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Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Pakistan Gives U.S. a List of Demands, Including an End to
C.I.A. Drone Strikes. In a rare show of unity, the government and opposition joined on Thursday to present the United States with a list of stringent demands, including an immediate end to C.I.A. drone strikes, that were cast in uncompromising words but could pave the way for a reopening of NATO supply lines through the country.
After two and a half weeks of contentious negotiations, the main parties agreed on a four-page parliamentary resolution that, in addition to the drone demand, called on the Obama administration to apologize for American airstrikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. It declared that "no overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be permitted" - a broad reference that could be interpreted to include all C.I.A. operations.
But on the issue of NATO supply lines, the resolution specified only that arms and ammunition cannot be transported through Pakistan, opening the door to the resumed delivery of critical Afghan war supplies like food and fuel for the first time since the November airstrikes. And in practice, arms and ammunition were rarely, if ever, transported in convoys through Pakistan.
"Today's resolution will enrich your respect and dignity; I assure you that we will get these enforced in letter and spirit," Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told Parliament, although he stopped short of declaring when the supply route would reopen.
"We are a responsible nation," he said. "We know our obligations as well as the importance of the United States." [Read more: Masood&Walsh/NYTimes/12April2012]
Next Air Force Chief Likely To Be Former CIA Military Deputy; 'Absolute Best Pick'. The likely pick for next Air Force Chief of Staff possesses acquisition experience and would bring a vibrant leader and strong communicator to head the nation's air and space force.
Gen. Mark Welsh, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, served under both Mike Hayden and Leon Panetta at CIA as the man responsible for linking the military and the intelligence agency. Panetta knows him pretty well, we hear. The outgoing chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, is expected to hand over command on August 10.
Hayden presided over Welsh's promotion to lieutenant general and had this to say about him: "His natural optimism, keen sense of humor, and compassionate spirit have always made him an invaluable colleague to any organization lucky enough to have him." Given Panetta's boisterous sense of humor, and strong sense of duty, he and Welsh would seem to make a natural pair.
I polled about 20 people about Welsh and the other likely picks for chief of staff and Welsh uniformly elicited the highest praise. The other two contenders are the heads of the air combat and mobility commands, Gen. Mike Hostage, and Gen. Raymond Johns. A well-placed Air Force source said Hostage was next in line to Welsh. And this source cautioned that the fact that Welsh already occupies the top slot may well make him a target for any opponents lurking in the wings. Remember what happened to then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Hoss Cartwright.
"The Air Force needs a strong leader rather than an organization man as its next chief, and Welsh seems well-suited to that role," Loren Thompson, defense consultant and analyst at the Lexington Institute.
A retired Air Force officer described Welsh simply as the "absolute best pick" of the current crop of Air Force four-star generals. [Read more: Clark/AOLDefense/10April2012]
Russian Spy Agency Linked to Dead Lawyer. Russia's spy agency authorised a raid on a British investment firm in Moscow that led to a massive tax scam by allegedly corrupt officials and the death of a lawyer who tried to expose the fraud, new papers show. Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow-based lawyer, died in November 2009 during pre-trial detention after he was arrested by a group of officials who were being investigated for tax fraud. No one has been imprisoned for his death.
Instead prosecutors have begun a posthumous investigation against Mr. Magnitsky and Bill Browder, the British founder of the London-based hedge fund Hermitage Capital, which has campaigned to bring to justice those responsible for the lawyer's death. Mr. Browder said the government's investigation against him for an alleged 2001 tax evasion, which he denies, has resulted in a series of previously undisclosed criminal case files being released to the public for the first time.
Among the 70 evidence files that have been handed to his lawyers are at least three bundles containing memos from the FSB, Russia's spy agency. Mr. Browder says the files show how the agency's anti-fraud department - known as Department K - played a key role in beginning the investigation into Hermitage, as a result of which the company became the victim of a $230m tax fraud.
Mr. Browder told The Independent: "The FSB always operated in a closed system and they never anticipated that giving us access to the criminal case files would open up a Pandora's box and allow everybody to take a look at the criminality that pervades the entire Russian government." [Read more: Taylor/TheIndependent/14April2012]
Philanthropy Funding Government Work? There's a Foundation for That - Several, Actually. Amidst the multiple ingenious forms of philanthropy in this country, who would have ever thought that the Central Intelligence Agency had its own philanthropic arm? The CIA isn't alone. Other federal agencies have created or spurred the creation of philanthropic offshoots that serve as mechanisms for accessing private, charitable capital. They function a little like the private foundation arms of public or state universities. Some public universities claim to be hamstrung by their dependence on state government appropriations and oversight, unable to compete with private universities for charitable donations, so they have created 501(c)(3) philanthropic arms to raise money for programs and activities that supplement what the universities can do with their public funds�for example, funding new programs or supplementing the salaries of university execs or, often, football coaches. The fact that they are 501(c)(3)s makes their fundraising less than fully transparent, leading to tugs of war between the universities and state legislators and the press, both of which are interested in which donors are paying for what. Several federal government agencies, from the CDC and the FDA to NASA and the CIA, are employing a similar strategy - one that we suspect many people are not aware of and one which raises several interesting questions about the role of private philanthropic dollars supporting U.S. government programs. [Read more:
Finnish-Born Political Scientist Faces Espionage Charges in Denmark. Timo Kivim�ki, 49, a Finnish-born professor of international politics at the University of Copenhagen, is being charged by Danish authorities with helping or attempting to help a Russian espionage organisation. The trial, which begins on May 8th, is to be held behind closed doors.
