Friday, October 31, 2003
INTEL AGENCIES ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD
North Korea has attained a nuclear capability without nuclear
explosive testing, according to the Central Intelligence
"There is no information to suggest that North Korea has
conducted a successful nuclear test to date," the Agency
said, but "we assess that North Korea has produced one or two
simple fission-type nuclear weapons and has validated the
designs without conducting yield-producing nuclear tests."
(ed. note: This puts to the lie the Bush Admin claim that we need to restart nuclear testing. If N. Korea doesn't need to, how much less do we, given our vast technological superiority)
That CIA assessment, which slightly amplifies past public
statements, appears in a new set of intelligence agency
replies to "questions for the record" (QFRs) submitted to the
Senate Intelligence Committee following this year's annual
hearing on the "worldwide threat."
Such QFRs are often overlooked because they are provided to
Congress months after the hearing that prompted them, and
they are made public months after that. But given the
relative sparsity of unclassified intelligence threat
assessments, they are usually worth reading.
Some of the notable items in the QFRs resulting from this
year's intelligence threat briefing, obtained by Secrecy
News, are these:
** In reply to a question about the threat of "cyberterrorism,"
the CIA says the answer is classified (CIA, p.4). But the
FBI provides an extended response (FBI, pp. 2-6).
** In reply to a question about the threat of terrorism
against agricultural targets, or "agroterrorism," the CIA
again says the answer is classified (CIA, p. 6). But the FBI
again provides a substantive response (FBI, pp. 6-9).
** "Since 1992 there have been sixteen seizures of
weapons-usable [nuclear] material," according to the CIA,
"six in Russia and ten in Europe. None of these seizures
have been connected to terrorists and the thefts were
opportunistic and smugglers had no pre-arranged buyer." (CIA,
** "International terrorists use Thailand -- especially
Bangkok -- as a transit hub and location for operational
planning, weapons smuggling, and money laundering, as well as
a source for counterfeit documents." (CIA, p. 33).
** Potential successors to North Korea's Kim Jong Il include
two of his sons, Jong Nam and Jong Chol, according to the
State Department (INR). "Because the two have different
mothers, there are tensions between their families. To our
knowledge, neither has moved through the grooming process far
enough to dominate the other." (State, answer 4B)....
Thursday, October 30, 2003
NAMES OF DSB MEMBERS TOO SENSITIVE FOR WEB
The Defense Science Board (DSB) is part of a network (one wants
to say "cabal") of interlocking advisory panels that play a
significant but obscure role in the formulation of U.S.
national security policy.
"The Board and its members have considerable influence,"
observed freelance journalist Michael Flynn, who has been
investigating the subject, "and they seem to have a stake in
the policies they advocate."
Who is on the DSB? It takes some digging to find out.
The Defense Science Board web site includes a link to
"Members," which used to provide a complete list of the
membership. But today the link is dead. See:
"The information listing DSB Members was deleted from the DSB
web site based on DoD guidance for Web Publishing Security
following the 9/11 terrorist attacks," said a DSB spokesman in
an email message.
He didn't explain how deleting the names of corporate CEOs and
others who advise the government on defense policy was likely
to increase security against terrorism.
But he did courteously provide a copy of the current DSB
membership, available here:
In fact, Michael Flynn pointed out, the names of DSB members,
like those of most other such advisory groups, are public
information and have been posted on the web all along,
although they are rather hard to locate.
See the Federal Advisory Committee Act dababase on Fido.gov (to
get to the DSB listing, click on "explore data" and then on
"Department of Defense"):
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Justice Dept. Tightens Security in C.I.A. Leak Case
By DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC LICHTBLAU, NY TIMES, Published: October 29, 2003
ASHINGTON, Oct. 28 — Justice Department and F.B.I. officials have imposed tighter secrecy restrictions over the inquiry into the leak of the identity of a C.I.A. operative, government officials said on Tuesday. In an unusual step, they have removed the director of the F.B.I's Washington office from the list of officials with access to the case.
The official, Michael A. Mason, one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most senior managers, was taken off the list in an effort to restrict information about the case, the officials said.
Customarily, a senior official like Mr. Mason would have full access to details of the case, which is being investigated mainly by agents from his office, although it is being supervised by F.B.I. headquarters. One bureau official said Mr. Mason had asked to be removed, although others said the decision was based on whether the officials had "a need to know."...
PS NEW BLOG RECOMMENDATION: Ink from the Squid .
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Confirming suspicions held here and at debka.com we now learn:
Informant warned of infiltration before hotel blast
IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent, THE HERALD, October 28 2003
US authorities failed to act on a warning from an Iraqi police informant in August that the staff of Baghdad's al-Rashid hotel had been infiltrated by Ba'ath party spies seeking targeting information on the governing coalition's top brass....
...Security sources confirmed yesterday that the man detailed his suspicions in a letter.... The document, now in the hands of the intelligence cell of the US 101st airborne division, was "overlooked", but is now to be investigated.
The letter names Muslel Muhammed Farhan al-Dilemi, 53, the manager of the al-Tamoor Trading Company, which provides staff and services to the hotel.
The informant alleges that al-Dilemi "placed" a number of people on the al-Rashid's catering staff, recruited "beautiful secretaries" and arranged sexual liaisons to give them access to high-ranking officials. LINK
Two CIA Contractors Die in Afghan Ambush
JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Two contractors working for the CIA were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan, the agency said Tuesday.
William Carlson, 43, of Southern Pines, N.C., and Christopher Glenn Mueller, 32, of San Diego, were "tracking terrorists operating in the region" of Shkin, a village in eastern Afghanistan, when they were killed Saturday, the CIA said in a statement.
Both were veterans of military special operations forces, the CIA said.
"William Carlson and Christopher Mueller were defined by dedication and courage," CIA Director George J. Tenet said in a statement. "Their sacrifice for the peoples of the United States and Afghanistan must never be forgotten."
The pair was working for the CIA's Directorate of Operations, which conducts clandestine intelligence-gathering and covert operations.
The CIA statement says the agency consulted with the dead officers' families and decided their names could be released without compromising ongoing operations. LINK
The Administration, which is clearly continuing a policy of publicizing names of agents killed, stands in contrast to the earlier policy of providing a single nameless star in the CIA lobby in memoriam.
The fact that the latest casualties were private contractors will likely not stem the controversy within the intelligence community about the publicity, inasmuch as the two contractors were former CIA employees whose histories are subject to scrutiny by outsiders now in searches to discover their colleagues and agents.
One small consolation is that at least agency approached the families of the deceased for permission and presumably also offered protection to them.
Nevertheless, it is certain that the members of intelligence community can not help but note the contrast between the secrecy in which this Administration holds its documents (classified or not) and the publicity it gives its agents.
EMBARRASSED ARMY WEB SITE GOES OFFLINE
The Army has taken one of its popular web sites offline after
the Washington Post reported on a critical account of U.S.
intelligence posted on the site.
The web site of the Center for Army Lessons Learned
(call.army.mil) was promptly disabled following a Post story
about an "unusually blunt" report on the inadequacies of U.S.
military intelligence in Iraq.
"We're doing some maintenance" on the site, an Army spokeswoman
at Fort Leavenworth told Secrecy News initially. She then
acknowledged that the move was prompted by the Post story on
The web site should be back up by the end of the week, she
said, but the report cited in the Post story "will not be
However, the report itself, on "Observations from Operations
Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom," from the October 2003
CALL Newsletter, has been helpfully posted by the Washington
It was first reported in "Intelligence Problems in Iraq Are
Detailed" by Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, October 25:
-BTW These are well worth reading.
