issue Forty two
Published 15 August 2006
INTELLIGENCE REPORT CONFIRMS LONDON ATTACK PLAN
As reported two years ago in Eye Spy, the skyscrapers in Canary Wharf London and Heathrow Airport were targeted by al-Qaida terrorists. An official intelligence report prepared by America's Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dated 16 June 2006, confirmed the UK security services foiled a plot to hijack an airliner and use it as a missile against the buildings.
The plot is one of four planned attacks that were ultimately thwarted by MI5 and Scotland Yard between 2004 and 2006. It is believed some men already in detention in the UK are connected to the gang[s]. The report provides basic details of nine specific attempts (not including 9/11), whereby al-Qaida has planned to use aeroplanes as projectiles (not all hijacked). Eye Spy learned that MI5 surveillance officers in London had also 'mapped' aircraft overflight areas around Heathrow Airport. This followed intelligence from France that stated a ground-to-air missile or RPG may be smuggled into the UK by boat.
FROM SMALL ACORNS
FBI STING DISMANTLES SEARS TOWER PLOT GANG
While several men discussed plans to 'kill all the devils we can,' beginning with the destruction of Chicago's towering Sears skyscraper and the FBI headquarters in Miami, little did they know their movements, antics and conversations were being monitored by government undercover surveillance officers. According to a federal grand jury indictment, the group intended to create more chaos and terror than that caused by al-Qaida on 11 September 2001. One primary problem for the men, who reside on the eastern seaboard of America, is that they had no weapons, explosives, funding or 'know-how'.
The FBI has a formidable reputation in apprehending major players in the crime world. However, for those who believe the service has little or no experience in terrorism, think again. Terrorism is multi-faceted and since its creation, agents have often found themselves dealing with operations that fall into the terrorist category. The FBI is famed for its 'sting operations' - often used to thwart crime and wrong-doing well before it occurs, and it is experience gleaned in decades of work in this field that is now having an impact against those operating in the murky underworld of terrorism.
PINK CIRCLES AND HONEYTRAPS
Newly released documents from Britain's National Archives, reveal the full story of how the KGB ensnared a British diplomat and turned him into an important spy for Moscow. The case of John Vassall was played out in court in the early 1960s, but the official intelligence documents revealing what prompted him to turn traitor have until now remained secret. However, the scandal caused fascination during Prime Minister Macmillan's reign.
In September 1962, at the height of the Cold War and the emerging Cuban Missile Crisis, John Vassall, who worked at the British Admiralty, concealed an official government document on his person, and prepared to deliver it to his Soviet spy handler. Unfortunately for him, the CIA had warned MI5 that the Admiralty had a spy in its midst. The Americans had been provided with the intelligence from a Soviet defector. It was the beginning of the end of Vassall's extraordinary journey into espionage.
The archive papers reveal a plethora of fascinating facts on how Vassall was trapped in a compromising situation in Moscow as he neared the end of his tour at the British Embassy. Just before then, he had written to his friend to explain his exciting lifestyle and work in the diplomatic Corp.:
'It is all immensely interesting... I shall never forget the many unusual and extraordinary happenings that go on here which must come to few people.' Unfortunately for Vassall, he was unaware just how 'exciting' things were about to get.
AIR FORCE ONE
ONBOARD THE 'FLYING WHITE HOUSE'
Air Force One is probably the most famous aeroplane flying today. Most people are aware of its primary passenger - America's Commander in Chief, but very little else. Eye Spy examines its fascinating history, superb command centre, and its surprising defences...
The current presidential airborne carriers - yes there are actually two 'Air Force One's' - use advanced radar and anti-crash technology, state-of-the-art navigation, have various defence options including electronic counter measures and radar jamming systems to block and confuse incoming missiles. If that doesn't work, the crew can eject flares to attract heat-seeking missiles. In case it needs to stay airborne for a few days, it also has the capability for in-flight refuelling. Special shielding has been added to protect the aircraft from missiles. It's also rumoured Air Force One could withstand electromagnetic pulses from a nuclear blast. It is a spectacular aeroplane.
