AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #39-10 dated 19 October 2010

[Editors' Note: The WIN editors attempt to include a wide range of articles and commentary in the Weekly Notes to inform and educate our readers. However, the views expressed in the articles are purely those of the authors, and in no way reflect support or endorsement from the WIN editors or the AFIO officers and staff. We welcome comments from the WIN readers on any and all articles and commentary.]

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Coming Educational Events

Current Calendar New and/or Next Two Months ONLY

Events at the International Spy Museum in October and November with full details

WIN CREDITS FOR THIS ISSUE: The WIN editors thank the following special contributors:  sb, 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

Late arriving .... on Cable TV Booknotes

Sunday, October 24th at 2pm (ET);
Monday, October 25th at 1am (ET) and 5am (ET)

Gary Noesner, author of "Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator" will be interviewed.
Noesner, former head of the FBI's Crisis Negotiation Unit, talks about his experiences. For more information visit link below and also


7 p.m. invitation-only preview at the AFI Silver Theatre
8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD
Call to confirm:  301 495-6700

Fair Game -
A Film about CIA Officer Valerie Plame, Diplomat Joe Wilson, CIA, and the Bush Administration
General release on November 5, 2010
Click image below to view trailer


A suspense-filled glimpse into the corridors of political gamesmanship where leaked intelligence community doubts about the lack of any serious threat of WMDs in Iraq, comes up against an administration hell-bent to justify an invasion of Iraq to bring about regime-change. The film is based on the autobiography of the same name of CIA National Clandestine Services [NCS] officer Valerie Plame [Naomi Watts], whose career was destroyed, and marriage strained, when her covert identity was exposed by snarky White House minions, in a campaign to neutralize her and to discredit her husband who released findings not meant for public review.

But the situation was not as simple as the book and film would have us believe. As a NCS officer operating as a "NOC" [non-official cover officer], working in CIA's Counter-Proliferation Division, Plame leads an investigation into the existence of WMDs in Iraq. Plame's husband, diplomat Joe Wilson [Sean Penn] -- a well-known critic of the Bush administration -- is drawn into the investigation when he is assigned [by whom?] to substantiate an alleged sale of enriched uranium from Niger. His classified findings are that there was no sale and likely no WMDs. But when the administration ignores his report and continues its call to war, Wilson is outraged, violates the secret nature of his assignment, and writes a New York Times editorial outlining his conclusions, igniting a firestorm of public controversy. In a panic, the WH does some slopping math: it sees the editorial, adds in that the author is the husband of a covert CIA officer, assumes she might have played a role in cherrypicking her husband for the assignment, and deduces that this is nothing less than a blatant, politically-motivated betrayal of decisions that should have remained in the hands of the President and his security advisors who, alone, are the ones to decide which facts to accept or ignore from all inputs from intelligence collectors and analysts.

In reaction, Plame's identity, NOC role, CIA ties, are revealed to newspaper columnists, making headlines, in attempt to neutralize, sully her credibility, and demolish her career as a way to silence - or punish - her husband .

Misbehavior on all sides. There still is little agreement on where the betrayals were greatest, but the deliberate exposure of Valerie Plame's undercover status was unconscionable for it put the lives of scores of sensitive operations, proprietaries, other officers, and intelligence assets at risk in countries that never forget, and later arrest and often kill entire families known to have aided CIA or other western services.

Intelligence Podcasts - Some Selections
SpyCasts™ from the International Spy Museum

Each month, the International Spy Museum offers SpyCasts [podcasts] featuring unusual interviews and programs with ex-spies, intelligence experts, and espionage scholars. Hosted by Peter Earnest, Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, former Chairman and President of AFIO, and a former CIA operations officer, these podcasts provide fresh and remarkably frank insights from two or more colleagues exploring current or historical intelligence topics. They provide instances where you will hear what you always wanted to ask, or will rarely hear elsewhere, and never will see in print.
Highly educational and entertaining.

Here are a few of the recent ones worth bringing to your attention. These are available directly from the Museum's RSS feed or through a free subscription to them through iTunes. Links below.

Selected recent ones from the Spy Museum to download right away...

When Iranian militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, Mark and Cora Lijek and four other American diplomats slipped out a side exit and found themselves on the run in a hostile country. Before long, Canadian diplomats gave them shelter but now they had to avoid discovery while Washington hatched an audacious plan to rescue them. The Lijeks discuss with Peter their ordeal and how they prepared to escape. American diplomats Mark and Cora Lijek were hiding at the home of a Canadian diplomat as the Iranian Revolution swirled around them. Peter continues his discussion with the Lijeks and also welcomes Tony Mendez, the CIA officer who led the daring operation to bring them home. Hear how they escaped the country posing as Hollywood filmmakers and the joy they felt as they finally left Iranian airspace.

Today Peter converses with Dino Brugioni, a pioneer of the art of photo interpretation and a living legend of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Dino shares his personal experiences briefing Presidents and describes the role that he and overhead photography played in such seminal Cold War events as the “missile gap” and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dino Brugioni has looked inside the most secret places on earth…from above.

Peter’s guest today is Valerie Plame, a covert CIA officer who recently left the Agency after her name was leaked to the press. Valerie discusses her time at the CIA, the controversy surrounding her case, and the administration’s drive to war against Iraq. She also reveals how suddenly becoming a focus of public attention affected her marriage and family.

To see a list -- and hear -- prior ones, and to subscribe:

Spy Museum site:

iTunes site:


Sri Lanka to Set Up New Intelligence Service. Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse has submitted a Cabinet paper recommending the establishment of a new National Intelligence Service (NIS) under the Defense Ministry to safeguard peace and stability in the country. The NIS would be set up through a new Act of Parliament replacing the current institution, government sources said.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is also the Minister of Defense and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and his brother Gothabaya Rajapaksa is the Secretary to the Defense Ministry.

The government expects to submit the draft bill soon in the parliament with the approval of the cabinet.

The new intelligence service would comprise internal and external sections under the direct administration and supervision of the Defense Ministry. [Tamilnet/12October2010] 

Seoul to Dispose of Former Defector's Safe House. South Korea may sell the Seoul "safe house" where a top North Korean defector lived under police guard, following media exposure of its location following his death.

""This house can no longer be used as a safe house" because of the media reports following Hwang Jang-Yop's death on Sunday, according to an official.

The National Intelligence Service had no immediate comment.

Hwang, a former tutor to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, became one of the regime's bitterest critics after defecting in 1997 - the highest-ranking official ever to come South.

The 87-year-old was found dead in his bathtub. Police said there were no immediate signs of foul play, despite earlier death threats against the defector.

Real estate agents estimated the large property at Nonhyeondong in southern Seoul's wealthy Gangnam area could fetch some 2.7 million dollars.

Since his death Hwang has been hailed as a hero for speaking out against Pyongyang's regime, despite the threats.

"We regard very highly his efforts... to improve North Korea's human rights situation, overhaul and open its society and reunify the two Koreas," unification ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung said Monday.

The government is "positively" considering a posthumous medal and interment in the national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon, said a spokesman for the public administration and security ministry.

Dongguk University professor Park Sun-Song said, however, it "remains doubtful whether his activities against the North contributed to peace and national reconciliation on the Korean peninsula". [Mysinchew/11October2010]

Group Demands Deportation of Ex-KGB Agent. A small Ukrainian-Canadian advocacy group is pressuring the federal government of Canada to deport Mikhail Lennikov, a former KGB agent who has taken sanctuary in a Vancouver church.

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association has sent postcards to members of the public, federal politicians, the RCMP and other Canadian security agencies. The cards say "No KGB in Canada" and have a picture of a flight attendant with a one-way ticket from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

Lennikov, who claims he was forced to join the KGB while he was a student in the USSR in the 1980s, has been living inside the First Lutheran Church in East Vancouver since last summer when a federal judge upheld a Canadian government decision that he was a detriment to Canadian interests and ordered him deported.

Roman Zakaluzny, the chair of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, wants Lennikov out of Canada.

"According to Canadian Border Services, the RCMP, CSIS, he is not admissible in this country. They presented evidence in camera saying he is a threat to this country. We're not experts in that and Justice Russell Zinn of the Federal Court has agreed and this man must be deported," he told CBC News.

Lennikov is still fighting to have his deportation order rescinded.

Richard Hergesheimer, the pastor of First Lutheran Church, said he doubts the postcard campaign will affect Lennikov's case.

"I think the people who have been supporting him, know his story and have been extremely supportive over the year and I don't expect that to change," said Hergesheimer.

Lennikov's wife Irina, and son Dmitri, who were given permission to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds, joined him in the church this past January. [CBC/11October2010] 

Lebanese Army Arrests Nine Suspected of Spying for Israel. The Lebanese army arrested nine people it said have spied for Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad.

"The Intelligence Directorate was able to uncover and arrest during the last two months nine agents whose dealings with the Israeli Mossad were confirmed," the army said in a statement on its website. "Investigations with four of these agents were completed and they were referred to the relevant judicial authorities."

The other five suspects are still under investigation, the army said. Lebanon's Foreign Ministry has also filed a formal complaint with the United Nations about alleged Israeli spying in Lebanon, Major General Ashraf Reefi, head of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, said in an interview yesterday. Lebanon has no diplomatic relations with Israel and is technically at war with its neighbour. Besides the nine arrests announced by the army yesterday, the country's security forces say they have broken up 23 cells and arrested about 141 people in the past two years on spying charges.

A Lebanese army colonel was charged August 18 in a military court with spying for Israel a day after two men were sentenced to death for being agents for Mossad. Another retired Lebanese army colonel was arrested on August 3 on charges of spying for Israel.

In July a military court sentenced a 58-year-old Lebanese man to death for giving Israel information on the whereabouts of senior members of Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with the Jewish state in 2006. Lebanese law prescribes the death penalty or life imprisonment with hard labour for convicted spies. Such rulings are subject to appeal to the country's highest court.

Israel has not so far made any public statements about the arrests. Israeli government policy is not to confirm or deny allegations regarding Mossad's operations. [GulfNews/11October2010] 

Prisoner in Spy Swap Deal Urges Hague to Take Tough Line with Moscow. Igor Sutyagin, who came to Britain from a prison camp in July as part of the biggest spy swap since the Cold War, said Russia was reverting to its authoritarian past, and increasingly reminded him of George Orwell's novel 1984.

"It is a question of how Britain sees itself. The strong must not pass injustice by," he said in a forthright interview with The Sunday Telegraph. "Maybe it will not help protect human rights but it is worth a try. If you want to sleep soundly and not reproach yourself later then there is a need to act."

Mr. Sutyagin, a former academic, was arrested by Russia's FSB security service in 1999 and convicted on what he claims were trumped-up charges of passing military secrets to the United States.

The Kremlin handed over him and three other men convicted of spying in exchange for ten men and women the FBI had accused of being deep-cover Russian agents in the US, including glamorous property agent Anna Chapman.

Fearing he will be rearrested if he returns to Russia despite being pardoned by President Dmitry Medvedev, Mr. Sutyagin is now living in London and searching for work. Grateful for Britain's hospitality, he said he had no right as "a guest" to lecture, but said he believed Britain owed it to itself to stand up to the Kremlin.