Monday, October 27, 2003
The Israeli intelligence-related site Debka.com agrees with our analysis that the recent bombings of US leadership housed in Baghdad hotels indicates Iraqi penetration of "coalition" intelligence:
...Terrorist penetration of Western intelligence is key to high- precision strikes like Sunday’s rocket barrage on al Rashid hotel and murder of UN representative Sergio de Mello in August massacre in Baghdad...
...The day before, a US Black Hawk helicopter was shot down near Tikrit shortly after Wolfowitz left Saddam’s home town.
Both times, Iraqi guerrillas knew where to find the deputy defense secretary and he had a lucky escape...
In a followup Debka goes on to say:
To achieve this clockwork precision, the deadly series must have been planned in detail for months and the targets carefully chosen with the help of expert intelligence – which the Americans clearly lack. link
The "months" part I would have to disagree with. That was part of the Pentagon's damage control PR to pretend Wolfowitz was not the target. And in fact to have taken months to plan would have meant penetration at the highest levels of the US government.
But penetration it is, and unmistakably so, to be able to knock off de Mello, and to barely miss Wolfie twice indicates that someone is talking. But to think that a sophisticated operation like that could only occur with the kind of planning the US takes months with, is to seriously misunderstand and underestimate the terrorist threat in Iraq.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Wackenhut denies its employees are CIA agents plotting to overthrow Venezuela's Chavez
The Associated Press
CARACAS, Venezuela A Florida company accused of working with dissidents to overthrow the Venezuelan government rejected on Saturday videotape evidence allegedly linking them to subversive activities.
The Venezuelan unit of Florida-based security company Wackenhut denied that the video - presented Wednesday by legislators allied with President Hugo Chavez - showed CIA agents advising Venezuelans in June on how to destabilize the country later this year.
"The video was in reality filmed in the installations of Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A in September 2002 during an ordinary meeting of company officials, relating to security services offered to a client," the company said in an ad placed in El Nacional newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Gardens-based company did not immediately return a phone call Saturday.
Ruling party lawmaker Nicolas Maduro claimed the three men in the video were U.S. secret agents training dissident military officers and municipal police in espionage and "terrorist" tactics.
The U.S. Embassy said the video showed an event held by a private security company, not CIA agents. It added that the U.S. government did not participate in the event.
Wackenhut said that affirmations that one of the men in the video was a CIA agent and retired army colonel were "false and groundless." The company, which has worked in Venezuela since 1994 and has operations in six states, also denied that police officers were present at the meeting. LINK
UPDATE: They didn't rule out it was outsourcing though, which is where the REAL dirty work gets done ( no Congressional oversight).
The Iraqi mortar barrage against the hotel that Paul Wolfowitz stayed at, and the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter in Tikrit shortly after his departure, have intelligence professionals in Baghdad wondering how the Iraqi resistance discovered his itinerary.
Although US officials are claiming that “they believe that Mr Wolfowitz was not a target of the attack, which they suspect was in preparation for ‘a couple of months’,” (BBC) they are no doubt checking very carefully to see who might have spilled the beans.
Recall that after the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese revealed that they’d had 24 hours notice on all B52 bombing raids, launched from Guam. This intelligence, which was probably provided by Russian moles, allowed the Viet Cong and N. Vietnamese to minimize their casualties and neutralize this powerful weapon.
How much easier is it for US military to be penetrated, when hundreds of Iraqis are already being employed as police, security and maintenance?
Furthermore, a mortar barrage or an attack by RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) or similar weapons, scarcely needs a couple of days planning, let alone a couple of months.
It should also be noted that the Rashid Hotel is the second major hotel housing the US leadership to be attacked in a month. Will US officials have to be routed away from Baghdad, or will they take their chances?
Saturday, October 25, 2003
NEW SALAFIST LEADER SEEKS CLOSER TIES TO AL QAIDA
CAIRO [MENL] -- Algeria's largest insurgency group has reaffirmed its allegiance to Al Qaida in what appears to signal an increse in the already close cooperation between the two organizations.
The Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call issued its first communique under the new leadership headed by Nabil Sahwari, also known as Abu Ibrahim Mustafa. Sahwari was said to have replaced Salafist leader Hassan Hattab in August amid a power struggle that concerned the abduction of 32 Western European tourists in the southern Sahara.
In the latest communique, the Salafist leadership said it would remain loyal to Al Qaida and Taliban. The Salafist group said it would also support the Islamic struggle in such places as Chechnya, Palestine and the Philippines.
The Salafist statement was regarded as significant because the group has been deemed the leading subcontractor of Al Qaida. Western intelligence sources said Salafist insurgents have been employed by Al Qaida for attacks in North Africa and in France. The sources said the communique marked the clearest expression of loyalty to Osama Bin Laden. LINK
CIA May Have Been Out of Loop
Top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel says some officials in the administration appear to have bypassed agency in gathering Iraq data.
By Greg Miller, LA Times Staff Writer, October 25, 2003
WASHINGTON -- Officials in the Bush administration appear to have bypassed the CIA and other agencies to collect their own intelligence overseas on Iraq, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday.
Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV's comments came as bipartisan cooperation on the committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence appeared to be unraveling. Democrats complained that Republicans are out to pin blame on the CIA and shield the White House from criticism that intelligence used to make the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated.
After reviewing tens of thousands of pages of intelligence documents, the committee staff has begun drafting a report that sources said would harshly criticize the CIA for prewar judgments that congressional investigators believe were unfounded, thinly sourced or lacked adequate caveats.
Democrats, who have been rebuffed by Republicans in their efforts to widen the probe's scope, threatened Friday to launch a separate investigation. Several committee Democrats said it is now all but inevitable that they will produce a separate report. link
Friday, October 24, 2003
Two former CIA officers are asking the Senate Intelligence Committee to open its own investigation into who leaked the identity of an undercover officer....
...Marcinkowski, now deputy city attorney in Royal Oak, Mich., is to appear before the Senate panel Thursday. He and another former CIA officer, Larry Johnson... [who] served as the State Department's deputy chief of counterterrorism in the first Bush administration. ...
...Johnson said: â€˜â€˜When you start outing clandestine officers for political reasons, that has to be stopped."
He stressed that he is a Republican who voted for Bush and contributed to his presidential campaign.
Johnson said he, Plame and Marcinkowski had trained together at the CIA in 1985. link
UPDATE: They were on CNN - "THIS MORNING"
HEMMER: After listening to Larry, it sounds like, essentially the sky is falling in terms of the CIA around the world. Do you see it that way and did you get that sense in the hearing?
MARCHINKOWSKI: Yes, I did. I think the message is out there. This is an unprecedented act. This has never been done by the United States government before. The exposure of an undercover intelligence officer by the U.S. government is unprecedented. It's not the usual leak from Washington. The leak a week scenario is not at play here. This is a very, very serious event.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
A confidential tip has revealed to me that the terrorist threat matrix has spiked sharply after the latest Bin Laden threat and other related events.
There is a credible chance of a terrorist attack against the US or its overseas interests peaking on or after November 8th. Of particular concern are indicators of threats against several US cities including New York, Chicago and Dallas.
