|AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #03-10 dated 26 January 2010|
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New Exhibits at the Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum announces New Installations, New Programs, and a New Gallery for 2010
The Museum has added rare artifacts, some on display for a limited time only. The artifacts include an original 1777 letter written by George Washington, a 19th century copybook written by Civil War Spy Ring leader Elizabeth Van Lew, as well as personal items owned by Kim Philby, member of the famous Cambridge Five Spy Ring. Now through Spring Break a new installation will open each week.
2/5/10 Aurora Experiment. In the Spy Museum’s new gallery dedicated to Cyber War, Weapons of Mass Disruption, video of an experiment conducted for DHS depicts a simulated cyber attack on a generator control station which led to the generator’s destruction, demonstrating vulnerability of U.S power grid. On loan from four of the lead engineers who created and carried out the Aurora experiment.
2/12/10 Richard Welch Exhibit. CIA Station Chief Richard Welch was assassinated in Greece in 1975 by the radical Marxist organization Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N.) Welch had been warned not to use the prior COS residence but did so anyway, and its location, and Welch's own connection with CIA had previously been revealed in the East German publication Who’s Who in CIA by Julius Mader. Welch's assassination led to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. On loan from the Welch family, the Museum will display the wristwatch Welch was wearing at the time of his assassination; copies of Who’s Who in CIA and the Senate Hearing leading to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; and a reproduction 17N terrorist flag.
2/19/10 George Washington Letter. Part of the Museum’s permanent collection, the original 1777 letter from SpyMaster Washington to Mr. Nathaniel Sackett requesting a spy network’s establishment in New York, will be on display in time for President’s Day 2010.
2/26/10 Cambridge Five Installation. Disillusioned, as were many intellectuals in that day, by the greed of capitalism and British imperialism, Kim Philby sought to explore new ideas…and communism became particularly attractive. A member of a group of students from Cambridge University united by this desire for a system less selfish-oriented, Philby forged one of the most successful spy operations in history. On loan are several of Philby’s personal items including a flask, camera, coat, and photo of Lenin. Additional Cambridge Five artifacts will also join the installation including fellow conspirator John Cairncross’ passport and a 1st edition book written by Anthony Blunt.
3/5/10 Canadian Intelligence Installation. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has loaned several artifacts which include a camera concealed in a woman’s handbag, a toy truck with a miniature one-time pad, special lens and encoding sheet hidden inside, and a concealment device designed to look like a tree branch. CSIS also loaned several items pertaining to Igor Gouzenko, a code clerk for Soviet military intelligence at the Soviet Embassy in Canada, who defected and is often regarded as the first instance of Cold War espionage. Gouzenko’s gun, his written statement to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as a scrapbook of his clippings will have a dedicated case in the Museum’s Red Terror gallery.
3/12/10 Elizabeth Van Lew Artifact. A new acquisition to the Museum’s permanent collection, this copybook by Virginia-based Civil War Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew joins the Sisterhood of Spies gallery. Written prior to Van Lew’s spy ring leadership.
The International Spy Museum is located at 800 F Street, NW in Washington, DC’s historic Penn Quarter, within four blocks of the National Mall, directly across the street from the National Portrait Gallery, and within one block of FBI headquarters and Ford’s Theatre. The Museum is conveniently located near the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station serviced by the red, yellow and green lines. www.spymuseum.org
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Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS
U.S. Officials Fear American Ex-Cons are Training in
Yemen. U.S. officials believe that as many as three dozen Americans who converted to Islam while in prison in the United States have traveled to Yemen over the past year, possibly to be trained by Al Qaeda, according to a Senate report.
The arrivals have alarmed U.S. counter-terrorism officials, who believe that Al Qaeda in Yemen has expanded its recruitment efforts "to attract non-traditional followers" capable of carrying out more ambitious operations.
The report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee underscores the growing anxiety in the United States about the Al Qaeda off-shoot, which is accused of orchestrating the attempted suicide bombing of a U.S. jetliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
The report was released in advance of a hearing that the committee is scheduled to conduct on Al Qaeda's resurgence in Yemen and internal problems undermining that nation's ability to address the matter.
"As many as 36 American ex-convicts arrived in Yemen in the past year, ostensibly to study Arabic," the document said. Some of those Americans "had disappeared and are suspected of having gone to Al Qaeda training camps in ungoverned portions of the impoverished country."
The estimate was attributed to interviews that committee staff conducted with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials in Yemen and other countries in the Middle East in December.
The fears about Americans in Yemen is portrayed as part of a larger pattern of U.S. citizens or residents being drawn overseas to organizations with ties to Al Qaeda, raising concerns that they may be able to re-enter the United States after undergoing terrorist training.
The document refers to "two dozen Americans of Somali origin who disappeared in recent months from St. Paul, Minnesota" and are widely suspected of fighting alongside al-Shabab, a militant group in Somalia linked to Al Qaeda.
In addition to ex-convicts, the report warns that as many as a dozen other U.S. citizens have traveled to Yemen after marrying Muslim women and converting to Islam.
U.S. intelligence officials declined to comment on the report, which did not identify its sources by name or agency. The CIA, FBI and Defense Department have all expanded their operations and personnel in the region in recent months. CIA-operated Predator aircraft have carried out strikes on Al Qaeda targets in Yemen in recent weeks.
The Senate panel conducted the interviews before Al Qaeda carried out the Christmas Day plot, which was thwarted only when passengers on the Detroit-bound flight subdued the suspect after a bomb he had smuggled on-board in his underwear failed to ignite.
The 23-year-old suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Michigan on charges of attempted murder and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
U.S. counter-terrorism officials have expressed concern that Abdulmutallab, who is the son of a prominent Nigerian banker and had a visa to enter the United States, represents the vanguard of an evolving threat.
Abdulmutallab's ability to penetrate U.S. defenses and nearly pull off a devastating attack exposed serious failures in the U.S. intelligence community's ability to assemble clues about the plot.
Among them were a warning that Abdulmutallab's father delivered to CIA officials in Nigeria about his son's growing radicalism, as well as the interception of Al Qaeda communications in Yemen indicating that a Nigerian was being employed in a terrorist plot.
The White House released a report on the intelligence breakdowns last week. John Brennan, President Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser, acknowledged that until the attempted Christmas Day attack, U.S. analysts did not see Al Qaeda's franchise in Yemen as an organization capable of carrying out an overseas plot.
The Senate report makes clear that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the off-shoot is known, has recovered from being on the verge of collapse several years ago to represent a potent new threat.
AQAP, as the group is known, "has evolved into an ambitious organization capable of using non-traditional recruits to launch attacks against American targets within the Middle East and beyond," the report said.
The network in Yemen is led by Nasir al-Wahayshi, a former aide to Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who was among a group of 23 Al Qaeda fighters who escaped from a Yemeni prison in February, 2006.
The deputy of the organization is Said al-Shihri, a Saudi citizen who was released from the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay prison in November, 2007. [Miller/BaltimoreSun/21January2010]
Interrogation Team Is Still Months Away. The head of a new elite terrorism-interrogation program said it will take several more months to establish teams that could question high-profile suspects.
The teams are part of an overhaul of counterterrorism policy and have become an issue in a partisan battle over the Obama administration's handling of the suspect in a botched Christmas Day airline bombing attempt.
The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, will consist of three to five teams of interrogators based in Washington and largely drawn from the ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with some from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department.
Andrew McCabe, a veteran FBI counterterrorism investigator who is leading the new program, said in an interview that the bureau can currently cobble together an ad-hoc team of interrogators if the need arises.
Some Republican lawmakers say the administration squandered a chance to get intelligence from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged in the Christmas incident, by not declaring him an "enemy combatant" and putting him in military custody for interrogation.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair criticized the FBI for not using the elite teams to interrogate the suspect. Later in the day, Mr. Blair retreated from the comments, claiming they were "misconstrued."
Mr. McCabe said Thursday that the interrogation teams will use methods already used by the FBI and other agencies. President Obama has ordered that the techniques must comply with the Army Field Manual, which prohibits interrogation methods considered to be torture.
"There's no magic in the hat; these teams will not have different tools from anyone else," Mr. McCabe said. "What the teams will have is the combined expertise of the agencies and a focused approach that brings together multiple disciplines, the best current intelligence on the target, and the benefit of having trained, prepared, and deployed together as a team."
Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, the top Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that he was "steamed" after learning the HIG teams weren't yet functioning. "If [Osama] bin Laden were captured tomorrow, who would interrogate him? Detroit [FBI] Field Office agents?" Mr. Bond said.
The Justice Department disputed the criticism of the handling of Mr. Abdulmutallab's case. "Neither detaining Abdulmutallab under the laws of war or referring him for prosecution in military commissions would force him to divulge intelligence or necessarily prevent him from obtaining an attorney," said Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman.
Mr. Miller said that FBI agents interrogated Mr. Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day "and obtained intelligence that has already proved useful in the fight against Al Qaeda." It was only later that day, Mr. Miller said, "after the interrogation had already yielded intelligence, that he was read his Miranda rights. After the department informed the president's national security team about its planned course of action, Mr. Abdulmutallab was charged in criminal court."
The new interrogation program is intended to replace a CIA program that became mired in controversy over the use of harsh tactics that administration officials call "torture."
Administration officials say the National Security Council is still reviewing operational details of how the teams will operate. Mr. McCabe and deputies from the CIA and Defense Department are seeking office space in Washington's Virginia suburbs and preparing to pick members of the interrogation teams.
Initial plans are for the teams to be used overseas only, though the administration hasn't ruled out using them in the U.S. for incidents such as the Christmas bomb plot.
"It seems absolutely foolish not to use it domestically," said Philip Heymann, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration and one of the chief developers of the new teams.
Mr. Heymann and other members of a small government advisory board proposed the development of the teams to replace the government's reliance on CIA interrogators for terror suspects. The recommendation was largely adopted by the White House in August.
"They were moving forward, but carefully, to set up their operation," Mr. Heymann said. He added that he wasn't troubled by the time it's taking to launch the teams because he expects them to be used for years to come and it's important they be carefully assembled.
The CIA has tapped a "seasoned" officer from its clandestine service as one of the teams' deputy directors, a U.S. intelligence official said, adding that the agency's main contribution will be it's knowledge of al Qaeda. "That's a key part of the substantive knowledge that will make this effort effective," the official said. [Perez&Gorman/WSJ/22January2010]
Spy Chief Says US Team Should Have Questioned Nigerian. The top U.S. intelligence officer said that a group set up to interrogate terrorism suspects should have been used when a Nigerian man was arrested in Detroit on suspicion of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a Senate committee that when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was taken into custody, the so-called High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) should have been involved in questioning him.
"We should have automatically deployed the HIG. We will now," Blair told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He said that when the group was set up it was expected they would handle suspects detained overseas.
"We did not think about ... (a) case in which a terrorist was apprehended, as this one was, in the United States and we should have thought of that," Blair said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the formation of the special group in August and gave the reins to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing the CIA which had had the lead role in intelligence interrogations.
Republicans have been furious at the Obama administration's decision to prosecute Abdulmutallab in a criminal court rather than a military tribunal, arguing that it was an act of war and they may have given up an opportunity to obtain intelligence.
"It appears to me that we lost an opportunity to secure some valuable intelligence information, and that the process that Director Blair described should have been implemented in this case," said Maine Senator Susan Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate panel.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said at a separate hearing that the bombing suspect was interviewed. And White House officials have previously said that useful intelligence was obtained from Abdulmutallab before he stopped talking with investigators.
A law enforcement official previously said Abdulmutallab told investigators he trained with al Qaeda militants in Yemen and that they gave him the bomb.
Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there was no time to have the new group come in to conduct a specialized interrogation because Abdulmutallab was about to be treated for the wounds he suffered from the failed bombing attempt.
"There was a limited window of opportunity to obtain the intelligence that the agents felt they needed to obtain to determine more aspects of what had happened," he said.
That decision was also harshly criticized by the top Republican on that committee, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who said that decision, coupled with reading Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights, potentially hampered obtaining intelligence.
"This was a bad mistake in my view," said Sessions. [Pelofsky/Reuters/21January2010]
Britain Hikes Terror Threat to "Severe." Britain raised its terror threat assessment from "substantial" to "severe", the second-highest level, suggesting an attack on the country is "highly likely", Home Secretary Alan Johnson said.
The change was announced just weeks after a failed plane bombing in the United States, and days ahead of two major international conferences on Yemen and Afghanistan in London.
"The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has today raised the threat to the UK from international terrorism from substantial to severe," Johnson said, referring to the assessment unit within the MI5 domestic intelligence agency.
"This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but I should stress that there is no intelligence to suggest than an attack is imminent."