Kivim�ki has admitted to Helsingin Sanomat that he did consulting work for the Russian Foreign Ministry and that he charged 120,000 Danish krona (about EUR 16,000) for his efforts over six years. He says that this is just a fraction of the fees paid to his research institute by representatives of other countries.
Helsingin Sanomat has learned that Finland's Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) has also followed the investigation into Kivim�ki's activities.
According to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service PET, the Russian diplomats whom Kivim�ki met with were spies.
Kivim�ki denies that he knew of any double role played by the four Russian diplomats that he was in contact with. He notes that none of the four were expelled from Denmark as persona non grata, which is the standard procedure for diplomats caught engaging in espionage.
Kivim�ki said that the Russians he interacted with behaved like diplomats and not spies. [Read more: HS/16April2012]
Two Taiwan Ex-Agents Indicted for Spying for China. Two retired Taiwanese agents in their 60s have been indicted on charges of collecting information for China, prosecutors said Tuesday, in the latest of a string of espionage cases.
Tsai Kuo-hsien, a former official at the National Security Bureau, the top intelligence agency, was charged with spying for China over a period of several years, said the district prosecutor's office in Banchiao, a suburb of Taipei.
Tsai, 65, went to China several times between 2007 and 2010 to hand over information on Taiwan's intelligence units and politics and was paid about Tw$620,000 ($20,000) in total, according to prosecutors.
He recruited another ex-secret agent Wang Wei-ya, 63, to try to acquire a banned book containing sensitive information on Taiwan's intelligence, the office said. [Read more: AFP/17April2012]
Indonesia a Growing Target for Economic Espionage. State weapons manufacturer PT Pindad has to take extra steps to keep company secrets from being extracted to foreign nationals wanting a peek into the country's defense industry.
"During an interview, a candidate for employment is asked to detail his or her family background, including the occupations and social activities of all family members," senior company official Agus Iriono said.
"This is just among efforts to prevent any leaking from the company," he said, adding that it was a necessary strategy as the company was a regular target of espionage. "There have been some infiltrations in past years. But, I could not go into the details."
As Indonesia's economy soars at an impressive rate and with the defense budget expanding aggressively, several state companies and government agencies have increasingly become targets of espionage.
National Intelligence Agency (BIN) head Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman said recently there were indications that espionage activities have been increasing lately.
"We're worried with such activities. More resources are now allocated to prevent them. It's part of my priorities," Marciano said, refusing to elaborate further. He said there were two Asian countries - one of which is a neighboring nation - that have become more aggressive in spying into Indonesia's economy.
It was not until last year that BIN had its own economic-intelligence division to help counter espionage in the business and economy sector.
Former head of the National Encryption Agency Maj. Gen. (ret.) Nachrowi Ramli, who served between 2002 and 2008, said aggressive efforts were needed to counter the espionage. "Since we can't sue the perpetrators, we have to find ways to outsmart them," Nachrowi said, adding that he had found at least 20 Indonesian embassies that had been bugged before he retired. [Read more: Widhiarto/JakartaPost/16April2012]
Iran Arrests More than 15 Foreigners and Locals on Espionage Charges. Iran's official news agency says more than 15 Iranian and foreign nationals have been arrested for allegedly spying for Israel, attempted assassination and sabotage.
The Tuesday IRNA report says the group planned to assassinate an Iranian expert as well sabotage the country's infrastructure. It added details to a report released earlier this month.
It said the group used Israeli diplomatic missions in Western counties to prepare plans.
The expert's field was not identified. In the past, several Iranian nuclear experts have been killed.
The latest report did not elaborate on nationality of the foreign detainees. It claimed Iranian intelligence also uncovered a spy base of Israeli Mossad in a neighboring country. [Read more: AP/17April2012]
Chinese Politician Hit by Murder, Espionage Claims. A senior Chinese politician has been suspended from his elite Communist Party posts after his wife was implicated in allegations of murder, betrayal, and espionage.
Bo Xilai seemed destined for high political office in China until his right hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, made a failed attempt to win asylum in the United States.
Just weeks ago Bo Xilai was dismissed as Chongqing's Communist Party secretary, but now he has been suspended from the central committee and also the more powerful politburo.
What is more, Chinese police will re-investigate the mysterious death of British man Neil Haywood, who had a commercial dispute with Bo Xilai's family.
Police say it is a murder case, with Bo Xilai's wife, Bogu Kailai, and a staff member being held as key suspects.
Mr. Heywood was a close associate of Bo Xilai's family before being found dead in a Chongqing hotel room last November.
At the time, the official reason given for his death was alcohol poisoning, but Chinese police now say fresh evidence points to murder.
According to police, Mr. Haywood and Bo Xilai's family had been locked in an ever-worsening commercial conflict.
There is also speculation regarding espionage.
Mr. Haywood sometimes worked for Hakluyt, a private intelligence-gathering firm which hires former British M15 and M16 agents. [Read more: McDonell/ABC/11April2012]
Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE
The Moki Martin Story. The mission was so highly classified that the world didn't know about Operation Thunderhead until 36 years after Moki Martin and a small group of SEAL teams set out for the North Vietnam coast on June 3, 1972.