The source said that the Homeland Security Colorcode will not be raised, however, because it has essentially become a laughingstock, due to false alarms prompted by political manipulation over the last year. (see below)
I don't know how valid this is, and maybe no one does, but it is unfortunate that we face the next threat, whenever it might be in the same level of unpreparedness we were in before September 11th.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Reuters, Friday, October 10, 2003; 1:34 PM
MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - The United States is testing pilotless drone aircraft, used in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the U.S.-Mexico border where they might be deployed to detect drug traffickers and illegal immigrants, a government spokesman said on Friday.
The Department of Homeland Security is conducting tests of the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, in remote areas of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Mario Villarreal, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters.
"The UAVs, which have played an important role for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, are under consideration for use by the Department of Homeland Security," Villarreal said.
They are being deployed from Fort Huachuca and Gila Bend, Arizona, for test flights in remote areas of the desert that have become well-known corridors for narcotics trafficking and immigrant smuggling.
Drone aircraft were used for aerial photography and spy missions during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... link
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
...Security agencies all over the world are now quietly running Plame's name through their data banks, immigration records and computer hard drives as the White House leak scandal continues to percolate. Officials with two foreign governments told TIME that their spy catchers are quietly checking on whether Plame had worked on their soil and, if so, what she had done there. Which means if one theme of the Administration leak scandal concerns political vengeance — did the White House reveal Plame's identity in order to punish Wilson for his public criticism of the case for war with Iraq?--another theme is about damage. What has been lost, and who has been compromised because of the leak of one spy's name? And who, if anyone, will pay for that disclosure?... link
Seymour Hersh has written an indepth look at the exploration of Iraqi WMD capabilities in this month's New Yorker and what it shows is an administration who was at best unwilling and/or unable to hear the truth:
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH, THE NEW YORKER
-How conflicts between the Bush Administration and the intelligence community marred the reporting on Iraq’s weapons-
...Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council expert on Iraq, whose book “The Threatening Storm” generally supported the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein, told me that what the Bush people did was “dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them.
“They always had information to back up their public claims, but it was often very bad information,” Pollack continued. “They were forcing the intelligence community to defend its good information and good analysis so aggressively that the intelligence analysts didn’t have the time or the energy to go after the bad information.”
The Administration eventually got its way, a former C.I.A. official said. “The analysts at the C.I.A. were beaten down defending their assessments. And they blame George Tenet”—the C.I.A. director—“for not protecting them. I’ve never seen a government like this.”... link
Thank you to all the people who linked to my posting, and in particular to Aurabass at Rushlimbaughtomy who clearly knows quality when he sees it :O)
The perversion of intelligence production by policy makers has always been a danger, but has been raised to unprecendented levels by the current administrations in the UK and here.
Secrecy and deception of enemies are sometimes justified in the defense of the nation, but to deceive the American public in the launching of an aggressive and unnecessary war is certainly unpardonable.
Monday, October 20, 2003
Some ex-intelligence community personnel are "wondering" what happened to the 3 Iraqi "Death Ships":
From last February: Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Each with a deadweight of 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes, the ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law, say authoritative shipping industry sources.
The vessels left port in late November, just a few days after UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix began their search for the alleged Iraqi arsenal on their return to the country. LINK
They ask: "Did they come sailing in or are they waiting for Christmas day?"
Terror alerts manufactured?
FBI agents say White House scripting 'hysterics' for political effect
By Jon Dougherty, © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com, Posted: January 4, 2003
Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep President Bush's approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports.
The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in "hysterics" in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in fact.
"Unfortunately, we haven't made a lot of progress against al-Qaida or the war on terrorism," one FBI agent familiar with terrorism operations told CHB. "We've been spinning our wheels for several weeks now."
Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency said the administration is pressuring intelligence agencies to develop "something, anything" to support an array of non-specific terrorism alerts issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
"Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed snippets of information," a second FBI agent, who also was not named in the report, said. "Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to back up the assumptions."
Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued absent specific threat information. Each of the accompanying warnings comes without any shift in the nation's new color-coded alert system; the current warning level of yellow, or "elevated," has been in place since late September.
Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have slipped into the country via Canada using phony identification could be politically motivated, one expert said.
"We have very, very little to support the notion that these five represent any more of a threat than any of the other thousands of people who enter this nation every day," terrorism expert Ronald Blackstone said. "It's a fishing expedition." ... MORE Thnx: Buzzflash
Sojourners Magazine's interviews with CIA veterans on Bush's WMD claims.
I have been getting alot of questions regarding the differences and similarities in the naming of the two CIA operatives: Valerie Plame and the late Johnny Spann. Were they the same, Which was worse, etc. I'll try to answer them in one posting:
Q: Which WAS worse?
A: Probably Plame. Spann was what's known as a "cowboy" or covert operations. Operations are different from intelligence. The famous example is the difference between watching a bridge and blowing it up. So Spann was different from a true "knocker". Because of his active role, his cover would always be less than perfect. Without a doubt the "Tajiks" and "Pashtuns" Novak complained of being jeopardized knew full well he was a paramilitary agent of the US, whether or not he was CIA. However, it is possible there were other operations in the past where he played a different role.
Q: What about the fact they showed his face?
A: That part was worse than Plame. Presumably there were people that knew him under other names but might have recognized his face.
Q: What about the fact that she was married to Ambassador Wilson, doesn't that blow her cover?
A: Not really. First, she kept her maiden name, so she could still use her old cover. Second, the marriage was not publicized. Third, the fact of her marriage to Wilson didn't blow her cover about the past operations even though she was married now. Ambassadors get married just like anyone else, and rarely to spies.
Q: What about the danger to their families?
A: The danger to the families in the US was certainly less than to members of covert networks overseas. However there was a case of an attack on a US naval officer in San Diego who was named in the press in the early 90s. The Govt did move to protect Spann's family belatedly, but apparently not at all in the Plame case.
Q: Isn't there a danger to the family of anyone working at CIA undercover or not?
A: Yes. For example in 1993, Mir Aimal Kasi, who lived in Virginia drove up to the CIA building in Langley, Virginia and shot two CIA employees. Employees are told to be discreet about their employment. A bigger danger is when they travel overseas. However, the biggest danger is to the associates of the NOC agent. That is why the subsequent naming of the cover company Brewster-Jennings was even more egregious, and could well caused a number of secret casualties.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Last week the Department of Defense moved to block public access
to a DoD web site containing hundreds of unclassified
directives that define and prescribe Pentagon procedures
But with astonishing instincts, Russ Kick, proprietor of the web
site TheMemoryHole.org, had recently taken the trouble to make
a copy of the entire site. Now he has reposted the suppressed
site and all of its contents here:
In the short term, this is a superlative solution to the
Pentagon's silly secrecy. In the long term, however, it is
less satisfactory because it cannot reflect updates and
revisions to the frequently altered system of directives.
Fortunately, the Defense Department has no legal right to
withhold this information.
Under the 1996 Electronic Freedom of Information Act, explained
information policy expert Robert Gellman, DoD would be obliged
to publish such directives online if it received multiple
requests for them under FOIA.
In fact, added Michael Tankersley of Public Citizen, the
Department may well be "obligated to make most of these
materials available on the Internet even if it has not received
a request" under the amended FOIA [see 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(B)
"You're not wrong," a Pentagon official said today, when we
explained our intention to request a soft copy of the full
contents of the suppressed web site under the FOIA every month
unless and until public access to the site is restored.
A growing (though not unanimous) body of opinion in the Pentagon
now considers that blocking public access to the web site on
DoD directives was a mistake, the official indicated.
