Friday, December 19, 2014

#CIA Torture

Are the Good Guys actually the Bad Guys?                                     Media.graytvinc.com

Click here for related story [Greenwich-Post.com]

We are in the midst of still another scandal in which CIA's operational procedures have been revealed and reflect poorly on their "clandestine/covert/black" operations.

As a bit of history, the CIA was formed following World War II consequent to the National Security Act of 1947; the paramilitary OSS [Office of Strategic Services] was abolished, and the CIA came into being.  The difficulty there was that the OSS First String players, mostly corporate executives, accomplished academics, scientists, and a herd of Blue-bloods returned to their pre-War professions, leaving the Second-String support group to fill the senior ranks of the new Intelligence Agency.
[We had the privilege of working with several of these gentlemen, to include Vernon Walters [DCI], Joseph Alsop [syndicated columnist], Bill Yarborough [father of the Green Berets], Willis H. Bird [created the Bangkok Stock Exchange]

The First String consisted men and women who could travel throughout the world and connect with their peers on any continent, and dine and drink with with newly minted Nazis and/or Communists who previously occupied the upper tier of the social strata.  Through their professional contacts, the OSS operatives were able to recruit action agents and support networks which lasted well beyond the end of WWII, and which were then managed by the less socially adept Second String operational folk.  Nonetheless, these recruited assets functioned well until they aged and left the "biz", or retired, or were rounded up by the Secret Police, tortured and/or executed following operational blunders by the Second String Agency "case officers."

As we entered the 1960s, the multi-lingual deep thinkers and professionals were exiting the CIA, leaving the FNGs [fucking new guys], who had been recruited from US police agencies and military Special Forces.  They weren't bad people, and meant well, but they simply didn't have the finesse or international savoir faire which allowed them to move about from one social strata to the next.  They routinely stood out like the traditional "sore thumb" in social situations, allowing the local security folks to easily identify them -- and the assets they "recruited."

Thus, the Clandestine Service suffered greatly in terms of finesse and intellect.

Worse, as the Clandestine Service declined in capability, the Covert operations element became synonymous with paramilitary operations, incorporating Special Forces personnel to combat Communist military units operating in regions in which the US had a "strategic interest."  Among those regions were the Middle East and Southeast Asia, both of which were key to land and water-based international trade, and of course -- oil.

Initially, Covert Ops were designed for the neutralization of targeted enemy units, and later for the assassination of foreign leaders who disagreed with us.  That included eliminating designated "bad guys" such as Salvadore Allende in Chile, Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddegh [installing the Shah], Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat [installing Hosni Mubarak], and, of course, Vietnamese Leader Ngo Dinh Diem -- installing movable human fence posts and William Westmoreland to run the country.

With the CIA running both civilian and military strategy, equipped only with Third String Wannabes, the colossal screw-ups were a dime a dozen since, all too often, the CIA station chiefs and base chiefs had little or no experience in military or paramilitary operations, and would bring in Army Special Forces or Military Intelligence personnel who were fluent in both language and area expertise -- a process referred to in modern times as "sheep-dipping", i.e., shedding the military uniform and status and donning quasi-military garb and assuming rank much senior to local Military officers.  The paramilitary Special Operations and/or Black Ops complete with armored vests and SWAT unit imagery has now replaced any refined espionage conducted via Clandestine Operations -- previously known as "Espionage" -- but that is another discussion entirely.

Yours truly was one of these "sheep-dipped" operators, selected on the basis of language skills, tactical military training, a graduate of Fort Holabird [the Military counterpart of the CIA's "Farm"] with in-depth training in clandestine and covert operations, and ultimately, in-depth area knowledge.
We enjoyed, as the Regional Intelligence Advisor, the peer status of a Brigadier General [sans uniform] in order to maintain the respect and cooperation of our foreign Military counterparts in directing one of the few successful counter-insurgency efforts in US history.

In so doing, we overcame the obstacle that only one of the CIA's officers had even a marginal degree of knowledge of the local language, and that deficit in another base led to one of the most spectacular SNAFUs in foreign intelligence lore -- referred to as "The Sakhon Nakon Letter"
[but that's fodder for another story].
[This is not to say that the CIA was totally devoid of linguistic and area expertise - as the subject of the referenced article, Jack Divine, was one of the few area experts the CIA could boast.  We wouldn't mind seeing Jack heading up the CIA today.  Over the years, we did meet a number of very professional CIA officers; but they were in the minority after the Church Committee purges.]

