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07 March 2008

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arbogast

Your shleppers have to be very, very good and very, very dependable, or you're a goner. Think of the amount of pressure that can be placed on any Arab working in Israel (see below). The Perle's of the world have got to do some of their own shlepping, or they're history.

The gunman was killed at the scene [undoubtedly part of his bargain to save his family] and on Friday news agencies reported that the police had named him as Ala Abu Dhaim, a driver. His family in Arab East Jerusalem said he had once worked as a driver for the seminary, according to the reports.

jonst

Go ahead. I dare any American to run with this story mainstream. You get nothing but ridicule (conspiracy theorist, the politically correct was of signaling, that which can not be spoken about)> You'll get no one in the Dem leadership to even listen to you, never mind support you. The MSM won't touch it in any meaningful way. This story HAS to be buried. "Traitors, in side the pentagon'? Are you kidding me?

Andy

As I read David's excellent comment, I'm reminded of an article I read yesterday which reminded me of operation Merlin:

The CIA counter proliferation department hired a Soviet nuclear engineer who had previously, in the 1990s, defected to the United States and revealed secrets from the Soviet Union's nuclear program. His speciality was in the field of what is called weaponization, the final stage of assembling a nuclear bomb.

The scientist was equipped with blueprints for assembling a nuclear bomb in which, without his knowledge, false drawings and information blueprints were planted about a nuclear warhead that was supposedly manufactured in the Soviet Union. The plan's details had been fabricated by CIA experts, and so while they appeared authentic, they had no engineering or technological value.

The intention was to fool the scientist and send him to make contact with the Iranians to whom he would offer his services and blueprints. The American plot was aimed at getting the Iranians to invest a great deal of effort in studying the plans and to attempt to assemble a faulty warhead. But when the time came, they would not have a nuclear bomb but rather a dud.

However, Operation Merlin, which was so creative and original, failed because of CIA bungled planning. The false information inserted into the blueprints were too obvious and too easily detected and the Russian engineer discovered them. As planned, he made contact with the Iranian delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and handed over to them, also as planned, the blueprints.

But contrary to the CIA's intention, he added a letter to the blueprints in which he pointed out the mistakes. He did not do this with ill intent or out of a desire to disrupt the operation and harm his operators. On the contrary, he did so out of a deep sense of mission and in order to satisfy his American operators. He hoped that in this way he would simply increase the Iranians' trust in him and encourage them to make contact with him for the good, of course, of his American operators.

JohnH

No doubt about it. If your intent is organized crime--nuclear, crack cocaine or opium smuggling, arms trafficking--the place to do it is under the "intelligence umbrella." It's the only place totally secure from the tentacles of a justice system or legislative oversight.

bourbon

From the Feb 25, 2008 edition of The American Conservative:

" It is impossible to find ways strong enough to deny the reckless and absurd allegations about me in Philip Giraldi's article ("Found in Translation," Jan. 28). They are completely false and malicious.

MARC GROSSMAN
Washington, D.C. "

Cold War Zoomie

The lists contained all their "hooking points", which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to.' This is how one would expect the kind of network which clearly exists to operate...getting them to cross the line in small matters which leave them compromised, and in a position where they have no way back.

Back in the day, our understanding of the security clearance process was that Uncle Sam wasn't only looking for behavior that showed you were a "bad" person. Just as importantly, they were looking for weak points where you could be blackmailed by someone like our friend Mr. Putin in the KGB.

Although the security clearance issues are interesting, I do think it is possible for someone above the Man of Mystery to influence adjudications. And we now understand that the security at DoE was rather slack to say the least.

So, the intercepts are the biggest clues for me. Here are some points from my experience playing a minor role in that business years ago:

1. NSA handles international military, commercial and diplomatic targets. They have their own linguists. So I doubt they are involved very much since Ms. Edmonds worked for the FBI.

2. FBI is supposed to handle domestic telecom intercepts, not NSA. So, if the rules were followed, this was an investigation driven by the FBI because the intercepts involved US citizens originating and accepting telephone calls inside the USA. Thus, Ms. Edmonds is hired.

3. What I'm not sure about are US citizens making calls on commercial networks that originate and terminate outside the USA (London to Ankara, as an example). Can the NSA intercept those and *act* on the intel? Even if the answer is no, our friends at GCHQ can. There's always someone listening!

4. These folks may have played a role in keeping track of the activities of our Man of Mystery: DTS-PO

If Marc Grossman is indeed the Man of Mystery, here's an interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: "Ambassador Grossman had previously served as the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission [Turkey] from 1989 to 1992." He was then promoted as Ambassador to Turkey from the mid- to late-1990s. His work as deputy chief of mission is a red flag, from my experience. And if that experience about DoS deputy chiefs of mission applies to Grossman, then he and DTS-PO work for the same organization that was also mentioned in the Times' article. And it ain't the Department of State. So, I could see where we could intercept his calls to and from the Embassy, but surely he wouldn't be so dumb not to know that his calls could be monitored.