"We're working to get it back up," he said.
Let's keep the secret stuff secret and the non-secret stuff non-secret. Is that too hard to ask? As posted below this is precisely what has the intelligence community up in arms.
Saturday, October 18, 2003
PA SMUGGLES IN ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES
TEL AVIV [MENL] -- The Palestinian Authority is said to have succeeded in efforts to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles from Egypt.
A Palestinian security officer detained by Israel asserted during interrogation that the PA used more than a dozen tunnels that extend from the southern Gaza town of Rafah to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula for the smuggling of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, insurgents, semi-automatic weapons and ammunition.
The assertion by PA security official Akram Tubasi, arrested by Israel in September, was the first that the PA procured anti-aircraft missiles. Israeli security sources said Tubasi's reference was to the Soviet-origin SA-7 man-portable shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile.
Tubasi, a member of the PA Coast Guard, said the missiles were smuggled on orders from Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA security affairs minister and longtime chief of the Preventive Security Apparatus in the Gaza Strip. Dahlan, was said to have paid for the smuggling of missiles, ammunition and other material from Egypt through his aide Nabil Tamus.
If true, this may have been the motivation for the controversial Israeli incursion into Gaza last week that took nearly a dozen lives.
THE MURDER OF DAVID KELLY
Journalist Jim Rarey confirms the suspicions held by many that British Microbiologist David Kelly – at the center of Britain’s intelligence scandal – was murdered:
... While the Hutton inquiry appears set to declare Kelly's death a suicide and the national media are already treating it as a given, there are numerous red flags raised in the testimony and evidence at the inquiry itself.
Kelly's body was likely moved from where he died to the site [sitting under a tree] where two search volunteers with a search dog found it... This is buttressed by the medical findings of livor mortis (post mortem lividity), which indicates that Kelly died on his back, or at least was moved to that position shortly after his death....
...A second red flag is the nature of the wounds on Kelly's wrist. Dr. Nicholas Hunt, who performed the autopsy, testified there were several superficial "scratches" or cuts on the wrist and one deep wound that severed the ulnar artery but not the radial artery.
The fact that the ulnar artery was severed, but not the radial artery, strongly suggests that the knife wound was inflicted drawing the blade from the inside of the wrist (the little finger side closest to the body) to the outside where the radial artery is located much closer to the surface of the skin than is the ulnar artery. For those familiar with first aid, the radial artery is the one used to determine the pulse rate.
Just hold your left arm out with the palm up and see how difficult it would be to slash across the wrist avoiding the radial artery while severing the ulnar artery. However, a second person situated to the left of Kelly who held or picked up the arm and slashed across the wrist would start on the inside of the wrist severing the ulnar artery first.
A reasonably competent medical examiner or forensic pathologist would certainly be able to determine in which direction the knife was drawn across the wrist. That question was never asked nor the answer volunteered. In fact, a complete autopsy report would state in which direction the wounds were inflicted. The coroner's inquest was never completed as it was preempted by the Hutton inquiry and the autopsy report will not be made public...J more
Department of Energy (DOE) reviewers located hundreds of pages of
inadvertently released classified information among publicly
available records at the National Archives earlier this year,
according to a DOE report to Congress.
Documents containing classified nuclear weapons-related information
were found in collections belonging to the Department of State, the
Department of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President,
according to the report, the eleventh in a continuing series. They
were removed. See:
The DOE review is based on stringent and arguably obsolete
classification criteria. Thus, reviewers habitually discover
records that are formally "classified" merely because they identify
the location of a nuclear weapon storage site decades ago, or
reveal the cost of a particular weapon or component.
Meanwhile, the open-ended hunt for inadvertently disclosed
classified information at the National Archives, along with various
other post-9/11 restrictions, has apparently wreaked havoc with
public access to historical records at the Archives.
There are numerous anecdotal accounts of large, indiscriminate
withdrawals of historical records that suggest the need for
enhanced oversight and investigation of restrictions on records
access at the Archives.
"DOE has now classified several boxes from RG 77 (Manhattan
Engineering District)," observed intelligence historian Jeffrey T.
Richelson recently. "Some or all of these contain documents
relating to US intelligence concerning Germany's WW II atomic
energy/bomb efforts." Others report that various "documents
concerning Japan's WWII BW efforts are no longer available to the
"I wonder if the Civil War is next," said Richelson.
Friday, October 17, 2003
The Wen Ho Lee case vs. Robert Novak
SOURCES OF WEN HO LEE LEAK SOUGHT
A federal court last week ordered five reporters from the New York
Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and CNN to
disclose the confidential sources they used in reporting on the
case of Wen Ho Lee, the former Los Alamos scientist who had been
suspected of espionage. Dr. Lee charges that his privacy was
violated by the reported leaks.
The new court order, issued in D.C. District Court by Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson, invokes a 1972 Supreme Court case, Branzburg v.
Hayes, to show that the "reporter's privilege" which protects the
confidentiality of news sources is not absolute:
"It would be frivolous to assert... that the First Amendment, in the
interest of securing news or otherwise, confers a license on either
the reporter or his news sources to violate valid criminal laws,"
the Supreme Court held in 1972.
A copy of Judge Jackson's October 9 order may be found here (thanks
to Kent Dedrick of wenholee.org):
This matter obviously resonates with another leak case, the
disclosure by Robert Novak of the identity of an undercover CIA
officer, currently the subject of an ongoing investigation.
"I've constantly expressed my displeasure with leaks, particularly
leaks of classified information," said President Bush on October 7.
But this statement overlooks the crucial difference between
classified information that is protected by law, e.g. the
identities of "covert agents," and other classified information
that is not so protected. It also obscures the objective fact that
leaks often serve a vital function in defeating improper secrecy
and informing the public.
"High-level leaking, for reasons good and bad, has long been part of
U.S. political reality," writes John Woestendiek in "Secret
Weapon," Baltimore Sun, October 14:
Failure of US Attorney General John Ashcroft to recuse himself from the matter has drawn private criticism from the FBI and the Justice Department
NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , WASHINGTON
Friday, Oct 17, 2003,Page 7
Several senior criminal prosecutors at the Justice Department and top FBI officials have privately criticized Attorney General John Ashcroft for failing to recuse himself or appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
The criticism reflects the first sign of dissension in the Justice Department and the FBI as the inquiry nears a critical phase. The attorney general must decide whether to convene a grand jury, which could compel White House officials to testify.
The criminal-justice officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, represent a cross-section of experienced criminal prosecutors and include political supporters of Ashcroft at the Justice Department's headquarters here and at US attorney's offices around the country.
Names withheld to protect the innocent :O)
If you are a blogger, remember that this blog and those above are in the Truth Laid Bear New Blog contest, so add us to your links.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Spies Attack White House Secrecy
By Noah Shachtman, WIRED, 02:00 AM Oct. 16, 2003 PT
NEW ORLEANS -- There's a "total meltdown" in America's intelligence services -- and the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy is one of the major reasons why, current and former top U.S. spooks charged Tuesday.
George W. Bush's White House has pushed like few before it to put government information out of the public's grasp. Moves to classify documents are up 400 percent from a decade ago, to more than 23 million such actions in 2002, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, a division of the National Archives.
But despite their cloak-and-dagger reputation, several of the country's leading spies, past and present, aren't happy about the rush to make things secret. To counter far-reaching, stealthy terrorist cabals, the country needs more openness, not less, they said Wednesday at Geo-Intel 2003, a first-of-its-kind conference here on the use of satellites in war, intelligence and homeland security.
