AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #47-12 dated 18 December 2012

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

Research Request



Coming Educational Events

Current Calendar New and/or Next Two Months ONLY



This will be the last Weekly Intelligence Notes for 2012.

We will resume on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013.

Merry Christmas!

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CIA Invites AFIO Members to special event in Yorba Linda, California

Register your interest in attending this CIA-Nixon Library Conference to be held in Yorba Linda, California

"President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War"

A CIA Historical Documents 'Release Event' Conference co-hosted with The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

AFIO members, their guests, and others in public are invited to attend this CIA-Nixon Library Conference examining the Intelligence Community's handling of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. It underscores the difficulty for the IC - in the past and today - to reliably predict the unexpected, especially in the Middle East.

Event features former policymakers and analysts, as well as historians and Middle East experts discussing how intelligence played into the decision-making process before, during, and after the conflict. Invited speakers include Brent Scowcroft (National Security Advisor under Presidents Ford and Bush), Charles E. Allen, (former Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security), William Quandt (Middle East expert at the National Security Council), Andy Liepman (former Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center), Dick Kovar (former chief of CIA's Middle East Task Force), James Gelvin (Historian, UCLA), Emile A. Nakhleh, PhD (former CIA Middle East expert), and the new Director of the Nixon Library (announcement expected soon). There is no fee to attend.
REGISTER your interest in attending event by clicking email address at right to obtain additional details:
Provide your name, email address, and how many guests you might be bringing with you to the January 30th CIA-NIXON Library Conference being held in Yorba Linda, CA [right outside Los Angeles]. You will be sent further details as event approaches.
Additional information is also here.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

"Typists to Trailblazers"
The History of Women's Advancement and Achievements at CIA

CIA Conference at Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts

This CIA Historical Documents 'Release Event' Conference co-hosted with Smith College and features CIA’s women’s history month celebration. Speakers will discuss women's advancement, including Petticoat Panel Report, and other achievements that brought women into higher positions beyond the typing pool.
Additional program details to follow. Registration will be available here in coming weeks.
All AFIO members are invited.
REGISTER your interest in attending event by clicking email address at right to obtain additional details:



Lieberman Receives Intelligence Community's Highest Award. Outgoing Sen. Joseph Lieberman was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal for "extraordinary service to the nation."

Lieberman (I-Conn.), who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Tuesday received the highest recognition awarded by the intelligence community to one who is not part of the community.

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, called Lieberman "a steadfast ally of the intelligence community." [Read more: JewishJournal/11December2012]

Auburn University Joins Intelligence Community with New Cyber Security Center. Auburn University announced today the hiring of retired Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess, former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, as the school's new head of national security programs, cyber programs and military affairs.

The announcement coincides with the opening of Auburn's new cyber security center, which Burgess will oversee, at the Auburn University Regional Airport.

The facility, designed primarily as an educational tool, is expected to do contract intelligence work for various government agencies and businesses.

Using non-classified or open-source resources such as social-networking and news sites, it will monitor and analyze potential threats worldwide, including cyber attacks, disease outbreaks and terrorist activity.

"In a lot of the world, open-source intelligence has become one of the ways we're able to discern and predict what's going on," said Burgess, who noted that intelligence agents relied heavily on YouTube to monitor uprisings during the Arab Spring. [Read more: Belanger/]

French Former Spy Chief Cleared of 2 Counts. A Paris appeals court has rejected two of three charges against the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency over allegedly illegal monitoring of a journalist's phone conversations.

The case against former DCRI police agency chief Bernard Squarcini was an issue in France's presidential campaign this year.

DCRI was said to illegally collect records of phone conversations between a Le Monde newspaper reporter and a Justice Ministry source under President Nicolas Sarkozy - a Squarcini ally. Sarkozy lost the presidency to Socialist Francois Hollande in May.

Defense lawyer Patrick Maisonneuve said Thursday that the dismissed charges were: violating the right to secret correspondence and receiving improper records. [Read more: AP/13December2012]

Intelligence Agencies Move Towards Single Super-Cloud. The intelligence community is developing a single cloud computing network to allow all its analysts to access and rapidly sift through massive volumes of data. When fully complete, this effort will create a pan-agency cloud, with organizations sharing many of the same computing resources and information. More importantly, the hope is the system will break down existing boundaries between agencies and change their insular cultures.

As in the rest of the federal government, lower costs and higher efficiency are the primary reasons for the intelligence world's shift to cloud computing, said Charles Allen, formerly Under Secretary of Homeland Security for intelligence and analysis, currently a principal with the Chertoff Group, in an interview with AOL Defense. Now in its eighth month, the goal of the effort is to connect the CIA's existing cloud to a new cloud run by the National Security Agency. This NSA-run network consists of five other intelligence agencies and the FBI. Both of these clouds can interoperate, but the CIA has its own unique needs because it must work with human intelligence, which necessitates keeping its cloud slightly separate, he said.