Mr. Hague will make his first visit as foreign secretary to Russia on Wednesday, amid tentative signs that both countries are ready to upgrade relations spoilt by the 2006 murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London.

Russia's outgoing ambassador to Britain, Yuri Fedotov, has said the Kremlin wants to move on from a period of Cold War-style tension, while Mr. Hague has also stated that the "door is open" to better relations.

The Foreign Secretary is keen to promote British business interests in Russia, including the oil and gas sector, and will meet Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Mr. Sutyagin, who languished in Soviet-style prison camps for eleven years on what he insists were trumped up spying charges, urged Mr. Hague to hold his nerve and not gloss over difficult issues. He singled out growing curbs on the freedom of the media.

"Russia today reminds me of the Soviet Union. There were too many lies and I see that those lies have returned. It looks like a deliberate policy," he said.

"A different reality is being created. The same language employed in the Soviet Union is back and the same people with stony faces."

Mr. Sutyagin, who hopes in time to return to Russia to be reunited with his wife and two daughters, cited draconian restrictions on freedom of assembly too, quoting Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, who recently said that illegal protestors deserved a good "whack on the head with a baton."

Mr. Hague is under pressure to follow in the footsteps of the United States, which has put its own disagreements with the Kremlin to one side and "reset" relations agreeing to cooperate where possible. Hungry for foreign investment, Russia has a long wish list.

It wants Britain to treat its requests to extradite Russian �migr�s wanted at home on criminal charges more favorably. It also wants to restore systematic cooperation between the two countries' intelligence services that was severed in the wake of the Litvinenko affair and for visa arrangements for Russian officials to be eased. So far, Britain shows no sign of altering its position on the Litvinenko affair. It wants the man it believes fatally poisoned him, former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi, to be brought here to face trial.

So far, the Kremlin has refused to do so, although Mr. Fedotov recently suggested the Kremlin might agree to try him itself on home soil.

Friends of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in jail last year after being denied medical care, are anxious for Mr. Hague to press home calls for a proper investigation, while allies of jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky want him to ask the Kremlin about his second trial on charges that they claim are politically motivated.

Mr. Sutyagin said Mr. Hague would face a rough ride if he did talk tough. "In the short term there will be losses but in the long term it will bring benefits," he said. "I do not want my country to be filled with fear." [Osborn/Telegraph/10October2010]

U.S. Intelligence Agencies "Wasted" Billions: Senator Faults Mismanagement. U.S. intelligence agencies have wasted many billions of dollars by mismanaging secret, high-technology programs, the deputy chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says.

"The American public would be outraged if they knew," Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, told The Washington Times. "Billions and billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted."

Mr. Bond said he was unable to provide details or exact figures because the programs are classified. "I wish I could, but I can't," he said, adding that "many billions of dollars" were wasted on "just one program" that had been canceled recently.

In 2009, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair, then-director of national intelligence, revealed for the first time that U.S. spending on military and civilian intelligence programs totaled about $75 billion.

Past intelligence acquisitions that became public after spending for them had run out of control include spy-satellite programs, such as the National Reconnaissance Office's Future Imagery Architecture, which is widely regarded as the most costly failure in U.S. intelligence, and computer technology, such as the National Security Agency's Trailblazer, which officials publicly admitted in 2005 was several hundred million dollars over budget and several years behind schedule.

Mr. Bond said provisions in the new intelligence spending law signed by President Obama last week were designed to improve reporting to Congress about secret spending programs when costs start to rise. "We wanted to make sure that we've got a fail-safe in the law should some of these programs go wrong in the future," he said.

The long-delayed Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act contains language modeled on the 1982 Nunn-McCurdy defense spending bill, named for then-Sen. Sam Nunn, Georgia Democrat, and then-Rep. Dave McCurdy, Oklahoma Democrat. A new provision states that the director of national intelligence (DNI) has to report to Congress within 45 days about any major programs experiencing "significant cost growth" - a rise of 15 percent or more from the original cost estimate.

If the costs rise by more than 25 percent - "critical cost growth" - the DNI has to cancel the program or explain to Congress why it is essential to national security, why there are no cheaper alternatives and why the program is more important than any others that might have to be cut to accommodate the growing costs.

The new provision was greeted with cautious optimism by those who track defense and intelligence spending.

"It's a good way of systematically drawing the attention of lawmakers" to problematic programs, said John Pike of the Virginia-based think tank

Steven Aftergood, who heads the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, said lawmakers "needed to automate the process" in intelligence spending because "alarms [about spending growth] that would ring in other contexts don't operate" in the classified sphere.

Spending programs in other departments are subject to inspector-general review or Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits, he said. "There are all sorts of management practices that get shortchanged in the classified world."

Mr. Bond said that, despite the classified nature of the programs, lawmakers "have the ability to get the information we need" to do oversight of them.

He called the staff on the committee "great spies" who were able to dig out details of flawed programs.

"We find out a lot of stuff they don't want us to know," he said.

Mr. Aftergood called that "a somewhat rosy picture of the oversight process."

"There is lots of information they can get if they ask for it," he said, "But it is a question of knowing what to ask."

In defense spending, Nunn-McCurdy has been "very effective in raising a flag when there's a problem" with rising costs, said Nick Schwellenbach, director of investigations with the Project on Government Oversight, a spending watchdog.

"At the end of the day, it still comes down to decision-makers in the executive or Congress to actually do something," he added.

Mr. Bond said the military has "figured out ways to get around" Nunn-McCurdy, and he predicted intelligence officials would seek to do the same. "Congress is going to have to get on them," he said.

"It's a good first step," he said of the new intelligence spending provisions, "but it's not a silver bullet."

Mr. Pike said that many intelligence programs, which seek to leverage the latest technology, were "high risk by definition. If it's not high risk, they're not trying hard enough."

Another provision in the intelligence law also aimed at improving oversight of intelligence spending. Some lawmakers had pushed for intelligence agencies to be subject to GAO auditing.

"That was directly responsive to these problems" of programs that had gone billions over budget and were years behind schedule, Mr. Aftergood said. Lawmakers "wanted to see closer investigation of contract performance."

But Mr. Obama threatened to veto a bill that contained such measures, and the final version only asks the DNI to define a role for GAO auditors in the intelligence community. "They left it to the DNI to decide," Mr. Aftergood said.

Part of the problem, said Mr. Bond, is the "dysfunctional" way that oversight of U.S. intelligence was organized in the Congress. The intelligence committees in each chamber work year-round on oversight. But the purse-strings are controlled by the defense appropriations subcommittees - which have responsibility for all Pentagon spending and cannot devote sufficient time, energy or specialist knowledge to intelligence programs, he said.

"Regrettably, when we started raising the issues, it took us several years to convince the rest of Congress" that action was needed, Mr. Bond said, adding there was also "stiff resistance from the executive branch."

"In the past, the administration has been reluctant to take instruction" from the intelligence committee about over-budget or behind-schedule programs, in part because appropriators generally funded the programs anyway, Mr. Bond said. [Waterman/WashingtonTimes/12October2010]

Homeland Security And Spy Agency To Work Together. Computer experts at the secretive National Security Agency are teaming up with the Homeland Security Department in an effort to strengthen the nation's defenses against cyber attacks.

The partnership unveiled Wednesday raised concerns among civil liberties advocates, who say that safeguards are needed to ensure that the collaboration between the spy agency and Homeland Security does not wind up violating the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

NSA and Homeland Security officials both said they are creating small teams that will work in the other agency's operations centers, a move designed to help them share lawfully gathered intelligence and provide Homeland Security faster access to the NSA's broad technical expertise.

The collaboration is a move to help the U.S. guard against the growing threat of cyber attacks against government and private computer networks. U.S. government and private networks are increasingly under attack by hackers and other cyber criminals.

The officials said the plan will include increased oversight by legal and privacy professionals to insure that individuals rights are protected. But privacy officials said the new relationship must be watched closely, including by outside watchdogs.

"The National Security Agency has traditionally pulled computer security into the realm of secrecy and surveillance," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center. "There is a great need to insure that the NSA's tools for surveillance are not directed at the American public."

Cyber security expert James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said there was an initial reluctance within DHS and on Capitol Hill to move forward with the plan, with some suggesting it would be better to build the cyber expertise within Homeland Security.

But senior U.S. officials decided it would be faster and cheaper for Homeland Security to use NSA's facilities and experts, rather than try to duplicate them, officials said.

A senior Defense Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss policy matters, said the nation doesn't have the time or money to replicate what NSA is already doing. The NSA is part of the Defense Department, and the agreement was signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The NSA has expertise developed over many years in dealing with encrypted foreign computer code or messages, Lewis said. If encrypted malicious code is detected, the NSA is the government agency best equipped to handle it, he said.

The new partnership will link the NSA, DHS and the military's newly created Cyber Command. The command is based alongside the NSA at Fort Meade, Md., and headed by the agency's director, Gen. Keith Alexander.

Officials said the Defense Department will send two teams of four to six experts each to the DHS cyber operations center. One would be from the NSA and the other would be from Cyber Command, and they would allow the Defense Department to respond more quickly to DHS during a cyber attack or incident.

At the same time, DHS will send a team to the NSA, including Adm. Michael Brown, the deputy assistant secretary for cyber security. His team would include privacy and legal personnel, to safeguard civil liberties.

The moves will not give DHS or the NSA any new missions or authority, officials said, adding that they will enable everyone to share information more quickly when faced with a cyber emergency. [NPR/14October2010] 

Intelligence Official Shares His Organizational Vision. Two months on the job, James R. Clapper Jr., the fourth director of national intelligence in five years, is already making structural and personnel changes in his organization, which must clarify its role as manager of the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

Clapper spoke of "the alleged frailties and ambiguities of the office I am now in," during his first major policy speech as director last week at a conference sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

He said he already has learned one lesson: "A challenge for any DNI the way it's constituted now: Running the enterprise and providing the intelligence support to the president." The latter role involves being in the Oval Office with the president most mornings for the national security briefing.

He said his "most daunting challenge . . . is time management, adding: "That's been an observation of all previous DNIs and DCIs (the predecessor director of central intelligence), for that matter," he said.

For intelligence veterans, Clapper's remarks were familiar. They recall that six years ago the same question was raised when the 9/11 Commission proposed legislation with the DNI concept. The argument for the DNI and its accompanying new bureaucratic layer was that the system then in place - the CIA director also serving as director of central intelligence - was too much for one person to handle.

Within the CIA, the argument against a DNI was that you did not need a new organization. Instead, clarify the authority within the intelligence community of the DCI, and that person and his or her deputy could handle both jobs. Needless to say, that view did not prevail in 2004.

Clapper told the conference that his solution for handling the two roles was going to be to give his principal deputy the job of chief operating officer, "and, more or less, to internally run the staff" that implements the intelligence community management role. That would free him to pay attention to what he described as "providing the subsequent intelligence report for Customer No. 1 (the president) and all that goes with that."