"Our secrecy system is all about protecting secrecy officers, and has nothing to do with protecting secrets. It's a self-licking ice-cream cone," said Rich Haver, until recently Donald Rumsfeld's special assistant for intelligence, now with Northrop Grumman. "We're compartmentalizing the shit out of things. It's causing a total meltdown of our intelligence processes."
Case in point: The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, prepared a report last year for firefighters and other so-called "first responders" on how to react to a chemical weapons attack. But when the paper was completed, the Defense Department classified it, CSIS analyst Jim Lewis noted. Now, the firefighters will never get the benefit of that information.
In July, a George Mason University graduate student mapped out in his dissertation (registration required) the details of the country's fiber optic network. Using information publicly available online, he spotted vulnerable spots where terrorists might strike. The paper could have been used to shore up weak links in the country's infrastructure. Instead, the government immediately suppressed it.
"He should turn it in to his professor, get his grade -- and then they both should burn it," former White House cyberterror czar Richard Clarke told The Washington Post.
That kind of approach is all wrong, Thomas Behling, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, told a group of nearly 1,400 spooks, geeks and defense contractors gathered in a ballroom at the New Orleans Marriott, on the edge of the French Quarter.
"Rather than putting data into separate partitions, where only a few people have access to it," he noted, authorities need to make information available "by job" to whoever needs it -- regardless of their security clearance.
"We have to change the way we classify information," added Jim Caverly, who heads the Homeland Security Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division. The old system may have "worked against the Soviet Union." But, today, the federal government "needs to make information available to law enforcement, to EMTs and to the security staff guarding the power plant."
There have been some improvements -- some -- in sharing data, satellite imagery in particular. That's partially driven by the spread of such eyes in the sky.
"Pictures that only nation-states used to have are now commercially available with a credit card," Lt. Gen. Thomas Goslin, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said. "So the rules (of classification) need to be reviewed."
"A forum like this one couldn't have happened in the open just a few years ago," Haver agreed. "But our enemies now know the ways we take pictures of them and their operations."
After the first Gulf War, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf complained that his troops in Iraq and Kuwait couldn't see the eye-in-the-sky pictures that the spooks could. By the time Gulf War II came around, that had changed.
"Now, forces in the field can access at a secret level instead of at this compartmented, code-word level. They're not limited to intelligence clearances," said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.
But these small steps forward have been accompanied by some giant steps backward, he added. For example, 4,000 officials -- including the secretaries of the departments of agriculture and health and human services -- now have the authority to make material classified. Reams of documents have been labeled "sensitive but unclassified," and are now hidden from public view.
"This administration has repeatedly demonstrated a predilection for secrecy. Withholding information is the default. Disclosure is like pulling teeth. They see little room or need for public oversight," Aftergood said.
"People might imagine the classification serves the interest of the government," he continued. "But it's molasses in the gears of the policy process."
Military and intelligence officials repeat again and again at affairs like these that they're trying to move away from their old hierarchies and toward a structure in which every soldier, every drone and every general is connected by computer networks. Needless secrecy hurts, not helps, this effort.
"Any attempt to control the flow of information impedes the whole," Aftergood said. "It's the difference between a top-down command structure and a network."
Story location: (Courtesy of FAS):
''Khidhir Hamza: The bogus intelligence source''
Guest Editorial By Imad Khadduri, Former Iraqi nuclear scientist
YellowTimes.org Guest Columnist (Canada), Wednesday, October 15
(YellowTimes.org) -- Belatedly, in a September 29, 2003 article in the New York Times by Douglas Jehl, the Defense Intelligence Agency has awkwardly admitted that most of the intelligence and information offered by the Iraqi National Congress (INC) for the past several years, which was provided by Iraqi defectors of questionable credibility, was of little to no value, all at a cost of $150 billion, more than 300 dead American soldiers, and at least 10,000 dead Iraqi civilians.
A prominent and callous epithet of such defectors mentioned in the above article is Khidhir Hamza, the self-claimed Iraqi atomic "Bomb Maker." Given a short lived assignment in the Iraqi nuclear program in 1987 to lead the atomic bomb design team, he was kicked out a few months later for petty theft. Reduced to a non-entity in the accelerated nuclear weapons program between 1987 and the start of the 1991 war, he retired from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission in 1989 and became a college lecturer, a stock market swindler and a shady business middle-man.
Upon his escape from Iraq in 1994, leaving his family behind, he was shunned asylum by the Iraqi opposition groups themselves, the CIA and the British intelligence agencies that were supporting these groups.
Seeking refuge as a lecturer in Libya, he still managed, through the INC, to initiate his usefulness to them by the publication of a series of three articles in the British Sunday Times in 1995 claiming through fake documents supplied by "authoritative sources" that Iraq was currently making atomic bombs. The Sunday Times passed them on to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its valuation, but decided not to report the IAEA's findings that the documents were "not authentic." The Sunday Times has not yet acknowledged using forgeries in their stories about Iraq's supposed nuclear weapons. LINK
Sci-fi weapons closer than most think
By Spc. Bill Putnam
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2003) -- The technology behind space ship lasers and force fields is a lot closer to reality than many think.
Although those lasers and force fields won't be fielded for a few more years, Gus Khalil, an engineer at the Army's Tank and Automotive Command in Dearborn, Mich., said the Army has identified what they want for the Army's Future Combat System....
...That technology is being developed for the Army's Future Combat System, the family of 16 manned, unmanned, ground and aerial vehicles the Army wants fielded by 2010. link
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
John H. Taylor of the National Archives called AFIO to say that CIA just released 16,000 new pages on Stargate (remote viewing program)...all of it on CD-ROM. None of this material, however, will be available online. Researchers will need to visit the College Park branch of the National Archives at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Research Hours Monday & Wednesday 8:45 am - 5:00 pm; Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 8:45 am - 9:00 pm; Saturday 8:45 am - 4:45 pm; Closed Sundays and Federal Holidays. John Taylor is willing to answer questions about these fascinating new materials at 301-837-3041. He expects 1,500 more pages -- supposedly the final release on this topic -- in a few weeks. Further information about the Archives can be found at: http://www.archives.gov/facilities/md/archives_2.html#loc
From FAS: By 1995 the program had conducted several hundred intelligence collection projects involving thousands of remote viewing sessions. Notable successes were said to be "eight martini" results, so-called because the remote viewing data were so mind-boggling that everyone has to go out and drink eight martinis to recover. Reported intelligence gathering successes included:
* Joe McMoneagle, a retired Special Project Intelligence Officer for SSPD, SSD, and 902d MI Group, claims to have left Stargate in 1984 with a Legion of Merit Award for providing information on 150 targets that were unavailable from other sources.
* In 1974 one remote viewer appeared to have correctly described an airfield with a large gantry and crane at one end of the field. The airfield at the given map coordinates was the Soviet nuclear testing area at Semipalatinsk -- a possible underground nuclear testing site [PNUTS]. In general, however, most of the receiver's data were incorrect or could not be evaluated.
* A "remote viewer" was tasked to locate a Soviet Tu-95 bomber which had crashed somewhere in Africa, which he allegedly did within several miles of the actual wreckage. LINK
STARGATE, the controversial CIA remote viewing program was first revealed to the public in early 1996, after being officially discontinued. But was it?