The NSA's cloud will incorporate the smaller organization-wide clouds of its partner agencies. One agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates and manages the country's spy satellites, has its own initiative to move its data to a cloud architecture. Jill Singer, the NRO's chief information officer, recently noted that her agency's cloud efforts plug directly into the larger intelligence community program. This allows vital satellite imagery to be shared with analysts across multiple intelligence agencies, she said. [Read more: Kenyon/AOLDefense/17December2012]

Army Struggles to Hold on to Intelligence Network. The Canadian Army is trying to hold on to its intelligence-gathering capability and its ability to disrupt spying in the face of budget strain, say internal National Defence documents.

A briefing note prepared for the country's top soldier shows the army has pushed the military's chief of intelligence to permanently staff "high-readiness" intelligence positions within brigades and all-source intelligence centres that could be called upon to deploy overseas.

The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information laws, also show the army is anxious to protect its network of human sources and operatives, known as HUMINT, and to better resource its counter-intelligence abilities.

With the end of the war in Afghanistan and a shrinking defence budget, there is a fear those disciplines could face "degradation."

The army's budget by itself has shrunk by 22 per cent.

Indeed, during an appearance recently before the Senate security and defence committee army commander Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin said he's invested 1,500 regular force positions in "enablers" such as intelligence, counter-improvised explosive device research, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, among other things.

How much of that involves modernized intelligence wasn't made clear, but the documents show it is a pressing concern. [Read more: Brewster/TheCanadianPress/17December2012]

Clapper to Stay on as Intel Chief. With the president expected to soon name his choices for leadership at the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, one key position will remain consistent - the director of national intelligence.

James Clapper has told colleagues he will be staying as director of national intelligence (DNI), according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of Clapper's plans. The official said Clapper will stay at the head of the Office of Director of National Intelligence "for the foreseeable future."

President Barack Obama requested that Clapper stay on, amid an expected second-term overhaul of the other key national security posts. The official, who could not be identified because no official announcement has been made about Clapper, said word of the director staying at the request of the White House began to filter through the intelligence community on Monday.

Because the DNI's job does not have a fixed term of office, Clapper will not face a new confirmation hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The official said the director had told colleagues and the White House he did not want to go through another hearing.

Clapper has proven to be a key bulwark for the Obama administration in the face of Republican criticism over response to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, in particular after he acknowledged it was the intelligence community that was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack. [Read more: Starr/CNN/17December2012]

Homeland Security Ranked Worst Large Federal Agency to Work At. According to, the worst large federal agency to work at is the Department of Homeland Security. The second worst large federal agency to work at is the Department of Veteran Affairs, while the Department of Labor is the third worst. View Best Places to work here.

The best, according to the ranking, is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), followed by the Intelligence Community, and the Department of State. 

The ranking service highlights "effective leadership" as being crucial to workplace satisfaction. "Many issues influence how employees view their workplace and rate their satisfaction, but the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, with support from Hay Group, run an analysis to determine which factors are the most important," reports "Effective leadership has emerged as the key driver every year since the rankings launched in 2003, followed by a match between agency mission and employee skills. The third most important factor, satisfaction with pay, emerged for the first time in 2010, replacing work/life balance as a key element for overall satisfaction and commitment."

The head of the Department of Homeland Security, the lowest rated large federal agency, is Janet Napolitano.

The agencies with the sharpest decline from last year, in terms of work environment, were the Department of Veteran Affairs and Justice Department. [Read more: Halper/TheWeeklyStandard/17December2012]

Hearing Reveals Details of Spy's Life, but Motive for Death Is Still a Mystery. It is now more than six years since Alexander V. Litvinenko, whistle-blower and former K.G.B. officer, died a slow, agonizing and much-chronicled death, reflecting the shadowy world in which he maneuvered to tilt against the Kremlin - the font, as he depicted it, of Russian organized crime. 

But, after potentially explosive disclosures at a preinquest hearing last week, a more fundamental question seems to arise: Are the mysteries of his poisoning by the rare and highly toxic isotope polonium 210 approaching something akin to resolution, or are they simply condemned to deepen?

"The Alexander Litvinenko affair has been an unbelievably murky business," The Times of London observed in an editorial. The more details become known, it said, "the murkier and muddier it seems to become."

The hearing last week produced two major assertions that seemed to bear out that assessment.

One, by Hugh Davies, a lawyer acting for the inquest, seemed to substantiate the Litvinenko camp's insistence that British government evidence not yet made public in detail "does establish a prima facie case as to the culpability of the Russian state in the death of Alexander Litvinenko," who had become a British citizen weeks before his death.

The second, by Ben Emmerson, acting for Mr. Litvinenko's wife, Marina, was that her husband was a "registered and paid agent" of Britain's MI6 and of its Spanish counterpart, dealing with both in their investigations into Russian organized crime bosses and their links to political leaders in Moscow.