In a television statement shortly afterwards, Johnson refused to say whether the amended threat assessment - to four in a five-level scale - was linked to the failed Detroit plane bombing on December 25.
"We never say what the intelligence is," he said, adding: "It shouldn't be thought to be linked to Detroit or anywhere else for that matter."
But a US official, who requested anonymity, said "that's the implication".
The US Department of Homeland Security said the announcement brought Britain in line with US security measures introduced "over the last few weeks".
Johnson said the JTAC "looks at all factors and no one should draw any assumptions from this", adding that the higher threat level meant Britain put "more resources in, we heighten the state of vigilance".
In a statement issued by his office, he added that the threat level, which has been made public on MI5's website since August 2006, was kept "under constant review".
The analysis centre "makes its judgments based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas", he said.
Johnson stressed that Britain continues to face a "real and serious threat" from international terrorism and urged the public to remain vigilant.
The threat level was last at "severe" on July 20, 2009, when it was downgraded to substantial, suggesting an attack remains a "strong possibility".
Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday reiterated the threats Britain faced as he unveiled new security measures sparked by the attempt to blow up a US airliner flying into Detroit, which has been claimed by Al-Qaeda.
"We know that a number of terrorist cells are actively trying to attack Britain and other countries," he told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
Brown said the "crucible of terrorism" was based on the Afghan-Pakistan border, but noted how the failed Detroit attack also highlighted the threat posed by militants in Yemen.
The alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had reportedly trained in Yemen. He had also studied in London for three years.
Britain has organised a meeting to strengthen international support for Yemen in its efforts against Al-Qaeda, to take place in London on Wednesday, the day before a high-level conference on Afghanistan.
There have been numerous attempted attacks on Britain in recent years, as well as the successful one on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers attacked the London transport system killing themselves and 52 others.
Since the threat levels have been made public, they have twice briefly been raised to the top "critical" level, meaning an attack was expected imminently.
The first time was on August 10, 2006, after a series of arrests linked to a plot to down transatlantic airliners, and the second on June 30, 2007, at the time of failed attacks in London and Glasgow.
The two lower threat levels are "moderate", indicating an attack is possible but not likely, and "low", meaning that an attack is considered unlikely. [AP/22January2010]
Former Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor Passed Info to the CIA While in Iran. Sitting in a Toronto hotel room, Ken Taylor is casual as he chats about the days when he used to funnel information to the CIA in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979.
While the former Canadian ambassador to Iran is already well known for keeping six American diplomats in hiding after the U.S. embassy was overrun by radical Iranian students, a new book reveals he was also Washington's "most valuable asset" at the time - a strange role for Canada's most senior diplomat in the country.
"Diplomacy can take odd turns," said 75-year-old Taylor in an interview Saturday. "I think this was a highly unusual situation."
"Our Man in Tehran," by Trent University historian Robert Wright, covers Taylor's 30 months in Iran, with two chapters detailing a request the ambassador provide "aggressive intelligence" for the U.S. in a deal between American president Jimmy Carter and then prime minister Joe Clark.
In a hush-hush operation, an agent flown in by the CIA, code-named "Bob," as well as Taylor's chief accomplice Jim Edward, worked with the former ambassador as he smuggled his reports from Tehran to Ottawa. Much of this was in preparation for a commando raid to free American hostages held at the ransacked U.S. embassy.
While Taylor admits there were numerous elements of espionage involved in his work during that tumultuous period, calling him a CIA spy may be pushing it.
"It's a convenient label," said Taylor with a chuckle. "I was never employed by the CIA, nor was I in direct contact with the CIA."
In fact, the information compiled by Taylor, "Bob" and Edward, was relayed to a contact in Ottawa, who passed it on to the U.S. ambassador, who in turn bumped it to select sources in Washington.
"I was the main source of intelligent information to the U.S. government in Iran," said Taylor, who added that he never thought to define his role in a catch-all phrase.
However it is defined, Taylor's role was a strange one, said Reg Whitaker, a political scientist with an expertise in security and intelligence matters.
"It would certainly be unusual, especially for an ambassador," he said.
As a senior diplomat, Taylor's involvement in the clandestine intelligence-gathering operation put him and Canada's diplomatic relations in the country at considerable risk had they been discovered, said Whitaker.
In terms of foreign policy however, Whitaker said Taylor's actions were not really ones that generate serious questions that could have been the case if a similar operation had gone on in Iraq for example, a country where U.S. and Canadian policy has differed substantially.
The parts of Wright's 346-page work dealing with intelligence had no direct input from Taylor, who was bound to secrecy. It was Wright's own research that led him to unearth the details of Taylor's involvement with the CIA.
"I would never be talking about this unless it had come out during the progress of the book," said Taylor. "It had been kept a secret for 30 years, this is something I had anticipated would have been under wraps for an indefinite period of time."
For his part, Taylor is modest about the crucial role he played, shrugging off the incredible risk that he had taken.
"There was no reluctance on my behalf," he said. "I'd certainly, even upon reflection, do exactly the same thing again." [Mehta/CanadianPress/23Janaury2010]
Taliban Kill Seven on Spying Charges in NWA. Taliban militants in North Waziristan killed seven people on charges of spying for the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan and threatened spies with similar punishment if they didn't stop working for their enemy. It was the biggest number of people killed by the militants on charges of spying for the US forces in North Waziristan so far.
Four of the slain people were stated to be local Wazir tribesmen while the three others were said to be Afghan nationals, all residents of Afghanistan's troubled Khost province, which borders North Waziristan.
Official and tribal sources believed the Taliban militants were behind their execution. They said after the killings, the bodies were dumped on roadside in various areas with handwritten letters that said "anyone found spying on the Mujahideen for the US would meet the same fate."
The sources said four bullet-riddled bodies of the local tribesmen were recovered from the Sarobi area on Esha-Razmak Road, 25 kilometres east of Miramshah. Three other bodies were recovered from Qutabkhel and Naurak villages near Miramshah and Khaisur in Mirali Sub-division, respectively.
There were also reports that the body of the seventh victim was recovered from Shawa-Mirali road but officials did not confirm this piece of information. They said the local tribesmen killed on spying charges had mysteriously disappeared from their villages during the past 10 days. Their family members failed in finding out the whereabouts of their relatives and had started thinking they might be in the captivity of the Taliban.
Though the Taliban operating in North Waziristan had never publicly claimed responsibility for such killings, government officials in the area were sure about the militants' involvement in the slayings. They said 20 tribesmen had been missing from various areas of the tribal region for sometime now and all were believed to have been kidnapped by the militants.
Senior Taliban commanders said recently that after continuous US drone attacks in North Waziristan, they were desperately searching for people helping the CIA-operated spy planes to target the militants' hideouts in the area.
Two militant commanders had told The News a week ago that they were worried about their security after the loss of some of their people in non-stop US drone strikes on their positions, which they believed were located in safe places. They also believed that recent attacks had given them an impression that some spies might have infiltrated into their ranks.
The Taliban sources confirmed to have kidnapped some "spies" but didn't give the exact number. They said these "spies" before their execution confessed to their involvement in helping the US forces to target their positions by drones. They said video of their confession would be released to the media soon. [TheNews/21January2010]
Turkey Police Arrest 120 Al-Qaeda Suspects. Turkish police have arrested 120 al-Qaeda suspects in a major nationwide anti-terror operation. The arrests were made in coordinated pre-dawn raids in 16 provinces. The raids came after police seized documents disclosing details of extremist militant activity in Turkey. Friday morning's raids netted weapons, fake identity cards and camouflage clothing, unnamed police officials said.
Suspected leaders of al-Qaeda cells in Turkey - including the local group's leader, Serdar Elbasi - were reportedly among those detained. The raids, which took place in cities including Ankara and Istanbul, came after 33 suspected al-Qaeda members were arrested in Ankara and Adana earlier this week.
Some Turkish al-Qaeda members have been killed or captured in neighboring Iraq, and some are known to have been trained in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda militants in Turkey are believed to come from Arab countries, the Caucasus and central Asia.
Terrorist attacks are not uncommon in Turkey, but there are a number of potential culprits. The PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) is blamed for some. Extreme leftist groups used to carry out armed attacks, but have been inactive recently.
Reports suggest those detained may have been involved in plots to kill Turkish soldiers serving in Afghanistan or police in Turkey.
Turkish police occasionally carry out such raids against other Islamist groups and suspected Kurdish militants.
Al-Qaeda has been held responsible for sporadic attacks in Turkey, such as multiple suicide bombings against the British Consulate, a branch of HSBC and two synagogues in Istanbul in 2003.
Sixty-three people died, including British Consul-General Roger Short. Seven people, including one Syrian citizen, were jailed in 2007 over the attacks.
Although Turkey is governed by a notionally Islamist party, the AKP, it takes a tough stand against all forms of terrorism.
There are pockets of sympathy for jihadist Islam in parts of Turkey - numbering around 5,000 Salafi Muslims in total - but these pockets are small.
Turkey is a member of Nato and a long-standing US ally, despite more recent diplomatic overtures to Iran and Syria.
The country's security forces co-operate closely with the US, and are efficient in monitoring the activities of Islamic militants. [BBC/21January2010]
Yemen An Easy Haven for Foreigners Drawn to Militant Islam. Thousands of foreign students are thought to be in Yemen, learning Arabic or studying Islam, but authorities can't keep track of them, especially when they choose to disappear, experts say.
Concerns surfaced a few weeks ago when it was disclosed that the Nigerian arrested for allegedly attempting to bring down a US airliner on Christmas Day had gone underground for two months while studying in Yemen and then left the country with an expired visa without being interviewed about what he had been doing.
Another example is that of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, who was captured in Afghanistan. Lindh spent some time in Yemen, where he arrived in 1998 to study Arabic at the Yemen Language Centre in Sanaa.
He reportedly dropped out after five weeks and spent the rest of his year in Yemen listening to sermons at a radical mosque in Yemen where he became attracted to the Islamic Salafi ideology that is shared by many adherents of Al-Qaeda.
These concerns were further highlighted on Tuesday when the US Senate's committee on foreign relations issued a report warning that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) might be training as many as three dozen US citizens who converted to Islam in prison.
"There are legitimate reasons for Americans and others to study and live in Yemen, but... some of the Americans had disappeared and are suspected of having gone to Al-Qaeda training camps in ungoverned portions of the impoverished country," the senate report said.
Yemen is the ancestral home of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"No one has any idea how many of them (schools) there are. There are no reliable figures," said a Western diplomat in Yemen.
"Theoretically they are all registered, but no one really knows how many language and religion schools there really are in the country. Any mosque can open one," said the diplomat, who did not want to be identified.
Foreigners must obtain a student visa and an obligation to register with the authorities, but rampant official corruption means that the system can be easily sidestepped, diplomats and analysts say.
"You buy a tourist visa for 30 days when you arrive at the airport, after which it costs about 400 dollars in bakshish (bribes) to get a one-year visa," a diplomat said.
But authorities announced Thursday that airport visas would no longer be granted in an effort to "halt terrorist infiltration."
"Yemen is serious about requiring visas and residency permits for students coming here to learn Arabic or religion, but once the students are here, it's very difficult to keep track of them, and they can disappear into the countryside," a Yemeni analyst said.
The authorities regularly toughen the requirements for obtaining student visas and the regulations regarding stays in the country, but they simply do not carry out regular surveillance on schools, some of which are located in regions outside effective central government control.
With an armed rebellion in the north, growing separatist sentiment in the south and Al-Qaeda active in various parts of the country, the police and security services have simply not put the activities of foreign students at the top of their list of priorities, it is often heard in Western embassies.
There are police checkpoints on roads leading out of the big cities, but it is not difficult to slip past them in exchange for a few dollars to a guide or with the help of someone in a militant network.
Yemen has been adamant in insisting that it does not want foreign military intervention in the battle against extremism, but instead wants cash help and training. Perhaps it will raise this problem next week at an international meeting on Yemen to be held in London.
Some of the religious schools are on the radar of Western intelligence services, such as the Dar al-Hadith centre in Damaj in the northwest, and the famous Al-Iman university, founded in Sanaa by radical Yemeni cleric Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zendani, who has been on Washington's list of "specially designated global terrorists" since 2004.
Zendani said during Friday prayers last week that it would be "a religious duty dictated by God" to defend Yemen through jihad, or holy war, if it is occupied by a foreign power. [AP/20January2010]
Somali Terror Suspect Out of Jail. A Somali man who admitted that he trained with terrorists in Somalia and helped construct a terrorist training camp was released from jail on Thursday pending sentencing.
Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 25, pleaded guilty to supporting terrorists and has been cooperating for months with investigators working on the case of up to 20 Minneapolis men who returned to jihad in Somalia. He was released after agreeing to pay $25,000 if he does not appear in court when required. U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum, who has been presiding over the cases of Isse and others indicted, agreed to Isse's release last Friday, according to court documents.
Isse is believed to be the first of the Somali men charged and jailed for aiding terrorists to be released.
He will be sent to a halfway house and will have to wear electronic monitoring equipment, according to conditions set by Rosenbaum.
Isse was one of the first men indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure. Since then, 14 men have been indicted or charged in one of this country's largest counterterrorism investigations since 9/11. Four of the men, including Isse, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Others are missing and are presumed to have fled to Somalia.
Isse, of Seattle, Wash., was arrested Feb. 24, 2009, at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. At the time, he said he was going to Tanzania to participate in an internship. He had previously left Minneapolis for Somalia in December 2007.
His attorney, Paul Engh, argued in court papers for Isse's release, noting his cooperation with authorities and the seemingly endless time until sentencing.
On Thursday, Engh would only say: "This kind of case takes a lot longer to complete than the ordinary. His hard incarceration was no longer necessary, in light of the attendant delays."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on Isse's release. A spokesman for the Minneapolis office of the FBI also declined to comment.
In court papers filed in November 2009, Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk urged the court to deny Isse's request for release before sentencing, saying that the "government has made every effort, and will continue to make every effort, to allow the defendant to be sentenced as soon as possible but in a manner consistent with the needs of the investigation and the obligations owed to the defendant."
In addition to the 14 men indicted or charged, five Somali men from here have been killed in fighting in Somalia, along with a Muslim convert from Minneapolis.
Isse is believed to have provided information about the recruitment, funding, travel and training of some of those who left to join al-Shabaab, defined by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group tied to Al-Qaida.
One of the first men who left was Shirwa Ahmed, 26, a former college student from Minneapolis who was killed in October 2008 in a suicide blast in northern Somalia. Ahmed is believed to be the first U.S. citizen to carry out a suicide bombing. Isse has admitted traveling and living with Ahmed in Somalia.
Ahmed's death, and the subsequent disappearances of other Somalis, heightened fears in the U.S. intelligence community that men from the United States who left to train and fight with a terrorist group might return to America to carry out an attack here. Similar fears have since surfaced on other countries. [Walsh/StarTribune/19January2010]
U.S. Wins 9 out of 10 Terrorism Cases Since 2001. The United States has won convictions in 89 percent of cases involving terrorism charges brought since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a study by New York University's Center on Law and Security found.
With the self-professed September 11 mastermind and four accused accomplices due to be tried in New York, the report found the federal courts provided a "a strong and effective system of justice for alleged crimes of terrorism."
The Center on Law and Security reviewed 828 prosecutions that made up 337 cases against 804 people for its "Terrorist Trial Report Card: September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2009."
"While we can only assess the cases that have been brought, federal prosecution has demonstrably become a powerful tool in many hundreds of cases, not only for incapacitating terrorists but also for intelligence gathering," wrote the Center's Executive Director Karen Greenberg.
The report found the Department of Justice had moved away from an initial practice of making high-profile arrests, but prosecuting few terrorism charges, to focusing more on building a case to pursue terrorism and other serious charges.
In the first year following the September 11, 2001 attacks, fewer than one in 10 announced terrorism arrests were tested in court, with prosecutors seeking lesser or unrelated charges. This rose the following year to fewer than two in five.
"The emphasis has shifted to trying accused terrorists as terrorists," Greenberg said. "More and more, the allegations made in public have eventually been charged and proven in court."
In 2001/02, just 8 percent of defendants labeled as "terrorists" in the media faced terrorism charges with 38 percent of those convicted, the center's report found, while in 2006/07 47 percent of those called "terrorists" faced terrorism charges and 84 percent were convicted.
"The Justice Department has adopted a more disciplined approach, promising less in its public pronouncements and delivering more in the courtroom," Greenberg said.
The study found the number of terrorism cases has fallen to an annual average of less than 30 from 127 cases indicted in the year following September 11, 2001.
Of the defendants whose citizenship could be identified, the report found the largest group was from the United States.
It said an accused affiliation with an extremist group was identified for less than half of the defendants, with the most common affiliation being with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), while links to al Qaeda came in second, accounting for 11 percent of defendants.
In nearly two thirds of cases, no specific target for an attack was identified, the study said, while in cases that did involve a specific target, two thirds were aimed overseas and 16 percent focused on military bases, equipment or personnel.
The Center on Law and Security found the Justice Department had also developed a successful strategy for convincing defendants to cooperate, leading to more arrests and greater intelligence.
"Much of the government's knowledge of terrorist groups has come from testimony and evidence produced in grand jury investigations, including information provided by cooperators, and in the resulting trials," Greenberg said. [Nicholas/Reuters/20January2010]
ODNI Posthumously Awards 1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte National Intelligence Medal for Valor. Air Force 1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte was posthumously awarded the National Intelligence Medal for Valor today for her courageous efforts to teach Afghan military officials how to gather and interpret military intelligence. She died last May in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device struck her vehicle en route to a Bagram Airfield meeting on the very issue that powers the IC: sharing intelligence.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair made the announcement at a quarterly National Intelligence Community Awards Ceremony, where he also recognized 42 other teams and individuals for outstanding accomplishments in the IC. Schulte is the first woman to receive the Medal for Valor, a tribute to heroism in connection with an IC contribution to national security. Among IC awards, the Medal for Valor is second only to the Intelligence Cross. Schulte's parents, Robert and Susie, and her brother, Todd, attended the event on her behalf.
In only three months of duty in Afghanistan, she "made a far-reaching impact on how intelligence was taught and shared with the Afghan National Army," said Blair, speaking from the headquarters of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Schulte, he added, was "wise beyond her 25 years, and respected as a leader by all those around her - from general to airman to Afghan tribal leader - regardless of the branch of service, regardless of nationality."
A 2006 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, she was an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations officer assigned to the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. She was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2009, serving the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
In addition to her teaching duties, Schulte was the command's foreign disclosure officer, working to enhance information sharing with Afghan forces. She was often required to travel outside of her main base at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, to more remote parts of the region. She accepted the known risks of traveling across dangerous terrain, intensely focused on the goal of helping the Afghan military to achieve self-sufficiency. In fact, she was the main conduit for sharing intelligence with Afghan military officials.
"She wanted to be some place where the action was," Robert Schulte said in an interview after the event.
Originally from the St. Louis, Mo., area, she was the first female graduate of the academy to be killed by an enemy combatant.
Anthony Pascuma, chief of foreign disclosure for the U.S. Central Command, nominated her for the medal. "She was very vibrant, happy, gung-ho, mission-focused," he said in a telephone interview from his Tampa, Fla., office. "She was 150 percent committed to the mission...and wanted to do her part to support operations and combat the war on terrorism."
She was also concerned about the Afghan people. Schulte spent three hours nearly every day organizing a charity for Afghan refugees. At Camp Pawan, a U.S. training facility in Afghanistan, a building has been named the Schulte School and Clinic in her honor.
The ODNI established the Medal for Valor in 2008 to acknowledge the extraordinary and mostly unsung accomplishments of Intelligence Community professionals.
The ODNI oversees 16 federal organizations that make up the U.S. Intelligence Community. [PRNewswire/20January2010]
Decision Expected in Espionage Trial of French Woman in Iran. A decision is expected in the politically charged trial of Clotilde Reiss, a French academic charged with spying in the wake of Iran's post-election unrest. After a final hearing Jan. 16, her lawyer said a decision was likely within the week.
When the French Minister of Foreign Affairs revealed on July 7, 2009, that Clotilde Reiss had been detained at the airport in Tehran, the young academic at the University of Isfahan had already been incarcerated for a week. According to Tehran, she had taken advantage of the post-election crisis in June to "carry out intelligence gathering and encourage rioters".
The French government reacted in no uncertain terms. Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner denounced the charges against Reiss as "absurd" and made it clear that the incident should not become "a state affair". His remarks cut no ice with the Iranian government.
Shaken by the long-running and popular resistance to the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian politics continues to face a crisis of legitimacy, of which the Reiss affair was simply another manifestation.
On August 8, Iran's national press agency Irna reported that Reiss had pleaded guilty. "I shouldn't have taken part in the demonstrations," she was reported as saying. Reiss was said to have admitted "to having written a one-page report" about "Iranian politics and its connection to nuclear energy".
Her testimony was to become the lynchpin of the strategy used by Iran. Using Reiss's words, the authorities claimed the existence of a conspiracy, accusing the West of being behind the popular post-election unrest. On August 16, after a week of negotiations, Reiss was released on bail but had to remain in the French embassy in Tehran to await a final verdict.
Despite putting up a 200,000-euro bail for the conditional release of the French woman, there was no real progress in her case. A month of negotiations followed, much to the displeasure of Paris.
Responding to a press statement made by the Iranian ambassador to France, on August 31, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said: "I want to emphasize how much we admire the courage of the Iranian people. I would like to restate that they deserve better leadership than they have now." The following day the Iranian authorities called this "unacceptable" meddling.
Three weeks later, while being interviewed by France 2, Ahmadinejad hit back, saying: "French people deserve better leadership than the one they have now."
In September, behind-the-scenes discussions aimed to resolve the issue. On September 22, French daily paper Le Figaro reported rumors that the French Foreign Ministry was looking into the possibility of an exchange between Reiss and Ali Vakili Rad, the Iranian held prisoner for the murder of Chapour Bakhtair, ex-prime minister during the time of the Shah of Iran. Both countries denied the rumor.
In November, as Reiss's second appearance in court approached, the French embassy in Tehran agreed that "Clotilde would appear in court whenever necessary", but demanded in return that France receive "a written guarantee that Reiss's bail would not be challenged while the trial was under way".
Tehran greeted this demand with the accusation that it was a "violation of official and written commitments from the French government".
On November 17, Clotilde appeared before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran for the second time, when the verdict was postponed to December 23. Five days before her third appearance in court, Ahmadinejad affirmed that the young academic's freedom "depends on the attitude of the French government", giving rise once again to the hypothesis of a prisoner exchange negotiation between Paris and Tehran.
On December 23, some days after a new round of negotiations, the Iranian court postponed its deliberations but stated that a decision would be made following a final hearing on January 16, when Reiss appeared in court for the fourth time. Following the hearing, Mohammad Ali ahdavi-Sabet, her lawyer said that he hoped to obtain his client's acquittal "in a few days". [France24/22January2010]
Ex-Pentagon Worker Sentenced for Espionage. A former U.S. Defense Department official was sentenced to three years in prison for spying and lying to the FBI, the Justice Department said.
James Wilbur Fondren Jr. was convicted last September of unlawful communication of classified information by a government employee and two counts of making false statements, Justice officials said in a news release.
Fondren was accused of providing classified information to Tai Shen Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan, for about 40 months, who then passed it along to a Chinese government official. Prosecutors said Fondren proffered the information under the guise of consulting services, incorporating the material into "opinion papers" he sold to Kuo.
The jury also found Fondren guilty of misrepresenting to the FBI everything he wrote to Kuo in his opinion papers.
After completing his prison term, Fondren will spend two years on supervised release, the Justice Department said. [UPI/22January2010]
Chavez Calls Sentence in CIA's Online Almanac "A Declaration of War" Against Venezuela. If you've ever been curious to know any country's GDP, literacy rate, languages, etc., at a glance, the CIA's online World Factbook is the place to start.
And evidently Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been Googling his own country lately, because he's taken serious issue with the sort of government-issue Wikipedia's summary description of the South American nation.
From the CIA World Factbook:
"...For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples."
The text above constitutes, according to Chavez this past week, "a declaration of war."
"What do they mean by stability? Dominance? Yes, we are undermining the Yankee hegemony, we are weakening it, and we will continue to do so," Chavez said at an event Wednesday, as reported by wire services and local media.
The CIA's online almanac is "a declaration of war," Chavez said, because "they are sending a signal to the world for it to set its eyes on us." At the same time, he proudly declared the socialism part in the text to be spot-on.
CIA researchers update the World Factbook every two weeks with country info such as total renewable water resources and fertility rates. [Johnson/TheHill/20January2010]
Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE
Cambridge Exhibition Drags Spies In From The Cold. The shadowy world of espionage is dragged into the spotlight at a new exhibition from the British university which gave the world the Cold War double spies Philby, Burgess and Blunt.
Cambridge University Library (www.lib.cam.ac.uk) will use recently declassified documents and "top secret" material from its own archives in its free exhibition "Under Covers: Documenting Spies" to examine the art of espionage from Biblical times to the modern era.
The show draws on personal archives, printed books, official publicity material, popular journals, specialist photographs and maps, mostly from the university library's own collections, to illustrate a few of the ways in which spies have been documented through the centuries.