His military ID read "Philip L. Martin," but his SEAL team and all his friends knew him as Moki, a nickname given to him when he was a skinny kid in Maui. He was an accomplished free diver, swimmer and surfer with a taste for adventure that led him to the Navy - and eventually to play a significant role in the early days of triathlon.
The mission was to rescue American prisoners of war attempting to escape a North Vietnamese prison in Hanoi. The initial thrust called for several four-man SEAL teams to embark in darkness in mini-subs to a small island 4,000 yards offshore to await a rendezvous with the escapees. Warrant Officer Martin and Lt. Dry, members of an Underwater Demolition Team element of the SEALs, led one of the teams that embarked from the submarine USS Grayback.
Their 20-foot-long Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) fought strong surface and tidal currents, and ran out of battery power which left them unable to reach shore or return to the Grayback. Dry and Martin and the rest of their team swam the SDV out to sea to prevent it from falling in enemy hands. When a Navy rescue helicopter arrived 7 hours later, they sank the damaged SDV and were ferried to the cruiser Long Beach.
Immediately, Martin and his team decided to return to the Grayback to warn the other SEAL teams about the currents.
On the night of June 5, 1972, the helicopter bearing Martin and his team spotted a signal at sea, but it turned out to be a distress signal from another four-man SEAL team. The Grayback had aborted the planned drop because of enemy patrol boats in the area, but the message didn't reach the Long Beach in time. Worse, visibility was poor and made altitude reading difficult.
When the pilot signaled for the team to exit, Lt. Dry was the first to jump and was killed instantly when he hit the water from high altitude. Martin survived the massive impact, although his knee was badly twisted and he was only partly conscious. Two other UDT team members were also injured, one severely.
Three decades later the mission was declassified and Martin was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat "V" for valor. Specifically, Martin was cited for valor for his part in the rescue of his two injured SEAL team members and for the preserving the body of Lt. Dry until recovery.
At a March 18, 2008 medal ceremony in Coronado, Martin said, "I accept this award on behalf of all of you from Alpha Platoon... This award is for all of you." [Read more: Carlson/Slowtwitch/12April2012]
CIA GC Draws 'Rule of Law' Parallels Between Agency and
Business. In a speech examining the importance of intelligence to the multitude of national security issues the U.S. is facing, Central Intelligence Agency general counsel Stephen Preston drew parallels - and cited key differences - between how the CIA and U.S. businesses function under the law. In a speech he gave this week at Harvard Law School titled "CIA and the Rule of Law," Preston said that "the intel business is booming," before proceeding to compare the legal work of the agency and that of any regulated business.
Case in point: the killing of Osama bin Laden.
According to his prepared remarks posted on the Lawfare blog, the CIA GC said, "I am sure the role of the lawyers is not the first thought to come to mind when you think of the bin Laden operation."
But before the mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan was executed, many legal hurdles had to be cleared. Those legal tasks ensured that the U.S. government had the authority to use force - including lethal force - under applicable domestic and international laws and policies.
Prior to the raid, few members of the intelligence community were even made aware of the possibility that America's most wanted terrorist had been located. So although the endeavor was therefore not heavily lawyered, said Preston, "it was thoroughly lawyered."
When evaluating whether to take any action, the CIA's first step is to determine if it has the legal authority. Preston said that unlike a business enterprise, which is free to pursue profits as it sees fit - as long as no existing laws are violated - the agency can't take any action without an affirmative grant of legal authority.
Next, the agency has to gauge its authority to act with reference to principles of international law. For example, an inherent right of national self-defense is recognized both by customary international law and by the United Nations Charter.
Any CIA action must also be carried out in accordance with international policies and U.S. law - as spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, Executive Orders and presidential directives, and agency regulations. [Read more: Green/Law.com/13April2012]
For Iran Talks, Trying to Divine Supreme Leader's Intent. When U.S. officials join talks this weekend about Iran's nuclear program, they will be armed with profiles developed by intelligence agencies offering insight into what makes foreign leaders tick.
One key player will not be at the table in Istanbul, where negotiations are scheduled between Iran and six world powers, but his stamp of approval will be required for any deal to fly.
"Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has the final word on Iran's foreign, domestic, and security policies. He is the ultimate decision-maker," a U.S. official said.
Since U.S. severed diplomatic ties more than 30 years ago, first-hand observation of Iranian leaders is a rarity for Americans. U.S. spy agencies must rely on the inexact art of long-distance analysis to profile leaders of an opaque system.
Former U.S. officials and Iran experts say Khamenei has a deep-rooted suspicion of the West and a streak of insecurity - he rose to power due to his loyalty to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rather than lofty religious credentials.
A sense of inferiority has dogged him over the years and it would be especially important for Khamenei to be seen as not folding under Western pressure to reach an agreement, they said.
"There were many much more educated than he and he had to prove himself in a continuing fashion to those who considered his credentials inferior," said Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University.
"He has always been a balancer. Taking competing interests and finding a way of weighing them both, which is positive in some ways but also can at times give a sense of vacillation," said Post, a doctor who founded the CIA's Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior.
The functions of that center are now in a CIA unit called the Medical and Psychological Analysis Center, where doctors and psychologists produce physical health and psychological profiles of foreign leaders.
