AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #27-10 dated 20 July 2010

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Coming Events

Current Calendar New and/or Next Two Months ONLY

Events at the International Spy Museum in July & August with full details

  • Thursday, 5 August 2010, noon - Washington, DC - "Silent Sentry: The Untold Story of the National Security Agency" - at the International Spy Museum
  • Wednesday, 11 August 2010, 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - "Uneasy Alliance: The CIA and ISI in Pakistan" - at the International Spy Museum


18 - 20 August 2010

AFIO National GREAT LAKES Intelligence Symposium 2010

"Intelligence and National Security on the Great Lakes and Northern Border"

at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cleveland, OH

Co-Hosted with the AFIO Northern Ohio Chapter

Includes presentations by U.S. Coast Guard on Great Lakes/Northern Border security;
National Air/Space Intelligence Center; Air Force Technical Applications Center; Ohio Aerospace Institute, Dinner/Cruise on Nautica Queen on Lake Erie.

Spies-in-Black-Ties Reception and Banquet

Make your reservations here.

Agenda is here.

To reserve rooms at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio now at the $89/nite special event rate, use the following link:



FRIDAY, 24 September 2010

Noon speaker: Deputy Director Michael J. Morell, CIA


11 a.m. speaker: Speaker, T.B.A.

Check in for badge pickup at 10:30 a.m.
Morning Speaker gives address at 11 a.m.
Michael J. Morell, Deputy Director, CIA - gives address at noon
Lunch is served at 1 p.m.
Event closes at 2 p.m.


EVENT LOCATION: The Crowne Plaza
1960 Chain Bridge Road • McLean, Virginia 22102
Driving directions here or use this link:

Registration limited HERE.

SpyCruise� Eastern Caribbean setting sail November 13th, 2010. For information on the upcoming cruise, visit 

SpyCruise Stateroom Discount Program
As some of you may know, you may earn a free stateroom if you acquire 15 other stateroom bookings (double occupancy). For some this can prove difficult.  Therefore, in order for each of you to be able to benefit from this program, we want to offer everyone a discount based whatever number of additional staterooms you are able to fill.  For every additional stateroom you get booked for SpyCruise, your stateroom will be discounted by 1/15th of the cost of the additional stateroom.  In order for your stateroom to be completely free, you would need to acquire 15 additional bookings of the same category or greater than the one you book.  When your friends, colleagues, family or neighbors book their SpyCruise, they will need to tell the agent that you recruited them.  This way we can track who has earned the discounts.  Of course, each of those guests may participate in this program as well.

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

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

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


Missing Iranian Scientist Appears at Embassy in US. A missing Iranian nuclear scientist, who Tehran says was kidnapped a year ago by the CIA, has taken refuge in the Iran section of Pakistan's US embassy.

A spokesman from Pakistan's Foreign Office, Abdul Basit, told the BBC that Shahram Amiri was seeking immediate repatriation to Iran.

In June videos purportedly of Mr. Amiri but containing contradictory information on his whereabouts emerged.

The US rejected Tehran's claims that it was behind Mr. Amiri's disappearance.

Iranian media say Mr. Amiri worked as a researcher at a university in Tehran, but some reports say he worked for the country's atomic energy organization and had in-depth knowledge of its controversial nuclear program.

Two videos supposedly showing Shahram Amiri emerged on 8 June.

ABC News reported in March that he had defected and was helping the CIA, revealing valuable information about the Iranian nuclear program.

But earlier this month, Tehran said it had proof he was being held in the US.

The allegation came after three videos purportedly of Mr. Amiri emerged - the first said he had been kidnapped, the second that he was living freely in Arizona, and the third that he had escaped from his captors.

The BBC's former correspondent in Tehran, Jon Leyne, says that Iran's version of the story seems to be backed up by events unfolding in Washington DC.

Our correspondent says Mr. Amiri's sudden appearance is a major embarrassment for the American spy agencies and could lead to a diplomatic stand-off.

There are two diametrically opposed versions of the Shahram Amiri story. Iran says he was kidnapped. American sources said that he defected and was spilling the beans on the Iranian nuclear program.

On the face of it, the Iranian version now sounds a lot more credible. However those inclined to give the US the benefit of the doubt will point out that it is still conceivable that Mr. Amiri was persuaded, blackmailed, or even conceivably kidnapped by the Iranians themselves back into their hands.

Either way this is a big embarrassment for the American spy agencies, who have let slip a man they had been building up as a major catch.

According to Mr. Basit in Pakistan, the head of Iran's interest section, Dr. Mostafa Rahmani, is planning to repatriate the scientist back to his country.

But while US authorities cannot enter Iran's diplomatic premises, they could prevent Mr. Amiri leaving.

The Iran interest section is part of Pakistan's embassy in Washington, but run by Iranians. The US cut diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian state radio has reported that Mr. Amiri said in a telephone interview from inside the embassy that the US government had wanted to quietly return him to Iran using another country's airline and in doing so "cover up this abduction".

"After my comments were released on the internet, the Americans realized that they were the losers of this game," he was quoted as having said.

Mr. Amiri went missing a year ago while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The first two videos, telling starkly contradictory stories, were posted on the video-sharing site YouTube on 8 June.

In the first, initially broadcast by Iranian television, a man purporting to be Mr. Amiri says he was kidnapped by the US while on pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina and that he is now living in the US state of Arizona.

At the time the Iranian government described the video as evidence that he was being held in the US against his will.

In the second, posted hours later on YouTube, a similar-looking man claiming to be the scientist says he is happy in the US, living in freedom and safety.

In the third video, which was broadcast by Iranian state TV on 29 June, a man claiming to be the missing scientist says: "I, Shahram Amiri, am a national of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a few minutes ago I succeeded in escaping US security agents in Virginia.

In the most recent video the man claims to have escaped US custody.

"Presently, I am producing this video in a safe place. I could be rearrested at any time."

The man in the video also dismisses the second recording, in which it was claimed that the scientist was living freely in the US, as "a complete fabrication".

"I am not free here and I am not permitted to contact my family. If something happens and I do not return home alive, the US government will be responsible."

The video finishes with the man urging Iranian officials and human rights organizations to "put pressure on the US government for my release and return".

"I was not prepared to betray my country under any kind of threats or bribery by the US government," he adds. [BBC/13July2010] 

Intelligence Agency to Probe Own Nazi Past. Germany's top domestic intelligence agency is to delve into its own post-war history to examine the role played by former Nazis and war criminals in the agency's early days.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), or Verfassungsschutz, will appoint an independent scholar to lead a research project to determine what role and how much influence former Nazis had on West German intelligence.

"The BfV is planning to commission an independent historian or, if necessary, a research institute for the review of the history of the office's beginnings," spokeswoman Tania Puschnerat told the paper.

The agency, set up in Cologne in November 1950, worked until the 1970s with former members of the SS, Gestapo and National Socialist secret services, some of whom are suspected are supposed to have taken part in war crimes during the Second World War.

However the depth and breadth of their involvement has remained a subject of controversy.

The influence of the Nazis within the community of BfV workers will also be probed by the new investigation.

The agency will call for tenders as soon as the financing for the project is approved, the paper reported. [TheLocal/14July2010] 

Top Secret MI6 Spy List At Risk After "Loose Cannon" Agent Touts Documents for �2million. A top secret list of MI6 agents could still fall into enemy hands after a former spy pleaded guilty to breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Daniel Houghton, 25, removed classified material and attempted to sell it to the Dutch for up to �2million. But Holland's secret service tipped off MI5 and the computer analyst was arrested in a Scotland Yard sting at a London hotel in February.

Houghton admitted two charges of breaching the Officials Secrets Act when he appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. He denied a further count of theft but prosecutors said that they did not intend to proceed with the charge at this stage. He was remanded in custody until sentencing on Friday September 3.The judge indicated that a jail term was inevitable.

Both defense and prosecution are preparing psychiatric reports after the defendant claimed his actions were 'directed by voices'.

Houghton, sources said, was motivated entirely by greed and was living a 'champagne lifestyle on gingerbeer wages.' He had worked for the secret intelligence service MI6 between September 2007 and May last year. During that time, he compiled a cache of copies of electronic files which he attempted to sell to the Dutch in August 2009. But as he negotiated for cash, Houghton revealed he had a second memory card containing further information hidden at his mother's home in Devon. The Dutch tipped off MI5 and then agreed to meet him at the London hotel where he was videoed showing his wares.

The former spy said he would throw in two lists containing details of MI6 employees he had worked with. One contained more than 300 names, while the second had the home addresses and mobile phone numbers of 39 agents. Houghton first asked for �2 million but this was negotiated down to �900,000. In a subsequent phone call a meeting was set for the handover two weeks later.

Born in Holland, Houghton has dual British-Dutch nationality and is fluent in English and Dutch. He has had little contact with his father, who separated from his mother 19 years ago and now lives in Holland. Houghton was educated at Dartmouth Community College in Devon where his family live in nearby Holne. He studied graphic design at Exeter College and then went on to study computer interactive systems at Birmingham University. His top marks brought him to the attention of the security services. Houghton has no criminal record and went through a vigorous vetting process before landing his first job with MI6. But he does not appear to have told anyone who he worked for and friends believed he was employed by a bank.

Despite being 'highly intelligent', sources said he quickly became bored with MI5 and got greedy. They also revealed he was astonishingly naive for someone selling highly sensitive state secrets. When he first made contact with the Dutch agents, he used his own mobile phone to call a publicly-listed number. One source close to the inquiry said he was a computer expert with limited social skills. He said: 'He certainly was not James Bond.' He added that the move to sell the information was not sophisticated and investigators had been unable to find any other attempts. Houghton simply burned many of the files, on to DVDs and CDs on his office computer before taking them home.

Investigators feared Houghton would flee the country with his �32,000 savings. His mother Elizabeth Havinga had offered bail surety of �50,000 but the request was refused. 

On March 1, Houghton handed over two memory cards and a computer hard drive after displaying the contents on a laptop. But as he left the hotel carrying the suitcase, waiting plain-clothes officers from Scotland Yard's specialist operation's wing swooped, sparking a brief struggle. As he was dragged to the floor, handcuffed and told he was being arrested under the Official Secrets Act, Houghton told them: 'I haven't done anything.' Asked what was in the suitcase after being taken to a private room, he replied: 'I don't know, you have got the wrong man.' Houghton was taken to Marylebone Police Station where he refused to answer any questions in interview.

Officers from Scotland Yard's specialist operation unit raided his rented flat in Hoxton, east London, where they found classified paperwork, some marked top secret or secret. They also discovered a Sony memory card containing about 7,000 files, some of them deleted, thought to be copies a list of MI6 agents and the files that he tried to sell.

Security service officials said unauthorized disclosure of the material could have a significant impact on operations to protect Britain. The data on the memory cards and computer hard drive he had handed over to the Dutch was owned by MI5 and concerned specialist techniques developed by spies for gathering intelligence. Officers have been unable to recover the second memory card Houghton had boasted about to the Dutch.

A source described Houghton as effectively a loose cannon with potentially valuable experience of security techniques. This, they said, could have a severe impact on the UK's security if they fell into the wrong hands.

The case has raised embarrassing questions for MI6. The service declined to comment on the breaches of security exposed by the prosecution. [DailyMail/14July2010] 

Ex-US Security Chief Mulls Lessons of Terror War. The first director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, said that terrorist groups can be targeted best with agents and informers, but such missions are fraught with prohibitive dangers and ethical dilemmas.

Ridge, speaking to The Associated Press during an Ireland conference on global intelligence-gathering methods, said U.S. and foreign anti-terror agencies have never shared their information more effectively than today, but their picture of terrorist intentions often lacks strong input from human sources on the ground.

"There is no substitute for human intelligence. If we had embedded a covert agent into al-Qaida close to (Osama) bin Laden, 9/11 might never have happened," Ridge said in a telephone interview from Tuesday's conference in Dungarvan, Ireland.

"When it comes to counterterrorism, there is nothing more valuable than a knowledgeable human asset imbedded in an organization. There's nothing better," he said. "But it's so much more difficult to get people placed within terrorist organizations. So we're dependent on monitoring jihadist web sites and electronic intercepts."

Ridge, 64, was the featured speaker at the Global Intelligence Forum, an event organized by Ridge's hometown Mercyhurst College of Erie, Pennsylvania. The conference brought together 150 officials from 15 countries reflecting a broad range of intelligence-gathering disciplines.

Ridge, previously the Pennsylvania governor, served as President George W. Bush's Cabinet point man for reorganizing American intelligence and security capabilities after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Ridge resigned from the Homeland Security post in 2004 and published a 2009 memoir, "The Test of Our Times," that documented his often frustrating experiences of trying to get disparate U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to work together. Today he is chief executive of a Washington consultancy firm, Ridge Global, that provides intelligence-gathering expertise primarily to businesses worldwide.

He said various U.S. intelligence-gathering agencies have made great strides over the past decade but still sometimes hoard information rather than share it with sister agencies.

"Agencies still can suffer from a mindset and culture that goes back to the Cold War, where there's an institutional reluctance to share information, sometimes because you don't want to jeopardize an ongoing investigation" he said.

"But it's absolutely critical that, when any agency gets timely and relevant intelligence, that information is shipped to all the people who can use it. If we can't trust each other to use the information appropriately, then shame on us," he said, noting for instance that the FBI might not have enough agents to respond to a particular threat itself. "Local law enforcement has to be clued in," he said.

Ridge noted that intelligence-gathering organizations can have conflicting goals with traditional law-enforcement units. The former often would prefer to monitor the actions of criminals and terror suspects, either "to yank them off the street before an event is committed" - or potentially to let them commit crimes or attacks while a fuller picture of their operations and allies is constructed.