Clapper named David R. Shedd, a career CIA officer who has worked since 2007 as deputy DNI for policy, plans and requirements - except for one month, beginning in August, when he went to the Pentagon as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In another personnel move, Clapper announced that he will ignore the statute that allows him four deputy directors and instead have two - Shedd and Robert Cardillo, who had been at the Pentagon when Clapper was undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

Cardillo, who comes from the analytical side of Defense Department intelligence, will have the title of DNI deputy director for intelligence integration. As described by Clapper, it will be a job that replaces two former DNI deputy directors, one who was in charge of collection and another who handled analysis.

Clapper said that although collection and analysis should remain separate at the agency levels, his office is a place "where these two normally separate endeavors in intelligence need to come together."

That step undoubtedly will please Congress, which has worried about the size of the office, because it collapses two bureaucratic groups. It also may be welcomed by collectors and analysts at the CIA, the Pentagon and elsewhere because it may limit second-guessing of their activities from the office's staff.

However, Clapper acknowledged that it was "causing a lot of angst" among his own staff.

Known as a frank speaker, Clapper also took on one issue that his predecessors often ducked.

During the question-and-answer period, former congressman Dave McCurdy (D-Okla.), once chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, asked Clapper if he thought congressional oversight was becoming "more and more partisan or polarized and . . . less effective."

Clapper initially responded with memories of the early 1990s, when he said the atmosphere was "largely bipartisan, where the [intelligence committee members] felt that this was a sacred public trust that had nothing to do with home-district or home-state equities or interests."

Unspoken was the practice, grown up during recent years, of members placing earmarks on intelligence authorization and appropriations bills.

But Clapper then said, "I think it's fair to say that over time, I think the two intelligence committees have gotten caught up somewhat in the partisanship that I think prevails today."

He said he wants to do "what I can to make it a bipartisan discourse."

Good luck in an election year. [Pincus/WashingtonPost/11October2010] 

U.S. Military Adopting the Cloud for Intelligence. In a $24.8 million project, the U.S. military will employ cloud computing solutions to their intelligence gathering efforts, Military & Aerospace Electronics reports.

Military intelligence collects mission-critical information to assist soldiers in effectively carrying out objectives. Frequently, intelligence agents obtain data such as video, audio, images, financial records and signals intelligence to help soldiers better understand their targets.

By using the cloud, intelligence agents can access a variety of applications, files and communication services through internet browsers. The cloud's flexibility is also likely to benefit military deployments, as systems can be constantly updated from a central control point.

Last month, the military announced a plan to use mobile cloud boxes to facilitate communication between soldiers and intelligence workers. Through these devices, soldiers are able to easily connect with data collection tools in the air, at sea or at command centers.

The cloud boxes are designed as compact devices that soldiers can carry as they move into combat situations. Through the cloud computing network, they can instantly access intelligence information and communicate with important advisers.

The cloud-based technology is deployed in Afghanistan as a way to help soldiers fight in a hostile natural environment of caves and desert. The connection to reliable intelligence resources is expected to help soldiers identify threats and navigate the landscape more effectively. [CenterBeam/14October2010] 

Rights Group Questions Fairness of Cuban Spy Trial in US. Amnesty International has questioned the fairness of a U.S. trial that convicted five Cuban agents of espionage, conspiracy to commit murder and other related charges.

In a report issued earlier this week, the London-based human rights group described a "prejudicial impact of publicity," saying the anti-Castro community in south Florida may have created partiality during the trial that affected the convictions and subsequent appeals process.

The rights group, while not commenting on the men's guilt or innocence, highlighted questions surrounding their pretrial detention, their access to attorneys and documents that "may have undermined their right to defense," the report said.

Cuba says the five men, known at home as "the five heroes," were sent to Miami to infiltrate violent exile groups at a time when anti-Castro groups were bombing Cuban hotels. They were arrested in 1998. Their incarceration has drawn condemnation in Cuba and abroad.

One of the five is serving a life sentence for allegedly helping Cuba shoot down two unarmed airplanes that were dropping leaflets over the island, killing the Cuban-American pilots.

The five have acknowledged acting as unregistered Cuban agents assigned to report hostile activity from the Cuban exile community or visible signs of U.S. military actions against Cuba, but have denied efforts to breach U.S. national security, according to the Amnesty report.

Last year, the defendants were denied an appeal when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their case.

The defense argued that a fair trial was impossible in a city dominated by anti-Castro politics.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Amnesty asked for closer examination of the circumstances surrounding the group's incarceration.

Images of the men are plastered across billboards throughout Cuba. Their names are also commonly included in speeches given by Cuban officials during major political events.

The report comes at a time when Cuba is in the process of releasing its largest batch of political prisoners in over a decade. [Ariosto/CNN/15October2010]

MI6 Officers Apply for Canberra Spy Jobs. More than 50 spies at MI6 have responded to a recruitment drive by the intelligence agency's Australian counterpart.

According to insiders, the strong interest among middle-ranking officers in jobs at the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) reflects a crisis in morale at MI6.

There has been growing uncertainty among the agency's 2600 staff who have been unsettled by looming budget cuts, inquiries into alleged complicity in the torture of terrorism suspects and moves to keep operatives behind computer screens in London rather than sending them on overseas missions.

The changes are being overseen by Sir John Sawers, the MI6 chief, who achieved unexpected fame - and ridicule - last year when his wife Shelley inadvertently breached security by posting pictures of him on Facebook. He was shown wearing Speedos - nicknamed "budgie smugglers" in Australia - on the open section of a Facebook page.

The attraction of Australia for Sawers's officers is enhanced by the contrast with a three-year Whitehall-wide pay freeze. Forced to retire at 55, insiders say they face limited promotion prospects as executive jobs are cut.

This week's strategic defence and security review will add to the gloom by ending MI6's recent dramatic expansion. 

Although MI6 will escape the brunt of the severe cuts facing most departments, belt-tightening could spell the end of lavish expense accounts.

Sawers wants to phase out the image of the MI6 officer as a globe-trotting James Bond figure who undertakes glamorous missions abroad.

The emphasis at Vauxhall Cross, the agency's headquarters in south London, will shift to promoting computer specialists and other back-office technicians.

Sawers's changes are part of a strategic shift in security policy, replacing cold war-style undercover spying missions. The agency is now defending Britain's vital computer systems against cyber-attack by terrorists and rogue states.

In contrast to MI6's new austerity, the Australian SIS is seen as bold, brash and expanding. It is understood to have posted an advertisement inside MI6's headquarters for 12 middle management jobs at its headquarters in Canberra.

British spies are being offered full Australian citizenship while being allowed to keep their British nationality, full pension entitlements and a transfer grant to pay for them and their families to move.

The current starting salary for a junior spy in Britain is between pounds 27,250 and pounds 45,277, depending on expertise.

Australian salaries are generally lower, but the attractions of a sunny climate and a better quality of life are "pull factors" for the thousands who move there each year.

British emigration to Australia has more than doubled in the past decade. Recent figures show it running at nearly 12,000 people a year, excluding those who move there to retire.

British spies are in high demand. Last year there were anecdotal reports that the CIA in Washington was seeking to headhunt some of its MI6 counterparts.

Historically, MI6 has a long-standing transfer program in which two or three officers join the ASIS every year. But the latest move by Australia seems to be the biggest poaching attempt so far.

Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, an intelligence analyst, said news of the brain drain did not surprise him.

"There are good reasons why there would be an exodus, although it is unusual to see it at this level. There is a pay freeze. But there is also a lot of unhappiness about being associated with the torture allegations," he said.

The spy agency this weekend declined to comment on the exodus.

The Foreign Office said: "We do have a good relationship with Australia, including on intelligence matters, but there is no desire to go into any discussion on this." [Leppard/TheAustralian/17October2010] 


From Russia With Love: Oswald Letter Auctioned Off. A letter JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald wrote to his mother - a key piece of evidence from the Warren Commission investigation - has just been auctioned off for $7,050.

In the letter, Oswald, whom the commission determined to be the slain president's sole killer, tells his mother about his Russian-born wife's visit with her uncle, a KGB agent.

For nearly 50 years, conspiracy advocates have touted the notion that the government covered up important information about the Kennedy assassination, speculating that the Soviet KGB intelligence agency was somehow involved.

"This letter is interesting because Oswald's wife, Marina, is in Minsk, meeting with her uncle, a KGB officer, and Oswald is miserable because she left him. At this point, he's been trying to get re-entry into the United States and has run into the bureaucracy of both the Soviet and U.S. government," said Bobby Livingston, vice president of sales and marketing for RR Auction in Amherst, N.H.

In the letter, written from Russia to his mother, Marguerite, Oswald refers to his wife's family:

"They don't speak any English, however, her uncle is a army colonel, soon to retire. You needn't worry about my losing American citizenship I can only do that if want to, and I don't want too."

Livingston believes the Warren Commission would have initially found this letter to be of interest because of the family tie between Oswald's wife and her KGB uncle.

"These kinds of letters helped establish that Oswald wasn't involved in some kind of KGB operation - that he wasn't living a life of luxury and wasn't being groomed for any kind of secret mission into this country. This is why they would have seized those letters," he told AOL News.

"What makes this letter important is the mention of Marina's uncle, who's a shadowy army KGB colonel, something that conspiracy theorists have always tried to say that this was Oswald's operative, or commander that sent him to kill our president. That's why this letter is exciting."

And in the grand tradition of "nothing more powerful than a mother's love," Oswald's mother - who died in 1981 - made audio recordings in 1964, including the letter that was just auctioned, of her son's accounts from Russia.

In the introduction of the audio letters, she explains why she did this:

"I believe that my son, Lee Harvey Oswald, is innocent. I heard him say, 'I didn't do it, I did not kill anyone.' So, I go from place to place, without any pay. I mention this because many people have written and have asked and said that I am trying to commercialize on my son's death.

"I will have royalties from this particular record - this is the way I earn my income. Otherwise, I have no income, I have lost my job immediately because of the publicity. I am the mother of this boy. As you will listen to my voice and hear me read the letters, I think that you will get a different picture of the boy than has been presented through the news and through the magazines and the general public."

According to Livingston, handwritten items, like the Oswald letter, are always in demand by collectors.

"It really brings history to life. It's not just a signature on a baseball. It's written from Russia where Oswald is talking about things that are interesting about his struggles in trying to get back to the United States. Unfortunately, he got back here and changed history.

"To have these documents just sheds another light on one of the great tragedies of the 20th century."

When the hammer came down, closing the auction for Oswald's letter on Wednesday night, it went to the highest bid of $7,050.

Livingston told AOL News that the winner wishes to be completely anonymous. "I think the high price for the Oswald letter is a reflection of how much JFK's assassination still resonates with the winning bidder, almost 50 years after that tragic day in Dallas.

"Those gunshots changed everything." [AOLNews/14October2010] 

The Spy Next Door Was Ours. He may be the shrewdest spy master you've never heard of.

But after 66 years living anonymously as a salesman in a blue collar section of Jackson Heights, Queens, George Vujnovich is being outed. The U.S. Army, which for six decades had kept Vujnovich's daring rescue of 512 American airmen during World War II a secret, is awarding him a Bronze Star.

It's the military's third highest honor.

"I'll be thankful to those that were in there with me," said the now-95 year-old Vujnovich (pronounced VOIN-ovich). He worked at the headquarters of OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA. He remains sharp, if humble, still fully possessed of the temperament that made him an effective trainer and dispatcher of field agents.

