THE AFTERMATH OF THE COLD WAR
FAILING TO PREDICT THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION
EXTENDING AMERICAN POWER IN THE 1990s
THE THREAT FROM ROGUE NATIONS
THE UGLY AMERICAN
ITAVIA FLIGHT 870
THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
CIA BLUNDERS THE RISE AND FALL OF THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
Numerous covert activities carried out by the CIA since its inception reflected the limits of intelligence in evaluating events across the globe. Perhaps the first blatant failure of the CIA was in the early 1950s when the agency first learned from the Associated Press that the Soviet Union had conducted its first atomic weapons tests. By misusing intelligence information, the CIA created an immense credibility problem of its own. The CIA's shoddy clandestine operations has become an anachronism that no longer protects the stability of the United States. Furthermore, the agency's operations frequently compromise the principles of a "democratic" country. Since the end of the Cold War, many of the covert activities of the CIA have been directed at allies rather than at rogue states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea.
The CIA failed to decipher Leonid Brezhnev's intentions toward Czechoslovakia in 1968, Anwar Sadat's toward Israel in 1973, and Saddam Hussein's toward Kuwait in 1990. The CIA issued an estimate in 1981 that highly exaggerated an alleged connection between the Soviet Union and international terrorism. In 1985, Director William Casey and Robert Gates, the latter of whom served as assistant director from 1981 to 1986, warned of a nonexistent Soviet plot against Pope John Paul II. Gates later denied that he had any role in politicizing intelligence, but said that he watched Casey "on issue after issue sit in meetings and present intelligence framed in terms of the policy he wanted pursued."
The kidnapping of CIA Station Chief William Buckley in Beirut in 1984 exposed the CIA's failure to enforce security measures for its senior staff. After months of searching for Buckley and willing to pay almost any price for his release, the agency was unable to locate him before his murder. The following year, Casey wrote an intelligence memorandum to the White House. He urged the Reagan administration to begin negotiating with " moderate" Iranians since, he claimed, they had begun to limit their sponsorship of terrorism. This resulted in Iran-Contra which humiliated the White House after the story broke in 1986. Casey incorrectly concluded that the illegal sale of arms to Iran was justified because the Soviet Union was threatening Teheran. Casey also misused the CIA in order to try to corroborate former Secretary of State Alexander Haig's assertion that the Soviet Union was the sponsor of international terrorism. He charged that terrorism was "being played by the people in the basement of the Kremlin."
Buckley's kidnapping led to a national security directive Reagan in 1984 that created a CIA counter-terrorism center where the agency's analysts and operations officers worked togther for the first time. The directive authorized for the first time the use of both covert action and military force in the war against radical Islamic guerrilla groups in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Reagan's national security directive justified the use of force against Libya in 1986 when the CIA claimed that the Libyan government was responsible for the attack on a discotheque in Berlin. The bombing of Libya resulted in the terrorist attack on Pan American Flight 103 two years later with the deaths of nearly 300 civilians.
The CIA's failed to warn the Bush administration before Desert Storm that Iraq had stored sarin nerve gas at a depot known as Khamisiyah. The agency's reputation was damaged once again in 1998 when it did not anticipate a series of nuclear weapons tests in India. By failing to do so, the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was jeopardized.
The attacks on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, showed the limits of intelligence in America's war against terrorism. According to Melvin Goodman, who wrote in the August 27, 1998 edition of Intellectual Capital, Clinton relied on satellite imagery from the National Reconnaissance Office and communications intercepts from the National Security Agency. Additionally, CIA Director George Tenet provided Clinton with an analysis Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan and justified the use of military force. The CIA relied heavily on Islamic informants, and the agency's reports led the Clinton administration to believe it was targeting bin Laden's leadership council in Afghanistan. However, most of the victims were Pakistanis near the city of Khost.
American missiles also hit the Sudanese city of Khartoum where the CIA maintained terrorists were building chemical weapons. After the attack, there was no evidence to corroborate that theory. Several Arab states requested that inspectors be sent to Khartoum to look for signs of chemicals related to nerve agents, but the Clinton administration refused to comply.
Then three years later -- in 2001 -- the CIA failed to provide information on the pending terrorist acts of September 11 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
FAILING TO PREDICT THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION
FAILING TO PREDICT THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION
The CIA co-sponsored a three day conference in November 1999 at Texas A&M's George Bush School of Government and Public Service on "United States Intelligence and the End of the Cold War." The agency attempted to convince the public that it provided White House officials with timely warnings about the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. At the same time, the CIA released a 378 page volume of 24 newly declassified documents that showed that the agency did far better than its critics have said in anticipating the collapse of the Soviet Union.
According to Melvin Goodman, a Soviet analyst at the CIA from 1966 to 1990, the agency engaged deceived the American public when it released a series of documents between 1988 to 1991. Goodman was interviewed by the Washington Post in December 1999. He said that the CIA claimed in 1989 that Gorbachev's prospects were "doubtful at best." But that prediction came at the time that the Soviet Union already was deteriorating. This CIA release a year later in November 1990 said that "the Soviet Union as we have known it is finished."
Goodman said that the CIA should admit that it exaggerated the strength of the Soviet military and economy, and that it underestimated the burden of Soviet defense spending on the country's economy. Goodman also pointed out that the CIA virtually ignored Gorbachev's efforts to urge the United States to come to the peace table and to discuss disarmament. Furthermore, in the CIA's evaluation of the Soviet Union, the agency disregarded Moscow's gradual withdrawal from global politics and its economic problems at home.
CIA analysts tracked the early stages of decline of the Soviet economy from 1976 to 1986, but Robert Gates, who later was named director, would not circulate most draft assessments that pointed to Soviet weakness. As a result, CIA estimates overstated the size of the Soviet economy and underestimated the economic burden of maintaining the Soviet military. During this period, the CIA estimated the size of the Soviet economy to be nearly 60 percent that of the American economy and asserted that the growth rate of personal consumption in the Soviet Union from 1951 to 1988 exceeded that of the United States. Until 1986 the CIA even claimed that East Germany was ahead of West Germany in per capita output. The Reagan administration was quick to use these statistics to help justify a $2 trillion defense budget in the 1980s.
By the mid-1980s, the CIA failed to report on the decline of the Soviet Union. The CIA missed virtually every sign of change during the Gorbachev era, beginning with the significance of his accession to power, the political impact of the appointment of Eduard Shevardnadze as foreign minister, and the push for disarmament.
