issue Forty nine
Published 29 June 2007
From the Editor:
Eye Spy 49 contains the news behind
several important stories that have made the front pages of many
newspapers in recent weeks. Other material, like the resurrection of
the Trans-Atlantic bomb plot has not really surfaced. One publicised
story concerns the recent jailing of the so-called 'Harrow Gang'.
They were involved in the 'Gas Limos Project' - a UK-USA terror plot
targeting prestigious locations such as the New York Stock Exchange
and several London landmarks. Eye Spy's feature looks at the
intelligence work that led MI5 to all the suspects, from coded notes
in library books, false documentation, specialist training, hire
cars etc. Hundreds of officers were involved in fascinating
'detective work' that allowed police to thwart a series of attacks
that would undoubtedly have
resulted in casualties.
Not so-well publicised was a joint UK-USA Special Forces operation in Afghanistan. Renowned author Damien Lewis provides an exclusive look at a surveillance mission that could only be conducted by military intelligence. Packed with rare photographs of the operation that involved SBS (Special Boat Service) officer, a CIA agent and a US SEAL, these men ventured deep into 'Death Valley' to provide coordinates for an al-Qaida training camp. But what did they find?
For our Tradecraft feature, we look at the important work of Couriers. If you thought they simply delivered intelligence, think again. They are an integral part of the 'espionage wheel', and few intelligence services could operate without using such people.
And I'm especially indebted to John F. Sullivan a 31-year CIA career veteran who spoke with Eye Spy about his controversial book - Gatekeeper. Sullivan was a senior polygraph examiner who tested over 5,000 individuals. Polygraph is a tradecraft that examines if a person is being truthful, but can it
provide absolute evidence alone? Not according to Sullivan - a view which seems to have upset the folks at Langley!
An overview of Eye Spy 49 follows....
TURNING QUEEN'S EVIDENCE THE 21/7 LONDON BOMB TRIAL
Hussein Osman, 28, one of the 21/7 terrorist suspects, has reportedly confessed to his part in the attempted suicide bombings in London 2005. Osman said he was 'bullied' into helping the gang. Furthermore, he has allegedly 'offered to talk to MI5' - a move that could provide the Security
Service with valuable intelligence about al-Qaida. Six people are accused of trying to detonate a series of bombs in London just 14 days after terrorists killed 52 commuters on the London transit system.
There's also an interesting look at the alleged leader of the gang and bomb maker - Muktar Said Ibrahim
WORLD OF INTELLIGENCE COURIERS AND COMMUNICATIONS
A person gathering, distributing or receiving state secrets is often described as a spy. It's an
emotional term and one not fully understood. In reality, the word 'spy' is only used when a person is exposed or found guilty in a court of law. That does not mean a person can't be suspected of spying. The media uses the word 'spy' to encapsulate just about everyone working in the intelligence
industry, including a 'courier'.
From secreting information out of a country concerning atomic programmes, to journeying thousands of miles across remote landscapes to deliver money or materials to intelligence agents in the field, couriers are an important 'cog' in the machinery of espionage and intelligence gathering.
The meaning of the word courier - associated with spying, intelligence gathering, terrorism, organised crime and military operations - is multifaceted and diverse. Used in this context, a courier is more than just a person or a messenger traveling in haste and bearing urgent news, important reports, packages, diplomatic messages, etc.
Eye Spy examines the dangerous tradecraft of an intelligence courier, his associates, including access agents and how conveying important messages or materials - often by hand - is still as important today as it ever was...
EXTRACT: The 'life-span' of some couriers is time-sensitive, and it doesn't always make sense to run an operative until his luck runs out. It's also a fact that the well-being of a courier is less important than the spy, spy handler, spy ring or operation. Some agencies will actually 'terminate' a courier, thus negating any possibility they will fall into enemy hands and compromise a network or operation.