Exhibits range from a 12th-century manuscript recounting the story of King Alfred the Great entering a Danish camp disguised as a harpist to a Soviet-era map of East Anglia.
John Ker's 18th-century "license to spy," granted by Queen Anne, shows that the underworld of spies was well-established long before James Bond earned his fictional license to kill.
Other highlights include papers used by a parliamentary committee investigating the Atterbury Plot to capture the royal family in the 1720s, a telegram from the British spymaster of the day confirming news of Rasputin's murder, and letters to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin from Lord Curzon and Winston Churchill, only declassified in 2007.
Incensed at being denied access to intercepted Japanese telegrams already seen by more junior personnel, Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), wrote to Prime Minister Baldwin in February 1925.
"How can I conduct the controversies on which the management of our finances depends, unless at least I have the same knowledge of secret state affairs freely accessible to the officials of the Admiralty? The words "monstrous" and "intolerable" leap readily to mind."
A 1985 Soviet map of eastern England shows English towns and cities in Cyrillic script. Maps of this sort were produced by the Soviet military for more than 50 years before, during, and after the Cold War. Classified as secret, these maps were unknown outside the Soviet military machine until the break-up of the USSR - when they became available on the open market.
The Atterbury Plot papers from the personal archive of Robert Walpole are among the jewels of the exhibition.
The plot aimed to restore the Stuart monarchy in Britain between the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. One of these is a deposition of William Squire concerning the arrest of Christopher Layer on September 18, 1722. Layer was later hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for his part in the plot.
Twentieth-century material includes a copy of Compton MacKenzie's book "Greek Memories" that belonged to MI5 Deputy-Director Eric Holt-Wilson. The book resulted in MacKenzie being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act after he gave details of his time as MI6 station chief in the eastern Mediterranean. Holt-Wilson's copy shows the spy chief's own crossings-out of offending passages.
An Allied escape map of the German-Swiss frontier, a bogus map of the D-Day target area (accurate except for meaningless place names), and detailed dossiers of information gathered by the Nazis for their planned invasion of Britain, form part of the examination of espionage in the Second World War.
The "Cambridge Spies" also feature with, among other items, student record cards for Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Kim Philby and John Cairncross, and a 1933 copy of The Granta magazine including a mock interview with Donald Maclean which reveals his ability to take on different personae.
"A library might seem a strange place for an exhibition of secret service, given its association with guns, fast cars, and high-tech gadgetry," said intelligence historian Nicholas Hiley, who has lent rare material from his collections for the show.
"But the one thing that both espionage and counter-espionage have depended upon for centuries is paper - for agent reports, ciphers and codes; for maps and plans; for reports on suspects and advice to government; and for the hundreds of thousands of files on which secret service depends." [Casciato/Reuters/22January2010]
Discover Real-Life James Bonds at
Finland's Spy Museum. 'I'm surprised you didn't get that one right,' says the handsome Finnish curator at Vakoilumuseo spy museum. 'The answer to question four - what is the most common cover-up profession for a spy? - is not a priest but a journalist, like you,' he says with a smirk. OK, so according to the results of the secret agent test my blossoming career in international espionage is not looking good.
It's the start of a new decade and a prime time for change, so, embracing the old adage, new year, new career, I hop on a flight to Tampere in Finland to get the low-down on life as an international spy. Forget journalism, I can't think of a more exciting job. Plus the uniform of beige mac and dark glasses is always bang on trend. But why Finland? Well, the country's geopolitical position between East and West means it's a hotbed for international espionage. So what better place to shed light on the most clandestine of careers than at Vakoilumuseo, which was the world's first spy museum when it opened in 1998.
I'm welcomed at Tampere airport by a powdery white runway and a temperature of -12°C (10°F) My particulars freeze despite nine layers of clothing and it crosses my mind that if I was an actual secret agent, all they'd have to do to get confidential information out of me is remove my thermal vest and earmuffs and shove me outside.
Tampere is Finland's third largest city after Helsinki and Espoo. It has the less-than-glamorous moniker of 'Manchester of the north' and despite being traditionally industrial there's an abundance of super-cool Nordic architecture including a church in the shape of a fish and a bird-shaped library.
I head towards the Finlayson district and battle with my first spy task: locating the museum. Hidden away in the depths of a shopping centre is Vakoilumuseo, an exhibition of 'espionage through human intelligence'. If you thought all those James Bond gadgets were invented for the silver screen, think again. The museum is jam-packed with real examples of Q's expertise. Displayed in glass cases are lighters that turn into handguns, money-concealing house bricks, hollowed-out library books and lipsticks that hide microfilm (unfortunately this item was unavailable for purchase in the gift shop). For female spies, there are dress rings filled with poison and even ashtrays with radio transmitters and microphonic smoking pipes. It's a Bond geek's dream.
Vakoilumuseo is very hands-on and it's all too easy to get carried away disguising your voice, intercepting e-mails and detecting gun caches. However, I'm here to find out if I have natural skills in espionage by taking the secret agent test. Although it's meant as a bit of fun, the test is no gimmick. I pass the shooting trial and crack a secret code but fail at being an undercover journalist (pah!). It turns out that my mediocre spying skills will not secure me a position at MI6. However, I'm hoping the Russian GRU will offer me an apprenticeship. I'll await their call....
After a morning of stealth and trickery, I warm up in a traditional Finnish sauna. Finns like to prescribe sauna as a cure to all that ails you and it's customary to cool off in an ice hole. As etiquette dictates guests go first, I leave the womb-like warmth of the sauna and, feeling giddy with courage, I pad through the snow to the lake. I squeal like a pig as I dunk my bikini-clad body into its icy waters. It's nipple-shatteringly cold but fantastically invigorating, so I do it again. And again!
I ask my neighbour why the Finns love a sauna. She replies: 'In a sauna, we are all equal. Politicians sweat with postal workers, surgeons sweat with cleaners. When you're naked everyone's the same,' she grins. Even spies like me. [Metro/22January2010]
Robert Gates, The Quiet American, Makes Himself Heard. Returning from Islamabad on board his E-4B plane, Robert Gates, in shirt sleeves and faded jeans, was finally able to relax. His motto these days, he quipped, was the Danny Glover catchphrase from Lethal Weapon: "I'm getting too old for this ___." After a grueling five-day trip to India and Pakistan, the 66-year-old Pentagon chief could be forgiven for having a feeling of "been there, done that". He first traveled to New Delhi as a White House official some 32 years ago.
In October 1986, while deputy director of the CIA, he flew secretly to Islamabad and was taken to a Mujahideen training camp close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There, he saw Afghan fighters firing rocket-propelled grenades with lethal accuracy and greeting each successful shot with cries of "Allahu akbar" - God is great.
The only United States defense secretary to be asked to remain in post by an incoming president, Gates has a unique place in the Obama administration. A Republican (though of the realist, rather than neo-conservative, variety), he was brought into the Pentagon by George W. Bush. After advocating, and then overseeing, the Iraq surge that Obama opposed at the time, he has become a trusted, even pivotal, figure in the new administration. An old Cold War hawk, Gates was central to the decision to commit an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.
Having campaigned on a platform of withdrawing forces from Iraq, Obama has found himself in the uncomfortable position of becoming a war president assailed from the Left for escalating hostilities in Afghanistan. With his domestic policy in tatters and a failed terrorist attack on America on Christmas Day, for which responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda yesterday in a tape-recording said to have been made by Osama bin Laden, Obama is likely to be increasingly preoccupied by foreign policy, bringing Gates to centre stage.
Gates does not have the international profile of his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. At the Taj Mahal last week, a tourist asked about the VIP visitor: "Bob Gates? Is that Bill Gates's brother?" But despite his low-key demeanor, Gates is an accomplished Washington operator who has fewer enemies than most people who have spent the best part of three decades in government.
He is also ruthless. In three years at the Pentagon, he has fired an Army Secretary, an Air Force Secretary, the chief of the US Air Force and the senior American general in Afghanistan. In addition, he forced the cancellation of the F-22 jet, designed to counter the Soviet threat but a pet favorite of powerful figures on Capitol Hill, and pushed for increased production of armored vehicles to protect troops from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the principal ally Gates has found within the Obama administration is Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State. The double act - they have even appeared on Sunday talk shows together - is all the more remarkable because under many of the seven presidents Gates has served, the Pentagon chief and Secretary of State have barely been on speaking terms.
Gates is better placed than any American official to help salvage the relationship with what is probably the country that can help or hinder what used to be called the "war on terror" - Pakistan. His position in Washington is assured and he also has the credibility of being the only CIA director to have risen to the top from entry level after beginning his career as a trainee spy.
Few have been dealing with the Pakistanis and the Afghans for as long. Among his most prized possessions is a 9mm Makarov semi-automatic pistol given to him by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance commander assassinated two days before the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Massoud had personally pried it from the fingers of a dead Soviet colonel after a battle in the Panjshir valley.
Among the 10 or so Bush administration "holdovers" at the Pentagon who have remained under Obama is Mike Vickers, a former CIA paramilitary officer who masterminded aid to the Mujahideen in the 1980s. In the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War, Vickers is portrayed as a CIA whiz kid who says at one point: "Let's get some Russians." Now rejoicing in the title of "Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities", he was at Gates's side in Islamabad last week.
Some of the fighters Gates observed in 1986 could well be among the Taliban in 2010. As he acknowledged in Islamabad on Thursday, "we all had links with various groups that are now a problem for us today, and some have maintained those links longer than others".
The second part of that statement, of course, was an allusion to the fact that elements of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency - whose chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, met Gates last week - still have connections with the Taliban and other Islamist groups.
With the Pakistani population virulently anti-American, Gates was in Islamabad with the difficult brief of encouraging President Asif Ali Zardari's government to act against al‑Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in North Waziristan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding.
Admitting a "grave mistake" in US policy in abandoning Afghanistan and cutting defence ties with Pakistan in the 1990s, Gates promised that America was in for the long haul this time. He also lavished praise on Islamabad for their operations against the Pakistani Taliban in Swat and South Waziristan over the past year. What America really wants Pakistan to do, however, is to confront the Afghan Taliban as well. With this is mind, Gates repeatedly made the case that "al-Qaeda, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Haqqani network - this is a syndicate of terrorists that work together".
At times, he overstated the case, arguing in New Delhi that al-Qaeda was "orchestrating attacks" using these different groups. In Islamabad, he conceded that "they don't operationally co-ordinate their activities, as best I can tell".
Pakistan grudgingly allows America to conduct drone attacks from Afghanistan inside its borders while publicly condemning them. These fuel anger against the States but Gates and other US officials are left in the invidious position of being unable even to admit that they are taking place, never mind with the assistance of Pakistani forces.
Despite being a recipient of massive amounts of American aid - $15 billion since 2001 with another $7.5 billion having just been pledged over the next five years - Pakistan's co-operation with the States has been limited and ambivalent. Last week, Maj Gen Athar Abbas, the army's chief spokesman, gave us a briefing in which he pooh-poohed Gates's notion of a terrorist "syndicate" in South Asia. American military aid to Pakistan, he said, was "too little, too late".
Later the same day, a senior American officer revealed that Pakistan gave the States no advance warning of any of its military operations, even though co-ordination on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border would be all but essential in rooting out al-Qaeda.
The American message to them, he added, was: "We're here to help you on your terms." Public demands from Gates would be counter-productive and there are signs that his emollient, gently cajoling approach is helping to yield some dividends. Some 20 per cent of Pakistan's forces are now fighting on its western border with Afghanistan, something that would have been unthinkable a year ago.
And while a comment by Gen Abbas that operations in North Waziristan would not take place for at least six months was interpreted in the American press as a snub to Gates, the Pentagon believes the delay is due to current overstretch while South Waziristan is being pacified. "They very clearly have the will," said a senior official.
Back on his E-4B plane, Gates watched the 1964 film Seven Days in May, about a US Air Force general who plans a coup to overthrow the President. Life is calmer at the Pentagon under Gates. But with America engaged in two wars and led by a novice commander-in-chief whose political fortunes are flagging, he finds himself playing a central role in the very stuff of history. [Harnden/Telegraph/21January2010]
Section III - COMMENTARY
The Escalating Ties Between Middle Eastern Terrorist Groups and Criminal Activity.
[Remarks by David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, At the Washington Institute for Peace, Washington, DC.]
January 19, 2010. While our discussion today will focus on Middle Eastern terrorist groups' links to criminal activity, it is important to bear in mind that the threat of terror and the origins of terrorist groups spans beyond any single region. Moreover, terrorist groups' links to criminal activity is not a new phenomenon. In the 70s and 80s, for example, groups like the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades and the domestic Symbionese Liberation Army financed violent terrorism with violent crimes like bank robbery.