The airmen he created the plan to rescue had parachuted out of planes that were shot down by the Nazis over Yugoslavia in 1944. Fortunately for those fliers, they came down in an area controlled by rebel Chetniks led by Draza Mihailovic. Unfortunately, political breezes were blowing toward Josip Broz Tito, a communist partisan leader and rival of Mihailovic's. So the United States government was reluctant to appear to be involved with a plan of any kind that included Mihailovic's forces.

What Vujnovich realized was that Mihailovic was the only reason those 500 airmen were spared capture by the Germans and that the passage of time might change that. He rushed to organize a rescue.

"It's espionage. It's cloak and dagger. It's just an amazing, amazing story," said U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of Queens, who pushed the Army starting in July to give Vujnovich belated official recognition.

The plan relied on the airmen themselves working with Serbian peasant farmers to convert an old pasture to an airstrip. "They also had to come up with a way for enough cargo planes to fly in and pick up 500 airmen," said Gregory Freeman, whose book "The Forgotten 500" tells the story of Vujnovich's plan and its successful result.

Ever since leaving government service in 1947 after the war, Vujnovich has lived more or less anonymously, selling aircraft parts while declining to discuss his past even with close neighbors. "They have no idea what I did or was," he said to a reporter in his living room as a longtime native Yugoslavian friend looked on.

Vujnovich says he's the last surviving member of the rescue team. However, when Congressman Crowley pins the Bronze Star on his chest at a Serbian Cathedral in Manhattan Sunday, it's expected that Anthony Orsini - one of those rescued airmen - will be present.

"It will be nice to get our picture in the newspapers, said the nonagenarian retired spy. "I just wish some of the others who pulled it off could be there too." [Minton/NBC/15October2010]

Former CIA Director Speaks Out. We are six years out from one of the most far-reaching reforms of U.S. intelligence in its history. In 2004, Congress passed legislation that created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to oversee and coordinate the sprawling collection of agencies that act as our nation's eyes and ears. In thinking about the consequences, we now have an extraordinary World Affairs article by Gen. Michael Hayden, who has served as director of the CIA, director of the National Security Agency, and deputy to the first director of national intelligence, John Negroponte. In short, he knows whereof he speaks.

Hayden sees the reform as mixed bag. Like many in the intelligence world, he had opposed it at its inception, noting here that in the midst of war "[o]ur operational tempo was extremely high and we all knew that any major restructuring would be a drain on time and energy." But given the lapses that led to 9/11 and the erroneous estimate of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a restructuring was almost inevitable. Congress chose to strip the director of the CIA of his coordinating role and convey that power to the head of the new agency that it created.

Hayden sees some pluses for the CIA in such a step: On the one hand, CIA directors under the new structure were now free to concentrate on CIA matters alone. But on the other hand, the reform merely kicked the problem upstairs, imposing "monumental" burdens on the Director of National Intelligence, vesting him with responsibility as senior intelligence adviser to the president and also with coordinating the actions of all the subordinate intelligence agencies, twin functions that CIA directors formerly wrestled with.

Hayden offers a very frank, and rather critical, appraisal of the Obama administration's handling of the intelligence world. For one thing, the system's success hinges heavily on the closeness of the Director of National Intelligence to the president, and under Dennis Blair, in no small part thanks to his own missteps, such closeness was absent.

Obama and Blair did not know one another before assuming their respective offices and did not meet frequently during the transition. Beyond this, it was clear to most in the intelligence community that, as much as this or any administration values good intelligence, this team was not all that anxious to look "under the hood." The general attitude seemed to be one of treating intelligence like a public utility. Most of us, when we enter a room and throw on a light switch, expect illumination - not a grand debate over the virtues of 110 versus 220, the physics of power generation, or even the relative merits of building codes. Just light, please. With a variety of crises imposing themselves on the administration, the inner workings of intelligence - whenever they became an issue - were clearly viewed as a distraction from important work.

Hayden's article offers an especially acute analysis of the danger of "fratricide" that is always looming over the relationship between the CIA and the ODNI. He shows that even as we have been bringing the fight to our enemies, the reform has provoked - as many predicted - a great deal of internal strife in the intelligence world. Whether the restructuring has made the country more secure is impossible to say. We know well that we live in the vulnerable world of Sept. 12, 2001. But no one can tell us - including our multibillion dollar intelligence community - if today is also a Sept. 10. [SFExaminer/18October2010] 


Pakistan Goes Rogue and Worries Europe and America, by Simon Henderson. Something brewing in Europe has spooked counterterrorism officials. On Oct. 3, the State Department issued a rare warning to Americans, urging them to show vigilance during their trips. Over the last week, European counterterrorism officials have escalated their precautions: The Eiffel Tower has been cleared twice in the last three weeks because of bomb alerts, and special anti-terrorism forces have been active on French streets. The threat, which covers France, Britain, and Germany, is reportedly of a "Mumbai-style" attack by al Qaeda.

In November 2008, terrorists wreaked havoc on the Indian port city by launching coordinated attacks against hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites, killing 166 people. Could the same sort of horror be in store for Paris, Berlin, or London?

An unusual footnote in Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars sheds light on where responsibility for such an attack might originate. Indeed, it is the only footnote in the whole book.

Woodward's footnote qualifies a line reporting that, within 48 hours of the Mumbai attacks, then CIA Director Michael Hayden told Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani that CIA intelligence showed no direct link to the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, the country's main spy agency. "[T]hese are former people who are no longer employees of the Pakistani government," Hayden reportedly told Haqqani. However, the U.S. intelligence community would apparently revise this assessment because there, at the bottom of page 46 of Woodward's book, are the words: "The CIA later received reliable intelligence that the ISI was directly involved in the training for Mumbai.

The Pakistani military would admit a month later that it had connections to individuals involved in the attack. The head of ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, briefed Hayden at CIA headquarters, telling him that the planners of the Mumbai attacks, identified as "at least two retired Pakistani Army officers," were linked to the ISI, but the operation had not been authorized by the Pakistani military. It was rogue, Woodward writes, before quoting Pasha: "There may have been people associated with my organization who were associated with this. That's different from authority, direction and control."

The "rogue" quote in Woodward's book has been picked up by the Indian media because it fits with the narrative, popular among many in Pakistan's bigger neighbor, that the Pakistan military in general and the ISI in particular have ceased being national institutions subordinate to legal or governmental control. Saikat Datta, writing this week in Outlook India, described the Pakistani terrorist organizations responsible for the Mumbai attacks as "a parallel state run with quiet and ruthless efficiency by the ISI."

The Indians have a point - and when they read Woodward's footnote, they will be even more convinced. With U.S. officials having originally assured New Delhi that the Mumbai attacks were not sanctioned by Islamabad, thereby averting Indian military retaliation, it is unclear whether they told their Indian counterparts of their revised view or left it for them to read in Woodward's book.

So far, the "R word" has yet to enter the American public's lexicon. But Obama's Wars also introduces another "R word" that holds great consequence for U.S. policy toward Pakistan: "retribution." If Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American citizen, had successfully blown up his SUV in New York's Times Square in May, National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones warned Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the United States "would be forced to do things Pakistan would not like," according to Woodward. Pakistani readers of the book would have been surprised to learn that the U.S. response "could entail a retribution campaign of bombing up to 150 known terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan." Dating from George W. Bush's administration, Woodward writes, the United States already has a "brutal, punishing" plan (of which Obama has been informed): "the U.S. would bomb or attack every known al Qaeda compound or training camp in the U.S. intelligence database."

Neither "brutal" nor "punishing" sounds much like a measured response - but Obama's Wars is clear that there aren't many options for eliminating the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan. After the entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is not in the business of invading any more countries - and certainly not a country like Pakistan, which possesses dozens of nuclear weapons.

But that doesn't mean that the United States can afford to ignore the growing chaos in South Asia. When Bruce Riedel, the former CIA analyst who conducted the Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy review for the White House, briefed Obama on Air Force One, aside from another 9/11 traceable to Pakistan or a jihadi government in Islamabad, the "third bad thing" he said he feared was another Pakistani attack on India, "either directly or indirectly, Mumbai redux." The next attack would provoke an Indian military response, "and that means you are talking about the potential for nuclear war."

On September 29, CIA Director Leon Panetta met General Pasha in Islamabad. Woodward's Washington Post colleague, David Ignatius, quoted a senior ISI official as saying that the two men "discussed everything possible," and Panetta had been "reassured" of Pakistan's "support for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Let's hope so.

Let's also hope that wiser heads emerge in Pakistan. Woodward depicts the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani (a former ISI chief himself), as unreliable and capable of telling only half the story. Nor does the civilian government offer much comfort: Zardari "doesn't know anything about governing," according to Woodward, quoting "a candid private assessment" by the U.S. ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani does not merit a mention in Woodward's "Cast of Characters" or even his index.

So Europe is on alert for terrorist attacks that would likely originate in Pakistan and be controlled from Pakistan - the two distinguishing features of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Until Woodward's book, observers might have assumed that, in the intervening two years, the United States might have succeeded in pressuring Pakistan to place the ISI under tighter control. We can no longer make that assumption.

Perhaps we should be asking: Why is General Pasha still head of the ISI? He was, after all, appointed a month before the Mumbai attacks that Woodward, in his footnote, linked firmly to the ISI. [Henderson/TheCuttingEdge/11October2010]

Thiessen's Misleading Attack on Due Process, by Adam Serwer. Earlier this week, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen crowed about the difficulties the Justice Department is facing in its prosecution of alleged Tanzanian U.S. Embassy bomber Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, after Judge Lawrence Kaplan excluded the testimony of a key witness because his identity was originally discerned through torture.

One might reasonably conclude that this shows one of the reasons why torturing people is a bad idea, but Thiessen argues that, "The Ghailani prosecution is hanging by a thread today not because of the interrogation techniques employed against him, but because of the Obama administration's ideological insistence on treating terrorists like common criminals and trying them in federal courts."

Thiessen is restating The Liquor Store Fallacy, the notion that military courts are better prepared to handle terrorism cases, while civilian courts are more suited to trying "someone who robbed a liquor store." In fact civilian federal prosecutors are far more experienced in such matters, while military prosecutors are actually the ones who are more used to prosecuting smaller scale crimes.

But the administration's "ideological insistence" is one that Thiessen's former boss presumably shared, since the Bush administration prosecuted hundreds of terrorism-related cases in civilian court, with an 88 percent conviction rate according to NYU's Center for Law and Security. Meanwhile, only four military commissions convictions have been secured since the system was created. It seems obvious why Thiessen's former boss more often used the civilian system as well - it has a much better track record. As former CIA Director Michael Hayden recently noted, there's a "powerful continuity" between this president and the last one.

Thiessen's ultimate goal, though, isn't so much extolling the virtues of the military commissions system as defending torture. In doing so, he overstates Judge Kaplan's conclusions about the effectiveness of the Bush administration's torture program. Thiessen writes that Kaplan concluded that intelligence was obtained from Ghailani through so-called enhanced interrogation techniques while he was in CIA custody, and that "this valuable intelligence could not have been obtained except by putting Ghailani into the [CIA] program."