Types of Courier
In the intelligence world, there are various types of couriers. The Tactical Courier is an operative, agent, or a trusted 'party' that is employed by a legitimate company in a specific location. They have an 'area of operation': a country, state, city or even within the confines of a large company headquarters. The courier in this case, must be in a position to pass and receive information without attracting the attention of work colleagues or other security services. They must also have the ability to perform tasks in a legitimate manner and be able to meet their handler or, if required, other operational couriers. Occasionally this means a liaison with unidentified people or parties. Working as a taxi driver, sales executive etc., affords access to meeting points and won't trigger suspicion. Such personnel must be
accessible at all times and have the ability to perform with impunity....
TAPPING THE INTELLIGENCE BAN ON USING WIRETAP EVIDENCE IN COURT LIFTED?
Plans are afoot to end the ban on the use of tapped telephone calls as evidence in court.
Some members of the security services are undecided about allowing intelligence gathered on the telephone to be heard in this manner, primarily because officials fear trade secrets about listening operations could be revealed. At present, a UK jury does not hear evidence gathered via the
phone, however, other information, such as surveillance data from the bugging of a home or car can be presented in court. Besides Ireland, the UK is the only major western nation that maintains such a stance. In the United States, telephone taped evidence is often used in premier court cases
involving terrorism and organised crime...
JFK AIRPORT - THE CHICKEN FARM PLOT
SLEEPER CELL INFILTRATED BY THE FBI
Four men detained in June are accused of plotting to ignite a major fuel depot and pipeline that runs through some of the most heavily populated areas of New York, eventually culminating under John F. Kennedy International Airport....
According to Eye Spy sources, the mastermind behind the audacious plot is US citizen Russell Defreitas, 63. Officials believe he has links to an extremist group that tried to overthrow the government of Trinidad in 1990. The former Guyanan had worked at JFK for a cargo company contracted to JFK until 1995, and the FBI say he actually 'hatched the plot' a decade ago. He
was arrested at a Brooklyn diner and is in US custody. Two other suspects (both Imams), Kareem Ibrahim and Abdul Kadir, a former member of Guyana's Parliament, were arrested in Trinidad and will fight extradition to the United States, their lawyer, Rajid Persad, told a Trinidadian court. Investigators revealed that Kadir was detained just minutes before he boarded an airliner to Venezuela. The day before, surveillance officers had been monitoring him as he returned from a flight from Guyana....
THE MISSION TO RESURRECT TRANS-ATLANTIC PLOT
A highly secret, and little-reported undercover surveillance operation against an al-Qaida sleeper cell in the south of the Germany, has led to a major increase in the number of air marshals accompanying US flights. Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Frankfurt Airports have been mentioned by
security sources connected to the investigation, though other airports have also been identified. Security patrols have been quietly stepped-up at various terminals because of new fears al-Qaida is set to launch a major multi-aircraft bombing campaign.
Some flights, deemed 'high risk', are carrying as many as six marshals in an effort to thwart any attempt to detonate bombs or prevent hijackers from taking control of the flight deck. Intelligence sources believe the proposed coordinated attacks are not too dissimilar to the trans-Atlantic bomb plot thwarted by MI5 and Scotland Yard in August 2006. 'If an al-Qaida plot has been stopped, the group will wait patiently until it can be resurrected,' an intelligence analyst told Eye Spy. 'It doesn't matter where and when that occurs.'
The sleeper cell was identified monitoring the US Patch Barracks base - also the headquarters for EUCOM. Patch Barracks is one of four US military installations in and around the city of Stuttgart.
RETURN OF COLD WAR GAMES
Scotland Yard point Litvinenko 'death finger' at former KGB officer - he blames MI6.
British police have requested that Moscow hand-over former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi - wanted in connection with the death of Aleksander Litvinenko, in London last November.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken MacDonald, announced that the Metropolitan Police had sufficient evidence to charge Mr Lugovoi with 'deliberate poisoning'. Within days of the request, Lugovoi held a press conference and accused British Intelligence of 'covering the facts' and of
recruiting Litvinenko as an informant.
EXTRACT: Unlike other forensic evidence, radiation is something that can't simply be washed away - the officers had plenty of time to gather information.