By the latter part of the decade, the CIA remained did not predict that the United States and Soviet Union were about to undergo a radical change. By failing to anticipate the decline of the Soviet Union, the CIA was partially responsible for the continued enormous defense budgets in the late 1980s. The CIA also was responsible for the needless and prolonged confrontation with Moscow.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CIA lost a major opportunity to influence developments in the Russian Federation. The former republics were quickly swept into a political and economic vacuum as they struggled for independence. None of this was forewarned by the CIA. As several corrupt regimes ascended into power, their economies soon crumbled. Eventually, it was the United States which spent millions to attempt to prop up some of their failing economies.
Goodman testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1991 and said that the politicization of intelligence that occurred during Casey's tenure, including estimates that were skewed to undermine Shultz's efforts to improve relations with Moscow. Even Reagan's former Secretary of State George Shultz and National Security adviser Colin Powell claimed that CIA forecasts were not accurate. Furthermore, CIA Director William Casey refused to release memos to the White House unless they supported his view of the Soviet threat and a strategy of confrontation with Moscow. Controversy over the CIA's performance broke out as soon as the Soviet Union began disintegrating. According to Shultz's memoirs, he confronted Casey in 1986 and 1987 and accused him of providing "bum dope" to Reagan and warned the White House that the agency was "unable to perceive that change was coming in the Soviet Union." In 1987 Shultz told acting director Gates that the CIA was "usually wrong" about Moscow and that the agency had dismissed Gorbachev's policies as "just another attempt to deceive us. Shultz believed that the CIA analysis on the Soviet Union was "distorted by strong views about policy" and that the agency refused to discuss any of its weaknesses. Surprisingly, years later Gates conceded in his memoirs that the agency had underestimated the dramatic change of course in Soviet policy and had neither anticipated Gorbachev's withdrawal in foreign affairs nor the destruction of the Soviet system at home.
Goodman said that Casey and Gates, the latter of whom served as assistant director from 1981 to 1986, warned of a nonexistent Soviet plot against Pope John Paul II in 1985. Casey also incorrectly concluded that the illegal sale of arms to Iran was justified because the Soviet Union was threatening Teheran. Gates later denied that he had any role in politicizing intelligence, but said that he watched Casey "on issue after issue sit in meetings and present intelligence framed in terms of the policy he wanted pursued."
Goodman explained how Casey and Gates ignored numerous studies which he had drafted. Some included Gorbachev's efforts to restructure the Soviet system and to withdraw from its involvement with the Third World. In a memo to Casey in 1985, Goodman concluded that the Soviet Union would not provide MIG-29s to the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. However, Gates rejected the memo and stated that the CIA should not "go out on a limb" on this issue. This was standard procedure for Gates as well as for Casey who solely perceived the Soviets as a threat.
While the CIA focused on the Soviet Union, the agency ignored Moscow's claims that it would withdraw from Afghanistan. The CIA also failed to anticipate the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Kabul 1989. Meanwhile, Gorbachev had withdrawn from several strategic locations in the Third World.
To the west, the Soviet Union refused to intervene as the Berlin Wall was being torn down. This was followed by anti-communist revolutions in other Eastern European countries, and Moscow once again refrained from involving itself in global politics. The CIA also over-estimated the power of the Warsaw Pact, not anticipating that the pact was about to dissolve. This failure helped to delay negotiations on a Conventional Forces in Europe (CFR) Treaty. In 1990, only months before the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the CIA concluded that it had matched or exceeded NATO's capabilities in all ground force weapons and would keep pace with NATO's modernization program.
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN THE 1990s
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN THE 1990s
>RECRUITING IN THE 1990s. Since the crumbling of communism in the early 1990s, the size of the CIA began to diminish. The CIA became increasingly bureaucratic and unwilling to take risks and promoted officers who shared such values. During the Cold War, the agency's most important mission was to recruit spies from within the Soviet Union's military and its diplomatic corps. CIA agents were assigned as diplomatic or cultural officers at American embassies in major cities, and much of their work could be done at diplomatic functions and other social events. Since 1991, the CIA steadily reduced its reliance on overseas human intelligence and cut the number of case officers abroad -- members of the clandestine service, now known formally as the Directorate of Operations, or D.O., whose mission was to recruit spies. Instead, the agency relied on liaison relationships -- reports from friendly intelligence services and police departments around the world -- and on technical collection systems. As the United States entered the twenty first century, CIA operatives had to speak the local language and be able to blend in. That became difficult in places such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Operatives could not mix with any Americans, or with the American embassy, if there was one. The status was known inside the agency as "nonofficial cover," or NOC. However, as its presence still loomed, its priorities changed. In the late 1990s, the CIA stepped up its largest recruitment drive since the early 1980s. The agency sent recruiters to American colleges in search of students who trained to be analysts, computer programmers, engineers, linguists, and scientists. Even though the Cold War came to a close in the early 1990s, CIA Director George Tenet claimed that the world was more dangerous by the close of the twentieth century because of new and changing global alignments. Tenet contended that past decades -- when communism existed in Europe -- were more predictable and that the future was less predictable. However, the CIA always warned of a dangerous world while communism existed in the European countries up until 1991. Tenet said, "I believe the potential for surprise is greater than at any time since the end of World War II."
A newly recruited linguist at the end of the century earned about $30,000, while a computer scientist brought in approximately $38,000. The agency can also offer signing bonuses and other perks as incentives for mid-level and experienced positions. New recruits could come in with a salary as high as $50,000 a year. The CIA also worked to hire 30 percent more covert agents and case officers. For those positions, the agency reached out to lawyers, bankers, and other mid-career professionals who were looking for other kinds of opportunities. The recruits had to be American citizens under the age of 35, able to speak an obscure foreign language, and willing to work a day job as cover for nocturnal espionage.
NOCs. As early as the 1980s, under CIA Director William Casey, the agency initiated the NOC (Non-official Cover) program. NOCs are placed undercover in American businesses abroad. When a large station might have had hundreds of agents, then the number was reduced to double digits.
Most of the CIA agents recruited in the 1990s were NOCs rather than diplomatic corps. CIA operants began to hide under NOC cover. During the Cold War, CIA case officers under embassy cover overtly made contacts with foreigners.
To recruit business people and professionals as NOCs, the CIA used front companies and places newspaper advertisements. The agency recruited business-school graduates who could put in a day's work with the firm and then spy during their off-hours. The CIA primarily recruited mid-level corporate executives who hoped to work overseas, and then the agency placed them in overseas firms as "NOCs of convenience" to penetrate a target for several years. When the mission was over, the executives returned to the business world in the United States. However, while they were NOC officers, the CIA continued to pay their salary. Their overseas company also paid them a corporate salary -- usually much larger -- to keep up the cover, but that money was quietly returned to the company.
