had a different choice.
Blair assumed that the National Security Council would immediately settle the issue in his favor. After all, as he believed, the DNI structure couldn't work unless the White House acknowledged the supremacy of the office. Vice President Joe Biden was asked to mediate between Blair and Panetta. Biden held three meetings between the two with no appreciable progress. Last week, he decided in favor of Panetta. This was a big victory for Panetta, who had lost several public rounds with the White House over the release of Bush-era torture memorandums and the decision by the Justice Department to review interrogation files for potential prosecution. Panetta opposed the document release on the grounds that they could hinder current intelligence collection and worried that interrogation prosecutions would dampen morale and were unnecessary. The National Clandestine Service - still known to initiates as the "DO" - or directorate of operations - is a culture within a culture. So sacrosanct are its operational imperatives that Panetta might have faced an internal revolt had he not retain the appointment authority.
The conflict over covert action was even more sensitive. Since the CIA's establishment in 1947, its officers have had a direct line to the National Security Council. No cut-outs, no go-betweens. Blair and his deputies believed that the CIA's National Clandestine Service was failing to provide a full picture of several of the agency's largest covert collection and special activity programs. In particular, the DNI would often find out about CIA-initiated drone strikes in Pakistan well after the fact. The CIA was conscientious about briefing the National Security Council, but did not bother to loop in the DNI.
That won't happen any longer. The CIA will keep its unfettered access to national security principals, and the DNI still doesn't have the authority to order covert action programs, but the White House is now requiring the CIA to fully brief the DNI on all covert action programs and will seek from the DNI regular assessments of whether any program fits in with the nation's intelligence strategy, which is set by Blair. Since Blair briefs Congress more often than Panetta does, it makes sense for Blair to know as much about covert action programs as CIA briefers would.
"The relationship between the White House and the CIA on covert action hasn't changed at all," a U.S. intelligence official sympathetic to the CIA's point of view said. "That includes the direct line of command and communication between the President, who orders covert action, and the CIA, which carries it out. That's exactly how every president since Harry Truman has wanted it."
A third issue, regarding CIA attendance at meetings where non-CIA business is discussed, has also been settled - apparently in favor of the DNI.
Often, CIA officials would bring several representatives to N.S.C. meetings, even when they dealt with other, non-CIA intelligence activities. Blair complained that the CIA was over-represented at the meetings. The CIA disagreed. But now, for any meeting that deals with non-CIA intelligence activities, Blair can decide whether a CIA or NSA person will represent the DNI. Of course, the White House can say who they want, but the point, according to those familiar with the agreement, is that there is one intelligence community leader who decides who participates in high-level meetings.
According to an agreement, the DNI will be the primary intelligence community representative in all meetings - but the CIA can still bring whoever it wants to them.
"On substance, things didn't go the DNI's way. He's talking about process and meetings, not action or results. If that's where he wants to find meaning or comfort, then fine," a source with knowledge of the agreement.
But another intelligence official said that the DNI was simply trying to institutionalize the roles and responsibilities as required by Congress. "The DNI is only acting to ensure that we don't repeat mistakes of the past where agencies worked independently and the nation suffered because we didn't have a comprehensive picture of what was going on," he said.
The White House tried to put the best spin on the feud and the resulting truce. "[National Security Adviser James] Jones, Director [Dennis] Blair, and Director [Leon] Panetta clarified and reached agreement on an important provision of the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act," the NSC's chief of staff said in a statement. "They also reaffirmed the importance of intelligence reform and that the intelligence community needs a strong and unified leader to ensure maximum cooperation. It is a good agreement that advances the country's interests and ensures that we are continuing to work together as a team." [Ambinder/TheAtlantic/18November2009]
Section IV - OBITUARIES, TECH GADGETS AND COMING EVENTS
Istvan Belovai. Istvan Belovai, who died on November 6 aged 71, was a former Hungarian military intelligence officer who revealed to the American government the existence of an extensive spy-ring working within Nato.
