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Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Pakistan's Spy Service Wants Credit for Helping CIA Track Bin Laden. Pakistan's premier spy service, stung by lingering suspicions that it was complicit in sheltering Osama bin Laden, said Friday that it deserves credit for helping U.S. intelligence officials locate the hideout where the al-Qaeda chief was killed by American commandos nearly a year ago.
"The lead and the information actually came from us," a senior official with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) said in an interview, reviving a push for recognition ahead of the anniversary of the stealth raid in a town about 70 miles by road north of the capital, Islamabad.
Washington has cast serious doubt on the ISI claim - and frequently portrays the agency as a sponsor of Islamist extremists - but a renewed official embrace of the operation that eliminated bin Laden is revealing in itself.
Many Pakistani politicians have described the May 2 raid as an assault on Pakistan's sovereignty and an example of U.S. arrogance. A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA in the hunt for bin Laden remains in custody on charges of treason, and his associates are barred from working.
After U.S. helicopters swooped in to breach bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan's army said it knew nothing about his six-year presence in the garrison town, site of Pakistan's most prestigious military academy.
The ISI continues to maintain that stance. But recent claims by one of bin Laden's widows that the fugitive al-Qaeda leader spent some nine years in Pakistan, living in several homes and fathering four children, have renewed questions about whether somebody in the powerful spy service knew of his whereabouts. [Read more: Leiby/WashingtonPost/27April2012]
Death of Spy, Zipped Into Bag, Spawns Theories and Inquest. Britain, home to the MI6 spy agency that inspired the James Bond stories and the billion-dollar film franchise, has been wrestling this week with one of the country's strangest real-life spy mysteries in a generation, one that has become known popularly as the case of the spy in the bag.
An inquest held just across the Thames from MI6's headquarters here has brought forth details of the bizarre and lonely death in August 2010 of Gareth Williams, a 31-year-old rising star in supersecret counterterrorism work. He was found in a fetal position, arms crossed on his chest, locked inside a duffel bag resting in an unfilled bathtub at the government flat assigned to him in the upscale Pimlico district of London.
His naked body had been in the bag for a week before it was discovered, so badly decomposed that the police and pathologists have been unable to determine whether he was murdered in what his family's lawyer has suggested to the court was a plot by others skilled in the "dark arts" of spy work.
That theory has played prominently here, with Mr. Williams depicted alternately as a victim of Russian secret service hit men, extremists with Al Qaeda, or a multitude of other potential assassins working in the murky world of espionage who poisoned him with potassium cyanide or an overdose of a powerful sedative drug, GHB, a theory pathologists said could not be effectively tested because of the advanced decomposition.
While the police and MI6 officials have refused to rule out those theories, they suggested a more likely but mundane explanation: that although the day had long passed when the agency dictated agents' lifestyles, he was leading a doubly secret life, as a licensed MI6 field agent and as a sexual fantasist. [Read more: Burns/NYTimes/27April2012]
New US Intelligence Agency to Place Emphasis on China. US intelligence is following suit on US President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia with the creation of a new clandestine intelligence service that is set to put greater emphasis on Asia - and China in particular.
Following a plan approved last week by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the new Defense Clandestine Service will cement cooperation between existing case officers from the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) already operating outside war zones and those from the CIA, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The new service, which is being touted as a "realignment" of human intelligence efforts, will grow "from several hundred to several more hundred" agents in the coming years as personnel and funding are redirected from current assignments, predominantly Iraq and Afghanistan, to Asia.
Its agents will be called upon to increase collection on "national intelligence" on a range of issues, from counterproliferation to new and emerging threats, reports said. The plan calls for military intelligence to focus beyond tactical theaters of operations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and pay more attention to "ascendant powers," which several experts interpret as meaning China, a move that would reflect a similar realignment of military forces under Obama's "pivot." [Read more: Cole/TaipeiTimes/26April2012]
CIA Drone Strike Kills Top Al-Qaeda Operative Who Was Trained by Osama Bin Laden - as FBI Director Pledges to Help Stop Islamist Insurgency. A top member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was killed in an air strike over the weekend, the Yemeni Embassy confirmed Tuesday.
