Thursday, March 24, 2005

Borderline Insanity

By Mark Krikorian

The National Interest
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President Bush has pledged to expend political capital to pass an immigration plan that would legalize illegal aliens currently in the United States as "temporary workers" and import an unlimited number of new workers from abroad--something he reiterated in his State of the Union address. One of his principal arguments has been that such an initiative would enhance America's security by allowing enforcement authorities to focus their efforts more narrowly, by shrinking the haystack that the terrorist needles are hiding in. To use a different analogy, a guestworker or amnesty program would deny terrorists cover by draining the pool of ten million illegal aliens and ensure that an ongoing flow of foreign workers comes through legal channels.

On the surface, this appears reasonable. Terrorists have indeed benefited from our lawless immigration system. A 2002 study by the Center for Immigration Studies found that the 48 Al-Qaeda-affiliated operatives in the United States from 1993 to 2001 had compromised virtually every facet of the immigration system. Mass illegal immigration creates a large market for frau dulent documents, allowing the 9/11 hijackers, for instance, to amass more than sixty U.S. driver licenses. Mass illegal immigration also overwhelms the resources available to law enforcement, creating the conditions whereby Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, a Palestinian who was part of the 1997 conspiracy to bomb the subway in Brooklyn, was actually caught by the Border Patrol but was released into the United States on his own recognizance because of inadequate detention space. Even in a more general sense, the transience created by mass illegal immigration helps terrorists. As the New York Times noted about Paterson, NJ: "the hijackers' stay here also shows how, in an area that speaks many languages and keeps absorbing immigrants, a few young men with no apparent means of support and no furniture can settle in for months without drawing attention."

Nor is this merely a retrospective problem. There are persistent reports of Middle Easterners illegally crossing the Mexican border amid the ordinary mass illegal flow. They are classified by the Border Patrol as OTMs, Other Than Mexicans. Though opponents of strict immigration enforcement frequently claim that no terrorist has sneaked across the border, this is no longer true: Mahmoud Kourani, "a member, fighter, recruiter and fund-raiser for Hizballah", according to the federal indictment against him, and brother of the terrorist group's head of military security in southern Lebanon, was brought to Mexico and then the United States by a smuggling ring specializing in Middle Easterners. Even more disturbing have been intelligence reports, of uncertain validity, that Al-Qaeda has already sent Chechens across the Arizona border and that it has approached a Central American gang called Mara Salvatrucha about smuggling operatives into the United States.

So shrinking the number of illegal aliens living in the United States, reducing the flow of new illegals and generally restoring order to our anarchic immigration system are clearly security imperatives. But can a guestworker program achieve these goals? It cannot. Support for such an approach is premised on two basic assumptions that turn out to be false.

The first assumption is that the Department of Homeland Security has the administrative capacity to properly screen and track millions of currently illegal aliens and millions more new foreign workers. Such an assertion is laughable to anyone with even a passing familiarity with our immigration bureaucracy. Even before 9/11, the old Immigration and Naturalization Service was choking on mass immigration. Last year, Eduardo Aguirre, head of the new agency that handles immigration services, told Congress:

"In any typical work day, our workforce of 15,500 (one-third of whom are contractors) will: process 140,000 national security background checks; receive 100,000 web hits; take 50,000 calls at our Customer Service Centers; adjudicate 30,000 applications for immigration benefits; see 25,000 visitors at 92 field offices; issue 20,000 green cards; and capture 8,000 sets of fingerprints and digital photos at 130 Application Support Centers."

And despite this effort there is still a backlog of four million immigration applications of various kinds.

Rather than identify the mismatch between mission and resources as the reason for this overload, Congress hit upon a massive bureaucratic reorganization as the solution to this and many other problems, leading to the dissolution of the ins. But the construction of the new Department of Homeland Security has proceeded so badly that the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, two Washington, dc-based think tanks, have already provided an outline to reorganize the reorganization.

The result of placing the huge additional demands of a guestworker program onto an already overwhelmed and confused bureaucracy would be massive fraud. During the last large-scale amnesty for illegal aliens, passed by Congress in 1986 as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), the number of illegals was smaller than today, and the ins was not undergoing any kind of massive reorganization. But there were still several hundred thousand people who were improperly legalized. Applicants claiming to have been farmworkers described harvesting purple cotton, digging cherries out of the ground and using ladders to pick strawberries.

Such fraud is not merely aesthetically distasteful; each step up the ladder of immigration status (from illegal alien to temporary visitor to permanent resident to naturalized citizen) affords terrorists additional leeway and opportunities. Mahmoud "the Red" Abouhalima was legalized under the IRCA amnesty, claiming to be a farmworker, even though he was an illegal-alien cab driver in New York. Only once he had secured a green card was he able to travel freely to Afghanistan and get terrorist training, and return to help lead the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

The second claim of those promoting a guestworker program as a security measure is that it will end--or at least radically curtail--illegal immigration. Tamar Jacoby, a high-profile spokesperson for the president's plan, recently instructed: "Think of it as a reservoir or a river we're trying to channel into a pipeline. The problem isn't the flow: We need the water. The problem is that the pipeline isn't big enough." In other words, there is a fixed amount of foreign labor that the American economy demands, and our immigration arrangements accommodate only a portion of that demand, forcing the rest to come in illegally. If only the illegal overflow were legalized, the problem would disappear.

Immigration, however, is very different from what this image suggests. The labor market is not designed for any specific level of immigration, or even a specific number of unskilled jobs. It is not a static system, but rather a dynamic one that responds to price signals and substitutes factors of production when appropriate. Labor is substituted for capital when the price of labor falls (say, through massive importation of foreign workers), and the opposite happens when the price of unskilled labor rises (say, through consistent immigration enforcement). Of course, this is cold comfort to those employers who have relied on the expectation of continued non-enforcement of the immigration law, and they can be expected to fight efforts to restrict the flow of foreign labor. But this is a political problem, not an economic one. The economy would adjust quite easily to a smaller supply of immigrant labor, and the accompanying disruptions would dissipate in short order.

In fact, not only would the guestworker approach not end illegal immigration, it would almost certainly increase it. The largest flow of illegal immigration in our history before the current wave came during the bracero program, which imported Mexican guestworkers during the 1950s and early 1960s. A similar thing happened after the IRCA amnesty of 1986. This shouldn't be a surprise. Immigration always creates more immigration, whether legal or illegal, because it is driven not simply (or even principally) by wage differences but rather by networks--the family and other connections that prospective migrants use to decide where to settle or whether to move at all. Once illegal aliens are anchored here by legal status, and once new workers arrive from abroad, millions of additional people worldwide suddenly will have a connection in the United States, making immigration here a realistic option, independent of their qualification under whatever new rules we impose.

What, then, would a security-conscious immigration policy look like? A long menu of changes is available, but the first imperative is a commitment to enforce the law. Immigration expansionists routinely claim that our attempts at enforcement have failed, pointing to their preferred policies as more realistic and enforceable. But there has never been any serious, sustained effort to enforce the immigration law. In fact, enforcement attempts by immigration agents are routinely discontinued because of political pressure, with the officials responsible sometimes reprimanded or forced into retirement.

The most responsible approach the president could take toward immigration would be to state unequivocally that the immigration law, whatever it may be, will be enforced across the board, and that those involved in its implementation will no longer be expected to cut corners and look the other way. The result would not be a magical elimination of the illegal immigration problem, but rather a sustained reduction through attrition, as fewer prospective illegals make the trip and more of those already here give up and deport themselves. In this way terrorists would be kept off-balance, their conspiracies interrupted, their sources of cover reduced. A massive amnesty and guestworker program would do the opposite, serving only the interests of our enemies.


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Mark Krikorian is Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

U.S. Spying Efforts Remain Troubled

By Siobhan Gorman, National Journal

WASHINGTON — Five days after telling Congress that the emperor had had no weapons of mass destruction, David Kay, who had recently stepped down as the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, found himself lunching just off the Oval Office with President George W. Bush. Kay’s declaration — “We were almost all wrong” in thinking that Saddam Hussein had possessed WMD — had blown apart the president’s chief reason for having gone to war (see GSN, March 7).

