13 September 2016

*** When U.S. Spies Thought Al Qaeda Was Ready to Nuke DC


The Time U.S. Spies Thought Al Qaeda Was Ready to Nuke D.C.

American intelligence chiefs were so worried in late 2003 of a nuclear terror attack, they asked the British to take over their spying in case something ‘catastrophic’ went down.

On Christmas Eve 2003, Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency, made a secure phone call to his British counterpart, David Pepper, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters.

“Happy Christmas, David,” Hayden said, speaking to Pepper from NSAheadquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland, about 20 miles from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Such social calls weren’t unusual. The NSA and GCHQ were the closest of allies in a global hunt for the phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications of spies and terrorists.

But Hayden had more on his mind than season’s greetings. In recent days, the NSA had been collecting what Hayden would later describe as a “massive amount of chatter”—phone calls and emails from terrorists—that suggested al Qaeda was planning multiple attacks inside the United States, timed to the holidays.

“One more thing, David,” Hayden said after the two men exchanged pleasantries. “We actually feel a bit under threat here. And so I’ve told my liaison to your office that should there be catastrophic loss at Ft. Meade, we are turning the functioning of the American [signals intelligence] system over to GCHQ.”

There was a long pause as Pepper absorbed what his American colleague had just told him.

*** James Olson: The Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence

James M. Olson


“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.”

—Isaiah 48:18

The need for counterintelligence (CI) has not gone away, nor is it likely to. The end of the Cold War has not even meant an end to the CI threat from the former Soviet Union. The foreign intelligence service of the new democratic Russia, the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki Rossii (SVRR), has remained active against us. It was the SVRR that took over the handling of Aldrich Ames from its predecessor, the KGB, in 1991. It was the SVRR that ran CIA officer Harold James Nicholson against us from 1994 to 1996. It was the SVRR that was handling FBI special agent Earl Pitts when he was arrested for espionage in 1996. It was the SVRR that planted a listening device in a conference room of the State Department in Washington in the summer of 1999. And it was the SVRR that was handling FBI special agent Robert Hanssen when he was arrested on charges of espionage in February 2001.

The Russians are not alone. There have been serious, well-publicized concerns about Chinese espionage in the United States. The Department of Energy significantly increased security at its national laboratories last year in response to allegations that China had stolen US nuclear weapons secrets.

Paul Redmond, the former Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence at the CIA, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in early 2000 that a total of at least 41 countries are trying to spy on the United States. Besides mentioning Russia, China, and Cuba, he also cited several “friends,” including France, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. He warned of a pervasive CI threat to the United States.

The United States, as the world’s only remaining superpower, will be the constant target of jealousies, resentments, rivalries, and challenges to its economic well-being, security, and leadership in the world. This inevitably means that the United States will be the target of large-scale foreign espionage.

A Choice Assignment

**1965 Indo-Pak War: Victory or Stalemate?

By Lt Gen JS Bajwa
11 Sep , 2016

“We live in a wondrous time, in which the strong is weak because of his scruples and the weak grows strong because of his audacity.” —German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.

Fifty years ago, Pakistan muddied the waters by initiating a spate of belligerent actions in the area of Rann of Kutch that led to a war between India and Pakistan on the former’s Western borders. India claims it was the victor. Equally vociferous is Pakistan’s claim to victory. Neutral military historians grade it as a ‘stalemate’. How is victory measured – by the political objectives achieved, or territory captured or by equipment and wherewithal destroyed and captured or by tactical and operational level military victory? One needs to dispassionately analyse these to come to a conclusion.

A limited war to wrest Kashmir was likely to bear fruit before India had completed full augmentation of its forces in the wake of the 1962 debacle…

Ever since Partition, even though Jammu and Kashmir was the main bone of contention, other border disputes existed. Early in 1965, Pakistan began by trying to resolve one of these in the Rann of Kutch. During Partition, Pakistan contested the alignment of the Southern boundary of its province of Sindh with the Northern alignment of the boundary of Kutch – two princely states prior to Independence. The contest first arose in 1956 which ended with India regaining control over the disputed area. This area is inhospitable, a salty lowland, rich in natural gas.

Pakistan’s border patrols began foraying into territory controlled by India in January 1965 which was followed by attacks by both countries on each other’s posts on April 08, 1965. Initially, these operations were conducted by the Border Police of both nations but soon escalated to intermittent skirmishes between the armed forces. In June 1965, the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up an international tribunal under the aegis of the UN to resolve the dispute. A verdict was reached in 1968, much after the war, which gave Pakistan ten per cent (910 sq. km.) of its claim and 90 per cent (8,190 sq. km.) awarded to India.