Between them, the two assertions raise tantalizing possibilities that could help fill the single biggest gap in the Litvinenko jigsaw: the question of a motive. [Read more: Cowell/NYTimes/17December2012]

Costly Cyberespionage on 'Relentless Upward Trend'. Cyberespionage is nothing new. So a report from the Defense Security Service (DSS) about efforts in foreign countries to steal U.S. technology, intellectual property, trade secrets and proprietary information might sound like just more of the same.

DSS Director Stanley L. Sims said it is more of the same - problem is, much, much more. And in some cases, old cyberespionage technology is now more sophisticated. The agency's annual report, "Targeting U.S. Technologies: A Trend Analysis of Reporting from Defense Industry," said industry reports of attempts to steal sensitive or classified information and technology increased by 75% from fiscal years 2010-11.

While the percentage of attacks from different regions of the world remained relatively stable, "the only stability in the data is the relentless upward trend," the report said.

"During fiscal year 2011, the persistent, pervasive, and insidious nature of that threat became particularly noteworthy, and the pattern became even more firmly established," Sims wrote in the introduction to the report.

It noted that attackers from East Asia and the Pacific, which includes Australia, China, Japan, North and South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines and Taiwan, were particularly interested in military and space technology - specifically "radiation-hardened" microelectronics - memory and other components that have been hardened to withstand radiation in high-altitude flight, space operations and near nuclear reactions.

How much this costs the U.S. is difficult to quantify. FierceGovernmentIT reported in July that the FBI had estimated that economic espionage had cost the nation $13 billion through the first three quarters of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That is obviously a significant amount of money, but in an economy with a gross domestic product of about $14.6 trillion, it is barely a rounding error.

But Joel Harding, a retired military intelligence officer and information operations expert, said he believes the FBI estimate is much too conservative. "Many corporations invest millions of man-hours in proprietary products, only to have them copied and stolen by foreign agents, who can share with their corporations," he said. [Read more: Armerding/CSO/18December2012]


A New Tool for Secret Agents - And the Rest of Us. A secret agent is racing against time. He knows a bomb is nearby. He rounds a corner, spots a pile of suspicious boxes in the alleyway, and pulls out his cell phone. As he scans it over the packages, their contents appear onscreen. In the nick of time, his handy smartphone application reveals an explosive device, and the agent saves the day. 

Sound far-fetched? In fact it is a real possibility, thanks to tiny inexpensive silicon microchips developed by a pair of electrical engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The chips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, that fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum - between microwaves and far-infrared radiation - and that can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays. 

When incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming. In the future, the technology may lead to noninvasive cancer diagnosis, among other applications.

"Using the same low-cost, integrated-circuit technology that's used to make the microchips found in our cell phones and notepads today, we have made a silicon chip that can operate at nearly 300 times their speed," says Ali Hajimiri, the Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caltech. "These chips will enable a new generation of extremely versatile sensors." [Read more: CalTech/7December2012]

Review: MP9 Spy Pen with Video Recording and Data Storage. Sure, spies have charm, cat-like reflexes and an uncanny ability to seduce anything that walks, but without their gadgets, they'd have a tougher time getting out of sticky situations.

While the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. doesn't sell the infallible Cone of Silence (my favorite spy gadget of all time), it does have a nifty pen camcorder to help you get started on your next mission, should you accept it.

Embedded within this $75 ballpoint pen, the MP9, is a tiny camera that can capture more than two hours of footage on 4GB of storage (up to 80 minutes on a full charge). The pen untwists into two halves: the bottom part for writing (yes, it works as an actual pen) and the top half for recording. After you're done capturing all the details of an evil mastermind's plan for irradiating America's gold supply - or something to that nature - you plug the pen into a USB port to transfer the incriminating evidence onto your computer.

Novel as this might be, how does it perform in real life? We find out. [Read more: Truong/Dvice/11December2012]

Mansion Of Secrets: An Espionage Expert's Outrageous Spy Lair. H. Keith Melton is a man of espionage. He is the author of more than 25 nonfiction works on covert activities (including The Ultimate Spy Book ) and by far the world's largest private collector of spy memorabilia . Even his spectacular Boca Raton house has the air of hiding secrets. Nestled at the end of a prosperous but rather generic cul-de-sac in a gated south Florida subdivision, Melton's house hardly stands out at curbside from the neighborhood. But looks, as any clandestine operative knows, can be creatively deceiving.

To meet the 68-year-old author in his lair is to be ushered not just into his home but also into his powerful preoccupations. The room where we meet, for instance, was once a staid ballroom. No longer: The walls, the ceilings, even the wet bar are honed from gleaming, hand-hammered stainless steel stretching across 1,350 square feet. Metal craftsmen, recruited from the commercial side of the construction trade, fashioned the bolts holding the silvery sheets in place from the same metal. "The design inspiration for this room is the nose cone of a zeppelin," Melton informs me, as we sink into plush black leather chairs designed after those that once graced Walt Disney´┐Żs office.