U.S. officials say the strike was conducted by the CIA and killed Mohammed Al-Umda on Sunday.
The drone targeted the prominent Al-Qaeda leader while he was riding in his SUV.
According to ABC News, the CIA and the US military's Joint Special Operations Command fly drones over that area of the Middle East to target possible insurgents.
FBI director Robert Mueller visited Yemen on Tuesday, pledging to help quell an Islamist insurgency, as security and government sources said a drone had killed a prominent al Qaeda leader linked to an attack on a French oil tanker.
In a meeting with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office earlier this year, Mueller promised the United States would support Yemen 'with full force' in all respects.
'Mueller visits Yemen on an annual basis so this is not a special or secret occasion,' said Mohammed Al-Basha, Yemen's embassy spokesman in Washington.
'President Hadi emphasised that he is strongly committed to combating extremism and working with the U.S. to counter the mutual threat of terrorism.'
Yemen's embassy in Washington said on Tuesday that Mohammed Saeed al-Umda, convicted in 2005 of involvement in the 2002 attack on the Limburg oil tanker, had been killed in an air strike on his convoy in the oil-producing province of Maarib on Sunday.
Umda, described by the embassy as Yemen's fourth most-wanted man, had received military training under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was in charge of the group's finances, a security source said. [Read more: DailyMail/25April2012]
Pentagon Nears Expansion of Cyber Information Sharing Effort. Defense Department officials said a pilot program that lets them share cyber threat information with the private sector has been a success story, and more firms are clamoring to join. Within a few months, the program will be significantly expanded and made permanent, officials said Tuesday.
Teri Takai, the DoD chief information officer, said under rules that are awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget, the defense industrial base (DIB) pilot program would grow to include roughly 200 firms from the current 37. She said she hoped the White House would sign off on the rules within the next 60 days.
"We've been working on this for two years now," Takai told a cybersecurity forum organized by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Arlington, Va. "Our plan this year is to expand this, and I think it'll give a lot more companies the opportunity to share not only with us, but with each other."
DoD started the pilot program nearly a year ago based on a simple premise: since foreign hackers weren't having much luck stealing information from Defense Department systems, they had turned their sights on systems owned and operated by companies in the defense industrial base.
The sharing would involve both classified and unclassified data and would let information flow in both direction - private firms would share information about the attacks they're seeing with the National Security Agency, and NSA would provide its own information about current threats to companies who meet the program's requirements.
Takai said the effort also will form the basis for a similar cyber threat information sharing program the Department of Homeland Security has begun, that one designed to share information with Internet service providers (ISPs) so they could help defend their networks and customers against attacks. [Read more: Serbu/FederalNewsRadio/25April2012]
Serbian Barred from Canada over Alleged Soviet-Era Espionage. A Serbian man has been barred from entering Canada on suspicion that he belongs to a secret police service in the former Yugoslavia that spied on Western governments and institutions during the Communist era.
In a case that casts an unusually wide net, setting a precedent to keep anyone with even remote links to suspicious groups from entering the country, the Federal Court of Canada denied permanent residency to Zoran Vukic who worked as a communications attaché for the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro) in Ottawa between 1998 and 2002.
Mr. Vukic, whose job it was to receive and transmit secret communications between the embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade, has since returned to Serbia. But his wife Zorica, who was also deemed inadmissible to Canada, remains in Ottawa on a temporary resident work permit and challenged the government on its decision late last month.
She and her husband were both refused permanent residency because a visa officer decided there were "reasonable grounds" to believe Mr. Vukic was inadmissible because he "is or was" a member of an "organization engaged in espionage," Madam Justice Anne Mactavish ruled on March 29.
The organization in question, Sluzba za istrazavanje dokumentacije (SID), is accused of spying on Western governments and establishments during the Communist era and participating in the deaths of enemies of the state and nationals within Yugoslavia and beyond.
