issue Forty Eight
Published 18 May 2007
From the Editor
Some people have criticised MI5 for allowing two of the 7/7 bombers to 'slip under its radar'. This follows a Security Service disclosure that another gang had meetings with lead 7/7 terrorist Mohammed Khan at least 12 months prior to the London bombing. In its defence, MI5 said that they believed that Khan and his colleague Tanweer, were 'outside' the plot they were investigating. That 'plot', of course, involved bombing targets in London and bringing down an airliner on top of the capital. It's easy to criticise, and with hindsight, MI5 probably should have informed local police officers
after they followed Khan back to Leeds. Nevertheless, a decision was made to focus on the 'fertiliser plot' and a further 55 suspects in southern England. Eye Spy has two exclusive reports from Beeston, Leeds, the home of the 7/7 sleeper cell, and the 33,000 hour surveillance operation that netted
members of the gang dubbed - the 'Crawley Mob'.
Another fascinating feature - 'Art of Distraction', has been carefully prepared by our own consultants - many of whom have first-hand experience in the espionage industry. Besides obvious forms of distraction, this tradecraft can be delivered in a subtle or powerful manner; it can involve
individuals, or many people, be used indoors or outdoors. Nearly always it is devious, deflective and carefully crafted. There is usually an ulterior motive for its use. A distraction technique was almost certainly used to deflect UK and USA attention away from some strange goings-on in the waters
off Iran. However, they are not always on such a grand scale, and can be much simpler in delivery. This is a first-class examination of this multi-faceted tradecraft and is a must for enthusiasts and specialists
There's just enough space to mention our DIY feature. You won't want to miss these tricks... first we reveal how to make a relatively secure tape recording only you can hear; the second project will enable you to make a through-wall listening device, and finally the same piece of equipment can
be used in the construction of a parabolic microphone.
An brief overview of Eye Spy 48 follows....
ANTI-TERROR CHIEF LAMBASTS INFORMANTS
It's not often one of the UK's most seasoned and experienced anti-terrorist leaders speaks publicly about intelligence-led raids. It's even more unusual when he accuses unnamed persons of deliberately leaking operational details to the media - just hours before MI5, Scotland Yard and regional
anti-terrorist officers conducted a most important raid.
Obviously deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Counter-Terrorism Command is not willing, nor really could he, name and shame the individuals involved. However, it's clear that before police arrested nine suspects in Birmingham on 1 February, at least two phone calls
were made to a media contact and details given about the circumstances of the operation. Sources say that a journalist even travelled to the city on the eve of the operation (31 January) to make sure he was 'first on the scene'. It's also likely that a government official briefed another journalist before the raids occurred.
THE 7/7 HOUSE OF CARDS
Lengthy undercover operation aided by MI5 agents results in arrest of three men... all charged with 7 July conspiracy - Iraqi-based 'planner' detained by CIA
It was an inevitable happening - more arrests in connection with the July 2005 London terrorist attacks. However, for many senior 'journalists' and media analysts who believed the four men acted independently, the raids in Leeds came as a 'shock.' To residents, it was another reminder that their
streets are still under surveillance. To seasoned police investigators and the Security Service, the operation was expected.
EXTRACT: While the suspects must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, Eye Spy has learned that several more persons, and not necessarily resident in the UK, are under surveillance. More arrests will follow as the complex and meticulous planning behind the attacks unfold. Three key questions have been answered - was a senior al-Qaida commander controlling the operation, and did the 7/7 bombers have liaisons with the 21/7 suspects and the group - recently found guilty of plotting numerous attacks in the south of England? (see Operation Crevice) The answer is a resounding yes to
all three questions. If the intelligence is correct in relation to the recent police operation, then the 7/7 gang were far from being the 'isolated individuals' or 'clean skins' described by Britain's major news company based in London.