Whether observing terror cells from afar using technology or up close using informers, Ridge said, intelligence agents face tough calls when deciding how long to keep a suspected terrorist under surveillance before moving in.

He cited the November 2009 mass shootings on the Fort Hood army base in Texas as one example where intelligence officials might have moved pre-emptively. A U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, has been charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in an alleged gun massacre of army colleagues.

"We missed the boat with Maj. Hasan in Fort Hood," he said, noting that part of the prosecution case against Hasan includes his alleged exploration of websites featuring postings from Islamic extremists - Internet traffic that would already have been on intelligence agents' radar. "That case raises a wider question of how far do you let them go before you apprehend them. Sometimes we've gone too far."

When asked how far covert agents inside a terror cell should be permitted to go to protect their cover story, Ridge said that represented the ultimate dilemma.

He said agents would have to weigh "the larger social or moral good" in deciding whether "to participate in an action that otherwise you would find wrong."

"In each individual agent's mind, there has to be a clear understanding of how far you'll go to penetrate an organization," he said, suggesting one scenario where a terror group was planting bombs in the mail system but U.S. intelligence officials had not yet identified the commanders of the conspiracy.

"With counterterrorism, you might know it's going to happen, say another bomb in a mailbox. If you knew about it and were 'inside,' would you let it go off? There might be a good reason to do that," he said. [Pogatchnik/AP/14July2010] 

In Spy Case, Man Gets Life, Wife 81 Months. A federal judge sentenced a former State Department worker who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell to life in prison without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced the man's wife to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal U.S. secrets.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers betrayed the United States for three decades and should receive heavy punishment for having done so.

In a 10-minute explanation to the judge of his conduct, Kendall Myers said he stole secrets with no intent to harm the United States and that his goal was to pass along information about U.S. policies toward Cuba, a nation that he said feared the United States because of its opposition to the Cuban government.

The judge said he was "perplexed" at how Myers, 73, could believe that he was not hurting the U.S., given the level of antagonism between the two countries.

"The Cuban people feel threatened" and "they have good reason to feel threatened" because the U.S. has pursued a policy of regime change in Cuba, Myers replied.

"Part of our motivation," Myers said of himself and his wife, was to report as accurately as possible about what he thought U.S. policy was toward Cuba, to warn Cuba and to try to assess the nature of the threat.

"At the expense of the United States," Walton interjected.

Justice Department prosecutor Michael Harvey said that Myers and his wife were given medals by Cuban intelligence officials and that in 1995, the two were flown to Cuba where they had a private audience with Fidel Castro.

Kendall Myers had daily access to classified information and he pursued his colleagues in government for more, said Harvey.

When the FBI launched a sting operation that brought the couple down, Kendall Myers was videotaped telling an undercover agent that he wanted to resume his work for Cuba.

"I was actually thinking it would be fun to get back into it," Kendall Myers said on the videotape, according to the prosecutor.

In June 2009, right after the arrests, Castro questioned their timing - just 24 hours after the Organization of American States voted to lift a decades-old suspension of Cuba's membership in that group.

"Doesn't the story of Cuban spying seem really ridiculous to everyone?" Castro asked, without commenting on its validity.

There was no immediate reaction from Havana on Friday to news of the sentences.

Prosecutors said Myers, a descendant of Bell, the inventor of the first practical telephone, was a child of wealth and privilege and could have been anything he wanted to be, but instead chose to spy for Cuba for 30 years from inside the State Department.

Myers's wife, Gwendolyn, 72, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, with time off for the 14 months she has already served. That works out to a sentence of just over 5 and 1/2 years for her.

Defense attorney Tom Green said that the Myerses had undergone hundreds of hours of debriefings by interrogators from multiple federal agencies.

The FBI concluded that Kendall Myers had withheld some information. Green disputed that, saying Myers had worked diligently to recall all of the information that was relevant to the criminal case.

Green pleaded for a shorter sentence for Gwendolyn Myers than the 90 months she could have gotten, saying that she has suffered a heart attack and a couple of minor strokes.

"Ninety months could be a life sentence," Green told the judge.

The judge agreed to recommend to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that the couple be imprisoned near each other.

The judge cautioned, however, that prisons are places where inmates can readily be radicalized and that he has concerns Myers would impart his political views on them. While behind bars, Kendall Myers has been teaching English to non-English-speaking inmates and has been teaching illiterate prisoners to read. [Yost/AP/16July2010] 

Bush Aide Says Some C.I.A. Methods Unauthorized. A former Bush Justice Department official who approved brutal interrogation methods by the C.I.A. has told Congress that he never authorized several other rough tactics reportedly inflicted on terrorism suspects - including prolonged shackling to a ceiling and repeated beatings.

In closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 26, the former official, Judge Jay S. Bybee, said the Central Intelligence Agency never sought approval for some practices detainees later said had been used on them, including dousing them with cold water to keep them awake and forcing them to wear diapers or soil themselves.

"Those techniques were not authorized," he said, according to a transcript released Thursday by the committee.

But Judge Bybee strongly defended the legal advice he did provide to the C.I.A. in 2002 that waterboarding, wall slamming and other methods used by C.I.A. were lawful.

"We took a muscular view of presidential authority," Judge Bybee said, "We were offering a bottom line to a client who wanted to know what he could do and what he couldn't do. I wasn't running a debating society, and I wasn't running a law school."

Judge Bybee's views, described in a daylong sworn interview, represented his most expansive public comments to date about his role in one of the most controversial episodes of the Bush administration.

In his newly disclosed testimony, Judge Bybee made clear that he had no first-hand knowledge of what actually had occurred in interrogations. But he was asked about treatment of detainees described in a 2004 C.I.A. inspector general report and accounts that several prisoners provided to the International Committee for the Red Cross.

The question of which interrogation techniques were approved by the Justice Department and which were not is at the core of a criminal investigation of the C.I.A.'s interrogation program.

In August 2009, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the inquiry, he said the Justice Department would not prosecute anyone for following the legal guidance given by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, as a C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, pointed out.

Mr. Holder assigned the investigation to John H. Durham, a veteran federal prosecutor in Connecticut who since 2008 had been reviewing the destruction by the C.I.A. of interrogation videotapes to see if any laws were broken. Mr. Durham has yet to produce any conclusions about either matter and his spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.

Judge Bybee ran the Office of Legal Counsel from late 2001 to 2003 - a time when it provided crucial advice about the treatment of detainees taken in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Much of that advice was written by a deputy, John Yoo, but Judge Bybee signed off on it.

Their legal memorandums were still secret when President George W. Bush appointed Judge Bybee to the federal appeals court in San Francisco. But in 2004, after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, several of the memorandums were leaked to the news media.

The memorandums sparked intense controversy, and Judge Bybee's successors in the Bush administration withdrew several of them. They were also heavily criticized by legal scholars, and some critics have called for Mr. Yoo to be fired from the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a tenured law professor, and for Judge Bybee to be impeached.

A five-year investigation by the Justice Department's ethics office sharply criticized the memorandums and found, in a report disclosed this year, that the two men had committed "professional misconduct." But that finding was rejected by David Margolis, a career lawyer at the Justice Department who made a final ruling on the ethics review. Mr. Margolis said the work of Judge Bybee and Mr. Yoo had "significant flaws," but said that any assessment should consider the climate of fear and urgency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Judge Bybee provided few new details about the construction of those memorandums in his testimony, and frequently said he could not recall conversations and meetings about them. He did say that when he briefed Attorney General John Ashcroft about the memorandums, "the attorney general said something to the effect that he was sorry that this was necessary."

Much of the day consisted of Judge Bybee defending his legal conclusions.

Read quotations criticizing the memorandums from his successor at the Office of Legal Counsel - Jack Goldsmith, a Bush appointee who is now a Harvard law professor - Judge Bybee said that Mr. Goldsmith and other such critics had "misinterpreted and misread" the documents and noted that lawyers frequently disagreed.

He emphasized that his Republican successors did not reject the specific list of interrogation techniques - including waterboarding - that he had concluded could be lawfully inflicted on prisoners. In retrospect, Judge Bybee said he wished that a section in one memorandum - concluding that the president, as commander in chief, had the constitutional authority to override statutes regulating interrogations - had been written in a more "complete" manner, but he did not think it was wrong.

Judge Bybee also challenged news accounts of a dinner in May 2007 with former clerks at which he said he was proud of his work as a judge but then added, according to several witnesses, "I wish I could say that of the prior job I had."

In his testimony, Judge Bybee said that remark was meant as "a jocular comment." He said he was "proud of our opinions" at the Office of Legal Counsel, too, calling them "well researched" and "very carefully written."

Still, he said the controversy surrounding his tenure there had been difficult.

"I have regrets because of the notoriety that this has brought me," he said. "It has imposed enormous pressures on me both professionally and personally. It has had an impact on my family. And I regret that, as a result of my government service, that that kind of attention has been visited on me and on my family." [Shane/NYTimes/16July2010] 

NYC Judge Rejects Release of CIA Materials to ACLU. A federal judge refused to force the public release of CIA methods relating to Sept. 11 detainees who were interrogated harshly, saying the judiciary's authority is limited when national security is at stake.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected arguments by the American Civil Liberties Union that it should be able to force the CIA to release names and documents related to the detainees if the methods used by the agency were illegal.

He said to do so would "confer an unwarranted competence to the district court to evaluate national intelligence decisions."

The judge said releasing the documents requested by the ACLU would provide operational details about the application of various interrogation techniques in various circumstances for a particular detainee.

"The difference between the information officially released and the CIA operational records here is different in quality, degree, and kind," Hellerstein said.

He cited an earlier court case that he said was consistent with his findings. In that case, the Supreme Court let the government withhold identifying information of scientists who worked on a covert CIA program researching the use of chemical, biological and radiological materials to control human behavior. The program led to the death of some human test subjects.

"Courts are not invested with the competence to second-guess the CIA director regarding the appropriateness of any particular intelligence source or method," Hellerstein wrote.

He said the law was clear that the courts do not have the authority to force the release of such documents.

He noted that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta had declared that disclosure would result in "exceptionally grave damage to clandestine human intelligence collection and foreign liaison relationships."

Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director, said the group was "very dismayed by today's ruling."

He said the civil rights group was seriously considering an appeal.

"The CIA can't rely on its authority to withhold intelligence sources and methods in order to withhold evidence of its own criminal conduct," he said.

The ACLU had been seeking roughly 580 documents, including 53 field reports to CIA headquarters about interrogations.

An ACLU lawsuit already has forced the release of legal memos authorizing harsh methods, including waterboarding and slamming suspects into walls, techniques described by critics as torture.

The judge has said he likely would have ruled against public disclosure of videotapes documenting new harsh questioning techniques if the CIA had not destroyed them in 2005. The destruction was revealed nearly two years ago, and a criminal investigation into why the videotapes were destroyed continues.

The government has said the destruction was of 92 videotapes, including those containing interrogations of al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, who later told a military tribunal he suffered physical and mental torture and nearly died four times. Zubaydah claimed that after many months of such treatment, authorities concluded he was not the No. 3 person in al-Qaida as they had long believed. [AP/16July2010] 

Iran Vows "Fresh" Anti-Terrorism Moves. Mohammad Najjar says those who carry terrorist attacks against Iran are supported by CIA and Mossad agents in neighboring states.

Following a deadly terrorist attack in Iran's southeastern city of Zahedan, Iranian interior minister vows to adopt "fresh" measures to counter terrorist groups.

"Iran will launch fresh measures to fight against terrorist and criminals," Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar told reporters on Monday.

He further warned terrorists against their "anti-Iranian tactics and behavior," saying "Iran monitors all your activities closely and vigilantly and has full control over the situation."

"Terrorists who enter the country to carry out evil acts are supported by CIA and Mossad agents in neighboring states," Mohammad Najjar added.

The remarks came after two bomb explosions in quick succession took place outside the Zahedan Grand Mosque on July 15.

At least 27 people lost their lives and more than 100 others were injured in the terrorist attack, which has widely been blamed on extremist Wahabis and Salafis trained by US intelligence in Pakistan.

Iranian police have arrested 40 people in connection with the twin bomb attacks.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the terrorist attack was in continuation of the fourth round of sanctions resolution imposed by the UN Security Council against Iran.

"We have concrete evidence which shows NATO and US forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan provide terrorist groups with equipment and weaponry as well as financial and intelligence support" he said. [PressTV/19July2010]

Longtime CIA Employee Receives Leadership Award. Sheldon J. Hervey, a human resources program manager for the Central Intelligence Agency and a 1979 Carthage High School graduate, has received the CIA Directorate of Support's Eagle Award.

Mr. Hervey was recognized for his leadership in establishing the agency's War Zone Program, which ensures that agency employees and their families receive the necessary support before, during and after war zone deployments.

Mr. Hervey has been with the agency for 24 years, and lives in Lorton, Va. He is the son of Louis J. Hervey, Black River, and the late Irene C. Hervey. [WatertownDailyTimes/19July2010] 

Court Orders State Department to Review Ruling on Alleged Terror Group. A federal appeals court ordered the State Department to review its designation of the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran as a foreign terrorist organization, strongly suggesting the designation should be revoked.

The ruling by the three-judge panel hands yet another foreign-policy hot potato to the Obama administration. The PMOI, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq, has for years fought its designation as a foreign terrorist organization, contending that it was only placed on the list in 1997 by the Clinton administration to curry favor with the Iranian government, which views the group as a threat. The 22-page ruling said that the group's due process protections were violated because the State Department did not give it a chance to rebut unclassified information used to justify the designation.