Mr. Vukic said his job with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to transmit encrypted messages between their government office and the Embassy in Ottawa. [Read more: Boesveld/NationalPost/24April2012]
Senate Review of CIA Interrogation Program "Nearing Completion". The Senate Intelligence Committee has been reviewing the post-9/11 detention and interrogation practices of the Central Intelligence Agency for four years and is still not finished. But the end appears to be in sight.
"The review itself is nearing completion - before the end of summer - but is not over yet," a spokesperson for the Committee said. "The release date should be not too far thereafter, but is not set."
"This review is the only comprehensive in-depth look at the facts and documents pertaining to the creation, management, and effectiveness of the CIA detention and interrogation program," according to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who was chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the review began in 2008.
Committee staff are said to have reviewed millions of pages of classified documents pertaining to the CIA program.
In newly published questions for the record following his confirmation hearing last year to be Director of the CIA, Gen. David Petraeus was asked by Senator Rockefeller if he would cooperate with the Committee review.
"I believe that a holistic and comprehensive review of the United States Government's detention and interrogation programs can lead to valuable lessons that might inform future policies," Petraeus replied. [Read more: SecrecyNews/24April2012]
Militants' Quick Training in Pakistan Poses Problem to Intelligence Agencies. Western security officials are worried about a wave of so-called "fast turnaround" volunteers who travel to Pakistan and obtain training from militant groups so quickly that they escape detection before returning to their home countries to launch attacks.
Analysts say the unprecedented speed with which new militants are being accepted for training by groups such as al-Qaida poses major problems for intelligence services as such individuals are likely to stay "below the radar".
The fears have been reinforced by one recent episode when, security sources say, British volunteers arrived in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, found their way to a religious school that has a reputation as a gateway to militant groups and, though they appear to have had no references, were within days participating in a training course run by al-Qaida or a linked extremist organisation in the rugged tribal zone along the frontier with Afghanistan.
After only a short stay in Pakistan, the volunteers had returned to the UK. Previously volunteers would have had to travel with reliable references from individuals known and trusted by extremist groups in Pakistan and would spend weeks "in quarantine" before being accepted. Frequently they would be tested in combat or in other ways to ensure they were not spies.
Richard Barrett, head of the expert committee established by the UN security council to oversee sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaida, said: "People are going in for a shorter time and so are much harder to spot. They are not seeing senior people, just lower-level trainers and maybe a middle-ranking leader, so security issues [for the extremist group] are less."
Barrett said some intelligence indicated that Mohammed Merah, the 23-year-old gunman who killed seven people in France in March, had spent possibly less than a day with a group known as Jund al-Khalifa in Pakistan. [Read more: Burke/Guardian/29April2012]
Obama Team on Guard for bin Laden Revenge Attack. With the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death coming up, Obama administration officials said today they are especially vigilant against a potential revenge attack.
President Obama "met today with members of his national security team to review the threat picture as we head into the anniversary of the bin Laden takedown," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
The spokesman added that "at this time we have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death.
"However, we assess that A.Q.'s affiliates and allies remain intent on conducting attacks in the homeland, possibly to avenge the death of bin Laden, but not necessarily tied to the anniversary," Carney said.
The Associated Press reported that it obtained an intelligence bulletin saying that "we remain concerned that terrorists not yet identified by the intelligence community and law enforcement could seek to advance or execute attacks with little or no warning on or about the anniversary of bin Laden's death."
The U.S. military conducted the raid in Pakistan that killed bin Laden on May 2. [Read more: Jackson/Today/26April2012]
Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE
Make Me a Spy in Ireland Says Errol Flynn. Swashbuckling star of the silver screen Errol Flynn harboured a secret ambition for a side-line career.
"Put me in uniform, send me to Ireland and make me a spy," he asked the US President Franklin D Roosevelt.
The movie star with legendary sex appeal wanted to charm his way into Irish secrets during World War II.
He wrote a letter to Col Bill Donovan, head of what became the CIA. It was later passed on to President Roosevelt.