Besides carrying the American President, government officials, US Secret Service officers, a doctor, lawyer, chef, hairdresser and make-up artist, both aircraft are fitted with computers enabling those on board to communicate with Washington or anywhere else - regardless of weather conditions or location. If an incident takes place while the president is airborne, he must have the ability to make decisions. It really is a 'flying White House'. Eye Spy takes a look at the history of Air Force One.
THE BIG SQUEEZE
FRENCH INTELLIGENCE ARREST FORMER MI6 OFFICER
On 27 June, ten French detectives and two Special Branch Police officers, raided the home of renegade MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson. The incident is a new development in the bitter dispute between Tomlinson and MI6 - the Secret Intelligence Service.
The 42-year-old has been residing in Europe ever since his war of words with officials representing MI6 went public. The arrest came just four months after he launched his own website (Tomlinson v MI6) and announced - 'let the games begin' - they appear to have started in earnest.
Few details have emerged why the raid was conducted, but the government believes Tomlinson posted a listing of some 200 names of MI6 officers on the internet, a charge he vehemently denies. Eye Spy examines the background of this murky affair.
7/7 - THE FIFTH BOMBER
MI5 EXAMINING EVIDENCE THAT A FIFTH BOMBER 'PULLED OUT'
Those who chaired the parliamentary closed-door meetings that rejected the idea of a 7/7 support network, a fifth bomber, and a 'controller' will be proven wrong, according to highly placed intelligence sources. Indeed, friends of bomber Shezhad Tanweer have already spoken to journalists about the 'fifth member'. The friend allegedly said: 'They [the four bombers] were supposed to meet him but he never turned up. Because they were on a time schedule they left without him. His brother had talked him out of it.
'They [the explosives found in Luton] were supposed to have been for him...' Scotland Yard are now examining this information, but the unidentified man changed his mind just hours before his friends made their way to London in the early hours of 7 July. Investigators believe his 'non-appearance' could explain why several unused bombs were found in a vehicle at Luton train station.
THE MEDIA AND SPOOKS
IS THE PRESS A SECURITY LIABILITY?
The intelligence services, acting on government instructions, are increasingly conducting operations that some editors and media commentators deem wrong and probably illegal. Meanwhile, government ministers and even presidents have accused the mainstream media of threatening national security by publishing details of on-going intelligence operations.
In times of conflict, the media often acts like a conduit for national propaganda. The BBC can be cited as a classic example during WWII often bending the truth to keep the public spirits high. Few would disagree with these actions. Today, major newspapers and television stations are controlled or owned by persons who have their own political agendas and bias, but when the nation is threatened, even those who oppose government policies, prime ministers and presidents, set aside their differences and work to a common theme - at least most of them.
Providing information to the media via press statements and scheduled conferences is a useful exercise in investigation, diplomacy and good manners. But 'information flow' is a two-way affair. Just how much information to impart to the public and media is still a subject of debate. But the newspaper and television industry is a cut-throat business and one scoop can generate extra finance and great acclaim. So what happens therefore, when an 'intelligence whistleblower' approaches a journalist with a story that is controversial and previously unknown? It often depends on how friendly the managing editor is with, for example, 10 Downing Street's press secretary, or the White House spokesperson. Naturally, legal advice is sought, but in some cases calculators appear - how much additional revenue will be raised by 'a story' against the fines that might be incurred or an injunction for publishing tales of murky dealings, exposing undercover lives, or relevant to this magazine - on-going or projected intelligence operations?
In recent months at least three major in-situ intelligence-led operations have been 'outed'. Some politicians believe that such actions are 'treacherous', but is that really the case? Mistrust is now commonplace in several countries, indeed, in Germany its security services actually embedded spies in several newspapers and magazines 'to keep an eye on things'. Eye Spy examines the reasons why both entities need each other and what could happen if relations break down altogether.