Of course, Col Lang has always said not to underestimate the stupidity of some people on this planet.

Walrus

I don't think that much more can be said about this situation that has not already been said and Mr. Habakkuk seems to me to have pretty well summed up what is known.


zot23

How much do I have to pay to get someone to break that into paragraphs? They don't even have to make sense, just press [enter] every 100+ characters or so.

I just can't slog through it.

Cieran

About Grossman's denial:

Of course he denies it, and claims that it's slanderous and malicious and it probably contributes to global warming, too.

But has he filed a libel suit yet? That's the question. Filing a lawsuit in a U.S. court (none of that Richard Perle vs. Sy Hersh U.K. Court b.s. -- that doesn't cut it!), so that the facts of the case can be ascertained subject to oaths and perjury charges and all that good stuff... that's when we know he's serious.

Any sign of that libel suit yet?

Serving Patriot

@bourbon,

Guess that means we should be seeing the libel suit any day now, right?

Color me surprised if one is actually filed...

SP

Cold War Zoomie

David,

This is a bit off topic, but I remember you saying awhile back that your Dad worked at Bletchley Park during WWII.

You may find this museum interesting in Bedfordshire:

Chicksands Intel Museum

It includes displays about the Y service which would have fed intercepts to BP code breakers, including ENIGMA.

Just watch out for the Queen's ducks while driving on the base. They have right of way.

Dave

Edmonds mentioned in an interview last spring that the FBI's targeting of US officials began after surveillance of foreign diplomats in the US exposed criminal activity involving Americans, leading to parallel investigations.

She starts talking about it at around 17:30 in the video clip:

http://www.hairenik.com/HairenikTV/HA_TV_Clip65.htm

Also, speaking of questionable security clearances, I don't think these newer articles mentioned anything about Melek Can Dickerson, the woman with ongoing Turkish connections who was none the less responsible for translating wiretaps of those same Turkish organizations. And who, along with her US Air Force Major husband, Douglas, attempted to recruit Edmonds into spying for the same organizations.

David Rose's article for Vanity Fair went into this and the rest of her earlier allegations. Worth a read:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9774.htm

Dave of Maryland

There's a long & delightful history of the ambassador being the Head Spy-in-Chief. Or even the the No. 1 turncoat, in a position of relative immunity. Consider this:

When Mozart died in December, 1791, his body disappeared immediately. Cause of death has never been determined. So I wonder sometimes if he really died, or if he faked it & fled.

Two years later his widow, Constanze Weber, took up with the newly appointed Danish ambassador, one Georg Nikolaus Nissen. The one portrait of him that exists shows him to be Mozart's exact double. Did Mozart have a bizarre second career as a turncoat for a foreign power?

Amusing stories are told of Casanova in this regard. Mr. Chalabi merely continues a great tradition. His eyes twinkle for a reason.

Jonathan House

Another example of Americans who fancied themselves as masters of Machiavellianism is detailed (complete with documents) in an article in the current (April) issue of Vanity Fair entitled "The Gaza Bombshell"

www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804?printable=true&currentPage=all

The 'teaser' paragraph reads:

"After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever"

arbogast

Bletchley Park...

Wow!

Utterly off-topic, but those who wave the banner of homophobia should remember that we would be poorer for Shakespeare and Michaelangelo and also for Turing if they had their way.

arbogast

Department of Backdrop:

While various types are scurrying around in the shadows betraying the United States (and, if you include Alan Greenspan, in the limelight) things are not going well economically.

"Basically the gears of capitalism are pretty much grinding to a halt," said Mirko Mikelic, portfolio manager for Fifth Third Asset Management in Grand Rapids, Michigan."

George Bush will without question go down as the most incompetent leader in the history of any country that has ever existed, but I pray for the next one.

charlottemom

Thanks for taking the time to post your take on Edmonds story. It is about as good a summarization that I've seen anywhere.

Cold War Zoomie

WARNING: rambling diatribe alert!

The more I read, the more this thing doesn't pass the smell test. There are too many moving parts, and too many tentacles. Our Master Mind at the State Department is the Grand Wizard placing moles all over the place, managing foreign players, coordinating with DoD colleagues, and supposedly getting away with it. Anyone who has tried to manage a group of people doing *legitimate* projects knows how difficult it is to pull that off. Think about managing all sorts of nefarious off-hours activities while doing your day job. And your day job as a "high ranking" so-and-so doesn't have a lot of down time from what I've seen. It is just far too complicated to pull off for years and years, and then execute some airtight cover up after the fact.