** Why China Fears a ‘Color Revolution’ Incited by the West

Nathan GardelsEditor-in-chief, The WorldPost 

Earlier this month, several Chinese lawyers were convicted of “subversion” for colluding with “foreign forces” — read: the United States. The fear is that America’s aim is to ultimately foment regime change in Beijing with a popular uprising, like the “color revolution” in Ukraine and those of the Arab Spring. In what most regard as forced performances, some of the accused even confessed on TV that their legal challenges to the state were opening the doors to the deleterious influence of Western ideas. The Communist Party leadership also sees the promotion of Western-style practices, such as multi-party elections or an independent judiciary, as designed to undermine their rule through a creeping peaceful evolution that will inexorably result in turmoil.

To hammer home that message, China’s chief prosecutor’s office, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, released a video in tandem with the trials showing the chaos, violence and instability across the world where the West has sought to promote democracy, conveying to Chinese viewers (English subtitles provided by the South China Morning Post) that the stability they enjoy is due to China’s one-party system. It is likely such a video was well received. According to a recent Pew Survey, 79 percent of Chinese polled believe their way of life must be protected against “foreign influence.”

Regime change or fomenting a “color revolution” in China is not an active U.S. policy, as some top ranks of power in Beijing clearly seem to think. But there is nonetheless an ideological expectation among America’s political class that China’s governing system is “on the wrong side of history,” as former U.S. President Bill Clinton once put it, and so destined to fail. And, in the minds of China’s leaders, that no doubt amounts to the same thing.

Acoustic Capacity Building in the Indian Ocean Region

By Vice Adm DSP Varma And Cdr (Dr) Arnab Das
11 Sep , 2016

The fractured maritime mandate in India and the involvement of multiple agencies and ministries for matters maritime, make it complicated to achieve synergy. The UWR, Goa is a defence facility under the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Earth Sciences is mandated to provide R&D support for ocean related aspects, then we have the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Science and Technology as other players. It is known that there are close to 17 agencies and ministries of the Government of India involved in maritime issues. The huge resource and support required for UDA is possible only when all these agencies come together for a long term commitment to enhance our UDA in the IOR. A comprehensive Maritime Strategy formulation with clear focus on UDA is the only way forward to synergise the efforts of all the possible players involved. The ‘Make in India’ initiative can be leveraged to contribute significantly to the Blue Economy with a clear maritime focus backed with an effective Maritime Strategy translating to enhanced Acoustic Capability in the future.

The Blue Economy

There has been significant discussion on the Blue Economy in the recent past1. Starting with the European Union (EU), many nations have declared the blueprint for their Blue Growth strategy. The economic downturn across the developed world has raised the urgency to propose innovative and competitive measures to go into new areas for economic, social and environmental growth for the future.2

The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro (also called as ‘Rio+20’), the participating nations pressed for concepts of the Green Economy for ‘sustainable development and poverty eradication’. The island nations countered the Green Economy push and called for more in-depth attention and coordinated action on the world’s oceans and seas. The economic values of the seas or oceans whose potential got labelled as the ‘Blue Economy’.3

Afghan President's Visit to India: Need to Reboot Indo-Afghan Relationship

By Brig NK Bhatia, SM (Retd)
12 Sep , 2016

The forthcoming visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to New Delhi next week would be an appropriate occasion for both the countries to re assess their relations in the backdrop of Afghanistan’s bitter experience of last two years of engagement with Pakistan which has manifested in instability in the region and led to a deterioration of security situation especially within Afghanistan.

The latest worry for Afghanistan has been the emergence of (ISIS) Khorasan which primarily comprises elements of Pakistan Taliban elements.

Soon after being elected President Ashraf Ghani reposed faith in Pakistan’s military establishment to deliver peace and stability. He extended a hand for cooperation only to be deceived and betrayed since Pakistan believes that any negotiated settlement for peace in Afghanistan has to be on its terms.

There has been no any let up in Taliban initiated attacks on targets with in Afghanistan killing scores of civilians, security personnel and foreign nationals. The Taliban reconciliation talks and promise of bringing them to the negotiation table never materialized, forcing Afghanistan to cancel the QCG initiated talks. The Taliban have continued to make gains capturing vital territory in Kundruz in the North, Lashkar Gah in Helmend and now in Tarinkot, capitol of Southern Uruzgan district.

Deciphering Pakistan’s Kashmir Lexicon

By Prabha Rao
10 Sep , 2016

Kashmir has been claimed by Pakistani leaders as central to their foreign policy. But a closer look shows that it has been more of a political convenience for Pakistan since 1947, both as a smokescreen to cover up endemic deficiencies and as a convoluted foreign policy mechanism to use state sponsored terrorism in the quest for “strategic depth” – a concept which is increasingly viewed as illusory.