Now, boring as the preceding history lesson has been, it lays the groundwork for the problem the CIA now faces, i.e., disclosure that it is not terribly competent at espionage, but moreso at torture and murder.  That would not be considered a "bad thing" except that such disclosures reflect poorly on the US image as "good guys", i.e, the purveyors of chocolate bars to lovable, little, foreign urchins as portrayed in our magazines and movies.

Unfortunately in reality, our CIA folk tend to stray from that image, and in recent years, have managed a variety of torture chambers which would be the envy of the Spanish [Catholic] Inquisition.  Now, to be fair, the objective of the Inquisitors was simply to force their victims to renounce Satan, or their Abbots, or the head of the Jesuits, or Islam.  A simple "yes" or "no" was the usual objective, but it was so much more fun to see how much pain could be inflicted before the victims offered up their agonized confessions to whatever their interrogators sought for satisfaction.

OneNewsNow.com

But, that was so, so far in the past that most folk today have completely forgotten that era.

And, God forbid anyone make reference to Christ in that scenario; how does one rationalize the compassionate teachings of Christ with the savagery of Holy Mother Church embodied in the Inquisition.

And how do we, as Americans, accept the debauchery conducted by our Intelligence operatives as "acceptable torture"!


But, just as the Inquisitors sought
answers -- and the consummate auto-ca-fe' , so too have the CIA leadership as they rationalized torture for the sake of torture rather than the elicitation of actionable intelligence.

Since the CIA does not train expert interrogators anymore, they have reached into the bowels of the Military for such expertise.

The value of using Military personnel for egregious acts was, that if compromised, the CIA leadership would immediately report to the SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] and the HPSCI [House Permanent SubCommittee on Intelligence] and pronounce the latest debacle the fault of Military Intelligence, since, after all, the perps were indeed Military folk engaged in "Intelligence" operations [albeit under the direction of the CIA].  The bottom line of these testimonials was that these SNAFUs were still more evidence that Military Intelligence should be placed under the direct supervision of the CIA.

Unfortunately, they have not tapped into the valuable Military Intelligence resources of trained and highly skilled interrogators with decades of experience, but rather, the CIA has routinely used their Military Liaison Office to acquire thugs from the Marines or the Special Operations organizations.  Keep in mind, these are guys [and some women] who are trained in black ops, stealth, and fatal shoot-em-ups to satisfy a momentary objective.

Now, we're not condemning these folk, since many are God-fearing, highly religious people who firmly believe that, like their Inquisitor counterparts, the more a prisoner shrieks in pain and anguish, the greater the intelligence gain.  The difficulty with that approach is that, after a period of time, the prisoner will admit to any heinous act, up to and including voting for President Obama or sleeping with Michelle.  In essence, there is no positive result of torture as an intelligence tool.

This is an area in which we have considerable expertise, since we have conducted several hundred interrogations in foreign engagements in a non-hostile fashion, eliciting well over 1,000 IIRs [DoD Intelligence Information Reports] and TD-FIRs [CIA Field Intelligence Reports], the bulk of which were highly rated by the analytical community.  Not a drop of blood was spilled; no fingernails pulled; no eyes gouged out; no teeth pulled with pliers as in the Marathon Man.

Routinely, our interrogations were mere question-and-answer periods, with the tacit threat that lying would result in transfer to the less desirable facilities managed by sadistic interrogators.  The worst we could be accused of was psychological manipulation -- a craft at which we were quite skilled, and which produced marvelous results.

We were challenged, at one point, by an Infantry colonel at Fort Huachuca who professed he could endure ANY form of interrogation and never reveal a nugget of useful information.  We provided the audience a list of actionable intelligence information we intended to extract, and then proceeded to do so to the great delight of the audience which ticked off each new nugget.

When we concluded the two hour interrogation demonstration, the colonel smirked and announced his victory over us in not revealing any valuable information; to his dismay, we then posted each element of information he had revealed which my analyst had then converted into a detailed description of his unit, his key personnel, the full listing of his unit's equipment and readiness, radio call signs, areas of operation, and his mission objective.  He remembered revealing none of that information until I played back video clips of each element -- which we then compiled into our Interrogation Report.  He was mortified.