Except that's not actually what Kaplan wrote. He wrote that "the government had reason to believe this valuable intelligence could not have been obtained except by putting Ghailani into the [CIA] program." Kaplan doesn't draw the unilateral conclusion Thiessen wants him to draw, so he simply left out the qualifying phrase. In fact, it would be very odd for Judge Kaplan to draw a more definitive conclusion than CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, who after investigating the program, wrote in his 2004 report that "The effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured." This is in character for Thiessen - he previously tried to claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheik Mohammed prevented a terror plot that had unraveled a year before KSM was actually captured. Thiessen has also implausibly claimed waterboarding isn't torture, but he has yet to take up former SERE Instructor Malcolm Nance's offer to undergo the procedure himself.

Moreover, the argument against torture is not that it can never solicit useful information. It's that on the whole, it produces less reliable information than traditional interrogation, it hampers potential prosecution, it's a moral abomination and it's illegal. As Kaplan noted, while "no one denies the agency's purpose was to protect the United States from attack," the methods used "might give rise to civil or even criminal charges." Thiessen left that part out, too.

Thiessen's argument is that the witness's testimony might have been allowed in a military commission, where the rules of coerced evidence are more permissive. That's true - a military commission judge recently allowed the confession of Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr despite the fact that he had been previously threatened with rape - but it's hardly a forgone conclusion. Thiessen quotes Lt. Col. David Frakt saying, "because the Military Commission Rules of Evidence are more permissive regarding evidence derived from coerced evidence, I do think it is possible that the witness might have been allowed to testify in a military commission." I don't know how this bolsters Thiessen's argument. The regulations allow the judge to decide to admit something based on whether or not it's "in the interests of justice," but in either forum, civilian court or military commission, the admissibility of such evidence is up to the judge. Even during the Bush administration, when the rules governing admissibility of coerced evidence were even more permissive, convening authority Susan J. Crawford declined to bring charges against alleged 20th 9/11 hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani because "His treatment met the legal definition of torture."

Meanwhile, the administration is already struggling in other cases because of evidence gleaned from coercive methods. The government is having a difficult time justifying the detention of Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman because two of the witnesses they're relying on were tortured. Worse, the government may need those same two witnesses to try by military commission the alleged perpetrator of the U.S.S. Cole bombing, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was abused even beyond the "legalized" torture guidelines offered by the Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel. The administration recently postponed his prosecution.

Then there's the fact that military commissions tend to give out light sentences. Thiessen notes that if Ghailani were acquitted, the administration could continue to hold him as an enemy combatant. The sentence given to Osama bin Laden's former limo driver, Salim Hamdan, was so light that the Bush administration considered holding him as an enemy combatant after serving his allotted sentence.

Thiessen overstates his case for military commissions in other ways - as Ben Wittes points out, he falsely suggests KSM could have been executed years ago, but it's not clear that military commissions allow the accused to plead guilty in capital crimes. The numbers speak for themselves - out of the hundreds of terrorism cases tried in civilian court, the administration is struggling with the Ghailani case because he was tortured. But Thiessen's argument in favor of military commissions is revelatory in the sense that it reveals their true purpose - to give the illusion of due process while actually stacking the case in the government's favor.

"The Ghailani conviction is in trouble because we didn't obtain the information in a way that's consistent with our laws," says Eric Montalvo, former marine and an attorney with Puckett and Faraj who has represented Gitmo detainees in military commissions cases. "What's the definition of justice? Is it getting a conviction? Or is it securing a process whereby the right result occurs?"

The reality is that the torture techniques employed by the Bush administration, not the law, are what's hampering Ghailani's prosecution. The case against Ghaliani is going forward, which suggests Thiessen's breathless characterization of the affair as a "catastrophe" is absurd. The "catastrophe" is that the process by which terrorists can be brought to justice has been jeopardized by the torturous interrogations Thiessen is so fond of.

Marcy Wheeler points out that in Judge Kaplan's latest ruling, he writes that the witness' testimony would likely have been excluded in a military commission proceeding as well. He writes that "statements obtained by torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," and evidence derived threrefrom, and could require exclusion of Abebe's testimony. Even if they did not, the Constitution might do so, even in a military commission proceeding."

The Constitution, with all its rules and principles. What a silly document. [Serwer/WashingtonPost/15October2010]

The Uses and Misuses of Intelligence in Four US Wars, by Melvin A. Goodman. President Harry S. Truman created the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947 to ensure that the policy community would have access to independent intelligence analysis that was free of the policy advocacy of the Department of State and the Department of Defense. The CIA's most important analytic mission was the production of national intelligence estimates (NIEs) and assessments that tracked significant political and military developments and provided premonitory intelligence on looming threats and confrontations.

One gauge for measuring the success of the CIA's intelligence analysis is to measure the Agency's performance before and during four controversial wars: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Three presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson) did not interfere with the production of intelligence analysis in these crises; two presidents (Nixon and George W. Bush) tried to slant intelligence analysis; and now President Obama is fighting a war without benefit of the estimative capabilities of the intelligence community.

President Truman wanted sensitive intelligence with the bark on, and that is what he and President Dwight Eisenhower got from the CIA during the Korean War. Unfortunately, the CIA made a series of fundamental errors in its judgments, including failures to understand the policies and actions of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, ascertain the nature of Kim's dialogue with the Soviets and the Chinese, provide strategic warning of Kim's decision to go to war, and anticipate China's entry into the war.

As a result of these failures, President Truman named the first civilian director of the CIA - Allen Dulles - and supported the creation of an elite Office of National Estimates (ONE) under Harvard Professor William Langer, a senior Office of Strategic Services (OSS) analyst during World War II. ONE consisted of two offices, an upper tier known as the Board of National Estimates (BNE), composed of senior government and academic officials, and an estimates staff composed of intelligence professionals who drafted NIE's. ONE quickly became the focal point of the CIA's intelligence analysis until it was abolished in 1973 by CIA director James Schlesinger, who shared the Nixon administration's desire to end ONE's independence and its dominance within the intelligence community.

The CIA and ONE did some of their best work before and during the Vietnam War when they told the Johnson and Nixon administrations that the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and would not be a capable ally in the war against the North and that the strategic bombing campaign would fail. The CIA also prepared excellent analysis on North Vietnam's order of battle, which was far more accurate than the politicized intelligence coming from the Pentagon. While Johnson and Nixon did not try to tailor the intelligence analysis of the CIA, they did something worse. They ignored the intelligence that could have prevented the US disaster in Vietnam - and they were contemptuous of the analysts who produced these assessments. Eventually, President Nixon forced the resignation of CIA director Richard Helms for allowing the production of these unwelcome NIE's and appointed Schlesinger as CIA director, hoping to stop the flow of bad news on Vietnam and remove the "existing regime of anti-Nixon Georgetown dilettantes and free-range liberals."

The Iraq war, of course, brought forth the worst in CIA tailoring of intelligence, particularly in the run-up to the war. The CIA cherry-picked the evidence to support the Bush administration's case for war and thoroughly corrupted the intelligence process to convince Congress and the American people of the need for war. In October 2002, the CIA produced a phony intelligence assessment on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD), followed by a declassified white paper on WMD which was nothing less than an exercise in policy advocacy and thus a violation of the CIA's charter. The efforts of Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, to tailor CIA intelligence have been well documented. The failure to tell truth to power in the case of the Iraq war is the most serious intelligence failure in U.S. history.

The Obama administration's decision-making on the Afghan War has been both puzzling and disappointing. Obama campaigned on the basis of greater openness and transparency in government as well as a willingness to consult diverse viewpoints. His decision-making on Afghanistan has not reflected those promises, a shortcoming particularly apparent in light of his failure to commission NIE's on Afghanistan in 2009 before the decisions were made to significantly expand U.S. forces there. This is in stark contrast to the Vietnam War, when there was a strong debate within the intelligence community on Southeast Asia and the White House and the National Security Council were well apprised of the discussion.

An intelligence assessment could help to answer questions on crucial points regarding the course of the Afghan War, including the relations between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the success of a counterinsurgency campaign without the benefit of a stable indigenous government, the unwillingness of Pakistan to degrade and disrupt Taliban efforts to launch military or terrorist attacks, and the uncertainty of stabilizing governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Either President Obama does not believe that the CIA and the intelligence community have the resources to provide useful insight into these matters, or he realizes that the findings of such an assessment would not be helpful to the policy he has already decided to pursue. [Goodman/Truth-Out/16October2010] 



CIA Funded Indira Ghandi Government, Claims Book by Former US Envoy. Former US Ambassador to India and senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had funded the Congress during Indira Gandhi's regime.

The startling claim was made by Moynihan in a book, a collection of his personal letters and journals. It states that the US wanted to close down CIA operations in India in 1974, but reversed its decision after the intervention of the prime minister's office.

In his journal entry on September 5, 1974, after a meeting with the then prime minister's secretary and director of Indian intelligence P.N. Dhar, Moynihan wrote: "I returned to the (US) embassy (in New Delhi) and wrote to (Lawrence) Eagle Burger (of the state department) that my proposal, that we pull CIA out of here, was 'inoperative'. They want us. Possibly they even want more of us."

The book also alleges that Congress party took money from the US during Indira's days. Moynihan refers to the then secretary of state Henry Kissinger's meeting with the prime minister saying: "What exactly went on I shall never know, but evidently it went well enough."

Talking of the meeting Moynihan goes on to say: "Turning to CIA he (Kissinger) said that the United States supported the Congress party. (A fact she must know, in the past having taken our money)"

The book however fails to throw light on the basis of the ambassador's account of Indira-Kissinger meeting as he himself was not present there.

Meanwhile, the Congress dismissed the charge as unsubstantiated and malicious.

Party spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, "Thirty-six years later if somebody decides to write a book, which contains unsubstantiated, derogatory and malicious inferences... we will not like to dignify it with a comment." [IndiaToday/11October2010] 

The Russian Masterpiece You've Never Heard of. Fifty years ago this past October, Vasily Grossman submitted for publication the greatest Russian novel of the 20th century. The KGB immediately destroyed all copies of what Grossman called Life and Fate (Zhizn' i sud'ba in Russian) except for two hidden by his friends, and he died in 1964 without ever seeing his work published. For more than a quarter-century, the book was unavailable in Russia. Finally, in 1988, it was embraced by the cultural revolutionaries of glasnost as they slashed and burned their way through the official narrative of Soviet history, encrusted with 70 years of lies. In their search for a usable past, something not to be rejected in disgust, not to shudder over, but to cherish and be inspired by, they were awed by the brave and nearly lost attempts of their fathers and mothers to imagine a just and moral political order.

This being Russia, literature was the first and the main resource of the glasnost warriors. They trafficked in great books, some that had waited decades to be read: Andrei Platonov's Chevengur and The Foundation Pit, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Anna Akhmatova's Requiem. Yet even in such august company, Grossman's Life and Fate, serialized in the popular literary magazine Oktyabr, was instantly recognized for its brilliance.