22 March 2007
A 20-month MI5 operation ended prematurely as three prime suspects allegedly involved in the 7/7 London terrorist attacks were arrested in Leeds and Manchester. On 22 March, police officers at Manchester Airport arrived unannounced and surprised their airport colleagues. As the airport's huge
CCTV system was trained on International Departures, undercover officers waited at the check-in desk of Pakistan Air flight PK702 - Manchester to Islamabad. At exactly 1.00pm, as two men checked-in their luggage and went airside, officers from Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist division quietly led
them away via a side door. It was the culmination of a huge surveillance operation, that had to be ended prematurely.
A full report in Eye Spy, plus details of the arrest of 7/7 planner Nashwan abd al-Razzaq.
WHILE THE CAT'S AWAY
RUSSIAN ESPIONAGE AND DISTRACTION
As MI5 focus on intelligence battles with terrorists, Russian espionage reaches Cold War proportions...
According to British counterintelligence officers, at least 30 'diplomats' based at the Russian Embassy and trade mission in London are actively engaged in gathering intelligence. However, other sources believe this is a very conservative estimate.
While many officers are engaged in trying to acquire UK technological and military secrets, some FSB officers are reportedly operating agents to monitor a number of Russian dissidents who are actively opposed to President Putin, including billionaire Boris Berezovsky. With demonstrations against
President Putin happening more regularly in Red Square, the Russian intelligence services are increasingly 'edgy'...
THE SCIENCE OF SPYING
MISSING THE VITAL INGREDIENT?
London's prestigious Science Museum is currently hosting an exhibition about spying, but have
organisers missed a golden opportunity to impress upon youngsters the importance of intelligence?
One commentator described it as the 'world's largest interactive spy exhibition,' with budding visitors entering the world of espionage through a secret door. 'Experience the latest spy gadgets and techniques in the Spymaker Technology Centre as you begin to find out about the plans of the
shadowy organisation OSTECK.' Interactive games allow visitors to test a few gadgets and solve a few puzzles, but in reality, the exhibition may have missed a trick or two.
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, recently retired MI5 Director-General, visited the museum to formally open the exhibition on 8 February. Dame Eliza said:
'I was delighted to be invited to open the OScience of Spying' exhibition. The entertaining programme of exhibits and activities introduces children and parents to some important issues facing our society in the 21st century. Some of the themes of the exhibition are at the forefront of the current
work of the Security Service (MI5)...
FRANCE DGSE WARNED OF AIRLINE PLOT IN JANUARY 2001
Analysing lots of bits of information is a difficult task. It's like flying over a landscape full of fields - all sectionalised and with different boundaries. You know exactly what they are, but you can't make out exactly where it is. A newly acquired set of French DGSE reports leading up to 9/11, and packed with valuable intelligence, reveals just how frustrated analysts must have felt on the morning of 11 September 2001 - the clues were plenty, but it was impossible to see the bigger picture
EXTRACT: Journalists from France's Le Monde newspaper have acquired over 300 classified documents prepared by the intelligence service DGSE, referencing an 'airliner hijack plot' against the United States. Interestingly, the files, dated January 2001, allegedly show the DGSE notified the CIA that it believed Osama bin-Laden's terror group was working on an operation to hijack US airliners.
The documents, dating predominantly from July 2000 to October 2001, includes a report, dated 5 January 2001, that notes al-Qaida has been working on an airline hijacking plot for months. The title page read: 'Plan to hijack an aircraft by Islamic radicals'. It further references a terrorist gathering
attended by the al-Qaida leader, Taliban and Chechen militants in Kabul, Afghanistan in October 2000. It is believed the 9/11 operation was 'green-lighted' at this meeting. The terrorists discussed the possibility of hijacking a plane after takeoff in Frankfurt, Germany, one document said, citing Uzbek intelligence. A note listed potential targets: American, Delta, Continental, and United Airlines, Air France and Lufthansa. The list also mentioned 'US Aero'. To-date, analysts are still unsure what this phrase meant. As it transpired on 11 September 2001, two US aeroplane companies - United and American, saw airliners hijacked.