Other leadership analysts in the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, with degrees in political science, international relations, anthropology and political psychology, also profile foreign leaders and decision-makers to help U.S. policymakers deal with their counterparts. [Read more: Zakaria/Reuters/13April2012]
Inside the Secret World of America's Top Eavesdropping Spies. Officially, the Special Collection Service doesn't exist. Unofficially, its snoops travel the world intercepting private messages and cracking high-tech encryptions.
Soon, Congress will begin drafting legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which serves as the legal framework for domestic espionage against external threats. And while FISA doesn't affect spy activities overseas, the attention it generates will shift scrutiny to the National Security Agency and its growing and astonishing capabilities. The NSA, the intelligence arm of the United States responsible for eavesdropping and code breaking, weathered criticism and high-profile legal challenges in 2005 for its warrantless wiretapping program, and now we have a decent idea of the sophisticated and controversial methods the NSA employs to penetrate global telecommunications networks. Still in the shadows, however, is a secretive joint program with the Central Intelligence Agency codenamed F6, but better known as the Special Collection Service.
The men and women of the Special Collection Service are responsible for placing super-high-tech bugs in unbelievably hard-to-reach places. Data collected is then transmitted to the National Security Agency for decryption and analysis. John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists put it best: "When you think of NSA, you think satellites. When you think CIA, you think James Bond and microfilm. But you don't really think of an agency whose sole purpose is to get up real close and use the best technology there is to listen and transmit. That's SCS." [Read more: Grady/TheWeek/12April2012]
CIA's Secret Fear: High-Tech Border Checks Will Blow Spies' Cover. When Tom Cruise had to break into police headquarters in Minority Report, the futuristic crime thriller, he got past the iris scanners with ease: He just swapped out his eyeballs.
CIA agents may find that just a little beyond the call of duty. But meanwhile, they've got to come up with something else: The increasing deployment of iris scanners and biometric passports at worldwide airports, hotels and business headquarters, designed to catch terrorists and criminals, are playing havoc with operations that require CIA spies to travel under false identities.
Busy spy crossroads such as Dubai, Jordan, India and many E.U. points of entry are employing iris scanners to link eyeballs irrevocably to a particular name. Likewise, the increasing use of biometric passports, which are embedded with microchips containing a person's face, sex, fingerprints, date and place of birth, and other personal data, are increasingly replacing the old paper ones. For a clandestine field operative, flying under a false name could be a one-way ticket to a headquarters desk, since they're irrevocably chained to whatever name and passport they used.
"If you go to one of those countries under an alias, you can't go again under another name," explains a career spook, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he remains an agency consultant. "So it's a one-time thing - one and done. The biometric data on your passport, and maybe your iris, too, has been linked forever to whatever name was on your passport the first time. You can't show up again under a different name with the same data."
The issue is exceedingly sensitive to agency operatives and intelligence officials, past and present. "I think you have finally found a topic I can't talk about," said Charles Faddis, a CIA operations officer who retired in 2008.
"I can't help you with this," added a former intelligence agency chief. "I do think this is a significant issue with great implications for the safety and security of our people, so I recommend you not publish anything on this. You can do a lot of harm and no good."
Other former operatives would not even allow their polite refusals to comment to be quoted. The CIA, naturally, refused to comment for this story. [Read more: Stein/Wired/12April2012]
Meet Mitt Romney's Trusted Envoy to the Dark Side, Cofer Black. Every president needs one: a trusted envoy to the murky world of the U.S. intelligence community who is also treated like a close political aide. For President Obama that person is John Brennan, a career CIA officer who is so powerful that many senior spies complain that Brennan is the de facto CIA chief. For President Reagan, the envoy was William Casey, who helped wage a secret war against Soviet proxies from his perch as CIA director at Langley, Va., after he managed his friend's presidential campaign in 1980. President George W. Bush often relied on Dick Cheney for counsel about the dark side, particularly after 9/11. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, his trusted man inside the intel community will almost certainly be Cofer Black, a retired CIA officer best known for running the agency's counterterrorism center on 9/11.
Black is already performing that role for candidate Romney. Last January, before a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman, Romney received a special intelligence briefing. According to one source familiar with the gathering, Black arranged for the former Massachusetts governor to receive the kind of detailed country analysis an important senator or senior defense official would normally get from the CIA's station chief in Amman. The briefing, however, was not from the current station chief but rather from a group of retired CIA officers now working for the Hashemite Kingdom.
Black has known Romney since 2007, when the candidate was running for president the first time, and has been an important adviser ever since. But unlike other Romney foreign-policy aides, he does not spend time tweaking speeches or coming up with nuanced ways to explain the candidate's positions on international affairs. Instead, he often acts as the campaign's in-house intelligence officer. [Read more: Lake/Newsweek/11April2012]
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency: Mapping Africa One Country at a Time. When the U.S. military wants to head into un-chartered, or minimally chartered territory, they call on the experts of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or the NGA. By compiling the most current satellite imagery, existing maps, and layers of data like roads, rivers, and towns they are able to create custom maps and imagery for specific locations or events.
Currently, two Geospatial Analysts from Stuttgart, Germany are mapping out the terrain for African Lion 2012 in southern Morocco. AL-12 is a bi-lateral exercise between U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Africa, the Utah National Guard, and the Kingdom of Morocco. It's the 8th annual African Lion exercise in the country.