In recent years, many of these groups have focused almost exclusively on using narcotics as a means to finance their activities. As the international community clamped down on state-sponsored terrorism and pressured governments from financially supporting terrorist organizations, many groups resorted to drug trafficking and other illicit activities as sources of revenue. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 19 of the 44 groups that the U.S. Government has designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) participate in the illegal drug trade and many also engage in financial and other forms of crime.
Today, we look at organizations as diverse as Hizballah, Al-Qaeda, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka), all of which engage or have engaged in criminal activities as a vehicle to finance their terrorist (or violent political) activities.
In places like West Africa, we now see how increased drug flows from Latin America, kidnappings, and other crimes produce opportunities for criminal groups that might sympathize with Al Qaeda to tap into the wealth generated by narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities to fund their operations. Last month, for example, US prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged three men who claimed to be Al Qaeda associates with conspiracy to smuggle cocaine through Africa. In Afghanistan, we have long known that among the Taliban's funding sources were informal taxes on heroin traffickers. Two years ago, U.S. and Colombian investigators were able to dismantle an international cocaine-smuggling and money-laundering gang that funneled some of its profits to Hizballah, a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. In the Horn of Africa, we are seeing illicit routes established by criminal groups to smuggle immigrants, arms, narcotics and other contraband, and know these illicit activities will create opportunities for terrorist groups to exploit.
We also remain concerned about the crime-terror links in an increasing number of ungoverned or insufficiently governed spaces, such as Yemen and the Sahel belt, where insecurity and other destabilizing factors provide opportunities for illicit networks to thrive and find safe haven - and as possible staging platforms to project their terror campaigns abroad. For example, in the tri-border area, along the loosely controlled region that borders Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, individuals with apparent connections to radical Islamic groups have been active in drug trafficking, money laundering, intellectual property rights piracy, alien smuggling and arms trafficking.
These are very serious issues, but you may ask why these issues are becoming national security priorities for the United States now.
Violent criminal and terrorist networks threaten the security, economic health and social fabric of all nations. These transnational threat networks imperil public trust, and core democratic and market values, especially in the midst of the most serious global economic and financial crisis in decades. Criminal entrepreneurs who smuggle billions of dollars of illegal goods across borders - drugs, arms, humans, natural resources and endangered wildlife parts, counterfeit medicines and pirated software, as well as embezzled public funds - create insecurity, cost our economies jobs and tax revenue, endanger the welfare and safety of our families and communities, and overwhelm law enforcement countermeasures. Similarly, terrorist groups create great insecurity by the acts of cowardice and the killing of thousands of innocent people to advance their political and ideological objectives. They do not respect traditional borders or nation-states, and they exploit ungoverned and under-governed areas as places for safe haven, as places to rest, to recruit, to train, and to plan their operations. In many places, these networks become the de facto government.
Poor governance and corrupt officials in many parts of the world enable criminals, insurgents, and terrorists to operate with impunity. Criminal syndicates have long supported terrorist groups - for both ideological and economic reasons - by facilitating their trans-border movements, weapons smuggling, and providing forged documents. At the same time, terrorist groups also resort to organized crime to finance their activities, including through drug dealing.
Such terrorist-criminal cooperation is of particular concern, especially because some of these criminal syndicates have the organizational and financial wherewithal that could potentially allow them to acquire and sell radioactive materials, chemical and biological weapons, or technologies used for weapons of mass destruction. This financial strength makes it much more difficult for governments to shut off the spigot used to finance terrorism, at least through traditional means that focus on deterring exploitation of the formal banking system. As terrorist groups move toward mimicking the tactics of organized crime, our international response will need to incorporate more creative law enforcement tools that go well beyond effective regulation of financial transactions.
The question is frequently raised as to why criminals would want to assist terrorist groups. While it is possible that criminals may not want the extra attention from states' national security institutions that will come from associating with terrorists, some may nevertheless find the financial temptation too great. Others may not care with whom they conspire, as long as they are paid for the increased risk of detection they assume when cooperating with known terrorist groups. For example, reports indicate that some charge extra for dealing with certain nationalities and others more for "special services". And some criminals may have no idea who their clients really are. These people are undoubtedly clever, but they may nevertheless be more greedy than smart.
A convergence of crime and corruption can also pave the road for terrorist organizations to finance their terror, as was the case in Bali, Madrid and Mumbai. In particular, terrorist financiers are not only concealing their financing assets through complex transactions in the formal banking system, but also harnessing centuries-old money laundering tactics. They exploit informal value transfer mechanisms such as hawala or hundi and trade-based money laundering, and use illegal cash couriers as bulk cash smugglers, particularly in countries with non-existent or weak anti-money laundering enforcement practices.
So what is the U.S. Department of State doing to combat these transnational threat networks? The State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which I lead, is responsible for international counter narcotics and counter crime issues. We lead diplomatic efforts to raise awareness of the destabilizing impact of transnational organized crime and illicit activities and we strengthen global efforts to combat these threats, including through enhanced law enforcement cooperation, where organized crime and terrorism intersect. We are enhancing international cooperation to dismantle criminal networks and combat the threats that they pose - not only through law enforcement efforts, but also by building up governance capacity, supporting committed reformers, and strengthening the ability of citizens to monitor public functions and hold leaders accountable for providing safety, effective public services, and efficient use of public resources.
In the Middle East, and other parts of the world, the United States is working with partner governments to develop effective, democratic, civilian-led and skilled law enforcement and justice sector institutions. Hamas and Hizballah continue to finance their terrorist activities mostly through the state sponsors of terrorism, Iran and Syria, and through various fundraising networks in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. The funds channeled to these organizations frequently pass through major international financial capitals, such as Dubai, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Zurich, London, or New York. Hizballah also continues to profit from the drug trafficking groups in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.
In response, the United States is helping to strengthen the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance programs of partner countries that aim to detect, disrupt, and dismantle these illicit activities. In Palestine and Gaza, besides being responsible for hundreds of rocket, mortar, and small arms attacks into Israel, Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza engaged in tunneling activity, and smuggle weapons, cash, and other contraband into the Gaza. In the West Bank, the United States helps to support the PA security forces (PASF) to establish law and order and fight terrorist cells by helping to build capacity to administer criminal justice institutions. The United States has also helped train thousands of Palestinian security forces at Jordan's International Police Training Center (JIPTC), who can then be deployed by the Palestinian Authority to protect peace and stability in the West Bank. In Lebanon, a place I visited last week, we are partnering with the Lebanese Government, and specifically with its Ministry of Interior, in an initiative to train the next generation of Internal Security Forces officers. Our objective is clear: to support the development of professional institutions under the Ministry of Interior which can provide security and vital services to the Lebanese people.
In Iraq, criminal insurgencies have profited from the illicit trade of siphoned oil. The United States is working to target and dismantle these illicit networks as part of our broader counter-insurgency effort. We continue to support reconstruction and stabilization by helping to develop an Iraqi criminal justice system that is sufficiently fair and effective that the Iraqi people have confidence in that system and turn to it rather than extra-judicial groups and militias to resolve disputes and seek justice. We also support rule of law programs that focus on judicial security, capacity building for judges, prosecutors, investigators, and court administrators, and integration of the various components of the justice system. We are also working with Iraq on legislation to reform their criminal codes, and continue to support the FBI-led Major Crimes Task Force.
In Afghanistan, where we have long focused on combating narcotics trafficking and the revenue stream that creates for the Taliban, we are also working with our military colleagues to develop criminal justice institutions by giving Afghans the necessary training, equipment, infrastructure, institutional capacity and organizational structure to provide the rule of law and combat crime.
In Yemen, we recently completed a judicial and law enforcement assessment. Based on that, we aim to undertake targeted assistance to the Government of Yemen to strengthen its capacity to control the movement of people and goods through and across Yemen's borders.
In West Africa, over the next three years, INL aims to strengthen criminal justice institutions such as the police, prosecutors and the courts to successfully investigate, prosecute and incarcerate transnational criminals, networks and organizations. Right now, we are considering how best to support Kenya and other partner nations in the Horn of Africa to prosecute and incarcerate those apprehended for piracy. At the same time, though, we and others at the State Department are focused on the longer term solution to the piracy question - political stability, restoring the rule of law, and supporting economic opportunity in the Horn of Africa.
In Indonesia, INL has worked closely and successfully with the National Police for many years, and our investment is paying off. The first Police units that responded to the July 2009 attacks on the Marriot and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Jakarta were trained through INL programs. The unit that ultimately brought down the mastermind behind those bombings, Noordin Top, was also trained and worked closely with us for many years. Noordin had ties to Jemaah Islamiyah as well as to Al Qaeda.
The United States is also committed to working with others to strengthen law enforcement cooperation in combating transnational threats including dismantling illicit networks, and prosecuting high-level corrupt officials, to disrupt the convergence of various threat networks. On numerous occasions, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have highlighted the threat of high-level corruption, and we are working to strengthen the tools we have to combat and deter corruption and to use those tools more effectively.
International legal and political cooperation is essential to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes as well as to break up terrorist networks, to eliminate safe havens, and to disrupt those activities that support terrorist organizations. Our efforts are aimed not only at the murderous acts terrorists perpetrate, but also their funding, their travel, their communications, their recruitment, and their intelligence and information collection.
With our international partners, we encourage others to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (and its Protocols) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). These international instruments, built on the foundation of the three United Nations counter-drug conventions, create a broad legal framework for mutual legal assistance, extradition and law enforcement cooperation. Additionally, the United States supports implementation of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, and other UNSC resolutions and UN legal instruments, to combat terrorism.
Beyond the United Nations, my colleagues and I in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs also work, through the G-8, the European Union, INTERPOL, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its regional sub-groups, APEC as well as other regional forums. Through these groups, we set international counterdrug and anti-crime standards, take steps that close off safe-havens to criminal and terrorist groups, pool skills and resources, and improve cross-border cooperation. For example, at last year's G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, leaders expressed concern about the converging threats of terrorism, drugs and organized crime, and agreed to strengthen international cooperation and capacities to prevent international criminal networks, kleptocrats and terrorists from corrupting public institutions to advance their goals. Additionally, the United States is working with INTERPOL and other multilateral partners to strengthen inter-regional law enforcement efforts to combat transnational threats in a coordinated manner across the Pacific and Atlantic.
As the world witnessed this past Christmas day when a terrorist attempted to blow up a commercial airliner, Al Qaeda remains keen to harm Americans and others around the world. Our enemies will continue to use all available means to sustain their agenda. As already noted, places in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Somalia, and Yemen, illicit networks, trafficking in everything from weapons to drugs are making it easier for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to fund their campaigns. As a recently captured Taliban underscored: "Whether it is by opium or by shooting, this is our common goal [to harm all infidels as part of jihad]".
Faced with these challenges, we must continue to take more effective steps to understand our adversaries and to strengthen our capabilities to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational threat networks, not only at the end of their efforts, when they carry out acts of violence, but at every step along the way. [Johnson/state.gov/19January2010]
Fixing Afghanistan's Intelligence, by
Joshua Foust. The infamous Flynn paper, so-called for Major-General Mike Flynn, the senior military intelligence official in Afghanistan and primary author, has been rightly making waves since its publication earlier this month. In fact, I daresay Andrew Exum undersells its importance, though not necessarily for laudatory reasons. To summarize it ever-so-briefly:
* The military intelligence (MI) system is imbalanced. It is too focused on IEDs and killing insurgents, and not focused enough on the overall theater of operations to be effective.
* Where MI is focused on the theater, it is misfocused, with emphasis on vertical ideas like "governance" instead of holistic areas like "Paktika."
* Information needs to bubble up from the ground level in a discoverable way; at the same time, higher-level analytical shops need to be more focused on relevance and less on specialty.
* One way to address many of these issues is to create a new layer of analysis shop at the Regional Command (RC) level, with analyst mandates to travel into the field for in-person collection.
* Have analysts integrate a wider variety of reporting, to include open sources and aid groups.
Here's the thing: I largely agree with this (I know right, I don't hate everything!). However. There are a lot of things Flynn either gets wrong (it is actually not that easy to just hop on a helicopter and move between bases, for example) or mischaracterizes (I nearly spat out my coffee lolling when I read the DIA, of all places, has the most qualified cleared analysts with the best writing skills). But on the major points, Flynn is correct. But he is also overly optimistic about the prospects of achieving even the relatively moderate goals he laid out here, and has sold short previous efforts to enact precisely what he envisions. Which is kind of ironic when you read him complain that officers aren't aware of previous efforts in their areas.
