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REVISED DRAFT resuiting from discussion in the Europol Working Group and the EUDPC Working Party on Police
A. Tasks and powers of the Joint Supervisory Bodv
Articie 1 – Tasks
(1) The Joint Supervisory Body shall have the task of reviewing, in accordance with the Convention, the activities of Europol in order to ensure that the rights of the individual are not violated by the storage, processing and utilization of the data held by Europol. In addition, it shall monitor the permissibility of the transmission of data originating from Europol (Art. 24 para. 1 sentences 1 and 2 of the Convention).
Rapport dd 16-2-1999 aan de KLPD
Wat deden de Nedelandse liaisons in 1998 bij Europol?
Jaarverslag 1997 van de Dutch Desk van Europol
Rapport dd 30-1-1998 aan de KLPD
Wat deden de Nedelandse Liaisons in 1997 bij Europol?
Jaarverslag 1996 van de Dutch Desk van Europol
Rapport dd 25-3-1997 aan de KLPD
Wat deden de Nedelandse Liaisons in 1996 bij Europol?
First reflections concerning the Tampere Conclusions as far as they relate to Europol
<< 5845/00 ADD 1 LIMITE EUROPOL 1 >>
Hoe gaat Europol zich ontwikkelen na de Top in Tampere?
Draft Rules of procedure of Joint Supervisiory Body of Europol
<< 10851/1/98 Europol 85 REV 1 >>
Ontwerptekst voor de procedures van het Gemeenschappelijk Controle Orgaan van Europol
Voorbereiding van de inwerkingtreding van het Europolverdrag Voortgangsverslag
<< 1004/1/98 Europol 69 REV 1 >>
Oktber 1998 treed het Europolverdrag in werking, wat is de stand van zaken?
Advies van de Juridische Dienst
<< 5560/97 LIMITE >>
De Juridische Dienst van de Europese Unie heeft een paar kleine vraagjes bij het voorstel van Europol voor immuniteit.
De voorrechten en immuniteiten van Europol
<< 5106/2/97 REV 2 LIMITE >>
Europol had het zo gedacht: alle leden, hun werk en hun archieven vrijgesteld van rechtsvervolging, beslaglegging, belasting enzovoort.
Aanbevelingen Europol inzake heroïnehandel
aan Comité K4
<<6305/97 ENFOPOL 42 LIMITE>>
Twee voorstellen voor het aanpakken van de toevoer van deze witte poeders uit verre streken.
Aanpak van de cocaïnesmokkel vanuit Latijns-Amerika
werkgroep Drugs en georganiseerde criminaliteit en de werkgroep Douanesamenwerking, 21 januari 1997
<<5366/97 LIMITE ENFOPOL 10>>
Ontwerp reglement voor de analysebestanden
aan Comité K4, 21 februari 1997
<<6100/97 LIMITE EUROPOL 10>>
Wie dacht dat Europol echt alleen maar gegevens ging uitwisselen moet hier maar eens een kijkje nemen. Onderzoeksgerichte analyse en operationele ondersteuning van opsporingsteams, dat klinkt behoorlijk actief.
Het Europol Computer syteem
aan Comité K4, 30 oktober 1996
<<11084/96 LIMITE EUROPOL 57>>
Registratie en uitwisseling van gegevens wordt zeer belangrijk bij Europol. Hoe gaat dat nu eigenlijk werken?
De opzet van kenniscentra
Groep Drugs en georganiseerde Criminaliteit, 11 februari 1997
<<5716/97 LIMITE ENFOPOL 21>>
De rol van Europol wordt steeds groter. Coördinatie, uitwisseling van gegevens, wat wordt er allemaal verzameld?
Voorstellen van de IGC-conferentie over Europol
Secretariaat Conference of the representives of the Governments of the Europian Union, 20 maart 1997
<<Conf/2500/96 add.1 LIMITE>>
Ook de IGC-onderhandelaren zien een grote rol voor Europol weggelegd. In juni in Amsterdam moet dit opgenomen worden in een nieuw Verdrag van de Europese Unie.
Ontwerp actieplan tegen de georganiseerde misdaad van de Groep op Hoog Niveau
de Groep op Hoog Niveau, 27 februari 1997
<<6276/97/ LIMITE JAI 7>>
Plannen op Hoog Niveau. De in december 1996 opgerichte Groep presenteerde half april een actieplan. Europol krijgt hierin een grote rol. Zogenaamde task forces moeten de criminaliteit gaan bestrijden.
Visie op de toekomst van Europol
de groep Europol, 17 januari 1997
<<5107/1/97 REV 1 LIMITE EUROPOL 3>>
Een blik op de toekomst. Wat wil Europol zelf? Toch meer executieve bevoegdheden?
Voorstellen naar aanleiding van de uitbreiding van het EDU- mandaat tot mensenhandel
aan Comité K.4, dd 30 oktober 1996
<<11083/96 LIMITE EUROPOL 56>>
In juni 1996 werd mensenhandel toegevoegd aan het takenpakket van EDU. In deze voorstellen doet Europol uit de doeken hoe ze dat gaan aanpakken.
Protocol betreffende de beslissingsbevoegdheid van het Europese Hof van Justitie, betreffende Europol
<<Publikatieblad van de Europese Gemeenschappen, C299 9 oktober 1996>> – 23 juli 1996
Er is lang gepraat over de rol van het Europese Hof van Justitie, uiteindelijk is die er bekaaid vanaf gekomen. De tekst van het definitieve Protocol. Europolverdrag
<<Akte van de Raad van 26 juli 1995 tot de vaststelling van de Overeenkomst op grond van artikel K.3 van het Verdrag betreffende de Europese Unie tot de oprichting van een een Europese Politiedienst>>
De volledige tekst van het Europolverdrag.
Het Europol Computer syteem
aan Comité K4, 30 oktober 1996
<<11084/96 LIMITE EUROPOL 57>>
Registratie en uitwisseling van gegevens wordt zeer belangrijk bij Europol. Hoe gaat dat nu eigenlijk werken?
Ontwerp reglement voor de analysebestanden
aan Comité K4, 21 februari 1997
<<6100/97 LIMITE EUROPOL 10>>
Wie dacht dat Europol echt alleen maar gegevens ging uitwisselen moet hier maar eens een kijkje nemen. Onderzoeksgerichte analyse en operationele ondersteuning van opsporingsteams, dat klinkt behoorlijk actief.
Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet—
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’
The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.
This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I’d like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.
US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.
What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.
There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.
As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.
Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.
The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.
The shadow network
For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.
Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.
In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.
Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.
Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.
I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.
That story was based on a little-known Pentagon-funded ‘white paper’ published two months earlier by the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington DC, a leading US military-run institution that, among other things, generates research to develop US defense policy at the highest levels. The white paper clarified the thinking behind the new initiative, and the revolutionary scientific and technological developments it hoped to capitalize on.
The Highlands Forum
The co-author of that NDU white paper is Linton Wells, a 51-year veteran US defense official who served in the Bush administration as the Pentagon’s chief information officer, overseeing the National Security Agency (NSA) and other spy agencies. He still holds active top-secret security clearances, and according to a report by Government Executive magazine in 2006 he chaired the ‘Highlands Forum’, founded by the Pentagon in 1994.
Linton Wells II (right) former Pentagon chief information officer and assistant secretary of defense for networks, at a recent Pentagon Highlands Forum session. Rosemary Wenchel, a senior official in the US Department of Homeland Security, is sitting next to him
New Scientist magazine (paywall) has compared the Highlands Forum to elite meetings like “Davos, Ditchley and Aspen,” describing it as “far less well known, yet… arguably just as influential a talking shop.” Regular Forum meetings bring together “innovative people to consider interactions between policy and technology. Its biggest successes have been in the development of high-tech network-based warfare.”
Given Wells’ role in such a Forum, perhaps it was not surprising that his defense transformation white paper was able to have such a profound impact on actual Pentagon policy. But if that was the case, why had no one noticed?
Despite being sponsored by the Pentagon, I could find no official page on the DoD website about the Forum. Active and former US military and intelligence sources had never heard of it, and neither did national security journalists. I was baffled.
The Pentagon’s intellectual capital venture firm
In the prologue to his 2007 book, A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity, John Clippinger, an MIT scientist of the Media Lab Human Dynamics Group, described how he participated in a “Highlands Forum” gathering, an “invitation-only meeting funded by the Department of Defense and chaired by the assistant for networks and information integration.” This was a senior DoD post overseeing operations and policies for the Pentagon’s most powerful spy agencies including the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), among others. Starting from 2003, the position was transitioned into what is now the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The Highlands Forum, Clippinger wrote, was founded by a retired US Navy captain named Dick O’Neill. Delegates include senior US military officials across numerous agencies and divisions — “captains, rear admirals, generals, colonels, majors and commanders” as well as “members of the DoD leadership.”
What at first appeared to be the Forum’s main website describes Highlands as “an informal cross-disciplinary network sponsored by Federal Government,” focusing on “information, science and technology.” Explanation is sparse, beyond a single ‘Department of Defense’ logo.
But Highlands also has another website describing itself as an “intellectual capital venture firm” with “extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders.” The firm provides a “wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets,” as well as “working with clients to build strategies for execution.” ‘The Highlands Group Inc.,’ the website says, organizes a whole range of Forums on these issue.
For instance, in addition to the Highlands Forum, since 9/11 the Group runs the ‘Island Forum,’ an international event held in association with Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, which O’Neill oversees as “lead consultant.” The Singapore Ministry of Defense website describes the Island Forum as “patterned after the Highlands Forum organized for the US Department of Defense.” Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that Singapore played a key role in permitting the US and Australia to tap undersea cables to spy on Asian powers like Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Highlands Group website also reveals that Highlands is partnered with one of the most powerful defense contractors in the United States. Highlands is “supported by a network of companies and independent researchers,” including “our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum.”
SAIC stands for the US defense firm, Science Applications International Corporation, which changed its name to Leidos in 2013, operating SAIC as a subsidiary. SAIC/Leidos is among the top 10 largest defense contractors in the US, and works closely with the US intelligence community, especially the NSA. According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock, the first to disclose the vast extent of the privatization of US intelligence with his seminal book Spies for Hire, SAIC has a “symbiotic relationship with the NSA: the agency is the company’s largest single customer and SAIC is the NSA’s largest contractor.”
Richard ‘Dick’ Patrick O’Neill, founding president of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum
The full name of Captain “Dick” O’Neill, the founding president of the Highlands Forum, is Richard Patrick O’Neill, who after his work in the Navy joined the DoD. He served his last post as deputy for strategy and policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, before setting up Highlands.