The current designation was reaffirmed by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January, 2009, in one her last acts, even though the State's top counterterrorism official at the time, Dell L. Dailey, had pushed to delist the People's Mujahedeen.

The group's cause has also been taken up by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the chairman of a terrorism panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "I have difficulty understanding what has the MEK done, anything remotely, in recent times, that causes the MEK to be on that list," he said in June.

The group has argued it has ceased its military campaign against the Iranian government in 2001, voluntarily handed over its arms to U.S. forces in 2003 and provided a flood of information to U.S. intelligence about Iran's nuclear programs. It has also convinced the United Kingdom and the European Union to delist it as a terror group.

But State rejected its efforts, largely on the basis of classified information.

During the court proceedings, some of that information was declassified. State asserted that the group has not ended its military operations, still intends to use violence to achieve its political goals, has trained females to be suicide bombers and that much of the information it has provided on Iran's nuclear program has been wrong. But the court cast doubt on some of these assertions and said the group now must be given the opportunity to rebut these charges.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, a former spokesman for the group, said "this is a great opportunity for Secretary [Hillary Rodham] Clinton to correct a wrong. She would have the backing of Congress."

The State Department said it would study the opinion "carefully" and noted it continues to view the group as a terrorist organization. [Kessler/WashingtonPost/16July2010] 

Two Taiwan Men Sentenced for Spying for China. Two former Taiwan law enforcement personnel have been sentenced to three and six years' imprisonment respectively for spying for China, the United Daily News newspaper reported.

The Taiwan High Court handed out the sentences to Chen Chih-kao and Lin Yu-non.

Chen and Lin used to work in the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau. Chen left the bureau in 2007 and went to Shanghai to publish a magazine for China-based Taiwan businessmen.

The magazine later folded and Chen ran up huge debts. To avoid being punished for tax evasion, he agreed to spy for China, when agents from China's Ministry of Public Security approached him.

Chen returned to Taiwan and recruited Lin, who was then helping Taiwan's National Security Bureau design anti-crime strategies, to supply secrets.

Between 2006 and 2007, Lin gave Chen three reports - with National Security Bureau's personnel data and anti-crime plans - to Chen, who passed them to China.

Lin received 3,000 US dollars for each report he gave Chen.

Chen and Lin were indicted three years ago and were sentenced Friday.

China and Taiwan, split since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, often accuse each other of espionage. [MonstersAndCritics/18July2010] 

State Department Warns Employees About New Website Highlighting Top Secret Facilities. The State Department is bracing for a potentially explosive new feature on the Washington Post website that would publish the names and locations of agencies and firms conducting Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. government.

The Diplomatic Security Bureau at State sent out a notice to all department employees warning them to protect classified information and reject inquiries from the press when the new web feature goes live.

"The Washington Post plans to publish a website listing all agencies and contractors believed to conduct Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. Government," the notice reads. "The website provides a graphic representation pinpointing the location of firms conducting Top Secret work, describing the type of work they perform, and identifying many facilities where such work is done."

According to the notice, the Post used only open-source information to compile its site. However, if some of that open-source information turns out to have been classified, its publication by the Post doesn't change that classification, the State Department emphasized.

"All Department personnel should remain aware of their responsibility to protect classified and other sensitive information, such as the Department's relationships with contract firms, other U.S. Government agencies, and foreign governments," the notice says.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail and said it went out to all State Department employees in the Washington, DC area, 14,574 people.

The Washington Post declined requests for comment.

Here's the full notice:

Office of Origin: DS/EX
Announcement Number: 2010_07_059
Date of Announcement: July 15, 2010
Notification of Major Media Outlet Story
On Monday July 19, the Washington Post plans to publish a website listing all agencies and contractors believed to conduct Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. Government. The website provides a graphic representation pinpointing the location of firms conducting Top Secret work, describing the type of work they perform, and identifying many facilities where such work is done.

Although the Washington Post acquired the information from open sources, all Department personnel should remain aware of their responsibility to protect classified and other sensitive information, such as the Department's relationships with contract firms, other U.S. Government agencies, and foreign governments. Employees are reminded that they must neither confirm nor deny information contained in this, or any, media publication, and that the publication of this website and supporting articles does not constitute a change to the level of classification of any information duly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526.

In the unlikely event you are contacted for comment, please forward any request for information to the Bureau of Public Affairs, Press Relations Office at (202) 647-2492.

UPDATE: The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder publishes a related memo by Art House, the communications director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which appears to be just as worried as the State Department about the Post's reporting. Excerpt:

It might be helpful as you prepare for publication to draw up a list of accomplishments and examples of success to offer in response to inquiries to balance the coverage and add points that deserve to be mentioned. In media discussions, we will seek to garner support for the Intelligence Community and its members by offering examples of agile, integrated activity that has enhanced performance. We will want to minimize damage caused by unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and classified information.

It also describes ODNI's expectations for the Washington Post series:

While we can't predict specific content, we anticipate the following themes:

* The intelligence enterprise has undergone exponential growth and has become unmanageable with overlapping authorities and a heavily outsourced contractor workforce.

* The IC and the DoD have wasted significant time and resources, especially in the areas of counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

* The intelligence enterprise has taken its eyes off its post-9/11 mission and is spending its energy on competitive and redundant programs.

The Washington Post may run a series of three articles, the first being an overview, the second focused on the large number of contractors supporting the intelligence enterprise, and the third looking at a specific community (the Fort Meade/BWI Airport area) that has expanded in part due to Intelligence Community growth.

The Washington Post is expected to work with Public Broadcasting Service's Frontline program to add a television component to this work, and will also present an interactive web site demonstrating growth of the intelligence enterprise and inviting comment and dialogue. The Post advises that "links" between individual contractors and specific agencies have been deleted, although the Post will still cite contractors and their locations.

UPDATE #2: An administration official responds to The Cable to comment on the Post series, which the administration is portraying as less than meets the eye.

"A lot of this is explainable. You want some redundancy in the Intelligence Community and you're going to have some waste. These are things we've been aware of and in some instances we agree are troubling. However, it's something we've been working on for a year and a half. It's something we've been on top of," the official said.

"There was a need for urgent expansion after 9/11 and there was a need for an expansion of contractors to fill analyst positions. There will be examples of money being wasted in the series that seem egregious and we are just as offended as the readers by those examples." [Rogin/TheCable/16July2010] 


Former NSA Executive Thomas A. Drake May Pay High Price for Media Leak. F or seven years, Thomas A. Drake was a senior executive at the nation's largest intelligence organization with an ambition to change its insular culture. He had access to classified programs that purported to help the National Security Agency tackle its toughest challenges: exploiting the digital data revolution and countering terrorism.

Today, he wears a blue T-shirt and answers questions about iPhones at an Apple store in the Washington area. He is awaiting trial in a criminal media leak case that could send him to prison for 35 years. In his years at the NSA, Drake grew disillusioned, then indignant, about what he saw as waste, mismanagement and a willingness to compromise Americans' privacy without enhancing security.

He first tried the sanctioned methods - going to his superiors, inspectors general, Congress. Finally, in frustration, he turned to the "nuclear option": leaking to the media.

Drake, 53, may pay a high price for going nuclear. In April he was indicted, accused of mishandling classified information and obstructing justice. His supporters consider him a patriotic whistleblower targeted by an Obama administration bent on sealing leaks and on having something to show for an investigation that spans two presidencies. Many in the intelligence community, by contrast, view Drake as the overzealous one, an official who disregarded his oath to protect classified information so he could punish the agency for scrapping a program he favored.

It's classic Washington: disgruntled officials sharing inside information with a reporter and an administration seeking to rein that practice in. Drake's attorney maintains he broke no laws.

The case, whistleblower-rights advocates say, underscores how revealing abuses in the intelligence community is difficult because of the classified nature of programs and the lack of meaningful protections against retaliation.

An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment for this article, saying the agency cannot discuss an ongoing criminal case. Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said: "We have consistently said that leaks and mishandling of classified information are matters that we take extremely seriously."

Whether or not Drake "thought he had a solid argument," he "made it in the wrong form," a former NSA official said.

What led Drake to this point, friends and others say, is a belief that his actions were justified if they forced such a powerful and secretive agency to be held accountable.

"He tried to have his concerns heard and nobody really wanted to listen," said Nina Ginsberg, an attorney representing a former Hill staffer who shared Drake's concerns.

Drake, an avid player of three-dimensional-chess who flew on Air Force spy planes and once was a CIA analyst, began working at the NSA in 1989 as a contractor evaluating software. "He always seemed to have a new angle on something," said Edward Miller, president of Software Research, and a friend of Drake's since the mid-1990s. "He was bringing the best of what was in the outside world into the insular thinking of a large agency."

In 2000, Drake met Diane Roark, a Republican staffer on the House Intelligence Committee who tracked the NSA. She held dim views about agency officials, especially concerning complex technical programs. They were friends with shared values, Ginsberg said. "He was very concerned about waste and mismanagement and so was she."

The two were impressed by a project called ThinThread, developed in the late '90s to provide the NSA with a way to sift through the massive volume of digital data the agency could vacuum up, then discern patterns and key pieces of information that would be useful to analysts. Drake and Roark viewed themselves as "champions of the little guy," said a former NSA official. "The bureaucracy was the bad thing and entrepreneurial grass-roots efforts were the right thing."

The people behind ThinThread were the right thing: They included two career employees, William Binney, a mathematician, and J. Kirk Wiebe, a communications analyst. A key component of ThinThread was privacy protection. The program could collect domestic data but would "anonymize" names and other identifying information with encryption codes until evidence was gathered to justify a warrant so that names could be revealed. Inexpensive and designed for off-the-shelf hardware, ThinThread was estimated to cost in the millions, not billions.

But there was dispute about how much data the program could handle, and anonymized or not, collecting domestic data without a warrant is illegal, NSA lawyers advised. Michael V. Hayden, who was then the new NSA director, decided to center a major modernization effort on Trailblazer, a $1.2 billion program that essentially performed the same functions as ThinThread.

In 2001, Drake was promoted to senior executive, heading the office of change leadership and communications. His first day on the job happened to be Sept. 11: In the course of hours, al-Qaeda's attack changed the national conversation about privacy. Suddenly the emphasis was on detecting plots rather than on trying to ensure that the agency never spy on Americans, even inadvertently.

Drake still believed in ThinThread, that it was needed now more than ever to help find terrorists. However, friends said he began to hear rumors that the agency was embarking on a program that would abandon constitutional safeguards against wiretapping of Americans and engage in data-mining that could raise suspicions about innocent Americans. He thought this was unnecessary because of ThinThread, they said.

Friends said he took his concerns to senior agency officials but got no results. Three former agency officials said they didn't recall Drake raising any constitutional concerns, though one recalled that he pushed ThinThread. Roark, Binney and Wiebe shared Drake's concerns. Friends said that the three tried to alert congressional leaders and that Roark wrote to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. They got no results. Roark also went to her boss, House intelligence Chairman Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), who referred her to Hayden. Hayden told her, "We're proud of what we're doing and how we're doing it."

Binney and Wiebe retired in October 2001, but the group of self-styled whistleblowers pressed on. In September 2002, Roark, Binney, Wiebe and a colleague - a former NSA technician - filed a complaint with the Defense Department's inspector general. They charged that NSA ineptly sidelined ThinThread to pursue Trailblazer, a budget-padding program that cost 10 times as much and was less effective.

The four did not ask Drake to sign the complaint because they did not want him, as an NSA employee, to face retaliation, but they named him as a key source. For the next 2 1/2 years, Drake provided information to Defense investigators, friends said. That probe spawned two criminal fraud inquiries, they said. The inspector general's office said it does not confirm or deny investigations.

Drake also testified before two congressional inquiries into the Sept. 11 attacks, detailing his concerns that NSA had information that could have helped prevent them and that it ignored programs such as ThinThread that could have turned up more clues and protected Americans' privacy. But friends said he told them his input was not reflected in the final classified reports.

The still-classified inspector general report on ThinThread and Trailblazer was completed in December 2004. Drake saw no response to the findings from the Hill or the agency.

"What do you do when the established avenues are shut down?" a friend asked. "Just look the other way?" 

Roark, friends said, suggested to Drake in November 2005 that he might contact Siobhan Gorman, a reporter who covered intelligence agencies for the Baltimore Sun.

A month later, the New York Times revealed that the NSA had been eavesdropping on Americans without court approval since shortly after 9/11. Drake, friends said, felt emboldened. Others who shared his concerns had gone to the media. He knew the risk - a leak investigation had already begun.

Still, he thought the risk was worth it, they said.

In February 2006, according to the government indictment, Drake e-mailed Gorman. He used Hushmail, a service that allowed him to keep his identity secret. For months, the two communicated via Hushmail, but Drake set conditions, including that Gorman would never use him as a single source. After a year, he showed up at her office and finally revealed who he was, friends said.

The government alleged, among other things, that Drake obtained classified documents from NSA networks that would be useful to Gorman's articles and that he scanned and e-mailed to Gorman copies of classified documents, at least two of which he retained on his home computer. An attorney for Gorman declined to comment for this article.

Drake's lawyer, public defender Jim Wyda, said the allegations are "wrong, both as a factual matter and because of the important principles diminished by such a prosecution." He added: "Throughout, Tom Drake has tried as best he could to do the right thing in service of his country. His motives in this important matter are completely pure."

Former NSA officials disagree. "What he did was unforgivable and clumsy, in my view," said one, "and could only have been driven by hubris."

Throughout 2006 and 2007, Gorman wrote a series of articles critical of NSA's management of major programs, citing multiple sources. In May 2006, she produced a piece questioning NSA's rejection of ThinThread, noting its rivalry with Trailblazer. The headline read: "NSA rejected system that sifted phone data legally; Dropping of privacy safeguards after 9/11, turf battles blamed."