Prof Tony Emmerson, former head of American Studies at the University of Ulster, came upon the letter at the Presidential Library in New York.
"Flynn suggests he be put in army uniform, sent to Ireland and that, effectively, he become a spy," he explained.
"He suggests that because he is so famous and engaging, people will talk to him and they'll be indiscreet.
"He writes that Brigid O'Toole (the typical Irish woman) has only the vaguest idea whether the Panama Canal divides America or Africa but she does know 'without a shadow of a doubt that Clark Gable cherishes a marked antipathy to striped underwear and that Hedy Lamarr wears a false bust'.
"Irish people are so mad about movies they will engage with Errol Flynn the great Hollywood actor and speak loosely."
But his appeal fell on deaf ears.
"His letter was not received very well. Roosevelt knew Flynn vaguely and believed he had Nazi sympathies before the war, so he didn't trust him," said Prof Emmerson. [Read more: McCann/BBC/25April2012]
Spy Twins' Top-Secret War. Donald and Peter Field, identical twins, were born in 1924 in Launceston, Tasmania. "The trouble began when we started school," Don Field recalls with amusement. "After a couple of days a note was sent home to my mother saying: 'We don't know one boy from the other.' So I had a D embroidered on my shirt and Peter had a P."
When "P" was six he contracted rheumatic fever, which caused permanent damage to his heart. "From then on, Peter wasn't allowed to carry anything," Don Field recalls. "He wasn't allowed to play any sport and he wasn't allowed to run."
In 1939, the war began and by 1942 Japan had made spectacular advances, capturing a vast area stretching to New Guinea.
The brothers, then 17, were keen to enlist. "I went home to my father and said I wanted to join the army. We thought it was only a matter of weeks before Australia would be invaded."
Although Don was two years shy of the minimum army enlistment age, his father gave permission for him to sign up. But he insisted Peter would never be allowed to join, "not with a heart like that". On this point, the boys' father underestimated the twins' resourcefulness. On March 31, 1942, the boys presented at Ripponlea drill hall in Melbourne for the military medical examination. The captain in charge worked his way through the alphabetical roster and when he reached "Field, D.C.", Don went forward for the examination. The surgeon captain took careful measurement of his height, noted the colour of his eyes and hair, examined his heart, and finally certified him fit for service. Don emerged from behind the curtain and disappeared into the washroom with Peter. The boys quickly swapped clothing and were back in place before Peter's name, next on the list, was called. When the captain announced "Field, P.C.", recalls Field, "I went behind the curtain again to see the doctor I'd just seen minutes before.
"After several moments, the doctor seemed to have worked out what was going on. 'Gee,' he said, 'you really are the spitting image of your brother.' "
And so both brothers came to be at Park Orchards, a golf course in Melbourne with a chalet converted to host the army's most secret section, the signal intelligence units, which were responsible for intercepting the enemy's coded radio transmissions. [Read more: Lucas/TheAustrailian/25April2012]
Soviet Spy Jail Exposes Stalin-Era Torture, Injustice. In an unassuming former rectory in the eastern German city of Potsdam, Soviet spy catchers once tortured suspects to wring out confessions before executing their victims or dispatching them to Siberian gulags.
The jail on Leistikowstrasse was part of a large Soviet military complex during the Cold War, sealed off from the citizens of Potsdam by barbed wire and guards, and swathed in secrecy and rumors.
At first run by the counter-intelligence agency SMERSH - an acronym coined by Josef Stalin that means "Death to Spies" in Russian - it later came under the KGB.
The building, the only Soviet remand prison in East Germany still in its original state, is now open to the public with a new, permanent display exploring the crimes of Stalin's regime and the suffering of the German and Soviet inmates who languished there, uncertain whether they would live or die.
"It's a question of ensuring it never happens again," 83- year-old Friedrich Klausch, a former prisoner, said at the opening this month. "We do have radical forces in this country. It's up to the rest of us to make sure we can carry on living in peace and freedom."