The 10-day exercise includes ground, amphibious and aerial training for approximately 800 Marines, 400 Army Reservists and 900 Moroccan military. It's spread across four geographically varied locations, to include flat deserts, vast mountain ranges, and miles and miles of coastline.
It was during January's AL-12 planning conference when the needs and overall scope of the exercise were drawn out. Jacquie Snyder, one of the two analysts from Stuttgart, attended the conference and came away with a solid foundation of what her team would need to create.
"Since the exercise is spread across a variety of locations with a variety of terrains, we had to create maps which would show the players how to get their equipment in place," Snyder said. What they created are dozens of overhead maps for air and ground, annotating specific routes and locations. [Read more: Suttmiller/DVIDS/16April2012]
Final Volume in CIA's Official History of Bay of Pigs Invasion Still in Dispute. Fifty-one years after a CIA-backed exile force hit the beaches of Cuba for what became known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Central Intelligence Agency is still fighting the release of the final volume of its official history of the ill-fated mission.
The final volume is a rebuttal by Jack Pfeiffer, the CIA's chief historian, of a report by the agency's inspector general that found the CIA itself bore primary responsibility for the failure of the April 14-19, 1961, invasion. The IG blamed "bad planning,'' faulty intelligence, inadequate staffing and failure to inform President John F. Kennedy that the success of the operation was "dubious.''
The invasion, whose centerpiece was a 1,500-man exile force called the 2506 Brigade that landed at Playa Gir�n on April 17, was designed to topple the Castro regime. Instead, it failed less than 72 hours later, resulting in the deaths of 114 exiles and the capture of 1,100 men by the Cuban army and militia.
Who is to blame for the failure has been debated for the past five decades.
Lyman Kirkpatrick, who wrote the inspector general's report, cited "a tendency in the agency to gloss over CIA inadequacies and to attempt to fix all of the blame for the failure of the invasion upon other elements of the government'' in a cover letter to the 1961 report.
In contrast, Pfeiffer's account "tried to fully pin the blame for the historic calamity on the Kennedy White House,'' said Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at The National Security Archive. "Pfeiffer pushed the line that Kennedy was responsible and his brother Bobby helped transfer blame to the CIA.''
The Washington-based nonprofit research institute and library filed a lawsuit last year on the 50th anniversary of the invasion, asking for declassification of all five volumes in the official history. Previous requests for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act had been unsuccessful. [Read more: Whitefield/MiamiHerald/16April2012]
Section III - COMMENTARY
Grad Student Challenges Border Laptop Searches. One of the great thrills of international travel is that frisson of Cold War nostalgia we feel upon return, as we line up for readmittance to our own country, just feet from the welcoming embrace of Bill of Rights protections that end, by mandate of a clause located somewhere in the Constitution, at a fifteen-foot distance from anybody wearing a Customs and Border Protection Uniform. But as Checkpoint-Charlie thrilling as even routine border crossings are, they can get a bit tired and, even, over-the-top. It was one such excessively enthusiastic search that led McGill University graduate student Pascal Abidor to challenge the U.S. government's policy of poking through electronic devices at will after he was detained while agents pawed through his laptop.
Abidor was travelling on an Amtrak train from Montreal to New York on May 1, 2010, to visit his parents after the end of the winter semester at McGill. A customs official asked him if he had travelled anywhere in the past year, he said. He told the agent he had been to Lebanon and Jordan.
"As soon as I had told them I had been to the Middle East, that's when they continued the inspection," he told QMI Agency in an interview Monday.
He said he was brought to another section of the train and told to enter the password to his computer.
"They went straight to my pictures," he said.
Customs agents found pictures of rallies of Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups that the U.S. Department of State lists as "foreign terrorist organizations."
Abidor said he told the agent that the pictures were for his thesis in Islamic studies.
He said the agent didn't believe him.
Abidor said he was then handcuffed, frisked "violently" and driven to the border station where he was held for three hours.
To be honest, I've never really understood the terrorist-detection rationale for searches of laptops and the like. Taken on its face, the tactic seems to be aimed at a sweet spot of terrorists too proudly sophisticated to be willing to keep their sinister plans written on a few pieces of paper folded unobtrusively into a jacket pocket, but not sophisticated enough to use software like TrueCrypt to keep their schematics and damning emails hidden and encrypted. True, that sub-population probably does exist in this big world of ours, but it would seem a small nail to hit with a big and really, really annoying hammer.
More likely, I think, border agents are just too lazy to surf the Net for their own porn. [Read more: Tuccille/Reason/10April2012]
Obama Conning Us on Iran? The Post recently ran a report in which Obama officials bragged that they have stepped up drone surveillance over Iran and now have the whole thing figured out: "The effort has included ramped-up eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, formation of an Iran task force among satellite-imagery analysts and an expanded network of spies, current and former U.S. officials said. At a time of renewed debate over whether stopping Iran might require military strikes, the expanded intelligence collection has reinforced the view within the White House that it will have early warning of any move by Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb, officials said." But is this anything more than spin?
Conservative critics are skeptical. Danielle Pletka is less than impressed. She lists some obvious flaws in the intelligence officials' assertions of omniscience:
1.) Iran's most important nuclear facilities - or at least the ones we are aware of - are hardened under about meters and meters of concrete. Drones cannot see through concrete, and even infrared sensors that can detect the heat signature of a cascade (used to create highly enriched uranium) can't see through that much.