The commentary included with the book's first complete Russian edition in 1989 was titled "The Spirit of Freedom" ("Dukh svobody"). This was a remarkable insight. For Life and Fate continues to overwhelm and wound through its characters' heroic insistence on their freedom to exercise moral choice, even in the hells of Stalingrad, Treblinka, and the Gulag, and among the daily perils and humiliations of life under Stalinism. Most of all, the book is matchless in the artistic power of its affirmation of freedom as the essence of our humanity - freedom that today, in a Russia run by reincarnated KGB officers, seems far more elusive than when the book was first rediscovered.

Grossman lived the freedom of which he wrote. One is immediately struck by a complete absence of internal censorship in Life and Fate, written by an author in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, some of it when Joseph Stalin was still alive. What one Soviet critic called a "concentration of truth, fearlessness, and inner freedom" was likely without parallel in Soviet Russian literature at the time. In a still totalitarian Soviet Union barely thawed from the paralysis of Stalinist terror, Grossman's book, as another glasnost-era commentator put it, was "the novel of a free man."

Grossman, who had been one of Russia's most popular World War II front-line reporters, as well as the author of a fine war novel to which Life and Fate is a sequel, continued to behave like a free man even after a member of the magazine Znamya's editorial board told him that his "harmful," "hostile" work would not be published in less than 250 years. So terrified were Znamya's editors that they forwarded the manuscript, post-haste, to the authorities. The KGB searched Grossman's apartment and took all copies of the novel, along with every page of the drafts and every used sheet of carbon paper. None of the seized materials would ever be seen again. The 1988 magazine publication was based on the only two surviving texts: a final copy and a draft, each kept hidden by a different friend.

Grossman protested to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and that letter, too, was unprecedented in its tone of address. "The current situation is senseless," Grossman wrote. "I am physically free, but the book to which I have dedicated my life is in jail - but it is I who wrote it, and I have not repudiated and am not repudiating it. I continue to believe that I have written the truth and that I wrote it loving, empathizing with, and believing in the people. I ask for freedom for my book."

In 1962 Grossman was granted an interview with the Soviet Union's final authority on such matters, chief party ideologist Mikhail Suslov. Suslov upheld Znamya's verdict. Grossman never recanted. He died in poverty and obscurity two years later, on Sept. 14, 1964. A few of his stories were published in newspapers and magazines over the following three years, but after 1967, when the last vestiges of Khrushchev's "thaw" were completely extinguished by the reigning Brezhnevism, even his name was forbidden from being mentioned in print, and it remained so for the next 20 years.

In one of the first reviews that followed the 1988 Oktyabr publication, leading Soviet literary critic Vladimir Lakshin compared reading Life and Fate to standing in a dense crowd inside an immense, airy temple, listening to the echoes of hundreds of conversations. Twenty years later, Harvard University's Stephen Greenblatt would call the book a "stupendous twentieth-century heir" to War and Peace. Indeed, the novel is teeming with at least two dozen main characters and scores of secondary ones. Although centered on the Battle of Stalingrad between fall 1942 and winter 1943, which Grossman covered as a reporter for the main military newspaper, Red Star, the narrative spans almost the entire Eurasian continent, from the prisoner-of-war camps in Poland and Germany to the Gulag camps in eastern Siberia, from Moscow in the north to the ghettos and the ravines with the remains of the Ukrainian Jews in the south, from the soldiers in the trenches to Hitler's "field headquarters" somewhere "on the border of East Prussia and Lithuania" and Stalin in the Kremlin. (In the chilling Stalin pages, Grossman has the desperate "Supreme Commander" imagine that the Red Army's catastrophic defeats in 1941 and 1942 were retribution for all those he had killed or starved to death, and then exult in the Stalingrad triumph as his ultimate and eternal vindication.)

Consciously Tolstoy-like in its sweep, Life and Fate was also inspired by that great Russian observer of everyday life and "ordinary people," Anton Chekhov, who was Grossman's favorite writer. In a passionate soliloquy delivered by one of his characters, Grossman extols Chekhov as the "first democrat" among Russian writers for his "millions of characters" and his attention to each of them. They were unique human beings (lyudi) to Chekhov, Grossman continues, every one of them: lyudi first - and only then "priests, Russians, shopkeepers, Tatars, workers." Chekhov was the "standard-bearer.... of a real Russian democracy, Russian freedom, and Russian human dignity." To recover and maintain this Chekhovian freedom, "to be different, unique, to live, feel, and think in one's own, separate way," was the sole objective of and justification for "human associations," Grossman writes in Life and Fate. Sometimes, he continues, instead of a means for strengthening a human community, "race, party, and state" become the end. "Nyet, nyet, nyet! The sole, true, and eternal objective of the struggle for life is a human being, his humble particularity, his right to this particularity."

There was no doctrine, Grossman believed, to which this freedom and dignity could be sacrificed:

"I saw the unflinching force of the idea of public good, born in my country. I saw it first in the universal collectivization. I saw it in [the Great Purge of] 1937. I saw how, in the name of an ideal as beautiful and humane as that of Christianity, people were annihilated. I have seen villages dying of starvation; I have seen peasant children dying in Siberian snow; I have seen trains carrying to Siberia hundreds and thousands of men and women from Moscow and Leningrad, from all the cities of Russia - men and women declared enemies of the great and bright idea of public good. This idea was beautiful and great, and it has mercilessly killed some, disfigured the lives of others; it has torn wives from husbands and children from fathers."

It was in the ruthless casualness with which individual freedom was sacrificed to the state's ideology that Grossman found the key parallel between Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany, which he juxtaposes throughout the book. Even at the height of Khrushchev's thaw, a Russian commentator recalled a quarter-century later, this comparison was "beyond the pale," "mortally dangerous," and, to the censors, among the most terrifying of the novel's many heresies. (Grossman was also almost certainly the first Soviet writer to apply the adjective "totalitarian" to Stalin's Soviet Union - in a manuscript submitted for publication in the Soviet Union!) For Grossman, the betrayal of the nascent Russian freedom in 1917 by the Bolshevik Revolution was Soviet Russia's original and inexpiable sin. Dying in a Gulag camp somewhere above the Arctic Circle, an Old Bolshevik confesses to a comrade and a fellow prisoner: "I don't want to say it; it is like a torture to say it... But this is my last revolutionary duty, and I will do it... We have made a mistake... We did not understand liberty. We crushed it.... Without liberty, there is no proletarian revolution."

Yet to Grossman the spirit of freedom was inextinguishable. A Red Star correspondent from the first to the last day of the Stalingrad battle, Grossman witnessed the "miracle of Stalingrad" during which the Red Army, its regiments sometimes reduced to "dozens of soldiers," its positions incessantly bombed and shelled, beat back Nazi troops and tanks. "Stalingrad had a soul," Grossman concludes. "Its soul was freedom." For many, perhaps most, Soviet soldiers, from whom Grossman drew his characters, the freedom for which they fought and died was not freedom only from Nazi slavery, but also from Stalinism. Major Yershov, whose entire family was exiled and died somewhere in the northern swamps, fights "for a free Russian life." For Yershov, Grossman wrote, the victory over Hitler would be also the "victory over those camps where his mother, sisters, and father perished."

Away from the battlefields, the spirit of freedom moved men and women to brave informers seemingly behind every wall and around every corner, to defy the executioners of SMERSH (the "Death to the Spies" counterintelligence service), to risk arrest and the torments of the Gulag for a word of truth, thrown in the face of the "fear that prevented humans from being human." Grossman writes, "What a horrible price people paid for a few brave words uttered without looking over one's shoulder." And yet, here's one of the book's characters, one Madyarov, dreaming recklessly in front of several friends:

"Ah, dear comrades, can you imagine what this is, freedom of the press? When instead of the letters of laborers to the great Stalin, or the information about the workers of the United States entering a new year in an atmosphere of despondence and poverty - when instead of all of this, you know what you find? Information! Can you imagine such a newspaper? A newspaper that brings information?

"Swept up in this crazily unusual talk," all in the room know what they risk by not denouncing their friend immediately, that very night. "Oh, what the hell," thinks the main character of Life and Fate, the brilliant nuclear physicist Viktor Shtrum, as he walks home. "At least we have spoken like human beings, without fear, without hypocrisy."

"It seems to me that life could be defined as freedom," Shtrum's mentor, Academician Chepyzhin, later says to the book's hero. "Freedom is the main principle of life. It is here that the borderline runs: between freedom and slavery, between dead matter and life. The entire evolution of live matter is the movement from a lower degree of freedom to a higher."

The "degree of freedom" diminishes catastrophically for Shtrum, a Jew, when he is denounced for preferring the "bourgeois" physics of Albert Einstein to the "national Soviet science." Although warned that refusing to recant is "akin to suicide," he does not attend the meeting at his institute at which he is expected to confess his "deviations" and beg forgiveness.

Shtrum's phone goes silent. His colleagues and friends cross the street to avoid greeting him. He expects, any second, the proverbial knock at the door heralding his arrest. Yet, along with fear, Shtrum is also filled with an unknown thrill: the freedom to resist. The terror that permeated the lives of every Soviet citizen, the awareness of his own "pitiful powerlessness" before the boundless and "lethal" power of the state and its "all-annihilating wrath," all seem to have receded. In his exhilarating liberation, Shtrum is no longer afraid to say what he thinks. Instead, he speaks to his wife and daughter about the "unbearable" mendacity of the newspapers and of the insult of seeing "ignoramuses with party membership cards" direct science and culture.

Then Stalin calls. Keenly "interested in the division of atoms' nuclei," the tyrant is enthusiastic about Shtrum's work in nuclear theory. The two-minute phone conversation vaults the ostracized physicist to the very top of the Soviet state's science conglomerate. His laboratory is returned to him; his every request for equipment or personnel is granted immediately. His "beloved science," that is, his life, is given back to him.

Yet after a few weeks of triumph, Shtrum starts to feel empty and, stranger still, nostalgic for the "lightness" that was his when the phone did not ring and colleagues and acquaintances pretended not to see him. Those days now seem so happy - "his head brimming with thoughts of truth, freedom, God." There is a "piercing" sense of loss. Something "precious" is forever gone.

Nazism and Soviet totalitarianism left Grossman little room for maneuver. For those wishing to affirm their freedom, Grossman offered stark choices - narrow, sharp, and often lethal, like a dagger. Would he rethink them today, first and foremost for his own country, where, as in the aftermaths of all great modern revolutions, the moral fervor that Life and Fate so powerfully stoked two decades ago seems to have been replaced by ubiquitous cynicism?

In his classic study "Two Concepts of Liberty," Isaiah Berlin outlined two closely related and mutually reinforcing but distinct kinds of freedom: "Negative" freedom is the freedom not to be forced to do what one does not want to do; "positive" freedom is the ability to act as one pleases. Coming to Russia today, Grossman would have found immense progress in negative freedom, even under Putinism. The heroes of Life and Fate would have been delirious with joy not to mouth inane propaganda clich�s, not to be forced to swear public allegiance, again and again, to the rulers they despised. Fulfilling Madyarov's dream, they would have read "real news" in newspapers and magazines, and the Shtrums of Russia (if they weren't at MIT or Berkeley) could have conducted their research without fear of ideological inquisition. One can travel abroad, even to the West. One can read (and watch) whatever one wants! One can even start one's own business!