Bush listened intently as Kay explained what went wrong: “People connected the dots without collecting the dots. The most dangerous thing you can do is connect the dots when you haven’t collected the dots. You build a universe that is fact-free.”

Although Kay provided an interim report in October 2003, that 90-minute White House lunch on Feb. 2, 2004, is the only conversation he has had with Bush about Iraq’s apparent lack of weapons of mass destruction. Bush interrupted Kay frequently to probe further and “dominated the conversation,” according to Kay, even though Vice President Dick Cheney, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card were also there.

In a recent interview with National Journal, Kay recalled being surprised that Bush displayed no anger over U.S. intelligence agencies’ failure to properly assess whether Saddam had posed an immediate threat. “It’s one thing to say that there were other reasons to go to war,” Kay said. “But that doesn’t stop one from saying, ‘I’m really pissed, and I don’t want this to happen again.’ I would not have controlled my anger — and would have used my anger to push reforms ahead” within the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bush’s subdued reaction contrasts sharply with President John F. Kennedy’s response to being failed by the CIA. After the Bay of Pigs invasion turned into a fiasco in April 1961 because Cuban forces quickly crushed CIA-trained Cuban emigrants intent on toppling Fidel Castro, Kennedy fired the director of the CIA and two other top officials at the agency.

But regardless of how presidents have treated the CIA, the United States has had an embarrassingly poor track record in gathering intelligence through the use of spies. Today, despite the latest wake-up calls — the CIA’s inability to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks or to know that Iraq no longer possessed WMD — the United States’ so-called “human-intelligence” capabilities are only marginally better than they were before the World Trade Center was destroyed, say ex-spies and outside experts alike. The Bush White House, according to a source familiar with its thinking, sees only “pockets of improvement” in human intelligence. And now, two years after the war in Iraq began, some intelligence veterans contend that the situation is worse than it was before Sept. 11, 2001.

If, as expected, John Negroponte, now the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, is confirmed as the first director of national intelligence, he will inherit an intelligence community at war with itself and a spying operation that’s yet to break free of its Cold War mentality. Recognizing that the CIA is reeling from three and a half years of revelations about its failures, the Pentagon and the FBI have moved quickly to try to seize some CIA turf by beefing up their own spying activities.

Negroponte will come to his new job armed with a fresh report on intelligence failures, courtesy of the Silberman-Robb commission, which Bush charged with investigating the intelligence failures that preceded the war in Iraq. The commission plans to report its findings and recommendations to the president later this month.

Yet Kay frets that true reform of human-intelligence operations has “not really begun.” Simply installing a director of national intelligence does not ensure that the right information “dots” get collected, he says.

The CIA was created in 1947 in response to the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor six years earlier. Today, the CIA and the intelligence community that has grown up around it continually monitor every country’s military moves via satellite. The obsession with high-tech tracking of military operations has persisted, even after the Soviet Union’s collapse and after outside analysts such as Paul Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary of defense, began warning in the 1990s that the United States was dangerously neglecting the sort of intelligence-gathering that can only be done by human spies — as opposed to satellites and other gadgets.

The secret to improving American spying “is blindingly simple,” says John MacGaffin, a 31-year veteran of the clandestine service. The transformation must come from both the top and the bottom, he argues. At the top, the director of national intelligence will need to define the unique role that each of the 15 intelligence agencies ought to play in human-intelligence collection and will need to make sure that every agency performs its assigned role. And clear directions from on high will need to be accompanied by commonsense ground-level changes, he says, such as rewriting the rules that govern the recruitment and promotion of spies, getting more serious about language training, and being more clever about how and where spies are deployed abroad.

Bush has responded to the CIA’s manifest shortcomings by directing the agency to develop a plan to increase its roster of spies — currently estimated at 1,100 — by 50 percent. Yet, former CIA agents warn that simply pushing more recruits through the existing pipeline will do nothing to ensure that the CIA or its sister agencies will be able to collect information that is any more reliable.

“Fifty percent more gets you to ‘Stupid,’” MacGaffin grumbles. “You’ll get 50 percent more of what you’ve got now.” The problem, he insists, is quality, not quantity.

Indeed, an important lesson from the U.S. failure to properly gauge Saddam’ Hussein’s weaponry is that ensuring that the information Washington was getting from its spies and their paid contacts was accurate and complete was not given enough priority. Human spying needs to become more-precisely targeted — toward obtaining only information that is absolutely essential and that cannot be gotten any other way. The vacuum-cleaner approach of sucking up and sending along every piece of “information” — verified or not — that’s in the air in a targeted country just hasn’t worked.

As John Gannon, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, puts it, “The solution is strategy and discipline. It’s going to mean fewer human-intelligence resources, not many more.” In Gannon’s vision of a revitalized intelligence community, human spies would make up a “smaller but richer piece” of the pie, not 50 percent more filler.
A New Brand of Spying

The first war against Iraq taught the CIA that post-Cold War spying wasn’t easy. During the Persian Gulf War, then-CIA Director William Webster’s spies recruited a few senior people in the Iraqi army. But Saddam’s inner circle was tight, and the CIA’s turncoats weren’t in a position to know specifics of Iraq’s attack plans. “In that particular situation, I thought we got more information from what we could see from the sky,” Webster recalled in a recent interview. He says that he worried about pushing the few sources he did have too far, for fear they’d get caught and probably killed, leaving the CIA with zero sources on the inside of Saddam’s regime.

After that war, why didn’t the United States work to improve its spy network inside Iraq? “If you look at the pattern after World War I and World War II, we tend to be very optimistic. We conclude we don’t need those people anymore,” says Webster, who retired from the CIA in 1991.

In addition, Americans aren’t fond of the idea of paying government agents to snoop, so elected officials have rarely been pushed to make the United States more proficient at spying. Within intelligence circles, the CIA is continually accused of being mired in a “Cold War mind-set.
But the CIA’s problem is actually more akin to the joke about the man looking for his keys under a streetlamp. Someone asks him why he’s looking there, and he responds, “That’s where the light is.”

The intelligence community recognizes that the biggest threat to U.S. security no longer comes from another government’s secretly shifting troops or weapons around; it comes from terrorist cells under the direction of no head of state. Yet, intelligence officials still aren’t proficient at tracking or cracking terrorist cells, so they cling to tactics that worked fairly well in the old days of fighting communism.

Greg Treverton, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, says bluntly, “We face an utterly different threat that we’re almost perfectly unsuited to deal with.”

Counting tanks and missiles made some sense during the Cold War — though the CIA apparently long failed to grasp that the Soviet Union was headed toward collapse. Osama bin Laden has no tanks or missiles to count. And to the extent that al-Qaeda has “troop movements” to detect, the CIA has not mastered how to do it.

The CIA’s first post-Cold War director, Robert Gates, was quick to shift his resources away from the Soviet Union. In his first years on the job, monitoring Moscow went from swallowing about 65 percent of CIA resources down to just 17 percent, largely because the U.S. redirected some spy satellites, notes University of Georgia international affairs professor Loch Johnson, who has served in a number of advisory capacities to intelligence agencies over the years.

As the CIA was being hit with budget and personnel cuts during the 1990s, some intelligence insiders argued in vain that the United States was going to need the agency to assume new tasks. Gannon, a former deputy director for intelligence, was among those sounding the warnings. But, Gannon says, the government suffered from attention-deficit disorder. Every time he launched a project intended to develop strategies to counter emerging threats, the CIA would be told to redirect its talent toward the conflict of the day. “We wanted to do more long-term strategies, and then there would be a crisis in Bosnia, and off [my people] would go,” Gannon recalls.

Likewise, the war in Iraq is now sucking up much of the CIA’s human resources, says former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, better known as the “anonymous” author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror. “What has changed since 9/11, I think, is not a lot, because of the vast diversion of resources to Iraq,” Scheuer says. “Probably two-thirds of the clandestine service is there. The idea that we have expanded human intelligence probably isn’t quite correct.”