Anyway, earlier this year I was still working for the TRADOC G2 Human Terrain System (no secret, right?), an Army program not coincidentally designed to address the very shortcomings Flynn identifies. They sent me in the field to do what he seems to want: to take a detailed, analytical background in Afghanistan, and travel between various field teams collecting the information they have which wasn't filtering back to my research center, and try to mesh it with other reporting I could find to generate relevant reports. Since by design HTS biases itself toward unclassified information, I can talk about this relatively freely.
Now, obviously I encountered some pretty serious challenges while I was there, whether it was a PRT commander mistreating our interpreter, or even the insanities of trying to secure transportation (which is something Flynn would know if he ever traveled like a grunt or contractor).
But my overall impression of the experience was overwhelmingly positive: I had tried to study Kapisa province (a region I've since written about extensively) before, but the paucity of information had been aggravating. Being there in person, getting to talk to Afghans, to the soldiers and aid workers and the security guys, gave me an irreplaceable understanding of the place (my experience at FOB Salerno was less extensive but still nevertheless instructive).
MG Flynn's call to give analysts field experience is by far the best idea he has. Despite my belief in the power of a solid academic foundation - I could not have contextualized my experiences without literally years of research beforehand - there is just no experience for speaking with the people active in an area face to face. If the intelligence community could figure out how to integrate this experience into its analytical process, everyone would be far better off.
But the goodness of the idea behind field experience is tempered by General Flynn's surprising utopianism. Even within HTS there was tension between the Human Terrain Teams at the Brigades and the supposed needs of the HTS mission. Sometimes, the very intel people Flynn says need cultural knowledge would push their cultural advisers to collect insurgent information (the HTTs, as best I know, largely resisted such pressure).
While Flynn characterizes this as merely a leadership question, it's actually deeper than that. The men he lauds, like Colonel Kolenda, were successful at their missions by essentially flaunting the normal Army way of doing things. As my Super++ BFF Tom Johnson recently noted:
"Big Army talks the talk of counterinsurgency but still walks the walk of attrition. Last year, for example, an Army Special Forces officer returning from a year of duty in southern Afghanistan told us that although he had pacified his district by building a relationship of trust with the elders, and had the lowest number of IED attacks and ambushes in his province for the past six months, he was rated the lowest of all the officers in his unit for promotion because he had the fewest number of "kills" during his tour of duty."
Now, it matters tremendously when a Major General complains his Army is being too enemy centric. But when his soldiers, the ones who have to struggle and toil to reconcile frankly contradictory goals and bureaucracy are faced with such a choice, that Major General needs to demonstrate that the Army system is what's largely to blame, as much as it is the intel system (there are a great many intel analysts, for example, who get so frustrated with the system they just quit). Indeed, the risk aversion and paperwork culture of the Army in a general sense is as much to blame for MI's shortcomings as the intelligence community itself.
Reforming the larger Army culture, making it more adaptive and responsible, more flexible and relevant, is an enormous undertaking that is of vital importance both to the Afghanistan mission and, let's be honest, to world peace itself. When seem from a broader, holistic perspective, Flynn's complaint winds up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Despite the many barriers to its success, including horrible management, HTS still sometimes produces really damned good work (note: I did not author that paper, so it's not self-promotion to promote it). It also misses the point, decrying an overly bureaucratized system while proposing the solution in another layer of bureaucracy. But the intent behind Flynn's call, that analysts need to be relevant to matter, is beyond question. That is the point I hope his paper drives home. [Foust/Registan/22January2010]
CIA Veteran Hulnick Slams Agency's Critics. In the weeks since the CIA suffered several high-profile setbacks - one of them the tragic deaths of seven operatives - the agency has come under fire from the press, from Congress, even from a top military intelligence official. No CIA or government official can deny that the December 30 suicide bombing by a Jordanian operative that claimed the agents' lives was a failure of both intelligence-gathering and field procedure. But according to Arthur S. Hulnick, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of international relations, with a long career in the CIA and military intelligence, the ensuing criticism of the agency is unfair, misinformed, and politically motivated. BU Today spoke with Hulnick about the CIA's image and the challenge of gathering intelligence in a war against a far-reaching, fanatical, and often elusive enemy.
BU Today: It seems the CIA's competence is being questioned like never before. The Afghanistan tragedy and the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner by a known terrorist suspect have badly tarnished the image of an agency people already loved to hate. Are these attacks on the CIA valid?
Hulnick: None of it's true. It's all designed to denigrate the system by people who don't know much about it. The CIA can't very well defend itself. Our motto is "the secret of our success is the secret of our success," so it's only when something like the Afghanistan bombing comes out in public that you see what's going on. Most of it is well below the surface. Think about it this way: we pay millions of dollars for the Red Sox and they only get a hit three or four times a game. We don't hold them accountable for that; we expect some failures. But now we're saying someone dropped the ball at the CIA.
Do you agree with Major General Michael Flynn's scathing report in early January, accusing U.S. military intelligence of being ignorant of Afghan village culture and poorly equipped to fight the Taliban insurgency?
That's absolutely wrong. And in my experience CIA people are even better than other intelligence officers at language skills and cultural insights.
What went wrong that allowed the Afghanistan bombing to happen?
The suicide bombing wasn't bad luck. It was bad practice. Normally when you meet an informant or recruited agent, you do it in a safe house. You set up security to make sure he is clean. I'm sure lots of questions have been asked to make sure it never happens again. A big mistake is trusting people. During the Cold War, when we recruited Russians as spies, they wanted to get back at the system. They weren't suicide bombers. But now we're dealing with fanatical jihadi terrorists, and we're trying very hard to figure out how to deal with this kind of thing. It's relatively new, so it's not surprising that it's taking lots of time and effort. We're working on the psychology. Intelligence is a tricky business; it means recruiting people to essentially commit treason on behalf of us, betraying those they're supposed to be loyal to. Some lie, some cheat; it's dangerous and tricky. Usually they flip for money, but sometimes they have a vendetta, and sometimes they just want the excitement. But double agents - that's a relatively small part of what we do, involving a small number of people. Most of the CIA's work is intercepting of communications, poring through open sources, and looking at reconnaissance from drone aircraft.
What would you count among the CIA's successes since 9/11?
Most of our successes since 9/11 have been under the radar. We don't know how many terrorist plots have been uncovered and foiled, and it's the FBI that does the actual foiling. Very little of it has become public. It's called the protection of sources and methods, so it's not surprising that the CIA doesn't want to discuss how we do this stuff. Right after 9/11, when the CIA went to Afghanistan ahead of the military and did a great job, it was called Operation Jawbreaker. The CIA bribed Afghan warlords to fight for us instead of the Taliban. The warlords are loyal to only one thing: money. Was it a mistake? No. These people are evil people. You want to find the evil ones, and use them.
Have we infiltrated the Taliban?
Well, I don't know. I'd like to think that's possible.
How much of what ordinary Americans know about the CIA is true? What are the biggest misconceptions?
During the Reagan administration we gathered some polling data, and people said the CIA overthrows governments and kills people. People read spy novels and watch movies; none of them are accurate, even though CIA people sometimes sign on as technical advisors. If they made a movie about the CIA that was accurate, it would be very boring. But that's how most people form their impression, plus the negative press. One thing I hate is this term "connect the dots." It is not connect the dots; it's putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I tell my students, suppose someone gave you a jigsaw puzzle, and some pieces are missing, some don't belong, and you don't have the box with the picture. You have to put the puzzle together, and it's not so easy.
What changes would you like to see at the CIA?
There are things about intelligence that obviously could be better. I think that there needs to be some look at counterterrorism. We're not establishing the kind of institutional memory that would track down someone like the Jordanian bomber. There needs to be one unit that absorbs all this information and puts the pieces together. But the best way to stop radical Islam and the jihadi movement is to enlist the help of mainstream Islam, and so far mainstream Islam has done very little about what is really a small part of the Muslim world.
The bombing story has given people a rare look inside CIA operations and agents' varied backgrounds. What proportion of CIA agents are in the field and what kinds of covers do field agents use?
Well, the numbers are classified, so if I knew I wouldn't tell you. But it's a relatively small number. It means serving overseas without your family, so you can't ask people to stay out there for a long time, and that means they don't get the language skills and expertise that are necessary. This is part of the problem.
Most of the covers are government positions: State Department, Defense, or nonofficial people undercover as businessmen and -women working for large corporations. But cover is not the problem. The problem is getting access to the people who might know what we want to know. For example, we have no presence in Iran, no unofficial presence, no embassy, no people on the ground. You'd have to be insane to go in there. In most normal circumstances CIA people have diplomatic cover, but these days our government likes to string people up by their thumbs if something goes wrong, hold them accountable. That's what would happen if there were a screwup, so why would people take risks?
Have some of your former students joined the CIA? What qualities make a good CIA agent?
Quite a number of my former students have joined the agency; they have BU reunions from time to time. I can't tell you how many, but it's somewhere between 25 and 50. They can't talk about it, so I don't hear back from them about what they're doing.
Someone with good language skills and area knowledge would make a good agent. If I have to fault the CIA it's because they can't recruit enough promising young people because of the polygraphs, the screening by the independent gatekeepers. The horror stories are legion of good competent people who don't get through the system because their parents are in the old country or some other reason. I had a former student who couldn't get through the polygraph because she had a heart condition, so she showed deception on every question, even her own name. The security people are dangerous, in my opinion. They think the Taliban are everywhere, that everyone is potentially dangerous. The old Cold Warriors think the Taliban have penetrated the system. They never have; it's all nonsense.
What do you think of Tim Weiner's popular new book about the CIA, Legacy of Ashes?
That book is the worst, most distorted history, but what sells is to make the CIA look stupid. He was invited to BU, but didn't come, so we had our discussion without him. He distorted so much of the information. His agenda was to sell books, and you can't sell a book that says the CIA is terrific. I worked at CIA public affairs, and reporters would tell me that you have to have scandal or failure to get above the fold - success doesn't sell. [Seligman/BU/21January2010]
Section IV - CAREERS, OBITUARIES, RESEARCH REQUESTS AND COMING EVENTS
Forfeiture Financial Specialist at the OCDETF Fusion Center with the USMS (2 Positions)
City Chantilly, VA Agency US Marshals Service Position Schedule Full Time Salary Salary Commensurate w/Exp-
Requisition Code 561315-1105
A Forfeiture Financial Specialist at the OCDETF Fusion Center executes the following duties:
• Assists districts by providing: (1) guidance relative to complex financial assets; (2) other support as required.
• Identifies potential issues, performs technical and factual research, and recommends alternative solutions.
• Provides support in conducting pre seizure analysis. This includes, but is not limited to net equity analysis, developing “exit strategy”, preparation of recommendation to IAs and USAO, etc.
• Provides support by monitoring financial reports of businesses managed under seizure or forfeiture actions.
A Forfeiture Financial Specialist must meet the following qualifications:
• Ten years of direct experience related to accounting, finance or asset management (5 years of direct Asset Forfeiture experience is highly preferred).
• Requires prior experience in investigative coordination.
• Proficiency in using spreadsheet and word processing software.
• Experience using "Compass" database is highly desirable.
• Demonstrated ability to: (a) prioritize and complete multiple complex projects under tight deadlines; (b) work with minimal supervision; and (c) consistently deliver the highest level of quality work.
• Four-year undergraduate diploma (additional experience may be substituted for college degree).
• USMS asset forfeiture experience desirable.
This position requires U.S. Citizenship and a 7 (or 10) year minimum background investigation.
FSA offers a comprehensive benefits package. For a full list of available benefits, visit us on the web.
Interested candidates should contact: Margie Craig at (571) 291-8940 or email@example.com. Please apply online via the following link: http://tinyurl.com/y8pv7ts
We are proud to be an EEO/AA employer M/F/D/V. We maintain a drug-free workplace and perform pre-employment and random substance abuse testing.
Visit us on the Web at: www.forfeituresupport.com
Laughlin Phillips, CIA Officer and Art Museum Chairman. Laughlin Phillips, 85, who left the CIA in 1964 to launch Washingtonian magazine and then spent decades helping to revive his family's venerable contemporary art museum, the Phillips Collection, died Jan. 24 at his home in Washington, Conn. He had complications from prostate cancer.
Known as "Loc," Mr. Phillips was in his 40s before he took on a leadership role at the museum. He had served in Army intelligence during World War II and spent his early career with the CIA, including stints in Saigon and Tehran, before starting Washingtonian with a friend from the clandestine agency. He sold the publication in 1979 to devote himself to the museum, which he called "a family responsibility" that had deteriorated markedly.
He came to the job with no particular qualifications other than his blood ties to the founders. He dabbled in art as a young man but said he lacked the talent and passion to make a career of it. He bluntly called himself "weak on art history" and said he "did not have the collector's instinct."
