Posts from July, 2006

U.S. Covert Action in Japan in the 1960s Disclosed

“In the 1958-1968 decade, the U.S. Government approved four covert programs to try to influence the direction of Japanese political life,” the State Department revealed this week in the latest volume of Foreign Relations of the United States, the official history of U.S. foreign policy.

“Concerned that potential electoral success by leftist political forces would strengthen Japanese neutralism and eventually pave the way for a leftist government in Japan, the Eisenhower administration authorized the Central Intelligence Agency before the May 1958 elections for the Japanese House of Representatives to provide a few
key pro-American and conservative politicians with covert limited financial support and electoral advice,” according to an Editorial Note in the new volume (document 1).

“By 1964, key officials in the Lyndon Johnson administration were becoming convinced that because of the increased stability in Japanese politics, covert subsidies to Japanese politicians were no longer necessary.”

“Furthermore, there was a consensus that the program of subsidies was not worth the risk of exposure. The subsidy program for Japanese political parties was phased out in early 1964.”

“Meanwhile, a broader covert program, divided almost equally between propaganda and social action and designed to encourage key elements in Japanese society to reject the influence of the extreme left, continued to be funded at moderate levels — $450,000 for 1964, for example — throughout the Johnson administration.”

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXIX, Part 2, Japan, published July 18.

U.S. Army Issues Manual on Police Intelligence Operations

A new U.S. Army Field Manual (pdf) introduces the concept of “police intelligence operations,” an emerging hybrid of military intelligence and law enforcement.

“Police intelligence operations are a military police function that supports, enhances, and contributes to a commander’s situational understanding and battlefield visualization and FP [force protection] programs by portraying the relevant criminal threat and friendly information, which may affect his operational and tactical environment.”

The new manual presents doctrine that is broadly applicable to support military operations abroad as well as domestic military facility protection.

A copy of the new manual was obtained by Secrecy News.

See “Police Intelligence Operations,” Field Manual 3-19.50, 21 July 2006 (3.8 MB PDF).

NAPA Report on NIH Ethics Released

Last year the National Academy of Public Administration developed a proposal to perform an “ethics audit” of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The proposal was a response, at NIH’s request, to persistent concerns from members of Congress and others that numerous NIH employees had conflicts of interest arising from their compensated activities outside of the agency.

Rumor had it that the resulting NAPA proposal contained in a January 2006 report was “not what NIH wanted, so they simply buried the paper after it was given to the Director.”

“One of the … people who felt it got deep-sixed thought it would be of interest to the NIH research community,” a friendly tipster wrote.

Secrecy News requested the document under the Freedom of Information Act, and it was promptly released by NIH.

See “Enhancing Risk Management at the National Institutes of Health Through an Audit of the Ethics Program,” prepared by a National Academy of Public Administration Staff Study Team, January 2006 (4 MB PDF file).

A History of Space Nuclear Power

(updated below)

On January 19, 2006 NASA successfully launched the New Horizons spacecraft on a mission to Pluto. It will fly by the ninth planet on July 14, 2015 before proceeding into the Kuiper Belt.

New Horizons is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) fueled by plutonium-238. The natural heat of decay of the plutonium-238 fuel is converted to about 200 watts of electricity by means of thermoelectric cells.

“Since 1961, the United States has successfully flown 41 radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and one reactor to provide power for 24 space systems,” reported Gary L. Bennett in a newly updated history of space nuclear power (pdf).

“The development and use of nuclear power in space has enabled the human race to extend its vision into regions that would not have been possible with non-nuclear power sources,” wrote Bennett, a former Energy Department and NASA official who devoted much of his career to the development of space nuclear power sources.

See “Space Nuclear Power: Opening the Final Frontier” by Gary L. Bennett, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics paper number AIAA-2006-4191, presented at the 4th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, June 2006 (posted with the author’s permission).

Update: And see, relatedly, “Mission of Daring: The General-Purpose Heat Source Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator” (pdf) by Gary L. Bennett and James J. Lombardo, et al, (AIAA-2006-4096, also presented at the 4th IECEC, June 2006.

Selected CRS Reports

Some notable new reports of the Congressional Research Service that are not readily available to the general public include the following.

“Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Aircraft: Background and Issues for Congress” (pdf), updated June 8, 2006.

“Air Force Aerial Refueling Methods: Flying Boom versus Hose-and-Drogue”
(pdf), updated June 5, 2006.

“Project BioShield” (pdf), updated June 5, 2006.

“China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress” (pdf), June 2, 2006.

“Presidential Transitions” (pdf), updated June 9, 2006.

“An Overview and Funding History of Select Department of Justice (DOJ) Grant Programs” (pdf), June 23, 2006.

“Changing Postal ZIP Code Boundaries” (pdf), June 23, 2006.

Former State Official Keyser Rebuts Espionage Allegations

Former State Department China expert Donald Keyser last week firmly disputed allegations that he had engaged in espionage on behalf of Taiwanese intelligence.