Exploiting the Kashmir Protests

A cursory glance at Pakistan’s current lexicon on Kashmir demonstrates both these above aspects. After the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8 in Kokernag, Anantnag district, barbed references have been made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet members eulogising Wani as a martyr and emphasising anti-Indian, anti-Hindu, sentiments in the Valley. Much of this was in fact underwritten by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Pakistani cabinet, not so subtly, declared July 21 as Kashmir Black Day, to coincide with elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

China's Next Territorial Claim: Hawaii and Almost the Entire Pacific Ocean?

September 10, 2016 

China's Next Territorial Claim: Hawaii and Almost the Entire Pacific Ocean?

The neverending ups and downs of what is quickly becoming the hottest geostrategic flashpoint on the planet, none other than the South China Sea, wasthe subject of a conference at Yale University this last May. Panels were filled with world-class experts promoting their latest research (including yours truly) detailing the various claims, counterclaims and strategic challenges surrounding this important body of water. And yet, it wasn’t the heated Q&A sessions or slick powerpoints that drove debate among the attendees, but rumors of China’s latest territorial claims—a 251 dash-line that extends over almost all of the Pacific Ocean—that created the most buzz.

According to a ‘report’ on the website Elitereaders, a ‘clicky’ website that reports ‘viral’-styled news, Beijing is now claiming Hawaii and most of Micronesia. Delegates to the conference furiously began to share the article through various social media channels. Red-faced attendees were debating the nature of such claims as soon as they scanned the article. Many wondered if this was simply a negotiating strategy on Beijing’s part, a carefully crafted ploy to make equally outrageous claims in the South China Sea look meager by comparison—claiming massive chunks of the Pacific Ocean would sort of do that.

From there, things got even more interesting. On the sidelines of the conference, a Vietnamese filmmaker was shooting a documentary on the South China Sea and asked me on camera what I thought of the claims. Without being able to do any in depth reading or fact-checking the piece, I expressed hope the report would be proven untrue, but if somehow Beijing was bold enough to make such a claim, it would only go further to cement the narrative as China becoming an international bully—taking the concept of what I referred to as ‘Mapfare’ to a whole new level.

The text of the article is interesting to say the least:

Army gets advanced, new combat helicopters

September 08, 2016

Choppers designed for anti-tank missions, now also have air-to-air fighting capability

The People's Liberation Army has equipped all of its ground force aviation units with advanced WZ-10 combat helicopters, according to PLA media.

Several WZ-10s have been delivered to an aviation brigade of the PLA 13th Group Army under the Western Theater Command, the military's TV news channel reported.

This means that all of the Army's aviation units now have this advanced attack helicopter, the report said.

The deliveries also marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Army's aviation force and opened a new chapter in the force's development, it added.

The Army's aviation wing was formed in October 1986 with a regiment equipped with a combination of domestically manufactured helicopters with old technologies and a few imported advanced ones.

For more than two decades, the backbone of the PLA's attack helicopter teams was formed by the WZ-9, which was developed based on the French Eurocopter Dolphin. The Army did not have a dedicated combat helicopter until 2011, when the first WZ-10s were believed to have entered service with the PLA.

India and Vietnam Unite Against China

7 September 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in Hanoi Saturday to discuss their countries’ deepening relationship and sign various agreements. The word “China” rarely passed their lips in public, but that was the topic dominating the get-together. 

Beijing was able to scrub the formal agenda for the G20 of controversial geopolitical issues, like the South China Sea, but that did not mean regional leaders stopped talking about them privately. Modi, before proceeding to host city Hangzhou, stopped off in the Vietnamese capital to discuss the worsening situation in East Asia.

In Hanoi, Modi and Phuc witnessed the signing of 12 bilateral agreements, including one for the sale of Indian-built fast patrol boats to Vietnam, which paid for the craft with a $100 million line of credit New Delhi had previously extended. And for the purpose of “facilitating deeper defense cooperation,” Modi provided another $500 million credit line. The two leaders also issued a joint statement on various issues, most notably freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. 

The most significant aspect to the meeting was symbolic. Modi and Phuc declared that India and Vietnam’s strategic partnership, first, announced in 2007, has been upgraded to a “comprehensive” one. 

Kyrgyz Chinese Embassy Attacked- How Will Beijing Respond To The Islamist Attack?

September 11, 2016

While no terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack, observers in Beijing have blamed the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP).

Entrenched in secret mountain bases in Pakistan, the Turkistan Islamic Party has organised attacks on Chinese citizens and diplomats throughout the world. 

As experience has shown, China takes a passive position in the struggle against global Islamic jihad.

A suicide bomb attack on the Chinese embassy in the Kyrgyz capital last week reviled once again the irrefutable connection between China’s Uyghur militants and the global jihad networks including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. 