But by many published accounts, Mr. Phillips's administrative skills helped guide what had been a deteriorating jewel box of a museum, housed in the family's red brick mansion at 1600 21st St. NW, into a far more financially stable position.
The museum's current director, Dorothy Kosinski, said Mr. Phillips had "figured out a new trajectory for the museum," spending years repositioning the public perception of the collection from "private, cozy, secure" into a museum that could attract and retain much-needed public and private financial support.
The Phillips Collection, which opened to the public in 1921, is widely considered the first American museum devoted to modern art. Although much smaller and less comprehensive than the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Phillips Collection developed a formidable reputation for the high quality of its 19th- and 20th-century European and American paintings.
Mr. Phillips's father, Duncan, was the heir to the Jones and Laughlin steel fortune and became one of his generation's foremost arts patrons. He established himself as a force in collecting when he paid $125,000 for Pierre-Auguste Renoir's impressionist masterpiece "Luncheon of the Boating Party" while touring Europe. At his death in 1966, he had amassed thousands of works by famous and struggling artists including Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Degas, Klee and Rothko.
His father left a $3 million endowment, which Laughlin Phillips called a "princely" sum at the time but which inflation and other costs had made insufficient to maintain the facility.
As museum director from 1979 to 1991, Mr. Phillips said he sought to transform the Phillips Collection from "an idiosyncratic, underfunded family-run museum with a superb collection of modern art into a full-fledged professional institution."
Mr. Phillips, who served as board chairman from 1966 to 2001, supervised multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns, starting charging admission, established corporate and personal membership programs, and sought arts endowment grants that the museum had seldom if ever pursued.
The museum professionalized its staff, at one point hiring the renowned art historian Sir Lawrence Gowing as chairman of the curatorial department. In 1989, the museum opened its $7.8 million Goh exhibition and storage space annex - named after the Japanese industrial and his wife who were the project's leading donors.
Moreover, Mr. Phillips took steps to end the museum's casual approach to art cataloguing and conservation, having been appalled many years previously to find some pieces of art being stored in restrooms and closets. He made sure proper humidity control was installed, one of many crucial steps need to maintain art treasures in a building that dated to 1898.
Laughlin Phillips was born in Washington on Oct. 20, 1924. He was 6 when the family moved from its downtown manse to an 18-acre estate on Foxhall Road Northwest designed by celebrated architect John Russell Pope. The Phillipses' Foxhall home became a noted salon where the family entertained diplomats, politicians, opinion makers and artists.
At the same time, Laughlin Phillips described a protective upbringing.
His only sibling, Mary Marjorie, spent much of her life in institutions after having contracted encephalitis as a toddler. "She was severely brain damaged and never got beyond being four years old," he told Washingtonian. "Mother spent endless hours with her, believing she would get well."
Mr. Phillips was chauffeured each day from home to the private St. Albans School. After graduation in 1942, he attended Yale University for a year before serving in the Pacific during World War II and earning the Bronze Star Medal. He chose not to return to Yale, his father's alma mater, and instead enrolled at the University of Chicago on the GI Bill. He joined the CIA soon after obtaining a master's degree in philosophy.
During this period, he married Elizabeth Hood, and they had two children before divorcing. Mr. Phillips later married Jennifer Stats Cafritz, the former wife of Conrad Cafritz of the Washington real-estate family. The Phillipses moved a few years ago to Connecticut from the District.
Besides his wife, survivors include two children from his first marriage, Duncan V. Phillips of San Francisco and Liza Phillips of Narrowsburg, N.Y.; four stepchildren, Julia Cafritz and Daisy von Furth, both of Northampton, Mass., Eric Cafritz of Paris and Matthew Cafritz of the District; and 15 grandchildren.
Under Laughlin Phillips's oversight, the museum expanded its library and archives and made several key purchases for its collection, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Jackson Pollock and Morris Louis.
At times, Mr. Phillips was forced to make difficult decisions about selling a prized work of art to keep the museum functioning. Washington Post art critic Paul Richard wrote witheringly of Mr. Phillips's decision to place Georges Braque's cubist painting "Music" (1914) up for auction in 1987. The work fetched $3 million.
Mr. Phillips answered that his father had often been willing to sell works of art to sustain the larger museum. "The museum's character has always had an innovative element," he once said. "It can't be sealed and preserved." [Bernstein/WashingtonPost/25January2010]
Brigadier Bill Magan. Brigadier Bill Magan, who died on January 21 aged 101, was transferred from the Indian cavalry at the beginning of the Second World War to serve in British intelligence, and later became one of the leading intelligence officers of the postwar era.
While he was serving in India in 1940, a mutiny broke out among Sikhs in the Central India Horse at Bombay. Magan began his report with a description of one of the mutineers: "Bishan Singh sat slumped in his chair in the middle of the cell under a bare electric light bulb."
This so captured the interest of the Director of Military Intelligence's secretary in Quetta, Maxine Mitchell (daughter of Sir Kenneth Mitchell, Engineer-in-Chief to the government of India), that she read the report right through to the end and married Magan later that year.
As a Farsi speaker, Magan was sent to Persia to set up a "stay-behind" unit; this consisted of an Indian policeman, an American businessman and a Greek carpet-seller, and its role was to provide intelligence when the Germans entered Persia; in the event, the expected invasion never happened.
Magan traveled widely, sending his wife in Quetta accounts of the country and people he encountered while pursuing enemy agents. One of these was captured in bed at a Tehran dosshouse as he reached for his gun when Magan burst into his room. On another occasion Magan arrested a group of four parachutists who had been hiding in the mountains.
On his periodic returns to Quetta, Magan ran "Silver", an Abwehr double agent. "Silver" was an ardent Indian nationalist, who began the war supplying information to the German legation in Kabul but was then locked up by the British. A committed communist, he agreed to work against the Nazis after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union; and as a result, Magan was able to send false information to the Germans and Japanese, which led to the arrest and turning of a number of Indian agents.
This success led to his appointment in 1946 as deputy head of SIME (Security Intelligence Middle East) in Jerusalem. He arrived in the post soon after the Irgun attack on the King David Hotel, and watched the fighting between Jews and Arabs grow as Pax Britannica faded. He enjoyed visiting the Biblical sites, seeing the river Jordan where John baptized Jesus and sitting on the wall at Jacob's Well, where Jesus was given water by a Samaritan woman.
Over the next five years he traveled constantly across the Middle East, "firefighting" and supervising the activities of his staff, which looked after SIME's interests over a region that included Malta, Khartoum, Aden and Baghdad.
In 1951, after the embarrassing defection of Burgess and Maclean, Magan was appointed director of MI5's E Branch, responsible for liaising with the Service's many overseas representatives. He played a key role in the colonial emergencies in Malaya, Kenya, Nyasaland, Aden and Borneo.
Only on one occasion did he express any frustration: when he was supervising Operation Sunshine, to locate and eliminate the Eoka terrorist leader Colonel Grivas in Cyprus. He had almost traced Grivas's hiding-place when a political settlement of the emergency was reached in London, and he was obliged to return to Britain empty-handed.
Within MI5, Magan was regarded as a safe pair of hands who could handle the most delicate issues, with the result that he was asked to direct F Branch, the counter-subversion department, and C Branch, the protective security division.
Even after his retirement in 1968, it seemed that he might be called back into service. When Sir Roger Hollis, the former director-general of MI5, was suspected of having been a Soviet mole, Magan was approached by the MI5 and MI6 officers conducting the investigation. They asked him to help, but their superiors vetoed the idea. (No sound evidence was found against Hollis.)
Sir Dick White, who headed both MI5 (1953-56) and MI6 (1956-68), told Magan in 1989: "Of all my colleagues, I always regarded you as the most stalwart and the healthiest and best influence we had among us." Others, too, spoke highly of Magan's judgment and leadership qualities, and of his ability to generate harmonious relations within and between departments.
William Morgan Tilson Magan was born on June 13 1908 into an Anglo-Irish family near Athlone, Co Westmeath. There were no telephones, gas or electricity in the family home, but he enjoyed riding, swimming, fishing, climbing and sailing and also learned to navigate the most hazardous bogs by day and by night.
Bill was educated at Rossall - which at the time had a reputation for toughness - and then Sandhurst, where his company sergeant major was to become renowned as RSM Brittain, the loudest man in the Army. The cadets took their drill seriously, considering themselves much better than the Guards in London - though bettered for timing and synchrony by CB Cochran's chorus girls.
He was in the Sandhurst IV for revolver shooting and also played rugby against the French military academy at St Cyr, where he cleaned his teeth in champagne. When he staged a pantomime, the future Hollywood actor David Niven was given a small part.
Commissioned in 1928, Magan first did a year with the 60th Rifles, then joined the 12th Frontier Force Cavalry (Sam Browne's) at Rawalpindi in the Punjab. Attached to the 15th/16th Hussars for auxiliary duties during the campaign against the Afridi tribe in 1930, he discovered the serious threat posed by locusts and cholera.
Magan slipped contentedly into regimental life. He became mess secretary and declined an invitation to become ADC to the Governor of Bengal. Instead he preferred infantry and mounted saber drill, particularly big ceremonial parades, such as one at Bolarum, in 1932, which involved 4,000 horses. "Commanding a squadron in a parade of that size at that pace," he recalled, "is a mind-quickening experience. Wheeling 90 degrees into line at a gallop to pass the saluting base is a time not to make a mistake."
Harder-working, and with more intellectual curiosity than many of his fellow officers, Magan was sent on a year's leave in Persia to learn Farsi, settling at Shiraz. A circle of Persian women called him "Mullah" Magan because he did not drink.
Back in India, he worked hard at his duties but found time for other pursuits. He once spent a night in a tree waiting to shoot a tiger which had been killing cattle. Two of his long leaves were devoted to a 450-mile journey into Tibet and a 1,000-mile trek across northern India.
After completing the long equitation course at Saugor, he had an accident playing polo and used his enforced leisure to write a pantomime. He then transferred to Hodson's Horse, when his regiment was turned into a training depot.
Coming home on leave in 1938, he took over the mastership of the South Westmeath Hunt for a season before finding himself transferred - against his will - to an intelligence course which was to signal the end of his regimental career.
After Magan's retirement from MI5 in 1968, he first ran a fruit farm in Kent and helped his wife, a gifted artist, build up a cottage industry using local women with domestic sewing machines to make fabrics to her own design. This eventually produced work for 100 people, and they exported to markets worldwide as well as supplying hundreds of shops in Britain, among them Harrods, Liberty's and Fortnum & Mason.
Magan also took up landscape painting and produced a series of excellent memoirs. In Umma-More: the Story of an Irish Family (1983), he recorded the Magans' claim to descend from the MacDermot Roe dynasty of Moylurg and traced the family's fortunes as they supported King James II before switching their allegiance to William III. They remained in comfortable possession until the terms of a will led to much of the land being dispersed in the 19th century.
The book, which included a particularly vivid portrait of life during the closing years of the Ascendancy, did much to explain Britain's long-term historical debt to Ireland, and became required reading for members of the American Embassy staff in Dublin. "Umma-More" took its name from the once substantial family lands, the last vestige of which - Killyon Manor and its demesne - Magan reluctantly sold in 1967.
He was therefore delighted when his son George, a banker, decided to re-establish the family in Ireland by buying and restoring Castletown in Co Kilkenny, which has been called "Ireland's most beautiful house".
In 1996 Magan published An Irish Boyhood. This was followed by Middle Eastern Approaches (2001), about his wartime intelligence career, and, in 2002, Soldier of the Raj, about his early military life. Unlike many of his old colleagues, he declined to write about his career with MI5.
He was appointed OBE (Military) in 1946, was mentioned in dispatches in 1947 and appointed CBE in 1958. [Telegraph/24January2010]
Lilian Williams. Lilian Williams, who died on December 6 aged 92, was one of a team of linguists who played a vital role at the code-breaking centre Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
She was born on August 28 1917 in Aberystwyth, the second of the six children of Richard Williams and his wife Minnie. Her father had been denied secondary education himself - his parents needed him out working - and was a painter and decorator.
But he encouraged his children to make the most of their opportunities and four of them went to university. In 1936 Lilian won a state scholarship from Ardwyn county school to study German and French at University College London.
While working for the Welsh Board of Health in Cardiff in 1941, Lilian Williams thought her language skills might be useful to the Foreign Office.
"I was granted an interview in front of a panel of about six people, which terrified me a little," she recalled. But the panel was interested to learn that she liked to solve The Daily Telegraph crossword, and even more impressed that she always tackled the anagram clues first.