Lugovoi's reaction to news that Britain had formally asked Russia to extradite him was immediate: 'I did not kill Litvinenko, I have no relation to his death and I can only express well-founded distrust for the so-called basis of proof collected by British judicial officials.'
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.
MI5 WATCHERS, COMMS' AND COUNCILS
Alan Turnbull, creator of the fascinating Secret Bases website, examines a number of unusual and surprising 'happenings' involving British Intelligence
In May 2007, reports started to emerge that the Streatham (London) garages used by MI5 to service
its vehicles had been completely abandoned and operations moved elsewhere! The innocuous narrow back-street facility was first mentioned a quarter of a century ago, by journalist and author Duncan Campbell. A few years later, Campbell was even filmed outside the main gates for a television
documentary. Surprisingly, MI5 ignored the publicity and continued to 'tune' the fleet of cars driven by Britain's official 'watchers'.
In May 2005, with clearance from the Defence Advisory Committee, Eye Spy ran a series of intelligence-based articles called 'Secret Britain'. Authored by Turnbull, 'Watching the Watchers' provided a unique insight into some of the UK's lesser known secrets - including the Streatham facility.
But with an expanding service and new nationwide centres, MI5, it appears, has decided this
exceptionally busy part of London, can no longer cope with demand. A look at the old MI5 site, and a fascinating report on GCHQ's attempt to build a new facility - rejected by a local council. Eye Spy investigates....
THE FEMALE TOUCH
PATRONISING OR COMMON SENSE?
British Intelligence Drive to recruit more females
MI5 has recently used part of its recruitment budget to take out a series of adverts in the media... and on London transport. More interesting, however, adverts have started to appear in female gymnasiums and health clubs - emphasis here on attracting physically fit people ideal for street
surveillance and operations.
Yet the real role of intelligence gatherers is still clouded by the perception that working for MI5 or MI6 is a dangerous occupation. In the summer of 2005, Spooks showed the violent death of two female operatives (one was shot in the back and the other had her head dunked in a pot of boiling fat). Observers believe these scenes most certainly had a detrimental affect on recruitment: so much so, that MI5 planners quickly paid for adverts in the women's magazines She and Cosmopolitan. And for a
time, the adverts worked. However, since then, female recruits have fallen away again, and with a new series of Spooks showing in Autumn 2007, MI5 planners are again trying to dispel the myths - with emphasis on 'family friendly'.
INTEL MERCY MISSION AT DEATH VALLEY - SPECIAL FORCES SURVEILLANCE
'Analysis of satellite imagery had led US military intelligence to conclude that this was a massive terrorist training camp. In front of the villages lay a flat, open area, where US spy planes had observed, 'terrorist training and unarmed combat sessions'...'
Renowned international author Damien Lewis exclusively reveals how a small unit from Britain's elite Special Boat Service (SBS), a US Seal on attachment to the SBS, and a lone CIA agent battled against an executive decision green-lighting a massive USAF air raid in Afghanistan that would
bomb 'the enemy back into the Stone Age'. Photo analysts had determined an area near the fabled Valley of the Kings was being used as a terrorist camp - but was this really the case?
Five years after this extraordinary incident, Lewis, author of the acclaimed books - Bloody Heroes Cobra Gold and Certain Death, provides ample evidence that in modern warfare special forces are as much intelligence operators as warriors.
EXTRACT ONE: In the briefing at Bagram Airbase the US officer had been crystal clear. The British Special Boat Service (SBS) troops were to guide in the, 'mother of all air strikes against the mother of all terrorist training camps'. This was going to be the biggest air assault of the war and the enemy was going to be, 'pounded back into the Stone Age'.
That was the theory, but it was the execution of those orders that would prove impossible for the six SBS soldiers, one CIA agent and a US SEAL tasked with the mission.
In the cold, thin air of the hostile and remote mountainous terrain, choppers couldn't fly over the 12,000-foot peaks, and there were no roads. So Joe Morrisey, the SBS mission leader, volunteered his unit to walk in, carrying all their gear for a week-long mission on their backs: their weapons and ammo, spying and communications kit, food, water, and survival equipment.