Well, we could sure use it in finding Osama Bin Laden.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
...At Palestinian headquarters in Ramallah, the atmosphere is grim. While fearing to cross the ailing leader, Arafat’s close associates are stealing away. As one senior diplomat said to DEBKAfile this week: “It reminds me of one of those dying monarchs you see on medieval paintings whose courtiers are depicted fleeing the death chamber covering their eyes with their hands so as not to see the coming of the angel of death.”
Arafat’s ill health was first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly Issue 128, which on October 3 reported the 74-year old Palestinian leader had suffered a series of heart attacks. Palestinian sources in his office described the first attack as mild, but said it was succeeded by seizures that approached severe myocardial infarction. In a show of bravado, he forbade his scared aides to call a doctor and swore them to silence about his condition. Nonetheless, word reached Jordan’s King Abdullah at Camp David during his visit with President George W. Bush from Thursday, September 18 to Saturday, September 20. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources reveal that Arafat’s condition was a leading topic of their conversations.
On his return home to Amman, the monarch telephoned Arafat to commiserate with him and offer to fly his own personal physician Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, with a cardiologist – both senior directors at Amman’s central military hospital - to Arafat by helicopter. The king vouched for the cardiologist who examined him periodically as well. He also offered to send over advanced diagnostic equipment with the two doctors.
At first, Arafat turned the Jordanian king down. But in a second telephone conversation, on Sunday, September 28, he agreed to be examined by the two physicians, after Abdullah convinced him that rumors of the heart attacks were bound to leak out and he would do well to arm himself with a specialists’ report. The king also made himself responsible for any treatment Arafat might require.
DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that Monday, September 29, a Jordanian military helicopter flew the royal physician, accompanied by the heart specialist and diagnostic equipment, to Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources, Arafat underwent a four-hour examination after which he was diagnosed – the report was rushed immediately to Abdullah – as having suffered a series of heart attacks, each of which was capable of inducing a stroke. He was advised to retain a fully-staffed medical team on call 24 hours a day in case he was struck down again. The doctors found him severely debilitated and suffering a progressive breakdown of his internal systems.
Abdullah offered to bring him over to the Amman hospital for constant care, but Arafat refused, declaring he would die in his quarters “as a martyr”. LINK
The case of Thomas C. Butler, the renowned infectious disease
specialist at Texas Tech University who was charged with
smuggling plague bacteria and numerous other violations of law,
continues to puzzle and perplex observers.
The case has alarmed leaders of the scientific community and
others who view the government's aggressive pursuit of Butler
as far out of proportion to the offenses he is alleged to have
"It's of grave concern that in a free society, such an Alfred
Hitchcockian situation could emerge," said Peter Agre, winner
of the 2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Dr. Agre noted that he
has "known and admired" Dr. Butler since he was a medical
Further details about the case, including information about how
to contribute to the Thomas Butler Legal Defense Fund, may be
found here: http://www.fas.org/butler/index.html
Coverage of the case has lately been muted by a gag order
imposed at the government's request.
On September 12, Judge Sam R. Cummings of the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a government
motion to prohibit "extrajudicial statements" by the "parties,
their counsel, or their agents."
The specific rationale for silencing the parties could not be
determined. But at least one major interview with Butler,
obtained prior to the gag order, may soon be published.
There is apparently a pattern in weakly evidenced cases like this one and "dirty bomber"Jose Padilla's
Monday, October 13, 2003
Despite repeated questioning, Bush Administration officials have been unable to provide an explanation as to why the cost of the continuing search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is classified.
According to the New York Times, the Administration is asking for over $600 million in additional funds for the Iraq Survey Group, the team led by David Kay that is investigating Iraqi WMD programs, or about twice its estimated budget to date.
See "Officials Say Bush Seeks $600 Million to Hunt Iraq Arms" by James Risen and Judith Miller, New York Times, October 2. But incredibly, that fact is classified. Several alert reporters posed an obvious follow-up question: Why?
In a vivid illustration of the capriciousness of much classification policy, officials were unable to articulate a reason why this sort of information should be kept secret.
"I can't get into the classified section of budget appropriations," replied White House spokesman Scott McClellan at a press briefing on October 2.
"I don't classify these things," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld evasively. "I'm sure that they have classifications for good reason."
"I'm sure no one in this room wants me to discuss classified information," Scott McClellan added with apparent sarcasm when the subject was raised again on October 6. link
Sunday, October 12, 2003
The Secret Collaborators
How did the U.S. oust Saddam's regime so quickly? Credit a remarkable effort to turn Iraq's elite soldiers into spies for America....
...documents described how the Iraqi security forces, already outmatched, had been undermined by Washington's success in recruiting Iraqi spies and double agents. LINK
Everything from the US failure to find WMDs to the supposed failure to predict the current unrest in Iraq, has been blamed on intelligence failures, particularly a supposed inability to get HUMINT sources on the ground. This article ought to put that to rest once and for all.
Does anyone doubt that you can have the best intelligence in the world, but it won't matter if the policy makers don't listen to it?
Everyone has been speculating over the last few weeks about what Bob Novak's motivation was for burning NOC agent Valerie Plame. He was against the war, he was on the record as being skeptical about the Bush Admin's WMD claims, and now it turns out he was a vocal critic of the naming of Johnny Spann. So whatever WAS the reason for his behavior?
At The Spy Game tipline we have received an anonymous tip, which of course is totally unconfirmable and unverifiable. But try it on and see if it makes sense:
According to this source, Novak was threatened. The tip did not say with what, but presumably it was at minimum, the no- more -goodies- for -you deal. Could it have been worse than that? Well, Krugman has received death threats and the key Enron witness was murdered (and the murder covered up). Were those acts spontaneous or were they orchestrated by someone high up? If the latter, we have a scandal that makes Watergate pale in significance.
And if I suddenly meet an untimely end, you'll know what happened. (joke.... I think)
Conspiracy theorists can visit the Bush Body Count in the meantime.
Baghdad coalition hotel base bombed
At least six Iraqis have been killed in the Iraqi capital in a suicide car bomb attack near a hotel used by senior coalition officials and the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC).
The car exploded after being fired on as it broke through a four-metre high security barrier into the Baghdad Hotel driveway.
Iraqi police chief Ahmad Ibrahim said the attack on a hotel filled with Americans and other foreigners was aimed at driving the occupying forces out of the country. LINK
Earlier stories suggested that the hotel was the headquarters for CIA operations, but were scrubbed either due to inaccuracy or for security reasons. British papers are still identifying it as CIA.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Leak of CIA officers leaves trail of damage
By Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder Newspapers
.... the leak by Bush administration officials of that CIA officer's identity may have damaged U.S. national security to a much greater extent than generally realized, current and former agency officials say.
Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush critic Joseph Wilson, was a member of a small elite-within-an-elite, a CIA employee operating under "nonofficial cover," in her case as an energy analyst, with little or no protection from the U.S. government if she got caught.
Training agents such as Plame, 40, costs millions of dollars and requires the time-consuming establishment of elaborate fictions, called "legends," including in this case the creation of a CIA front company that helped lend plausibility to her trips overseas.
Compounding the damage, the front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, whose name has been reported previously, apparently also was used by other CIA officers whose work now could be at risk, according to Vince Cannistraro, formerly the agency's chief of counterterrorism operations and analysis....
...And Plame's exposure may make it harder for American spies to convince foreigners to share important secrets with them, U.S. intelligence officials said.
Bush partisans tend to downplay the leak's damage, saying Plame's true job was widely known in Washington, if unspoken. And, they say, she had moved from the DO, the CIA's covert arm, to an analysis job.