The jail is tucked away behind the gracious parkland of Cecilienhof Palace - the scene of the 1945 Potsdam Conference, where Stalin met with the leaders of Britain, the U.S. and France to carve up Germany after the allied victory in World War II. Days after the leaders left town, the Soviets began imprisoning their first spy suspects. [Read more: Hickley/Bloomberg/29April2012]
This Week in History: Soviets Down US Spy Plane. On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, an incident that lead to increased tensions in the midst of the Cold War, the imprisonment of an American pilot and a search for less vulnerable methods for gathering intelligence and reconnaissance imagery.
Over a decade into the Cold War, the United States was looking for a way to monitor the developments and aims of its nuclear adversary, the Soviet Union. In an age before satellites and hi-tech electronic surveillance tools, Washington began seeking new methods of collecting intelligence. Up until that point, aerial surveillance was conducted with regular fighters and bombers equipped with cameras, but the method was highly vulnerable to detection and interception. With that in mind, the US developed the top-secret U-2 spy plane, which could fly at extremely high altitudes in order to soar high above the range of fighter jets and missiles.
In 1956, the U-2 became operational and the Central Intelligence Agency began flying U-2 missions over the Soviet Union to take pictures of nuclear and military sites in an attempt to learn more about its enemy. For four years, the overflights took place, bringing real but limited results. The Soviets had become aware of the new intelligence collection methods but had been unable to do anything about it. In 1960, the US decided to increase the depth of the surveillance flights in order to glean more information on its adversary.
The fateful flight on May 1, 1960 was the second ever to be launched from a Pakistani air base, a location that allowed the spy plane to penetrate deep into Soviet airspace, but the Soviets were expecting its arrival. Air defenses were put on high alert and orders were given to bring down the American plane at whatever cost.
What actually brought down the U-2 is contested. [Read more: Omer-man/JerusalemPost/29April2012]
Omaha Cast Net that Caught Cyberthieves. Imagine for a moment that you are the chief financial officer of a small American business.
You are sitting at your desk sometime in 2009. You are doing your job. You are answering emails.
Here's one from the Internal Revenue Service with the subject line "Tax Statement" and a message about underreported income. Don't want to get crosswise with the IRS, you think, and click on a link.
The link leads to nothing. You try again. Still nothing.
Odd, you think. Then you immediately forget about it.
Several weeks or months later, you are sitting at your desk, doing your job, when the phone rings.
It's an agent from the Omaha office of the FBI.
He asks: Did you just authorize a withdrawal of $30,000 into a personal checking account?
No, you say, as your eyes widen and your pulse quickens. Why?
This is how you learn you've been robbed.
And not just robbed, but robbed repeatedly. Robbed so stealthily, so completely, that you didn't even realize the money was missing.
This, roughly, is how dozens of small businesses and nonprofits - even an Iowa Catholic diocese - learned from the Omaha office of the FBI in 2009 and 2010 about a group of Ukrainian hackers, malicious software named Zeus and a plan to steal $70 million seemingly ripped from the pages of a futuristic thriller. [Read more: Hansen/OmahaWorldHerald/30April2012]
Section III - COMMENTARY
Proliferation Intelligence or Proliferation of Intelligence? The one constant in American history is that government bureaucracies grow and proliferate rather than shrink and dwindle. Despite its secrecy - or perhaps because of it - the intelligence community is no exception.
After 9/11, changing over to fight against small, nimble terrorist groups, instead of the massive, ossified bureaucracies of communist countries, was said to require the proliferation of new intelligence organizations. Of course, the giant new Department of Homeland Security had to have its own intelligence arm. That organization then joined the 14 other intelligence agencies in being rolled up and put under a new Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Fighting more agile terrorists would seem to argue for streamlining agencies and making them talk to each other better - remember, lack of coordination and communication between the intelligence bureaucracies was what allowed information on the impending 9/11 attacks to go unnoticed and un-acted upon. In 9/11′s wake, however, the solution to poor coordination and communication was to make it worse by throwing additional organizations into the mix.