In the 1980s, Casey began by enlisting 150 companies for the project. Senior CIA officials approached American corporations which provided covers for CIA case officers. These included energy companies, import-export firms, banks with foreign branches and high-tech corporations. Usually, only the company president and perhaps another corporate officer were the only ones who know of arrangement and were the only ones who can identity of NOC agents.
The next step was to recruit and train NOCs. They are expensive and difficult to train and place. NOCs no longer could attend diplomatic receptions and could not mingle with foreign officials, since they were operating under the mask of business people. NOC recruits were four times as expensive as assigning officers were under an embassy cover. The CIA installed expensive communication systems with the NOC. The agency also assigned a staff member to handle a NOC officer's personal affairs and kept his personal bills paid while he operated under cover. NOC officers could not count on just being expelled from countries like officers with diplomatic immunity. They were more likely to be killed in areas such as Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. It was easier to spot CIA agents operating out of embassies than it was to single out NOCs.
Approximately 110 CIA officers served as NOCs. Corporations that were used include: RJR Nabisco, Prentice-Hall, Ford Motor Company, Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, IBM, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, Pan American Airlines, Rockwell International, Campbell Soup, and Sears Roebuck.
In the NOC program corporations allowed the CIA to plant operatives among their personnel abroad to spy on competitors. NCOs were serving in Japan, Western Europe, and key developing nations such as Mexico, Brazil and India, and countries in the Middle East.
A spy scandal in France exposed four diplomats and a NOC -- a woman supposedly working in public relations for a Dallas market center, owned by an international real estate corporation. She was accused of trying to recruit and bribe French corporate officials to pass technology secrets to the CIA which was particularly interested in France's telecommunications advanced ATM switching technology. Currently, it has been estimated that approximately 80 CIA agents in France. Of that number, 30 are NOCs.
Japan has been a prime target of the CIA because of its high technology industry. The CIA's Tokyo office is one of the largest in the world. The agency has used NOCs to attempt to penetrate Japan's scientific, technological and commercial institutions. In the mid-1980s there were 13 NOCs stationed in Japan. Eventually Japan's public security counterintelligence unit learned of the role of the NOCs. The unit broke into the homes and offices of NOCs, stealing their communication equipment. This led the CIA to recall the NOCs.
In November 1995, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that CIA officials passed more than 35 reports on to top United States policy-makers without disclosing that this information came from Soviet double agents. Between 1986 and 1994 the CIA distributed 95 reports from double agents but failed to disclose the credibility and reliability of these agents.
In the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union began employing double agents against the CIA. The more experienced KGB continuously used approximately half a dozen agents in and around the Moscow embassy. The CIA believed that they were loyal to them, while the KGB informants were milking them classified information. It was not until the early 1990s the CIA realized its blunder. It was a result of a careless mistake when a Soviet agent mistakenly placed information from another agent in a "dead drop" area in Moscow.
In 1995, the largest caper was revealed. Long after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was revealed that Aldrich Ames had operated as a double agent. He had worked for the Soviets and the Russians from 1985 to 1994, providing them with information -- classified documents reaching 20 feet high -- which easily could have guided Soviet and Russian policy makers for nearly a decade.
According to a senior CIA official, "Ames gave them (the Soviets) 10 of our people in 1985, and they killed them, click, click, click, one after another. We were out of business in Moscow. There was an orgy of bloodshed, and we didn't know why." As a result, mild admonishments have been handed down. Seven current or former CIA officials have been reprimanded, and three station chiefs have been cited for their failure to maintain firm control of their bureaucrats. Ames was always paid in cash by the Soviets. He used cash to pay for an expensive automobile and made an unusually high downpayment on an expensive Virginia home. Yet for years all of this went undetected by the CIA, despite the fact that his CIA salary was less than $80,000 annually.
Since 1994, at least four American allies -- France, Germany, Italy, and India -- have terminated clandestine CIA operations on their soil. First, CIA capers moved to France in the mid-1990s. Richard Holm had been a CIA paramilitary officer in the Congo in 1965 and then moved on to Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s. Subsequently he became the CIA station chief in Paris in 1993 and soon botched an operation spying on French trade strategy. The operation was exposed by the French government in January 1995, and there was little shock since the two governments had been spying on one another for years. Holm ran a number of operations against the French, attempting to steal military, aerospace, and economic secrets. However, one American spy worried Holm. She failed to tell her superiors about a love affair which she had with a foreigner. She told her boyfriend about her double life and tried to employ him as a double spy. Some CIA officials wanted her fired, but they feared a sexual discrimination lawsuit. The CIA merely warned her and told her never to return to Paris.
In spite of this she did return to Paris and Holm again used her as a spy. She infiltrated the French government and recruited a source who was close to Prime Minister Edouard Balladur and his inner circle. Holm then briefed the American ambassador, Pamela Harriman, who feared adverse repercussions by the French government against the United States. However, National Security Council adviser Anthony Lake wanted this unnamed spy to continue, even though the French had been aware since 1992 of her mission as well as to three other operations. The French were feeding false information to her and other CIA spies. Then in January 1995 the French government set the trap. Interior minister Charles Pasqua leaked the story and informed Harriman that five CIA officials including Holm were being expelled. As a result CIA Inspector General Richard Hitz sent an investigative team to Paris, at which time the New York Times leaked a story of this debacle which would normally have remained classified.
Second, Germany, which had been the hub of American intelligence activities since the origins of the Cold War, was a country which was used extensively by the CIA. Many activities were "undeclared," and kept secret from the German government. After the Berlin Wall came down, the CIA still kept secret from the German government the fact that it still had covert spy bases in that country. The CIA never notified the German government of Iranian agents in Frankfurt, even though the Iran operation employed as many as 24 CIA personnel in the Nazi-era headquarters of the I.G. Farben arms corporation. In addition, former East German officials told of their knowledge of CIA agents in the former country of East Germany, and this also was not passed on to the unified German government.
Third, Italy's relationship with the CIA turned sour in the summer of 1996. Two CIA agents were forced to leave Rome when it was disclosed that one of the agents was running a recruitment operation without notifying the Italian government. One CIA agent blamed "egregious tradecraft errors" for the fiasco.
Fourth, in India the CIA deputy station chief was arrested after attempting to recruit the chief of India's counterintelligence service. The CIA stated that its agent made a "tradecraft" mistake by reaching too high into the Indian government and doing it too rapidly. The agent was transferred to another country.
While the CIA was having difficulty distinguishing its agents and double agents, it sought an esoteric medium in an effort to meet its objectives. In November 1994 it was revealed that the CIA spent $20 million over 20 years consulting psychics in an effort to obtain pertinent information. In 1993, psychics were asked to help with the location of tunnels dug by the North Vietnamese in the demilitarized zone. Psychics were employed to learn the location of various "criminal organizations," and the whereabouts of spies.