"I was a bit mystified as to why they were so interested in my liking cryptic crosswords. But when I got to Bletchley I understood why," she said. "The decodes had often been corrupted en route, with letters missing and very rarely a complete word. They came in groups of five letters and you had to connect them. All that anagram solving turned out to be very useful training."
Lilian Williams, who like all Bletchley staff was sworn to secrecy, said nothing about her work there until the first books about the centre appeared in the 1980s. Even then she spoke about it only reluctantly.
"We were never allowed to associate with anyone else, and only socialized among ourselves. There were a few dances and concerts, but we were working under extremely high pressure," she said, adding that, although she worked alongside expensively-educated young women, "there was no snobbery at all".
Working in Hut 3, Lilian Williams scanned thousands of decoded messages, still in German, sorting them into a pile for each theatre of the war. "We were known as the German Book Room," she said.
The work at Bletchley proved very stressful, especially at the height of the war: "It was too much for some people. I remember a night shift when one of my team collapsed over her typewriter," Lilian Williams noted.
Many of the Bletchley workers were billeted with local families.
"They were only allowed to take a guinea a week from us for food, so they called us the guinea pigs," she recalled. "But nobody asked me what we were doing at Bletchley - no one did during the war."
After the war, Lilian Williams - who never married - became personal assistant to the managing director of a leather exporting firm, and learned Spanish at the City Literary Institute in London.
She retired to the small town of Llanfairfechan, near Conwy, where her sister lived, returning to London from time to time "to thoroughly wear myself out", particularly enjoying the art galleries.
In Wales she involved herself in the cultural life of the community. Shortly before her death, she happily taught the local amateur dramatic group, the Llanfairfechan Community Players, how to pronounce the names of French characters in their latest production - and was proud to be given a credit in the program. [Telegraph/22January2010]
IOs With Experience from Sweden.
I am a Swedish historian doing research on US intelligence in Sweden during the Cold War (especially 1960s and 1970s). If possible I would like to get in touch with American intelligence officers with experiences from (or of) Sweden.
Yours sincerely, Jake
J. J. Widen (PhD)
EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....
MANY Spy Museum Events in January and February with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at www.afio.com. The titles for some of these are as follows:
26 January 2010 - Arlington, VA - The Defense Intelligence Forum meets at the Alpine Restaurant, 4770 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207. This event is open to members of all IC associations. The speaker will be John Moore, who will speak on the Middle East after One Year with President Obama. He will cover the peace process, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the on-going battle with Islamic terrorists. Mr. Moore was the Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia, and Terrorism, DIA's senior expert for the region. He was twice awarded the Director of Central Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. He has been a witness at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. To encourage candor at this forum, there may be no media, notes, recordings, or attribution. 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 15 January by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Give names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and choices of chicken, veal, or salmon. Pay with a check. THE FORUM DOESN'T TAKE CASH.
Tuesday, 09 February 2010, 1130 hrs - Tampa, FL - The AFIO Suncoast Chapter will hold its Spring meeting and luncheon on "Psychology of Terrorism" at the MacDill AFB Officer’s Club.
Dr. Borum topic is “Psychology of Terrorism and Radicalization”.
Randy Borum, Psy. D., serves on the Defense Science Board Task Force on
Understanding Human Dynamics in Military Operations; provides support
for US Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations
University (combating terrorist networks); and served on the NSF Review
Panel for Social/Behavioral Research on National Security. Additional
background information can be found on the USF web site,
A full Luncheon, Lasagna and fresh garlic bread, with normal salad, rolls, dressing of choice, coffee and tea -- and in preparation for everyone enjoying forthcoming Valentine Day, dessert will be Red Velvet Cake, will be served for the usual $15, all inclusive. We will have the wine and soda bar open at 1100 for those that wish to come early for our social time.
Check-in registration will commence at 1130 hours, opening ceremonies and lunch at noon, followed by our distinguished speaker Randy Borum from the College of Behavioral Sciences at USF.Reply ASAP, with your name and any guests accompanying you, to: Bill Brown at email@example.com; Donwhite@tampabay.rr.com; or Gary Gorsline at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your check payable to 'Suncoast Chapter, AFIO' (or cash) should be presented at time of check-in for the luncheon. Additionally, just a reminder that this years dues, $10, are do from those who have not already paid. Should you not have 'bumper stickers' or ID card for access to MacDill AFB, please so state in your response. Be sure to include your license number, name on drivers license and state of issue for yourself and for any guests you are bringing on base. And don't forget, all of you needing special roster gate access should proceed to the Bayshore Gate entrance to MacDill AFB (need directions, let us know). The main gate will send you to the visitors center and they will not be able to help you get past security, unless you are just asking for directions to the Bayshore Gate.
February 2010 - Scottsdale, AZ - The Arizona Chapter of AFIO meets to
hear Randy Parsons, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation
Security Administration Federal Security Director Randy
D. Parsons was appointed as the Federal Security Director overseeing
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and seven other Arizona
airports in 2009.
Mr. Parsons retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2005 after twenty years of service. His last assignment was as the Special Agent in Charge for the Counterterrorism Program in the Los Angeles office. Mr. Parsons led four Joint Terrorism Task Forces and directed the operational readiness of personnel and systems for crisis preparedness and response. He practiced law prior to entering the FBI, is a former university professor and police officer.
He was a Vice President for the AECOM global consortium of companies providing architectural, design and engineering services to diverse critical infrastructure clients. Mr. Parsons founded Global Strategic Solutions, LLC in 2007, providing consultation and guidance for strategic policy, planning and development within a variety of risk environments to governmental and private sector clientele.
This 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call and leave a message on 602.570.6016.
Arthur Kerns, President of the AFIO AZ Chapter, email@example.com.
15 - 17 February 2010 - Heidelberg, Germany - The United States European Command Director for Intelligence is using this convention outfit to arrange an Intelligence Summit.
The website for this event managers is https://www.ncsi.com/eucom09/index.shtml
13 February 2010 - Orange Park, FL - The North Florida Chapter will meet for its quarterly luncheon at the Country Club of Orange Park starting at 11:00 am.Guest speaker will be Dr. Christopher Stubbs, whose unique subject will be "Spooks & Geeks: The Perspective of an Interested Citizen Scientist." For further information about the Chapter or the upcoming meetings, please contact Chapter Secretary Quiel Begonia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-545-9549.
23 February 2010 - Arlington, VA - The Defense Intelligence Forum meets at the Alpine Restaurant, 4770 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207. Jon Wiant will speak on Imaginative Writing - The World of Fabricating Intelligence. Dr. Wiant is Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at The George Washington University and lectures at the Intelligence and Security Academy. He has held the Department of State chair at the National Defense Intelligence College. He has served as Assistant Inspector General for Security and Intelligence Oversight, Chairman of the National HUMINT Requirements Tasking Center, Senior Advisor for Policy to ASD (C3I), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Director for Intelligence Policy on the National Security Council. This forum will follow a modified Chatham House Rule. You may use the information, but with the exception of the subject and speaker's name, you may make no attribution.
Make reservations for you and your guests by 16 February by email to email@example.com. Pay at the door with a check for $29 per person payable to DIAA, Inc. Registration starts at 1130, lunch at 1200. Give names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and choices of chicken, veal, or salmon. Pay with a check. The Forum Doesn't Take Cash.
24 February 2010, 9 am - 5 pm - Ft Lauderdale, FL - The FBI/INFRAGARD has invited AFIO Members to the FEBRUARY 24, 2010 Conference on Counterterrorism measures at Nova Southeastern University.
If you plan to attend, please RSVP to AFIO Miami Chapter President, Tom Spencer, at TRSMIAMI@aol.com.
Provide your AFIO National member number, address, phone number. Your
information will be provided to the FBI for assessment. Their decision
of which members can attend is final. AFIO bears no responsibility for
costs or arrangements made in anticipation of attending this
Infragard/FBI event based on the decisions of their security personnel.
If available, bring your government issued ID. Infragard is the
public/private partnership of the FBI. You can get more information on
Infragard at www.infragard.net.
Please respond to Tom Spencer no later than February 10, 2010 via email.
Location: NOVA Southeastern University , Knight Lecture Hall, Room # 1124
3301 College Ave, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33314
09:00 - 09:30 AM - Registration and coffee
09:30 - 10:00 AM Welcoming Remarks - Carlos "Freddy" Kasprzykowski, InfraGard South Florida Chapter President; Eric S. Ackerman, Ph.D., NSU Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Programs; SA Nelson J. Barbosa, InfraGard Coordinator/FBI Miami
10:00 - 11:00 AM - Stephanie M. Viegas, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Coordinator, Miami FBI Field Division Will give an overview on how the FBI responds and coordinates WMD threats and related cases.
11:00 - 11:15 AM - Break
11:15 -11:30 AM - FBI employment needs - SA Kathleen J. Cymbaluk, Miami FBI Recruiter. This presentation will discuss current hiring needs of the FBI and
requirements on how to qualify and apply.
11:30 - 12:30 PM - Christopher L. Eddy, Supervisory Intelligence Analyst. The use of Intelligence Information in the FBI. This presentation will discuss how intelligence is collected, analyzed, and pushed to the right people at the right time and place and how vitally important it is to the security of our nation and its interests.
12:30 - 01:45 PM - LUNCH (Food court available on campus)
01:45 - 02:45 PM - Gun Running from Broward and Palm Beaches Counties
SSA Mark A. Hastbacka; This presentation will touch on IRA gun running operation in the above counties from a Counter terrorism investigation point-of-view.
02:15 - 03:15 PM - FBI Extraterritorial Responsibilities: Focus Iraq ASAC Scott A. Gilbert, FBI Miami. This presentation will focus on FBI activities in the International
Terrorism Organizations (ITO) and in the Middle East in general, with specific focus on IT and kidnapping investigations.
03:15 - 03:30 PM - BREAK
03:30 - 04:30 PM - Overview of Current Terrorism Trends: South Florida
SIA Vincent J. Rowe. This presentation will focus on terrorism trends in the South Florida
04:30 - 05:00 PM - Conclusion
Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 6:30 p.m. - Washington, DC - A "Weapons of Mass Disruption Program from Cold War to Cyber War" featuring Gail Harris, Naval Intelligence Officer - at the International Spy Museum
WHAT: “I decided to be unorthodox."—Gail Harris
When Gail Harris was assigned by the U.S. Navy to a combat intelligence job in 1973, she became the first woman to hold such a position. By the time of her retirement, she was the highest ranking African American female in the Navy. Her 28-year career included hands-on leadership in the intelligence community during every major conflict from the Cold War to Desert Storm to Kosovo. Captain Harris was at the forefront of one of the newest challenges: cyber warfare, developing intelligence policy for the Computer Network Defense and Computer Network Attack for the Department of Defense. Harris, author of A Woman's War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy's First African American Female Intelligence Officer, will share her unique experience providing intelligence support to military operations while also battling the status quo, office bullies, and politics. She’ll also offer her perspective on the way intelligence is used and sometimes misused.
WHERE: International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, Washington, DC, Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station. TICKETS: $12.50. Advance Registration required. Tickets are non-refundable. To register: order online; or purchase tickets in person at the International Spy Museum.
Friday, 12 March 2010 – San Francisco, CA – The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts Michael Rinn, Vice President/Program Director for the Missile Defense Systems Division at The Boeing Company. He will be discussing the Airborne Laser Program. 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 chicken or fish): firstname.lastname@example.org and mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011
13 March 2010, 10 am to 1 pm - Coral Gables, FL - AFIO Miami Chapter hosts talk on FUTURE WARS by Dr. John Alexander.
Please save the date. Dr. John Alexander, author of Future Wars, will be leading a presentation and discussion.
Event to be held at the Hyatt Coral Gables. For further information contact chapter president Tom Spencer at email@example.com
18 March 2010, 11:30 am - Colorado Springs, CO - AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter hears Bryan Cunningham on "National At Risk." Talk to occur at the Air Force Academy, Falcon Club. Markle Foundation's Bryan Cunningham speaks on "Nation at Risk." Cunningham is with the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. RSVP to Tom Van Wormer at firstname.lastname@example.org
25 March 2010 - New York, NY - AFIO Metro New York Chapter hosts "The Last Survivors: Parachuting Behind Nazi Lines."John Behling, OSS Intelligence Veteran, parachuted behind Nazi lines in WWII. He also operated in the post-war Soviet zone in Austria. He will share his experiences as a CIA contract agent, his decade in military and USAF intelligence, and his work as Professor of linguistics and History of Intelligence.
A Remarkable man...and a remarkable life. Come meet and hear him at 6 p.m., the University Club, NYC. $40/pp; $20 students/military. Open bar. Reservations not required. For further information contact Gerald Goodwin at email@example.com
For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events
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