Al-Qaida Sympathisers try join Security Service
As Scotland Yard's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke announced that British anti-terrorist services are engaged in a staggering 70 operations on the UK's mainland, MI5 sources revealed that al-Qaida sympathisers have tried to infiltrate the Security Service by finding employment in Thames House. Eye Spy has also learned that the number of suspects under surveillance in the UK has reached 1200. These three factors have stretched MI5 and Scotland Yard's undercover units to breaking point, and many intelligence watchers believe another terrorist outrage in the UK is 'very probable.'
ART OF CONCEALMENT
THE BRIEFING ROOM II
Terrorists, crime gangs and sometimes ill-advised citizens often try and outsmart the security services by using methods 'lifted' straight out of the manuals of Britain's WWII Special Operations Executive Office (SOE) and America's Office Strategic Services (OSS), to smuggle drugs, guns, jewellery and monies across borders. The WWII agents had a different agenda, of course, but criminals are now finding that they can adapt tins, teddy bears, audio speakers and even Bibles just as skilfully to try and hoodwink customs guards.
Our photographs is evidence enough that the art of concealment is still as cunning as ever, but for the perpetrators caught in possession of these items, only four walls awaits!
PLOT TO ATTACK NYC TRANSIT SYSTEM THWARTED
Lebanese security officials raided several addresses in Beirut and arrested three 'senior players' alleged to have been planning an audacious and bizarre attack on Lower Manhattan. FBI officers working with their counterparts in Lebanon had identified eight people who used the internet to communicate and discuss various methods of attacking the financial district of New York. The group's plan was double-edged - to kill as many people as possible and at the same time, cause disaster and disruption in the city's financial area.
The group's leader, 31-year-old Assem Hammoud, also known as Amir Andalousli, a Lebanese native, is alleged to have told colleagues, that by using explosives in the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) railway tunnels under the Hudson River, the results would be incredible - thousands would be drowned and killed - the city and country would suffer financial meltdown.
According to intelligence sources, the terrorist operation was due to take place in October or November.
The fact that the security services acted to disrupt the attack - considered to be in its early planning stage - is an indication that 'prevention and pre-emptive strikes' are being given priority, rather than allowing lengthy surveillance operations to run.
Using first-hand intelligence sources, Eye Spy reports on a most bizarre plot to attack, tunnels, trains and Wall Street.
THE REAL CODEBREAKERS
MAKING AND BREAKING CODES THROUGHOUT HISTORY
The National Cryptologic Museum [NCM] recently received from world-renowned author and cryptology expert Dr David Kahn his large library collection comprising a wide spectrum of printed works on cryptology and its history. The collection also includes examples of some of the original manuscript material used by Kahn in the writing of his seminal work, The Codebreakers, which was published originally in both the US and Britain in 1967. This edition of course predates the release of much of the now-declassified information on ULTRA - the codename for the output of the joint Polish/French/UK/US codebreaking effort centred [in Britain] on Bletchley Park, at Arlington Hall [in the US] and other locations throughout the WWII theatre of operations. A revised and slightly expanded edition of the book appeared in 1996. Some of the material from this collection was recently introduced to the NCM display.
David Kahn's donation to NCM also includes two examples of cipher machines designed and built by American crypto-pioneer, Edward Hebern - one machine originally given to Kahn by Hebern himself: the other from Hebern's estate following his death in 1952.
Eye Spy takes a detailed look at this historic collection and provides a 'research route' that allows NCM visitors to examine some historical books and documents.
CODEBREAKING COMPETITION FOR EYE SPY READERS!
Codebreaking is still one of the most important jobs conducted by intelligence officers - it's a specialist task. Codes have been created and used for hundreds of years - passing vital information to colleagues and other nations. If a code is broken, an adversary will undoubtedly benefit. As technology advanced, computers made codebreaking easier, though it wasn't always that simple. Mathematicians and early analysts spent huge amounts of time manually sifting through words, numbers and even picture combinations. The more complex the code, the more time and effort was needed to break it.
David Hamer has produced two cryptograms which readers are invited to crack. The first one has been described as 'easy'! The second has a higher degree of difficulty. As a point of interest, the first carries a significant clue to solving the second. Solve the puzzle and send in to the offices of Eye Spy in the UK or USA. The first five correct entries will receive a quality intelligence book.