This room is Keith Melton's homage to the machine age, the late-industrial-age period between the world wars that permeated art and design as Art Deco clung to its last vestige of aesthetic popularity. The Melton nostalgia version took two years and millions to craft. The author is a man of particular tastes: Room accents include serving trays from a 1930s Douglas DC-3 airliner, a WWII-era coffin trolley turned coffee table, and reclaimed jet navigator chairs used as bar stools. And this is just one of the 19 eye-popping rooms tucked inside the 7,700-square-foot home.

A U.S. Naval Academy trained engineer, Melton has not only written about spying but also contributed to 53 documentaries and consults as the technical tradecraft historian at the U.S. government's Interagency Training Center. He's also a former McDonald's franchisee (one of the corporation's largest stateside owners before he sold Melton Management in 2010) and, with his Hollywood production partner Craig Piligian, a film and television backer for projects like "American Chopper".

But his collection is his consuming, four-decades-long passion. If the house itself is devoted to the interwar era, the collection is all about the Cold War. It is stunning to contemplate: an assemblage of some 9,000 physical artifacts - including the ice ax used to kill Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and the ashes of superspy Aleksandr Orlov, who famously relocated the Spanish Republic's gold reserves to the Soviet Union - and more than 8,600 literary volumes representing the second-largest intelligence library in the world, dwarfed only by another private collection. The artifacts rotate among five museums, including the International Spy Museum in D.C., where he is a board member; two private displays within the walls of Langley, available only to Central Intelligence Agency staffers; and the Spy Exhibit (in collaboration with the CIA and FBI), which is currently open to the public at the Discovery Channel's Discovery Times Square in New York City. The permanent home of all these on-loan pieces lies next to the house, in Melton's guesthouse turned private museum.

But it is hardly the only museum on the property. [Read more: Brennan/Forbes/6December2012]

"Crimes Reports" and the Leak Referral Process. "Crimes reports" are official notifications that are sent by U.S. intelligence agencies to the Department of Justice when an unauthorized disclosure of classified information (or another potential federal crime) is believed to have occurred. Crimes reporting is required by statute, by executive order, and by interagency agreement between the Attorney General and the heads of intelligence agencies.

"We file crimes reports every week," said George J. Tenet in a discussion of leaks during his 1997 confirmation hearing to be Director of Central Intelligence.

"Say again?" said Sen. Robert Kerrey, who may have been unfamiliar with the term used by Mr. Tenet.

"We file crimes reports with the Attorney General every week about leaks, and we're never successful in litigating one," Mr. Tenet said.

In general, information or allegations concerning criminal activity by government employees should be reported to the Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 535, "Investigation of crimes involving Government officers and employees."

More particularly, Executive Order 12333 (section 1.6) on United States Intelligence Activities requires the heads of intelligence agencies to "report to the Attorney General possible violations of Federal criminal laws by employees and of specified Federal criminal laws by any other person as provided in procedures agreed upon by the Attorney General and the head of the department, agency, or establishment concerned..."

The unusual term "crimes reports" derives from those procedures, which are set forth in a 1995 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Reporting of Information Concerning Federal Crimes, signed by Attorney General Janet Reno and the heads of six other agencies.

Though it is rarely cited in public discussions of leak policy, this MOU provides the structural framework for intelligence community reporting to the Justice Department regarding leaks of classified information, among other potential crimes. [Read more: Aftergood/SecrecyNews/17December2012]

The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: The CIA's 1987 Damage Assessment Declassified. When Naval Investigative Service analyst Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel in 1984 and 1985, his Israeli handlers asked primarily for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union - not on the United States - according to the newly-declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case, published today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (

The damage assessment includes new details on the specific subjects and documents sought by Pollard's Israeli handlers (pages 36-43), such as Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs, and Soviet air defenses. The Israelis specifically asked for a signals intelligence manual that they needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria. The document describes how Pollard's handler, Joseph Yagur, told him to ignore a request, from Yagur's boss, for U.S. "dirt" on senior Israeli officials and told Pollard that gathering such information would terminate the operation (page 38).

Under the heading "What the Israelis Did Not Ask For," the assessment remarks (page 43) that they "never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities, or equipment."

The assessment also notes that Pollard volunteered delivery of three daily intelligence summaries that had not been requested by his handlers, but which proved useful to them, and ultimately handed over roughly 1,500 such messages from the Middle East and North Africa Summary (MENAS), the Mediterranean Littoral Intelligence Summary (MELOS), and the Indian Ocean Littoral Intelligence Summary, in addition to the more than 800 compromised documents on other subjects that Pollard delivered to the Israelis in suitcases.

The damage assessment also features a detailed 21-page chronology of Pollard's personal life and professional career, including his work for the Israelis, highlighting more than a dozen examples of unusual behavior by Pollard that the CIA suggests should have, in retrospect, alerted his supervisors that he was a security risk. Prominent on the list were false statements by Pollard during a 1980 assignment with Task Force 168, the naval intelligence element responsible for HUMINT collection. Pollard is now serving a life sentence in prison for espionage.

