Monthly Archives: November 2009

Need to Know: 11/25/2009

Obama to announce Afghanistan troop strategy Tuesday
President Obama will announce the U.S. troop strategy for Afghanistan in a speech at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

Obama Provides Glimpse of Afghanistan Strategy
“I can tell you … that it is in our strategic interest, in our national security interest, to make sure that al-Qaida and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas,” Obama said. “We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle and destroy their networks. And Afghanistan’s stability is important to that process.”

CIA Chief Panetta Winning Over Doubters at the Agency
The mood at Langley has always been difficult to measure, since insiders are not allowed to speak to the media. But several former CIA veterans who remain in contact with serving colleagues say spirits were lifted in recent weeks when the White House ruled in the agency’s favor on two disputes with the DNI. “People are more upbeat than they have been in a long time,” says a retired station chief. “They’re finally warming up to Panetta.”

Podcast: ODNI Chief Human Capital Officer Ron Sanders building a 21st century workforce
Organized under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Intelligence Community (IC) is the umbrella organization for such agencies as the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office. Some have overlapping, confidential missions, while others have very distinctive, specific roles to play in safeguarding the nation.

CIA’s Lost Magic Manual Resurfaces
At the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency paid $3,000 to renowned magician John Mulholland to write a manual on misdirection, concealment, and stagecraft. All known copies of the document — and a related paper, on conveying hidden signals — were believed to be destroyed in 1973. But recently, the manuals resurfaced, and have now been published as “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception.”

CIA cookbook dishes up spy tales
The more than 200 recipes — with names like Post-Soviet Thai Crab Cakes With Jam Sauce — mostly come from agents and family members whose names aren’t given and whose places of assignment remain murky. This means there’s no one to complain to if you carefully followed the directions but the dish was inedible. (Same as with any black ops gambit.)

Terrorism probe casts scrutiny on Minneapolis’ Somali immigrant enclave
Little Mogadishu residents talk of a lack of identity and a life of poverty and racism. And they disagree over their former neighbors who are accused of plotting jihad in Somalia.

Pakistan Nuclear Facilities At Risk: Former NSA
Stephen Hadley, an arms control expert who also served as former U.S. President George W Bush’s National Security Adviser said Sunday that a resurgent Taliban insurgency and the war in neighboring Afghanistan have put Pakistan’s nukes at risk giving rise to a “troubling” situation.

Lech Walesa libel trial starts in Poland over spy claim
A libel trial has started in Poland over charges former President Lech Walesa once worked as a communist spy.

A-Space Past and Future
This week marks the second anniversary of the first live internal demo of the intelligence community’s A-Space project, groundbreaking for the IC in its goal of collaborative use of social media across agency lines. Somewhere in Maryland, a remarkable government employee and friend named Mike Wertheimer should pause and quietly celebrate the fruition of his early evangelism for it.

NIST Drafts Cybersecurity Guidance
The National Institute for Standards and Technology is urging the government to continuously monitor its own cybersecurity efforts.

Wikileaks Says It Has Half-a-Million 9/11 Pager Messages
The document-leaking site Wikileaks says it’s preparing to release 500,000 intercepted wireless pager messages from a 24-hour period encompassing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Intelligence agency GCHQ uses Xbox Live to attract new recruits
GCHQ, the organisation responsible for collating intelligence for the British government, is using Microsoft’s online games portal, Xbox Live, to target potential agents.

COTS Cisco router launches into space aboard Intelsat satellite
A space-tolerant router designed by Cisco, a supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet, flew into orbit aboard a satellite of Intelsat Ltd., a provider of fixed satellite services. The payload, on the Intelsat 14 satellite, is a demonstration of Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) for the U.S. military, which is expected to open up a number of commercial and military opportunities to improve communications connectivity around the globe.

Border zones and insecurity in the Americas
While some have fretted that these zones could harbor jihadi terrorists, the real danger lies in the violence produced by bloody competition over these lucrative areas and the spread of criminal reach and power throughout the state and across frontiers.

Phil Carter Quits Administration
Phil Carter, well known to longtime denizens of the blogosphere as the former proprietor of Intel Dump, has suddenly resigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy.

Russian Submarine Malfunctions During Sea Trials
The Russian Navy’s Kilo Class diesel-electric submarine Alrosa has suffered an engine malfunction during sea trials and has been towed to the port of Novorossiisk.

UN mission ‘failing’ in DR Congo
The huge United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has failed to disarm Rwandan Hutu fighters, UN experts say.

Worth Watching: US_EUCOM

Need to Know: 11/24/2009

President Obama to announce Afghanistan surge next week
President Obama will next week announce a surge of at least 25,000 new US troops to Afghanistan in a speech to the nation, according to US officials today. Mr Obama will make the announcement in an address on Tuesday, December 1, after weeks of deliberations over his Afghan strategy and a tenth session with his war council in the White House on Monday night.

US President Obama and Indian PM Singh hold talks
Discussions are expected to range from Afghanistan and climate change to nuclear energy co-operation and trade.

Alleged Hawaii spy found competent to stand trial
A Maui man accused of selling military secrets to China has been found competent to stand trial. In part, Noshir Gowadia is accused of providing data on making cruise missiles and other aircraft less visible to radar or heat-seeking devices.

Ruling delayed for Filipino jailed in spy case
A judge has delayed a ruling on whether a former Philippine National Police officer who served prison time for receiving classified U.S. government documents will be extradited to face murder charges.

Charges in Minneapolis Connection to Terrorism
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI in Minnesota announced a series of charges unsealed Monday in the ongoing investigation of individuals recruiting and sending young men from Minneapolis to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization closely linked with Al Qaeda.

Homeland Security Lacks Crucial Material for Nuclear Detectors
The agency to date has spent $230 million on the program to field up to 1,400 of the devices that would scan cargo passing though foreign seaports. However, the $800,000 machines require helium 3 for detection of neutrons, which are emitted by the nuclear-weapon material plutonium. Helium 3 is a byproduct of the decay of tritium, which is produced only in limited quantities in the United States.

The Politically Incorrect Secret to Stopping Terrorism
Sarah Palin and the rest of the right-wingers blame political correctness for the Ft. Hood tragedy, but might they actually have a point?

International anti-terrorism conference held in Kyrgyzstan
Faced with a complicated world security situation, the meeting would mainly focus on security within the Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS), Kyrgyz State Minister of Foreign Affairs Kadyrbek Sarbaevat said at the opening ceremony.

Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

Worth Watching: ChinaPrime