Uzbek intelligence apparently gleaned the information from Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord from the Uzbek society battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. He had sent his spies to infiltrate al-Qaida training camps. Dostum is the current chief of staff of Afghanistan's army....
33,000 HOURS OF SURVEILLANCE NETS THE 'CRAWLEY MOB'
Five members of an al-Qaida sleeper cell dubbed the ;Crawley Mob', have been convicted for their part in a huge UK terror plot. All the men have been jailed for life. Omar Khyam, Anthony Garcia and Waheed Mahmood will all serve a minimum of 20 years' before they are considered for parole (if they
were given determinate sentences this would amount to 40 years).
Jawad Akbar and Salahuddin Amin both will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years' before they are considered for parole (if they were given determinate sentences this would amount to 35 years'). If they are ever released, they will be on life licences. The judge at the trial of the men described them
as 'cruel and ruthless.'
EXTRACT: One surveillance operation led Crevis officers to an Access storage facility in Hanwell, near Heathrow Airport, west London. In November 2003, a van arrived at the storage facility containing over half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. One of the gang also purchased an aluminium compound
that would help ignite the fertiliser. This was tucked away in a biscuit tin in a garden shed. MI5 placed three surveillance cameras in the facility, including one in lock-up number 1118. Meanwhile Scotland Yard inserted an undercover officer codenamed 'Amanda' at the front desk in the reception
Crevis officers still had to tie in some of the leading Crawley Mob suspects with the ammonium nitrate fertiliser in Hanwell. Then came a breakthrough, Omar Khyam visited Access and asked for key 1118 - an MI5 surveillance camera taped him as he inspected the sack. It was a clear link and a defining moment.
With mounting speculation that the gang was about to strike, undercover officers visited the storage facility and switched the fertiliser with another 'harmless substance'. Meanwhile MI5 officers liaised with NYPD, Pakistan's ISI and Canadian police over suspected gang members....
MI5 STATEMENT: 'Since the 7 July London bombings, a number of rumours and misunderstandings have emerged concerning investigations into the bombers and their links to other extremists, particularly the fertiliser bomb plotters. The Security Service addresses a number of these rumours and provides the facts behind the myths.'
THE WAITING GAME
AL-QAIDA PLANS TO 'SHAKE THE ROMAN THRONE'
Back-to-back British Intelligence assessments warn of a massive terrorist operation currently being devised by al-Qaida commanders in Iran and Afghanistan. References to Hiroshima and Nagasaki appear in the reports...
EXTRACT: ....Al-Qaida's 'self-appointed' commanders are under pressure to pull-off another significant attack in the West.
In recent months security officials on both sides of the Atlantic have tried to predict where these attacks might occur, how they will be actioned, and what they will entail in terms of explosives or other kinds of devices. Eye Spy learned of a secret UK anti-terrorist exercise involving the 'hijacking of a ferry'. The event took place last year but details of the operation were kept away from the media. Neither the ferry operator or the Special Forces involved desired publicity. US security officials have performed
identical counter-terrorism operations. 'Smart' units have been established in various coastal facilities ready to react to any kind of maritime hostage or hijack situation. Similarly, some security specialists have warned that al-Qaida has discussed embarking on a hostile mission - basically over-powering the crew and taking hundreds of passengers hostage. A 2002 terrorist operation involving a passenger ferry travelling from Spain to England was thwarted by Spanish intelligence. In this case explosives were to be detonated while the ship was far out at sea.
That 'proof' appears fairly weighty, but some would argue much of it is circumstantial. Scotland Yard found traces of Polonium-210 - used to kill Litvinenko - in several locations visited by Lugovoi in London, and on three British Airways aeroplanes using the Moscow to Heathrow route. They even
found radiation on a seat at the Arsenal Football Club ground. It just so happened that the seat was the one used by Lugovoi. The Russian insists he had been contaminated by his presence near Litvinenko.