2.) Calls and faxes don't tell us with certainty what decisions are being made in the highest offices in Iran. At best, they give us an inkling of what may be going on, if we're lucky.
3.) Our covert ops have been going on for years, and while I have enormous admiration for some with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, I'm also aware of their many screw-ups, failures, lost networks, work with double agents etc. And the Iranians are no slouches at running their own agents and giving us false information.
4.) Six months? For real? First, the Iranians won't need six months to go for a weapon: Read up here to understand why. Second, what kind of intelligence does Obama think he's gonna get? A timeline? This is almost comical.
5.) Then there's the question of Iranian facilities outed by others, including Natanz and the heavy water reactor at Arak. The CIA insists they were aware of those programs all along. I'll try to be diplomatic here: Let's just say that the CIA sees a lot more in hindsight than it does in real time.
She also reels off the national security developments we've missed including India's 1998 nuclear tests, Syria's nuclear program, and North Korea's uranium enrichment program.
Former national security advisor Elliott Abrams is even more critical. [Read more: Rubin/WashingtonPost/11April2012]
Section IV - Coming Events
Coming Educational Events
EDUCATIONAL EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....
MANY Spy Museum Events in April, May, and beyond, with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at www.afio.com. The titles for some of these are in detail below and online.
Wednesday, 18 April 2012, 6:30 � 8:30 pm � Washington, DC - "Graphic Intelligence: Comics, the KKK, and Covert Ops" at the International Spy Museum
Comic books often reflect the time in which they are created. Since
the Cold War, spies have been hot, and the world of comics has had a
great assortment of espionage volumes. National security lawyer and
comic collector/dealer Mark S. Zaid has assembled a rich array of comics
that address spies and espionage. He'll showcase some of the coolest
and rarest volumes in his collection while he describes how spy comics
mirrored the intelligence issues of the time period in which they were
published—some purporting to reveal true spy cases. He'll also share
tales of how comics may have been used as intelligence tools and to push
social agendas involving war, race, and sex. Then there is the story of
the famous superhero who teamed up with actual spies to strike a blow
for justice and equality in the United States. Award-winning author Rick
Bowers shares the story behind his new book Superman vs. the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate.
Bowers reveals how the producers of The Adventures of Superman radio
show took on the resurgent Ku Klux Klan in 1946, teaming up with
infiltrators within the secret society to produce a ground-breaking,
16-part radio drama in which the Man of Steel conquered the hooded hate
WHERE: International Spy Museum: 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station.
Tickets: $15.00 Register at www.spymuseum.org
Wednesday, 18 April 2012, 6 pm - Nellis AFB, VA - Alan Heintz on "TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis Overview" at Las Vegas Chapter Meeting.
The next Roger E. McCarthy, Las Vegas Chapter Meeting features Alan Heintz. Topic: "TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis Overview"
Heintz is the Field Intelligence Officer for the Transportation Security Administration, Office of Intelligence and Analysis for Las Vegas, Nevada.
Time: Please join us at 5 p.m. in the "Robin's Roost" bar area for liaison and beverages; speaker begins at 6 pm
Location: Officers' Club at Nellis Air Force Base. All guests must use the MAIN GATE located at the intersection on Craig Road and Las Vegas Blvd. Address: 5871 Fitzgerald Blvd., Nellis AFB, NV 89191
Email or call Mary Bentley at 702-295-0417 or Mary.Bentley@doe.gov if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you!
19 April 2012, 8 AM - 7 PM - Fort Lauderdale, FL - South Florida InfraGard Branch Regional Conference on "Current and Future Security threats: How are the private and public sectors working to meet these challenges."
The South Florida InfraGard Branch of the InfraGard Membership
Alliance invites AFIO members to participate in their first Regional
Conference: Current and Future Security threats: How are the private and
working to meet these challenges.
As security threats continue to develop and new plans and intentions are exposed which target our private and public sector entities, it is imperative to stay aware and current on technology/physical security best practices, to prevent, mitigate and react to potential disruption and loss of services, life and property. Conference speakers will represent all sectors and functions facing the challenges threatening our Cyber and Critical Infrastructure, and
will address methods to protect it, as well as Technology and Risk Management trends and advances towards the safeguarding of our National Security.
FOOD: Breakfast, full gourmet lunch, snacks and an evening cocktail event are included. LOCATION: Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel.
REGISTER AT: http://www.s-fla.eventbrite.com
For list of speakers, their topics, their bios, and additional information visit http://www.infragardmiami.com/
Questions to Nancy Bianco, South Florida InfraGard, 650 533-5360 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 19 April 2012, 3:30pm - Washington, DC - JNSL Symposium to discuss "Shadow Wars" featuring William C. Banks, Syracuse U Col of Law
The Journal of National Security Law & Policy and The Georgetown
Center on National Security and the Law will be hosting a symposium to
discuss JNSLP's latest issue:
Opening Remarks by William C. Banks, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of National Security Law & Policy. Banks is on the Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University College of Law, Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Syracuse University; Author of the JNSLP article "Shadow Wars."
Featured Authors and Panelists: Laura Dickinson, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School; Author of the JNSLP article Outsourcing Covert Activities.
Louis Fisher, Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project; Former Specialist in Constitutional Law, Library of Congress; Author of the JNSLP article Basic Principals of the War Power.