THE ROOM AND CIRCLE
HISTORIC INTEL MEETING ROOM WRECKED IN BLAST
In an extraordinary quirk of fate, one of the most important meeting points for a secretive group of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's confidants, including US spies, intelligence strategists, authors, leading businessmen and military officials, was destroyed in a deliberate gas explosion in New York City on 11 July 2006.
The explosion at 34 East 62nd Street, on the Upper East Side, was heard many streets away. Ten firefighters were hurt as debris and shards of glass rained down on the men as the four-storey period building collapsed. Inside the debris, detectives and emergency workers found Dr Nicholas Bartha, a 66-year-old internist who lived and worked in the $7 million building. Badly burned, and in severe shock, Bartha was barely alive but died later.
The destruction of the building signalled the end of a meeting place known simply as the 'Room'. It was here that a group of prominent people quietly met to exchange opinions and discuss intelligence that had been gathered for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, prior to and through much of World War II. It's unlikely that Dr Bartha realised that his actions had destroyed one of the most significant and clandestine locations associated with the modern era of US intelligence.
'I'm amazed,' Phillip Knightley, a historian who has studied the group, said. 'It's just intriguing that a place would be blown up that has such a connection to the birth of American intelligence.'
Eye Spy examines the history of the room and reveals some of the famous names who met in secret to discuss international affairs, espionage and military matters - plus a plethora of world famous people who delivered lectures to the men known as the 'circle'.
TRACKING TERROR MONEY
RAISING, LAUNDERING AND MOVING TERROR MONEY
In this fascinating and educational feature (part of Eye Spy's unique 'Understanding Intelligence' series, Eye Spy Associate Editor Kevin Coleman examines how terrorists are financed.
Besides the obvious dangers, operating an active terrorist group is time consuming and expensive. Those charged with its leadership must find money to fund activities. In order to keep operations covert, the trail, often created between money-making schemes and direct funding, must be travelled in ways that make it difficult for the authorities to trace.
Terrorist financing (TF) is the process of illegally disguising the transfer of money with the purpose of obscuring the origination, ownership or control of the financial assets, or promoting an illegal activity with illicit or legal source funds.
Why track terrorist finances?
In recent years there has been an upsurge in terrorism. Many terrorist operations have been successfully accomplished. Governments are seeking to block and identify the financiers of groups such as al-Qaida and their numerous 'franchises'. Without some form of financing, such groups could not function properly, especially when planning major attacks. Most security services believe it is crucial to uncover the 'bankers', though acknowledge it is impossible to block or trace all monies. However, measures have been taken to track and drastically reduce income. What activities are used to raise money and how it is filtered to groups and individuals. Watching the 'terror bankers' are government agencies. How do they track illegal activities and what can be achieved by tracking financing patterns?
Eye Spy reveals the intricate methods used by increasingly adapt and cunning terrorist financiers.
Readers can apply for a questionnaire about this feature and earn a certificate in intelligence understanding of tracking terrorist money.
A LOOK AT THE HOME OF MI5
The Security Service has its headquarters at Thames House, a Grade II listed building at the corner of Millbank and Horseferry Road in central London. It overlooks Lambeth Bridge, a few hundred yards south of the Houses of Parliament.
The Secret Intelligence Service's distinctive 'ziggurat' building at Vauxhall Cross, meanwhile, which is often mistaken for the Security Service's headquarters, is located on the other side of the River Thames near Vauxhall Bridge - notes MI5!
Designed by Sir Frank Baines, the Principal Architect of the Government's Office of Works, and constructed in 1929-30, Thames House was built on the site of a poor, run-down district that was widely regarded as a slum (in the words of The Times, 'a reproach to Westminster'). Today it hosts MI5 - one of the world's most famous intelligence services.