Now, in that post-Vietnam era, we had formed and commanded a tactical training detachment which trained more than 1,000 US Military units in all phases of tactical intelligence, among which was the art of interrogation.  Within the Military units we trained [from battalions through corps], we had refined the techniques of several thousand interrogators, many of whom proved themselves in the first Gulf War, and most of whom remained in the Army Reserves following the Gulf War.

The point of this discussion is that interrogation is an art form which requires extensive training and refinement to achieve the desired results.  Bringing in the knuckle-draggers guarantees failure, no matter what the CIA leadership tells Congress.

We really do need to review the Church Commission and Pike Committee findings of the 1970s to see the comparisons of the abuses of the Intelligence Community then those we've seen revealed today.  Those investigations revealed horrendous activities which can only be matched by today's revelations by Fast Eddie Snowden.  Has history repeated itself?

Footnote:
To offset the CIA's incorporation of paramilitary operations which displaced Clandestine [Espionage] operations in Military Target Areas, in 1984 we formed the DCS [Defense Clandestine Service (codename not disclosed)] by which we deployed highly skilled, well trained, linguistically qualified, area experts to conduct espionage operations around the world.  

Our compromise in this enterprise was that we would work hand-in-glove with the CIA, to include sending our new case officers to train at "The Farm" since Fort Holabird had long since closed.  Nonetheless, while the CIA focused on penetrating the KGB and running paramilitary ops, we focused solely on penetrating terrorist organizations and the military of foreign countries which we gauged as potential or actual adversaries.

The DCS was quite a success and received accolades from both the SSCI and the HPSCI for the extraordinary amounts of actionable intelligence it produced -- without a single paramilitary operation! or even a SNAFU.  

Flynn: Destroyed DCS
Unfortunately, Mike Flynn, a protege of JimmyBob Clapper [Director DNI] took control of DIA and converted the DCS into just another SWAT team running semi-covert operations.  Once again, with the assistance of the CIA, Military Intelligence took a hit and may not recover.  

Meanwhile, both Flynn and his deputy were relieved of their posts -- and on a very personal note, may they both rot in hell for destroying the DCS.









Friday, December 5, 2014

SONY origin

SONY's First Tape Recorder [copied from the German invention]  [Wikipedia]



A discussion arose recently over unusual names of companies. Among those named was SONY, a strange name for an electronics firm created in post-war Japan by two engineers in the Japanese Army Signal Corps.

Having researched this historical anomaly as a subset of US private investment in developing countries, we thought it might be worth sharing for our vast, global readership.
SONY's explanation for its name is that it derives from the Latin term SONAR [sound]. The firm was reportedly formed after WW2 by two Japanese Signal Corps engineers who supposedly developed the tape recorder.
1) Neither engineer had any education in Latin, so using a Latin derivative term by Japanese engineers makes no sense.
2) The tape recorder [AEG 'Magnetophon' high-fidelity recorder] was developed in the 1930s by German engineers, and following WW2 was hustled back to the US for exploitation by US Signal Corps folks, along with reels of magnetic tape.
[Hundreds of such highly sophisticated German inventions, to include a "charged particle beam" for downing aircraft were brought back to the US after WW2 for commercial exploitation. The charged particle beam was never fully deciphered until the late 1970s by US Defense engineers.]]
In reality, the Rockefellers, were heavy investors in China prior to WW1, and saw the strategic investment opportunities in post-WW2 Japan and funded, through their Asia subsidiary, Socony, a number of start-ups with technology recovered from Germany, 
e.g., the "Magnetophon".
Socony [i.e., Standard Oil Company of New York] was too obvious and visible a linkage, given that Standard Oil had lost its monopoly through Teddy Roosevelt's highly publicized "trust busting". So, they shortened the name of the new electronic magnetic tape recording company to
SONY [i.e., Standard Oil of New York].

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#CIA - Self-Destructing

I don't have a clue how Intelligence works; I just do what Valerie tells me to do!


Click here for related article [ConsortiumNews.com]

We were rather appalled to see that John Brennan is planning to disrupt the tried and true organizational structure of CIA to create hybrid units "... focused on individual regions and threats to US security...".  This reorganization would replicate the CIA CounterTerrorism Center and other similar entities in the agency which began as ad hoc coordination points but morphed into bureaucracies of their own – each competing with the next to demonstrate their incompetence.