The Club of Yoda
But Clippinger also referred to another mysterious individual revered by Forum attendees:
“He sat at the back of the room, expressionless behind thick, black-rimmed glasses. I never heard him utter a word… Andrew (Andy) Marshall is an icon within DoD. Some call him Yoda, indicative of his mythical inscrutable status… He had served many administrations and was widely regarded as above partisan politics. He was a supporter of the Highlands Forum and a regular fixture from its beginning.”
Since 1973, Marshall has headed up one of the Pentagon’s most powerful agencies, the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), the US defense secretary’s internal ‘think tank’ which conducts highly classified research on future planning for defense policy across the US military and intelligence community. The ONA has played a key role in major Pentagon strategy initiatives, including Maritime Strategy, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Competitive Strategies Initiative, and the Revolution in Military Affairs.
Andrew ‘Yoda’ Marshall, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) and co-chair of the Highlands Forum, at an early Highlands event in 1996 at the Santa Fe Institute. Marshall is retiring as of January 2015
In a rare 2002 profile in Wired, reporter Douglas McGray described Andrew Marshall, now 93 years old, as “the DoD’s most elusive” but “one of its most influential” officials. McGray added that “Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz” — widely considered the hawks of the neoconservative movement in American politics — were among Marshall’s “star protégés.”
Speaking at a low-key Harvard University seminar a few months after 9/11, Highlands Forum founding president Richard O’Neill said that Marshall was much more than a “regular fixture” at the Forum. “Andy Marshall is our co-chair, so indirectly everything that we do goes back into Andy’s system,” he told the audience. “Directly, people who are in the Forum meetings may be going back to give briefings to Andy on a variety of topics and to synthesize things.” He also said that the Forum had a third co-chair: the director of the Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA), which at that time was a Rumsfeld appointee, Anthony J. Tether. Before joining DARPA, Tether was vice president of SAIC’s Advanced Technology Sector.
Anthony J. Tether, director of DARPA and co-chair of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum from June 2001 to February 2009
The Highlands Forum’s influence on US defense policy has thus operated through three main channels: its sponsorship by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (around the middle of last decade this was transitioned specifically to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, which is in charge of the main surveillance agencies); its direct link to Andrew ‘Yoda’ Marshall’s ONA; and its direct link to DARPA.
A slide from Richard O’Neill’s presentation at Harvard University in 2001
According to Clippinger in A Crowd of One, “what happens at informal gatherings such as the Highlands Forum could, over time and through unforeseen curious paths of influence, have enormous impact, not just within the DoD but throughout the world.” He wrote that the Forum’s ideas have “moved from being heretical to mainstream. Ideas that were anathema in 1999 had been adopted as policy just three years later.”
Although the Forum does not produce “consensus recommendations,” its impact is deeper than a traditional government advisory committee. “The ideas that emerge from meetings are available for use by decision-makers as well as by people from the think tanks,” according to O’Neill:
“We’ll include people from Booz, SAIC, RAND, or others at our meetings… We welcome that kind of cooperation, because, truthfully, they have the gravitas. They are there for the long haul and are able to influence government policies with real scholarly work… We produce ideas and interaction and networks for these people to take and use as they need them.”
My repeated requests to O’Neill for information on his work at the Highlands Forum were ignored. The Department of Defense also did not respond to multiple requests for information and comment on the Forum.
The Highlands Forum has served as a two-way ‘influence bridge’: on the one hand, for the shadow network of private contractors to influence the formulation of information operations policy across US military intelligence; and on the other, for the Pentagon to influence what is going on in the private sector. There is no clearer evidence of this than the truly instrumental role of the Forum in incubating the idea of mass surveillance as a mechanism to dominate information on a global scale.
In 1989, Richard O’Neill, then a US Navy cryptologist, wrote a paper for the US Naval War College, ‘Toward a methodology for perception management.’ In his book, Future Wars, Col. John Alexander, then a senior officer in the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), records that O’Neill’s paper for the first time outlined a strategy for “perception management” as part of information warfare (IW). O’Neill’s proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, “so they perceive the cause [of war] as just”; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they “perceive the cost as worth the effort.” A secret briefing based on O’Neill’s work “made its way to the top leadership” at DoD. “They acknowledged that O’Neill was right and told him to bury it.
Except the DoD didn’t bury it. Around 1994, the Highlands Group was founded by O’Neill as an official Pentagon project at the appointment of Bill Clinton’s then defense secretary William Perry — who went on to join SAIC’s board of directors after retiring from government in 2003.
In O’Neill’s own words, the group would function as the Pentagon’s ‘ideas lab’. According to Government Executive, military and information technology experts gathered at the first Forum meeting “to consider the impacts of IT and globalization on the United States and on warfare. How would the Internet and other emerging technologies change the world?” The meeting helped plant the idea of “network-centric warfare” in the minds of “the nation’s top military thinkers.”
Excluding the public
Official Pentagon records confirm that the Highlands Forum’s primary goal was to support DoD policies on O’Neill’s specialism: information warfare. According to the Pentagon’s 1997 Annual Report to the President and the Congress under a section titled ‘Information Operations,’ (IO) the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) had authorized the “establishment of the Highlands Group of key DoD, industry, and academic IO experts” to coordinate IO across federal military intelligence agencies.
The following year’s DoD annual report reiterated the Forum’s centrality to information operations: “To examine IO issues, DoD sponsors the Highlands Forum, which brings together government, industry, and academic professionals from various fields.”
Notice that in 1998, the Highlands ‘Group’ became a ‘Forum.’ According to O’Neill, this was to avoid subjecting Highlands Forums meetings to “bureaucratic restrictions.” What he was alluding to was the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which regulates the way the US government can formally solicit the advice of special interests.
Known as the ‘open government’ law, FACA requires that US government officials cannot hold closed-door or secret consultations with people outside government to develop policy. All such consultations should take place via federal advisory committees that permit public scrutiny. FACA requires that meetings be held in public, announced via the Federal Register, that advisory groups are registered with an office at the General Services Administration, among other requirements intended to maintain accountability to the public interest.
But Government Executive reported that “O’Neill and others believed” such regulatory issues “would quell the free flow of ideas and no-holds-barred discussions they sought.” Pentagon lawyers had warned that the word ‘group’ might necessitate certain obligations and advised running the whole thing privately: “So O’Neill renamed it the Highlands Forum and moved into the private sector to manage it as a consultant to the Pentagon.” The Pentagon Highlands Forum thus runs under the mantle of O’Neill’s ‘intellectual capital venture firm,’ ‘Highlands Group Inc.’
In 1995, a year after William Perry appointed O’Neill to head up the Highlands Forum, SAIC — the Forum’s “partner” organization — launched a new Center for Information Strategy and Policy under the direction of “Jeffrey Cooper, a member of the Highlands Group who advises senior Defense Department officials on information warfare issues.” The Center had precisely the same objective as the Forum, to function as “a clearinghouse to bring together the best and brightest minds in information warfare by sponsoring a continuing series of seminars, papers and symposia which explore the implications of information warfare in depth.” The aim was to “enable leaders and policymakers from government, industry, and academia to address key issues surrounding information warfare to ensure that the United States retains its edge over any and all potential enemies.”
Despite FACA regulations, federal advisory committees are already heavily influenced, if not captured, by corporate power. So in bypassing FACA, the Pentagon overrode even the loose restrictions of FACA, by permanently excluding any possibility of public engagement.
O’Neill’s claim that there are no reports or recommendations is disingenuous. By his own admission, the secret Pentagon consultations with industry that have taken place through the Highlands Forum since 1994 have been accompanied by regular presentations of academic and policy papers, recordings and notes of meetings, and other forms of documentation that are locked behind a login only accessible by Forum delegates. This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of FACA — in a way that is patently intended to circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law.
The Highlands Forum doesn’t need to produce consensus recommendations. Its purpose is to provide the Pentagon a shadow social networking mechanism to cement lasting relationships with corporate power, and to identify new talent, that can be used to fine-tune information warfare strategies in absolute secrecy.
Total participants in the DoD’s Highlands Forum number over a thousand, although sessions largely consist of small closed workshop style gatherings of maximum 25–30 people, bringing together experts and officials depending on the subject. Delegates have included senior personnel from SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton, RAND Corp., Cisco, Human Genome Sciences, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, the BBC, Disney, General Electric, Enron, among innumerable others; Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate; senior executives from the US energy industry such as Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and key people involved in both sides of presidential campaigns.
Other participants have included senior media professionals: David Ignatius, associate editor of the Washington Post and at the time the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune; Thomas Friedman, long-time New York Times columnist; Arnaud de Borchgrave, an editor at Washington Times and United Press International; Steven Levy, a former Newsweek editor, senior writer for Wired and now chief tech editor at Medium; Lawrence Wright, staff writer at the New Yorker; Noah Shachtmann, executive editor at the Daily Beast; Rebecca McKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices Online; Nik Gowing of the BBC; and John Markoff of the New York Times.
Due to its current sponsorship by the OSD’s undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the Forum has inside access to the chiefs of the main US surveillance and reconnaissance agencies, as well as the directors and their assistants at DoD research agencies, from DARPA, to the ONA. This also means that the Forum is deeply plugged into the Pentagon’s policy research task forces.
Google: seeded by the Pentagon
In 1994 — the same year the Highlands Forum was founded under the stewardship of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the ONA, and DARPA — two young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application. That application remains the core component of what eventually became Google’s search service. Brin and Page had performed their work with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI), a multi-agency programme of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and DARPA.
But that’s just one side of the story.
Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.
Thuraisingham is currently the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a sought-after expert on data-mining, data management and information security issues. But in the 1990s, she worked for the MITRE Corp., a leading US defense contractor, where she managed the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, to foster innovative research in information technology.
“We funded Stanford University through the computer scientist Jeffrey Ullman, who had several promising graduate students working on many exciting areas,” Prof. Thuraisingham told me. “One of them was Sergey Brin, the founder of Google. The intelligence community’s MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector.”
This sort of funding is certainly not unusual, and Sergey Brin’s being able to receive it by being a graduate student at Stanford appears to have been incidental. The Pentagon was all over computer science research at this time. But it illustrates how deeply entrenched the culture of Silicon Valley is in the values of the US intelligence community.
In an extraordinary document hosted by the website of the University of Texas, Thuraisingham recounts that from 1993 to 1999, “the Intelligence Community [IC] started a program called Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) that I was managing for the Intelligence Community when I was at the MITRE Corporation.” The program funded 15 research efforts at various universities, including Stanford. Its goal was developing “data management technologies to manage several terabytes to petabytes of data,” including for “query processing, transaction management, metadata management, storage management, and data integration.”
At the time, Thuraisingham was chief scientist for data and information management at MITRE, where she led team research and development efforts for the NSA, CIA, US Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as the US Army’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM). She went on to teach courses for US government officials and defense contractors on data-mining in counter-terrorism.