During the subsequent Iraq War, the George W. Bush administration didn't feel the CIA adequately recognized the threat from Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction, so it created a new and then-controversial intelligence office in the Pentagon to come up with scarier threat information. This was later disbanded because of congressional and public concern.
But the Pentagon, which already controls 80% of the intelligence budget, continues its quest to grab even more of the pie. Recently, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has created a new Defense Clandestine Service to improve the department's human intelligence capabilities. The service was born out of a study in 2011 by the director of national intelligence, which concluded that although the Defense Intelligence Agency was fulfilling its mission of providing intelligence to the military in war zones, it needed to collect more "national intelligence" outside the battlefield to share with its sister intelligence agencies. For example, intelligence on terrorists and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction might fall into this category. So would general intelligence on Iran and China - being sold by the government as the threats of the future.
Thus, the military and CIA are increasingly focused on similar threats. In fact, one high-level Pentagon official quoted in The New York Times argued that the new Defense Clandestine Service would "thicken our coverage across the board" but then tried to alleviate concerns that the new organization would take over the function of the CIA or its National Clandestine Service. He's right: the new entity will not take over the CIA's function; it will begin to duplicate it. Now, the Defense Clandestine Service is small, but as with all government organizations, we can count on it to grow and turf wars with the CIA's service to ensue.
Will all the new spooks running around make us safer? [Read more: Eland/Antiwar.com/25April2012]
Nah, Iran Probably Didn't Hack CIA's Stealth Drone. Four months after capturing a crashed U.S. stealth drone near the Iran-Afghanistan border, Tehran claims it has hacked into the 'bot's classified mission-control system. If true, it could mean Iran is making good on its vow to reverse-engineer the stealthy, Lockheed Martin-built RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone and produce homemade copies.
But that's not likely. "Based on my experience," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, told reporters, "I would seriously question their ability to do what they say they've done." A Pentagon drone program manager was far more blunt. Speaking to Danger Room on condition of anonymity, the program manager said Iran's claim "sounds like complete bullshit."
No one wants to talk on the record about the super-secret Sentinel. The Air Force declined Danger Room's requests for comment. So did Lockheed Martin. But they may not need to say anything. Iran's public comments about the RQ-170 do a pretty good job of debunking themselves.
Iran has a long history of faking major weapons developments. That said, many observers - myself included - at first believed Iran was lying about capturing the Sentinel. That, at least, turned out to be true. [Read more: Axe/Wired/24April2012]
How Smart is Intelligence Bureaucracy? The 9/11 Commission concluded in its final report in 2004 that the U.S. intelligence community (IC) organization, as it was structured then, had contributed to a failure to develop a management strategy to counter Islamic terrorism. The report concluded that the traditional existing IC agencies' stovepipes had to be eliminated and a position should be established for an administrator who would have powerful oversight authority. To accomplish this urgent task, one of the commission's principal recommendations was establishment of the position of director of national intelligence (DNI), which would be separate from the director of the CIA. There were many arguments against establishing the position of DNI. Some asserted that had it existed before the Sept. 11 attacks, it would not have prevented them. That remains an open question. It should be recalled that the 9/11 Commission staff discovered just before its final report went to the printers in July 2004 a six-page National Security Agency (NSA) analysis summarizing what the intelligence community had learned about Iran's direct involvement in the attack. Was this information collected before or after the attacks? As of now, we don't know because there has been no follow-up investigation by any congressional committee or the newly established DNI.
This issue is similar to one of an NSA intercept of the Iranian ambassador in Damascus reporting back to the foreign ministry in Tehran on instructions he had given terrorist groups in Beirut to concentrate their attacks on the Multi-National Force but undertake a "spectacular action" against the U.S. Marines. This intercept was issued by the NSA in a highly classified message on Sept. 27, 1983, almost four weeks before the Marine barracks bombing. I was the deputy chief of naval operations then and did not get to see this critical message until two days after the bombing. Most key decision-makers have never seen this message.