The CIA denied release of most of the Pollard damage assessment in 2006, claiming for example that pages 18 through 165 were classified in their entirety and not a line of those pages could be released. The Archive appealed the CIA's decision to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, established by President Clinton in 1995 and continued by Presidents Bush and Obama. The ISCAP showed its value yet again as a check on systemic overclassification by ordering release of scores of pages from the Pollard damage assessment that were previously withheld by CIA, and published today for the first time.

Today's posting, edited by Archive senior fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson, includes more than a dozen other declassified documents on the Pollard case, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency biographic sketch of Pollard's initial Israeli handler, Col. Aviam Sella. Among many other books and articles, Richelson is the author of The U.S. Intelligence Community (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2011, 6th edition), which the Washington Post called "the authoritative survey of the American cloak-and-dagger establishment." [Read more: Richelson/TheNationalSecurityArchive/14December2012]

Crime History: FBI Agent Snared in Spying Case. On this day, Dec. 18, in 1996, a senior FBI agent and former counterspy was arrested on espionage charges at the FBI Academy in Quantico, where he worked.

Earl Edwin Pitts was snared in a sting with the help of a defected Russian official. Pitts 43, ended up revealing to an FBI undercover agent details of his spying assignment.

At the same time, his wife, a former FBI employee, turned him in after she became suspicious.

Pitts was mostly active from 1987 to 1992 while working at the New York field office, where he was assigned to hunt and recruit KGB officers. He admitted to passing on classified information, including lists of Russian agents known to the FBI, for $224,000. [Read more: McCabe/WashingtonExaminer/18December2012]


Will Russian Science Be Stunted by Putin's Fear of Espionage? Igor Sutyagin, the convicted Russian spy, still has a neat folder with the secrets he allegedly sold to the CIA. In London the other day, when we met at the military think tank where he works, he laid them out for me like tarot cards across a table. They were mostly newspaper clippings, along with copies of Russian military journals, their ink faded and edges worn thin. In the mid-1990s, two Americans paid him to collect such clippings in search of tidbits about the Russian military, and to supplement his tiny academic salary, he was glad to accept the work. But amid the spy craze that has become state policy in Russia, this side job was enough to convict Sutyagin for espionage in 2004. He spent 11 years in prison for it.

To this day, his name is shorthand in Russia's scientific community for a common warning - a kind of spook story about how even the most straightforward work with foreigners can get you branded a spy. There have been a handful of similar cases over the past decade, but Sutyagin's was the first and remains the most famous. Staring down at his file of secrets, he sums up his lesson like this: "Think 10 times before working with any foreigners," he says. "You might end up in prison."

But if this warning is heeded by Russia's scientists, Sutyagin admits that it would amount to a death sentence for their research. (Historically, Russian scientists and engineers have a tremendous record; for example, shaming the U.S. in 1957 by launching Sputnik, the first man-made satellite.) Today, no field of research can thrive without international collaboration, peer review and academic conferences. Yet all these things have been subordinated in Russia to the cause of catching spies - real or imagined. Last month, President Vladimir Putin, himself a former spymaster, signed a law that puts many scientists at risk of committing treason if they so much as "consult" with foreigners on their research. That presents them with a choice: either accept intellectual seclusion or get used to living with the fear of arrest.

Last week, the results of that choice were clear in a study released by the Russian Association for the Advancement of Science, an advisory body to the government. [Read more: Shuster/Time/13December2012]

How to Get Better At Predicting the Future. We would like to know what the future is going to be like, so we can prepare for it. I'm not talking about building a time machine to secure the winning Powerball number ahead of time, but rather creating more accurate forecasts about what is likely to happen. Supposedly, this is what pundits and analysts do. They're supposed to be good at commenting on whether Greece will leave the Eurozone by 2014 or whether North Korea will fire missiles during the year or whether Barack Obama will win reelection. 

A body of research, however, conducted and synthesized by the University of Pennsylvania's Philip Tetlock finds that people, not just pundits but definitely pundits, are not very good at predicting future events. The book he wrote on the topic, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?, is a touchstone for all the work that people like Nate Silver and Princeton's Sam Wang did tracking the last election. 

But aside from the electorate, who else might benefit from enhanced foresight? Perhaps the people tasked with gathering information about threats in the world. 

You probably have never heard of IARPA, but it's the wild R&D wing of our nation's intelligence services. Much like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which looks into the future of warfare for the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity looks at the future of analyzing information, spying, surveillance, and the like for the CIA, FBI, and NSA. 

We wrote in-depth about a project they're running to better understand metaphors (yes, metaphors), and, now, one of their projects is to apply Tetlock's insights into expert judgment. In particular, while Tetlock found that most analysts were terrible, some were better than others, particularly those he called foxes, who were more circumspect in their pronouncements and less wedded to a hard-and-fast worldview. The work suggested that it might be possible to improve people's judgments about the future. 