While no terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack, observers in Beijing have blamed the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) - a Uyghur separatist organisation headquartered in Pakistan’s North Waziristan area. “This is the first car bombing aimed specifically against overseas Chinese diplomatic outposts, and the Turkistan Islamic Party, a branch of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, is highly suspected of carrying out the attack,” Li Wei of the Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, was quoted by Global Times as saying.

Entrenched in secret mountain bases in Pakistan, the members of the Turkistan Islamic Party have organised attacks on Chinese citizens and diplomats in various parts of the world. In a similar incident back in 2002, a Chinese diplomat, Wang Jianping, was shot dead in a car by Uyghur separatists.

Why the world’s Muslim population is growing so very, very quickly

By Jon Emont 
September 9

Pakistani Muslims buy balloons for their children after prayers in Karachi, Pakistan, in July. (Fareed Khan/AP) 

This week, I reported a story for The Post from Jakarta on the “Muslim youth bulge” — the surge in youth in the Muslim world — and explored why this could be a recipe for instability. As a journalist and a young person (I’m 26), I’m fascinated by how young people shape society — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. 

One thing that’s very clear from academic literature on demography and social change is that young people matter. When they feel that the system is stacked against them, they tend to demonstrate — think of Occupy Wall Street, and of how “We-need-a-political-revolution” Bernie Sanders won 70 percent of the youth vote in the Democratic primaries. 

What’s clear, though, is that in societies that aren’t democracies, young people who are disappointed by their lack of opportunity have fewer outlets by which to peacefully effect political change. One reason, then, for apprehension about the huge size of the Muslim world’s youth population is that much of this growth is happening in its least developed parts, where there are the fewest opportunities for peaceful political expression. 

In the Sahel — the band of countries from Mali to Sudan that borders the Sahara — governments are repressive and birth rates are extremely high. 

Washington Really Doesn’t Want To Deal With A Cyberwar With Russia

“Do you really want that shitstorm? I don’t think you do,” one intelligence official told BuzzFeed News. posted on Sept. 9, 2016, at 6:30 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with US President Barack Obama Alexei Druzhinin / AP

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is wary of publicly accusing Russia of meddling in the US election, despite increasing pressure from within Washington, for fear of fanning public concerns over the security of the election and igniting a cycle of tit-for-tat cyberattacks, several US government officials told BuzzFeed News.

“Do you really want to call it out, and recognize it? With everything you do, you should be reinforcing the public’s confidence in the election system,” said one US intelligence official who is frequently briefed on Russia issues. Calling Russia out, he said, could also validate widespread worries over the security of the November election. “Do you really want that shitstorm? I don’t think you do.”

The White House has not assigned blame for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, which cybersecurity experts say were most likely stolen by Kremlin-backed hackers. The emails were eventually published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the Democrats’ convention. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, has refused to reveal the source for the emails, despite growing concerns over his ties to Russia. The private cybersecurity experts who provided the strongest evidence that Russian actors were behind the hack linked them to a group that was previously accused of hacking into the State Department and White House. Suspicions of Russian meddling were further fueled when the FBI warned last week of two suspected-Russian linked hacks into state election systems.

15 Years After 9/11, Where Are We in the War on Terror?

Brian Michael Jenkins
September 9, 2016

Fifteen Years On, Where Are We in the “War on Terror”?

Abstract: Measuring progress in irregular warfare without frontlines is always difficult. The various dimensions and multiple fronts of the United States’ ongoing campaign against terrorists make it an exceptional challenge. And much has changed since that campaign began 15 years ago. There has not been another 9/11-scale event. Although they attract followers, neither al-Qa`ida nor its progeny has become a mass movement. The constellation of groups claiming allegiance to them is far from an effective alliance, and the Islamic State has been contained. The leaders of al-Qa`ida depend heavily on exhortation to get others to fight, and the turnout is thin. On the other side of the ledger, the targeted groups have survived, their determination seems undiminished, and their ideology remains powerful. They are deeply embedded in a number of fragile, divided, conflict-ridden states. Persistent foes, they are able to operate underground and capable of comebacks if pressure on them subsides. The conflict will go on.

In December 2001, during testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee, I was asked, “Mr. Jenkins, it has been three months since 9/11 and nothing more has happened. Are we through it yet?” I am certain that the senator was asking whether we were past the immediate danger of another 9/11-scale attack—the nation’s biggest fear—but I responded that this was likely to be a long contest lasting many years. Nearly 15 years on, we are not through it yet.

Nor is it clear how much further we have to go, although that is not surprising. Long wars have no signs telling us how many miles remain to the destination. The armies of Central Europe did not know in 1633 that they were halfway through the Thirty Years War. We will not know how close to (or far from) the end we were until the war is over.

But suppose I had been cursed with Cassandra’s powers of prophecy, and I had told the senators in 2001 that 15 years into the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT)—later called the more anodyne “Overseas Contingency Operations”—the United States would still be pursuing al-Qa`ida and its progeny, a dismaying reality, even though analysts at the time anticipated a long campaign.