Born at a small village in eastern Hungary on January 4 1938, Istvan Belovai joined the Hungarian Army in 1958 and four years later entered the Military Strategic Intelligence Service based in Budapest. In 1975, when he had reached the rank of major, he was asked to translate a dispatch which turned out to contain details of the standard operating procedures of the US Seventh Army.
As later court records reveal, the dispatch came from Clyde Lee Conrad, an American NCO working as an administrator at secret Nato archives in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. From 1974 until his arrest in 1988, Conrad sold top secret information to the People's Republic of Hungary and recruited several other low-paid American Army personnel to help him.
In 1978 Belovai was assigned, full time, to "Operation Snowdrop" and given the job of translating intelligence pouring in from the Conrad spy ring. The dispatches - some 30,000 documents in all - dealt with Nato Army and Air Force deployments, Nato strategy, and the location of nuclear weapons sites on the borders with the Eastern Bloc.
In effect, Conrad supplied the Hungarians (and through them the Soviet Union) with the General Defense Plan for every allied unit assigned to Europe, with details of the position of every unit in case of a war, and how they were to defend against Warsaw Pact forces. The material was classified "Cosmic Top Secret".
According to Belovai's account, he decided to alert the United States to the security leak because he became convinced that the information gleaned by Operation Snowdrop could lead to a nuclear showdown. "At the beginning of the 1980s, the Soviet Military Intelligence had all the essential intelligence data on the US and Nato forces in Europe. The Red Army had the ability to launch a successful general attack against Nato forces in Europe. In case of war, Nato forces would have had two choices: capitulation or the deployment of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union," he recalled.
He became convinced that the Soviets were preparing to attack the West: "I decided to prevent the potential Soviet aggression."
He could not simply walk into the American embassy in Budapest, as the building was under constant surveillance; but in 1982 he was assigned to serve as assistant military and air attaché in London.
Two years later, in 1984, he made contact with an American agent known as "Richard C" in a CIA safe house in London. That summer Belovai was transferred back to Budapest, but he continued to communicate with the Americans under the code name Scorpion-B.
In 1985, however, Belovai, who had by now been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was arrested by Hungarian counter-intelligence while on his way to a CIA drop point. He had been betrayed, it is believed, by the CIA counter-intelligence officer and Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. At his trial, the prosecutor demanded the death sentence, but instead he was sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage, stripped of his military rank and had all his property confiscated.
Three years into his sentence, Belovai learned of the arrest of Conrad and four accomplices. "The news made my heart throb. My work had not been in vain," he recalled.
In 1990 a West German court sentenced Conrad to life in prison for espionage, the presiding judge observing that because of his treachery: "If war had broken out between Nato and the Warsaw Pact, the West would have faced certain defeat. Nato would have quickly been forced to choose between capitulation or the use of nuclear weapons on German territory."
After his trial in 1985, Belovai was held as an "anti-state" (political) prisoner, but he eventually won release on parole in September 1990, six months after the first free elections in Hungary. "It was sunny. It was a wonderful feeling," he recalled.
But that feeling did not last. The Hungarian democratic authorities refused to grant him a full pardon, despite his political prisoner status, and he was warned that if he remained in Hungary his life could be in danger. Towards the end of 1990 he left for the United States and settled in Colorado, taking American citizenship in 1992.
In exile Belovai campaigned to be given a full pardon and to be restored to his former military rank, arguing that he had acted as he did to save Hungary as well as the West from a catastrophic nuclear war.
"I was never a traitor. I was Hungary's first Nato soldier," he claimed. But even 20 years after the end of Communist rule, no Hungarian political party has been prepared to rehabilitate him. [Telegraph/20November2009]
The Latest in Spy Tech. Just in time for Black Friday, Daniel Sieberg Highlights the Newest Commercial Gizmos and Gadgets for
In the final part of the "Somebody's Watching You" series, CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg shared the latest and greatest in hi-tech spy and anti-spy tools from Brickhouse Security [http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/].