In her University of Texas article, she attaches the copy of an abstract of the US intelligence community’s MDDS program that had been presented to the “Annual Intelligence Community Symposium” in 1995. The abstract reveals that the primary sponsors of the MDDS programme were three agencies: the NSA, the CIA’s Office of Research & Development, and the intelligence community’s Community Management Staff (CMS) which operates under the Director of Central Intelligence. Administrators of the program, which provided funding of around 3–4 million dollars per year for 3–4 years, were identified as Hal Curran (NSA), Robert Kluttz (CMS), Dr. Claudia Pierce (NSA), Dr. Rick Steinheiser (ORD — standing for the CIA’s Office of Research and Devepment), and Dr. Thuraisingham herself.
Thuraisingham goes on in her article to reiterate that this joint CIA-NSA program partly funded Sergey Brin to develop the core of Google, through a grant to Stanford managed by Brin’s supervisor Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman:
“In fact, the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford. He together with his advisor Prof. Jeffrey Ullman and my colleague at MITRE, Dr. Chris Clifton [Mitre’s chief scientist in IT], developed the Query Flocks System which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. In fact the last time we met in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which became Google soon after.”
Brin and Page officially incorporated Google as a company in September 1998, the very month they last reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser. ‘Query Flocks’ was also part of Google’s patented ‘PageRank’ search system, which Brin developed at Stanford under the CIA-NSA-MDDS programme, as well as with funding from the NSF, IBM and Hitachi. That year, MITRE’s Dr. Chris Clifton, who worked under Thuraisingham to develop the ‘Query Flocks’ system, co-authored a paper with Brin’s superviser, Prof. Ullman, and the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser. Titled ‘Knowledge Discovery in Text,’ the paper was presented at an academic conference.
“The MDDS funding that supported Brin was significant as far as seed-funding goes, but it was probably outweighed by the other funding streams,” said Thuraisingham. “The duration of Brin’s funding was around two years or so. In that period, I and my colleagues from the MDDS would visit Stanford to see Brin and monitor his progress every three months or so. We didn’t supervise exactly, but we did want to check progress, point out potential problems and suggest ideas. In those briefings, Brin did present to us on the query flocks research, and also demonstrated to us versions of the Google search engine.”
Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google.
UPDATE 2.05PM GMT [2nd Feb 2015]:
Since publication of this article, Prof. Thuraisingham has amended her article referenced above. The amended version includes a new modified statement, followed by a copy of the original version of her account of the MDDS. In this amended version, Thuraisingham rejects the idea that CIA funded Google, and says instead:
“In fact Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman’s research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after…
There are also several inaccuracies in Dr. Ahmed’s article (dated January 22, 2015). For example, the MDDS program was not a ‘sensitive’ program as stated by Dr. Ahmed; it was an Unclassified program that funded universities in the US. Furthermore, Sergey Brin never reported to me or to Dr. Rick Steinheiser; he only gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s. Also, MDDS never funded Google; it funded Stanford University.”
Here, there is no substantive factual difference in Thuraisingham’s accounts, other than to assert that her statement associating Sergey Brin with the development of ‘query flocks’ is mistaken. Notably, this acknowledgement is derived not from her own knowledge, but from this very article quoting a comment from a Google spokesperson.
However, the bizarre attempt to disassociate Google from the MDDS program misses the mark. Firstly, the MDDS never funded Google, because during the development of the core components of the Google search engine, there was no company incorporated with that name. The grant was instead provided to Stanford University through Prof. Ullman, through whom some MDDS funding was used to support Brin who was co-developing Google at the time. Secondly, Thuraisingham then adds that Brin never “reported” to her or the CIA’s Steinheiser, but admits he “gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s.” It is unclear, though, what the distinction is here between reporting, and delivering a detailed presentation — either way, Thuraisingham confirms that she and the CIA had taken a keen interest in Brin’s development of Google. Thirdly, Thuraisingham describes the MDDS program as “unclassified,” but this does not contradict its “sensitive” nature. As someone who has worked for decades as an intelligence contractor and advisor, Thuraisingham is surely aware that there are many ways of categorizing intelligence, including ‘sensitive but unclassified.’ A number of former US intelligence officials I spoke to said that the almost total lack of public information on the CIA and NSA’s MDDS initiative suggests that although the progam was not classified, it is likely instead that its contents was considered sensitive, which would explain efforts to minimise transparency about the program and the way it fed back into developing tools for the US intelligence community. Fourthly, and finally, it is important to point out that the MDDS abstract which Thuraisingham includes in her University of Texas document states clearly not only that the Director of Central Intelligence’s CMS, CIA and NSA were the overseers of the MDDS initiative, but that the intended customers of the project were “DoD, IC, and other government organizations”: the Pentagon, the US intelligence community, and other relevant US government agencies.
In other words, the provision of MDDS funding to Brin through Ullman, under the oversight of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser, was fundamentally because they recognized the potential utility of Brin’s work developing Google to the Pentagon, intelligence community, and the federal government at large.
The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford, specifically highlighting its role in financially sponsoring Brin in the development of Google. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering, they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via “Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction,” the development of “a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank,” and the use of PageRank “to develop a novel search engine called Google.” Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was “Partially supported by the Community Management Staff’s Massive Digital Data Systems Program, NSF grant IRI-96–31952” — confirming that Brin’s work developing Google was indeed partly-funded by the CIA-NSA-MDDS program.
This NSF grant identified alongside the MDDS, whose project report lists Brin among the students supported (without mentioning the MDDS), was different to the NSF grant to Larry Page that included funding from DARPA and NASA. The project report, authored by Brin’s supervisor Prof. Ullman, goes on to say under the section ‘Indications of Success’ that “there are some new stories of startups based on NSF-supported research.” Under ‘Project Impact,’ the report remarks: “Finally, the google project has also gone commercial as Google.com.”
Thuraisingham’s account, including her new amended version, therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only partly funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a “significant” amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.
The DoD could not be reached for comment.
When I asked Prof. Ullman to confirm whether or not Brin was partly funded under the intelligence community’s MDDS program, and whether Ullman was aware that Brin was regularly briefing the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine, Ullman’s responses were evasive: “May I know whom you represent and why you are interested in these issues? Who are your ‘sources’?” He also denied that Brin played a significant role in developing the ‘query flocks’ system, although it is clear from Brin’s papers that he did draw on that work in co-developing the PageRank system with Page.
When I asked Ullman whether he was denying the US intelligence community’s role in supporting Brin during the development of Google, he said: “I am not going to dignify this nonsense with a denial. If you won’t explain what your theory is, and what point you are trying to make, I am not going to help you in the slightest.”
The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to “provide seed money to develop data management technologies which are of high-risk and high-pay-off,” including techniques for “querying, browsing, and filtering; transaction processing; accesses methods and indexing; metadata management and data modelling; and integrating heterogeneous databases; as well as developing appropriate architectures.” The ultimate vision of the program was to “provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment” for use by the Pentagon, intelligence community and potentially across government.
These revelations corroborate the claims of Robert Steele, former senior CIA officer and a founding civilian deputy director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, whom I interviewed for The Guardian last year on open source intelligence. Citing sources at the CIA, Steele had said in 2006 that Steinheiser, an old colleague of his, was the CIA’s main liaison at Google and had arranged early funding for the pioneering IT firm. At the time, Wired founder John Batelle managed to get this official denial from a Google spokesperson in response to Steele’s assertions:
“The statements related to Google are completely untrue.”
This time round, despite multiple requests and conversations, a Google spokesperson declined to comment.
UPDATE: As of 5.41PM GMT [22nd Jan 2015], Google’s director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:
“Sergey Brin was not part of the Query Flocks Program at Stanford, nor were any of his projects funded by US Intelligence bodies.”
This is what I wrote back:
My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.
In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:
1) Does Google deny that Brin’s work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?
2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?
Total Information Awareness
A call for papers for the MDDS was sent out via email list on November 3rd 1993 from senior US intelligence official David Charvonia, director of the research and development coordination office of the intelligence community’s CMS. The reaction from Tatu Ylonen (celebrated inventor of the widely used secure shell [SSH] data protection protocol) to his colleagues on the email list is telling: “Crypto relevance? Makes you think whether you should protect your data.” The email also confirms that defense contractor and Highlands Forum partner, SAIC, was managing the MDDS submission process, with abstracts to be sent to Jackie Booth of the CIA’s Office of Research and Development via a SAIC email address.
By 1997, Thuraisingham reveals, shortly before Google became incorporated and while she was still overseeing the development of its search engine software at Stanford, her thoughts turned to the national security applications of the MDDS program. In the acknowledgements to her book, Web Data Mining and Applications in Business Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (2003), Thuraisingham writes that she and “Dr. Rick Steinheiser of the CIA, began discussions with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on applying data-mining for counter-terrorism,” an idea that resulted directly from the MDDS program which partly funded Google. “These discussions eventually developed into the current EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Detection) program at DARPA.”
So the very same senior CIA official and CIA-NSA contractor involved in providing the seed-funding for Google were simultaneously contemplating the role of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, and were developing ideas for tools actually advanced by DARPA.
Today, as illustrated by her recent oped in the New York Times, Thuraisingham remains a staunch advocate of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, but also insists that these methods must be developed by government in cooperation with civil liberties lawyers and privacy advocates to ensure that robust procedures are in place to prevent potential abuse. She points out, damningly, that with the quantity of information being collected, there is a high risk of false positives.
In 1993, when the MDDS program was launched and managed by MITRE Corp. on behalf of the US intelligence community, University of Virginia computer scientist Dr. Anita K. Jones — a MITRE trustee — landed the job of DARPA director and head of research and engineering across the Pentagon. She had been on the board of MITRE since 1988. From 1987 to 1993, Jones simultaneously served on SAIC’s board of directors. As the new head of DARPA from 1993 to 1997, she also co-chaired the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum during the period of Google’s pre-launch development at Stanford under the MDSS.
Thus, when Thuraisingham and Steinheiser were talking to DARPA about the counter-terrorism applications of MDDS research, Jones was DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair. That year, Jones left DARPA to return to her post at the University of Virgina. The following year, she joined the board of the National Science Foundation, which of course had also just funded Brin and Page, and also returned to the board of SAIC. When she left DoD, Senator Chuck Robb paid Jones the following tribute : “She brought the technology and operational military communities together to design detailed plans to sustain US dominance on the battlefield into the next century.”