“Mr. Keyser denies that he was ever an agent of Taiwan’s intelligence agency,” his attorneys said in a statement. They further denied that he had failed to comply with the terms of his plea agreement, as the government asserted earlier this month.

“Mr. Keyser disclosed no classified information to [Taiwanese intelligence official] Ms. Cheng or her superior, Mr. Huang, and his communications were all in furtherance of U.S. Government interests, even if he was answering questions that Ms. Cheng asked him,” according to a July 14 motion (pdf) filed by the defense.

The defense argued in its latest pleading that the government was improperly using the Classified Information Procedures Act to withhold vital information from the defense.

The new defense motion features a supporting declaration by Kent Harrington, a former CIA officer (and public affairs official), who warned the court against relying on isolated, unanalyzed scraps of foreign intelligence information such as Chinese government communications to draw legal conclusions about the Keyser case.

“When we acquire the communications of any foreign government agency…, there is a tendency to assume that the contents are unvarnished facts, but experience tells us otherwise,” Mr. Harrington wrote.

“Such communications are just as prone as other forms of intelligence to manipulation and can also contain false or exaggerated statements designed to advance the career or the bureaucratic position of the author,” he wrote.

See the July 14, 2006 defense pleading in the Keyser case, with the attached Harrington declaration, here.

Time Magazine reported on Saturday that Mr. Keyser’s wife, a CIA officer detailed to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was aware that Mr. Keyser had improperly stored classified records at home and had also done so herself. See “A Steamy Spy Scandal at the State Department,” Time, July 15.

The government allegations cited in the Time story are grossly misleading, Mr. Keyser emailed friends over the weekend. The Time story, he said, “lacks only a nocturnal descent of alien spacecraft, a documented Elvis sighting, and a cameo performance by Michael Jackson to qualify for enshrinement in The National Enquirer hall of fame.” See “Official at Center of Taiwanese Spying Probe Cries Foul” by Josh Gerstein, New York Sun, July 17.

The Keyser case is before Judge T.S. Ellis, III, who also presides over the controversial case of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are accused of improperly receiving and transmitting classified information. The trial in that case, which had been set for August 7, has been postponed until a new date which is to be set by the court on July 18.

CIA Report on Terrorist Recruitment (2002)

A 2002 report (pdf) prepared by the CIA Counterterrorist Center discusses how terrorists recruit members in prisons such as Guantanamo Bay.

“Terrorists groups, including al-Qa’ida, use incarcerated members to recruit and train new members, and in some cases run terrorist organizations and manage or facilitate terrorist attacks.”

The classified CIA report was previously published on the web site The Smoking Gun.

See “Terrorists: Recruiting and Operating Behind Bars,” CIA Counterterrorism Center, August 20, 2002.

The last page of the document provides an extensive list of sources which are numbered — “but the numbers aren’t keyed to the text,” noticed former CIA analyst Allen Thomson.

He recalled being puzzled by this practice of decoupling the sources from the text more than two decades ago, and investigating the matter at the time.

“The list of sources wasn’t kept for reasons of documenting the reasoning that went into publications,” Mr. Thomson explained. “It was solely a security requirement so that, should somebody think that information had been published at too low a level of classification, the matter could be checked. Curiously, there was no master copy with the sources keyed to the text to aid in such security checking, so I suspect that checking was seldom done, if ever.”

DoD Doctrine on Operations Security

“Operations security” (OPSEC) refers to the practice of identifying and controlling information that could be exploited by a hostile observer to discern intelligence about U.S. operations.

“OPSEC is a methodology that denies critical information to an adversary,” according to a new Defense Department publication (pdf) on the subject.

“Unlike security programs that seek to protect classified information, OPSEC measures identify, control, and protect generally unclassified evidence that is associated with sensitive operations and activities.”

See “Operations Security,” Joint Publication 3-13.3, June 29, 2006.

ODNI Casts a Wide Net to Hire Staff

Many U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the congressional intelligence oversight committees hire their senior staff from a predictable, somewhat in-grown pool of personnel, which frequently includes those who have previously worked in the intelligence field since they can be immediately cleared.

But the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seems to be casting an unusually wide net as it seeks the best qualified staff it can find in academia and the public interest sector.

Historian Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, a China specialist at Georgetown University, became an Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytic Integrity in January 2006, and was appointed last month as the first ODNI “analytic ombudsman.” (She also previously served in the State Department.)

In her new capacity, Dr. Tucker will be “a fact finder, mediator, and facilitator for intelligence analysts who desire to raise concerns regarding timeliness, politicization and objectivity in intelligence analysis without fear of reprisal,” according to a June 16 ODNI news release.

Even more remarkably, Timothy H. Edgar, a prominent critic of Bush Administration national security policies with the American Civil Liberties Union, has joined the ODNI staff.

“I have recently taken a job as deputy to Alex Joel, the Civil Liberties Protection Officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” he wrote in an email message to former colleagues last week.

“This was a position that Congress mandated in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and it reports directly to the DNI.”

“The new job is challenging and I am looking forward to continuing to defend civil liberties within the government,” Mr. Edgar wrote.