By then both projects were history: Hayden had acknowledged that Trailblazer was a failure and hundreds of millions over budget, an NSA inspector general report in 2003 concluded that it had been mismanaged, and Congress in 2003 had stripped the agency's authority to handle major contracts. Former NSA officials say Trailblazer was not a total bust, that some elements survived and are still in use.

One government official said that the Sun article reflected "warring parties continuing their religious war" over the projects' respective virtues, but that it was "probably a public service to have NSA embarrassed by these acquisition failures that otherwise, because they're classified, get swept under the rug."

In September 2006, the NSA transferred Drake to the National Defense University, where he taught a class on strategic leadership. Ten months later, on a Thursday morning in July 2007, teams of FBI agents descended simultaneously on the homes of Roark, Wiebe, Binney and the former analyst who also complained to the inspector general. In Binney's case, a friend said, the agents came in with guns drawn. They hauled away boxes of documents, even taking the computers from renters in Roark's basement in Stayton, Ore., where she had moved after retiring from the Hill.

On Nov. 28, 2007, shortly before 5:30 a.m., FBI agents knocked on Drake's door in Glenwood, Md. His wife, an NSA contractor, was about to leave for work and to take their son to school. They took computers, photos, books on the NSA, materials for a dissertation he was finishing.

Drake met three times with federal investigators in what friends said he termed his "cooperative" period. He thought that he could make them see that crimes had been committed. Instead, in his final meeting with them, in April 2008, it became clear that the government believed that he was the one who had committed a crime. A prosecutor pressed him to plead guilty or go to prison, a friend recalled.

That month, Drake resigned from the NSA rather than be fired. He also hired a private attorney.

"I will never plea-bargain with the truth," friends said he told them.

Throughout 2009, Drake's attorney appealed to the prosecution to dismiss the case, arguing that Drake had violated no law. But in November, with a new prosecutor at the helm, it became clear that the case would move ahead.

That month, Drake ran into Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, in Bethesda. Drake, who knew of Hersh's work uncovering the 1968 My Lai massacre, began talking to him and mentioned he was under investigation. He began sharing with Hersh what he had told congressional investigators years earlier, about the NSA's pre-9/11 knowledge of al-Qaeda. The story, Hersh told journalists in Geneva in April, was "much more devastating, much more important" than what was reported in the Baltimore Sun. Neither man followed up with the other.

Around that time, Drake called a friend, who said he could feel "the fear . . . the dread, the forlornness" in Drake's voice. "They're after me," he told the friend. "I can smell it." [Miller&Tate/WashingtonPost/13July2010] 

How Do You Know If a Spy Can Keep Secrets? There was a time when a potential recruit to the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, would be invited for sherry in the room of his Oxbridge tutor and asked whether he had ever considered doing something for his country. The flaw in the system, as the great spy scandals of the 1950s and 1960s testified, was that it was never entirely clear which country he had in mind. Nonetheless, this form of vetting, if rudimentary, owed everything to personal contacts and an understanding of an individual's strengths and beliefs that was gathered over time and at close quarters.

Nowadays, a would-be MI6 officer is self-selecting and will make a direct approach via the service's website, itself a relatively recent innovation (2005). Matters are handled by a recruitment company before the applicant gets anywhere near the portals of SIS's not-so-secret headquarters on the Thames, one of London's most architecturally indiscreet buildings.

The main reason is to ensure that the intelligence services are fishing in a deeper reservoir, one that is more socially and ethnically diverse. But it is also because the sort of skills that modern spying agencies require, especially IT and computer encryption, cannot be found among Classics scholars at Cambridge.

Daniel Houghton, the MI6 technical officer who pleaded guilty of trying to sell secrets to a foreign power, almost certainly applied by this direct route after graduating with high marks from a computer programming course at Birmingham University. He might even have come to the notice of SIS at one of their "Insight Events", staged at universities to give undergraduates an idea of the sort of career on offer and MI6 recruiters a chance to examine prospective employees in the flesh.

Unfortunately for MI6, Houghton turned out to be one of its bad picks. After the rigorous vetting process, which can take up to a year, he was offered a job as an SIS computer expert, though he told friends he was working for Lloyds Bank. He had immediate access to secrets for which others would be willing to pay large sums and he approached the Dutch intelligence agency, the AIVD, offering information about new interception technology, together with staff lists and the telephone numbers of MI5 and MI6 officers.

Houghton chose the AIVD because he is half Dutch - but it tipped off MI5, which set up a sting in a London hotel and nabbed him as he tried to leave with �900,000 in a suitcase. One security source said Houghton "knew he had a valuable secret and wanted to make money out of it. His motivation was essentially greed."

How do you use modern vetting techniques to filter out greedy people? In the past, the driving motivation for treachery tended to be ideology rather than money, though the latter would still change hands even with the most committed Cold War agent.

With the rapid expansion of MI5 and MI6 in response to the Islamist terror threat, there is an even greater likelihood that renegades will slip through the door, though they have been few and far between, certainly compared to the heyday of spying 30 years or more ago. Al-Qaeda has tried to infiltrate MI5 but its operatives were identified before getting in - as far as we know.

The two most recent high-profile rogue elements were David Shayler, an MI5 officer who gave information to a national newspaper, and Richard Tomlinson, who worked for MI6 and was jailed for breaching the Official Secrets Act. Their exposure caused huge amounts of soul searching in both agencies about recruitment policies. But these can never be 100 per cent foolproof. The type of work MI5 and MI6 do will always attract chancers and mavericks - the kind of people who often have skills that are needed, but sometimes have instincts that can lead them to betray their country. [Telegraph/16July2010] 

Spy Swap Forced Prosecutors Into Balancing Act. On June 29, two days after the arrests of 10 Russian agents in New York and three other states, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, called an emergency meeting of his closest aides. Their criminal case, he was aware, was fast becoming a deal being orchestrated by politicians and diplomats.

Mr. Bharara told his aides that he had just learned that serious talks were under way at the highest levels of the American and Russian governments for a spy exchange that would end the criminal prosecution. He knew the idea of a swap had been discussed in the Obama administration as a way to resolve a potentially delicate situation at a time when the United States and Russia were trying to improve relations. But there had been no indication that a deal would come together so quickly.

"Is it appropriate for us to even be considering these sorts of things?" Mr. Bharara said he had asked his lieutenants. "Should we ever acquiesce in a trade?"

The proudly independent Manhattan federal prosecutor's office and the Justice Department "should never be an extension of or a rubber stamp for the White House," he said, adding, "I feel that very strongly."

Mr. Bharara knew something about the sensitivity of law and politics: as a counsel with the Senate Judiciary Committee, he had spearheaded an investigation into the political firings of United States attorneys during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The meeting late last month began an intense tutorial by the prosecutors on law and philosophy, ethics and history, politics and statecraft. They examined research on the history of swaps of spies and other prisoners; a big one involving their office occurred in 1986, during the Cold War, when Mr. Bharara was a teenager. Would they ever draw a line? What if the child of a Russian official were arrested for drug dealing and demands were made to drop that case? Would they object to a deal then?

Mr. Bharara's office was assigned last year to prosecute another high-profile case, the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks, but before the defendants ever arrived in New York, the plans were derailed by strong opposition from local politicians.

In the Russia case, though, the circumstances were different. A deal was being struck by political leaders of two nations that would close a decade-long investigation even before an indictment was brought.

In the end, Mr. Bharara said he concluded the deal being brokered by the politicians was acceptable and just, and was being pursued for the right reason, and his prosecutors scrambled to secure guilty pleas from the 10 jailed suspects in different cities as the case sped to a conclusion.

Now, with the deal done and the Russian agents back in Moscow, it turns out that prosecutors were not the only ones questioning their role in one of the odder, more fascinating spy cases in years.

Donna R. Newman, the lawyer for one man accused of being a member of what was known as Russia's illegals program, said a prosecutor had made clear to her that the terms of the eventual plea deal were being handed down from the highest levels of government. She said it was usually the United States attorney's office that dictated the terms of plea bargains, and she joked with the prosecutor, "I'm used to being window dressing, but in this case you're window dressing, too."

Robert M. Baum, the lawyer who represented another of the agents, Anna Chapman, said, "People congratulated me on the result of the case, but I had nothing to do with the result."

The case moved so swiftly that Peter B. Krupp, the lawyer for one of the Russian agents detained in Massachusetts, said he first learned the outlines of what later became the plea deal not from prosecutors but from a Russian official in a jailhouse meeting in Plymouth, Mass.

Mr. Krupp said he called a prosecutor, asking for confirmation of the terms of the deal, and was left with the impression that the prosecutor himself was unaware of the details.

"It is my feeling," Mr. Krupp said, "that the defense teams, the prosecutors and the court were all pawns in this negotiation."

To Mr. Bharara, the 41-year-old United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, who has served 11 months in the post, the prosecutors were not pawns, and he said they worked hard to guard against that.

"We took seriously our responsibility to be independent thinkers and responsible enforcers of justice," he said. "It's very easy for me to say that, because we agreed with what was going on, but it's important for people to know that we thought about that."

"If something would have violated our principles," he added, "we would have objected."

Mr. Bharara agreed to discuss limited aspects of the case at the request of The New York Times. Further details were obtained from others who were briefed on the process.

Mr. Bharara said he and two top aides had monitored the arrests from an F.B.I. command center in Manhattan as they were being carried out on June 27. He knew at the time, he said, that some in the Obama administration had raised the idea of a swap as part of the broader rebuilding of United States-Russian relations.

But that weekend, he said, he had no information that a deal was imminent, or even on the table. His office had sent prosecutors to Alexandria, Va., and Boston to handle arraignments there; his lead prosecutor on the case, Michael Farbiarz, the co-chief of the office's terrorism unit, was overseeing the effort from Manhattan.

"I fully expected we'd be in lengthy proceedings," Mr. Bharara said, "and pleading some people out and going to trial with others."

So when, to his surprise, he was informed on June 29 "that the idea of a swap was extremely serious," he said, he summoned Boyd M. Johnson III, his deputy, and Richard B. Zabel, who ran the criminal division, to his eighth-floor office. Mr. Farbiarz was called back from a colleague's farewell luncheon in TriBeCa.

Big cases often end in plea bargains before trial, with prosecutors never showing their evidence. But this proposal, coming from outside the Justice Department, raised unusual questions.

"We're prosecutors, right? We're not spy-swap negotiators," Mr. Bharara said. "The view was we just needed to make sure that at every step we're doing the right thing for the right reasons."

Thus began their deliberation. "Was it O.K. to have a swap? And should we be considering that?" he said he had asked the group. They also discussed the content of the proposed exchange, he said.

He raised hypothetical questions, like what would happen if the office were asked to dismiss a prosecution for less noble reasons.

"Would we be thinking differently," Mr. Bharara recalled asking, "if it was a cocaine case involving some significant foreign leader's child? And the answer was yes."

Mr. Bharara also asked about the history of such trades, and whether they were an acceptable outcome, both in criminal law and as understandings between nations. "We deal in precedent, and it was important for me to understand what has gone on before," he said.

He declined to elaborate on which cases they examined, but one major deal is well-known.

In 1986, an accused Czechoslovakian spy, Karl F. Koecher, who was being prosecuted by the Southern District under Rudolph W. Giuliani, became part of an elaborate nine-person exchange in which the Soviet dissident Anatoly B. Shcharansky (now known as Natan Sharansky) was freed at Berlin's Glienicke Bridge.

The prosecutor at the time, Bruce Green, now a Fordham University law professor, recalled this week that Mr. Koecher received a life sentence that was reduced to time served on the condition he participate in the swap and never return to the United States.

"You can wonder," Professor Green said, "does the criminal law really have much of a role to play here? If the likely result is going to be you just pack them up and send them home, what's the point of the legal process?"

For Mr. Bharara, the review of the earlier cases was useful because it showed they were not "in uncharted territory."

In that meeting and over the ensuing days, Mr. Bharara said, he kept a dialogue going as the proposal evolved and as Mr. Farbiarz and two other assistant United States attorneys, Jason B. Smith and Glen Kopp, worked to secure plea deals. He said there was unanimity that no swap should occur until after the Russian agents had admitted their guilt in court, described how they had violated the law and disclosed their real names. "It was very important to us," Mr. Bharara said, "to vindicate the interests of the criminal justice system."

One of the other key considerations, Mr. Bharara said, was the comparative significance of the four prisoners being returned in the deal.

"We did ask questions," he said. "We learned about the relative identities and backgrounds of our 10 versus the other four; we were satisfied that the overall resolution was in the interest of justice."

At that point, the prosecutors had to act quickly, as the Russian government was making preparations for its prisoners to be exchanged.

On July 8, the day of the guilty pleas in United States District Court in Manhattan, Mr. Bharara's office found itself pushing to ensure that the fast-moving swap remained consistent with the requirements of the criminal justice system.

In court, Mr. Farbiarz told the judge, Kimba M. Wood, that Russian officials had been meeting with the defendants jailed in the United States, and he suggested she ask each lawyer whether the Russians had done anything to either force or entice their clients to plead guilty. The lawyer for one defendant, the journalist Vicky Pel�ez, revealed that the Russians had offered his client a monthly stipend of $2,000 for life and other amenities, but he assured the judge that the promises had not induced her to plead guilty.

The pleas were accepted, and the agents sentenced to time served. Within hours, they were on a flight to Vienna, the transfer point for the swap.