HOW SPIES ARE CAUGHT
Espionage is said to be the second oldest profession. (For those who have to ask, the oldest is prostitution.) Like the oldest profession, the basics of espionage really haven't changed much over the past two thousand years. But there are a number of newer developments in the kinds of people involved, the information they seek and how they accomplish their shadowy task.
Espionage is a high-risk criminal offence. The traitor must fear arrest for the rest of his or her life. In the United States, for example, the statute of limitations does not apply to espionage, it's usually the same in most countries. Former National Security Agency employee Robert Lipka was arrested in 1996 - 30 years after he left NSA and 22 years after his last contact with Soviet intelligence.
There are four principal ways by which spies are detected:
¥ Reporting by sources within a foreign intelligence service
¥ Routine counterintelligence monitoring
¥ Tip from a friend or spouse
¥ Their own mistakes
Eye Spy examines each scenario and explains why even brilliant spies are eventually caught - like Aldrich Hazen Ames...
THE TEN-YEAR CIA TRAITOR
He was arrested by the FBI in Arlington, Virginia on espionage charges on 24 February 1994. At the time of his arrest, Ames was a 31-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who had been spying for the Russians since 1985. Arrested with him was his wife, Rosario Ames, who had aided and abetted his espionage activities.
Information and thoughts from real spy catchers!
JACK THE RIPPER
NEW EVIDENCE MAY HOLD CLUE TO IDENTITY OF VICTORIAN
LONDON'S INFAMOUS SERIAL KILLER
Scotland Yard's 'Black Museum', a famous collection of crime memorabilia, has been added to by the loan of a book that appears to contains a handwritten clue that some experts believe solves one of the world's greatest mysteries - the identity of London's 'Jack the Ripper'. It was presented to the museum by the great grandson of the lead detective in the Victorian investigation.
A series of murders in 1888 - 1891 in London's East End were investigated with increasing urgency by Scotland Yard. The murder victims were all women, and were linked by gruesome disfigurement by the perpetrator, who was never identified. The murderer became known as Jack the Ripper because of a letter sent to Scotland Yard, apparently by the murderer himself. Because of the ways in which the victims were mutilated with a sharp knife or scalpel, medical knowledge or skill at wielding a knife has become one of the criteria for suspicion.
The four main suspects can be listed as:
Kosminski , a poor Polish Jew resident in Whitechapel. Kosminski was certainly suspected by the head of the C.I.D. Dr. Robert Anderson, and the officer in charge of the case, Chief Inspector Donald Swanson.
Montague John Druitt, a 31-year-old barrister and school teacher who committed suicide in December 1888; Probably the strongest suspect in Macnaghten's mind.
Michael Ostrog , a Russian-born multi-pseudonymous thief and confidence trickster, believed to be 55 years old in 1888, and detained in asylums on several occasions. Ostrog was arrested and imprisoned before a report was compiled.
These three men were nominated in a report by Sir Melville Macnaghten, second in command of the CID. They were named in a report dated 23 February 1894, although there is no evidence of contemporary police suspicion against the three at the time of the murders.
Dr Francis J. Tumblety, 56 years old, an American 'quack' doctor, who was arrested in November 1888 for offences of gross indecency, and fled the country later the same month, having obtained bail at a very high price. Tumblety, was stated to have been 'amongst the suspects' at the time of the murders and 'to my mind a very likely one,' by the ex-head of the Special Branch at Scotland Yard in 1888, ex-Detective Chief Inspector John George Littlechild. He confided his thoughts in a letter dated 23 September 1913, to the criminological journalist and author George R Sims.
Scotland Yard acknowledge that: 'The list is contentious for those who have studied the case. Arguments can be made against all of them being the culprit, and no hard evidence exists against any of them. The police were at no stage in a position to prove a case against anyone, and it is highly unlikely a positive case will ever be proved.'
That stance might be about to change with the new evidence.
TALKING WITHOUT WORDS
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
The KGB were experts in using ordinary everyday objects and situations to make contact with agents, inform them of a meeting, and to receive answers from on a specific subject. Eye Spy presents a selection of images that communicate various messages. This technique can be adapted or shaped by any spy.