But after a day or two, Grossman would have sensed that something was still very much amiss. The power of the state has receded, but it is still outside society's control. Abetted by corrupt or intimidated judges, bureaucrats blackmail and shake down entrepreneurs; traffic police terrorize and extort motorists. Having granted a great deal of negative freedom, the Kremlin still severely curtails the ability to act positively as one wishes in one's own affairs and, especially, in the affairs of one's country - to lay pipelines, to sell one's oil company to whomever one wants, to give millions to opposition parties or charities of your own choosing and not the government's, to run for office.

It is not just the elite of Russia, the oil barons like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the opposition leaders like Garry Kasparov, who cannot do as they wish. Perhaps most of all, Grossman would have been disheartened to see virtually everyone not in the government's employ forced to make compromises with their consciences. To pay bribes to tax police and fire inspectors; to kowtow to rapacious mayors and governors. Not to cross the line, if you are an investigative journalist or newspaper owner - or be fined, bankrupted, maimed, or even killed. Not to start an opposition party, run for office, run for the Duma. Not to elect the governors of one's province and, increasingly, the mayors of one's own city. It is these positive freedoms, the freedom to do what you want in your life, your business, your town, and your country, that the new middle-class protesters have been demanding. Grossman would have understood and embraced that struggle.

Toward the end of Life and Fate, Shtrum pledges to the memory of his mother, killed by the Nazis in a Ukrainian town, like Grossman's own mother, who was shot with thousands of the Berdichev Jews on Sept. 15, 1941:

"Everything in the world is nothing compared to the truth and purity of one little man - not the empire, spread from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea, not science... Every day, every hour, year after year, one must fight for one's right to be human, kind and pure... And if black times bring an hour without hope, man should not be afraid of death if he wants to remain human."

So long as the world struggles daily to save its humanity by resisting the temptations of the absolving certitudes of sectarian or secular "isms," the "holy wars," the "verticals of power," or "national security," Life and Fate will continue to dazzle and inspire - as unerring a moral guide today as it was 50 years ago. [Aron/ForeignPolicy/11October2010]

Russia's Spies Out of Control, Says New Book. Russia's security services have changed a lot since late Soviet days.

They are much worse.

That's the view of Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, two young Russian journalists who have just published a book on the FSB, the main present-day successor to the powerful Soviet KGB.

"The KGB was a very powerful organization but at the same time it was under the strict control of the Communist Party," Soldatov told Reuters in an interview in London on Wednesday, when he and Borogan were promoting their book at a seminar.

"... With the FSB, we have no party control and we have no parliamentary control ... we have got uncontrollable secret services."

The Russian security services' lack of accountability and their increasingly brutal methods - justified by a bloody domestic war on Islamist militancy - make them more like the feared mukhabarat (security police) of the Arab world than the old Soviet spy agencies, co-author Borogan added.

Their book "The New Nobility" takes its title from former FSB director Nikolai Patrushev's phrase in a speech at the end of 1999 celebrating the return of spy power - led by former KGB agent and incoming president Vladimir Putin.

Picked by former president Boris Yeltsin in 1999 as a supposedly malleable successor, Putin quickly showed who was boss. He filled key Kremlin and state corporation posts with ex-security service officers, creating a big new power base of individuals sharing close loyalty to their former employers.

Unchecked by any institution and answerable to nobody, the "New Nobility" quickly showed their dangerous side.

Russia's most prominent rights activist, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, recalled in a recent interview how in the late Soviet era, the KGB was repressive but less dangerous. "Back then, there were prisons and psychiatric hospitals, but they didn't kill anyone," she said. "... Murders just didn't happen. And now they do ..."

British prosecutors named former Russian security officer Andrei Lugovoy as a suspect in the radioactive poisoning of Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, and Russian investigators named an FSB officer as one of the suspects in the murder the same year of crusading journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Today's FSB generals, the authors say, resemble Russia's old Tsarist aristocracy in more ways than one.

Their taste for an extravagant lifestyle financed by wealth obtained through their positions contrasts with the Soviet era, when the secret service chiefs had a temporary hold on perks and privileges that disappeared when they left their posts.

"Russia's new security services are more than simply servants of the state," the authors write. "They are landed property owners and powerful players."

The book - which has not been published in Russia or reported on by Russian media - recounts how 99 acres of Moscow's most expensive land, along the exclusive Rublyovka Highway, was handed over to top FSB agents in 2003/4 for token sums under a legal scheme to recognize their years of service. Some plots were then resold for tens of millions of dollars.

FSB agents and their overseas counterparts in the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) are now used increasingly to defend Russian oligarchs' business interests, Soldatov says.

"In 2007 Putin openly admitted when he appointed former prime minister Mikhail Fradkov as chief of foreign intelligence that the new task for foreign intelligence was to protect the interests of Russian companies abroad," he explained.

Examples included a letter from Patrushev to Russia's federal anti-monopoly body asking it to bar Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor from buying more shares in its Russian affiliate Vimpelcom because Telenor had "too many spies," Soldatov added.

"In this case, it looks like corporations used the FSB," he said.

Soldatov also said it appeared that the FSB had been used by Russian interests in local oil major TNK-BP to put pressure on BP to cede management control of the joint venture.

At the peak of the battle over TNK-BP in 2008, FSB agents raided the company's Moscow headquarters, questioned staff and confiscated computers and disks, almost paralyzing operations.

Despite the security services' wealth and power, the authors believe real power in Russia still lies with the oligarchs.

The top security services men are "absolutely not leaders," Borogan says. "They have no vision of their own of the economic and political system in Russia."

Despite his pledges to modernize Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev is unlikely to reform spy services, the authors say.

"We think he is quite happy with the system created by Putin because it's very stable and he is not very interested (in changing it)" Soldatov concluded. [Reuters/14October2010] 

Another Quiet American. On May 23, 1950, the FBI arrested Harry Gold, a 49-year-old chemist who lived with his father in Philadelphia. The FBI accused him of being a Soviet espionage agent - the man who, as a courier, literally gave the Russians the secrets of the atomic bomb. Though other Soviet spies from that era - Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - remain notorious to this day, Gold has faded from the story. Allen M. Hornblum offers a welcome corrective with the biography "The Invisible Harry Gold."

Gold was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants - he was born in Switzerland in 1910 before his parents made their way to America. While studying chemical engineering at Drexel University in the mid-1930s, he was recruited as a Soviet spy. Thus began a 15-year espionage career that began with the theft of industrial secrets - Gold later said that he just wanted to make life easier for the Soviet people - and ended with his passing information from the Manhattan Project, provided by physicist Klaus Fuchs, to the Soviet Union. Gold confessed to his crimes, and his testimony would help convict the Rosenbergs.

Gold has long been a riddle. To his supporters, he was a shy, decent man whose total being seemed at odds with his secret life. To his critics - not a few of them on the left - he was a liar and a psychopath who sought fame as a government witness. Mr. Hornblum calls him "one of the most denounced, slandered, and demonized figures in twentieth-century America," which may be excessive, but Harry Gold was certainly loathed by many.

Mr. Hornblum presents us with a balanced portrait, tracing Gold's hardscrabble young life, his slow entanglement with the Soviet espionage network and the many unhappy years he spent working on Moscow's behalf. Gold was never much of an ideologue but was grateful for a job that a communist friend helped him to land. He was na�ve enough to believe that the Soviet Union was actually fighting anti-Semitism, and he was easily bullied into continuing to work with the Soviets whenever he tried to return to a normal life. During World War II he could even convince himself that he was sharing secrets with America's wartime partner - and thus not undermining his own country's security.

Gold didn't confess until the FBI tracked him down, but shortly after his arrest he began cooperating fully. Sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment (a longer sentence than the government had requested), he was paroled in 1965. He went to work at a hospital, where Gold was, according to Mr. Hornblum, a beloved employee with many friends. When Gold died in 1972, he had kept such a low profile that a year would pass before newspapers noticed.

"I have never intended any harm to the United States," Gold wrote from prison. "For I have always steadfastly considered that first and finally I am an American citizen. This is my country and I love it." If Gold had not cooperated with authorities, Mr. Hornblum writes, it is unlikely that he could have been convicted: Fuchs, the physicist, had confessed, too, but he was being held by the British and would probably not have been allowed to testify. If Gold had not implicated other spies, the author notes, they might well have escaped.

"How did such a gentle, apolitical person," Mr. Hornblum asks, "get caught up in the 'crime of the century'?" This finely crafted biography gives us the most complete answer we are ever likely to have. [Ybarra/WallStreetJournal/15October2010] 


Alger C. Ellis. Alger C. Ellis, 90, a retired Air Force colonel and CIA field officer, died of pneumonia Sept. 23 at the Capital Hospice in Arlington.

During World War II, Col. Ellis served in the Army Air Forces before he was recruited to join the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA.

He served in the China-Burma-India theater with the OSS and conducted airborne prisoner-of-war rescue missions. He joined the CIA in the late 1940s.

He served in Korea as an Air Force intelligence analyst and later served in a riverine unit in Vietnam. In the late 1970s, Col. Ellis served as the CIA's station chief in Stuttgart, Germany.

He retired from the Air Force and CIA in 1978 and was a real estate agent in the Washington area until the early 1990s.

Alger Charles Ellis Jr., an Arlington resident, was a Richmond native and a 1942 graduate of Virginia Tech. In retirement, he served as vice chairman of the OSS Society.

A son, John, died in infancy.

Survivors include his wife, Annie Davis Ellis of Arlington; three children, Marshall Ellis of Arlington, Alice Ellis of Dumfries and Elizabeth Kincaid of Hamilton, Va.; and two granddaughters. [Shapiro/WashingtonPost/17October2010]

Coming Educational Events


MANY Spy Museum Events in October and November with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at The titles for some of these are in detail below and online.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010, noon – 1 pm – Stealing Atomic Secrets: The Invisible Harry Gold - a program at the International Spy Museum.