John Prados, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Iraq Documentation Project; Director of the Vietnam Project at the National Security Archive at The George Washington University; Author of the JNSLP article The Continuing Quandary of Covert Operations.
Scott Shane, National Security Reporter, Washington Bureau, The New York Times.
WHERE: Hart Auditorium, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, Washington, DC.
Reception to Follow
RSVP to email@example.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
19 April 2012, 6pm - 9pm - Arlington, VA - Annual Black Tie Banquet of the FAOA
The Foreign Area Officer Association hosts their Annual Black Tie
Banquet featuring keynote speaker: James R. Clapper, Lt Gen, USAF(Ret) -
Director of National Intelligence.
Location: The Army Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA. (Note: This is not the Army Navy Club in DC)
Attire: Black Tie – Tuxedo/formal evening gown and military personnel equivalent. Open Bar Included. Mixer starts at 6:00 PM and proceedings start at 7:00 PM
Register online here.
20 April 2012, 5 PM - Washington, DC - "Ronald Reagan's Policies for
Intelligence and Security: A Useful Model for Today's Challenges" by
Professor deGraffenreid at IWP
Kenneth deGraffenreid is a full-time professor and Faculty Chairman at The Institute of World Politics, where he teaches courses on intelligence and counterintelligence.
From 2004-2005, Prof. deGraffenreid served as Deputy National Counterintelligence Executive to the President of the United States. He has also served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Support at the Department of Defense, Senior Director of Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, Senior professional staff member at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senior Fellow on Intelligence at the National Strategy Information Center.
He is a Retired Captain, U.S Navy Reserves, and a founding member of the IWP Board of Overseers. He holds a B.A. from Purdue University and an M.A. from The Catholic University of America
Location: The Institute of World Politics, 1521 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
MUST RSVP to attend. Contact: email@example.com.
Saturday, 21 April 2012, 2 pm - Kennebunk, ME - "How 20th Century Technology Transformed 21st Century Spycraft" - at AFIO Maine
CIA Operations officer Robert Wallace takes off the mask to reveal
tales of deception and trickery as he shows "How 20th Century Technology
Transformed 21st Century Spycraft" at the April 21st meeting of the
Maine Chapter of the Association for Intelligence Officers.
After serving in the U.S. Army in 1968-1970 in Vietnam where he led long-range reconnaissance patrol teams of Company E, 75th Rangers, Bob moved to Washington, D.C. in 1970 as Administrative Assistant to the late Ohio Congressman William McCullough. In 1971 he joined the Central Intelligence Agency where he enjoyed a 32 year career with assignments as operations officer, station chief, resource manager and director of clandestine technical programs, finally becoming Director of CIA's Office of Technical Service (OTC) in 1998. As Director of OTC he was engaged in managing programs for the design, development and deployment of technical equipment to support clandestine operations worldwide.
Wallace is co-author of "SPYCRAFT: The Secret History of CIA's Spytechs from Communism to al-Qaeda" (2008) and co-author of "The Official CIA Manual of Deception and Trickery" (2009).
He retired from CIA in 2003 and founded Artemus Consulting Group, a network of intelligence and security professionals providing services to government and corporate clients.
The meeting will be at the Brick Store Museum Program Center, 2 Dane Street, Kennebunk and the public is invited. For information call 207-967-4298.
5 May 2012, 11:30am - 2pm - Melbourne, FL - AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter meets to hear Col. Jespersen on T.E. Lawrence
11:30 social hour with cash bar. Lunch 12:30.
Speaker will be Col. Robert Randolph Jespersen who will discuss T.E. Lawrence: soldier-scholar and his impact on guerilla warfare doctrine.
Location: Eau Gallie Yacht Club.
RSVP to POC Donna Czarnecki, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 8 May 2012, noon – 1 pm – Washington, DC - "Spies and Commisars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution" at the International Spy Museum
Russia was a chaotic hotspot after the Revolution of 1917, torn by
Civil War between the Bolsheviks and the White Russians. While Lenin and
Trotsky tried to spread their revolution across Europe and the great
powers attempted to extinguish the Bolshevik experiment, an
extraordinary collection of adventurers, opportunists, journalists, and
spies poured into the roiling Russian political scene. Outsized
characters like Sidney "Ace of Spies" Reilly, communist activist John
Reed, and author Somerset Maugham all played their parts…under the
watchful eye of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the head of the ruthless Cheka, the
first of the Soviet state security organizations. Join renowned British
historian Robert Service for a discussion of his thrilling new book
about this turning point of twentieth century history.
Free! No registration required. For directions go to www.spymuseum.org
Wednesday, 9 May 2012, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m – Washington, DC - "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden - From 9/11 to Abbottabad" at the International Spy Museum
"Tonight, I can report…that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden."—US President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011
When Osama bin Laden declared war against the United States for the first time to a Western audience, Peter Bergen was there. He produced Osama bin Laden's first television interview. His book, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader,
was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2006. Bergen has
continued to write and report extensively on bin Laden and the conflict
between the US and al Qaeda for publications ranging from The New York
Times to Rolling Stone. He's produced award-winning documentaries on the
subject matter, and in his latest book he has turned his attention to
the hunt and termination of the notorious terrorist. Join us for an
inside account of Bergen's professional connection to bin Laden, his
perspective on the decade-long hunt to capture or kill him, and his
thoughts on the results of Operation Neptune Spear.