Dr. Anita Jones, head of DARPA from 1993–1997, and co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum from 1995–1997, during which officials in charge of the CIA-NSA-MDSS program were funding Google, and in communication with DARPA about data-mining for counterterrorism
On the board of the National Science Foundation from 1992 to 1998 (including a stint as chairman from 1996) was Richard N. Zare. This was the period in which the NSF sponsored Sergey Brin and Larry Page in association with DARPA. In June 1994, Prof. Zare, a chemist at Stanford, participated with Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (who supervised Sergey Brin’s research), on a panel sponsored by Stanford and the National Research Council discussing the need for scientists to show how their work “ties to national needs.” The panel brought together scientists and policymakers, including “Washington insiders.”
DARPA’s EELD program, inspired by the work of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser under Jones’ watch, was rapidly adapted and integrated with a suite of tools to conduct comprehensive surveillance under the Bush administration.
According to DARPA official Ted Senator, who led the EELD program for the agency’s short-lived Information Awareness Office, EELD was among a range of “promising techniques” being prepared for integration “into the prototype TIA system.” TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11. TIA had been set up by Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, who was appointed in 2002 by Bush to lead DARPA’s new Information Awareness Office.
The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was another contractor among 26 companies (also including SAIC) that received million dollar contracts from DARPA (the specific quantities remained classified) under Poindexter, to push forward the TIA surveillance program in 2002 onwards. The research included “behaviour-based profiling,” “automated detection, identification and tracking” of terrorist activity, among other data-analyzing projects. At this time, PARC’s director and chief scientist was John Seely Brown. Both Brown and Poindexter were Pentagon Highlands Forum participants — Brown on a regular basis until recently.
TIA was purportedly shut down in 2003 due to public opposition after the program was exposed in the media, but the following year Poindexter participated in a Pentagon Highlands Group session in Singapore, alongside defense and security officials from around the world. Meanwhile, Ted Senator continued to manage the EELD program among other data-mining and analysis projects at DARPA until 2006, when he left to become a vice president at SAIC. He is now a SAIC/Leidos technical fellow.
Google, DARPA and the money trail
Long before the appearance of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Stanford University’s computer science department had a close working relationship with US military intelligence. A letter dated November 5th 1984 from the office of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Prof Edward Feigenbaum, addressed to Rick Steinheiser, gives the latter directions to Stanford’s Heuristic Programming Project, addressing Steinheiser as a member of the “AI Steering Committee.” A list of attendees at a contractor conference around that time, sponsored by the Pentagon’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), includes Steinheiser as a delegate under the designation “OPNAV Op-115” — which refers to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations’ program on operational readiness, which played a major role in advancing digital systems for the military.
From the 1970s, Prof. Feigenbaum and his colleagues had been running Stanford’s Heuristic Programming Project under contract with DARPA, continuing through to the 1990s. Feigenbaum alone had received around over $7 million in this period for his work from DARPA, along with other funding from the NSF, NASA, and ONR.
Brin’s supervisor at Stanford, Prof. Jeffrey Ullman, was in 1996 part of a joint funding project of DARPA’s Intelligent Integration of Information program. That year, Ullman co-chaired DARPA-sponsored meetings on data exchange between multiple systems.
In September 1998, the same month that Sergey Brin briefed US intelligence representatives Steinheiser and Thuraisingham, tech entrepreneurs Andreas Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton invested $100,000 each in Google. Both investors were connected to DARPA.
As a Stanford PhD student in electrical engineering in the 1980s, Bechtolsheim’s pioneering SUN workstation project had been funded by DARPA and the Stanford computer science department — this research was the foundation of Bechtolsheim’s establishment of Sun Microsystems, which he co-founded with William Joy.
As for Bechtolsheim’s co-investor in Google, David Cheriton, the latter is a long-time Stanford computer science professor who has an even more entrenched relationship with DARPA. His bio at the University of Alberta, which in November 2014 awarded him an honorary science doctorate, says that Cheriton’s “research has received the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for over 20 years.”
In the meantime, Bechtolsheim left Sun Microsystems in 1995, co-founding Granite Systems with his fellow Google investor Cheriton as a partner. They sold Granite to Cisco Systems in 1996, retaining significant ownership of Granite, and becoming senior Cisco executives.
An email obtained from the Enron Corpus (a database of 600,000 emails acquired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and later released to the public) from Richard O’Neill, inviting Enron executives to participate in the Highlands Forum, shows that Cisco and Granite executives are intimately connected to the Pentagon. The email reveals that in May 2000, Bechtolsheim’s partner and Sun Microsystems co-founder, William Joy — who was then chief scientist and corporate executive officer there — had attended the Forum to discuss nanotechnology and molecular computing.
In 1999, Joy had also co-chaired the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, overseeing a report acknowledging that DARPA had:
“… revised its priorities in the 90’s so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter.”
Throughout the 1990s, then, DARPA’s funding to Stanford, including Google, was explicitly about developing technologies that could augment the Pentagon’s military intelligence operations in war theatres.
The Joy report recommended more federal government funding from the Pentagon, NASA, and other agencies to the IT sector. Greg Papadopoulos, another of Bechtolsheim’s colleagues as then Sun Microsystems chief technology officer, also attended a Pentagon Highlands’ Forum meeting in September 2000.
In November, the Pentagon Highlands Forum hosted Sue Bostrom, who was vice president for the internet at Cisco, sitting on the company’s board alongside Google co-investors Bechtolsheim and Cheriton. The Forum also hosted Lawrence Zuriff, then a managing partner of Granite, which Bechtolsheim and Cheriton had sold to Cisco. Zuriff had previously been an SAIC contractor from 1993 to 1994, working with the Pentagon on national security issues, specifically for Marshall’s Office of Net Assessment. In 1994, both the SAIC and the ONA were, of course, involved in co-establishing the Pentagon Highlands Forum. Among Zuriff’s output during his SAIC tenure was a paper titled ‘Understanding Information War’, delivered at a SAIC-sponsored US Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.
After Google’s incorporation, the company received $25 million in equity funding in 1999 led by Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. According to Homeland Security Today, “A number of Sequoia-bankrolled start-ups have contracted with the Department of Defense, especially after 9/11 when Sequoia’s Mark Kvamme met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the application of emerging technologies to warfighting and intelligence collection.” Similarly, Kleiner Perkins had developed “a close relationship” with In-Q-Tel, the CIA venture capitalist firm that funds start-ups “to advance ‘priority’ technologies of value” to the intelligence community.
John Doerr, who led the Kleiner Perkins investment in Google obtaining a board position, was a major early investor in Becholshtein’s Sun Microsystems at its launch. He and his wife Anne are the main funders behind Rice University’s Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL), which in 2009 received $16 million from DARPA for its platform-aware-compilation-environment (PACE) ubiquitous computing R&D program. Doerr also has a close relationship with the Obama administration, which he advised shortly after it took power to ramp up Pentagon funding to the tech industry. In 2013, at the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference, Doerr applauded “how the DoD’s DARPA funded GPS, CAD, most of the major computer science departments, and of course, the Internet.”
From inception, in other words, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military intelligence community: many of whom were embedded in the Pentagon Highlands Forum.
Google captures the Pentagon
In 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with the CIA for its Intelink Management Office, “overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies,” according to Homeland Security Today. That year, CIA funding was also being “quietly” funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create “new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology.”
The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole, which had originally been funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing the advanced satellite mapping software behind Google Earth. Former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones had been on the board of In-Q-Tel at this time, and remains so today.
Then in November 2005, In-Q-Tel issued notices to sell $2.2 million of Google stocks. Google’s relationship with US intelligence was further brought to light when an IT contractor told a closed Washington DC conference of intelligence professionals on a not-for-attribution basis that at least one US intelligence agency was working to “leverage Google’s [user] data monitoring” capability as part of an effort to acquire data of “national security intelligence interest.”
A photo on Flickr dated March 2007 reveals that Google research director and AI expert Peter Norvig attended a Pentagon Highlands Forum meeting that year in Carmel, California. Norvig’s intimate connection to the Forum as of that year is also corroborated by his role in guest editing the 2007 Forum reading list.
The photo below shows Norvig in conversation with Lewis Shepherd, who at that time was senior technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for investigating, approving, and architecting “all new hardware/software systems and acquisitions for the Global Defense Intelligence IT Enterprise,” including “big data technologies.” Shepherd now works at Microsoft. Norvig was a computer research scientist at Stanford University in 1991 before joining Bechtolsheim’s Sun Microsystems as senior scientist until 1994, and going on to head up NASA’s computer science division.
Lewis Shepherd (left), then a senior technology officer at the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, talking to Peter Norvig (right), renowned expert in artificial intelligence expert and director of research at Google. This photo is from a Highlands Forum meeting in 2007.
Norvig shows up on O’Neill’s Google Plus profile as one of his close connections. Scoping the rest of O’Neill’s Google Plus connections illustrates that he is directly connected not just to a wide range of Google executives, but also to some of the biggest names in the US tech community.
Those connections include Michele Weslander Quaid, an ex-CIA contractor and former senior Pentagon intelligence official who is now Google’s chief technology officer where she is developing programs to “best fit government agencies’ needs”; Elizabeth Churchill, Google director of user experience; James Kuffner, a humanoid robotics expert who now heads up Google’s robotics division and who introduced the term ‘cloud robotics’; Mark Drapeau, director of innovation engagement for Microsoft’s public sector business; Lili Cheng, general manager of Microsoft’s Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs; Jon Udell, Microsoft ‘evangelist’; Cory Ondrejka, vice president of engineering at Facebook; to name just a few.
In 2010, Google signed a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract with the NSA’s sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The contract was to use Google Earth for visualization services for the NGA. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel.
Then a year after, in 2011, another of O’Neill’s Google Plus connections, Michele Quaid — who had served in executive positions at the NGA, National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — left her government role to become Google ‘innovation evangelist’ and the point-person for seeking government contracts. Quaid’s last role before her move to Google was as a senior representative of the Director of National Intelligence to the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, and a senior advisor to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence’s director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support (J&CWS). Both roles involved information operations at their core. Before her Google move, in other words, Quaid worked closely with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, to which the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum is subordinate. Quaid has herself attended the Forum, though precisely when and how often I could not confirm.
In March 2012, then DARPA director Regina Dugan — who in that capacity was also co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum — followed her colleague Quaid into Google to lead the company’s new Advanced Technology and Projects Group. During her Pentagon tenure, Dugan led on strategic cyber security and social media, among other initiatives. She was responsible for focusing “an increasing portion” of DARPA’s work “on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military-specific needs,” securing $500 million of government funding for DARPA cyber research from 2012 to 2017.