The Legacy of 9/11, 15 Years Later

September 10, 2016 

In thinking about the significance and consequences, a decade and a half later, of the terrorist attacks known as 9/11, it is best to begin with what the attacks didnot mean—despite what voluminous commentary ever since the event might lead one to believe. The attacks did not mark a major change in security threats faced by the United States or anyone else. Americans were not suddenly more in danger on September 12, 2001 than they had been on September 10, even though the reactions of many Americans would suggest that they were. Nor was one spectacular, lethal, and lucky shot to be equated with a larger threat that can be thought of in strategic terms, or with sudden revelation of such a threat. Those whose job was to assess such things, including those in U.S. officialdom, hadcommunicated prior to 9/11 their clear understanding of the strategic threat represented by Bin Ladin's variety of international terrorism.

September 2001 did not mark the advent of a substantially greater vulnerability of the U.S. homeland, and certainly not an existential one. The techniques involved were not at all comparable in that regard to the introduction of the long-range bomber and the intercontinental ballistic missile.

Nor did September 2001 mark the beginning of serious counterterrorist efforts by the United States, notwithstanding the larger amount of resources thrown at the problem in the wake of 9/11. There was a lot of counterterrorism going on before, especially in the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s. The available tools and elements of counterterrorism have remained essentially unchanged from those earlier periods, apart from a few technological developments such as those involving unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Battle for Moscow: How Russia Stopped Hitler's Military During World War II

Michael Peck
September 9, 2016

In October 1941, the Second World War teetered on a knife edge.

There was war in China and war in North Africa, and soon there would be war between America and Japan. But in the autumn of 1941, the only war that really seemed to matter was fought in a portion of central Russia.

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, had begun brilliantly on June 22, 1941. Encirclement after encirclement had inflicted almost 4 million casualties on the huge but disorganized Soviet armies. By early October, they had advanced to within 200 miles of Moscow. Now came Operation Typhoon, the offensive to seize the Soviet capital and—or so the Germans hoped—end the campaign.

Desperation breeds optimism, so indeed Germany needed to end the War in the East soon. The newsreels of vast columns of bewildered Soviet prisoners may have conveyed an image of German invincibility, but for the Wehrmacht, Russia was Death by a Thousand Cuts. Germany and its allies had committed more than 3 million men to Barbarossa: by October, they had suffered more than 500,000 casualties, or 15 percent of the invasion force. The panzers sweeping 500 miles deep into Russia left a trail of broken-down tanks. The Russian roads, few in number and poor in quality, had devoured perhaps 40 percent of the German truck fleet. That left railroads as the supply arteries on the Eastern Front, yet Russian railroad tracks were wider than German ones, stranding supply trains that couldn't move forward until repair crews modified the Russian rails. German logistics collapsed, leaving the troops short of food, ammunition and especially fuel for the panzers.

Not that the Soviets were in any better shape. Its officer corps decimated before the war, and its generals often incompetent but politically acceptable toadies, the Red Army had been caught by surprise and then relentlessly pounded by an opponent that conquered France in just six weeks. But at least the Soviets were falling back on their supply bases. The Red Army was also infused with an endless stream of fresh division after fresh division. The troops were poorly trained and led to be sure, but German intelligence, convinced that the Soviets should have collapsed by now, couldn't understand how the Red Army could take such a pounding and yet keep growing.

SOMETHING STRANGE happens to retired chiefs of the Israeli internal Security Service, Shin Bet.

Civil War 

The service is by definition a central pillar of the Israeli occupation. It is admired by (Jewish) Israelis, feared by Palestinians, respected by security professionals everywhere. The occupation could not exist without it.

And here is the paradox: once the chiefs of the service leave their jobs, they become spokesmen for peace. How come?

Actually, there is a logical explanation. Shin Bet agents are the only part of the establishment which comes into real, direct, daily contact with the Palestinian reality. They interrogate Palestinian suspects, torture them, try to turn them into informers. They collect information, penetrate the most remote parts of Palestinian society. They know more about the Palestinians than anybody else in Israel (and perhaps in Palestine, too).

The intelligent among them (intelligence officers can indeed be intelligent, and often are) also think about what they become aware of. They come to conclusions that evade many politicians: that we are faced with a Palestinian nation, that this nation will not disappear, that the Palestinians want a state of their own, that the only solution to the conflict is a Palestinian state next to Israel.

And so we see a strange phenomenon: upon leaving the service, the Shin Bet chiefs, one after another, become outspoken advocates of the "two-state solution".

The same is happening to the chiefs of the Mossad, Israel's external intelligence service.

Their main job its to fight against the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular. Yet the moment they leave the service, they become advocates of the two-state solution, in direct contradiction to the policy of the Prime Minister and his government.