And even if every CIA spy were assigned to fighting terrorism, Scheuer says, “the conditions of looking for human intelligence are so different from the Cold War that just more money and more people doesn’t guarantee you anything.” Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s so-called “Bin Laden Unit,” points to three key differences between then and now.

The first is recruitment of “assets” — locals whom the CIA enlists to steal secrets. Recruiting people on the outer ring of the Soviet government was difficult because they’d been taught to believe that communism was fairer than democracy, Scheuer says. But if a U.S. spy could hook an apparatchik, reeling him in became easier as he rose through the Soviet system and saw rampant favoritism. The difficulty in dealing with Islamic fundamentalism is the opposite, Scheuer argues. It is comparatively easy to recruit people on the periphery of terrorist cells — a group’s document-forger, for example. But as those people spend more time within the cell, they tend to become true believers with no interest in providing information to U.S. agents.

Second, Scheuer says, the United States’ information needs have changed. In the Cold War, the government wanted to get its hands on schematic drawings of Soviet missiles and electrical grids. So, the CIA sought out people who had the inside track on such information. Terrorist cells limit vital information about targets and methods to a tight group within the network; even most members may not have the whole picture, so the likelihood of the CIA getting it is much lower. But terrorists don’t hold all the information the United States needs. Often, U.S. intelligence agencies also need locals who can go where Americans can’t and just describe what’s on the ground — details that are missing from outdated maps and unavailable by satellite, as U.S. soldiers learned the hard way in Afghanistan, where the mujahedeen were literally hiding in the shadows.

Third, Scheuer says, policy-makers must get comfortable with making decisions about terrorists based on less than ideal information. In the Cold War, he estimates, the United States was 70 to 75 percent certain about most of its intelligence estimates. Now, he says, the CIA’s intelligence on terrorist activities and intentions is only about 20 percent “certain.”

In theory, these are the kinds of issues that were addressed in the secret plan that CIA Director Porter Goss sent to the White House on Feb. 16 in response to the president’s demand for 50 percent more spies. The report is classified, but one senior intelligence official called it “an aggressive and detailed plan” that signals “a focus never really seen before.” Yet, a source close to White House officials who have read it says, “There is nothing new or very different about the plan — and certainly nothing to make anyone think it would be any more successful than before.”
Food Fight

As much as he doesn’t like it, David Kay understands the Pentagon’s drive for its own human-intelligence division. “I saw what happened in Iraq,” he says. Soldiers needed intelligence on the motives and intentions of the insurgency, and “the CIA had no answers.”

Had Bush used the Iraq intelligence failure to mandate changes in the CIA’s intelligence-collection branch, Kay says, the Pentagon might have been willing to trust the CIA’s intelligence capability — or would at least have had a tougher time defending the creation of its new spy division, the Strategic Support Branch. Others argue that the Pentagon simply smelled blood in the water after Sept. 11 and Iraq intelligence failures. Still, even if the Pentagon’s intentions are good, Kay says, the Defense Department doesn’t appreciate the “great dangers” of creating a new intelligence agency.

Since Sept. 11, a number of intelligence veterans contend, this country’s human-intelligence capability has actually declined, because the CIA has been distracted by bureaucratic battles. The grab by the Pentagon and the FBI for a larger share of U.S. spying activities abroad has caused considerable confusion among those responsible for collecting human intelligence. “There’s a vacuum in terms of organizational leadership, and some people’s uglier instincts are taking over,” says Winston Wiley, a former deputy director for intelligence who left the CIA in 2003. “You have a sort of food fight breaking out in the cafeteria.” Looking ahead, he says, “The CIA, as it was known in the past, is no longer.”

The confusion and infighting that Wiley sees can damage the quality of the intelligence collected. In fact, it may have already done so. If the trend continues, at some point, the CIA and either the FBI or the Pentagon will try to penetrate the same group, and one agency will slip up and blow the other’s cover — probably getting locals or Americans killed in the process. Or, if multiple U.S. agencies are working with a foreign intelligence agency, the foreigners might play the Americans against each other.

Putting aside the questions that CIA alumni raise about the Pentagon’s espionage abilities, the U.S. military’s freelancing in the spy arena could badly damage relations with U.S. allies. “Try to imagine the Special Forces marching into France without the ambassador’s knowing it,” frets one former CIA spy.

Breaking up the food fight would require the time and sustained energy of both the national intelligence director and the president — at a time when Bush and Negroponte need to keep the intelligence community focused on building a cadre of spies geared toward fighting terrorism, and other threats over the horizon. Negroponte, with Bush’s full backing, needs to work out a clear division of labor within the intelligence community so that agencies concentrate on what they do best. The result, Wiley says, would be a “system of systems” in which the work of each “collection agency” complemented that of the others -—and every agency in the community could trust that it could rely on the others for the information it wasn’t collecting itself.

The CIA would collect human intelligence abroad in an effort to understand U.S. enemies and their strategic plans. But, as one former spy argued, the CIA should focus its limited resources on espionage rather than on peripheral activities, such as covert action and interrogation. “It’s supposed to be the Central Intelligence Agency, not the Central Interrogation Agency,” he said pointedly.

Stretched too thin, the CIA is now dispatching whomever it can to tackle the crisis of the day, the former CIA officer said. “The people we’re sending are not prepared for that. Sending some out-of-shape guy from Paris, dressing him up in Lands’ End clothing, and telling him which end to shoot from isn’t going to do it.”

The Pentagon maintains that it needs its own human-intelligence capacity to support its troops and that it ought to take over for the chubby guy sent out from Paris. The Pentagon would take charge of battlefield intelligence — so-called tactical intelligence — and nothing more.

The FBI would, for now, handle domestic intelligence — although questions remain about whether domestic intelligence collection will ever be the FBI’s strength. Sources close to the National Security Council say that the FBI’s intelligence products are still largely useless, and that bureau officials are more worried about the number of reports produced than about what’s in them. And an internal FBI report uncovered last week by ABC News acknowledges that, despite earlier Justice Department pronouncements about rounding up terrorists in places like Lackawanna, N.Y., “to date, we have not identified any true `sleeper’ agents in the U.S.” For its part, the FBI says that although it may not have uncovered terrorist cells, it has had success in learning about a number of terrorism-recruitment and fundraising efforts.

If confirmed, Negroponte will be responsible for enforcing these clearer job descriptions, but the president will need to publicly emphasize that the intelligence community must improve the quality of its work, says former Representative Tim Roemer, D-Ind., who served on the House Intelligence Committee and the Sept. 11 commission. “He needs to use the bully pulpit to transform the CIA and hold them accountable,” Roemer adds. He said Bush’s feel-good visit to the CIA’s Langley campus last week sent exactly the wrong message. “The message out to Langley shouldn’t be, ‘You are very important, and you’re doing a good job’; it should be, ‘We need to do a better job.’”
Building a Better Spy

The lesson of Iraq that David Kay presented to the president is a painfully obvious one: Your intelligence community wasn’t up to the task of collecting all of the information you needed. Indeed, the lesson of Sept. 11 was, by comparison, comforting: You’ve got all this great information; you just need to figure out how to make sense of it before it’s too late. Together, Sept. 11 and the WMD debacle brought home a daunting truth: Not only is the U.S. intelligence community incapable of figuring out what information it has, much of that information is wrong.

The good news is that the government can do a lot to improve the quality of U.S. spy operations and, more generally, human intelligence-gathering. The bad news is that few of these ideas are new. Indeed, the intelligence community has tried and abandoned some of them, because they are difficult to pull off. The recommendations from those who have spent years stealing secrets fall into three broad categories:

1. Spy like a terrorist. The most frequently discussed proposal is to increase the number of spies who operate under risky “nonofficial cover,” so-called NOCs. The oft-cited reason is: Terrorists don’t go to embassy cocktail parties. NOCs are clandestine officers who pose as nongovernment agents overseas. They often work abroad, posing as anything from an investment banker to a computer-parts salesman. NOCs are expensive and difficult to support, and the CIA has used them sparingly. Such an agent must, for example, put in 14 hours a day as an investment banker and then write up intelligence reports on nights and weekends — and all on a CIA operative’s salary, not an investment banker’s. And as the Mission: Impossible television show put it, if NOCs get caught, the agency will “disavow any knowledge” of their activities.