Regina Dugan, former head of DARPA and Highlands Forum co-chair, now a senior Google executive — trying her best to look the part
By November 2014, Google’s chief AI and robotics expert James Kuffner was a delegate alongside O’Neill at the Highlands Island Forum 2014 in Singapore, to explore ‘Advancement in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Society, Security and Conflict.’ The event included 26 delegates from Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Britain and the US, from both industry and government. Kuffner’s association with the Pentagon, however, began much earlier. In 1997, Kuffner was a researcher during his Stanford PhD for a Pentagon-funded project on networked autonomous mobile robots, sponsored by DARPA and the US Navy.
Rumsfeld and persistent surveillance
In sum, many of Google’s most senior executives are affiliated with the Pentagon Highlands Forum, which throughout the period of Google’s growth over the last decade, has surfaced repeatedly as a connecting and convening force. The US intelligence community’s incubation of Google from inception occurred through a combination of direct sponsorship and informal networks of financial influence, themselves closely aligned with Pentagon interests.
The Highlands Forum itself has used the informal relationship building of such private networks to bring together defense and industry sectors, enabling the fusion of corporate and military interests in expanding the covert surveillance apparatus in the name of national security. The power wielded by the shadow network represented in the Forum can, however, be gauged most clearly from its impact during the Bush administration, when it played a direct role in literally writing the strategies and doctrines behind US efforts to achieve ‘information superiority.’
In December 2001, O’Neill confirmed that strategic discussions at the Highlands Forum were feeding directly into Andrew Marshall’s DoD-wide strategic review ordered by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to upgrade the military, including the Quadrennial Defense Review — and that some of the earliest Forum meetings “resulted in the writing of a group of DoD policies, strategies, and doctrine for the services on information warfare.” That process of “writing” the Pentagon’s information warfare policies “was done in conjunction with people who understood the environment differently — not only US citizens, but also foreign citizens, and people who were developing corporate IT.”
The Pentagon’s post-9/11 information warfare doctrines were, then, written not just by national security officials from the US and abroad: but also by powerful corporate entities in the defense and technology sectors.
In April that year, Gen. James McCarthy had completed his defense transformation review ordered by Rumsfeld. His report repeatedly highlighted mass surveillance as integral to DoD transformation. As for Marshall, his follow-up report for Rumsfeld was going to develop a blueprint determining the Pentagon’s future in the ‘information age.’
O’Neill also affirmed that to develop information warfare doctrine, the Forum had held extensive discussions on electronic surveillance and “what constitutes an act of war in an information environment.” Papers feeding into US defense policy written through the late 1990s by RAND consultants John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt, both longstanding Highlands Forum members, were produced “as a result of those meetings,” exploring policy dilemmas on how far to take the goal of ‘Information Superiority.’ “One of the things that was shocking to the American public was that we weren’t pilfering Milosevic’s accounts electronically when we in fact could,” commented O’Neill.
Although the R&D process around the Pentagon transformation strategy remains classified, a hint at the DoD discussions going on in this period can be gleaned from a 2005 US Army School of Advanced Military Studies research monograph in the DoD journal, Military Review, authored by an active Army intelligence officer.
“The idea of Persistent Surveillance as a transformational capability has circulated within the national Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for at least three years,” the paper said, referencing the Rumsfeld-commissioned transformation study.
The Army paper went on to review a range of high-level official military documents, including one from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showing that “Persistent Surveillance” was a fundamental theme of the information-centric vision for defense policy across the Pentagon.
We now know that just two months before O’Neill’s address at Harvard in 2001, under the TIA program, President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA’s domestic surveillance of Americans without court-approved warrants, in what appears to have been an illegal modification of the ThinThread data-mining project — as later exposed by NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.
The surveillance-startup nexus
From here on, Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role in the NSA roll out from inception. Shortly after 9/11, Brian Sharkey, chief technology officer of SAIC’s ELS3 Sector (focusing on IT systems for emergency responders), teamed up with John Poindexter to propose the TIA surveillance program. SAIC’s Sharkey had previously been deputy director of the Information Systems Office at DARPA through the 1990s.
Meanwhile, around the same time, SAIC vice president for corporate development, Samuel Visner, became head of the NSA’s signals-intelligence programs. SAIC was then among a consortium receiving a $280 million contract to develop one of the NSA’s secret eavesdropping systems. By 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become director of strategic planning and business development of the firm’s intelligence group.
That year, the NSA consolidated its TIA programme of warrantless electronic surveillance, to keep “track of individuals” and understand “how they fit into models” through risk profiles of American citizens and foreigners. TIA was doing this by integrating databases on finance, travel, medical, educational and other records into a “virtual, centralized grand database.”
This was also the year that the Bush administration drew up its notorious Information Operations Roadmap. Describing the internet as a “vulnerable weapons system,” Rumsfeld’s IO roadmap had advocated that Pentagon strategy “should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will ‘fight the net’ as it would an enemy weapons system.” The US should seek “maximum control” of the “full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems,” advocated the document.
The following year, John Poindexter, who had proposed and run the TIA surveillance program via his post at DARPA, was in Singapore participating in the Highlands 2004 Island Forum. Other delegates included then Highlands Forum co-chair and Pentagon CIO Linton Wells; president of notorious Pentagon information warfare contractor, John Rendon; Karl Lowe, director of the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Advanced Warfighting Division; Air Vice Marshall Stephen Dalton, capability manager for information superiority at the UK Ministry of Defense; Lt. Gen. Johan Kihl, Swedish army Supreme Commander HQ’s chief of staff; among others.
As of 2006, SAIC had been awarded a multi-million dollar NSA contract to develop a big data-mining project called ExecuteLocus, despite the colossal $1 billion failure of its preceding contract, known as ‘Trailblazer.’ Core components of TIA were being “quietly continued” under “new code names,” according to Foreign Policy’s Shane Harris, but had been concealed “behind the veil of the classified intelligence budget.” The new surveillance program had by then been fully transitioned from DARPA’s jurisdiction to the NSA.
This was also the year of yet another Singapore Island Forum led by Richard O’Neill on behalf of the Pentagon, which included senior defense and industry officials from the US, UK, Australia, France, India and Israel. Participants also included senior technologists from Microsoft, IBM, as well as Gilman Louie, partner at technology investment firm Alsop Louie Partners.
Gilman Louie is a former CEO of In-Q-Tel — the CIA firm investing especially in start-ups developing data mining technology. In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999 by the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, under which the Office of Research and Development (ORD) — which was part of the Google-funding MDSS program — had operated. The idea was to essentially replace the functions once performed by the ORD, by mobilizing the private sector to develop information technology solutions for the entire intelligence community.
Louie had led In-Q-Tel from 1999 until January 2006 — including when Google bought Keyhole, the In-Q-Tel-funded satellite mapping software. Among his colleagues on In-Q-Tel’s board in this period were former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones (who is still there), as well as founding board member William Perry: the man who had appointed O’Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum in the first place. Joining Perry as a founding In-Q-Tel board member was John Seely Brown, then chief scientist at Xerox Corp and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) from 1990 to 2002, who is also a long-time senior Highlands Forum member since inception.
In addition to the CIA, In-Q-Tel has also been backed by the FBI, NGA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, among other agencies. More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel’s investments under Louie’s watch were “in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information,” according to Medill School of Journalism’s News21, which also noted that Louie himself had acknowledged it was not clear “whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected” by government’s use of these technologies “for national security.”
The transcript of Richard O’Neill’s late 2001 seminar at Harvard shows that the Pentagon Highlands Forum had first engaged Gilman Louie long before the Island Forum, in fact, shortly after 9/11 to explore “what’s going on with In-Q-Tel.” That Forum session focused on how to “take advantage of the speed of the commercial market that wasn’t present inside the science and technology community of Washington” and to understand “the implications for the DoD in terms of the strategic review, the QDR, Hill action, and the stakeholders.” Participants of the meeting included “senior military people,” combatant commanders, “several of the senior flag officers,” some “defense industry people” and various US representatives including Republican Congressman William Mac Thornberry and Democrat Senator Joseph Lieberman.
Both Thornberry and Lieberman are staunch supporters of NSA surveillance, and have consistently acted to rally support for pro-war, pro-surveillance legislation. O’Neill’s comments indicate that the Forum’s role is not just to enable corporate contractors to write Pentagon policy, but to rally political support for government policies adopted through the Forum’s informal brand of shadow networking.
Repeatedly, O’Neill told his Harvard audience that his job as Forum president was to scope case studies from real companies across the private sector, like eBay and Human Genome Sciences, to figure out the basis of US ‘Information Superiority’ — “how to dominate” the information market — and leverage this for “what the president and the secretary of defense wanted to do with regard to transformation of the DoD and the strategic review.”
By 2007, a year after the Island Forum meeting that included Gilman Louie, Facebook received its second round of $12.7 million worth of funding from Accel Partners. Accel was headed up by James Breyer, former chair of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) where Louie also served on the board while still CEO of In-Q-Tel. Both Louie and Breyer had previously served together on the board of BBN Technologies — which had recruited ex-DARPA chief and In-Q-Tel trustee Anita Jones.
Facebook’s 2008 round of funding was led by Greylock Venture Capital, which invested $27.5 million. The firm’s senior partners include Howard Cox, another former NVCA chair who also sits on the board of In-Q-Tel. Apart from Breyer and Zuckerberg, Facebook’s only other board member is Peter Thiel, co-founder of defense contractor Palantir which provides all sorts of data-mining and visualization technologies to US government, military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA and FBI, and which itself was nurtured to financial viability by Highlands Forum members.
Palantir co-founders Thiel and Alex Karp met with John Poindexter in 2004, according to Wired, the same year Poindexter had attended the Highlands Island Forum in Singapore. They met at the home of Richard Perle, another Andrew Marshall acolyte. Poindexter helped Palantir open doors, and to assemble “a legion of advocates from the most influential strata of government.” Thiel had also met with Gilman Louie of In-Q-Tel, securing the backing of the CIA in this early phase.
And so we come full circle. Data-mining programs like ExecuteLocus and projects linked to it, which were developed throughout this period, apparently laid the groundwork for the new NSA programmes eventually disclosed by Edward Snowden. By 2008, as Facebook received its next funding round from Greylock Venture Capital, documents and whistleblower testimony confirmed that the NSA was effectively resurrecting the TIA project with a focus on Internet data-mining via comprehensive monitoring of e-mail, text messages, and Web browsing.
We also now know thanks to Snowden that the NSA’s XKeyscore ‘Digital Network Intelligence’ exploitation system was designed to allow analysts to search not just Internet databases like emails, online chats and browsing history, but also telephone services, mobile phone audio, financial transactions and global air transport communications — essentially the entire global telecommunications grid. Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role, among other contractors, in producing and administering the NSA’s XKeyscore, and was recently implicated in NSA hacking of the privacy network Tor.