In fact, Sieberg even wore several surveillance gadgets on his person - a lapel camera pin, a watch camera and a tie remote-controlled camera.
The following product descriptions were prepared using information provided by the manufacturers.
Tie Camera w/ Built-In DVR & Remote Control
- Hidden Pinhole Tie Camera Captures VGA High Resolution Video
- Built-In DVR Is Undetectable & Records 4Gb Of Footage
- Remote Control Lets An Associate Control The Tie Cam From Afar
- Completely Undetectable - Perfect For All Covert Operations
Secret Agent Camcorder Watch
- One Touch Color Digital Audio/Video Recording
- Looks & Functions Like An Ordinary Watch
- Direct USB Connection To PC
- Over 3 Hours Battery Life
- Record Up To 1 Hour Of VGA Quality Video
Audio Activated Pen Camera Recorder
- 4-In-1 Surveillance: Camera, Camcorder, Web Camera, Audio Recording In One
- One Touch Color Digital Recording
- Looks And Functions Like An Ordinary Pen
- Records Up To 60 Minutes Of Video & 166 Minutes Of Audio
- Direct USB Connection To PC For Easy Transfer/Review
Internet Ready iSpy Hidden Camera Clock
- Watch In Real-Time On The Internet
- High Resolution Color Camera
- Capture Surveillance Video Or Fast Action Snapshots
- Battery Powered - Completely Wireless For Portability & Ease Of Set-Up
WiFi Tissue Box Hidden Camera
- H.264 Recording w/ Internet View (View Online)
- Completely Covert With No Tell Tale Wires Or Lights
- 480TVL High Resolution With Full Screen D1 Color Recording
- Extreme Low Light 0.001 LUX Hidden Camera
- Removable SD Card Up To 32GB for 64 Hours Of Recording
- 6 Hour Rechargeable Battery
Electrical Outlet Hidden Camera
- Electrical Outlet Hidden Camera DVR
- 8Gb DVR With SD Card
- Completely Covert
- Motion Activated
Wireless Camera Hunter and Viewer
- Sweep Your Home Or Office For Hidden Cameras In Under 5 Seconds
- View Feeds From Hidden Wireless Cameras Up To 500 Ft. Away
- Used And Trusted By Professionals To Sweep Entire Buildings
- A/V Out For Easy Viewing And Recording To A DVR
- Scans Frequencies 900 MHz to 2.52 GHz And Finds A Full-Range Of Cameras
- Including PAL/ NTSC, CCIR/EIA
Mini Hidden Camera Detector
- Finds Wireless Or Wired Cameras
- Cameras Don't Need To Be Powered On
- Extremely Portability For Sweeping On-The-Go
- Sweep An Entire Room In Under 10 Seconds
Spark Nano GPS Tracker
- Smallest & Most Sensitive GPS Tracker In The World
- Rechargeable Battery Power Up To 5 Days Of Continuous Tracking
- No Software To Install
- Splash Resistant
- Panic Button For Emergency Fast Tracking
Stealth iBot Computer Spy
- Covertly Record Everything A Person Does On A Computer
- Remove Stealth iBot™ After 5 Seconds: No Hardware Left Behind
- Undetectable By Most Anti-Spyware Applications
- Store Up to 10,000 Screenshots & Virtually Unlimited Text
- Total Surveillance - Record All Computer Activity - Even On Other User Accounts
- Works With Any PC Computer Including Laptops
GIFT IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The Employee Activity Association [CIA] is hosting a special Black Friday online sale. If you are member of the EAA [a membership which all current AFIO members are entitled to if you have joined the EAA following instructions supplied to all AFIO members], then proceed to the EAA special sale at http://www.eaamoc.com/,
EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....
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 email@example.com. Give names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and choices of chicken, veal, or salmon. PAY WITH A CHECK. THE FORUM DOESN'T TAKE CASH!