The CIA has been trying to boost its ranks of NOCs. But it is “running into a brick wall,” reports one former spy who still talks frequently with those inside the agency. The conundrum: What kind of cover do you use to position yourself to spy on an enemy who hangs out in caves?

Instead, MacGaffin recommends a tougher, but potentially higher-payoff, alternative to NOCs. He says that today’s human-intelligence targets require an intelligence officer to openly put himself in a position to collect secrets, rather than pose as a computer salesman and then try to steal information that he’d never encounter while hawking computers.

For example, if the CIA thinks that important activities are taking place at a port in Yemen, the traditional approach would be to place a spy or operative within a peripheral component of the port, where he would attempt to learn what he needed without getting caught. Under MacGaffin’s arrangement, the spy would establish a legitimate, profit-making enterprise that would run the port and, in the process, would have natural access to its secrets. Unfortunately, MacGaffin says, the CIA has not had the “flexibility or expertise” to establish and operate this sort of collection capability — especially if it would turn a profit and thus trigger all sorts of government restrictions.

2. Recruit for the threats of today and tomorrow. Recruitment is the most discussed problem at the CIA. The challenge is quality control. The first problem is finding the right people — those with very specialized skills, especially in Middle Eastern languages, who are willing to risk their lives in the least pleasant corners of the world for a CIA salary.

In a country of 290 million people, a logical step would be to go to, say, the Detroit area, home to the country’s largest concentration of Middle Eastern immigrants, and recruit the best and brightest. Recent immigrants speak their native language, understand the culture, and have ties back home. Yet, the surest way to jeopardize one’s security clearance — and thus become ineligible to work for intelligence agencies — is to travel to the Middle East or, God forbid, to have family there. Public policy professor Amy Zegart of the University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes in intelligence, recounted a recent experience with a talented Middle Eastern student who expressed an interest in working for the CIA and asked Zegart for help. Zegart checked with her CIA contacts. “The message was, ‘Good luck. You’ll never get him through the process,’” she says.

Further compounding the problem, Zegart says, is that three and a half years after Sept. 11, college students show only marginally more interest in international affairs than in the past, and the uptick is not translating into aspiring Arabists. “If you compare [enrollment in] Russian language schools in the 1950s to Arabic language programs now, it’s pathetic,” she says. According to a recent study by the Education Department’s research arm, just six U.S. students graduated in 2002 with a major in Arabic.

An alternative, Kay points out, to recruiting first- and second-generation Americans to be career CIA officers is to hire as “assets” people like an Iranian-American dentist who travels to Iran every summer and probably picks up all kinds of useful information while there.

3. Align incentives with the new threat. If the CIA wants its agents to immerse themselves in the culture in which terrorists hide, it can’t expect them to rotate to another country after a few years. And if it wants to retain officers in places where “diarrhea is the default position,” as MacGaffin, who served as chief of station in several Arab countries, puts it, the government will have to pay higher salaries. The typical pay range of today’s CIA operatives — $60,000 to $70,000 a year — isn’t going to cut it, he says.

Unfortunately, if a spy wants to get promoted, quantity still counts more than quality in today’s CIA, according to former officials. “People focus on numbers. This is especially true with terrorism,” says a veteran spy. Sources with close contacts inside the agency report that leaders in the directorate of operations were trying to redesign that rewards system — until Goss ousted them.

But even before the intelligence community embarks on much-needed changes, says Suzanne Spaulding, who has worked in the CIA general counsel’s office as well as on intelligence panels on Capitol Hill, its leaders would be well advised to double-check its current sources to see where the intelligence gaps are located.
Great Expectations

Because the U.S. intelligence community has a history of not knowing when it’s getting — and passing along — faulty intelligence, just adding more and better spies and cooperative locals won’t necessarily solve anything.

“In some ways, our biggest challenge is dealing with the expectation that comes from watching Alias or 24 — that human intelligence, and intelligence in general, can be omnipresent and omniscient. It can’t be,” says Wiley, who doesn’t align himself with the harshest critics of the U.S. intelligence community’s human-intelligence operation. What is more realistic, Wiley says, is to aim to use human sources to help disrupt the “supply chain” for terrorism. He argues that the intelligence community could throw all of its resources at penetrating a terrorist cell and still fail. But if the goal is to learn about and disrupt activities — such as money laundering -- that might support the next terrorist strike, the chances of success are much higher.

Given its limitations, human intelligence — or “humint” — works best in combination with the other “ints,” like intelligence from satellites and intercepted signals of all sorts. Indeed, there’s a technical term for this intelligence hybrid: “multi-int.” Of course, multi-int happens to some degree now, but it’s not ingrained in the system, says Gannon, who tried without success to institutionalize multi-int when he led the CIA’s directorate of intelligence in the 1990s. “Multi-int is the wave of the future,” he says.

With Bush’s philosophy of pre-emption driving America’s foreign policy, spying is not only an essential tool in the fight against terrorism, it can literally determine where the United States intervenes militarily around the world. Yet, in the year since David Kay lunched with the president, the CIA and its sister agencies, by all accounts, haven’t gotten appreciably better at either collecting or connecting the intelligence dots. But Bush still hasn’t gotten angry. Perhaps that job, too, will fall to the new director of national intelligence.

http://www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/2005_3_22.html#0E9AC677
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Flow of Illegal Immigrants to U.S. Unabated

washingtonpost.com
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Mexicans Make Up Largest Group; D.C. Area Numbers Up 70 Percent Since 2000

By Sylvia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 22, 2005; Page A02

Despite tighter border enforcement and a post-Sept. 11, 2001, economic slump, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has continued to grow steadily, with many moving into states that traditionally have small foreign-born populations, according to a new report released yesterday.

Based on Census Bureau and other government data, the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group in Washington, estimated the number of undocumented immigrants at 10.3 million as of last March, an increase of 23 percent from the 8.4 million estimate in 2000. More than 50 percent of that growth was attributable to Mexican nationals living illegally in the United States, the report said.

Most of the overall growth has been in states that previously had small foreign-born populations, including Arizona and North Carolina, as well as the Washington metropolitan area.

The combined population of illegal immigrants in Maryland, Virginia and the District increased almost 70 percent from an estimated 300,000 in 2000 to about 500,000 in 2004, said demographer Jeffrey S. Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center.

The reason, he said, is simple. "What drives the growth in immigrant populations in general is employment opportunities," Passel said, especially in fields that do not require formal education. Specifically, Passel cited the booming construction industry in Virginia, Maryland and the District; the service industry in Washington; and poultry processing plants on the Eastern Shore.

The report comes on the eve of a mini-summit in Texas tomorrow during which President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin are scheduled to discuss immigration, among other topics.

Pew Hispanic Center Director Roberto Suro said that the number of illegal immigrants continues to grow at the same rate as in the 1990s -- approximately 485,000 a year -- "despite significant efforts by the government to try to restrain the flow . . . at the border."

Mexicans remain the largest group of illegal migrants, at 5.9 million or about 57 percent of the March 2004 estimate, the report said. An additional 24 percent or 2.5 million undocumented immigrants are from other Latin American countries. Assuming the flow into the country has not changed since a year ago, the population of undocumented immigrants could number nearly 11 million today, the report said.

Of particular note, said Suro and Passel, was the growth of large undocumented populations in states other than those with traditionally large foreign-born populations, such as California, Texas, Florida and New York. Joining those states in 2002 were Arizona, with an estimated 500,000 illegal migrants, and North Carolina, with 300,000. There are now six states that each have an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 undocumented immigrants, including Maryland and Virginia, Suro said.

The size, age and national origins of the undocumented population were derived by subtracting the estimated legal immigrant population from the total foreign-born population.

Undocumented immigrants are defined as those who are in the United States illegally or who have remained in the country on expired visas, as well as a small percentage of those who only have legal authorization to be in the United States, such as those with temporary protected status and those seeking asylum.