The CIA also dealt with internal problems, whether it be the code of silence, the good old boys club network, and of course sexual harassment. In 1994 it was revealed that Frederick Hitz, assigned to Jamaica and an independent watchdog for President Bush during Iran-Contra in the late 1980s, furnished the station chief in Jamaica with false information. Janine Brookner was the Jamaican senior official at this time. Additionally, she charged that Hitz and other agents for making sexual advancements. In 1994 she sued for sexual discrimination. Attorney General Janet Reno quickly settled the case and awarded her $410,000.
After 50 years of secrecy, the CIA finally divulged its budget but only as a result of a lawsuit. In October 1997, CIA information officer Lee Strickland made a one sentence announcement: "In response to the referenced Freedom of Information Act request, the total budget appropriation for intelligence for fiscal 1997 is $26.6 billion."
Late in 1998, Jordanian officials went to the chief of the CIA in Amman and asked to purchase 50,000 surplus AK-47 assault rifles for the Peruvian military. The agency's official turned down the request. But two years later -- in the spring of 2000 -- CIA officials told the Clinton administration that they had discovered that thousands of the rifles had gone not to Peru but to leftist guerrillas in Colombia, perhaps Washington's worst enemy in South America. (New York Times, November 6, 2000)"
When this was discovered, Peru's intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos and an ally of the CIA, stepped forward to take credit for dismantling an international ring that he said had smuggled the guns. The CIA depended on Montesinos to support covert anti-terrorism and drug-interdiction programs the United States had operated in Peru since the late 1980s. Montesinos' account of receiving the smuggled arms was immediately challenged by officials in Jordan and Colombia. They suggested that the Peruvian government was more deeply involved than it cared to admit."
Shortly afterward, Montesinos himself became implicated in the arms deal by two of the men who organized it, and the intelligence chief resigned his position. The Swiss government discovered that Montesinos held five bank accounts amounting to $50 million, Peruvian officials announced that they would try to prosecute him. But Montesinos fled to Panama on September 24, after the disclosure of a videotape that showed him bribing an opposition legislator. When Panamanian officials refused private pleas from the United States and the Organization of American States to grant Montesinos political asylum, he flew back to Peru on October 23 and went into hiding."
The New York Times (November 6, 2000) reported that State Department officials complained that the CIA was slow to inform them fully about what had gone on. A White House official said in the Times, "We don't know for sure that he was involved, but there's a lot of smoke coming from his direction. We do know that we should have had a lot of the information a lot earlier than we got it.""
The Lebanese arms broker who arranged the sale, Sarkis Soghanalian, said in an interview in the New York Times that he had been told the guns were going to the Peruvian military and that he had demanded and received end-user certificates validating that claim. When interviewed, Soghanalian was awaiting trial in Los Angeles on unrelated money laundering and bank fraud charges. After agreeing in December 1998 to sell the 50,000 Jordanian rifles for just under $500,000, Soghanalian said he flew to Lima to discuss Peru's other weapons needs. Soghanalian had sold large amounts of weapons world-wide. He said that he had met in Lima with several senior military officials and had lunch at a private Lima yacht club with Montesinos. Peruvian officials approached Soghanalian and asked to purchase more than $70 million worth of hardware that he thought could have been meant only for a regular army: antiaircraft weapons, communications gear, and equipment to upgrade tanks. Soghanalian said that there were some strange aspects to the arrangement. The Peruvians asked to pay for the future purchases in cash and offered him $22 million as a down payment. They insisted on air- dropping the AK-47s to their troops. The first of the cargoes was also turned back in the Amazon basin for reasons that were never clear, and the shipments were finally aborted in August 1999 after 9,540 of the rifles had been sent."
However, Soghanalian said that he did not think much of the fact that the Peruvians also wanted to buy a large quantity of Russian SA-7 Strella missiles, a shoulder- fired weapon that would immediately change the balance of power in Colombia if obtained by the insurgents."
LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. In mid-2000 the GOP congressional leadership drafted a bill to make it easier to prosecute government officials for leaking classified information. The measure was drafted by members of the House and Senate intelligence committees in the wake of what the panels considered a flood of leaks of classified documents and information. The effort had strong support from CIA Director George Tenet and also the approval of the Justice Department.
The anti-leak provision would have made it a felony, punishable by a fine and up to three years in prison, for an active or retired government official or employee to willfully disclose "classified information" knowing that the person receiving it was not authorized to have it. As written, the measure also would have permitted the executive branch to broaden the current law's definition of what would be considered classified in order to initiate a leak investigation. Additionally, it would have relieved prosecutors of the need to prove any unauthorized disclosure had damaged national security.
After clearing both houses of Congress, Clinton vetoed the measure in November 2000. Quoted in the Washington Post (November 5, 2000), Clinton called on Congress to draft "a more narrowly drawn provision" and hold public hearings "so that those they represent can also be heard on this important issue." One major criticism of the measure, beyond its language, was the way it went through Congress. Although the intelligence committees had closed hearings on the language, there were no public hearings. Clinton said that was "a particular concern given that it is the public that this law seeks ultimately to protect."
The last veto of an intelligence authorization bill took place in 1990 when President Bush at the last minute objected to a congressional provision requiring the White House to notify Congress of covert actions undertaken by other countries on behalf of the United States and to report all covert actions within a reasonable amount of time. The measure, drafted in the wake of the Iran-contra scandal, had been worked out with the Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence panels, who complained publicly when Bush unexpectedly "pocket- vetoed" the bill by refusing to sign it while Congress was out of session. In 1991, after eight months of negotiations between the Democratic Congress and the Bush administration, new language requiring reporting to key House and Senate leaders and committees was passed in the 1992 intelligence authorization bill.
After the Clinton left office in 2001, President Bush and the new Republican Congress introduced a bill that would provide severe penalties to government officials involved in classified leaks. According to the Los Angeles Times (December 10, 2000), the bill would have created criminal penalties for government officials who leak "classified information" to reporters. Violators could be prosecuted and sent to prison for three years, fined $10,000, or both. The measure was sponsored by two Republicans: Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Florida Congressman Christopher Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and the only acknowledged former CIA clandestine officer in Congress.
UNITED STATES-CHINESE RELATIONS. The push by American manufacturers to go to China to launch their communications satellites was a result of American cutbacks in that industry after the Challenger shuttle accident of 1986. American aerospace corporations offered China powerful rockets at a relatively low cost. In March 1996, CIA officers in China reported to their superiors that a consultant for American aerospace companies and made payments to Chinese officials in hopes of obtaining multi-million dollar contracts.