WHERE: International Spy Museum: 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station
Tickets: $15.00 Register at www.spymuseum.org
10 May 2012, 8:30 am - 5 pm - Stony Brook, LI, NY - "The History of Spying: Espionage In America" Conference at Long Island Spy Museum
An exclusive opportunity to explore the art of spycraft.
9:00-9:30: Coffee/Light Refreshments; 9:30-9:45: Introduction by Master of Ceremonies; Actor Peter Firth from the critically acclaimed television series MI-5.; 9:45-10:45: Michael Sulick | Former Director of the US National Clandestine Service and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency: "Revolutionary War Espionage & George Washington's Spies."; 10:45-11:45: Bill Birnes | New York Times bestselling author, TV personality, espionage historian and New York University School of Law graduate: "WWII-Office of Strategic Services (OSS): The Birth of an Intelligence Agency; Patriots, Buccaneers & Movie Stars."; 11:45-12:45: LUNCH BREAK; 12:45-1:45: General Michael Hayden | Former Director of both the Central Intelligence Agency & National Security Agency: "CIA, the War on Terror, and the Killing of Bin Laden."; 1:45- 2:00: Coffee Break.; 2.00-3:00: Cindy Webb | Former Chief of Counter Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency: "Counterintelligence in the Cold War and Beyond."; 3:00-4:00: Tom Betro | Former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS): "Counterintelligence 2.0; CI Challenges and Opportunities in the Internet Era."; 4:00-4:30: Q&A session;
4.30-4:40: Closing Remarks.
Admission $25.00 Doors open: 8:30 AM. Limited seating available. To purchase tickets visit: www.LongIslandSpyMuseum.org
Long Island Spy Museum, 275 Christian Ave, Stony Brook, NY 11790
Call 631-371-1473 for additional information.
11-13 May 2012 - North Conway, NH - The New England Chapter of the Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA-NE) holds Spring Mini-Reunion
Location: North Conway Grand Hotel, North Conway, New Hampshire. The registration cut-off date for the event is 27 April 2012. For additional information, local members and prospective members may call (518) 664-8032 or visit http://ncva-ne.org
Thursday, 17 May 2012, 11:30 - Englewood, CO - The AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter presents Ray Levesque - the new DIA Representative to NORAD
The AFIO Rocky Mountain Chapter presents Ray Levesque - the new DIA Representative to NORADNorthCom, J2's SIO in Iraq and recently back from work in Mexico. This is a joint meeting of AFIO and Denver INFRAGARD. will be held at Centennial Airport. There are seating limitations of 45 seats so we will accept reservations on a first come first serve basis. You will receive directions when you RSVP to Tom VanWormer at email@example.com. The lunch will cost $12.00. You can pay at the door.
Friday, 18 May 2012, 6:30 – 9:30 pm – Washington, DC - "Surveillance 101 with Eric O'Neill" at the International Spy Museum
Test your surveillance skills on the mean streets of DC!
What if you were assigned to watch the most damaging spy in US history? As a young operative in the FBI, Eric O'Neill was put into position as Robert Hanssen's assistant with the secret
task of spying on his boss, who was under suspicion of working for
Russia.$7 O'Neill's background with the FBI was in surveillance, so he
was up to the challenge. But how would you measure up? It's your chance
to find out. O'Neill is prepared to share his hard-earned expertise with
you. This intense small group introduction to surveillance will include
learning the basics and conducting surveillance in the streets of DC.
Will you be able to track the "Rabbit" without being "made?" You'll
learn how to snap clandestine shots and keep your target in view so you
won't miss operational acts or secret meetings. O'Neill will lead the
exercise and help you learn how to blend into the shadows for the best
WHERE: International Spy Museum: 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station
Tickets $94.00. Space is limited to only 10 participants – advance registration required. Call 202 654-0932 to register.
Sunday, 20 May 2012, 6 pm - McLean, VA - NMIA/NMIF Hosts 38th Awards Banquet
The 38th Military Intelligence Community Awards Banquet includes dinner and awards presentation recognizing achievement of Intelligence Professionals from DoD Components, National Intelligence Agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security. Event takes place at the McLean Hilton Hotel. Cocktails 1800 hrs; Dinner & Awards Ceremony 1800 hrs. Mess Dress/Black Tie Preferred. This is an important event by a fine group and you are urged to consider attending. Details as well as reservation forms available at http://bit.ly/HHxZ7z
Thursday, 24 May 2012, 6 pm - New York, NY - AFIO NY Metro meets to hear Dr. Vadim Birstein on Stalin's SMERSH
Dr. Vadim Birstein - Russian American who arrived in
the US in 1991, is a historian, a molecular geneticist and author of
over 150 scientific papers, three
scientific books and one history book. www.vadimbirstein.com/bio.htm
Dr. Birstein's new book "SMERSH" an acronym of the Russian phrase "Death to Spies." "SMERSH" was Stalin's secret weapon, Soviet Military Counterintelligence during WWll. Dr. Birstein
reveals for the first time the structure of this super secret organization, its torture and execution of countless Soviet officers and servicemen and its brazen arrest of foreign civilians, the recovery of Hitler's body and its completely unknown involvement in the Nuremberg trials and much, much more.
RSVP: Strongly suggested, not required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: 3 West Club, 3 West 51st St, NYC
Cost: $45/person including buffet dinner & cash bar.
For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events
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