TRADECRAFT - THE ART OF DISTRACTION
Distraction - it's one of the most subtle, yet important weapons in the armoury of a spy, but increasingly some of the tradecraft used for hundreds of years is being adopted by terrorists, organised gangs and simple crooks. Eye Spy looks at the multifaceted tradecraft known as 'distraction'
EXTRACT: Moving such a consignment of drugs, let's say from the Caribbean to Amsterdam, requires a great deal of planning. Transport, personnel, storage, documentation, and counterploys are a high priority. Both the sender and receiver will have connections, thus believe it or not, trust plays a major
part in a criminal operation. When the stakes are so high, criminals will often seek out a weak link in the administration of both ports. Clearing cargo, documentation and customs is difficult, and tough new regulations can present problems. Criminals will select the best day to sail, perhaps when security is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sea traffic incoming or out-going, or if officials can be 'turned', then it doesn't really matter. If the paperwork is 'good', then clearance is authorised. Sometimes the ship is 'clean', but once at sea, it will be met by a 'go fast' carrying vessel. The drugs are moved aboard at sea.
In many cases, the vessel will not sail directly to Amsterdam, it will call at various ports 'picking up' non-consequential goods, or even legitimate cargo. The merchandise may even be switched to another vessel at sea. But on the final approach to Holland - the most dangerous part of the journey - the
drugs cartel will deploy a distraction tactic. Information is passed on to the authorities (using legitimate sources), that a ship carrying $1 million of cocaine will try and dock at another Dutch port. The ship may or may not be carrying the drugs. But attention is focused away from the primary vessel - it's a maritime distraction method that is used time and time again.
2007 ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION
GLOBAL MAP SHOWS AL-QAIDA'S REACH
15 YEARS AFTER FIRST WTC ATTACK - INTEL DATA MAKES UNCOMFORTABLE READING
A UK minister recently told an audience that using the phrase 'war on terror' results only in a 'coming together' of groups. Her remarks were discounted by security officials. A quick look therefore at the number of countries battling the terror group and a startling reminder that al-Qaida poses a danger to all people - irrespective of colour, race, religion or creed....
IRAN SPY GAMES
Propaganda war erupts as Iranian intelligence outmanoeuvres UK to distract attention away from vital waterway
Iran's hostage taking in the Shatt al-Arab waterway on 23 March provoked a furious backlash in Whitehall. Behind closed doors senior officials blamed each other for not predicting, or acting upon an illegal act of military aggression. According to many Eye Spy sources, Iranian intelligence out-manoeuvred its British counterparts and lured the UK sailors and Marines into a spider's web. Heavily outnumbered, and looking down the barrel of RPGs and other weaponry, the servicemen were taken hostage after completing a routine search of a cargo ship. Furthermore, and not fully reported upon,
HMS Cornwall, a superior Royal Navy vessel and the sailors' home ship, was an astonishing 11 miles away. Many commentators were puzzled why Cornwall did not respond, the truth is, the ship was simply too far away. In London, military analysts asked how a 'bunch of Iranian thugs' could capture sailors from a highly professional navy that prides itself on planning.
Iran simply flexing her muscles... upset at losing a number of high-ranking officials to the CIA? These are two reasons put forward by officials, but there is a third... the operation was a distraction to allow 'materials' into the country, after all, Britain suspended all search missions for several weeks thereafter.
Eye Spy investigates....
TRADECRAFT - BUGS
WHEN YOU NEED TO KNOW
An Eye Spy Tradecraft feature on the use of transmitters, countermeasures and solutions - plus a few trade secrets
EXTRACT: For those working in the intelligence or security business acquiring good quality audible data is an art: preparation is everything, though when the time comes to 'click' the record button, any one of a number of factors may conspire to dent your objective. Good fortune often plays a part, but an operative tasked with securing audio data will never rely totally on equipment. Machines are always liable to 'play up', but there are steps that can be taken to lessen the chance of failure. It's worth
remembering also that in the intelligence game - there are occasions when an operation can be played out but once, and failure is not an option.