His work matched up perfectly with a call for proposals that IARPA put out two years ago for a new program called ACE, Aggregative Contingent Estimation. They wanted researchers to "develop and test tools to provide accurate, timely, and continuous probabilistic forecasts and early warning of global events, by aggregating the judgments of many widely dispersed analysts." Well, Tetlock thought, perhaps I can apply my research to this problem. [Read more: Madrigal/TheAtlantic/11December2012]

SOCOM Spies Told To Stand Down. The CIA has persuaded Congress to rein in Department of Defense plans to increase the number of its intelligence operatives. With Iraq no longer a major area of intel operations, and Afghanistan headed in the same direction, the CIA fears competition from the growing number of Department of Defense spies. The CIA doesn't want the military to get out of the spy business entirely they just don't want more competition in the coming era of less work. In particular, the CIA wants fewer non-SOCOM (Special Operations Command) spies from the Department of Defense. SOCOM, however, is a different matter.

All this is, for the Department of Defense, a sudden switch. Over the last three years SOCOM and the CIA have convinced Congress to allow the two organizations to merge some of their operations and share personnel and other resources. This is a process that started during World War II and, despite some political ups and downs, never completely stopped. By the time September 11, 2001 rolled around the CIA was routinely requesting Special Forces operators to work directly for them, a custom that goes back to the early days (1950s) of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

In the last decade SOCOM (which controls the Special Forces as well as U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Air Force special operations aircraft) increasingly found that they could compete with the CIA in producing quality intelligence. The Department of Defense now allows Special Forces troops to be trained for plain clothes, and uniformed, espionage work in foreign countries. The Special Forces have unofficially been doing this sort of thing for decades, sometimes at the request of the CIA. In 1986, the Special Forces even established an "intelligence operations" school to train a small number of Special Forces troops in the tradecraft of running espionage operations in a foreign country. In practical terms, this means recruiting locals to provide information and supervising these spies, agents, and informants.

By law the CIA controls all overseas espionage operations. But the CIA and Special Forces were both founded by men who had served with the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) during World War II and the relationship continued after the OSS veterans retired from their CIA and Special Forces careers. Since September 11, 2001 the Department of Defense has been allowed to expand the number of spies it can deploy, often in cooperation with similar CIA agents.

The army wants to more aggressively use Special Forces troops for espionage so that the "battlefield can be prepared" more quickly. This is seen as necessary in order to effectively run down fast moving terrorist organizations. For a long time the Special Forces depended on the CIA to do the espionage work in advance of Special Forces A-Teams arriving. In practice, some Special Forces troops were often there, along with CIA personnel, doing the advance work of finding exactly who is who, what is where and, in particular, who can be depended on to help American efforts. [Read more: StrategyPage/17December2012]

The Information Age is Changing the Metaphysics of Intelligence. Given the unknowns about whether the world will end on 21 December as foretold by the Mayan Calendar or if the US government will find itself mired at the bottom of "Fiscal Cliff Washington" come New Year's Day, any discussion about what will hold the Intelligence Community's (IC) attention in 2013 seems premature. However, despite the notoriety of both of these "black swans," I remain unabashedly optimistic the Mayan Astrologers have miscalculated and that the IC can muddle through 2013 on $65 billion even if most of it is borrowed money.
Before we get into any soothsaying for next year we probably should check my homework on this subject for 2012 when I fearlessly predicted six things that I though would demand the IC's attention.

- Continued political unrest in the Arab World
- Economic crisis in Europe
- Increasing military activity in the Persian Gulf
- Ungovernable regions in Mexico adjacent to the US
- China's reaction to America's "Asian Pivot"
- Head of state changes (US, France, China and Russia)

Given the way things emerged in 2012 I am more than inclined to "double down" on these six again for 2013 with the addition of North Korea conducting some type of nuclear test that will forge or test relationships in Northeast Asia. At this point I am comfortable assessing that Russia's Putin and France's Hollande will be reactors vice shapers of world events, but China's Xi Jinping will need to use events in North Korea and the maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea to show he is capable of protecting China's interests as the US "rebalances" toward Asia. [Read more: Mazzafro/SignalOnline/18December2012]

Section IV - Research Request, Books, Obituaries and Coming Events

Research Request
 [IMPORTANT: AFIO does not "vet" or endorse these research inquiries or job offers. Reasonable-sounding inquiries and career offerings are published as a service to our members, and for researchers, educators, and subscribers. You are urged to exercise your usual caution and good judgment when responding or supplying any information.]

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The Art of Espionage: Anthony Blunt and Me. In the autumn of 1979, Sir Anthony Blunt, art historian, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures and distinguished pillar of academia, faced total ruin: his career, his life and his reputation were all on the brink of destruction. Blunt was about to be exposed as a KGB spy. Ben Macintyre recalls how the news broke ...