UK THREAT LEVELS
DETAILS OF NEW UK THREAT LEVEL MODEL
The British Government has unveiled details of its new system of threat levels as part of an effort to make the nation's security system clearer and more useful to the public. Currently, the threat level is severe. The new guide streamlines the old seven-point threat-level method down to five levels. Full explanatory details in Eye Spy.
HIT TO KILL
US INTERCEPTOR SHOOTS DOWN 'ROUGE MISSILE'
The Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a developmental flight test of a major element of its ballistic missile defence system on 12 July 2006 at the White Sands Missile Range. The interception of a 'rogue missile' in near space, came just seven days after North Korea launched eight rockets, including a multi-stage projectile that could strike the American mainland. Intelligence analysts are confident that the Korean rocket had been preprogrammed with coordinates to strike the Pacific island of Hawaii and the huge US naval base. US intelligence also reported a delegation of Iranian rocket specialists were present in North Korea to observe the launches.
Full story and the implications for America's fast-tracked 'Star Wars' programme.
CIA SPY FLIGHTS
ITALIAN SPY CHIEFS ARRESTED
Marco Mancini head of Italy's Sismi's military counter-espionage unit (Sismi), was briefly arrested following a police operation in connection with the alleged kidnapping of cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who was then reportedly flown to Egypt for interrogation.
According to Mancini's solicitor Luigi Panella, he has admitted the CIA did ask for Sismi for its assistance to kidnap a terrorist suspect in Milan in 2003, but he refused on the grounds that it was illegal.
The move is evidence enough that some elements in Sismi did afford assistance to the CIA.
Eye Spy looks at the widening rift between the Italian Government and its premier spy agency.
REAR-VISION SURVEILLANCE SUNGLASSES
Years ago rear-view sunglasses came with mirror attachments (interior and exterior) and were difficult to adjust if the mirrors moved or the target suddenly changed direction or crossed the street. Users had to make exaggerated head-movements to keep the target under observance and they were clumsy and easily spotted by experts. How things have changed. Eye Spy only stocks the metal-framed built-in glass mirror type. They are remarkably good and a particular favourite with the FBI and US Secret Service. For the public, they provide added personal security.
When you need to know what's happening behind you, 'pop' the glasses on. They become your third eye and can help avoid making unnecessary moves or situation stops during a surveillance. They work well in most lighting conditions allowing you to monitor targets in a cafe or building - though avoid using at night.
Full review in Eye Spy 42
SPECIAL OFFER - BUY TWO PAIRS AND RECEIVE THIRD FREE
Also in Eye Spy 42
END OF ALEC STATION. The CIA announce that the special unit assembled in 1996 to capture Osama bin-Laden has been closed down. Known as Alec Station, after the son of station head Michael Scheuer, members have been absorbed into other divisions.
FORMER SPY TO SUE. 'Outed' former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, have announced they plan to sue the US Government after Plame's name was leaked to the press.
IMPROPER RESEARCH. Jane Harman, serving member of the US Intelligence Committee at the House of Representatives, asked Euan Blair, son of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to write a research paper on whether MI5 could work more effectively in America than the FBI...
END GAME. The Chechen terrorist behind the Beslan school massacre has been killed by an undercover FSB agent. Shamil Basayev died when a vehicle packed with rockets and ammunition exploded.
FBI WMD FOCUS. The FBI announced it is creating a new specialist investigative team to analyse the threat of WMD attacks against the United States.
LOST AND FOUND. A secret Ministry of Defence file containing details of the UK's anti-terrorism responses was found in a ditch by a member of the public. The file also contained contact numbers for ministers and SAS details.
NEW NRO SPY SATELLITE. The National Reconnaissance Office launched a top secret satellite in June.
SECURITY CLEARANCE. What is meant by 'security clearance'? Who gets it and why.
MI5 COMMENTS ON ESPIONAGE. The latest thoughts on spying against and its allies by MI5.
UNDERCOVER BOOK RELEASES. The latest intelligence, espionage and related books
EYE SPY SPECIAL EQUIPMENT.
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