Also, this entire story is basically the product of one person. Yeah, there's some corroborating "evidence" thrown in here and there, but nothing you can really sink your teeth into as far as I can tell.

All roads lead to one person: our dear Ms. Edmonds. My spidy senses are tingling at the thought that she is being played. At this point, maybe we should be looking at the the possibility that someone was feeding her bogus intercepts. That seems like a simple explanation from my understanding right now. If the evidence disproves that, fine - I'm not emotionally attached to this case. That would definitely be a possibility I would investigate.

Here's a jumble of other points...

So why hasn't Grossman filed for libel? Well, maybe because it would divulge classified information and projects. We always see the way the government squelches law suits using the "national security" card. Maybe this can be used in reverse. You can attack someone who you know cannot take you to court without opening a can of worms. I find it interesting that the Times' article does not mention Grossman by name even though the Internet is full of the Edmond's accusations. Why? Maybe because the libel laws in the UK are less stringent for a conviction and the Times' aren't real sure about all this.

And why would Grossman be chasing after $15K bribes when he's getting $100K a month paychecks? That's chump change.

If Grossman actually worked for the CIA in Turkey - which is what I was alluding to with the Deputy Chief of Mission point - then maybe he's a good guy? Maybe he's made enemies in Turkey and they have Ms. Edmonds throwing a whirlwind of half-lies and half-truths into the public domain to muddy the waters? I don't know.

This is another red flag. All these super savvy sleuths are making hundreds of phone calls about all this! All these high level DoS, DoD and foreign Dips and Intel types don't understand SIGINT 101?

Now, it's easy to attribute legitimacy to the story because Col Lang posted it. And I have utmost respect for him. Quite honestly, though, I don't know Col Lang from Adam. Maybe he threw this out there to see if we twisted ourselves into knots trying to prove what we really want to believe. Maybe it's here to show what HUMINT is like - a web of confusing stories seen through a glass darkly. Maybe he actually believes it, which means he could be wrong. Or maybe he knows without a doubt the entire thing is true! I don't know what his motivation is, what he knows is true or false. Which means I cannot jump headfirst into this thing assuming it's true just because its on SST.

As always, I am open to having my mind changed...which happens often as the Mad Cow disease slowly envelops me!

W. Patrick Lang

CWZ

Lighten up man. I often post things as topics of discussion. That does not mean I necessaruily have an "agenda" in the matter. pl

Cold War Zoomie

Lighten up...

Received and understood.

Didn't mean to imply you had any secret "agenda."

Yes, I've been going overboard seeking a mental respite from the policy and planning docs I'm writing at work.

These topics are so much more interesting!

Cheers....

David Habakkuk

Cold War Zoomie, Cieran,

I think this whole story is so bizarre that one should be careful about assuming that anything is true. And certainly, the point that Grossman might not be in a position to sue, even if the charges were quite without foundation, is hardly to be dismissed. I was trying to think how the security aspects would be handled, if he was to sue in a British court. Offhand, I cannot think of any precedents. (Could he sue in the U.S., and if so how would the security aspects be handled?)

That said, I would not attribute much significance to the Sunday Times being coy about Grossman's name. And I would also be surprised if the editor at the Sunday Times, John Witherow, let this story through without being pretty confident of its accuracy. He is one of the longest-serving -- and most successful -- of the Murdoch editors, and also a very experienced and professional journalist. I would expect him to have anything as explosive as this checked very thoroughly, especially as printing anything damaging to the Washington neocons which turned out to be spurious would clearly put his job at risk. I would also doubt that Witherow would have done anything of the kind without checking with Murdoch. If moreover by any chance he had tried to bypass his proprietor with the first story, I have difficult in seeing how the second and third could have avoided being spiked.

One reason for the Sunday Times's confidence is I think made clear in the January 20 story. This refers to a FBI file marked 203A-WF-210023. The Sunday Times quoted Edmonds as saying that 'that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002.' The file, she says, 'refers to the counterintelligence programme that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations'.

The previous week, the story explains, a freedom of information request from an organisation called the 'Liberty Coalition', apparently 'acting on a tip off from an anonymous correspondent', had, according to the Sunday Times, 'made a series of allegations about the contents of the file -- many of which corroborate the information that Edmonds later made public.'

The FBI responded that the file did not exist, but the Sunday Times claims to have 'obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.' The clear suggestion is that there is actually ample documentary confirmation of the accusations Edmonds has made, and that this comes in a file dealing with a six-year-long counterintelligence operation.

Of course, this does not rule out the possibility of disinformation designed to incriminate Grossman. But one would have thought that whether this was a possible explanation could be sorted out relatively easily by reference to the contents of the file.