Oddly, this reorganization concept grows out of Brennan's own obscure role as a neophyte counter-terrorism analyst way back when he was buried in a dark, corner cubicle at CIA, the object of derision and ridicule by his fellow analysts and operators as well for his absence of intellect and lack of a definable personality.  

That was how we came to know him some years before 9/11 when the Counter-Terrorism desk in each Intelligence agency was the designated repository for worthless and incompetent analysts on whom supervisors were unwilling to spend the bureaucratic energy on to fire.  We all assumed that they could do no harm in such slots since the threat was negligible and all known terrorists and their organizations were well-documented and monitored by other than “terrorism specialtists”.

With 9/11, Brennan, who had never predicted any event with any more accuracy than his morning scheduled bowel movement, suddenly was swept into a role of visibility and importance -- in spite of having missed all the obvious indicators of the coming 9/11 event, and after which he demonstrated that he had no clue as to the origin or nature of the attack, nor of all the dots leading up to the attack.

However, he was the perfect stooge for both the Bush and Obama Administrations to trot out to the public to mouth vacuous rhetoric relating to "terrorism" even though he could barely spell the term, much less come up with a strategy to deal with the new "designated enemy" for the US Defense contractors to invoice the government for services and goods.

As background to Brennan's idiotic reorganization, let's outline the CIA organization as it is currently structured [having been morphed by bastardized reorganizations in past Administrations].



1)  NCS [National Clandestine Service], formerly the Directorate of Operations which manages US and international espionage and covert operations.
2)  Directorate of Intelligence, which expanded from several hundred analysts to several thousand today -- resulting in a consequent regression in effectiveness due to stove-piping, internal politics, and creation of inaccurate intelligence based on duplicative reports which “confirm” earlier inaccurate reporting.
3)  The Science and Technology Directorate which tracks and decides which new foreign technology to monitor and/or steal through such entities as In-Q-Tel, a faux venture capital fund for innovative products to be used by the CIA and NSA – without compensating the inventors.
4)  The Support Directorate, which creates facilities and logistical elements both in the US and internationally, launders money, creates cover identities with local governments, and coordinates with the private sector to provide support as needed. 
[That may or may not still be intact, but is likely degraded for lack of private sector interface other than Defense contractors composed of ex-military and former Intelligence executives.]

The key to these separate entities is that each one functions separately from the others, and information on operations and operational identities is available solely on a "need to know" basis.  That's the way it's been since the OSS was formed in World War II, and has remained ever since.

There are other minor and obscure -- but very important operational elements, but, the four main entities give you an idea of what the CIA looks like now.  
[We'll discuss in another post how it used to be, and how it has morphed into the bloated, ineffective organization that it is today.]

So, what is it that Mr Brennan proposes.

Essentially, Mr Brennan sees no need for compartmentation and has proposed to take personnel from each of the separate directorates to form permanent '"fusion cells" or "centers" which combine analysts, operators, scientists, and support staff, all in one big cubicle.   

Such cells made sense in the past to coordinate short-term operations on high priority, time-sensitive targets, but were disbanded once the mission was accomplished -- otherwise, all those resources would be wasted.  It would be like creating the pit crew or talented mechanics and technicians for a race car in the Indianapolis 500, and then keeping the full crew idled on salary year-round with nothing to do but wait for next year's race.

Mr Brennan, having no managerial experience in either the public or the private sector, has no concept whatever of organizational efficiency, and having no operational experience whatever, has no concept of the need for compartmentation or internal security.

Traditionally, an analyst or other employee would leave the CIA and have only a limited knowledge of the other elements, the resources, or other employees.  At best, a departed employee could disclose either voluntarily or under duress only a limited amount of sensitive information. 

In Mr Brennan's bizarre reorganization, the knowledgeability aspect of the most sensitive operations would be revealed to an exponential number of personnel who would then be tied to multiple directorates with both direct and indirect access.

Ian Fleming - Case Officer [Flickr]
In essence, Case Officers [C/O] who have spent years building cover identities and operational contacts would be the core of the new “fusion cell” along with the Regional [operations] desk officer. 