"Our job is to make sure that justice is done," Mr. Bharara said, "and in the modern world, it's to make sure it's done consistent with national security." [Weiser/NYTimes/17July2010] 

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Mystery: CIA Intelligence Group Weighs In. The Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by the CIA before departing for his homeland Wednesday was paid more than $5 million by the agency to provide intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, U.S. officials said.

Elizabeth Bancroft, executive director of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, was online Thursday, July 15, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the case.

Shahram Amiri is not obligated to return the money but might be unable to access it after breaking off what U.S. officials described as significant cooperation with the CIA and abruptly returning to Iran. Officials said he might have left out of concern that the Tehran government would harm his family.

Elizabeth Bancroft: Hi. This is Elizabeth Bancroft, Executive Director of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers in McLean, Virginia, here today to take your questions about the Iranian scientist's sudden departure back to Iran.

Tucson, Ariz.: What has the reaction been from Saudi Arabia given the assertions that Saudi intelligence assisted the U.S. with the so called "abduction?"

Elizabeth Bancroft: So far we have not heard anything from the Saudis about this matter. Usually a country where the contact is made stands back no matter how the arrangement turns out months or years later. So this is not surprising.

San Antonio, Tex.: Did it seem as if the U.S. came into new information concerning the Iranian nuclear program after Amiri disappeared last year? I.e., did U.S. officials start saying things about the program they hadn't been saying before? (This is basically a question about whether those $5M of our tax dollars were well spent.)

Elizabeth Bancroft: If one recalls, over the past year there have been numerous comments in the media from unnamed official sources evidencing greater knowledge of the current state of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Precisely where that information came from is never revealed unless a leak has gone too far.

Alexandria, Va.: I'm a bit surprised that the intelligence community hasn't done anything to extract his family from Iran. I'd think that for a valuable source on a hot-button topic like Iran's nuclear program, an extra step would take measure. Certainly it had to occur to someone that the man's family would be used against him. Was this a case where it wasn't thought about, wasn't possible, or just not worth it?

Elizabeth Bancroft: You're right. Of course, the urgency of obtaining information this crucial, and the sudden willingness of Mr. Amiri while he was in Saudi Arabia, to provide that info, does not always permit the best of arrangements. The national security needs of the U.S. have to come first in such situations, but the intelligence community tries to insure that few others are hurt by his defection.

Washington, D.C.: According to reports Shahram Amiri said he knew practically nothing about Iran's nuclear program, that he was nothing more than an average researcher, yet we allegedly paid him $5 million. How could this be?

Elizabeth Bancroft: He is saying NOW that he knew nothing. What we are seeing is an intelligence operation with many layers. There was the defection of Amiri and his desire to share whatever information he had, and then second thoughts, later, and the decision that he now wished to protect his family and relatives. To do both of those involves the propaganda aspect of such redefections. We saw this with Vitaly Yurchenko's redefection, and we are seeing it with all the odd, contradictory, but understandable statements by Amiri now that he is back in Iran.

Tucson, Ariz.: Agreed, and perfectly logical to protect the sanctity of Hajj given that is where our friend was purported to have been abducted. But since there is no love lost between Saudi and Iran, would it not help bolster Saudi political dominance in the region if they were to let slip that they were at least "in contact" with the U.S. on the matter?

Elizabeth Bancroft: You're right. That might happen, or be done so subtly that it does not make much news in the West. The Saudis need to play this carefully, just as Iran and Amiri are doing. Propaganda is the major feature we are going to see from this point on. For the U.S., Amiri's claims are almost a fine recruitment tool for others in Iran, with valuable knowledge, who might wish to embrace the freedoms here in the West. His claim of $50 mil certainly adds much to the carrot.

Silver Spring, Md.: Is this common that an informant chooses to return home knowing his/her safety is not guaranteed?
Also, what good is the information he shared with us now that he has returned to Iran and tells them exactly what he told U.S. agents.

Elizabeth Bancroft: Both sides now have to play this as a "win." There is more to lose if he were immediately tried and incarcerated or beheaded upon his return home. The Iranians are shrewd players of the propaganda value of using Amiri to make all sorts of claims: America held him in chains, that the treatment was terrible, that he was there against his will and told us nothing, etc. They are sending a signal to any others in Iran to not consider doing the same.

At the same time, his redefection for the U.S. - while unfortunate - occurred long after he had been debriefed hundreds of times. Is there anything left he hasn't told us? And even when he returns, and tells them what he has said to us, it will change little of Iranian intentions and programs.

Arlington, Va.: What are the chances that this guy is some kind of double or triple agent? Could he have been a plant to lead us astray? Or could his return to Iran be a way for him to gather even more info for us?

Elizabeth Bancroft: Many spy novels - and real life spy cases - have revolved around such claims. While it is always a possibility....that he was a dangle or disinformation agent, sent here to give us wrong information, and to gain an assessment what we're seeking, what we might already know. But unlikely. Intelligence agencies consider that from the minute he made contact, through every interview and debriefing, and long after this sudden departure.

Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: What does this mean for future relations and cooperation with Iran and United States?

Elizabeth Bancroft: This will have little impact. The sanctions, the call for more inspections, and many other ways that the West is using to measure all means the Iranians are taking to rapidly advance their nuclear capabilities will be little offset by this recent episode. Just as that sudden capture of the Russian illegals, and their rapid return to Russia in the Spy Swap, will have little impact on Russian-U.S. relations.

New York, N.Y.: What will the Iranian government's treatment of him be now that he is back? Will their public relations coup trump any ramifications against Amiri?

Elizabeth Bancroft: Yes. For now, he will receive careful, skilled handling by the Iranians to milk all the anti-Western propaganda value they can get out of him.
I would not want to be in his shoes a few years from now, when the situation is long off the front pages, and he is forgotten to us, but not to Iranian intelligence.

Tucson, Ariz.: The reader from Alexandria is on point. We are losing our ability to react with speed and clarity when it comes to these matters. The case officers are becoming results now from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should have tried to send him back with a detailed impersonal commo plan and immediately begun using the entire community to prep for him and his family's extraction once a plan was set in place.

Elizabeth Bancroft: There may be more to this than what we are seeing. It may come as a surprise, even in situations like this, that secrets still exist. The hidden motives for his defection, and now his redefection, may not be as clear as some wish.

Tucson, Arizona: I agree Ms. Bancroft. Highly unlikely that he was a dangle. As you rightly commented, the Iranians are very shrewd and if he was a double they would have let this play out much longer. Unlike the Yurchenko case you mentioned which was likely a straight double gone bad for them and us. Yurchenko actually debriefed "Farewell" before he "defected" the redefected. There is some thought that his defection was hatched by the bad guys in retaliation for the Farewell op.

Elizabeth Bancroft: And I'm sure, if we were able to hear all that Amiri shared with us about "the little he knows" about Natanz, many of the claims we hear now would ring hollower than they already do.

Tucson, Ariz.: Thanks very much for the exchange this morning. Whatever our many questions and opinions are, everyone should be proud of the individuals involved in the case and rest assured that their "5 million" was spent wisely in the pursuit of important national security issues. Best regards, Ms. Bancroft

Elizabeth Bancroft: If there was any dangle, it might end up being that $5 mil, now out of his reach. The price of having a change of heart. But it still sits as a great incentive to others in Iran, privy to their nuclear enrichment program.

Richmond, Va.: Can he be expected to be punished in some way now that he is back, assuming he had indeed defected and given the U.S. important information? Or will the publicity protect him?

Elizabeth Bancroft: Publicity will protect him for a year or so. After that, if he were wise, he should have already gotten his family - and himself - out. But it is doubtful he can do that. I suspect one gets only one defection/redefection gambit before it's checkmate.

Vienna, Va.: What are the chances this guy is just plain old crazy and never really had anything of us to tell us? I'd like to think our government wouldn't pay him $5 million unless he actually had something useful to say, but then again, it's our government.

Elizabeth Bancroft: Walk-ins [those who suddenly appear to American officials, seeking to defect and proving they have valuable info] are carefully assessed. While we were hungry for corroborating information on the nuclear enrichment activities, the U.S. is also cautious. There have been a few cases with Iraqi defectors giving us bogus information. Burned once, singed twice...we were not going to give money to another unless the information provided was solid. He had to convince nuclear scientists in Los Alamos, and he passed that test. For one who claims he knew less than any "ordinary Iranian citizen" - then all Iranians must have PhDs in nuclear physics.

Washington, D.C.: Will Amiri's return have any bearing on the release of the three Americans being detained in Iran as originally reported?

Elizabeth Bancroft: There are current statements the two situations are unlinked. That could change. Perhaps if this matter gets dialed-back, the heat and attention off, there is a chance it might give hope to their release.

Washington, D.C.: The sudden claim of paying $5 million, after he escapes/re-defects seems odd. If there is any benefit, with getting others to follow in his footsteps, then why wasn't this publicized before? "Standing offer to anyone to get the same treatment!" Coming at this time it seems to 1) minimize the value of the offer, if Amiri walked away may the deal comes with too many strings, and 2) seems to be an obvious attempt to discredit him in the eyes of the Iranian authorities. Has there been any evidence of the payment other than the claims made to the press, if not why was it raised?

Elizabeth Bancroft: In very closed societies like Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, the greatest motivation to overcome intense family ties and loyalties is money. Lots of it. There is always a risk that money, alone, will prove insufficient to make a defector comfortable in a totally new country and culture like the U.S. Some embrace it - most do - but a few like Amiri or Yurchenko, had dreams about what it would be like that did not meet their expectations. Or, without family and native culture, they feel adrift, and long to return. The risks of returning are explained to them, but that final decision is up to them. He chose to return, probably to spare his family, and knowing he would be whipped into a propaganda maelstrom.
It has been well advertised in Iran (and Iraq) that the U.S. is always receptive to valuable isn't kept a secret. As for the comments by those here about his genuine defection and redefection "defaming him" - anyone as smart as Amiri would know that a public defection he was once proud of, followed by a redefection, forces a free country like the U.S. to be honest about the situation. Iran can spin it any way they wish, but America enjoys an astute press that would ferret out the nature of his redefection. And has.

Fairfax, Va.: Where does money like $5 million come from, the CIA budget? Are we paying for this?

Elizabeth Bancroft: When one considers the billions it costs seeking very closely-guarded secrets in other countries involving WMDs, loose nukes, biologic agents, and other major risks the West faces from terrorists and anti-Western countries, an offer of $5 million for a nuclear scientist with inside information on the enrichment activities in Iran is more valuable than all the guessing that has to occur from the use of technical means. But such information needs corroboration, if possible. So that fee is worth it. And in this case, we get to keep it after getting the information, due to his redefection. His decision.

Elizabeth Bancroft: Thank you all for the interesting questions. These quickly breaking cases leave many loose ends so there is bound to be some mystery about such redefections, until - years from now - we hear of the full story from a journalist or author who has uncovered much of it. Until then, this gives us a taste of the complexities of intelligence operations where questions linger for years in a gray zone. John le Carré had the murkiness right. [WashingtonPost/15July2010]


Previewing Priest: Inside the Semi-Secret World of Intelligence Contractors, by Marc Ambinder. Whenever Dana Priest writes about national security, the earth moves. Her upcoming series on the post 9/11 growth of contractors inside the intelligence community may not have been responsible for this morning's small earthquake near Washington, D.C., but anxiety about what the series might reveal, or what it might imply, is palpable.

When Priest disclosed the existence of the CIA's black sites, the program was shut down and policies were changed. When she wrote about the mistreatment of veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, generals were fired and veterans got better care.

The public literature on intelligence community contracting is quite large, thanks to work by journalists like Greg Miller, Tim Shorrock, Jeremy Scahill and Mark Mazzetti. The basic narrative of the "problem" is also fairly well known: contractors do a lot of work that the government used to do by itself; oversight has become next to impossible; the intelligence-policy complex has created a revolving door of sorts where the line between private companies and intelligence agencies blurs; and of course waste, mismanagement, and more. Since 9/11, the intelligence community has welcomed a surge in contractors while building a larger civilian counterterrorism workforce - a larger national security state. (A significant number of contract personnel are in support jobs like food supply and landscaping, so the head count is less important than the functions.)

Priest's story is said to focus on redundancies, particularly the number of individual counter-terrorism analytical cells costing the government billions of dollars. Some of the redundancy is deliberate because of the nature of intelligence work. But a lot of redundancy, especially in terms of information technology, is probably just wasteful.

The administration has been trying to tackle this from the angle of IT acquisition and procurement reform. It's proved hard to do. For taxpayers unfamiliar with the contracting world, the redundancies and the general confusion of authorities will probably cause outrage.

All of this begs the question: if the problem is so acute, if it is acknowledged, then why hasn't someone done something about it?

Point one: when counterterrorism and counterintelligence functions are funded by supplementals, new jobs can't be created. Why? Because supplementals provide funding for one year at a time, and you can't fund a new federal employee for one year. So a lot of counterterrorism operations have to be farmed out to companies who have the cleared personnel to handle them.

Point two: there hasn't been a true intelligence authorization bill for five years. That's left the basic funding of the intelligence community to the appropriations committees, which won't budget with the same level of granularity and expertise that the intelligence committees would.

Point three: in the absence of an intelligence authorization bill, Congress hasn't increased its oversight capacity over contractors because it hasn't had the mechanisms to do so. This year's authorization is on life support because of a dispute between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the President. Among its provisions: a census of all IC contracts and incentives for government agencies to use their own personnel for critical functions.

If you were to ask the intelligence community itself right now IF they had a database of ALL intelligence-related contracts, they would say, somewhat sheepishly, that they do not.

Policy comes into the equation here. There wouldn't be a need for expensive counterterrorism contracts if the U.S. was not expanding its counterterrorism footprint overseas.