Would a DNI have ensured that such a critical message was brought to the attention of key decision-makers? That also remains an open question. The bottom line is that personnel performance at all levels must recognize the critical nature of key intelligence and not worry about who gets the credit. [Read more: Lyons/WashingtonTimes/27April2012]
CIA Expands Drone Use, But Has it Stopped Investing in Human Intelligence? It has been an interesting, if puzzling, week in the realm of U.S. national security. The Defense Department is re-focusing its espionage efforts, while the Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its paramilitary operations. The line that divides Langley and the Pentagon is increasingly thin.
The Obama administration has authorized the CIA to expand its targeted drone campaign against Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen to include "fighters whose names aren't known but who are deemed high-value terrorism targets or threats to the U.S." This news followed on the heels of the Pentagon's announcement of the new Defense Clandestine Service, adding a new agency to the already gargantuan Intelligence Community. The still nebulous role of the DCS will be to realign the military's human intelligence capability beyond current war zones.
PolicyMic's Andrew Pasternak wrote a thorough piece this week about the new DCS and what it might bring to the intelligence table. It's a good read.
But with the subsequent news that the CIA now has greater leeway in who it targets in Yemen, I'm wondering, "Why does it seem like we have an intelligence agency that does the work the Pentagon should do? And why is the Pentagon re-investing in work the CIA ought to do?" [Read more: Hughes/PolicyMic/27April2012]
Section IV - Books and Coming Events
Top Ex-CIA Officer on Waterboarding Tape Destruction: 'Just Getting Rid of Some Ugly Visuals'. The retired top CIA officer who ordered the destruction of videos showing waterboarding says in a new book that he was tired of waiting for Washington's bureaucracy to make a decision that protected American lives.
Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw the CIA's once-secret interrogation and detention program, also lashes out at President Barack Obama's administration for calling waterboarding torture and criticizing its use.
"I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled 'torturers' by the president of the United States," Rodriguez writes in his book, "Hard Measures."
The book is due out April 30. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.
The chapter about the interrogation videos adds few new details to a narrative that has been explored for years by journalists, investigators and civil rights groups. But the book represents Rodriguez's first public comment on the matter since the tape destruction was revealed in 2007.
N.B. Rodriguez will the keynote speaker at AFIO National's June 1st luncheon in Tysons Corner, VA. See notice and registration elsewhere in this issue of the Weekly Notes. [Read more: Goldman/AP/24April2012]
The Street Photography of The Czech
Secret Police. The art of street photography focuses so much on capturing subjects unaware, snapping them at their most natural and relaxed moment. And when looking to secretly photograph someone, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone more experienced than the various secret police of the Communist Bloc. This year saw the release of the book Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, and these shots taken while surveilling everyday citizenry may not have rooted out many Capitalist running dogs, but were remarkably good examples of street photography.
Taken with cameras hidden under coats or in suitcases, the secret police were unable to frame images accurately, leading to the occasional bizarre angle and blurry shot - but all of which come off looking remarkably artistic. You can see a few more photographs over at Vice, and none of them would look out of place on a gallery wall.
Does this mean surveillance camera footage will be considered art in a few years? Or is that just the New Aesthetic? [Read more: Barribeau/PopPhoto/24April2012]
Coming Educational Events
EDUCATIONAL EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....
MANY Spy Museum Events in May, June, 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.
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, 11:30 am - Scottsdale, AZ - "The FBI's Foreign Intelligence Operations during WWII" - presentation by Arthur Kerns at AFIO Arizona Luncheon
The FBI's Special Intelligence Service (SIS) was authorized by
Presidential order in May 1940 to conduct foreign intelligence
operations in the western hemisphere. Retired Special Agent Arthur Kerns
will discuss the origins and operations of this little known
intelligence group that existed from 1940 to 1946.
Arthur Kerns served for 24 years with the FBI, retiring from FBI Headquarters in 1988. He now writes mysteries and thrillers and his short fiction appears in a number of anthologies.