They traditionally worked hand in glove, with the desk officer interfacing with the other directorates to provide analytical support for tasking and refining of collection requirements; with the other directorates developing logistical support [think of James Bonds “Q” (for Quartermaster)] for cover identities, tech gizmos, and extended support in the form of safe-houses, etc.; and finally, there was a liaison branch to coordinate collection and confirmation with other agencies such as NSA and the NRO [National Reconnaissance Office].

For those security agents grinding their teeth now fearing that we’ve disclosed sensitive methods, this is, and has been the process for all national intelligence organizations for centuries.  So, there’s nothing new here, and you can put away your badges and credentials and Miranda Warnings.

But, we digress.

Mr Brennan’s concept is to fully identify the C/O to all the supporting element – all the time so they can all work hand-in-glove and have Kumbaya moments, year-round. 

So, what’s the downside of these Fusion Centers?
Now, instead of the Clandestine Case Officers remaining anonymous, tasked and supported only through their “handlers”, the Regional Desk Officers and the Station Chiefs, no fewer than five new personnel would be privy to the most intimate details of the C/O’s operations and full identities of recruited assets and their families and networks, but they would also be privy to the Station’s extended network of support assets, safe houses, communications technology, cover stories, liaison networks. 

That, of course, would be a major breach, but the full extent of this exposure would come with the insertion of an enemy agent into the process.

Impossible you say?

DIA Analyst Montes
Let’s take, for example, Ana Belen Montes who was recruited by Cuban Intelligence [CuIS] in 1985 through the auspices of CuIS agent Marta Rita Velazquez – a graduate of Georgetown University Law School and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and employed with the US State Department.  Velazquez recruited Montes [and allegedly a number of other Cubans] and facilitated her hiring as an Intelligence Analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] – successfully passing a polygraph examination.  Notably, Montes came to DIA from the Department of Justice; her brother and sister were FBI officers, and her former boyfriend, Roger Corneretto, was an Intelligence officer at the Pentagon specializing in Cuba.  As a DIA analyst, she visited Special Forces covert facilities, one of which was attacked shortly after her visit in 1987. 


State Dept Officer Velazquez [El Doario]
Velazquez reportedly escorted Montes to Cuba for spy-craft training to exploit her exposure to the sources and methods employed at the newly formed DCS [Defense Clandestine Service], as well as those for US Military Intelligence organizations.


We met Montes when she was introduced to us by the DIA Latin America Division Chief as a potential DCS Latin America Desk Officer.  We dismissed her as unqualified and recommended that her background investigation be reopened since the questions she raised in the interview process seemed far too precise for a new analyst.  Nonetheless, she was retained by DIA’s analytic division and became a rising star, privy to all clandestine operations through raw reporting – and her role as collection management and tasking.

A well-placed penetration agent we had recruited, whose access was unique, became the subject of tasking by Montes’ desk, and within a remarkably short time, the asset was identified and murdered - apparently identified by means of his disclosed access.  Subsequently, we increased the restrictions on the identity and placement of recruited assets assuming there was a leak in the system – most likely in the Analyst Division -- although we did not rule out a penetration of the CIA.

Nonetheless, countless other operations in the Caribbean and in Latin America were compromised before she was arrested in 2001.  During her 16 years tenure in DIA, she had extensive access to sensitive information identifying recruited assets in Latin America, Case Officers and CIA chiefs of station, support networks, logistics, and sensitive communications systems.  
The security element had completely failed.]
 
But, to return to our commentary, Montes was the spy that was “caught”.  Meanwhile, we have to assume countless others who have passed polygraph exams are still fully operational throughout the intelligence community which now is home to thousands of analysts and support personnel – few of whom have been appropriately vetted.  Add to these vulnerabilities the growing number of Intelligence and Defense Contractors now populating the Intelligence Community.

Any confidence in the security of the Clandestine Service [Defense or CIA] at this point has withered; exacerbating these vulnerabilities with Brennan’s Fusion Cells further exposes sources and methods on an exponential basis.

It's bad enough to have our intelligence operations broadcast from the Oval Office, 
but let’s not make our national security sieve into a security sluice.


[DISCLAIMERWe retired from the Service in 1990, 11 years before Montes was identified and arrested; our requests for increased monitoring of Montes went ignored and unfulfilled.]