Both Hughes Space and Communications of Los Angeles and Loral Space and Communications were involved in such launches for years. In 1995, these two firms offered some technical assistance to Beijing after incidents in which Chinese rockets failed, resulting in the loss of the American-made satellites. These failures involved a review that the firms conducted for an insurance company. Officials said that a copy of the resulting report supposedly was sent to the Chinese government without first having been cleared by the State Department. Both companies said they had done nothing wrong, but it was likely that they helped bolster Chinese military capabilities by helping them make their rockets more reliable.
Christopher Cox, chair of the nine-member Select Committee on the Peoples Republic of China Technology Transfers, convened in June 1998. After a six month probe, the panel determined that alleged breaches of American export guidelines by Hughes and Loral in 1995 had damaged national security. Cox said that the leakage "goes beyond" the incidents involving those firms to even wider transfers of technology by American companies, involving not only civilian satellite launchings but also other sensitive information about missiles. The panel made 38 separate recommendations to tighten existing restrictions on technology transfer to China, recommending that they be carried out either by executive order or through legislation.
In December 1998, the Defense Department concluded that Hughes provided China with information that was potentially damaging to American national security and "went well beyond what should have been allowed" by government regulatory agencies. In December 1998, another investigation was launched -- this time by the Justice Department -- into charges that the CIA obstructed justice by giving information about a congressional inquiry involving that company. Hughes was the target of a probe by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence committee. The probe revolved around the transfer of sensitive American space technology to China. In addition, a consultant, Bangsang Lee, was hired by Hughes to make large contributions to the Chinese in hopes of landing a lucrative contract.
As many as eight high-ranking CIA officials, including General Counsel Robert McNamara testified before a federal grand jury in Washington D.C. about data that the agency supplied months before to Hughes. The corporation had supplied the CIA with satellites and ultra-sensitive communications equipment for decades. Hughes launched commercial satellites atop Chinese rockets because they were less expensive than many Western launchers. However, some intelligence expert were concerned that the firm was too aggressive in selling high-tech equipment in China. Congressional investigators focused on Hughes because it and another aerospace company shared extensive data with Chinese engineers after two failed rocket launchings in 1996.
Upper level CIA officials denied that they leaked information to Hughes about the committee's technology transfers which would have enabled the company to anticipate the next moves of the panel's investigators and thereby would have thwarted the probe. However, one CIA official anonymously said that some agency officials had called attention to the possible improper transfer of data. He contended that the agency's culpability may be less than suggested by the words "obstruction of justice," thus amounting to little more than carelessness or a mix-up in communications. Another official characterized the allegation that the CIA passed on information to Hughes Electronics as unsurprising.
Both Hughes and Loral vehemently denied any wrong-doing. A spokesman for Hughes said that the firm followed applicable government regulations. Hughes found "nothing that would indicate any breach of national security."
THE VECTOR CORPORATION. For years, Vector had performed secret tasks for the CIA and the military. Vector was a leading entrepreneur in classified operations covertly acquiring foreign missiles, radar, artillery, and other weapons for American intelligence agencies. Its work was crucial for studying innovations in foreign weaponry. But Vector collapsed in 1998 when the CIA began to privatize covert operations, and the corporation left behind a trail of mysterious dealings, some which ran counter to United States policy. An American official said that American intelligence never knew of the scope of Vector's activities. "Where's the reality? We'll never untangle all this."
In 1993, Navy officials launched an investigation into Vector for alleged fraud, but that probe was quickly terminated. In November 1997, customs agents raided the Virginia office of Vector Microwave Research Corporation and landed boxes of records and computer disks.
Vector founder Donald Mayes gave Chinese engineers technical advice that could help them pirate the design of the U.S. Stinger antiaircraft missile. Mayes became a business partner with China's state- owned missile manufacturer while secretly buying Chinese weapons for the American government. Investigators learned that Vector attempted to purchase Chinese missiles and that the corporation provided China with sensitive technical specifications on the American Stinger antiaircraft missile. Mayes told the Chinese that the weapons were destined not for the United States but for Peru. He obtained the C-801 antiship missile for the CIA around 1987, when Iran was threatening to fire those weapons at American Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. He also landed the similar C-601 missile in 1991 for $9.9 million.
Over the same period, Mayes developed close ties to China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CPMIEC), Beijing's missile builder. A Vector affiliate, Mayes & Co., became CPMIEC's official, global marketer of a number of its missiles, including the HN-5A, a crude forerunner of the shoulder-fired Stinger. A joint promotional brochure of CPMIEC and Vector aimed at marketing China's HN-5As, said the Chinese agency "utilizes the research, design, marketing and tactical capabilities of Mayes & Co. to evaluate and improve" Chinese missile designs. The Chinese incorporated Stinger technology in a new missile, the QW-1 Vanguard, which was produced in 1996. However, it was impossible to know where the Chinese got the technology because China was thought to have secured some of the 1,000 or so Stingers the CIA gave Afghan rebels to repel Soviet troops in the 1980s. The Pentagon was concerned China would sell the Vanguard to other countries such as Iran and Pakistan and that the missile could be used against American aircraft.
In the late 1980s, Naval intelligence officials accused the firm of overcharging for Chinese missiles and delivering Chinese missile electronics that were different from what the firm had promised. The Navy refused to pay the firm's $390,000 fee, but after Vector's sustained lobbying, Navy officials ultimately paid in full.
Vector also sold helicopters to the Mexican navy. The corporations had no State Department license when its employees repaired Russian helicopters for the Mexican navy. Mayes sold the Mi-8 to Mexico for search-and-rescue work. The helicopters did not have proper military equipment, so Mayes advised the government on how to outfit them with guns. Maintaining or upgrading aircraft without a license is a violation of the United States Arms Export Law.
Government officials also used Vector to obtain information form an Iraqi General Nabil Said, a military attache at Baghdad's embassy in Washington D.C. Vecto also informed CIA officials about its dealings with the Soviet Union when it attempted to purchase a supersonic anti-ship missile. Vector and Soviet officials met at the Soviet embassy in Washington D.C. In addition American officials asked Vector executives about specific Russian space officials and their production methods on new electronic and optical technologies.
Another investigation by agents exposed Vector's efforts to acquire a North Korean missile. Vector officials said they had American approval for a deal according to industry executives and the National Security News Service, an independent investigative group that conducted research on Vector. Vector officials brokered a $33 million deal to buy four missiles and a launcher. The corporation paid a South Korean consultant to approach a South Korean company, and an American consultant paid a Venezuelan military official $50,000 for a phony "end-user certificate," a document used in import- export work to indicate an item's destination. In this case, the North Koreans were meant to think the missiles were headed to Pakistan and then Venezuela. However, Vector never purchased the missiles.