The numbers in the Pew report came as no surprise to immigration advocacy groups, some of whom have issued similar estimates in the past four months.

"It's clear that America's lost control of its border," said Steven Camarota, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter immigration controls. "The problem is that once we all agree we have this enormous problem, then what to do about it is something we can't agree on. When you can't agree on the benefits and costs of a program, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to formulate any kind of a policy."

Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, which favors a plan to legalize illegal immigrants, said the continued growth of that population simply shows that current immigration policy "is broken."

"It's dysfunctional. How we go about fixing it is the big question," she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A55202-2005Mar21?language=printer
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UPI--Anthrax Found In Pentagon Mail Samples

WASHINGTON - Anthrax has been confirmed in samples collected from the two Pentagon mail facilities that were at first closed last week and then declared free of the pathogen, United Press International has learned.

The head of the company that was accused of contaminating the samples sent from those facilities -- a detached building on the Pentagon grounds in Arlington, Va., and the other in Falls Church, Va. -- said the presence of anthrax was detected independently by two government laboratories.

Robert B. Harris, president and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. in Richmond, Va., also said the anthrax found was the same genetic strain used in the 2001 attacks.

The dispute over the possibility of contamination -- suggested to the media by an anonymous source -- became more heated as an automated alarm warned of anthrax at yet a third Washington-area mail room Friday. That third alert, at Bolling Air Force Base, was triggered by automated sensors -- as were the alerts earlier in the week at the two other facilities.

The week of anthrax alarms began when the Pentagon mail facility was closed March 14, after tests on samples taken there the week before had been found positive for the presence of anthrax. The initial samples, consisting of swabs of surfaces from the facility, had been collected March 10, but the results were not received and the facility was not shut down until March 14.



The delay was not the fault of CBI, Harris said, noting CBI had tested more than 2,000 similar samples in the past two years and reported its results within 24 hours.

"We reported our initial ...findings on (March 11)," Harris told UPI. "Our contracting officer told us to continue testing for further analysis over the weekend -- and that was done. On Monday ... the 14th we communicated additional test results to our contracting officer. From CBI's point of view, there was absolutely no delay in reporting the results."

CBI is a sub-contractor that conducts routine testing. The identity of the prime contractor who received the results is unclear. Defense Department spokesman Glenn Flood told UPI the four-day delay was being investigated.

Harris also took issue with the anonymous suggestion in news reports that his lab had contaminated the original sample from the Pentagon site.

"It is a fact that we had a presumptive positive test come up," he said. "That presumptive positive test was confirmed by us and by at least two other labs as being a true positive."

Carlee Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., which tested the samples after CBI, confirmed that the follow-up tests on the first sample were positive and that two labs had done such tests.

"There is a component of the Homeland Security Department that has a laboratory that is located in our building," Vander Linden explained. "They have a presence here at Fort Detrick. The samples were basically parted out and there was analysis done by USAMRIID and by the forensics lab under DHS. I know that the negatives that we got were on the ones that came directly from the (mail) facility and did not pass through the contractor. The positives that we got were on samples that had been handled already by the people in Virginia."

Vander Linden also said: "USAMRIID is not saying that, 'Gee, there probably was a contamination event.' I think some people are surmising that. It certainly has been reported that way. I think that we'll just have to wait and see."

A DHS lab did conduct confirmatory tests, said Terry Bishop, a spokesman for DOD Health Affairs, but he did elaborate on the results.

"It is in our mind that this was truly a positive sample," said Harris, adding that his technicians had done everything possible to minimize contamination and were reviewing their lab and procedures.

"I emphasize," Harris said, "in over 2,000 of these samples and tens of thousands ... of other samples we have never experienced a false-positive test."

In response to a question from UPI, Harris confirmed CBI also had conducted other tests on the anthrax sample, but he would not reveal the results.

"There are lots of tests -- biochemical, morphological, genetic," Harris said, "all kinds of laboratory analyses that can be done to further qualify the type of pathogen we are looking at and those tests have been done."

Harris also said the anthrax in the initial samples was the same strain as the organism used during the first anthrax attack via U.S. Mail facilities in the fall of 2001. This was not surprising, however, he said, because it is the most common strain.

Questions over the first alarm were still swirling when the third alarm sounded last Friday at Bolling, which is located along the Anacostia River in Washington, in a mail-handling facility used by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"This morning, the DIA remote-delivery facility was closed due to an initial positive test of incoming mail for hazardous biological agents," Defense Department spokesman Maj. Paul Swiergosz told UPI last Friday afternoon.

Personnel on the scene were asked to stay, Swiergosz said, and local officials were called. An FBI team conducted further tests.

As of late Friday, the follow-up tests at the scene had been negative, said FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman. Additional tests were planned at a laboratory.

The Bolling alert and the Pentagon closing were two of three anthrax-related events last week. The third, an alert in a mail room of a Defense Department complex of leased offices in Falls Church, delayed the departure of hundreds of people for hours and closed the offices for several days.

The week's events raised concern about cross-contamination from a source of anthrax somewhere in the Defense Department mail system. All of the alerts occurred in defense-related mail facilities and in each case the alerts were specific for anthrax, several federal and local DOD spokesmen confirmed during the week.

The bioweapons sensors were not connected, UPI was told repeatedly by the spokesmen. The sensors in Fairfax and at Bolling were automatic and did not involve any CBI testing.

UPI also was told by a Defense Department spokeswoman that, in at least one case, the alerts followed the mail flow. Specifically, the mail from the Pentagon site could have moved to the Falls Church location.

The Pentagon is working to gather more than 8,000 pieces of mail that moved through its detached facility between March 10 and March 14.
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Britain knew of 'A-Q' terror cell two years ago

By David Charter, Chief Political Correspondent
Times of London

THE British military knew that al-Qaeda was active in Doha two years ago as the US-led coalition went to war in Iraq.

Senior commanders even seemed to know which hotel “A-Q operatives” used as a base.

As a journalist sent to Qatar to cover the war from the coalition’s central command centre, an enormous American camp on the edge of Doha, I was warned of the threat by a senior military figure.

Qatar is one of the most Western-leaning countries in the Middle East. The Emir of Qatar has decided that it will tolerate alcohol being served in its big hotels. He has also invested in al-Jazeera, the pan-Arabic television station based in the state.

Unlike some other Arabic nations, women are allowed to drive and to stand for election to local councils.

Natural gas reserves have made the indigenous population one of the wealthiest per head in the world. But Qataris are far outnumbered in their country by “guest workers” from nations including Pakistan and Yemen employed in the construction and hospitality industries.

Guest workers are rarely granted citizenship and have to return to their own countries when they stop working.

Despite this possible cause of tension, Doha seemed friendly and unthreatening until the warning, given on the eve of war two years ago.

A fellow journalist had asked whether it was safe to go for a morning run around Doha every day. A senior military figure advised him to vary his route and then asked other journalists in which hotels they were staying. The reason soon became clear.

“I wanted to check where you were because A-Q is active here and we think there is a cell based in one of the hotels,” he said. “But none of you is staying there.”

This brought home to us that Westerners could be in real danger in the country where General Tommy Franks directed the downfall of Saddam Hussein.
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US-Mexican border as a terror risk

Recent intelligence gives the most evidence yet of terrorist plans. Lawmakers push for tighter security.
By Faye Bowers | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - Concern is growing at the top levels of government about the US-Mexican border becoming a back door for terrorists entering the United States. While Al Qaeda infiltration across the nation's southern border has been a constant concern since 9/11, US officials cite recent intelligence giving the most definitive evidence yet that terrorists are planning to use it as an entry point - if they haven't already.

As a result, a number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers - mainly from border states - are pushing to tighten checkpoints and other ways of monitoring the porous 1,400-mile boundary. The subject will also be central to President Bush's summit in Texas Wednesday with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"I'm worried about our border," Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona said at a March 17 Senate hearing on threats facing the US. "We have now hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are crossing illegally every year. And we are now seeing a larger number of people cross our southern border who are from countries of interest as opposed to just Latin American [countries]."

The "countries of interest" that Senator McCain refers to are those so designated by the US government as known to house radical, if not terrorist, groups.