It was the Spring of 2002 and the target was adjacent to the Sha-i-Khot - the Valley of the Kings - scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the war. This is Afghanistan south of Kabul, the Taliban's stronghold, where British and allied troops are now deployed....
EXTRACT TWO: It might look that way on satellite photos, but not to Joe and his team on the ground.
CIA Bob pointed out that there'd be hell to pay, if they called off the air strikes at the eleventh hour. 'Lot of big egos involved,' he pointed out. Senior people would have staked their reputations on this mission.
But there was no way they could back the bombing of the valley, because that would be a massive war crime. From their vantage point they videotaped the funeral, just to ensure they had the evidence to hand to back their analysis.
DOORS CLOSED ON HARROW GANG
INTELLIGENCE THREADS DISABLE UK-USA TERROR PLOTS
Seven terrorists were jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on 15 June 2007 for a total of 136 years following a joint MI5-Scotland Yard investigation. Officials admitted it was the biggest counter-terrorism operation in British history. The seven men - associates of convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot -
were found guilty of charges including conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life. Sentencing the men Mr Justice Butterfield said: 'Barot was the instigator of this terrorist planning, he was by some considerable distance the principal participant in the conspiracy.'
The seven, who pleaded guilty in April, were all involved in a plot better known as the Gas Limos Project (one proposed operation involved using high status Limousines to penetrate security - the vehicles would be packed with explosives and detonated). Targets identified by the gang included the New York Stock Exchange and the World Bank in America; the Heathrow Express, Tube trains and a tunnel under the River Thames in England.
A look at how MI5, Scotland Yard and the FBI carefully identified the senior member of the Harrow Gang and linked them with mastermind Barot and his Gas Limos Project'. A fascinating insight.
Eye Spy looks at how Mossad secreted Asgari out of Iran and explains why this is about as good as it gets for MI6, Mossad and the CIA.
POLYGRAPH EXAMINER SPEAKS TO EYE SPY
For over thirty years John F. Sullivan plied his trade as a senior polygraph examiner for the CIA. Using lie detectors, guile and hard-earned respect, Sullivan belonged to a special division some times described as the agency's gatekeepers, preventing foreign agents, unsuitable applicants and employees guilty of misconduct penetrating or harming the world's biggest intelligence service. Before that, Sullivan spent five years in the US Army, learning Russian and German and being trained as an agent handler. During what many would describe as a lifetime with the CIA, Sullivan conducted over 5,000 polygraph tests. Regarded as one of the world's most experienced polygraph test examiners, Sullivan believes the polygraph test is more 'art' than science. His career in the 'Company' was not without controversy, and his forthright comments about polygraph testing often led to heated debate with colleagues and superiors. After working in numerous 'theatres' in 40 countries, Sullivan retired in 1999 to the outskirts of Washington DC.
Gatekeeper is an honest attempt to describe the work of a polygraph examiner, but of course, prepared by a CIA officer, and focusing on 'delicate' issues, it was bound to raise an eyebrow or two in Langley. Sullivan provides case examples and conflict within the polygraph division, but when the dust settles, the CIA may actually benefit from the author's subtle, yet no-nonsense overview of a lifetime playing 'cat and mouse' with thousands of subjects. If nothing else, Gatekeeper shows polygraph does
work, if used in conjunction with other tactics.
Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine caught up with John, a private man who has not always seen eye-to-eye with colleagues at the CIA. His views are forthright and unedited...
The sensors will alert a major control centre if radiation is detected entering the city. Previous security efforts have tended to focus on dirty bombs being smuggled into the city's port or dockland areas, but the new measures seem to indicate that the security services are concerned about a device being built within the United States and transported by road.
$20 ERROR - FORT DIX PLOT
FBI surveillance operation 'outs' suspected New Jersey al-Qaida umbrella terrorist sleeper cell
On a freezing day in January 2006 a group of men huddled outside in the car park of a Circuit City electronics store in New Jersey. After some deliberation, two of the men entered the shop and stood at the counter. They handed a young shop assistant a mini-cassette tape from a camcorder,
together with a $20 bill and requested it be transferred to a DVD. There was nothing wrong in the transaction, of course, until the staff sat down and watched the tape. Red flags were immediately raised.