No other member of the so-called "Cambridge Five" spy ring had maintained so extraordinary a double life for so long. None had risen so high in public honour and had so far to fall. Of all the Soviet spies in Britain - Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and others who are still coming to light - Blunt was in some ways the most enigmatic, his motives and convictions the hardest to read. Here was a man who enjoyed all the appurtenances of a capitalist society, yet had dedicated his early life, secretly, to destroying that society. He embraced Marxism, but was never a Communist. He seemed to be embedded in the British Establishment, but as a homosexual he was perhaps always an outsider.

The Blunt story has been explored from many angles, in drama by Alan Bennett, in fiction, in film and in Miranda Carter's biography. Blunt has been explored as a traitor, as an ideologue and as an intellectual. But in his new book, Brian Sewell explores Anthony Blunt as a friend and colleague, a man to whom he felt extraordinarily close while always being held at a distance, as the following extract shows. "I knew almost nothing of his personal and private friends, nothing of old loyalties," Sewell writes. Yet Sewell was a witness to, and a participant in, the last act of Blunt's exposure, when the spy's old loyalties came back to haunt and then destroy him.

Blunt was a penetration agent, a spy specifically recruited to burrow into and expose the secrets of another spy service. He was one of the most successful moles in history. He was already a Cambridge don when he was recruited into Soviet intelligence by his friend Guy Burgess; like many other young men of the time, he saw the Soviet Union as the only bulwark against fascism. He believed he was working in the "cause of peace" and continued in that belief, apparently, even after Hitler's unholy alliance with Stalin under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

Blunt was given the codename "Tony". (An odd choice given that it was, in fact, his real name; either a brilliant double-bluff by the Soviets, or amazingly stupid.) In 1940 he was transferred from the Army to MI5 and began to prove his worth as a spy. As a rising star with the security service, he had access to the most secret information, including the decrypted wireless messages from Bletchley Park. He passed on every scrap of intelligence to Moscow. When his colleagues went out to lunch, Blunt would often stay behind and riffle through their desks and filing cabinets for more information.

Every week, between nine and ten in the morning, he met his Soviet controller in a different part of London to hand over a briefcase filled with documents; the following day, they would meet again and the documents, having been copied overnight, would be returned. In five years, Agent Tony handed over no fewer than 1771 documents, including many files that ran to hundreds of pages. In the spring of 1944, he handed over the plans for the D-Day landings and the complex deception plan surrounding the operation. On some aspects of British intelligence, Stalin was rather better informed than Churchill. This was the summit of Blunt's spy career. "It has given me great pleasure to pass on the names of every MI5 officer to the Russians," he told a colleague, who seems to have dismissed his words as a joke.

In 1945, Blunt left MI5 to return to his academic career at the Courtauld Institute. Yet he continued to work as a part-time KGB courier, even after becoming Surveyor of the King's (later the Queen's) Pictures. Come the revolution, he intended to be Commissar for the Arts. Yet the past was already stalking him. When his friends Burgess and Maclean defected to Moscow in 1951, Blunt was questioned, very gently. Blunt himself described the inquiries of his former MI5 colleagues as nothing more than comfortable conversations. The vague suspicions did not prevent him from being knighted in 1956. [Read more: TheTimes/15December2012]

Spying for the People: Mao's Secret Agents, 1949-1967. Since the end of the Cold War, the operations of secret police informers have come under the media spotlight, and it is now common knowledge that vast internal networks of spies in the Soviet Union and East Germany were directed by the Communist Party. By contrast, very little historical information has been available on the covert operations of the security services in Mao Zedong's China. However, as Michael Schoenhals reveals in this intriguing and sometimes sinister account, public security was a top priority for the founders of the People's Republic, and agents were recruited from all levels of society to provide intelligence and ferret out "counter-revolutionaries." On the basis of hitherto classified archival records, the book tells the story of a vast surveillance and control apparatus through a detailed examination of the cultivation and recruitment of agents, their training, and their operational activities across a twenty year period from 1949 to 1967. These revelations add an entirely new dimension to modern China's troubled social and political history. Although the story may be safely set in the past, the development of human sources to sustain an oppressive domestic order is nothing if not eerily relevant to students of the present. [CambridgeUniversityPress/December2012]


Birger Stromsheim. Chances are, you haven't heard of Birger Stromsheim, the WWII spy and hero who basically lived an action movie. He died on November 10 in Oslo at the age of 101, nearly 70 years after parachuting into his own country with five other Norwegians to blow up a Nazi facility, throwing a huge wrench into Germany's plan to build a nuclear weapon.

Here is a man whose mission to disrupt the nuclear ambitions of Nazi Germany sound like they belong to a James Bond film. One February night in 1943, Stromsheim and five others parachuted into the remote and frigid Telemark region of their own home country. Armed with explosives and skis, they ventured to the German-controlled Norsk Hydro facility where Nazis were trying to produce heavy water, a crucial ingredient in the building of the atom bomb. Stromsheim was one of the demolition experts on the team, reports the NY Times.

A former Norwegian soldier, Stromsheim became a member of Special Operations Executive, the clandestine spy-ops organization, and partner to the US-based OSS. These two organizations were WWII "prototypes" for our modern day MI6 and CIA, respectively.