But intelligence professionals, infuriated over the breach and what they see as the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence on Iraq, vehemently disagree.
Larry Johnson - a former CIA and State Department official who was a 1985 classmate of Plame's in the CIA's case officer-training program at Camp Peary, Va., known as "the Farm" - predicted that when the CIA's internal damage assessment is finished, "at the end of the day, (the harm) will be huge and some people potentially may have lost their lives."
"This is not just another leak. This is an unprecedented exposing of an agent's identity," said former CIA officer Jim Marcinkowski, who's now a prosecutor in Royal Oak, Mich., and who also did CIA training with Plame.
...Critics say the leak was meant to intimidate critics such as Wilson, a former ambassador who traveled to the African country of Niger to investigate claims that Iraq was seeking uranium ore for nuclear weapons. Wilson found no basis for the claims and later publicly criticized Bush's description of Iraq's nuclear weapons program.
Human intelligence - as opposed to electronic surveillance - about WMD development and weapons transfers is hard to come by, especially in "hard target" countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea....
...The corps of officers using nonofficial cover is small, said former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman, a critic of Bush's handling of intelligence. The program was the subject of an internal battle, he said, opposed by traditionalists, who favored the orthodox method of having spies pose as American diplomats or military officers.
"It was always controversial. There were never a lot. And there are fewer now than there were," Goodman said.
Johnson, the former CIA and State Department official, said espionage training could cost several million dollars, including $350,000 for the first year alone.
It appears that the Brewster-Jennings front was more than what is called "nominal cover," and was used as part of Plame's espionage, Johnson said.
That means anyone she met with could be in danger now, said Johnson, who described himself as "furious, absolutely furious" at the security breach.
On a personal level, if Plame's covert career wasn't over already, it is now...
...As a CIA officer operating overseas, "There's only one entity in the world that can identify you. That's the U.S. government. When the U.S. government does it, that's it," he said. LINK
SCOOP! NOVAK KNEW BETTER THAN TO BURN VALERIE PLAME
He criticized Identification of Johnny Spann in 2001, CHECK IT OUT:
Inside Report: Not Secret CIA
Robert Novak, December 3, 2001
WASHINGTON -- Exposure of CIA operative Johnny (Mike) Spann's identity as the first American killed in Afghanistan is viewed by surprised intelligence insiders as an effort by Director George Tenet to boost the embattled CIA's prestige.
Old CIA hands were shocked by the breaking of the old rule keeping secret the names of agents in order to protect their family and associates (in this case, undercover Pakistanis and Tajiks). The rule was violated, according to the insiders, because the CIA needs publicity after the massive intelligence failure of Sept. 11. The death of a heroic agent makes the agency look better.
This incident intensifies congressional criticism of Tenet, with intelligence experts suggesting that a badly planned interrogation of Taliban prisoners cost Spann his life. link
You'll recall from a posting here last week that Johnny Spann's dad was outraged at the publicity about his son's death and has called the Plame leak "treason." (link)
Novak here assumes it was George Tenet's idea to name Johnny Spann. But was it? Or did Tenet acquiesce to a directive from the White House?
But if Novak full well how CIA felt about Spann, how then could he burn Valerie Plame? Hypocrisy is not a sufficient answer. What was his motivation?
In intelligence, the question that is asked is Who Benefits?
In the Spann case, Novak trashes George Tenet for revealing Spann's identity. He claims CIA benefited from having Spann as a hero. (Of course, so did the war effort as a whole). But that question can also be asked of Novak himself. By publishing it, he had an opportunity to trash Tenet.
In the Plame case, it's been pointed out that Novak opposed the war on Iraq. Some have suggested his action may have been meant to cause a scandal and undermine that effort. That seems TOO subtle, and in fact it took 3 months for anyone to notice. Perhaps again he was trying to create dissension at CIA and problems for Tenet.
One theme that runs throughout both articles, is his pride at insider knowledge. Is Novak simply so insecure and egocentric he would jeopardize an agent's and all her connections lives, knowing full well he was doing so, simply out of egotism?
Or was he trying to curry favor with the Administration after alienating them? If so, and I think it the most likely explanation, it was the most craven of acts betraying lives and one's own conscience to toady to power.
According to one contact I spoke to today:
"The equivalent of disclosing the location of a ship at sea during war."
i.e: "Loose lips sink ships"
or: "I liken that to the knee-capping of an athlete." Jim Marcinkowski, an ex-CIA officer who trained with her (link)
What percent of CIA employees are undercover? Less than 10%. Of those, how many are N.O.C.? Classified, but my guess would be 10-15%.
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer, October 2, 2003, 9:03 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- The father of slain CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann said Thursday he believes an independent counsel should investigate allegations that someone in the Bush administration exposed a CIA officer's identity -- an act he called treasonous.
Spann, the first American killed in Afghanistan, died in a prison uprising. His father, also named Johnny Spann, said he is still angry because he feels his son's identity and hometown were disclosed before his son's family could be adequately protected.(underlines mine)
Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., are calling for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate who exposed a CIA operative who is married to a former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson. Wilson had accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq.
"If someone in the Bush administration leaked this, they need to be punished, and they need to be made an example of, because that's not just a leak, that's treason," Spann, of Winfield, Ala., told The Associated Press. "They should appoint an independent counsel so the American people can be sure, and let the chips fall where they may." link
I mentioned this a couple days ago (link). CIA employees around the world watched in shock as Johnnie Spann was buried 2 years ago in an unprecedentedly public ceremony.
Now they are even more outraged -- a living agent blown by her own government in an attempt to discredit the agency's own intelligence. This has never happened before and indeed was unimaginable...
Anyone remember Johnny "Mike" Spann? He was the first American casualty in the invasion of Afganistan. He died shortly after questioning the so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.
What you may not remember is that he also was a CIA operative under non-official cover. That his name and picture was revealed to the US Media by the Bush Administration was also an outrage to the intelligence community, even in death. The reason is that his posthumous outing endangered his family and all the people he worked with over the years.
In its quest to have an American hero, the Bush Administration did what it did two years later for revenge, that is, endanger lives of the innocent, lives of allies, and national security itself, all for a short term gain.
[ Thu Oct 02, 08:13:12 AM ]
AMBASSADOR'S WIFE WAS A "KNOCKER"
The reason why the outing of the wife of Fmr. Ambassador Joseph Wilson is such an outrage is because she was one of a select few in the intelligence community known as "knockers". The term "knocker" is a play on the acronym N.O.C. for non-official cover. Nearly all CIA operatives, instead operate under official cover, which is a cover related to a non-CIA embassy posting. This cover gives them the protection of "diplomatic immunity" so that if they are arrested, they cannot be prosecuted or harmed by another country.
Knockers do not have this protection, and they do not because they they are involved in the most sensitive of operations, where the existence of an embassy link would draw suspicion.
They are the true spies and the ones in the most real danger. Knockers are often engaged in the recruitment of other clandestine agents, both knowing and unknowing hence the pun "knocker." Knockers often work under their own names because there is no official link between them and the government especially when urgent situations or time factors prevent construction of a cover identity..
That is why the outing of a knocker is so outrageous. Not only are they put at risk and their entire families, but every who has worked with them over the years has now been identified as a possible CIA recruit. Most of these people to this day did not know they were working for the CIA. Many would not have performed the tasks they did had they known they were. Scores of people therefore and perhaps a dozen or two operations have been jeopardized by this craven act. Some of these operations may be going on to this day, and may be subject to sabotage now or in the future.