As far as I can see, however, the possibility Edmonds was the victim of disinformation does not appear to have been mentioned by her critics. The line these seem most frequently to have adopted is that taken by Andy -- which is not to assert that the material is fraudulent, but simply that Grossman and others might well have been involved in a 'sting' operation.

On this Philip Giraldi's response is of interest:

'That might be true, but if it is, it is up to the government to state flatly that such was the case. Based on my own experience, I cannot believe that senior state department or pentagon officials would have been used in any such operation both because their parent organizations would never have permitted it and because the CIA would have never sought it in the first place.'

(See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-giraldi/sibel-edmonds-must-be-hea_b_84781.html.)

Of course, if Grossman had been working for the CIA in Turkey, this might make his involvement in a 'sting' operation less surprising than Giraldi suggests -- not knowing the U.S. context I cannot judge. But equally, it opens up the possibility that while in Turkey Grossman might have been inveigled into working on behalf of Turkish intelligence agencies. One would have thought it would be easier to entrap someone like Grossman in Turkey rather than in the U.S..

As to the $15K being 'chump change', and the implausibility of so many people talking so freely, both are obviously serious points. But Grossman could have been paid large sums in a series of small installments. And, if people become confident that they can get away with anything, they do sometimes become very reckless.

What the Sunday Times story is suggesting here is that the preservation of diplomatic relations with the countries and governments involved has stood in the way of efforts by the FBI and the British Revenue & Customs to shut it down. If in fact this is so, agents of those countries could have come to suffer from a sense of impunity. If this is so, moreover, it is perfectly possible that whatever the FBI thinks it prudent to admit publicly, quite a few people may have seen, or even have copies of, File 203A-WF-210023. It would not surprise me if there were people in the Revenue & Customs here who had sight of it, or might even have a copy of it. The 'document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file' to which the Sunday Times refers might be the tip of an iceberg. Certainly that would make sense of the paper printing a story so out of kilter with its proprietor's sympathies.

David Habakkuk

CWZ, arbogast,

Thanks to CWZ for the link to the Military Intelligence Museum. I will certainly make a point of visiting it when am next in that part of the world -- and will watch out for the Queen's ducks! Re arbogast's point about homophobia. Much of the codebreaking strength in British intelligence actually went back to the fact that the Director of Naval Education in 1914, Sir Alfred Ewing, had been an engineering fellow at King's College Cambridge. One result was the recruitment of 'Dilly' Knox, who was also involved in that somewhat weird King's College gay culture -- having been the lover of the economist J.M. Keynes at Eton. Before the war he had been working on an obscure (and bawdy) Greek poet called Herodas. In fact the change of job was less puzzling than it looks. A lot of early cryptographers were classicists -- trying to texts from damaged papyri with key parts missing was not so different from trying to reconstruct a code from messages where you knew a piece of what was said but not all.

Knox married his secretary in the Admiralty, and I think stayed codebreaking after the war only because she did not like Cambridge. Perhaps she wanted to keep him away from his gay friends! The interest in bawdy Greek poetry paid off when he conjectured that the four letter keys used by German operators to set their Enigma machines might well be German obscene words or girls' names rather than more secure random selections. His breaking of the Abwehr machine code was central to the deception operations -- Mincemeat and Fortitude South -- which made the great Allied amphibious operations in Sicily and Normandy possible.

Turing's work was of course the beginning of a new style of doing cryptography, dependent on mathematics and computing. A particularly lovely quote comes from a letter he wrote before the war, in a letter to his mother, who was apt to ask him what use his work was. It runs:

'I have just discovered a possible application of the kind of thing I am working on at present. It answers the question 'What is the most general kind of code or cipher possible' and at the same time (rather naturally) enables me to construct a lot of particular and interesting codes. One of them is pretty well impossible to decode without the key, and very quick to encode. I expect I could sell them to H. M. Government for quite a substantial sum, but am rather doubtful about the morality of such things. What do you think?'

My old man -- from a less bizarre Cambridge college -- was at Bletchley at the start of the war, before they cracked the major codes. Not being either a linguist or mathematician, he moved on -- and so missed by far the most exciting times!

Cold War Zoomie

Time to use a tried and true CYA exit borrowed from the scientific fields...

Results are inconclusive, and more is research required.

Back to the bane of my exsitance: documentation.

Ugh.

bourbon

http://sibeledmonds.blogspot.com/2008/06/sibel-edmonds-case-dennis-hastert-to.html

For those that had read the Vanity Fair article, note the recent moves by former speaker Hastert.

bourbon

Two posts from the "Let Sibel Edmonds Speak" blog of note:

http://letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com/2008/07/court-documents-shed-light-on-cia.html

http://letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com/2008/07/central-asia-islamization-cocktail.html

Col. Lang, Are familiar with a "Nationalities Working Group" run out of Zbig's NSC, and into the Reagan years?

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