The Pentagon Highlands Forum was therefore intimately involved in all this as a convening network—but also quite directly. Confirming his pivotal role in the expansion of the US-led global surveillance apparatus, then Forum co-chair, Pentagon CIO Linton Wells, told FedTech magazine in 2009 that he had overseen the NSA’s roll out of “an impressive long-term architecture last summer that will provide increasingly sophisticated security until 2015 or so.”
The Goldman Sachs connection
When I asked Wells about the Forum’s role in influencing US mass surveillance, he responded only to say he would prefer not to comment and that he no longer leads the group.
As Wells is no longer in government, this is to be expected — but he is still connected to Highlands. As of September 2014, after delivering his influential white paper on Pentagon transformation, he joined the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) Cyber Security Initiative (CySec) as a distinguished senior fellow.
Sadly, this was not a form of trying to keep busy in retirement. Wells’ move underscored that the Pentagon’s conception of information warfare is not just about surveillance, but about the exploitation of surveillance to influence both government and public opinion.
The MIIS CySec initiative is now formally partnered with the Pentagon Highlands Forum through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with MIIS provost Dr Amy Sands, who sits on the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board. The MIIS CySec website states that the MoU signed with Richard O’Neill:
“… paves the way for future joint MIIS CySec-Highlands Group sessions that will explore the impact of technology on security, peace and information engagement. For nearly 20 years the Highlands Group has engaged private sector and government leaders, including the Director of National Intelligence, DARPA, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Singaporean Minister of Defence, in creative conversations to frame policy and technology research areas.”
Who is the financial benefactor of the new Pentagon Highlands-partnered MIIS CySec initiative? According to the MIIS CySec site, the initiative was launched “through a generous donation of seed funding from George Lee.” George C. Lee is a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, where he is chief information officer of the investment banking division, and chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group.
But here’s the kicker. In 2011, it was Lee who engineered Facebook’s $50 billion valuation, and previously handled deals for other Highlands-connected tech giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay. Lee’s then boss, Stephen Friedman, a former CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, and later senior partner on the firm’s executive board, was a also founding board member of In-Q-Tel alongside Highlands Forum overlord William Perry and Forum member John Seely Brown.
In 2001, Bush appointed Stephen Friedman to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and then to chair that board from 2005 to 2009. Friedman previously served alongside Paul Wolfowitz and others on the 1995–6 presidential commission of inquiry into US intelligence capabilities, and in 1996 on the Jeremiah Panel that produced a report to the Director of the National Reconnaisance Office (NRO) — one of the surveillance agencies plugged into the Highlands Forum. Friedman was on the Jeremiah Panel with Martin Faga, then senior vice president and general manager of MITRE Corp’s Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems — where Thuraisingham, who managed the CIA-NSA-MDDS program that inspired DARPA counter-terrorist data-mining, was also a lead engineer.
In the footnotes to a chapter for the book, Cyberspace and National Security (Georgetown University Press), SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper reveals that another Goldman Sachs senior partner Philip J. Venables — who as chief information risk officer leads the firm’s programs on information security — delivered a Highlands Forum presentation in 2008 at what was called an ‘Enrichment Session on Deterrence.’ Cooper’s chapter draws on Venables’ presentation at Highlands “with permission.” In 2010, Venables participated with his then boss Friedman at an Aspen Institute meeting on the world economy. For the last few years, Venables has also sat on various NSA cybersecurity award review boards.
In sum, the investment firm responsible for creating the billion dollar fortunes of the tech sensations of the 21st century, from Google to Facebook, is intimately linked to the US military intelligence community; with Venables, Lee and Friedman either directly connected to the Pentagon Highlands Forum, or to senior members of the Forum.
Fighting terror with terror
The convergence of these powerful financial and military interests around the Highlands Forum, through George Lee’s sponsorship of the Forum’s new partner, the MIIS Cysec initiative, is revealing in itself.
MIIS Cysec’s director, Dr, Itamara Lochard, has long been embedded in Highlands. She regularly “presents current research on non-state groups, governance, technology and conflict to the US Office of the Secretary of Defense Highlands Forum,” according to her Tufts University bio. She also, “regularly advises US combatant commanders” and specializes in studying the use of information technology by “violent and non-violent sub-state groups.”
Dr Itamara Lochard is a senior Highlands Forum member and Pentagon information operations expert. She directs the MIIS CyberSec initiative that now supports the Pentagon Highlands Forum with funding from Goldman Sachs partner George Lee, who led the valuations of Facebook and Google.
Dr Lochard maintains a comprehensive database of 1,700 non-state groups including “insurgents, militias, terrorists, complex criminal organizations, organized gangs, malicious cyber actors and strategic non-violent actors,” to analyze their “organizational patterns, areas of cooperation, strategies and tactics.” Notice, here, the mention of “strategic non-violent actors” — which perhaps covers NGOs and other groups or organizations engaged in social political activity or campaigning, judging by the focus of other DoD research programs.
As of 2008, Lochard has been an adjunct professor at the US Joint Special Operations University where she teaches a top secret advanced course in ‘Irregular Warfare’ that she designed for senior US special forces officers. She has previously taught courses on ‘Internal War’ for senior “political-military officers” of various Gulf regimes.
Her views thus disclose much about what the Highlands Forum has been advocating all these years. In 2004, Lochard was co-author of a study for the US Air Force’s Institute for National Security Studies on US strategy toward ‘non-state armed groups.’ The study on the one hand argued that non-state armed groups should be urgently recognized as a ‘tier one security priority,’ and on the other that the proliferation of armed groups “provide strategic opportunities that can be exploited to help achieve policy goals. There have and will be instances where the United States may find collaborating with armed group is in its strategic interests.” But “sophisticated tools” must be developed to differentiate between different groups and understand their dynamics, to determine which groups should be countered, and which could be exploited for US interests. “Armed group profiles can likewise be employed to identify ways in which the United States may assist certain armed groups whose success will be advantageous to US foreign policy objectives.”
In 2008, Wikileaks published a leaked restricted US Army Special Operations field manual, which demonstrated that the sort of thinking advocated by the likes of Highlands expert Lochard had been explicitly adopted by US special forces.
Lochard’s work thus demonstrates that the Highlands Forum sat at the intersection of advanced Pentagon strategy on surveillance, covert operations and irregular warfare: mobilizing mass surveillance to develop detailed information on violent and non-violent groups perceived as potentially threatening to US interests, or offering opportunities for exploitation, thus feeding directly into US covert operations.
That, ultimately, is why the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, spawned Google. So they could run their secret dirty wars with even greater efficiency than ever before.
Mass surveillance is about control. It’s promulgators may well claim, and even believe, that it is about control for the greater good, a control that is needed to keep a cap on disorder, to be fully vigilant to the next threat. But in a context of rampant political corruption, widening economic inequalities, and escalating resource stress due to climate change and energy volatility, mass surveillance can become a tool of power to merely perpetuate itself, at the public’s expense.
A major function of mass surveillance that is often overlooked is that of knowing the adversary to such an extent that they can be manipulated into defeat. The problem is that the adversary is not just terrorists. It’s you and me. To this day, the role of information warfare as propaganda has been in full swing, though systematically ignored by much of the media.
Here, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE exposes how the Pentagon Highlands Forum’s co-optation of tech giants like Google to pursue mass surveillance, has played a key role in secret efforts to manipulate the media as part of an information war against the American government, the American people, and the rest of the world: to justify endless war, and ceaseless military expansionism.
The war machine
In September 2013, the website of the Montery Institute for International Studies’ Cyber Security Initiative (MIIS CySec) posted a final version of a paper on ‘cyber-deterrence’ by CIA consultant Jeffrey Cooper, vice president of the US defense contractor SAIC and a founding member of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum. The paper was presented to then NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander at a Highlands Forum session titled ‘Cyber Commons, Engagement and Deterrence’ in 2010.
Gen. Keith Alexander (middle), who served as director of the NSA and chief of the Central Security Service from 2005 to 2014, as well as commander of the US Cyber Command from 2010 to 2014, at the 2010 Highlands Forum session on cyber-deterrence
MIIS CySec is formally partnered with the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum through an MoU signed between the provost and Forum president Richard O’Neill, while the initiative itself is funded by George C. Lee: the Goldman Sachs executive who led the billion dollar valuations of Facebook, Google, eBay, and other tech companies.
Cooper’s eye-opening paper is no longer available at the MIIS site, but a final version of it is available via the logs of a public national security conference hosted by the American Bar Association. Currently, Cooper is chief innovation officer at SAIC/Leidos, which is among a consortium of defense technology firms including Booz Allen Hamilton and others contracted to develop NSA surveillance capabilities.
The Highlands Forum briefing for the NSA chief was commissioned under contract by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and based on concepts developed at previous Forum meetings. It was presented to Gen. Alexander at a “closed session” of the Highlands Forum moderated by MIIS Cysec director, Dr. Itamara Lochard, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC.
SAIC/Leidos’ Jeffrey Cooper (middle), a founding member of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum, listening to Phil Venables (right), senior partner at Goldman Sachs, at the 2010 Forum session on cyber-deterrence at the CSIS
Like Rumsfeld’s IO roadmap, Cooper’s NSA briefing described “digital information systems” as both a “great source of vulnerability” and “powerful tools and weapons” for “national security.” He advocated the need for US cyber intelligence to maximize “in-depth knowledge” of potential and actual adversaries, so they can identify “every potential leverage point” that can be exploited for deterrence or retaliation. “Networked deterrence” requires the US intelligence community to develop “deep understanding and specific knowledge about the particular networks involved and their patterns of linkages, including types and strengths of bonds,” as well as using cognitive and behavioural science to help predict patterns. His paper went on to essentially set out a theoretical architecture for modelling data obtained from surveillance and social media mining on potential “adversaries” and “counterparties.”
A year after this briefing with the NSA chief, Michele Weslander Quaid — another Highlands Forum delegate — joined Google to become chief technology officer, leaving her senior role in the Pentagon advising the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Two months earlier, the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force on Defense Intelligence published its report on Counterinsurgency (COIN), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IRS) Operations. Quaid was among the government intelligence experts who advised and briefed the Defense Science Board Task Force in preparing the report. Another expert who briefed the Task Force was Highlands Forum veteran Linton Wells. The DSB report itself had been commissioned by Bush appointee James Clapper, then undersecretary of defense for intelligence — who had also commissioned Cooper’s Highlands Forum briefing to Gen. Alexander. Clapper is now Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, in which capacity he lied under oath to Congress by claiming in March 2013 that the NSA does not collect any data at all on American citizens.
Michele Quaid’s track record across the US military intelligence community was to transition agencies into using web tools and cloud technology. The imprint of her ideas are evident in key parts of the DSB Task Force report, which described its purpose as being to “influence investment decisions” at the Pentagon “by recommending appropriate intelligence capabilities to assess insurgencies, understand a population in their environment, and support COIN operations.”