It's gotten to the point where, in the words of one intelligence official, "we're bidding against ourselves." Take the example of Blackwater, or Xe, as they're now called.

The CIA uses Blackwater to protect its facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. One could argue - as, indeed, some do - that providing physical protection for intelligence officers is a core function of the intelligence community and thus something that Blackwater shouldn't be able to do by law. But the CIA needs its bases to perform the work it needs to perform in support of warfighters and policymakers in the region. It does not have the personnel itself. Blackwater managed to attract the largest share of qualified former Diplomatic Security Service agents and special forces personnel by paying them more than they'd get if they worked for the government. Because it's easier for Blackwater to hire someone to do a function than for the CIA to hire someone directly to do the same function, Blackwater gets to set the price boundaries for its contract, indirectly. (This is also a function of the rules governing security clearances: if you leave government on good terms, your clearance will be valid for a few more years.)

The secrecy involved in some of the contracts often makes it hard to police them. Take the case of Abraxis, a company that the CIA used to create covers and legends for its personnel who don't work out of embassies. Again, that would be seem to be a core governmental function, but the CIA was able to argue that it could not function without Abraxis. That's because Abraxis, smelling a business opportunity, lured a bunch of qualified intelligence officers and analysts to join their company after 9/11. It's a zero sum world because the CIA has to pay a lot of money to train new people; it's thus cheaper to contract the work out, and it's more efficient, at least in the short run.

The Obama administration has already made public a new rule that would make it harder for intelligence agencies to narrow the definition of what a "core" function is. Its Office of Management and Budget has announced a goal of reducing the amount of money directed to sole-source, no-bid contracts by $40 billion over two years. The Department of Defense plans to hire 20,000 employees over five years to increase oversight of its technology and intelligence contracts. And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is completing work on a classified database that project managers can access giving them information on how well contractors have performed in the past.

Major companies like Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) are said to be worried about a database that Washington Post researchers have compiled linking contractors to the location and function of their contracts. That's because SAIC performs many classified functions for the government, and at least one intelligence agency occasionally uses SAIC facilities as cover for its own operations. That's how intermingled the worlds have become.

At the Department of Homeland Security, a significant percentage of its headquarters intelligence and cybersecurity personnel work for Booz Allen Hamilton, which hired former DNI Mike McConnell, among others, to bolster its ability to win new lucrative cybersecurity and homeland security contracts. At the beginning of the year, 60 percent of DHS's intelligence capacity was taken up by contractors. The share is now 54 percent and dropping, thanks to a special program that allows DHS managers to make better offers to potential employees.

The best solution is probably not to have 60 percent of all intelligence work done by government employees. But neither, given the distribution of expertise, is an IC workforce of 95 percent government employees.

Both the Senate and the House have a chance to use Priest's series to reform the problem. The Senate will hear from DNI nominee James Clapper on Tuesday, and you can bet that he'll bring contracting reforms to the table. The House (and the White House) can resolve the logjam over the intelligence authorization act. And the pubic debate about a sensitive issue can finally begin. [Marc Ambinder is the politics editor of The Atlantic. He has covered Washington for ABC News and the Hotline, and he is chief political consultant to CBS News.] [Ambinder/TheAtlantic/16July2010] 

The Economist: A Tide Turns: Technology Used to Help Spies, Now It Hinders Them. Depending on what kind of spy you are, you either love technology or hate it. For intelligence-gatherers whose work is based on bugging and eavesdropping, life has never been better. Finicky miniature cameras and tape recorders have given way to pinhead-sized gadgets, powered remotely (a big problem in the old days used to be changing the batteries on bugs).

Encrypted electronic communications are a splendid target for the huge computers at places such as America's National Security Agency. Even a message that is impregnably encoded by today's standards may be cracked in the future. That gives security-conscious officials the shivers.

But the same advances are making life a lot harder for the kind of spy who deals with humans rather than bytes. The basis of spycraft is breaking the rules without being noticed. As with the Russians arrested last month in America and now deported, that involves moving around inconspicuously, usually under false identities, and handing over and receiving money by undetectable means. For those that get caught, the consequences can be catastrophic.

The biggest headache is mobile phones. For spycatchers, these are ideal bugging and tracking devices, which the target kindly keeps powered up. But that makes them a menace for spies (and for terrorists, who often operate under the same constraints). Removing the battery and putting the bits in a fridge or other metal container disables any bug, but instantly arouses suspicion. If two people being followed both take this unusual precaution near the same location at the same time, even the most dull-witted watcher may infer that a clandestine meeting is afoot.

Creating false identities used to be easy: an intelligence officer setting off on a job would take a scuffed passport, a wallet with a couple of credit cards, a driving license and some family snaps. In a world based on atoms, cracking that was hard.

Thanks to electrons, it is easy to see if a suspicious visitor's "shadow" checks out. Visa stamps from other countries can be verified against records in their immigration computers. A credit reference instantly reveals when the credit cards were issued and how much they have been used. A claimed employment history can be googled. Mobile-phone billing records reveal past contacts (or lack of them).

Missing links, in fact, are almost as bad as mistakes. A pristine mobile phone number is suspicious (especially when coupled with new credit cards and a new e-mail address, but no Facebook account). An investigation that would have once tied up a team of counter-espionage officers for weeks now takes a few mouse clicks.

With enough effort, a few convincing identities can be kept alive - a minor industry in the spy world involves keeping the credit cards for clandestine work credibly active. But for serious spies these legends wear out faster than they can be created.

Biometric passports are making matters worse. If you have once entered the United States as a foreigner, your fingerprints and that name are linked forever in the government's computers. The data can be checked by any of several dozen close American allies. Obtaining a passport with a dead child's birth certificate is increasingly risky as population registers are computerized. Stealing a tourist's passport and changing the photo (a tactic favored by Israel's Mossad) is no longer easy: in future the biometric data on the chip will need to check out too. Only the most determined and resourceful countries can do that - and the cost is spiraling.

Technology creates other problems. Take the dead-letter drop, where an item can be left inconspicuously and securely for someone else to pick up. Intelligence officers are trained to spot these, in places that are easy to visit and hard to observe (cisterns and waste bins in public lavatories, or under a heating grating in a church pew, for example). Time was when monitoring a suspected dead-letter box involved laborious work by humans. Now it can be done invisibly, remotely and automatically. Next time you bury a beer bottle stuffed with money in a park, you should ponder what cameras and sensors may be hidden in the trees nearby.

The days of the "illegal", living for many years in a foreign country under a near-foolproof false identity, are drawing to a close. Spymasters are increasingly using "real people" instead: globalization makes it unremarkable for those such as Anna Chapman, one of the ten Russians deported from America (under her own, legally acquired, British name), to study, marry, work and live in a bunch of different countries. Like so many other once-solid professions, spying is becoming less of a career and more a job for freelancers. [Economist/15July2010]

Last Reflections on Spy Exchange, by HDS Greenway. What seemed to intrigue most observers, from the beginning of their arrests to their final exchange for four alleged spies held by the Russians, was how quaint it all was, a throwback to the Cold War of fact and fiction. The 10 Russian agents, deep penetrating moles pretending to be Americans, were from another century, not of the high-tech, computerized 21st century.

Could any of Russia's agents been worth the price of possibly damaging relations with President Barack Obama's administration, which is serious about the "re-set button?"

Put it down to inertia. The Russians kept doing what they did best. Deep penetration, sleeper cells and NOC, for "no official cover," was what the Russians had always been good at, just as the United States had always been good at electronic eavesdropping. And don't think for a single second that the vast resources of the National Security Agency, whose budget far exceeds that of CIA, isn't listening to every word the Russians are saying on their telephones and emails. We have come a long way since the pre-World War II days when Secretary of War Henry Stimson objected to the idea of spying by saying "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail."

The Cold War may be over, but allies still open each other's mail. The case of Jonathan Pollard, the American caught spying for Israel and now serving a life-sentence is a case in point. Pollard was motivated by sentiment. He didn't feel that the United States should have any secrets it didn't share with Israel. His Israeli spy masters, however, insisted he take their money, as spy masters usually do. It is safer to have an agent actually receiving money, fee for services if you will, than deal solely in the currency of emotional patriotism. Every Israeli prime minister, upon coming into office, makes a ritualistic effort to have Pollard freed.

I remember having lunch some years ago with the then-director of central intelligence, Robert Gates, now secretary of defense, who said that France was trying its best to winkle out our industrial and technological secrets, right up there with China and Israel.

There is a passage in one of Alan Furst's wonderful noir novels of espionage in the 1930s, "The Spies of Warsaw," when a French agent is musing on whether allies Poland and France were spying on each other: "Know your enemies, know your friends, avoid surprise at all costs. But discovery of such operations, when they came to light, was always an unhappy moment. Allies were, for reasons of the heart more than the brain, supposed to trust each other. And when they demonstrably didn't, it was thought the state of the human condition had slipped a notch."

The United States shares many secrets with both Israel and France but the closest intelligence cooperation is shared among the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - a special relationship that endures. For a time New Zealand was dropped from the list because it made a fuss about nuclear armed U.S. Navy ships visiting New Zealand ports. But that has all been smoothed over in this benevolent cooperation between English-speaking nations sharing a British tradition.

There is cooperation between Russia and the United States too, especially on Islamic terrorism. But this isn't going to stop a little steam from opening an envelope from time to time.

There was a certain brilliance in America and Russia getting rid of this embarrassing incident by quickly exchanging spies before the case could damage a relationship important to both countries.

I once knew a wily American ambassador who, when confronted with irrefutable evidence by the president of the country to which he was accredited that the United States had been spying, used his head to contain the damage. There was no denying it, so our ambassador quickly and sincerely told the president of the nominally friendly country that the important thing now was to preserve the relationship between their two countries and that the ambassador and the president were in a position to do so. The president thought about it for a minute and the case was swept under the rug.

Some of the never-ending Obama critics have said that America should have struck a better bargain than four for 10. But the four we got were of higher quality than their 10 and when it was time to get dissident Anatoly (later Nathan) Sharansky out of the Soviet Union in 1986 we were willing to give up nine people held in the West.

There was a certain elegance, too, in picking Vienna for the exchange. Vienna is steeped in Cold War literary lore - think of the days of the four power occupation portrayed so brilliantly in the Graham Greene-penned black-and-white film, "The Third Man."

Yet if our respective spy chiefs had a more attuned sense of romance and tradition they would have chosen the Glienicke Bridge between Potsdam and Berlin that used to mark the border between East and West. In both fact and fiction the Glienicke Bridge played a leading role in the Cold War's long running drama - think of Len Deighton's "Funeral in Berlin." Across the long bridge, where you can still see the line in the middle that marked the border, exchanged spies used to take the long walk from west to east, and east to west.

It was across the Glienicke Bridge that Gary Powers, the downed U2 spy plane pilot who caused such a rumpus between President Dwight Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev, walked to freedom in 1962 just as Russia's most important, deep-penetration spy, Colonel Vilyam Fisher, aka Rudolph Abel, walked the other way. The bridge was Sharansky's road to freedom too. [HDS Greenway leads the Opinion and Analysis section for GlobalPost. He has been a journalist for 50 years and recently retired from the Boston Globe after a distinguished career, most recently as its editorial page editor. He continues to write a column that appears regularly in the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune. He joined the Boston Globe to become foreign and national editor, in charge of the Globe's Washington bureau and tasked with building a foreign news service. He created bureaus in London, Tokyo, Canada, Moscow, Latin America and Jerusalem. During his long career, Greenway has covered conflicts in Indochina, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Burma, Central America, Bosnia and Croatia. After service in the U.S. Navy, Greenway worked for the Time-Life News Service in Oxford, London, Washington, Boston, Saigon, Bangkok, the United Nations and Hong Kong. He joined the Washington Post and returned to Hong Kong, reporting from Saigon, Phnom Penh, and Laos until the final evacuation of Americans. He then covered the Middle East and Iran, based in Jerusalem. Greenway was wounded in Vietnam and awarded a Bronze Star with Valor by the U.S. Marine Corps. He was educated at Yale and Oxford, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.] [Greenway/GlobalPost/16July2010] 

Terra Incognita: Ambassadors Without Borders, By Seth J. Frantzman. The British, in particular, have had a long spate of biased and strange political representatives in the Middle East.

The seemingly strange comments by Britain's ambassador to Lebanon praising late Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah occur against the backdrop of the increasing politicization of Western ambassadors in the Middle East.

Diplomats sometimes become completely beholden to their host society, to the point that they no longer represent the interests of the mother country. After retiring, many of them, like Eugene H. Bird, former US consul in east Jerusalem turned member of the pro-Arab Council for the National Interest, become paid advocates on behalf of Arab interests in the West.

Throughout history, ambassadors have often represented their home countries zealously. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I, the Spanish ambassador to London, Bernadino de Mendoza, was complicit in a plot to overthrow the queen.

But diplomats are susceptible to influence and they have their own opinions.

Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, was appointed ambassador to the UK in 1938. He turned out to be a deep advocate of appeasement, argued that democracy in Europe was "finished" and eventually submitted his resignation in 1940 due to disagreement with prevailing US policy.

In the 19th century, Western powers began appointing representatives in cities such as Jerusalem. Initially many of these people were colorful locals. For instance early American representatives included Jewish merchants, like David Darmon, who were considered knowledgeable about the region, and German- American Templars, like Jacob Schumacher, living in Haifa. These individuals tended to be overly biased toward their own financial interests, community or environment.

The British particularly have had a long spate of biased and strange political representatives in the Middle East. These forerunners to Frances Guy were certainly more partisan than she is.