One of the biggest concerns is that terrorists may exploit the current crossing procedures to make their way into the US. One way they might do this - and members of Congress say evidence is mounting that terrorists are trying this - is by paying smuggling networks, especially organized gangs.

The other is through a loophole in the system to separate the large number of illegal Mexican migrants, who are automatically turned back at the borders, from citizens of other countries who are allowed in, pending immigration hearings. These others are referred to as "other than Mexicans," or OTMs, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They come from other Latin American countries as well as other parts of the world, many of them designated by the government as countries of "special interest." In 2004, some 44,000 OTMs were allowed into the US.

It's not clear how many terrorists or people having connections to terror groups may have entered the US as OTMs. But FBI Director Robert Mueller, in a House Appropriations Committee hearing March 9, said he was aware that individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda ties had entered the US under false identities.

Furthermore, in a Feb. 16 Senate hearing, Mr. Mueller cited the case of Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, who paid to be smuggled across the US-Mexico border in 2001. He pleaded guilty on March 1 to providing material support to Hizbullah and was sentenced to no more than five years in prison.

The most recent sign, though, that terrorists may be thinking of entering the US from the south came from the mastermind of many of the terror attacks in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week, US officials revealed that Mr. Zarqawi may be planning to broaden his campaign to include strikes in the US - and suggested it would be easy to infiltrate the US through the southern border.

Of the 44,000 OTMs who entered the US last year, it is not known how many were detained and how many remain free. Members of Congress are continuing to lean on government officials, asking for clear assessments of numbers as well as policies intended to thwart the entry of those who would harm the US.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California asked the DHS's Adm. James Loy at a hearing last month about the numbers of OTMs detained and those set free. He replied that he didn't have the numbers, and as of the end of last week, the senator's office said the DHS still hadn't provided her those numbers.

But in response to a request from Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D) of Texas, the DHS supplied numbers of OTMs registered, by country of origin, who had been released on their own recognizance for fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2004. The totals were 5,775, 9,139, and 30,756 respectively.

Some countries, such as those known to export gang members, showed dramatic increases in numbers entering the US. The DHS document, for instance, shows 1,463 OTMs entering the US from El Salvador in 2002. That number increased to 7,963 in 2004. Some 2,539 OTMs entered the US from Honduras in 2002, and that number increased to 12,549 in 2004.

Representative Ortiz, though, disputes many of the DHS numbers. He says he regularly hears reports of much higher figures from border patrol officials from his district in Texas, which includes the border-crossing area of Brownsville.

"In the Brownsville sector alone, border patrol officials reported they caught 23,178 OTMs crossing through August 2004," Mr. Ortiz says. "Of those, 16,616 were released."

Ortiz also points out that another loophole is entering Mexico through Brazil, where a visa is not required to travel to Mexico.

"We believe there is an international Salafist jihadi movement with a goal to attack the near enemy and far enemy - the US," says Richard Shultz, an international security expert at Tufts University's Fletcher School in Medford, Mass. "These terrorists are smart. They study these issues and learn from one other. And one way in is right through the southern security perimeter."
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Pakistani's Black Market May Sell Nuclear Secrets

New York Times
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By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER

Nuclear investigators from the United States and other nations now believe that the black market network run by the Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan was selling not only technology for enriching nuclear fuel and blueprints for nuclear weapons, but also some of the darkest of the bomb makers' arts: the hard-to-master engineering secrets needed to fabricate nuclear warheads.

Their suspicions were initially raised by the discovery of step-by-step instructions, some of which appear to have come from China and Pakistan, among the documents recovered last year from Libya. More recently, investigators have found that the Khan network had offered similar materials to Iran.

The secrets range from how to cast uranium metal into the form needed at the core of a bomb to how to build the explosive lenses that compress the core and start the detonation.

The discoveries have set off a debate in the intelligence community about whether those technological skills made their way to North Korea and Iran. President Bush has vowed he will not tolerate either country's obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran was a customer of the Khan network, and while it appears to have turned down the offer of the engineering secrets in 1987, some intelligence officials are concerned that it picked up the technology elsewhere. North Korea, which is believed to have two separate bomb projects under way, also did business with the Khan network, although precisely what it obtained is not clear.

The weeks leading up to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to China this weekend, American officials provided their Chinese counterparts with a stream of new information about North Korea's nuclear program, but it is not clear how much detail they went into about their latest suspicions. The Chinese, for their part, are skeptical of the quality of the American intelligence.

The inability of intelligence officials to track down the whereabouts of the bomb-making instructions underscores the fact that more than a year since Mr. Khan's arrest and pardon by Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, there are still many mysteries about what exactly the Khan network was selling, and to whom.

The United States has not been allowed to interview Dr. Khan, and Ms. Rice raised concerns about cooperation in the nuclear investigation when she met with General Musharraf last week. But American officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency are beginning to extract information from Dr. Khan's chief deputy, Buhari Sayed Abu Tahir, who is in jail in Malaysia. "It's becoming clearer to us that Khan was selling a complete package," said a senior American official involved in the setting of nuclear strategy. "Not a turnkey operation - that would be overstating it - but close to it."

To investigators and other experts, the discovery that Dr. Khan was selling step-by-step directions for making crucial parts of a bomb was startling.

"The real secrets are in the details of the metallurgy, the manufacturing and the engineering," said Siegfried S. Hecker, director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory from 1986 to 1997 and now a senior fellow there.

Intelligence officials in the United States and European diplomats said documents from Libya and Iran showed the Khan network had offered for sale instructions on such tricky manufacturing steps as purifying uranium, casting it into a nuclear core and making the explosives that compress the core and set off a chain reaction. Unlike bomb designs themselves, these manufacturing secrets can take years or even decades for a country to learn on its own.

Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, a private group that tracks nuclear arms, said having the manufacturing instructions was a tremendous leap beyond rudimentary bomb designs. "I can show you the schematic of an automobile that has a engine and a transmission, and go to a book that describes how the pistons work," he said. "But if you actually want to build a car, you need the details and step-by-step procedures for everything from casting the components, to machining them, to assembling them."

Dr. Khan is a metallurgist and an expert at making both centrifuges that enrich uranium and nuclear warheads. Investigators say that in the early 1980's, he obtained the detailed blueprints for a Chinese atomic bomb.

The first public hint that Dr. Khan's network traded in bomb designs and engineering instruction emerged in 1995 after United Nations inspectors in Iraq found a set of documents describing an offer made to Baghdad before the Persian Gulf war of 1991. An internal Iraqi memorandum, dated June 10, 1990, told of an unidentified middleman saying that Dr. Khan could help Iraq "establish a project to enrich uranium and manufacture a nuclear weapon" and that he was "prepared to give us project designs for a nuclear bomb."

The Iraqis never took up the proposal, which they judged a scam or a sting operation. Western experts also questioned its authenticity.

But the apparent validity of the offer became clear in late 2003 when Libya showed investigators blueprints for a 10-kiloton atomic bomb that it got from the Khan network. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the documents included information on both nuclear design and fabrication, calling it of "utmost concern."

The Libya disclosure touched off a global hunt for more Khan documents. Officials in the United States and Europe said the trail recently led to Dubai, where Mr. Tahir, the Sri Lankan businessman who was Dr. Khan's deputy, ran a front company, SMB Computers. They said reliable network sources had told of seeing bomb documents there that contained step-by-step instructions on how to fabricate components for nuclear arms. Intense searches in Dubai, they added, had so far failed to turn up the documents.

The latest development in the hunt came March 1 with the disclosure of the network's 1987 offer to Iran of centrifuge machines and materials, as well as "uranium reconversion and casting capabilities," according to an I.A.E.A. report.

While investigators have determined that Tehran paid precious hard currency to the Khan network for nuclear equipment, it appears to have turned down the offer of the engineering secrets necessary to build the core of a nuclear weapon.

European and American officials said they considered the 1987 transaction some of the best evidence that Iran sought, starting at least 18 years ago, to assemble the technologies needed to build a nuclear arsenal.