Harry Gold was literally the man who handed the Soviets the plans for America's nuclear bomb. A Russian-Jewish immigrant from Switzerland, he became a spy for the Soviets while studying chemistry in the United States during the depths of the Great Depression. His KGB code names, such as "Goose" and "Mad," belied his importance as a liaison to important spies within the scientific and engineering communities. During World War II, he was entrusted to be the KGB's handler for physicist Klaus Fuchs, who had burrowed deep into the Manhattan Project, America's super-secret program to build an atom bomb. After Gold's arrest in 1950, his testimony helped send Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair. Journalist and historian Allen Hornblum will help us understand how a decent and well-intentioned man helped commit the greatest scientific theft of the twentieth century.
Free! No registration required! Join the author for an informal chat and book signing. More information at

22 October 2010, Noon-1:15 p.m. - Washington, DC - Richard Clarke on "The Three Challenges of Cybersecurity" at ABA Luncheon

Richard Clarke, Partner, Good Harbor Consulting LLC, is an internationally recognized expert on security, including homeland security, counterterrorism, and cyber security. He is also a former presidential advisor and counter-terrorism expert, Mr. Clarke is the co-author of "Cyber War."
FEE: luncheon is $25.00. Reservations must be made in advance by checks payable to "ABA" and mailed to ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, 740 15th St NW, Washington, DC 2005 by October 19. If you are bringing guests, note their names. In the event you need to cancel your reservation, a refund will be made provided notice of cancellation is received in ABA by October 19. Location: Army Navy Club, 901 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC. To register contact Holly McMahon, Staff Director, at 202-662-1035 or at More information at

Saturday, 23 October 2010, 10 am - Coral Gables, FL - "How We Know That You Are Lying: Explorations in the Science of Polygraphy" with John Palmatier, PhD -- at the AFIO Miami Chapter

Dr. John J. Palmatier of Slattery Associates/Dawn Associates [] speaks at this Saturday morning event hosted by the AFIO Ted Shackley Miami Chapter. The fee is $10 for AFIO member; $25 for guests. No charge for U.S. Government employees, military, students, faculty or law enforcement.
RSVP with check to Tom Spencer, 999 Ponce de Leon Blvd Ste 520, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Questions to 305 648-0940 or email

Thursday, 28 October 2010, 0930- 1715 - Newport News, VA - AFIO Hampton Roads Chapter hosts 2nd Annual Workshop on National Security and Intelligence

Workshop focuses on "Maritime and Port Security: Addressing 21st Century Challenges" CNU's David Student Union Ballroom Co-sponsored by the Norman Forde Hampton Roads Chapter of the Association for Intelligence Officers and Christopher Newport University's Center for American Studies and
This all-day workshop features four speaker sessions on topics relating to the security of U.S. strategic interests at sea and in ports. Panel sessions are free and open to the public. Attendees may come and go throughout the day. The keynote luncheon requires a $35 advance ticket purchase. To register for the luncheon and for additional details, visit: Please forward this announcement to others who may be interested. Questions:

Workshop Schedule
9:30-9:35 - Opening Comments "Dr. Nathan E. Busch, Co-Director of the Center for American Studies, CNU
9:35-10:45 - Session 1: Maritime Security and U.S. Strategic Interests "Rear Admiral (ret) Ben Wachendorf, former Chief of Staff, JFCOM, and Director of Navy Strategy and Policy, U.S. Navy
11:00-12:20 - Session 2: Combating Piracy and Maritime Terrorism "Scott Alwine, Prevailance Antiterrorism Consultant to Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic "LT Mark Barnes, Counter-piracy Support to Plans, Navy Information Operations Command, U.S. Navy "Owen Doherty, Director, Office of Security, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
12:30-2:00 - Business Executives for National Security Luncheon: Port Security and Homeland Security "Keynote Speaker: Admiral James Loy, former Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, (Advance ticket purchase required: )
2:30-3:45 - Session 3: Port Security "Rear Admiral Dean Lee, Commander, 5th District, U.S. Coast Guard "Ted Langhoff, Director of Cargo and Port Security Practice, Unisys Federal Systems
4:00-5:15 - Session 4: Technological Innovation and Port Security "Michael Zirkle, Manager of Business Strategy, U.S. Government, Verizon Wireless "Jeffrey Schweitzer, Principal Architect for Public Sector Solutions, Verizon Business "Bob Mckisson, President, Hampton Roads Chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

29 October 2010, 11 a.m. - Tysons Corner, VA - Naval Intelligence Professionals (NIP) Fall Luncheon. To be held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tyson's Corner, VA Event ends at 2 p.m. Keynote speaker TBD.

29-31 October 2010 - Middletown, RI - The New England Chapter of the Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA-NE) will hold a Fall Mini-Reunion. Event takes place at the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites. The registration cut-off date is September 29, 2010. For additional information, call (518) 664-8032 or visit

Tuesday, 2 November 2010, 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - Attack on Mumbai: A New Paradigm for Terrorism? - a program at the International Spy Museum.

"One of the gunmen seemed to be talking on a mobile phone even as he used his other hand to fire off rounds." — Nisar Suttar, eyewitness, November 2008
On 26 November 2008, ten highly trained and disciplined men used covert intelligence and off-the-shelf technology to terrorize and immobilize the city of Mumbai, killing 166 people and wounding over 300. The attackers were able to effectively overwhelm the Mumbai police and Indian security forces utilizing integrated tactics, superior weaponry, and sophisticated covert communications that provided their Pakistani handlers with "real time" command and control as events unfolded. This change in tactics has presented a challenge for the West: how can we find ways to defend against similar attacks in the future? H. Keith Melton, renowned intelligence historian, technical advisor to American intelligence agencies, author of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda, and International Spy Museum board member, has thoroughly researched the planning and technology behind the attack. Using videotape of the surviving attacker's confession and intercepts of terrorist voice communications during the assault, he will offer a strategic overview of the attacks and explore the tactical phases, and the use by the terrorists of "commercial off-the-shelf" (COTS) technologies and the Internet. Tickets: $12.50 per person. Seating is limited. Register at

Tuesday, 9 November 2010, 5:30 - 7 pm - Norfolk, VA - AFIO Hampton Roads Speaker's Forum "The Role of an Intelligence Analyst in Busting Colombian Drug Trade"

Guest Speaker: Victor Rosello Army Capabilities Integration Center, TRADOC, Fort Monroe Retired US Army Colonel 06, Military Intelligence.
Location: Tabb Library in York County, Main Meeting Room. Directions or Questions:

Wednesday, 10 November 2010, 5 pm - by voice conference - The Miami-Dade Chapter of AFIO hosts their Annual Meeting and Elections by telephone conference. These Elections will be for Officers and Directors. The Elective Officers are President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer. All officers and directors must be members of the National organization and be current in dues. All officers must also be directors. There will be no less than 9 directors. We are giving this notice in advance for the 2011 year ( starting January 1, 2011), so that you can be thinking about your role in the leadership for next year. Current President Tom Spencer will not be standing for election either as an officer or a director, since it is time for a change. Please consider becoming an active member of the chapter for a few years, starting 2011. To participate, contact Tom Spencer at or at 305-790-4715 for details.

Saturday, 13 November 2010, 11am - 3pm - Orange Park, FL - North Florida Chapter meets to discuss Iran and Nuclear Power in the late 1970s. Mr. Roger C. Nichols, discusses his observations of Iran during its turbulent time in the late 1970s where he served on behalf of Westinghouse Atomic Power Division. In 1978 he was in Iran as the country manager for
Power Systems to implement sales and construction of nuclear power plants for the Government of Iran. However, the program was terminated in late 1988 due to the departure of the Shah and the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran and to power.
Chapter Event takes place at the Country Club at Orange Park, Florida.
RSVP to Quiel at or call 904-545-9549. before the 1st of November

13 - 20 November 2010 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - SPYCRUISE to Grand Turks, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, PR; St. Thomas, USVI; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - with National Security Speakers Discussing "Current & Future Threats: Policies, Problems and Prescriptions."

SPYCRUISE�: A National Security Educational Lecture/Seminar Series. The CI Centre and Henley-Putnam University are sponsoring a new SpyCruise�, November 13-20, 2010. Join them on the Holland American MS Eurodam as they set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to the Grand Turks, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay in the Caribbean. Speakers include former DCI’s Porter Goss and Gen. Michael Hayden plus many others. AFIO member and retired CIA operations officer Bart Bechtel continues his role as the “SpySkipper.” For more information about this year’s SpyCruise�, go to: RESERVATIONS: or call 1-888-670-0008.
Fees for an eight day cruise: $1,199 inside cabin; $1269 Ocean View Cabin; $1449 Verandahs; $1979 Suites. Price includes program, taxes, port charges and gratuities. Colorful brochure here.

Thursday, 18 November 2010, 11:30 am Colorado Springs, CO - The Rocky Mountain Chapter presents Vice President William D. Kappel, Applied Weather Associates, Monument, CO who will speak on Global Warming. Both science and intelligence have to work with incomplete and sometimes contradicting data. How can a valid conclusion be reached with reasonable confidence? The sample topic we will examine is global warming, specifically if it is human induced. A topic, that is controversial, has lots of scientific data and opinion, is either very important for future world stability and security if true but not perceived as true now, or for unnecessary large economic disruption if not true but perceived as true now. To be held at the new location AFA... Eisenhower Golf Course Club House. Please RSVP to Tom VanWormer at

Thursday, 18 November 2010, 6:30 pm - "Uneasy Alliance: The CIA and ISI in Pakistan" at the International Spy Museum

"CIA and ISI operatives depend on each other for their lives…" - so says an anonymous senior ISI official, December 2009
As the U.S. hunts down Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, the CIA appears to be working closely with the Pakistan Intelligence Service (ISI). But the two services have a long and rocky history with frequent betrayal by ISI members saying one thing, and aiding the Taliban behind-the-scenes. While the ISI has helped with the capture of Afghan Taliban leaders, some they have released Taliban figures they caught on their own. What is the future of this relationship? Are the CIA and ISI endgames compatible? Join this panel of experts as they explore what's opinions of what's happening on the ground in Pakistan and a few predictions for the future: Farhana Ali, senior lecturer, AFPAK Team, Booz, Allen & Hamilton; Seth Jones, RAND analyst and author of Counterinsurgency in Pakistan; and Shuja Nawaz, director, South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Fee: Tickets: $12.50 To register, visit

20 November 2010, 2 pm - Kennebunk, ME - The Maine Chapter of AFIO hosts Dr. Ali Ahmida of the Political Science Department, University of New England, speaking on what it means -- to him --to be a practicing Muslim, the significance of the Quran and the practice of Shari'a law. Dr. Ahmida was born in Waddan, Libya. He received a B. A. from Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt and an M. A. and Ph. D. in political science from the University of Seattle, in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Ahmida is an internationally recognized scholar of North African history and politics with a specialty in political theory, comparative politics, and historical sociology. He has authored a number of books as well as many articles and book reviews and has lectured in various U.S., Canadian, European, Middle Eastern and African colleges and universities. Dr. Ahmida lives in Saco, Maine, with his wife and two children. The meeting is open to the public and will be held on November 20, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 9 Temple Street, Kennebunkport, ME. For information call 207-967-4298.

2 December 2010 - San Francisco, CA - The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts W. Michael Susong, on Global Electronic Crime.
Michael Susong is Director of Information Security Intelligence at Pacific Gas & Electric Company and former CIA Operations officer on the State of the Art of Electronic Crime and Cyber Warfare. The presentation will give a non-technical overview of the global electronic crime players, their tools, techniques and tactics. RSVP and pre-payment required. The meeting will be held at UICC, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco (between Sloat/Wawona): 11:30 AM no host cocktails; noon - luncheon. $25 member rate with advance reservation and payment; $35 non-member. E-mail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate pot roast or fish): and mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011

Monday 13 December 2010, 5:30 pm - New York, NY - "Status of US Intelligence Capabilities" by former CIA Officer Aris Pappas, is theme of NY Metro Chapter Meeting
Speaker: Aris Pappas, CIA 32 years - Over this period he was an Analyst, Managed Operations, and held other Senior Positions. Now a Senior Director with Microsoft Corporation. Topic: "Status of Our Intelligence Capabilities"
Registration 5:30 PM Meeting 6:00 PM.
Cost $40. Includes three course buffet dinner, cash bar.
Location: Manhattan "3 West Club" 3 West 51st Street
Advance Reservations Required: Email or telephone Jerry Goodwin 347-334-1503.

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


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