Harry St. John Philby was born to British parents in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), educated at Cambridge, became a socialist and was sent to work for the Indian civil service in 1908. In 1917 he was appointed an agent to Ibn Saud, the local Wahhabi sheikh then in power in central Arabia.

Philby almost immediately became a partisan of the Saud family. But his "going native" didn't deter the British government from keeping him on after the war in Iraq and Palestine. He was only pushed out in 1924 when it became clear he was passing on secret correspondence to the Saudis. He converted to Islam in 1930, settled in Saudi Arabia and served as an adviser in the kingdom until his death in Lebanon in 1955.

Lawrence of Arabia also became overly biased toward his Middle Eastern friends, particularly King Faisal of Iraq, who he had supported during the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. Lawrence was chosen to be a representative of Britain's Foreign Office at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Here he proved overtly partisan again, working alongside Faisal to gain concessions for the Arab states that the British hoped to set up after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

To a minor extent the equivalents of Philby and Lawrence in the US have been the "Arabists," State Department career diplomats who have specialized in Arabic language and culture, received numerous diplomatic appointments in the Middle East and become partisans on behalf of the Saudi lobby in the West.

Robert Kaplan, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes have all documented the problem of American diplomats sent to Arab countries who developed a "passionate attachment" - what former secretary of state Jim Baker called "clientitis" - and even ended up on the Saudi payroll after their ambassadorships ended.

Among the most notorious is James Akins, a career diplomat and ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1973 to 1976.

In 1989 Akins attempted to get the Federal Elections Commission to regulate AIPAC. With former ambassador to Qatar Andrew Killgore, he joined the pro-Palestinian organization If Americans Knew. In a 2001 article, "Why do they hate us," he claimed that 9/11 was caused by "the anti-American feeling in the Middle East and South Asia [that] has everything to do with US policy." Before the Arab- American Anti-Discrimination Committee he spoke of "Dar al-Islam" and of the Israel lobby which "controlled the American Congress," concluding; "If the American public were ever to concentrate on America's interests, then its one-sided support of Israel and its alienation of Muslims would end."

Charles Freeman (ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1989-1992) has spent the last decade advocating for the Arab world in the US. In a November 3, 2006 speech at the 15th annual U.S-Arab policy-makers conference, he advocated on behalf of the Saudi-sponsored peace initiative of 2002: "It would exchange Arab acceptance of Israel and a secure place for the Jewish state in the region for Israeli recognition of Palestinians as human beings with equal weight in the eyes of God."

John West (ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1977-1981), according to Emerson, encouraged punishment of Israel for the strike on Iraq in 1981, facilitated Saudi business deals in the US after retirement and, as ambassador, helped lobby for the sale of F-15s to the kingdom.

Robert Jordan (ambassador 2001- 2003) spoke at the 17th annual Arab-US policy-makers conference and noted that "one of the great pleasures" he feels now is visiting Saudi Arabia six or seven times a year, but "I think it's one thing to develop a warm friendship and sense of kindred with the country in which you serve, but you're still there to serve American interests."

His statement could serve as a good reminder to the UK's current ambassador to Lebanon who claimed "you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person" in describing Fadlallah, who supported hostage-taking and suicide bombings in Lebanon.

The Middle East is adept at seducing outsiders. However Western ambassadors to Arab countries could learn from their peers in Israel who tend to be impartial or critical of that country. Belgian ambassador Wilfred Greens, British ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles and French ambassadors Gerard Araud and Jacques Huntzinger were all critical of Israel. Former Australian ambassador Ross Burns called in the Sydney Morning Herald for a more "hard-nosed emphasis on Australian interests."

Rather than becoming ambassadors without borders, akin to some human rights organization, these diplomats need to be hard-nosed vis-�-vis Saudi Arabia, Hizbullah and other players in the region and stop drinking the belly-dancing cum- exotic sheikh with a beard Kool-Aid.

For too long the West's representatives in the Middle East have become completely beholden to their host societies, converting to their political views and forgetting that they are supposed to represent their country's interests abroad rather than supporting foreign interests at home. [The writer is a PhD researcher at Hebrew University and a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies.] [Frantzman/JerusalemPost/18July2010] 



Eyes in the Sky:  Eisenhower, the CIA and Cold War Aerial Espionage, by Dino A. Brugioni, reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden.  At hand is one of the more important books ever published about the CIA - a working insider's account of the aerial reconnaissance program that was, in many opinions, the cardinal Cold War achievement of America's intelligence community. Beginning with the first manned U-2 flight in 1956 and culminating with satellite missions that produced detailed images of the vast Soviet landmass, the "eyes in the sky" closely monitored Soviet missile and atomic programs, permitting arms-limitation agreements that truly benefited all of mankind.

Dino Brugioni was there at the very beginning as one of the analysts who made sense of the scores of thousands of photographs taken from outer space, and his book contains the sort of insider detail you will not find elsewhere. Mr. Brugioni is generous in his praise for President Eisenhower, whose repugnance at the thought of a nuclear war led him to push for the overflight programs even though he realized the risk of provoking a confrontation with the Soviets. As Richard Helms, the director of central intelligence, later summarized, "For the first time, American policymakers had accurate, credible information on Soviet strategic assets ... It was the greatest bargain and the greatest triumph of the Cold War."

Only in recent years has Eisenhower begun to receive his full - and well-deserved - credit for his overflight advocacy. One reason is that few traces of the programs can be found in his administration's archives. Even astute space historians such as R. Cargill Hall have commented on the paucity of documentary evidence about covert space operations.

Mr. Brugioni begins his account with an overview of aerial reconnaissance over the centuries. The term "ferret mission" was first used in 1943 to describe manned flights to gather information on Japanese radar installations. (The flights were named "after the domestic polecat that enters the lair of rats and other vermin and chases them out into the open where they can be killed," Mr. Brugioni notes.) The nickname carried over when flights on the periphery of the Soviet Union began in 1946, when U.S. intelligence had scant knowledge of the adversary's bomber capabilities.

Secrecy was the watchword from the beginning, for the "ferret flights" brushed against strictures of international law. Few records survive because, according to Mr. Brugioni, no central repository was kept of the missions. Individual flights were ordered by military theater commanders under broad authorization from the White House. "The secrecy that shrouded flights was so tight that even today no one knows how many flights occurred or how many reports were repaired."

Most of the flights originated in the Air Force's Far East Command because of its physical proximity to Soviet air bases and missile sites. In the early years, even CIA analysts such as Mr. Brugioni did not receive the actual images obtained on the missions. Months after a flight, they would receive a series of "town plans" of Soviet and Chinese cities "that we knew were based on a [covert] flight." Only in the mid-1950s, when the CIA began gathering its own photographs from U-2 flights, did the agency develop its full photo-interpretation staff, housed on the upper floors of the Steuart Ford agency at Fifth and K streets NW, a scruffy downtown neighborhood. No one in the CIA had any qualms about the sustained violation of Soviet airspace.

As Mr. Brugioni correctly notes, "The USSR's size, internal security measures, and close monitoring of embassy personnel and visitors were not conducive to old-fashioned collection methods" - i.e., spying.

As Mr. Helms would recall later, "There was an extraordinary absence of knowledge. It was totally frustrating to learn anything, no matter how hard we tried or how imaginative we were. Eisenhower was sorely pressed to know what his enemy was about." Eisenhower was concerned also "about the possibility of loss of ... B-47 aircraft to the Soviets and the ... compromising of our latest equipment."

The flights were highly dangerous. Crew members, chiefly drawn from the Air Force and Navy and their signal units, were briefed on the perils involved. According to a National Security Agency historian, "Of the 152 cryptologists who lost their lives during the Cold War, 64 were engaged in aerial reconnaissance." Families of the downed airmen were never told what happened to them, only that they had been on "secret missions."

Mr. Brugioni notes that Eisenhower approved the U-2 flights only after the Soviets curtly rejected his offer of an "open skies" policy that would permit mutual overflights that would prevent either side from launching a surprise attack a la Pearl Harbor. Ike still receives harsh leftist criticisms because a flight piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down on May 1, 1960, just 15 days before a summit conference in Paris. The Soviets angrily demolished the conference. (Given the desultory record of past such conferences, my own estimate is that the "collapse" of the Paris talks was no great diplomatic loss.)

Development of unmanned satellites was far along by the time of the Powers mission. Any questions Eisenhower had about the legality of unmanned satellites were dashed by the Soviets' launch of their Sputnik space vehicle in 1957. The success of Sputnik - a noisy gimmick, in the main - was a public relations coup but a strategic blunder, for Moscow would have no grounds to protest any overflights by U.S. satellites. Mr. Brugioni gives a sweeping panorama of generations of satellites that probed the Soviets' darkest secrets.

Despite its value, "Eyes in the Sky" is not without faults. Sadly, Mr. Brugioni lacked a skilled editor to give chronological coherence to his book. One's attention is often tested trying to follow the skein of events. The index, with many key names omitted, is worthless. The rough neighborhood around the Steuart Ford building is painstakingly described twice - scores of pages apart. There also are some spellings that are ... well, let us say interesting.

No matter; forgive the glitches. "Eyes in the Sky" is a superb account of an undisputed success by CIA and the rest of the intelligence community. A five-cloak, five-dagger read. [Goulden/WashingtonTimes/17July2010] 


John B. 'Jack' Oliver, CIA Analyst. John B. "Jack" Oliver, 91, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst from the late 1940s until his retirement in 1970, died of respiratory failure July 4 at the Residences at Thomas Circle, an assisted living facility in Washington.

After his CIA retirement, he conducted research for consumer advocate Ralph Nader and the Investors Responsibility Research Center, a nonprofit organization conducting research for institutional investors.

John Bennett Oliver was a Pittsburgh native and a 1941 art history graduate of Yale University. He served in the Navy during World War II and worked for the State Department before joining the CIA. He was a McLean resident from 1953 until he moved to Rochester, Vt., in the late 1980s. He was a member of the Metropolitan Club in Washington.

His wife of 21 years, Elisabeth Reynolds Oliver, died in 1970.

Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Nancy Daniels "Bobbie" Oliver of Rochester; four children from his first marriage, Augustus K. "Gus" Oliver of New York City, Elisabeth L. "Lisi" Oliver of Baton Rouge, La., Peter B. Oliver of Warren, Vt., and John B. "Bim" Oliver Jr. of Salt Lake City; three stepchildren, Lisa Chapin of Washington, Nina deRochefort of Geneva, Switzerland, and Aldus "Chip" Chapin of New Canaan, Conn.; and two grandchildren. [WashingtonPost/12July2010] 

Jack O'Connell, 88; Diplomatic Adviser to Jordan's King Hussein. In the 1970s, Jack O'Connell retired from the CIA and joined a Washington law firm. He remained King Hussein's personal lawyer and political adviser in Washington until the Jordanian monarch's death in 1999.

Jack O'Connell, 88, who as a CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, became King Hussein's diplomatic adviser and closest American confidant, strengthening U.S. ties with the crucial Middle East ally, died of congestive heart failure July 12 at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County. He was a Rosslyn resident.

Dr. O'Connell, who was trained as a lawyer, joined the CIA in the late 1940s and served in Beirut before becoming station chief in Jordan from 1963 to 1971. Bordered by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is considered one of America's most important allies in the Middle East, in part because of its savvy intelligence service.

Dr. O'Connell, whose time in Jordan coincided with the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in June 1967 and the brutal expulsion of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970, fostered a fraternal bond with the king and was considered an adopted member of the royal family, said Richard Viets, a former U.S. ambassador to Jordan.

A burly, blue-eyed Midwesterner of Irish descent, Dr. O'Connell had a quiet, self-effacing demeanor but was, nonetheless, among the best-known Americans in Jordan.

In 1967, he played a key role in negotiating U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which sought to establish peace in the Middle East after Syria, Egypt and Jordan had combined forces in the six-day conflict with Israel. Although Resolution 242 was never fully adopted, it remains the blueprint for Middle East peace agreements today.

Jordan lost control of the West Bank to Israel in the war, and about 300,000 Palestinians from that region fled to Jordan. Many joined guerrilla groups that aligned themselves with the PLO.

In 1970, Hussein sought to dissolve the growing power of the PLO, leading to the month-long civil war known as "Black September."

Within two years, Dr. O'Connell had left Jordan, retired from the CIA and joined a Washington law firm that became O'Connell and Glock. He remained Hussein's personal lawyer and political adviser in Washington until the monarch's death in 1999.

"Jack O'Connell had a closer relationship with King Hussein than any other American official before or after, one that was based on mutual respect and absolute trust," Avi Shlaim wrote in his 2007 book "Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace."

John William O'Connell was born Aug. 18, 1921, in Flandreau, S.D. He played defensive end at the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship but transferred to Georgetown University after a car accident left him unable to play.

His education was interrupted by Navy service in World War II aboard a minesweeper patrolling the smoldering remains of Nagasaki's harbor shortly after the Japanese surrender.

In 1946, he graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, where he received a law degree in 1948. He joined the CIA the same year and was sent to the University of the Punjab in Pakistan on a Fulbright scholarship, receiving a master's degree in Islamic law in 1952. He returned to Georgetown and received a doctorate in international law in 1958.

One of the events that catalyzed his friendship with Hussein occurred that same year. For his first foreign CIA assignment, Dr. O'Connell was sent to Jordan to help foil a coup attempt on the 22-year-old king's throne by restive Jordanian military officers. In the course of several months, Dr. O'Connell helped unravel the plot and assist in the arrest of the rogue officers.

During his time in Jordan, Dr. O'Connell was responsible for helping to expand the powers and capabilities of the Jordanian intelligence service with CIA funding and training. In 1977, news reports revealed that Hussein had been a paid informant for the CIA.