The report named 24 countries in South and Southeast Asia, North and West Africa, the Middle East and South America, which would pose “possible COIN challenges” for the US military in coming years. These included Pakistan, Mexico, Yemen, Nigeria, Guatemala, Gaza/West Bank, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, among other “autocratic regimes.” The report argued that “economic crises, climate change, demographic pressures, resource scarcity, or poor governance could cause these states (or others) to fail or become so weak that they become targets for aggressors/insurgents.” From there, the “global information infrastructure” and “social media” can rapidly “amplify the speed, intensity, and momentum of events” with regional implications. “Such areas could become sanctuaries from which to launch attacks on the US homeland, recruit personnel, and finance, train, and supply operations.”
The imperative in this context is to increase the military’s capacity for “left of bang” operations — before the need for a major armed forces commitment — to avoid insurgencies, or pre-empt them while still in incipient phase. The report goes on to conclude that “the Internet and social media are critical sources of social network analysis data in societies that are not only literate, but also connected to the Internet.” This requires “monitoring the blogosphere and other social media across many different cultures and languages” to prepare for “population-centric operations.”
The Pentagon must also increase its capacity for “behavioral modeling and simulation” to “better understand and anticipate the actions of a population” based on “foundation data on populations, human networks, geography, and other economic and social characteristics.” Such “population-centric operations” will also “increasingly” be needed in “nascent resource conflicts, whether based on water-crises, agricultural stress, environmental stress, or rents” from mineral resources. This must include monitoring “population demographics as an organic part of the natural resource framework.”
Other areas for augmentation are “overhead video surveillance,” “high resolution terrain data,” “cloud computing capability,” “data fusion” for all forms of intelligence in a “consistent spatio-temporal framework for organizing and indexing the data,” developing “social science frameworks” that can “support spatio-temporal encoding and analysis,” “distributing multi-form biometric authentication technologies [“such as fingerprints, retina scans and DNA samples”] to the point of service of the most basic administrative processes” in order to “tie identity to all an individual’s transactions.” In addition, the academy must be brought in to help the Pentagon develop “anthropological, socio-cultural, historical, human geographical, educational, public health, and many other types of social and behavioral science data and information” to develop “a deep understanding of populations.”
A few months after joining Google, Quaid represented the company in August 2011 at the Pentagon’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Customer and Industry Forum. The forum would provide “the Services, Combatant Commands, Agencies, coalition forces” the “opportunity to directly engage with industry on innovative technologies to enable and ensure capabilities in support of our Warfighters.” Participants in the event have been integral to efforts to create a “defense enterprise information environment,” defined as “an integrated platform which includes the network, computing, environment, services, information assurance, and NetOps capabilities,” enabling warfighters to “connect, identify themselves, discover and share information, and collaborate across the full spectrum of military operations.” Most of the forum panelists were DoD officials, except for just four industry panelists including Google’s Quaid.
DISA officials have attended the Highlands Forum, too — such as Paul Friedrichs, a technical director and chief engineer of DISA’s Office of the Chief Information Assurance Executive.
Knowledge is Power
Given all this it is hardly surprising that in 2012, a few months after Highlands Forum co-chair Regina Dugan left DARPA to join Google as a senior executive, then NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was emailing Google’s founding executive Sergey Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, obtained under Freedom of Information by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, Gen. Alexander described Google as a “key member of [the US military’s] Defense Industrial Base,” a position Michele Quaid was apparently consolidating. Brin’s jovial relationship with the former NSA chief now makes perfect sense given that Brin had been in contact with representatives of the CIA and NSA, who partly funded and oversaw his creation of the Google search engine, since the mid-1990s.
In July 2014, Quaid spoke at a US Army panel on the creation of a “rapid acquisition cell” to advance the US Army’s “cyber capabilities” as part of the Force 2025 transformation initiative. She told Pentagon officials that “many of the Army’s 2025 technology goals can be realized with commercial technology available or in development today,” re-affirming that “industry is ready to partner with the Army in supporting the new paradigm.” Around the same time, most of the media was trumpeting the idea that Google was trying to distance itself from Pentagon funding, but in reality, Google has switched tactics to independently develop commercial technologies which would have military applications the Pentagon’s transformation goals.
Yet Quaid is hardly the only point-person in Google’s relationship with the US military intelligence community.
One year after Google bought the satellite mapping software Keyhole from CIA venture capital firm In-Q-Tel in 2004, In-Q-Tel’s director of technical assessment Rob Painter — who played a key role in In-Q-Tel’s Keyhole investment in the first place — moved to Google. At In-Q-Tel, Painter’s work focused on identifying, researching and evaluating “new start-up technology firms that were believed to offer tremendous value to the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.” Indeed, the NGA had confirmed that its intelligence obtained via Keyhole was used by the NSA to support US operations in Iraq from 2003 onwards.
A former US Army special operations intelligence officer, Painter’s new job at Google as of July 2005 was federal manager of what Keyhole was to become: Google Earth Enterprise. By 2007, Painter had become Google’s federal chief technologist.
That year, Painter told the Washington Post that Google was “in the beginning stages” of selling advanced secret versions of its products to the US government. “Google has ramped up its sales force in the Washington area in the past year to adapt its technology products to the needs of the military, civilian agencies and the intelligence community,” the Post reported. The Pentagon was already using a version of Google Earth developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin to “display information for the military on the ground in Iraq,” including “mapping out displays of key regions of the country” and outlining “Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as US and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data.” Google aimed to sell the government new “enhanced versions of Google Earth” and “search engines that can be used internally by agencies.”
White House records leaked in 2010 showed that Google executives had held several meetings with senior US National Security Council officials. Alan Davidson, Google’s government affairs director, had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council in 2009, including White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul and Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro. It also emerged from a Google patent application that the company had deliberately been collecting ‘payload’ data from private wifi networks that would enable the identification of “geolocations.” In the same year, we now know, Google had signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security — agreements that Gen. Alexander was busy replicating with hundreds of telecoms CEOs around the country.
Thus, it is not just Google that is a key contributor and foundation of the US military-industrial complex: it is the entire Internet, and the wide range of private sector companies — many nurtured and funded under the mantle of the US intelligence community (or powerful financiers embedded in that community) — which sustain the Internet and the telecoms infrastructure; it is also the myriad of start-ups selling cutting edge technologies to the CIA’s venture firm In-Q-Tel, where they can then be adapted and advanced for applications across the military intelligence community. Ultimately, the global surveillance apparatus and the classified tools used by agencies like the NSA to administer it, have been almost entirely made by external researchers and private contractors like Google, which operate outside the Pentagon.
This structure, mirrored in the workings of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum, allows the Pentagon to rapidly capitalize on technological innovations it would otherwise miss, while also keeping the private sector at arms length, at least ostensibly, to avoid uncomfortable questions about what such technology is actually being used for.
But isn’t it obvious, really? The Pentagon is about war, whether overt or covert. By helping build the technological surveillance infrastructure of the NSA, firms like Google are complicit in what the military-industrial complex does best: kill for cash.
As the nature of mass surveillance suggests, its target is not merely terrorists, but by extension, ‘terrorism suspects’ and ‘potential terrorists,’ the upshot being that entire populations — especially political activists — must be targeted by US intelligence surveillance to identify active and future threats, and to be vigilant against hypothetical populist insurgencies both at home and abroad. Predictive analytics and behavioural profiles play a pivotal role here.
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA’s drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
The push for indiscriminate, comprehensive mass surveillance by the military-industrial complex — encompassing the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, and supposedly friendly tech giants like Google and Facebook — is therefore not an end in itself, but an instrument of power, whose goal is self-perpetuation. But there is also a self-rationalizing justification for this goal: while being great for the military-industrial complex, it is also, supposedly, great for everyone else.
The ‘long war’
No better illustration of the truly chauvinistic, narcissistic, and self-congratulatory ideology of power at the heart of the military-industrial complex is a book by long-time Highlands Forum delegate, Dr. Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon’s New Map. Barnett was assistant for strategic futures in the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation from 2001 to 2003, and had been recommended to Richard O’Neill by his boss Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. Apart from becoming a New York Times bestseller, Barnett’s book had been read far and wide in the US military, by senior defense officials in Washington and combatant commanders operating on the ground in the Middle East.
Barnett first attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum in 1998, then was invited to deliver a briefing about his work at the Forum on December 7th 2004, which was attended by senior Pentagon officials, energy experts, internet entrepreneurs, and journalists. Barnett received a glowing review in the Washington Post from his Highlands Forum buddy David Ignatius a week later, and an endorsement from another Forum friend, Thomas Friedman, both of which helped massively boost his credibility and readership.
Barnett’s vision is neoconservative to the root. He sees the world as divided into essentially two realms: The Core, which consists of advanced countries playing by the rules of economic globalization (the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan) along with developing countries committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others); and the rest of the world, which is The Gap, a disparate wilderness of dangerous and lawless countries defined fundamentally by being “disconnected” from the wonders of globalization. This includes most of the Middle East and Africa, large swathes of South America, as well as much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the task of the United States to “shrink The Gap,” by spreading the cultural and economic “rule-set” of globalization that characterizes The Core, and by enforcing security worldwide to enable that “rule-set” to spread.
These two functions of US power are captured by Barnett’s concepts of “Leviathan” and “System Administrator.” The former is about rule-setting to facilitate the spread of capitalist markets, regulated via military and civilian law. The latter is about projecting military force into The Gap in an open-ended global mission to enforce security and engage in nation-building. Not “rebuilding,” he is keen to emphasize, but building “new nations.”
For Barnett, the Bush administration’s 2002 introduction of the Patriot Act at home, with its crushing of habeas corpus, and the National Security Strategy abroad, with its opening up of unilateral, pre-emptive war, represented the beginning of the necessary re-writing of rule-sets in The Core to embark on this noble mission. This is the only way for the US to achieve security, writes Barnett, because as long as The Gap exists, it will always be a source of lawless violence and disorder. One paragraph in particular sums up his vision:
“America as global cop creates security. Security creates common rules. Rules attract foreign investment. Investment creates infrastructure. Infrastructure creates access to natural resources. Resources create economic growth. Growth creates stability. Stability creates markets. And once you’re a growing, stable part of the global market, you’re part of the Core. Mission accomplished.”
Much of what Barnett predicted would need to happen to fulfill this vision, despite its neoconservative bent, is still being pursued under Obama. In the near future, Barnett had predicted, US military forces will be dispatched beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to places like Uzbekistan, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, Northwest Africa, Southern Africa and South America.