The mission had little hope. After all, it was the second attempt to disrupt the Nazis plans. A few months earlier, another group of four Norwegians were left stranded in the harsh climate, subsisting on a diet of lichen scraped from rocks and the occasional deer after their British team leaders were captured, tortured, and killed.

Stromsheim's team met up with their stranded countrymen and set about completing the mission. Stromsheim was 31-years-old at the time and was respected for his battle-calm and explosives knowledge.

"We didn't think about whether it was dangerous or not," Joachim Ronneberg, the leader of the mission, recalled in an interview in The Telegraph of London in 2010. "We didn't think about our retreat."

Stromsheim's team broke into the facility, set the dynamite on a 30-second fuse, and escaped. [Read more: Carlson/TheInquisitr/10December2012]

Earl C. Flowers. Earl C. Flowers, 91, who retired from the National Security Agency in 1980 as a member of the Senior Cryptologic Executive Service, died Dec. 11 at Montgomery Hospice's Casey House in Rockville.

He had heart ailments, said his son Russell Flowers.

Mr. Flowers had worked for the NSA and its predecessor agency for more than three decades. His specialties included communications security.

Earl Crama Flowers was born in Montgomery, Ala. He served in the Army from 1942 until 1946 and was an instructor at what was then known as the Signal Corps Cryptographic School at Vint Hill Farms Station near Warrenton, Va. He served in the Army Reserve from the mid-1950s until the late 1970s, retiring as a major.

He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1968 from George Washington University, where he was a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He was a Bethesda resident.

Survivors include his wife of 70 years, Miriam Parten Flowers of Bethesda; two sons, Ronald Flowers of Laurel and Russell Flowers of Gambrills; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. [Langer/WashingtonPost/16December2012]

Coming Educational Events


MANY Spy Museum Events in November, December and 2013, with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at The titles for some of these are in detail below and online.

Tuesday, 15 January 1013, noon - "Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War" by author, form D/NCS, CIA Mike Sulick at the International Spy Museum

Can you keep a secret? Maybe you can, but the United States government can't. Since the birth of our country, nations from Russia and China to Ghana and Ecuador, have stolen some of our country's most precious secrets. Join Michael Sulick, former director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, as he discusses his new book, Spying in America, which presents a history of more than thirty espionage cases inside the United States. They include Americans who spied against their country, spies from both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War, and foreign agents who ran operations on American soil. Some of the stories are familiar, such as those of Benedict Arnold and Julius Rosenberg, while others, though less well known, are equally fascinating. In each case he focuses on the motivations that drove these individuals to spy, the secrets they betrayed, their tradecraft, techniques for concealing their espionage, their exposure and punishment, and the damage they ultimately inflicted on America's national security.
Tickets: Free! No registration required. For more information visit

Thursday, 17 January 2013, 6:30 pm – Washington, DC - "On the Front Line: Protecting Presidents and Prime Ministers" at the International Spy Museum

If anyone wants to do it, no amount of protection is enough. All a man needs is a willingness to trade his life for mine. –President John F. Kennedy
As Inauguration Day nears and security around the nation's capital intensifies, consider what it's like to guard the President. Imagine the whole world watching you work on your toughest day. A lesser version of this scenario occurs whenever national leaders venture into public. This evening two men who know what it's like to keep the head of their government safe from harm will share their experiences in the field of protection. Mark J. Basil served with distinction in the United States Secret Service for ten years. He coordinated covert protection for Presidents Bush and Obama and for major National Special Security Events. Daniel J. Mulvenna retired from the Security Service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after 21 years working in Personnel Security, Counter-Subversion and Counterintelligence. In addition to his government experience in dignitary and VIP protection, he has worked for over 25 years as a security and risk management consultant to multinational corporations and government clients and has conducted personnel protection and counterterrorism training programs for clients all over the world. They'll share the concerns that protection officers must address in light of today's fast-moving culture where anyone with a smartphone can report on the latest movements of Presidents and Prime Ministers.
Tickets: $15. To register or for more information visit

Wednesday, 23 January 2013, 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - "Inside Stories - Spy Hunters: The Women Who Caught Aldrich Ames" at the International Spy Museum

WHAT: "… he seriously considered us dumb broads." – Sandy Grimes

Meet Sandy Grimes, a former CIA Operative in the Agency's Clandestine Service, and hear how she and her fellow operative Jeanne Vertefeuille used their determination, hard work, and cunning to enable the capture and conviction of their former colleague and infamous CIA officer-turned traitor:  Aldrich Ames.  His acts of betrayal were finally halted thanks in large part to the dogged perseverance and penetrating analysis of this remarkable pair.  International Spy Museum Executive Director, Peter Earnest, who was once Ames' immediate supervisor, will also offer comments on the case. The women were finally able to tell the inside story of the unmasking of the CIA's most notorious traitor in their remarkable book Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed which will be available for sale and signing.
International Spy Museum: 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station. Tickets: $9. Register at

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

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