EXTENDING AMERICAN POWER IN THE 1990s
THE JCET> Congress passed the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) Act in 1991, enabling the military's Special Operations Command to penetrate virtually every country across the globe. According to Section 2011, Title 10, the Pentagon may send special operations forces on overseas exercises with military units of other countries as long as their objective is to train American troops. By 1998 the United States Special Operations Command carried out JCET missions in 110 countries.
Two years before the Special Operations Command was given this leeway by Congress, the 1990 Pentagon's manual, Doctrine for Special Forces Operations, described the primary function of JCET missions as the ability of special forces to give instruction in "foreign internal defense" (FID). The manual described how to organize, train, advise, and assist the military of foreign countries in order to protect against "subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency."
In 1998, two American Marine fliers flew so low that their jet cut a ski- lift cable, and 20 skiers plunged to their deaths. The Italian government was outraged when they were returned to the United States where they were acquitted in a military court.
THE CIA. The CIA's newest spy school, known as the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, opened in May 2000. It is the first comprehensive six-month course in intelligence trade craft for CIA analysts who usually spend their time sifting stolen secrets, evaluating satellite photos, reviewing wiretap transcripts, scanning State Department studies, and wading through newspaper and other media reports. It is the latest effort by the CIA to change the way it works. Hit with budget cuts and frustrated by scandals and failures in the post-cold war era, the CIA began in 1998 to reevaluate its role. The CIA had been used to spy almost exclusively on the Soviet Union. But since the demise of communism in the early 1990s, the agency's focus has been directed on China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. And the CIA also tracks a host of smaller targets, from terrorists to drug traffickers as well as from refugees to earthquakes. For example in 1999, the agency provided maps for humanitarian operations in Turkey and Taiwan, reported on arms traders in Africa, traced money laundering in the Caribbean, and helped eliminate terrorist cells in Europe and the Middle East.
In a Los Angeles Times (July 21, 2000) exclusive, Director Tenet said the "world is more complicated and less predictable than it ever has been in our history." Tenet's take on world affairs was echoed by Florida's Republican Congressman Porter Goss, head of the House Intelligence Committee, who warned of "pop-up targets that threaten our national security."
The curriculum at the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis includes everything from ethics to "Fundamentals of Denial and Deception." Case studies focus on the fall of President Suharto in Indonesia in 1998 and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Field trips are go to the supersecret National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland and the Pentagon's Pacific Command and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The last week of the course includes a nonstop 28-hour exercise, starting at 2 a.m., involving a mock terrorist attack. Denis Stadther, director of the school's career analyst program, said, "This is deliberately designed to be intensive and stressful."
In late 1999, the CIA launched a nonprofit corporation, In-Q-Tel, to support private-sector development of information technology that the CIA can use. In-Q-Tel signed 10 contracts within a year.
THE THREAT FROM ROGUE NATIONS
THE THREAT FROM ROGUE NATIONS
The first serious attempt by congressional Republicans to persuade the CIA to revise its estimate of the long-range missile threat ended in failure in December 1996. At that time, a blue-ribbon panel headed by former CIA director Robert Gates reported to Congress that the technical case against “rogue states” acquiring ICBMs in the foreseeable future was even “stronger” than that presented in 1995.
Unhappy with the conclusions of the Gates committee, Congress appointed a new commission, this one headed by Rumsfeld. The report -- concluded in July 1998 -- painted a different picture of the nuclear capability of rogue states, saying that they would be able to “inflict major destruction” on the United States “within about five years.” According to commission members, the five-year estimate was based largely on briefings from missile engineers at major American defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The commission asked the American rocket builders how long it would take them to build an ICBM, from the starting point of a Third World country such as Iran. The answer was five years or less. (Washington Post, January 14, 2002)
In September 1999 that the CIA predicted that North Korea could test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting American territory “at any time.” The agency also forecast that Iran could test such a missile “in the next few years.” The Washington Post reported that this abrupt shift by the CIA was a direct result of Capitol Hill Republicans, supported by Israel, to focus attention on the leakage of missile technology from Russia to Iran. The government of then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu feared that Israel could soon become a target of Iranian missiles. Congressional Republicans wanted to build public support for the National Missile Defense system. (Washington Post, January 14, 2002)
THE UGLY AMERICAN
THE UGLY AMERICAN
Despite the end of the Cold War with the crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1991, another chilly war has continued to be waged. American imperialism is still alive in parts of East Asia, particularly in South Korea and Japan, where over 100,000 troops are stationed. Since World War II, the United States has continued to deploy a large number of troops in Japan. Immediately after the Korean War, approximately 600,000 American troops were deployed on 600 military installations in South Korea. In the 1960s, the Pentagon operated 117 bases on Okinawa, a small island the size of Los Angeles county.
Okinawan animosity towards the United States heightened as a result of a number of incidents ranging from drunk driving to charges of rape. In September 1995, two American Marines and a Navy seaman raped a 12 year-old girl in Okinawa, setting off widespread anti-United States protests in the area. Four days later, Okinawan police identified the suspects and issued warrants. But the United States refused to turn him over to Japanese authorities until 21 days later. According to the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), "When U.S. servicemen and their families commit crimes, they should be detained by U.S. authorities until Japanese law enforcement agencies file complaints with the prosecutors' office based on clear suspicion." As a result of public uproar among Okinawans, the United States and Japan subsequently signed an agreement, allowing American servicemen suspected of rape or murder to be handed over to local authorities before being indicted. But still American servicemen get turned over to the Japanese only after being convicted in a United States military court. Three months later, the United States military released a sketch of an American suspected of raping an Okinawan woman near Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.
Over a thousand automobile accidents, involving American military personnael, occur each year in Okinawa. In January 1996, a female American Marine drove off the road near Kadena Air Force Base, killing a woman and her two young daughters. The Marine was neither arrested nor checked for drunkeness by American authorities. She received a two year sentence. The surviving family sued the Marine who eventually coughed up 40 percent of the $580,000 lawsuit. The Japanese government paid the rest. A month later, an American chief petty officer hit and killed a 19-year old Okinawan riding his motor scooter. He fled the scene. American military police arrested him but refused to turn him over to the Okinawa police for a week. Eventually, he was convicted in a Japanese court and sentenced to 20 months.
In June 2000, a 19 year-old Marine was arrested on charges of indecency and unlawful entry after he allegedly walked into an unlocked apartment in Okinawa City at night, crawled into the bed of a 14 year-old girl, and fondled her. The Marine was arrested after the girl's mother discovered her daughter screaming and called police. Only a few days later, a 21-year old Air Force sergeant was arrested after he allegedly ran a red light in Naha city on Okinawa island, hit a Japanese civilian, and fled. In addition, two other Marines were arrested after coming to the assistance of a third Marine who had allegedly kicked a Japanese taxi cab in Okinawa and scuffled with the driver. They, too, appeared to be drunk.