As the men wandered around the store patiently waiting for the DVD to be made, the shop assistants looked at each other as the tape displayed scenes of loud gunfire at a target range. Some of the men were screaming 'God is great!'
The FBI were soon on the trail of an authentic terror cell...
EYE SPY DIY 5
CREATE YOUR VERY OWN INEXPENSIVE PORTABLE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS
Eye Spy presents a few ideas for placing and using a variety of covert cameras. These DIY projects eliminate the need to purchase ready-made products such as 'surveillance clocks' and 'book cameras'. With a little imagination, a camera can be used over and over again to suit your
EXTRACT: The first element in creating your system is choosing the correct camera for the application needed. Microvideo cameras come in many shapes and sizes with various lens types and ratings. There are, however, some important rules.
The style of lens on the camera will influence how the camera can be used, as it is affected by factors such as lighting, field of view and the desired installation method. For basic surveillance applications the conical pinhole camera is small and easily mounted behind or inside objects. If a wider
field of view or better light collecting capabilities are needed, the standard microlens may be better suited. The pinhole camera is the most popular as the lens is just 1/64th of an inch and can be mounted inside or behind almost anything.
The drawbacks are smaller field of view and the results can be affected by low light conditions. Field of view is very important in capturing details in a scene such as a recognisable face or licence plate number. Too much scenery in a recording could result in a great loss in detail, so you must
first decide between wide angle or a narrower field of view...
WARM SUN - DARK SKIES
INTELLIGENCE WORLD DISCUSSES BIGGEST FEAR
Under sunny June skies in Miami, security experts from around the world discussed a dark scenario - the use of nuclear and radiological materials by terrorists. The week-long event - 'Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Law Enforcement Conference', organised by the FBI, saw a gathering
of nearly 450 speakers and delegates from law enforcement, intelligence, and security professionals from nearly 30 countries.
One interesting subject raised at the conference was the rumour Osama bin-Laden has managed to get his hands on a nuclear bomb... true or false?
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
TOP KGB DEFECTOR HONOURED BY UK
Whether a remarkable stroke of timing or complete coincidence, Britain has honoured the most high-ranking Soviet spy to defect to the West. This amidst growing tensions between London and Moscow. Oleg Gordievsky is appointed Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) 'for services to the security of the United Kingdom' - in the Queen's Birthday honours. It is the same honour as held by his fictitious counterpart James Bond. 007 producer Ian Fleming chose to make his dashing star a CMG in the hit movie - you guessed it - From Russia With Love...
UK COMPANY - LINKS WITH IRAN'S BOMB
Details have emerged that Britain has closed down a UK-based firm after investigators discovered a link to Iran's nuclear bomb programme
MYSTERY OF TURKISH AIR CRASH
Two people who died when their light aircraft crash in Turkey - enroute to Iran - were under surveillance by intelligence officers. Turkey's MIT agency believes there is a nuclear connection with Tehran
An elite Indonesian unit captures one of the world's most wanted terrorists
FARCE AND FINANCE
A UK inquiry into Iran's taking of British military personnel in March, describes the handling of media relations a 'farce'. A second classified inquiry blames the Royal Navy for not fully understanding the threat posed by Iran
STILL OUT IN THE COLD
A former KGB officer now residing in the UK who once worked for MI6 believes Russia has sent agents to kill him
A former senior CIA counterterrorism officer says 'rendition' flights have damaged relations between some European countries and the United States
A new intel programme that quickly transcribes foreign scripts such as Arabic into English, is set to help analysts across the world decipher even coded messages
According to a former Chinese diplomat - 1,000 Chinese spies are operating in Canada
Egypt has accused a former nuclear employee of passing secrets to Mossad
MORE CHINESE SPIES
The FBI crack a Chinese spy ring suspected of passing submarine secrets to Beijing
Austria arrests two people of suspected espionage - one an alleged officer of the FSB
In a move described as 'absurd', Iran arrests three US citizens and accuses them of spying
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