ALL PERSONNEL of the two secret services are, well – secret. All except the chiefs.

Transforming Defense Analysis

By Catherine Johnston, Elmo C. Wright, Jr., Jessica Bice, Jennifer Almendarez, and Linwood Creekmore 
October 01, 2015

The Defense Intelligence Enterprise is on the precipice of tremendous change. The global environment is experiencing a mind-numbing quantity and diversity of challenging crises. Perhaps not since the end of World War II have so many pockets of instability and change confronted the Intelligence Community (IC). These traditional security crises are compounded by global demographic, economic, and climate challenges that need to be viewed through the prisms of nontraditional disciplines.

Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, USMC, delivers inaugural address as director of Defense Intelligence Agency and commander of Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, January 23, 2015 (Defense Intelligence Agency)

Against the backdrop of this complex operational environment, the volume, velocity, and variety of data continue to grow at a dramatic pace.1 The early 21st century has seen groundbreaking disruptive technologies adopted on a global scale, and the pace of technology innovation and further disruptive developments looks to increase exponentially. Drivers of technology innovation are no longer simply government-funded initiatives; commercial and private industries are also involved. Individuals are increasingly empowered with a low barrier of entry for truly sophisticated technological fields. The IC must take advantage of this seemingly boundless information age by leveraging large volumes of data, using innovative technology, and employing common analytic strategies and tradecraft to provide the United States and its allies with critical information when and where it is needed.

US Arms Makers Invest in a New Cold War

By Jonathan Marshall
September 1, 2016 

Exclusive: Behind the U.S. media-political clamor for a new Cold War with Russia is a massive investment by the Military-Industrial Complex in “think tanks” and other propaganda outlets, writes Jonathan Marshall.

The U.S. military has won only a single major war since the end of World War II (the Gulf War of 1990-91). But U.S. military contractors continue to win major budget wars in Congress nearly every year, proving that no force on earth can resist their lobbying prowess and political clout.

Consider the steady march to victory of the biggest single weapons program in history — the planned purchase of advanced Lockheed-Martin F-35 jets by the Air Force, Navy, and Marines at a total projected cost of more than $1 trillion.

Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 war plane.

The Air Force and Marines have both declared the Joint Strike Fighter ready for combat, and Congress is now forking over billions of dollars a year to acquire what is slated to become a fleet of 2,400 jets.

How likely is an existential catastrophe?

Phil Torres

An existential risk refers to any future event that would either trip our species into the eternal grave of extinction or irreversibly catapult us back into the Stone Age. Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom formalized this concept in 2002, and it has since become a topic of growing interest among both academics and the public.

In the past few decades, the number of existential risk scenarios has risen, and it will likely rise even more this century. Consider that only 72 years ago, prior to the first atomic bomb exploding in the New Mexico desert, Homo sapiens faced only a handful of existential risks—all of them natural—including asteroid and comet impacts, supervolcanic eruptions, and global pandemics. Today the situation is quite different: Anthropogenic risks such as climate change,biodiversity loss, and nuclear weapons now haunt our species. In addition, a swarm ofemerging risks hover on the horizon: an engineered pandemic, a war involving nanotech weapons, self-replicating nanobots, geoengineering, and artificial superintelligence. If this trend continues into the future, we should expect even more existential risk scenarios before the 22nd century.

The increasing number of risk scenarios suggests that the overall probability of disaster may have risen as well. The more landmines placed in a field, the more likely one is to step in the wrong place. According to the best estimates available, the probability of a doomsday catastrophe has indeed increased over the same period of time. For example, an informal survey of 19 experts conducted by the Future of Humanity Institute in 2008 yielded a 19 percent chance of human extinction this century. And Sir Martin Rees, co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, argues that civilization has no better than a 50-50 chance of making it through the 21st century intact. These estimates are far higher than the probability of doom brought about by any natural phenomenon before the Atomic Age.

Reflections: Philosophy of Intelligence

Robert David Steele

the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

I was asked recently to outline my “philosophy of intelligence” briefly, conversationally. What a wonderful challenge. Below is my fifteen minute answer using an outline that has been on my mind for some time, augmented by some graphics and a few additional sentences completing some of the thoughts.

Each morning the commander should be asked: 
What would you have liked to know yesterday that we failed to tell you? 
What do you need to know about today that you have not mentioned before? 
What do you need to know in the future that you have not already mentioned? 

US National Debt Reaches Record High, But No One Knows How to Handle i

Roman Boed

BUSINESS 21:00 04.09.2016Get short URL 123843210 The national debt of the United States has surpassed $19.5 trillion. According to the US Treasury, the debt will reach $20 trillion by the end of Barack Obama’s term. Earlier this week, the US national debt hit $19.5 trillion, for the first time ever. Since January 2016, it has increased by $500 billion, according to the US Treasury. © PHOTO: PIXABAY US Federal Debt to Rocket to $28.2 Trillion Over Next Decade In 2009 when Barack Obama became president the debt was $10.63 billion. Currently, the debt ceiling has been suspended until mid-March which means the debt will rise further. 