American-Japanese tensions flared once again in the summer of 2000. The United States Eighth Army headquarters command in Yongsan, located in central Seoul, admitted dumping 20 gallons of formaldehyde in five months earlier into the base's sewage system. In turn the formaldehyde was discharged into Seoul's Han River. After the dumpage was acknowledged by the American government, 2,500 students and activists took to the streets, carrying signs with anti-American slogans and protesting the dumping of a toxic chemical. Brief shoving matches erupted when thousands of riot police formed human blockades with helmets and shields to keep the protesters from the American Army base. In a separate demonstration, 10 college students pelted the nearby United States Information Service building with red paint. Five were apprehended by police for questioning.
Activists said that the formaldehyde can cause cancer after long exposure -- and in water it can kill fish and other aquatic creatures. The United States command disputed those charges, saying that the chemical did not damage the environment since it was treated in the sewage system and diluted with waste water. The demonstrators also demanded that a controversial defense agreement be revised to allow South Korea more legal jurisdiction over the 37,000 American military personnel stationed here and their facilities. The United States and South Korea planned to resume talks on revising the agreement in August.
Another rape occurred on Okinawa in June 2001. The case revived concern over the conduct of the 26,000 American troops stationed on Okinawa. According to police, Sergeant Timothy Woodland, 24, forced the woman up against a car in a parking lot of American Village on June 29. Police said that he then began raping her. Other Americans were nearby, and some intervened on behalf of the victim, police said. A court issued an arrest warrant for the suspect, Timothy Woodland, a staff sergeant stationed at Kadena Air Base. Woodland denied involvement. Japan formally requested that Woodland be handed over. (New York Times, July 3, 2001)
After nearly two weeks of negotiations, the United States today agreed to turn over Woodland to Japan. He was only the second American serviceman, accused of a serious crime, to be handed over to Japanese authorities.
American government officials made statements that were similar to those in the past. General Earl Hailston, the senior American officer on Okinawa, said, "We are very disappointed, and deeply and sincerely regret that this concerns the U.S. troops. We have been working closely and cooperating fully during the investigation, and I assure you we will continue to do so. The American envoy to Japan offered President Bush's "sincere regret" for the alleged rape. And the American ambassador, former Senator Howard Baker, promised his "full cooperation in finding out the facts and dealing with the incident." (New York Times, July 3, 2001)
ITAVIA FLIGHT 870
ITAVIA FLIGHT 870
In June 1980, Itavia flight 870 took off from Bologna and never reached its destination in Palermo. After less than one hour in flight, the DC-9 with 81 passengers crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The next day wreckage was discovered 50 miles off the coast of Sicily. Investigators hypothesized that a bomb had exploded, but no terrorist group took credit for the crash. Then they thought that perhaps a mechanical failure had caused the explosion.
Months later, investigators came up with a third theory. Three weeks after the crash, a Libyan MIG- 21 crashed in the Calambrian Mountains, approximately 200 miles from where Flight 870 went down. The autopsy report concluded that the Libyan pilot had died a few weeks before. However, that finding was overruled by a military investigation. The Italian military concluded that the pilot suffered a heart attack which caused the crash. The Italian government immediately returned the body to Libya.
The investigation continued. It was learned that on the night of the crash of Flight 870, the alarm for the missing plane sounded at the Italian air defense radar station in Sicily. Continuing the probe, investigators learned that the last eight minutes before the crash had been erased from the recording. When investigators attempted to probe deeper, they were blocked by the Italian Military Secrecy Act. To complicate matters, the Italian government refused to bring up Flight 870 until six years later in 1986. Ninety percent of the wreckage was raised to the ocean's surface, but parts of the plane disappeared.
The United States National Transportation Safety Board and Britain's Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment subsequently studied the wreckage and radar data. Both agencies concluded the same year that a bomb did not bring down the Flight 870, but rather it had been hit by a missile. A new panel investigated the crash, and three years later in 1989 it concluded that the plane had been hit by a missile. But several months later, two of the panel's five members changed their minds and said that it had been a bomb.
A Rome magistrate than took over the probe. Ten years later in 1999, he issued a 3,000 page report which concluded that Flight 870 had been caught in "a war-like scenario" when NATO and Libyan jets played cat-and-mouse games over the Mediterranean. The report said that one possibility was that a NATO war plane attempted to hide behind the Itavia plane in an attempt to avoid the other jets' radar. It was likely that one or two Libyan jets fired a missile which hit Flight 870 by mistake. A second possibility was that Libyan jet took cover behind the passenger plane and was hit by a missile fired from a NATO war plane -- and more specifically by an American jet. Still others speculated that the missile was fired from the ground or from a ship.
The investigation showed that American, British, and French planes were operating in that region of the Mediterranean on the night of the crash. And the crash occurred at a time when tensions were high between the United States and Libya, the latter of which was threatening to attack Egypt. Yet the official position of Italy's military was that there was no air activity within 50 miles of the crash site.
In September 1999, the Italian government indicted four retired air force generals and six senior military intelligence officers, charging them with conspiring to remain silent and destroying evidence which proved that Flight 870 was hit in a cross-fire between NATO and Libyan war planes.
The CIA had no comment on its investigation.
DECLASSIFYING DOCUMENTS. In the late 1990s, Clinton issued an executive order directing federal agencies to declassify millions of pages of documents which had been secret since the 1970s. As government agencies pushed to declassify historic papers, they inadvertently allowed about 1,000 documents containing nuclear weapons secrets to be available to the public. While the documents contained information that was in some cases 30 to 40 years old, the report said it still could be useful to someone seeking to build a crude nuclear device. The papers also contained information from the Vietnam War and UFO research to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
In December 1999, the Clinton administration informed Congress in a classified report that detailed the findings of a DOE audit of 948,000 pages of nuclear weapons related documents. During the review, auditors found that 14,890 pages containing secret weapons information were mistakenly declassified and made available for public view at the National Archives. The report said that only one of the files -- on nuclear weapons deployment in foreign countries in the 1950s -- was actually examined by any outsiders before the mistakes were discovered. The classified report which the Clinton administration sent to Congress.
According to a DOE official who refused to be recognized, the material covered about 1,000 documents, many of which originated in the old Atomic Energy Commission but had been transferred to other agencies and declassified there. Although none was declassified by the Energy Department, the mistakes were found in DOE audits of the declassification process required by a law passed by Congress in 1998. According to an unclassified report, the documents included information on nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s that provided insight in weapons design technology as well as yields on specific weapon and their deployment and storage.
THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the assumption was that the CIA would reduce its focus on Russia. However, with the newly created 14 fragile sovereign states, the agency created a new division in the Office of Soviet Analysis (SOVA). Furthermore, with the outbreak of the Chechen war in 1994, the CIA expanded its coverage of Russia. At the same time, the agency began concentrating on global threats such as terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and arms proliferation. By 1995, personnel within the CIA shrunk by 17 percent from what they were in 1990. By the end of the 1990s, the agency was reduced by about 22 percent. And overall, its emphasis on Russia decreased by 60 percent. (Washington Post, April 2, 2001)
But with the election of George W. Bush in 2000, it soon became clear that the CIA was not about to reduce its emphasis on Moscow. Throughout Campaign 2000, Bush repeatedly promised a "humble foreign policy" if elected. Once he moved into the White House, he sent out clear signals that Russia, was a "competitor" rather than a "partner." The president's hardline approach to Moscow was further accentuated after the arrest of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, charged with selling secrets to Russia. Bush countered by expelling 50 Russian intelligence officers indicated a return to the Cold War.
In a March 2001 speech at Princeton University, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin spoke on the changing role of the agency and its rekindled emphasis on Russia. He said, "There still is no organizing principle that pulls our priorities into an alignment comparable to the Soviet period. ...If anything, the list (of threats) grows longer and more complex each year." McLaughlin added, "The potential for unwelcome surprise is greater than at any time since the end of the Second World War." (Washington Post, April 2, 2001)
McLaughlin also made the case that since the old Soviet Union was broken down into 14 sovereign countries, their threat to the United States would increase. He said, "Before, threats emanated from Soviet strengths. Now, dangers stemmed largely from Russia's weaknesses or simply from uncertainties associated with its transformation. ...The Russia that our analysts are trying to understand is no longer cloaked from view by a totalitarian regime. But in many ways I think it is even harder to grasp -- by us and by the Russians themselves."
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT. Only three weeks before leaving office, Clinton authorized the United States to sign a treaty creating the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. On December 31, 2001 he appeased human rights activists by supporting the charter. Clinton said in the Los Angeles Times (January 1, 2001), "In taking this action, we join more than 130 other countries. We do so to reaffirm our strong support for international accountability and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity." A few hours after Clinton's announcement, David Scheffer, the American ambassador at large for war crimes issues, signed the treaty on behalf of the United States. And Israel, another holdout, followed suit and signed the treaty as well.
Congressional Republicans castigated the treaty, fearing that an international court could prosecute Americans. Democrats could not muster the required two- thirds vote in the Senate to ratify the treaty. GOP Senator Jesse Helms, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vowed to block membership in the court. Other Republicans echoed similar sentiments. Richard Perle, an assistant Defense secretary during the Reagan administration., said, "I certainly don't approve of (the court), and I disapprove even more strongly of him signing something like this on his way out of office. It's like creating a compact between police and criminals."
Critics also seized on the issue of whether Americans would be safe from politically motivated prosecution under the proposed court. The treaty sought to defuse that issue with provisions that would give member nations priority in adjudicating such charges rather than leaving that job to the international court.
However, a handful of Republicans supported the court. Kenneth Adelman, head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the Reagan administration, said that the court was worth supporting. "I think it's a good idea to hold the Idi Amins and Saddam Husseins accountable."
Once in office, Bush immediately refused to send to the Senate for ratification. Some Republicans advocated that Bush should even somehow attempt to revoke Clinton's signature, contending the treaty violated American sovereignty or might be used against American soldiers abroad. The International Criminal Court, based on the principles of the Nazi war crime trials at the end of World War II, would try individuals accused of mass murders, war crimes, and other gross human rights violations. Widely supported by all Western nations, the court was approved by legislatures of 28 nations when Bush took office, and another 139 signed the treaty and appeared ready to ratify it. (New York Times, February 15, 2001)
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE. Coming on the heels of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Defense Department created the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI). One of the office’s proposals called for planting news items with foreign media organizations through outside concerns that might not have obvious ties to the Pentagon. The Defense Department provided news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of an effort to influence public sentiment and policy-makers in friendly and unfriendly nations. Soon after the OSI was formed, it sought to broaden its mission into allied nations in the Middle East, Asia and Western Europe. (New York Times, February 19 and 21, 2002)
The CIA and the Pentagon had long engaged in information warfare against hostile nations. In the mid-1970s, it was revealed that CIA programs to plant false information in the foreign press had resulted in articles published by U.S. news organizations. And before the September 11 terrorist attacks, the CIA dropped leaflets and broadcast messages into Afghanistan when it was under Taliban rule.
The OSI’s multimillion dollar budget, drawn from a $10 billion emergency supplement to the Pentagon budget authorized by Congress in October, was never disclosed. Headed by Air Force Brigadier General Simon Worden, the OSI began circulating classified proposals calling for aggressive campaigns that use not only the foreign media and the Internet, but also covert operations. Worden envisioned a broad mission ranging from campaigns that would use disinformation and other covert activities to those public affairs that would rely on truthful news releases.
To help the OSI, the Pentagon hired the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm run by John W. Rendon Jr., a former campaign aide to President Jimmy Carter. The firm, which was paid about $100,000 a month, had done extensive work for the CIA, the Kuwaiti royal family, and the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition group that sought to oust President Saddam Hussein. Officials at the Rendon Group said terms of their contract forbade them to talk about their Pentagon work. But the firm was well known for running propaganda campaigns in Arab countries, including one denouncing atrocities by Iraq during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. (New York Times, February 19 and 21, 2002)
OSI operations instantly created a schism within the Pentagon. Military public affairs officials expressed concern to top officials that the new office, if it continued on its proposed course, would precipitate jurisdiction problems between intelligence operations and public relations operations. There was also concern in the military that the field of “information operations” was one of the few areas in which the armed forces have had major problems during the Afghan war. (Washington Post, February 20, 2002)
Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, singled out that area for unusual public criticism. He said in November, “One area in particular I think we’ve been slow to get going has been our information operations campaign. Despite our best efforts, we took too much time to put together the team, if you will.” The result, he said, was that, “occasionally, we missed the opportunity to send the right message.” (Washington Post, February 20, 2002)
By the end of February, the OSI was dead. Rumsfeld charged that inaccurate news reports had damaged the new propaganda coordination office beyond repair. The Defense secretary still defended the office even as he buried it. He said that even though much of the media commentary was “off the mark, the office has clearly been so damaged that it’s … pretty clear to me that it could not function effectively, so it’s being closed down.” (Washington Post, February 27, 2002)
Why was the Office of Strategic Information “dead-on-arrival”? Had the issue of disinformation leaked out? Was that the reason for the quick demise of the newly created office?