One typical operation might be the bugging of say a Iranian diplomat's office by an employee of the phone company in a third nation. He might not be willing to do it for the US, but he might for a corporation or a neutral country. Exposing the knocker who set this up, might cause the employee to get angry and rip out the bug or harm the knockers associates who are still in place.
More information on Non-Official Cover is in todays NY TIMES
ORIGINAL SOURCE: COSMIC IGUANA
[ Fri Oct 10, 09:53:56 PM ]
MAYBE YOU MISSED THIS:
Not Business as Usual: Cheney and the CIA
June 30, 2003
Viewed on October 7, 2003
As though this were normal! I mean the repeated visits Vice President Dick Cheney made to the CIA before the war in Iraq. The visits were, in fact, unprecedented. During my 27-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, no vice president ever came to us for a working visit.
During the '80s, it was my privilege to brief Vice President George H.W. Bush and other very senior policy makers every other morning. I went either to the vice president's office or (on weekends) to his home. I am sure it never occurred to him to come to CIA headquarters.
The morning briefings gave us an excellent window on what was uppermost in the minds of those senior officials and helped us refine our tasks of collection and analysis. Thus, there was never any need for policy makers to visit us. And the very thought of a vice president dropping by to help us with our analysis is extraordinary. We preferred to do that work without the pressure that inevitably comes from policy makers at the table.
Cheney got into the operational side of intelligence as well. Reports in late 2001 that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger stirred such intense interest that his office let it be known he wanted them checked out. So, with the CIA as facilitator, a retired U.S. ambassador was dispatched to Niger in February 2002 to investigate. He found nothing to substantiate the report and lots to call it into question. There the matter rested -- until last summer, after the Bush administration made the decision for war in Iraq.
Cheney, in a speech on Aug. 26, 2002, claimed that Saddam Hussein had "resumed his effort to acquire nuclear weapons."
At the time, CIA analysts were involved in a knockdown, drag-out argument with the Pentagon on this very point. Most of the nuclear engineers at the CIA, and virtually all scientists at U.S. government laboratories and the International Atomic Energy Agency, found no reliable evidence that Iraq had restarted its nuclear weapons program.
But the vice president had spoken. Sad to say, those in charge of the draft National Intelligence Estimate took their cue and stated, falsely, that "most analysts assess Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."
Smoke was blown about aluminum tubes sought by Iraq that, it turns out, were for conventional weapons programs. The rest amounted to circumstantial things like Hussein's frequent meetings with nuclear scientists and Iraq's foot-dragging in providing information to U.N. inspectors.
Not much heed was paid to the fact that Hussein's son-in-law, who supervised Iraq's nuclear program before he defected in 1995, had told interrogators that Iraq's nuclear facilities -- except for the blueprints -- had been destroyed in 1991 at his order. (Documents given to the United States this week confirm that. The Iraqi scientists who provided them added that, even though the blueprints would have given Iraq a head start, no order was given to restart the program; and even had such an order been given, Iraq would still have been years away from producing a nuclear weapon.)
In sum, the evidence presented in last September's intelligence estimate fell far short of what was required to support Cheney's claim that Iraq was on the road to a nuclear weapon. Something scarier had to be produced, and quickly, if Congress was to be persuaded to authorize war. And so the decision was made to dust off the uranium-from-Niger canard.
The White House calculated -- correctly -- that before anyone would make an issue of the fact that this key piece of "intelligence" was based on a forgery, Congress would vote yes. The war could then be waged and won. In recent weeks, administration officials have begun spreading the word that Cheney was never told the Iraq-Niger story was based on a forgery. I asked a senior official who recently served at the National Security Council if he thought that was possible. He pointed out that rigorous NSC procedures call for a very specific response to all vice-presidential questions and added that "the fact that Cheney's office had originally asked that the Iraq-Niger report be checked out makes it inconceivable that his office would not have been informed of the results."
Did the president himself know that the information used to secure congressional approval for war was based on a forgery? We don't know. But which would be worse -- that he knew or that he didn't?
Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1964 to 1990, regularly reported to the vice president of the United States and senior policymakers on the President's Daily Brief from 1981 to 1985. He now is co-director of the Servant Leadership School, an inner-city outreach ministry in Washington.
[ Fri Oct 10, 09:47:31 PM ]
GREATEST CIA AGENTS OF ALL TIME
5. Ho Chi Minh - (actually OSS) Link Result: Vietnam war
4. Manuel Noriega - Link Result: Invasion of Panama
3. Saddam Hussein - Link Result: Gulf War, Invasion of Iraq
2. Osama Bin Laden - Link Result: 9-11, Invasion of Afghanistan
1. Mystery Guest
If you can guess the identity of the Mystery Guest, you will know the location of our next war. Just be assured that our next evil villain will be someone we trained.
BONUS QUESTION: It's just a coincidence isn't it? It's not like we planned for them to do anything, right?
ORIGINAL SOURCE: COSMIC IGUANA
WAR ON TERROR MISGUIDED SAYS SPOOK
Former spy criticizes U.S. method of fighting terrorism
By Mary Manning, 9/12/03, LAS VEGAS SUN
The next terrorist attack on the United States won't involve a cockpit takeover, former CIA spy Robert Steele said in Las Vegas on the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Instead it will come from a Stinger missile or explosives planted in a cargo container, the ex-Marine said Thursday night to members of the Nevada Committee for Foreign Relations.
Steele, while critical of Attorney General John Ashcroft in his speech, said that he believes both major political parties have failed the American people.
"America gets the government and intelligence services it deserves," said Steele, who spent 25 years in covert operations in El Salvador and other places.
The United States hasn't changed the way it gathers or uses intelligence since the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit two years ago, Steele said.
"You are no safer today than you were before the 9-11 attacks," he said.
"We should not be throwing rocks in Iraq and Afghanistan until we strengthen our glass house here at home," Steele told about 25 people at the Las Vegas Country Club.
Instead, the federal government should build intelligence centers in every state and every major city, including Las Vegas, for the purpose of gathering information, Steele said.
Las Vegas is particularly vulnerable to an attack on water delivery pipelines or other utilities, he said.
"There's going to be a worldwide war over water," Steele said, pointing out droughts and spots of political unrest on a world map.
Las Vegas is particularly vulnerable if international companies are permitted to buy water and privatize the resource, he said.
The Bush administration is approaching terrorism from an outmoded perspective, as if the former Soviet Union were the only enemy, Steele said. Instead, terrorists, gangs and fragmented attackers are creating much of the violence.
"The answer is not John Ashcroft peeping into every window," Steele said.
Five of the Sept. 11 hijackers visited Las Vegas before the attack, and the FBI has never been able to determine why they came here. It could have been for anything, including selling drugs to raise money for the cause, Steele said.
Many U.S. cities are most vulnerable from a biological attack, such as a bacteria, Steele said.
"We stopped investing in public health 30 years ago," Steele said.
Howard Dean, the Democratic presidential candidate, has paid attention to the multi-faceted threats, Steele said. Stealing a page from Dean's presidential playbook, he said the country should still spend $500 billion on defense, but cut the heavy military budget to $250 billion. Put $100 billion into economic growth, the Peace Corps and environmental cleanup efforts and another $75 billion into public utilities, port security, border patrols and intelligence, he said. LINK
ORIGINAL SOURCE: COSMIC IGUANA