In the early 1990s, Dr. O'Connell helped facilitate, through the Jordanian king, negotiations with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the Persian Gulf War. Dr. O'Connell's memoir, currently under CIA review, is scheduled to be published by W.W. Norton in 2011.

His first wife, Katherine MacDonald O'Connell, died in 1972. He later married Syble McKenzie O'Connell, who died in 1990. An infant child from his first marriage, Mary Frances O'Connell, died in 1949.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Kelly Ann O'Connell of Annandale and Sean O'Connell of Fairfax County; and a grandson.

One day in the 1990s, Dr. O'Connell and Viets were walking out of the Jordanian Foreign Ministry when the former defensive end tripped and fell down a steep flight of steps and broke his leg.

On the suggestion that he seek medical attention, Dr. O'Connell replied: "Irishmen don't wear casts."

Instead, he used a cane and walked on the broken leg until it healed. [Shapiro/WashingtonPost/17July2010] 

Coming Events


MANY Spy Museum Events in August with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at The titles for some of these are as follows:

23 July 2010, 8 and 10 pm - Washington, DC - THE SPY MAGIC SHOW - An incredible exploration into the secrets of spies, shown through stunning sleight-of-hand magic by master magician Michael Gutenplan.

Michael Gutenplan, an expert in sleight-of-hand magic is about to expose the secrets of the CIA and you are invited to watch! In an intimate room at the famed Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., Michael will perform world-class magical effects and tell how magicians and the CIA have worked together since its creation in 1947. Using cards, money and mind reading Michael will expose the secrets and skills that have only been rumored to exist. From thought transference and teleportation to lie detection and invisible ink, Michael will transport you to another world where fact and legend go hand- in-hand and spies are around every corner. Grab a drink, have a seat and join us for this once in a lifetime event!

Tickets can be purchased through or by calling 1-866-811-4111. All tickets are $40.00.

The Spy Magic Show plays Friday, July 23rd at 8:00 PM and 10:00 in the Roosevelt Room at the Ritz Carlton, located at 1150 22nd Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037

Michael Gutenplan is a professional magician originally from New York and now residing in Los Angeles. He has performed his signature brand of magic around the world including in Great Britain, Spain, Israel, Jordan and across the United States. He was the creator and star of Extraordinary Deceptions, an Off-Broadway magic show that earned Michael rave reviews in the New York Times, Variety and other prestigious publications.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010, 10 am - 12:45 pm - Annapolis Junction, MD - "The Mysterious Rosetta Stone: A Code-Cracking International Treasure" with Dr. Joel Freeman, is topic at the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation Summer Cryptologic meeting.

All AFIO members are invited to hear our guest speaker, Dr. Joel Freeman, CEO and President of the Freeman Institute, discuss the history of the Rosetta Stone, focusing on the historical connection between the Rosetta Stone and the breaking of codes. Guests will have an opportunity to view the full-sized, three-dimensional Rosetta Stone replica normally on display in the lobby of the National Cryptologic Museum. Dr. Freeman is an gifted speaker and author. As part of the program there will be a brief presentation to acknowledge the Milt Zaslow Memorial Award for Cryptology that was presented for the first time at this year's Maryland History Day Ceremony on 24 April.
Location: the L3 Conference Center in the National Business Park. Lunch will be served at 11:45 following the presentation. L3 Conference Center is located at 2720 Technology Dr, Annapolis Junction, MD 21076 in the Rt. 32 National Business Park.
Cost: the fee is $25 to cover program & lunch costs.
Confirm your attendance by Wednesday, 14 July, by calling (301) 688-5436 to pay by credit card or by mailing a check to NCMF, POB 1682, Ft. Meade, MD 20755. We look forward to seeing you there.

22 July 2010 – San Francisco, CA – The AFIO Jim Quesada San Francisco Chapter hosts John Yoo, former deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on national security and terrorism after the September 11 attacks.

John Yoo is currently a professor of law at UC Berkeley. Yoo will be discussing his new book, Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush. RSVP and pre-payment required. The meeting will be held in San Francisco: 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): and mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011

24 July 2010 - Abilene, KS - Korea 60: Eisenhower the Peacemaker - Honoring Those who Served in Korea - CIA joint conference at Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, Kansas
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum will host a day of programs on July 24 to honor the service of Americans who have served in the Republic of Korea from 1950 to the present.
The day begins with a presentation by intelligence agency historians and ends with dinner and entertainment. All events are free and open to the public with the exception of the dinner, which costs $20 per person.
The schedule is as follows: Eisenhower, Intelligence, and Korea Visitors Center Auditorium, 10:30 a.m. - noon -Dr. Clayton Laurie, CIA "Baptism by Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean War" -Dr. David Hatch, NSA historian, "DDE and COMINT: Astute Consumer and Agent of Change" The Korean War was the Agency's first role in an international conflict. The opening of classified material as featured in the "Baptism By Fire" book will contribute significantly to the historic record of the Korean War, making possible new research and great understanding of early Cold War history.
Korean War and Service Veterans Panel Discussion Visitors Center Auditorium, 1 to 2:45 p.m. The panel will feature Dr. Paul Edwards, Director Emeritus, Center for the Study of the Korean War, as moderator. Panel members include veterans who have served in Korea at various times from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Keynote Address | Lt. Gen. Robert Arter, U.S. Army (Ret.) Presentation of Eisenhower Peacemaker Coins Visitors Center Auditorium, 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Keynote speaker retired Lt. Gen. Robert Arter is a veteran of the wars in Korea and Vietnam and former commander of the U.S. Sixth Army. Arter is a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, and a consultant and bank director. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his work as a Civilian Aide. It is the highest award a civilian can receive from the Army.
The Eisenhower Peacemaker Coin is available to Korean War veterans and all those who have served to keep the peace in Korea since the signing of the armistice on July 27, 1953. (Coin recipients or their representatives MUST be present at the ceremony.) If you or a loved one served in Korea and are able to attend the ceremony, sign up to receive the Eisenhower Peacemaker Coin.
Reception and Dinner 5:30 p.m. Social | Library Lobby 6:00 p.m. Dinner | Library Courtyard Cost is $20 per person and includes the remarks by retired Maj. Gen. Singlaub and entertainment by Ray Marco. RSVPs required by July 16. Please send check, made payable to Eisenhower Foundation, to P.O. Box 339, Abilene, Kan. 67410.
Remarks | Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, U.S. Army (Ret.) - Singlaub is a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. From July 1976 to June 1977 he served as Chief of Staff, United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea. He is recipient of many decorations and awards. His autobiography, Hazardous Duty, was published in 1991.
Entertainment | Ray Marco Mr. Marco is a veteran performer of the stage, television and motion picture screen. His 1956 hit "Abilene" was the unofficial campaign song for President Eisenhower's successful re-election. Mr. Marco is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Security Service.
This program is in partnership with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Please visit the Truman Library web site at for a full schedule of events. The Truman Library programming focuses on the early time period of the war while the Eisenhower Library focuses on the latter time period and years since the signing of the armistice. This program is sponsored by the Eisenhower Foundation and Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. It is dedicated to President Eisenhower's successful conclusion of the conflict on July 27, 1953.

28 July 2010, 9 am - 5 pm - Miami, FL - INFRAGARD South Florida and the FBI invite AFIO MEMBERS to their South Florida Conference
Location: Florida International University, Management Advanced Research Center, Room # 125, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199
Speakers: Eric S. Ackerman, PhD, InfraGard South Florida Chapter President, Stewart L. Appelrouth, CPA, InfraGard Treasurer, SA Nelson J. Barbosa, InfraGard Coordinator/FBI Miami
Sam Fadel, Florida Regional Field Investigator, Corporate Security Department, This presentation will focus on data breach investigations, specifically credit card/account number breaches. Defines the roles of the issuers, law enforcement and forensic experts.
SA Kathleen J. Cymbaluk, Miami FBI Recruiter on FBI Employment Needs. This presentation will discuss current hiring needs of the FBI and requirements on how to qualify and apply.
Stewart Appelrouth and Ed Farath, CPA, Appelrouth/Farah & Co., P.A., This presentation will focus on Financial Fraud, Specifically Ponzi Schemes.
Richard Wickliffe, Team Manager, Special Investigation Unit, State Farm Insurance Companies, Will discuss Fraud, White Collar Financial Issues- and Possible Counterterrorism Implications.
Randall C. Culp, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI, This presentation will discuss Health Care Fraud – Adapting Investigations and Prosecutions to deal with emerging trends.
Gun Running from Broward and Palm Beaches Counties - Mark A. Hastbacka, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI, This presentation will touch on IRA gun running operation in the above counties from a counterterrorism investigation point-of view
RSVP TO Nelson Barbosa at FBI Miami Field

Saturday, 31 July 2010, 10 am - 12 noon - Coral Gables, FL - AFIO/Miami Police Department Counter-Terrorism Training. In cooperation with the City of Miami Police Dept, Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, Officer Marcos T. Perez, AFIO will be presenting a Counter-Terrorism Training and Program. "Operation Miami Shield." There is limited space available for this program.
Please RSVP with checks enclosed before July 21, 2010. There is a $10 charge for AFIO Members. Guests will be charged at $25 per person. Checks payable to "AFIO" and mailed to Tom Spencer at 999 Ponce de Leon Blvd Ste 510, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Saturday, 14 August 2010, 11 am - Orange Park, FL - AFIO Northern Florida Chapter hears expert on technology capabilities of FBI/DEA/ATF regarding air travel.

Social hour from 11:00 am, lunch at noon, and speaker and meeting to follow until 3:00 pm. This meeting's guest speaker will be Mr. Bob DeFrancesco, Security Chief at Jacksonville International Airport. In concert with Ken Nimmich, DeFrancesco will delve privately and confidentially into the technology requirements and capabilities of his systems. He will address successes and failures of both the technology and the dependency of interagency regimes, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, etc. Also in preparation for the meeting, there will be a review of the Nova video on NSA ( watch?v=ZWtEp3fLLvo) and 9/11 ( watch?v=8EiiZUUGQyI) ramp up from an interagency perspective. Chapter President Dane Baird applauds Bill Webb on this effort and hopes all members can watch the videos, twice if possible, prior to the meeting. Hopefully these are the right YouTube links to access these videos - let me know if not! For potential upcoming meetings, President Baird has uncovered some impressive resumes of generals and admirals living within reach of Ponte Vedra, including one who flew with the Nationalist Chinese Air Force. Think about it, and let us know if a special China program would be interesting – and we're sure that Bill could certainly enhance and enlighten such presentation(s).
RSVP right away for the 14 August 2010 meeting to Quiel at or 904-545-9549. The cost will be $16 each, pay the Country Club at the event.

17 - 20 August 2010 - Cleveland, OH - AFIO National Symposium on the Great Lakes - "Intelligence and National Security on the Great Lakes"

Co-Hosted with the AFIO Northern Ohio Chapter at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cleveland, OH. Includes presentations by U.S. Coast Guard on Great Lakes security; Canadian counterparts to explain double-border issues; National Air/Space Intelligence Center; Air Force Technical Applications Center; Ohio Aerospace Institute. Cruise on Lake Erie .
Spies-in-Black-Ties Dinner and Cruise on Lake Erie. Make your reservations here. Agenda here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010, 11:30 am - Colorado Springs, CO – The Rocky Mountain Chapter features speaker on terrorism.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter presents Sheriff Terry Maketa who will speak on legal issues involving El Paso County, crime statistics and give an update on terrorism. To be held at a new location the AFA... Eisenhower Golf Course Club House. Please RSVP to Tom VanWormer at

24 September 2010 - Tysons Corner, VA - AFIO National Fall Luncheon features CIA Deputy Director, Michael J. Morell.

Noon speaker: Deputy Director Michael J. Morell, CIA and 11 a.m. speaker: Speaker, T.B.A. Check in for badge pickup at 10:30 a.m., Morning Speaker gives address at 11 a.m., Michael J. Morell, Deputy Director, CIA - gives address at noon, Lunch is served at 1 p.m., Event closes at 2 p.m.


EVENT LOCATION: The Crowne Plaza, 1960 Chain Bridge Road • McLean, Virginia 22102
Driving directions here or use this link:
Registration limited HERE

Saturday, 25 September 2010, 10:30 am - Coral Gables, FL - "Management of Kidnap and Extortion Incidents" the topic at the AFIO Miami Chapter event. This program is a seminar conducted by a former Intelligence Officer expert in the subject. More details to follow soon or email

29-30 September 2010 - Washington, DC - Conference on the American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975 by the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. Department of State's Office of the Historian is pleased to invite AFIO members to a conference on the American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975, which will be held in the George C. Marshall Conference Center at the State Dept. The conference will feature a number of key Department of State personnel, both past and present. Those speaking will include:
* Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger
* Former Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte
* Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard A. Holbrooke
The conference will include a panel composed of key print and television media personnel from the Vietnam period discussing the impact of the press on public opinion and United States policy. A number of scholarly panels featuring thought-provoking works by leading scholars will also take place. Registration information will be available at the State Dept website,, after August 1.

Saturday, 2 October 2010, 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - William J. Donovan Award Dinner Honoring Ross Perot by The OSS Society

The OSS Society celebrates the historical accomplishments of the OSS during WWII through a William J. Donovan Award Dinner. This year the annual dinner honors Ross Perot. Event includes special performance by humorist Mark Russell. Black Tie/Dress Mess. Location: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC. By invitation. Tables of ten: $25,000; Table of ten: $15,000; Table of eight: $10,000; Table of Six: $5000; Seating of four: $3,000; One guest: $1,000. Some tickets available for $175 pp. Donations welcomed. Inquiries to The OSS Society at

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


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