When an operative or agency seeks to glean 'audio intelligence', much research must be done beforehand. There are a number of important factors that are assessed before a team leader decides upon the type of equipment that can or will be used. And there are numerous devices available to
government agencies. Both MI5 and MI6 have specialised branches where scientists continuously seek to create transmitters and ultra-powerful recorders. These technical units are often called upon to manufacture devices for a specific task. 'Unconventional' is a word that is often used in London.
Tapping and Taping
Successfully acquiring a warrant for a telephone intercept means that the security services can 'listen and record' conversations on that line from a central station. In a growing investigation, it's likely that the authorities will need to monitor more lines. This is because other 'callers' or Oreceivers' may become 'persons of interest'. All numbers are automatically identified and, if the data demands, a further electronic intercept warrant may be requested.
Faced with the task of tapping a telephone or intercepting an e-mail, the security services must endeavour to show good cause to apply for a warrant. And for those in America who believe its spy agencies are too active in this area look away now... the UK data may be simply too much to consume...
Nearly 440,000 official requests for communications' data were made by various UK agencies in a fifteen month period spanning 2005 - 2006. The requests' related to telephone calls, faxes, e-mails and ordinary letter post. The data, contained in the first report ever by the Interceptions of Communications Commissioner, also listed about 4,000 errors. The report's author - Sir Swinton Thomas, ended by saying the figure was 'unacceptably high'....
EXTRACT TWO: The loft is a favourite location to place advanced and 'long-situ' bugs. The area is usually powered and various cables can be run between rooms. Loft insulation and domestic clutter are good 'concealers'.
Devices are sometimes dropped down wall cavities - but powered from the loft area. Telephones can also be physically tapped from here by unscrupulous buggists...
EXTRACT THREE: Bugging doesn't just take place in the home or office - vehicles are targeted everyday. Technology has afforded the buggist numerous opportunities - including monitoring your vehicle as it makes a journey. Eavesdropping on conversations anywhere in the world costs as little as £200 ($400). A cell phone positioned behind the dashboard means it can be called silently and the microphone opens.
There are a few countermeasures available that can help thwart such actions. Knowing what to look for helps - if the cell phone (car Enigma) is attached to the battery - a powerline can be identified by a garage technician. You yourself can peek behind the dashboard....
EYE SPY DIY 4
FOR YOUR EARS ONLY
Eye Spy presents three DIY projects using a tape recorder that will allow you to make recordings only you can hear; devise a cheap through-wall listening device and make a parabolic microphone for hearing long distance sounds.
PROJECT ONE: Making recordings only you can hear. This project is an absolute must for producing recordings made by a slight adjustment to recorders - works every time.
PROJECT TWO: Purchasing a through-wall listening device can be expensive. With the help of a couple of cheap products from any DIY shop - you can turn a recorder or MP3/4 player into a useful listening device.
PROJECT THREE: Build a parabolic microphone. This project is outstanding in that it requires only a few basic components - namely a microphone, garden plant or cooking bowl and a metal coat hanger. Simple but very effective.
CODES AND CIPHERS
Signals Intelligence, SIGINT, and Information Assurance, INFOSEC, are modern terms for what used to be called COMINT and COMSEC and, in the same way that we of the old school of thought use OMI-5' and OMI-6' for, respectively, the UK Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service, we will in this series of articles about clandestine communications use the popular but
EXTRACT: Spies need to communicate in secret, whether that communication is between an agent and his or her control or between control and the 'head office'. It is obviously of vital importance that such communication, be it written, verbal or electronic, is done in a secure fashion and since time
immemorial codemakers and codebreakers have vied for supremacy in these arts. It is the job of the first group, the COMSEC specialists, to create a communications system that is both secure and facile: for the second, the COMINT teams, to read such communications without access to the secret keys or even knowledge of the methodology being used.
COMSEC at its most basic level comes in two flavours: codes and ciphers. Though the two are quite different in principle and use, each is often confused with the other in the minds of the general public, by the popular media and by many others who should know the difference.....