"The total national debt when Obama leaves office in January is expected to approach $20 trillion by then," an article on Washington Examiner read. In August, the Congressional Budget Office reported that by the end of the fiscal year (September 2016), the debt-to-GDP ratio will increase by three percentage points, to 77 percent. This will be the highest ratio since 1950. During the next decade, the ratio will reach 86 percent, according to estimates. The debt is the sum total of annual budget deficits, plus interest. During his presidency, Barack Obama has repeatedly pledged to lower the deficit. However, during his presidency the deficit reached $1 trillion a year,and only in the last few years was it near $500 billion. "Figuring out how to handle the national debt will be among one of the first challenges for the new president and Congress to figure out. 

On March 15, the debt ceiling will be in effect again, and the new ceiling will be whatever level of the debt the US has incurred by that point," the article read. As for the presidential candidates, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton has proposed concrete steps on controlling the debt. In April, Trump said he would settle the current debt within eight years, two presidential terms. However, many economists that Trump’s proposals, including reviewing agreements with creditors, will not be effective. "The reason neither major candidate is talking about the debt is that neither has a reasonable plan for dealing with it. Quite the contrary, because as bad as government debt is for the country, politicians just can't get enough of it. 

America's Debt Problem Isn't Going Away

Aug. 3, 2016

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has a plan to rein in the government's unsustainable debt.

On its current trajectory, the federal government is unsustainable. This has been apparent for decades. The problem is so big that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton even dare to discuss it on the campaign trail, seemingly hoping that it will go away if ignored. But it won't.

How big is the problem? When the next president settles into the Oval Office, the federal debt will be close to $20 trillion. Even today, the federal debt exceeds the value of all goods and services produced annually in every European country combined. The reason neither major candidate is talking about the debt is that neither has a reasonable plan for dealing with it. Quite the contrary, because as bad as government debt is for the country, politicians just can't get enough of it. Government borrowing enables today's politicians to buy votes by promising goodies to today's voters, while sticking tomorrow's voters with the bill. Politicians and current voters collude in kicking the ball down the road, creating a ballooning problem for future generations.

Why is so much government debt a problem? First, a massive debt allows politicians to appear to be fighting fiscal irresponsibility while doing what amounts to less than nothing. Take, for example, the $300 million cut in Community Block grants that President Barack Obama proposed during his first term. As a nation, we spent the better part of a month debating the pros and cons. In the end, many politicians got lots of free air time in which they tried to out-posture each other in fiscal prudence. What no one ever said aloud, though, is that the federal government burns through $300 million every 45 minutes. Second, a massive debt means massive interest payments that the government must make on an ongoing basis. The federal government currently pays about 2.5 percent interest on its debt. At that rate, the interest on $20 trillion is $500 billion annually.

And this is where national debt issues get a little tricky.

The Other Forever War Anniversary

Sept. 10, 2016

Ron Sachs—DPA/AP ImagesPresident Obama speaks on the phone with King Abdallah Abd al Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at White House in Washington, on Sept. 10, 2014

Jack Goldsmith is a Harvard Law School professor and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was an assistant attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush. 

Matthew C. Waxman is the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he chairs the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security. He served in senior positions at the National Security Council, Defense Department and State Department from 2001-2007. 

Tomorrow is the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of the longest armed conflict in American history. But another significant anniversary in the “Forever War” is today, September 10, for two years ago on this date President Obama announcedhis “comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy” to defeat the Islamic State.

The United States had been bombing the Islamic State sporadically throughout the summer of 2014, under the President’s Article II Commander-in-Chief power. But at about the time on September 10 when President Obama announced the United States’ ramped-up efforts “to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, he also shifted the legal basis for the effort to the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that had been the foundation for the conflict against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Associates since a few days after the 9/11 attacks. Obama “welcome[d] congressional support for this effort” in that address while making clear that he did not require it. One month later, the Pentagon named the campaign “Operation Inherent Resolve.”

Tactical Victories, Strategic Defeats


The fifteen years since 9/11 have been busy for the CIA and the Special Operations community who collectively are the pointy end of the spear in what we used to call the Global War on Terrorism, or the GWOT. And while the Obama administration quickly soured on the GWOT name, more importantly, they did not back away from the important mission. They kept their foot on the gas in the fight against al Qaeda. Most (but, not all) programs and policies put in place during the Bush administration were maintained and even expanded under the Obama administration. 