Tuesday, 1 December; 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - Cyber Forensics: Digital CSI at the International Spy Museum
Imagine a crime scene: a victim, a perp, the evidence... and the forensic investigators who add it all up. Translate that to the cyberspace world—cyber forensic experts ask: Why were you targeted? How did the perp break in? What did he do? Where did he go next? To recreate the chain of evidence that will lead to the hacker, these cyber sleuths do everything from piecing together networks to reassembling broken disks scavenged from the trash. A panel of leading experts will shed light on the growing threat of cyber crime, highlighting recent attack cases and how investigators went after the hackers, along with best practices to protect our government or your company. Speakers include:
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.
December 2009, 1000-1230 - Annapolis Junction, MD - The National
Cryptologic Museum Foundation's Annual Pearl Harbor Commemorative
Lecture program features Edward S. Miller on the Attack on Pearl Harbor - author of Bankrupting the Enemy: The U.S. Financial Siege of Japan Before Pearl Harbor.
Although most Americans are very familiar with the details of the
December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and its impact on the nation,
most people are unaware of the U.S. Economic campaign against Japan
prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. We have been trying for several
years to find speakers who present a view of the political/economic
landscape as well as the reasoning behind Japan’s decision to begin a
war it could not win. This year we are pleased to welcome Mr. Edward S. Miller who
will give his perspective on the impact on Japan of the measures taken
by the U.S. against Japan prior to World War II to cut off Japan’s
access to U.S. oil and other goods.
Mr. Miller has had two successful careers, one in the corporate financial world and one as a historian and author. His first book, War Plan Orange, on evolving U.S. military planning to defeat Japan, which began after the Russo-Japanese War, won five Distinguished History prizes.
The year’s Annual Pearl Harbor Commemorative Lecture is based on Mr. Miller’s latest book: Bankrupting the Enemy: The U.S. Financial Siege of Japan Before Pearl Harbor published in 2007.
Please plan to attend on 7 December for what promises to be an informative presentation about this subject. The program will be held at the L3 Communications Maryland Conference Center in the National Business Park from 1000-1230. Directions to L3 L3 Conference Center located at 2720 Technology Dr, Annapolis Junction, MD 21076 in the Rt. 32 National Business Park. Please note that videotaping of this program is not permitted.
Send in $20.00 by 30 November or register by 30 November to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain you are bringing your payment with you. Send $20 payment to NCMF PO Box 1682, Ft Meade, MD 20755. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, 08 December 2009, 1130 hrs - Tampa, FL - The AFIO Suncoast Chapter will hold its Holiday Season meeting and luncheon at the MacDill AFB Officer’s 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 entrée is Holiday fare, Turkey, dressing, cranberry and veggies, accompanied with salad, hot rolls, and finished with pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. -- 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. As a result of our ongoing close relations with various major commands in the Central and South Florida areas, we have been able to secure a commitment from SOCOM (J2) to provide a guest speaker on current state of intelligence within SOCOM. We recommend you not miss this luncheon and presentation. Reply ASAP to Gary Gorsline at email@example.com or Bill Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and any guests accompanying you. 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, on 08 December. If not, we'll have you on the list for our February luncheon. Questions/Inquiries to:• Gary Gorsline, President v/ (813) 920-0771 or by email to email@example.com
Bill Brown, Treasurer, v/ 352 746-1010 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email@example.com 757-897-6268
8 December 2009 - San Francisco, CA - The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Thomas C.
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): firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
19 December 2009, 9:30am - noon - Seattle, WA - AFIO Pacific Northwest Chapter meeting on B-29 Bomber and WWII.
Guest Speaker: Mike Lavelle,
Director of Development, The Museum of Flight
Topic: History of the B-29 bomber and the B-17 and its effect of winning World War 2.
Where: The Museum of Flight, South View Lounge
Make checks payable to AFIO and mail to:
Fran Dyer, 4603 NE University Village Suite 495, Seattle, WA 98105
Inquiries to Judd Sloan at email@example.com
For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events
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