JOINT TERRORISM ANALYSIS CENTRE
A look at Britain's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) based at MI5 headquarters.
SECURING TRANSIT HUBS
A British-built security system is being used to detect explosive devices on passengers boarding the Staten Island Ferry at the St. George Terminal in New York. Defence contract company QinetiQ - has installed its SPO-20 security screening system designed to detect explosive devices concealed
under people's clothing without asking passengers to slow their pace.
LONDON POISON GAS TEST
Security officials released harmless gases at St John's Wood station on the London Underground, to see how toxic gas would spread if a chemical or biological weapon was detonated. The media was kept away from the station.
Officials released sulphur hexafluoride, a non-toxic odourless gas in the building as specialist equipment measured its drift and flow. The gas is regularly used in similar studies to monitor the flow of air around stations.
CODEMAKING AND BREAKING
THE ENCIPHERING TELEPRINTER MACHINES
David Hamer looks at the real birth of electronic cipher machines.
EXTRACT: Britain's codebreaking specialists at Bletchley Park gave the codename 'Fish' to the overall teleprinter traffic and the codename 'Tunny' to the material enciphered by the Lorenz SZ40/42. While BP codebreakers concentrated on Tunny, Swedish codebreakers successfully attacked T52 and its traffic, codenamed Sturgeon.
The first real breakthrough into Tunny traffic occurred on 30 August 1941, when a cipher clerk in Vienna sent a long message - four thousand or so characters - to his opposite number in Athens. When he had finished this formidable typing effort, he received a reply which was the German
equivalent of 'I didn't get all that. Please send it again!' So he did - using, against all established principles of cipher security, the same machine settings that he had used for the first transmission. He also used a number of abbreviations [e.g. 'Spruchnummer' became 'Spruchnr', etc.]. This egregious error was the chance for which BP was waiting and a team headed by Colonel [later Brigadier] John Tiltman deciphered the message in short order.....
LISTENING TO IRAN
ELECTRONIC INTERCEPTS REVEAL IRAN'S 'SHORT SHARP SHOCK'
When Iran took 15 UK servicemen hostage in the Shatt al-Arab waterway on 23 March, Britain's signals intelligence gatherers and a highly specialised military unit were called upon to assist. Utmost in their minds was trying to establish who kidnapped the men, why and where they were taken and how
long the men may remain captive. It became evident quite quickly that Iran was behind the operation. In London, all efforts were made to glean signals intelligence and intercept any Iranian communications referring to the incident and hostages....
IRAN AFFAIR - TURNEY'S BOGUS LETTERS
A look at how Iranian intelligence created hostage Faye Turney's letters to her family
Scotland Yard have reportedly gathered sufficient evidence to formally charge a key suspect
AL-QAIDA'S RACE FOR THE BOMB
George Tenet, former head of the CIA warns Osama bin-Laden will stop at nothing to obtain a nuclear bomb
21/7 bomb trial Failed 21/7 bomb suspect Manfo Asiedu tells a court he defused bomb in apartment
EGYPT ARRESTS 'ISRAELI ATOM SPY'
Egyptian security services have charged Mohammed Sayed Sabar Ali with passing atomic secrets to Mossad agent
FBI's INTELLIGENCE MOVE
The Federal Bureau of Investigation makes huge move towards improving national and international intelligence gathering potential
NUCLEAR WHISTLE-BLOWER IN TROUBLE
Israeli authorities convict Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear scientist, of speaking to journalists
THE DOMAIN PROJECT
FBI warn corporate companies of increase in foreign espionage
NEW NRO SATELLITE LAUNCH
The NRO is set to launch a powerful new 'dual satellite ocean surveillance' mission to monitor terrorist ships
THE 60KM SNIPER
Britain acquires an advanced GPS guided missile launcher capable of striking targets upto 40 miles away. The system is being deployed in Afghanistan in the fight against Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists
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