Two notable differences were the Obama administration’s immediate curtailment of the CIA detention centers and the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (i.e., water boarding, et al) and simultaneously, the Obama Administration’s great increase in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Predator drones) to kill terrorist targets in al Qaeda’s headquarters. While somewhat controversial, the increase in Predator shots is a tactic that definitely kept us safer, as an enemy always playing defense cannot effectively recruit, train, plan, rehearse, and launch attacks against the West. 

In the 15 years post 9/11, there have been almost no terrorist attacks launched at us from al Qaeda in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Countless nascent al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the West were suddenly curtailed by aggressive counterterrorist actions that decimated their senior leadership. This was a huge success. 

The war on terrorism won’t be won on the battlefield

September 8

Syrian refugees on their way back to the Syrian city of Jerabulus. 

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving on the Long Island Expressway, heading out to a friend’s house to spend a few weeks working on a book. An hour into my drive, I switched from music to news and listened with horror to reports that two large passenger planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I turned around instantly, realizing that my sabbatical was over. So was America’s. 

It’s difficult now to recall the mood of the 1990s. The Cold War had ended, overwhelmingly on American terms. A world that had been divided into two camps, politically and economically, was now one. Dozens of countries from Latin America to Africa to Asia that were once staunchly socialist were moving toward capitalism and democracy, embracing a global order they once decried as unjust and imperial. 

America in the 1990s was consumed by talk of economics and technology. The information revolution was just taking off. I try to explain to my children that only two decades ago, much of the world that seems indispensable today — the Internet, cellphones — did not exist for most people. In the early 1990s, AOL and Netscape gave everyday Americans the chance to browse the Internet. Until then, the revolutionary technology that had broken down government censorship and opened access to information in the communist bloc was — the fax machine. Explaining its effects, the strategist Albert Wohlstetter had written an essay for the Wall Street Journal titled “The Fax Will Make You Free.” 

Learning From the Other Twin Towers Attack

By Fred Burton
SEPTEMBER 11, 2016
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Editor's Note: Today, on the 15th anniversary of the attack that brought down the World Trade Center, Stratfor remembers all who lost their lives and acknowledges those whose lives were forever changed on Sept. 11, 2001 — including the people working diligently to ensure that the United States never has to endure another tragedy of the same magnitude. In fact, their preventive work started some eight years before 9/11 after a bombing at the towers killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others. Stratfor Chief Security Officer Fred Burton reflects on his work with the State Department in the wake of that first attack.

On Feb. 26, 1993, a massive explosion rocked the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. Terrified schoolchildren were trapped in smoke-filled elevators for hours before rescuers could finally reach them. Following the bombing, law enforcement officials gathered evidence that led to the indictments and arrests of several suspected terrorists, including the plot's mastermind, Abdul Basit, better known by his alias, Ramzi Yousef. He was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and our office at the State Department offered a $2 million reward for his capture.
An Imperfect Plan

Yousef had been associated with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden since before the terrorist organization had even been founded. He left the Khaldan training camp run by bin Laden in September 1992 and traveled to New York, where he made contact with the al-Kifah Refugee Center — so infamous for its ties to terrorism that it was often called the Brooklyn Jihad Office. From that base of support, Yousef formed the terrorist cell that would eventually bomb the World Trade Center. An attack on the towers, which were a powerful symbol of U.S. economic power and Jewish wealth, would make a strong media statement to the world.

But the improvised explosive device placed in the parking garage of the north tower failed to destroy the two towers. What it did do, however, was raise awareness of domestic terrorist threats among U.S. security officials. The investigation of the incident uncovered many other plots, including one to assassinate then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.
Behind the Scenes

Top Officials Want to Separate US Cyber Command From NSA

Ken Dilanian and Courtney Kube
September 10, 2016

Top Officials Want to Split Cyber Command From NSA

The Obama administration’s top defense and intelligence officials are proposing a plan to separate the spying and war fighting arms of America’s vast hacking apparatus, an idea that was recommended but rejected after the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have gotten behind the proposal to separate the National Security Agency, the digital spying arm, from U.S. Cyber Command, which develops and deploys cyber weapons, three national security officials tell NBC News. Representatives for both men declined to comment for the record.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a joint briefing with British Defence Minister Michael Fallon at the Pentagon on December 11, 2015. YURI GRIPAS / AFP - Getty Images 

Currently, both entities are led by the same person, Admiral Mike Rogers. They share real estate and super computers at their sprawling headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Both are military agencies, but the NSA conducts espionage and operates under different legal authorities than cyber command, which is authorized to use cyber weapons under the rules of war.

Under the new arrangement, each would have its own leader. Two former officials said they had been told the rank of the NSA director would be boosted to a four star general or equivalent, from the current three stars, as a way of responding to worries that the NSA would lose clout under the new arrangement. But Obama administration officials would not confirm that.