"It adds a piece to the puzzle that makes the whole thing more incriminating," a European official said. "But is this a smoking gun? No. Does this make people more suspicious? Yes."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/21/international/asia/21nukes.html?pagewanted=print&position=
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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Schooling for Terror

from South Asian Terrorism Portal
Guest Writer: Amir Mir
Senior Assistant Editor, Monthly Herald, Dawn Group of Newspapers, Karachi

General Pervez Musharraf's much-publicized plans to modernize the country's 10,000 religious seminaries have met with little success primarily because of his administration's failure to enforce the Madrassa Registration and Regulation Ordinance 2002, which was meant to reform deeni madaris (religious seminaries) by bringing them into the educational mainstream.

Three years after the first commando President of Pakistan promised sweeping reforms to ensure that the religious schools are not used any further to propagate extremist Islam, the country's traditional religious school system that is now rotten to the core, continues to operate as the key breeding ground for the radical Islamist ideology and as the recruitment centre for terrorist networks.

The campaign to reform the country's notorious deeni madaris was launched by General Musharraf in a bid to fight extremism in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. Many of the Pakistanis who fought alongside al-Qaeda and Taliban troops in Afghanistan had been educated in these religious seminaries, which are spread across the country. The privately funded Islamic schools are commonplace throughout Pakistan and a majority of them owe their existence to General Zia's Islamisation drive. The curriculum offered there is undeveloped and pertains mostly to religious instruction. Some of the books taught, including Mathematics, date back hundreds of years. The result is, the madaris graduates simply cannot compete against others for employment. Absent any real understanding of society and social complexities, they want destruction. They seek to bring society onto their own level, and the only thing they identify with is the religion.

Yet these madaris do provide free education along with boarding and lodging, and this attracts the poor. There are no exact figures about how many madaris may be operating in Pakistan, but rough estimates suggest that there are some one million students studying in over 10,000 madaris.

Since the beginning of 2002, General Musharraf has campaigned to reform the religious schools. In a televised address to the nation in January 2002, the General unveiled a new strategy which would see madaris teach Mathematics, Science, English, Economics and even Computer Science alongside their traditional Islamic programme. "My only aim is to help these institutions overcome their weaknesses and providing them with better facilities and more avenues to the poor children at these institutions. These schools are excellent welfare set-ups where the poor get free board and lodge. And very few madaris run by hardliner parties promote negative thinking and propagate hatred and violence instead of inculcating tolerance, patience and fraternity", said Musharraf in his address.

While embarking on several initiatives to combat zealotry and broaden educational offerings, the Musharraf administration announced a number of measures to make deeni madaris participate in the modernization programme. These reforms included a five-year, $1 billion Education Sector Reform Assistance (ESRA) plan to ensure inclusion of secular subjects in syllabi of religious seminaries; a $100 million bilateral agreement to rehabilitate hundreds of public schools by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), besides increasing access to quality education and the enforcement of Madrassa Registration and Regulation Ordinance 2002 which required deeni madaris to audit their funding and foreign students to register with the Government. At the same time, a Federal Madaris Education Board was established to enable the students at the religious schools to benefit from the national education system by learning Mathematics, English and vocational sciences in addition to the normal madrassa education.

However, three years down the road since Musharraf's historic January 2002 announcement, the so-called modernization campaign has largely failed, and hardly a few cosmetic changes could be introduced in the madrassa system. Most of the religious leaders and Islamist organisations rejected the Government legislation requiring religious seminaries to register and broaden their curricula beyond rote Koranic learning. Under the reform programme, drafted on the advice of the Bush administration and financed by USAID, special Government committees were constituted to supervise and monitor the educational and financial matters and policies of deeni madaris. Most of these schools are sponsored by the country's leading religious parties, be it Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamiat Ulema-Pakistan, or Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, while many others are affiliated with jehadi groups which preach an extremist ideology of religious warfare.

The result is that the deeni madaris are increasingly seen as breeding grounds for the foot-soldiers of the global menace of militant Islam, who are motivated and trained to wage jehad - be it in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, or other parts of the world. Thus the Bush Administration believed that there were madaris in Pakistan that, in addition to religious training, give military training to their students. Probably acting under these very apprehensions, the office of US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaked in October 2003 a secret memo, perhaps deliberately, to the American media. In the memo, which was actually intended for Rumsfeld's top military and civilian subordinates, the American Defence Secretary wondered: "Is the US capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical Muslim clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against America?"

Three months later in January 2004, the International Crisis Group (ICG) report titled, Unfulfilled Promises: Pakistan's Failure to Tackle Extremism further strengthened the American fears. The report stated: "The failure to curb rising extremism in Pakistan stems directly from the military Government's own unwillingness to act against its political allies among the religious groups. Having co-opted the religious parties to gain constitutional cover for his military rule, Musharraf is highly reliant on the religious right for his regime's survival." The ICG report observed that Pakistan's failure to close madrassas and to crack down on jehadi networks has resulted in a resurgence of domestic extremism and sectarian violence. "The Government inaction continues to pose a serious threat to domestic, regional and international security… If the US and others continue to restrict their pressure on Musharraf to verbal warnings, the rise of extremism in Pakistan will continue unchecked. By increasing pressure on Pakistan, a major source of jehadis will be shut off and Islamic militancy, as a whole will decrease", the ICG stated in its concluding paragraph.

Almost a year later, in December 2004, a report produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) presented to the American Congress pointed out: "Although General Musharraf vowed to begin regulating Pakistan's religious schools, and his Government launched a five-year plan to bring the teaching of formal or secular subjects to 8,000 willing madrassas, no concrete action was taken until June of that year, when 115 madrassas were denied access to Government assistance due to their alleged links to militancy… Despite Musharraf's repeated pledges to crack down on the more extremist madrassas in his country, there is little concrete evidence that he has done so. According to two observers, most madrassas remain unregistered, their finances unregulated, and the Government has yet to remove the jehadist and sectarian content of their curricula. Many speculate that Musharraf's reluctance to enforce reform efforts is rooted in his desire to remain on good terms with Pakistan's Islamist political parties, which are seen to be an important part of his political base."

The Lahore-based Daily Times wrote in its February 25, 2005, editorial titled 'Madrassa registration has become a joke': "The National Security Council, we are being told, is going to discuss the issue of registering the madrassas. Might we ask what has happened to the much-touted madrassa registration ordinance 2002? Apparently nothing! …The facts are interesting. Registration forms were sent out to all the madrassas after which the Government waited for the seminaries to get themselves registered. That did not happen. The number of madrassas that did register was a bit of a joke. What did the Government do? Nothing! Why cannot the all-powerful General Musharraf follow up on an eminently sensible scheme?"

However, a World Bank-sponsored working paper published in February 2005 came up with a new angle, stating that "enrolment in the Pakistani madrassas, that critics believe are misused by militants, has been exaggerated by media and a US 9/11 report." The study claimed that less than one per cent of the school-going children in Pakistan go to madrassas, and the proportion has remained constant in some districts since 2001. The study titled 'Religious School Enrolment in Pakistan: A Look at the Data', conducted by Jishnu Das of the World Bank, Asim Ijaz Khwaja and Tristan Zajonc of Harvard University and Tahir Andrabi of Pomona College, sought to dispel general perceptions that enrolment was on the rise saying: "We find no evidence of a dramatic increase in madrassa enrolment in recent years". The funding for the report was provided by the World Bank through Knowledge for Change Trust Fund.

The World Bank study found western media reports highly exaggerated in terms of number of student and total religious schools. "The figures reported by international newspapers such as the Washington Post, saying there were 10 per cent enrolment in madrassas, and an estimate by the International Crisis Group of 33 per cent, were not correct. It is troubling that none of the reports and articles reviewed based their analysis on publicly available data or established statistical methodologies. Bold assertions have been made in policy reports and popular articles on the high and increasing enrolment in Pakistani religious schools". The study found no evidence of a dramatic increase in madrassa enrolment in recent years, stating that the share of madrassas in total enrolment declined before 1975 and has increased slowly since then. Since 2001, total enrolment in madrassas has remained constant in some districts and increased in others, the report added.