New Location: McCormick Ranch Golf Course, 7505 McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale AZ 85258
WE WILL NEED FOR EVERY MEETING an RSVP no later than 72 hours ahead of time; in the past, not reserving or cancelling without prior notice (72 hours prior to the meeting) created much grief for those of us organizing the meeting and dealing with the personnel!
WE ARE charged for the no-shows and please remember, we are a small organization with a humble coffer!
We would therefore APPRECIATE that you all respond to this email to confirm your presence (or not).
Our meeting fees will be as follows: $20.00 for AFIO members, $22.00 for guests
For reservations or questions, please email Simone at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call and leave a message on 602.570.6016
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.
Friday, 1 June 2012 - Tysons Corner, VA - AFIO Summer Luncheon featuring former Director, CIA NCS Jose A Rodriguez plus a morning author.
Register now for this special and, for some, controversial, AFIO Summer Luncheon which features former CIA National Clandestine Service Director Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr. on his long-anticipated book: HARD MEASURES: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, co-authored with Bill Harlow [author, former Director of the Office of Public Affairs, CIA], and Morning speaker: Distinguished former CIA Latin America/Caribbean expert, author of - Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine, Brian Latell, Ph.D.. Register NOW for this Special Event.
2 June 2012 - San Diego, CA - 70th Anniversary of Battle of Midway, Naval Postgraduate School
Reservations are now being accepted for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway Dining-Out at the Naval Postgraduate School on Saturday 2 June. This annual event is led by the NPS Student Council in coordination with the Monterey Bay Commander of the Naval Order of the United States, the Monterey Peninsula Council of the Navy League. The honoree President of the Mess is Vice Admiral Dan Oliver, USN (Ret), President of the Naval Postgraduate School, the President of the Mess is Captain Gerral David, USN, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Monterey, and LT Ryan Birkelbach, USN is Mr. Vice. The guest speaker will be Admiral Gary Roughead, the 29th Chief of Naval Operations.
The 2012 Midway theme is the "Priceless Advantage: Winning the
Battles of Coral Sea, Midway and the Aleutians with Communications
Intelligence" and will focus on past, present, and future issues in
communications intelligence, cryptanalytics, lingusitics, and
information analysis to support decision making.
Admiral Roughead is currently the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was an early leader establishing social media tools in the Navy, creating the Information Dominance and Assurance programs, the Navy Cyber Command, and standing up the Navy's 10th Fleet at Fort George G. Meade.
You might find it useful to read the history of winning Midway by a National Security Agency historian, Dr. Frederick D. Parker " A Priceless Advantage." The NSA Midway communications intelligence history download address is: http://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/cryptologic_heritage/publications/wwii/priceless_advantage.pdf
A principal figure who led the OP20G team at Pearl Harbor 14th Naval District breaking the Imperial Japanese Navy code JN-25 and assembling sufficient intelligence to reveal the plans of the Japanese fleet was LCDR Joe Rochefort - he was the direct interface to the Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Nimitz at the Combat Intelligence Center aka Station H or "HYPO". Supporting Rochefort was a young Navy Ensign, Donald "Mac" Showers who arrived in February 1942. Admiral Showers retired in 1971 as Director of Naval Intelligence, then spent another 12 years at the CIA on special assignments to the director. Our access to an eye-witness of this caliber, the only one still alive, is well beyond our expectations.
A special DVD will be produced which features Adm Mac Showers, now 92, who retired in 1971 as Director of Naval Intelligence, then spent 12 yrs at CIA. He will give his personal account of what happened during Midway. Dr. Summers has worked with most of the key parties involved in the code breaking operations at Pearl Harbor in 1942 to produce an outstanding documentary.
To register: http://www.nps.edu/midway/
Reservations are now being taken and know you will want to reserve a place at this historic event!
Upon making your reservations, your names will be added to the gate security access list.
Contact Captain Ken Johnson, USN (Ret.), 2012 Battle of Midway Team Coordinator email@example.com and 831-657-9793 for further details.
For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events
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