However, the South Asia Director of ICG, Samina Ahmed, has challenged the findings of the World Bank study, which questioned the validity of madrassa enrolment statistics provided by the ICG and other expert analysts. Ahmed was quoted in the Dawn newspaper on March 11, 2005, stating: "The authors (of the World Bank report) have insisted that there are at most 475,000 children in Pakistani madrassas, yet Federal Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq says the country's madrassas impart religious education to 1,000,000 children." She asserted that the World Bank findings were directly at odds with the ministry of education's 2003 directory, which said the number of madrassas had increased from 6,996 in 2001 to 10,430. She added that the madrassa unions themselves had put the figure at 13,000 madaris with the total number of students enrolled at 1.5 to 1.7 million.

Questioning the methodology of the World Bank study, Ahmed said: "The trouble is that the authors based their analysis on three questionable sources: the highly controversial 1998 census; household surveys that were neither designed nor conducted to elicit data on madrassa enrolment, and a limited village-based household educational census conducted by the researchers themselves in only three of 102 districts." She said the 1998 census was not only out of date as the authors themselves admitted, but their 2003 educational census was also of little value because it was based on a representative sample of villages, suggesting madaris were mainly a rural phenomenon. She quoted a 2002 survey conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies which found that a majority of madrassa students came from backward areas. "If the findings of the World Bank study were to be taken at face value, then Pakistan and the international community had little cause to worry about an educational sector that glorified jehad and indoctrinated children in religious intolerance and extremism", the ICG director concluded.

In short, the Musharraf regime's failure to reform the country's 10,000 religious seminaries and to crack down on jehadi networks has resulted in a resurgence of extremism and sectarian violence in the country. The Pakistani military dictator's priority has never been eradicating Islamic extremism, but rather the legitimization and consolidation of his dictatorial rule, for which he seems dependent on the clergy. And the mushroom growth of extremists will continue unabated until and unless the Mullah-Military alliance in Pakistan is effectively put to an end.
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US: Mosque Uses Mail Campaign To Dispel Myths, Broaden Outreach

another Jihad Watch article

Taqqiya alert from the Queens Chronicle at ZWire, with thanks to Twostellas. Now it comes right to your doorstep, at least in Queens:

To counter perceived misinterpretations of Islam, members of a local mosque sent out thousands of information pamphlets about their religion and its teachings last month to Southeast Queens residents.
Imanul Hak Kauser, the imam of the Bait-ul Zaffar Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque at 86-71 Palo Alto Avenue in Holliswood, said the public relations initiative was his idea. Timed to coincide with an Islamic religious holiday, the campaign targeted more than 5,300 homes in Hollis, Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park.

"There are a lot of people with the wrong impression about Islam," Kauser said. "We wanted to inform them that what you see in the media is often a few fanatical Muslims, less than one percent worldwide, who have tried to change the meaning of our teachings. For us, jihad means holy struggle not holy war, and our main struggles are in bettering ourselves and in bringing peace to the world."

The glossy, five-fold, color pamphlet sent out by Kauser and the mosque is titled, "Jihad or Terrorism? The Islamic Perspective" and tackles several controversial subjects, including religious wars and terrorism.

It states that Islam prohibits the use of force or coercion to spread its message and that terrorism and Islam are "diametrically opposed." It also adds, "jihad is not intended to shed blood, encourage disloyalty toward established governments or disrupt peace in any manner."...


According to classic Islamic law, jihad requires the Muslim community to make "war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax” (Umdat al-Salik, o9.8). "Not intended to shed blood"? Only the most gullible would fall for that.

Kauser, a Pakistani native, said that misconceptions are not isolated to just one group of people. "Some Muslims misunderstand the Western countries, too," he said. "After 9-11, many there expected the public to attack us, but my experience was only one of understanding and warmth. They just couldn't understand this."
Kauser added that the tragic events of 9-11 have made public outreach from the Muslim community of even greater importance. "To achieve peace, we need more communication, and I think people are more interested in Islam and knowing about us."

Despite the hundreds of rejections, Kauser remained optimistic about the mailing campaign's long-term effect.

"If we have opened one mind out of the 5,000, it will have been worth
it.
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"We've never had a security problem like this in England before. And it's getting bigger all the time."

This from Jihad Watch

Yehuda Avner writes in the Jerusalem Post (thanks to Romy) about a revealing encounter with a veteran British espionage agent:

Carefully combing a few long strands of gray hair over the top of his bald head, he retorted rather ominously: "In this war of ours on Arab terror all our bloody state-of-the-art technology isn't worth a damn farthing. Deploy as much highfalutin satellite surveillance and computer decryption as you like, it won't track down Bin Laden in a month of Sundays. The only way to go after him and his sort is by going back to the most primitive methods of intelligence in the book: personal counter-espionage."
"In other words, plain, straight forward, old-fashioned spying," explained Sir Herbert. And then, sardonically, "Allah will not be mocked. He toys around with our clever gadgets and laughs in our faces. Islamists wage their holy war by simply outflanking our technology."

"Precisely," snapped the other fellow. "So what we need are first-class operatives - people who look like them, talk like them, think like them, can infiltrate them, and then eliminate them. Your blokes are champions at that sort of thing."

"My blokes?"

"People of your tribe. Jews are past masters at duplicity. You have any number who can pass convincingly as Muslims. In your Mossad and Shin Bet you have Jews who speak native Arabic and can adopt Islamic disguises at the drop of a hat."

Sir Herbert interjected: "That's how you won the intifada, isn't it? Your intelligence was superb. Through infiltration, dissimulation and deception you got your killer almost every time."

"And that's why we could do with some of your human assets," said Sir Charles wistfully, knocking his liquor back and wiping his chin with the back of his hand. "We need people like yours - types who can pass muster as Arabs, win over their trust, crawl into the insides of their minds, gather hard intelligence. MI6 and the CIA simply don't have enough of them."

"Why not?" I asked.

The MI6 man leaned toward me and in a conspiratorial manner, whispered: "Because our Muslims can't be trusted, that's why. Their first loyalty is to Islam, not to Britain. It's the same in the US."

My host concurred: "Islam poses such a powerful bond over its fellow believers that the problem of recruiting Muslim undercover agents is acute. Walk into a Muslim neighborhood and begin making inquiries about terrorists and you will hit a wall of silence."

Grimly, as if infected with an existential angst, Sir Charles brooded: "We've never had a security problem like this in England before. And it's getting bigger all the time."

As he spoke, a white-coated waiter glided between the armchairs and potted palms, holding up two liquor bottles in a pose of affability, pausing to top up a glass of whiskey here and bestow a drop of brandy there.

Scotch-refueled, the old spy rambled on: "It's not like Northern Ireland during the Troubles, when we could do our undercover work like a fish in water. Even the most diehard Irish Republican nationalist cracked under a little bit of coercion, or the promise of a little cash. But your average Muslim fanatic - he'd rather blow himself up first, and take you with him into the bargain."

Sir Charles' speech was now getting warped with whiskey, and he began to nod off. So for the next 20 minutes Sir Herbert and I talked quietly of other matters, particularly the latest Israel-Palestinian developments. Then we gathered up our belongings, descended to the Athenaeum's exit, and stepped out into the street.

"Good Lord, look at that!" he barked abruptly, halting in his tracks, outraged.

Propped up against the nearby wall of what was once Joachim von Ribbentrop's ambassadorial London residence, an Evening Standard billboard bellowed: "POLICE BUST FINSBURY PARK ARAB TERRORIST CELL."

Sir Herbert, his long aristocratic nose white with resentment, blew out his cheeks and exclaimed, "This is the Battle of Britain Part Two, and it's more insidious than the last. Think about it: western civilization has been locked in an historic war with Islam now for 1,000 years. We had thought we had settled it for good in our favor, thanks to our technological superiority. But look what's going on now. All our modern gadgetry is impotent in face of their fanaticism. So, by George, yes - the MI6 and the CIA could do with a strong infusion of Mossad and Shin Bet savvy. Do me a favor and tell your people that when you get back home
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