Barnett’s Pentagon briefing was greeted with near universal enthusiasm. The Forum had even purchased copies of his book and had them distributed to all Forum delegates, and in May 2005, Barnett was invited back to participate in an entire Forum themed around his “SysAdmin” concept.
The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon’s entire conceptualization of the ‘war on terror.’ Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:
“Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict… the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own.”
The problem is that outside this powerful Pentagon-hosted clique, not everyone else agrees. “I’m not convinced that Barnett’s cure would be any better than the disease,” wrote Dr. Karen Kwiatowski, a former senior Pentagon analyst in the Near East and South Asia section, who blew the whistle on how her department deliberately manufactured false information in the run-up to the Iraq War. “It would surely cost far more in American liberty, constitutional democracy and blood than it would be worth.”
Yet the equation of “shrinking The Gap” with sustaining the national security of The Core leads to a slippery slope. It means that if the US is prevented from playing this leadership role as “global cop,” The Gap will widen, The Core will shrink, and the entire global order could unravel. By this logic, the US simply cannot afford government or public opinion to reject the legitimacy of its mission. If it did so, it would allow The Gap to grow out of control, undermining The Core, and potentially destroying it, along with The Core’s protector, America. Therefore, “shrinking The Gap” is not just a security imperative: it is such an existential priority, that it must be backed up with information war to demonstrate to the world the legitimacy of the entire project.
Based on O’Neill’s principles of information warfare as articulated in his 1989 US Navy brief, the targets of information war are not just populations in The Gap, but domestic populations in The Core, and their governments: including the US government. That secret brief, which according to former senior US intelligence official John Alexander was read by the Pentagon’s top leadership, argued that information war must be targeted at: adversaries to convince them of their vulnerability; potential partners around the world so they accept “the cause as just”; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they believe that “the cost” in blood and treasure is worth it.
Barnett’s work was plugged by the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum because it fit the bill, in providing a compelling ‘feel good’ ideology for the US military-industrial complex.
But neoconservative ideology, of course, hardly originated with Barnett, himself a relatively small player, even though his work was extremely influential throughout the Pentagon. The regressive thinking of senior officials involved in the Highlands Forum is visible from long before 9/11, which was ceased upon by actors linked to the Forum as a powerful enabling force that legitimized the increasingly aggressive direction of US foreign and intelligence policies.
Yoda and the Soviets
The ideology represented by the Highlands Forum can be gleaned from long before its establishment in 1994, at a time when Andrew ‘Yoda’ Marshall’s ONA was the primary locus of Pentagon activity on future planning.
A widely-held myth promulgated by national security journalists over the years is that the ONA’s reputation as the Pentagon’s resident oracle machine was down to the uncanny analytical foresight of its director Marshall. Supposedly, he was among the few who made the prescient recognition that the Soviet threat had been overblown by the US intelligence community. He had, the story goes, been a lone, but relentless voice inside the Pentagon, calling on policymakers to re-evaluate their projections of the USSR’s military might.
Except the story is not true. The ONA was not about sober threat analysis, but about paranoid threat projection justifying military expansionism. Foreign Policy’s Jeffrey Lewis points out that far from offering a voice of reason calling for a more balanced assessment of Soviet military capabilities, Marshall tried to downplay ONA findings that rejected the hype around an imminent Soviet threat. Having commissioned a study concluding that the US had overestimated Soviet aggressiveness, Marshall circulated it with a cover note declaring himself “unpersuaded” by its findings. Lewis charts how Marshall’s threat projection mind-set extended to commissioning absurd research supporting staple neocon narratives about the (non-existent) Saddam-al-Qaeda link, and even the notorious report by a RAND consultant calling for re-drawing the map of the Middle East, presented to the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board on the invitation of Richard Perle in 2002.
Investigative journalist Jason Vest similarly found from Pentagon sources that during the Cold War, Marshall had long hyped the Soviet threat, and played a key role in giving the neoconservative pressure group, the Committee on the Present Danger, access to classified CIA intelligence data to re-write the National Intelligence Estimate on Soviet Military Intentions. This was a precursor to the manipulation of intelligence after 9/11 to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Former ONA staffers confirmed that Marshall had been belligerent about an imminent Soviet threat “until the very end.” Ex-CIA sovietologist Melvin Goodman, for instance, recalled that Marshall was also instrumental in pushing for the Afghan mujahideen to be provided with Stinger missiles — a move which made the war even more brutal, encouraging the Russians to use scorched earth tactics.
Enron, the Taliban and Iraq
The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon’s creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry — a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war. Surprisingly, the Forum’s dubious role as a government-industry bridge can be clearly discerned in relation to Enron’s flirtations with the US government. Just as the Forum had crafted the Pentagon’s intensifying policies on mass surveillance, it simultaneously fed directly into the strategic thinking that culminating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On November 7th 2000, George W. Bush ‘won’ the US presidential elections. Enron and its employees had given over $1 million to the Bush campaign in total. That included contributing $10,500 to Bush’s Florida recount committee, and a further $300,000 for the inaugural celebrations afterwards. Enron also provided corporate jets to shuttle Republican lawyers around Florida and Washington lobbying on behalf of Bush for the December recount. Federal election documents later showed that since 1989, Enron had made a total of $5.8 million in campaign donations, 73 percent to Republicans and 27 percent to Democrats — with as many as 15 senior Bush administration officials owning stock in Enron, including defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, senior advisor Karl Rove, and army secretary Thomas White.
Yet just one day before that controversial election, Pentagon Highlands Forum founding president Richard O’Neill wrote to Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, inviting him to give a presentation at the Forum on modernizing the Pentagon and the Army. The email from O’Neill to Lay was released as part of the Enron Corpus, the emails obtained by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but has remained unknown until now.
The email began “On behalf of Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) and DoD CIO Arthur Money,” and invited Lay “to participate in the Secretary of Defense’s Highlands Forum,” which O’Neill described as “a cross-disciplinary group of eminent scholars, researchers, CEO’s/CIO’s/CTO’s from industry, and leaders from the media, the arts and the professions, who have met over the past six years to examine areas of emerging interest to all of us.” He added that Forum sessions include “seniors from the White House, Defense, and other agencies of government (we limit government participation to about 25%).”
Here, O’Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron. The Pentagon, O’Neill went on, wanted Lay to feed into “the search for information/ transformation strategies for the Department of Defense (and government in general),” particularly “from a business perspective (transformation, productivity, competitive advantage).” He offered high praise of Enron as “a remarkable example of transformation in a highly rigid, regulated industry, that has created a new model and new markets.”
O’Neill made clear that the Pentagon wanted Enron to play a pivotal role in the DoD’s future, not just in the creation of “an operational strategy which has information superiority,” but also in relation to the DoD’s “enormous global business enterprise which can benefit from many of the best practices and ideas from industry.”
“ENRON is of great interest to us,” he reaffirmed. “What we learn from you may help the Department of Defense a great deal as it works to build a new strategy. I hope that you have time on your busy schedule to join us for as much of the Highlands Forum as you can attend and speak with the group.”
That Highlands Forum meeting was attended by senior White House and US intelligence officials, including CIA deputy director Joan A. Dempsey, who had previously served as assistant defense secretary for intelligence, and in 2003 was appointed by Bush as executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, in which capacity she praised extensive information sharing by the NSA and NGA after 9/11. She went on to become executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, a major Pentagon contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan that, among other things, created the Coalition Provisional Authority’s database to track what we now know were highly corrupt reconstruction projects in Iraq.
Enron’s relationship with the Pentagon had already been in full swing the previous year. Thomas White, then vice chair of Enron energy services, had used his extensive US military connections to secure a prototype deal at Fort Hamilton to privatize the power supply of army bases. Enron was the only bidder for the deal. The following year, after Enron’s CEO was invited to the Highlands Forum, White gave his first speech in June just “two weeks after he became secretary of the Army,” where he “vowed to speed up the awarding of such contracts,” along with further “rapid privatization” of the Army’s energy services. “Potentially, Enron could benefit from the speedup in awarding contracts, as could others seeking the business,” observed USA Today.
That month, on the authority of defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld — who himself held significant shares in Enron — Bush’s Pentagon invited another Enron executive and one of Enron’s senior external financial advisors to attend a further secret Highlands Forum session.
An email from Richard O’Neill dated June 22nd, obtained via the Enron Corpus, showed that Steven Kean, then executive vice president and chief of staff of Enron, was due to give another Highlands presentation on Monday 25th. “We are approaching the Secretary of Defense-sponsored Highlands Forum and very much looking forward to your participation,” wrote O’Neill, promising Kean that he would be “the centerpiece of discussion. Enron’s experience is quite important to us as we seriously consider transformative change in the Department of Defense.”
Steven Kean is now president and COO (and incoming CEO) of Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy companies in North America, and a major supporter of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.
Due to attend the same Highlands Forum session with Kean was Richard Foster, then a senior partner at the financial consultancy McKinsey. “I have given copies of Dick Foster’s new book, Creative Destruction, to the Deputy Secretary of Defense as well as the Assistant Secretary,” said O’Neill in his email, “and the Enron case that he outlines makes for important discussion. We intend to hand out copies to the participants at the Forum.”
Foster’s firm, McKinsey, had provided strategic financial advice to Enron since the mid-1980s. Joe Skilling, who in February 2001 became Enron CEO while Kenneth Lay moved to chair, had been head of McKinsey’s energy consulting business before joining Enron in 1990.
McKinsey and then partner Richard Foster were intimately involved in crafting the core Enron financial management strategies responsible for the company’s rapid, but fraudulent, growth. While McKinsey has always denied being aware of the dodgy accounting that led to Enron’s demise, internal company documents showed that Foster had attended an Enron finance committee meeting a month before the Highlands Forum session to discuss the “need for outside private partnerships to help drive the company’s explosive growth” — the very investment partnerships responsible for the collapse of Enron.
McKinsey documents showed that the firm was “fully aware of Enron’s extensive use of off-balance-sheet funds.” As The Independent’s economics editor Ben Chu remarks, “McKinsey fully endorsed the dubious accounting methods,” which led to the inflation of Enron’s market valuation and “that caused the company to implode in 2001.”
Indeed, Foster himself had personally attended six Enron board meetings from October 2000 to October 2001. That period roughly coincided with Enron’s growing influence on the Bush administration’s energy policies, and the Pentagon’s planning for Afghanistan and Iraq.
But Foster was also a regular attendee at the Pentagon Highlands Forum — his LinkedIn profile describes him as member of the Forum since 2000, the year he ramped up engagement with Enron. He also delivered a presentation at the inaugural Island Forum in Singapore in 2002.
Enron’s involvement in the Cheney Energy Task Force appears to have been linked to the Bush administration’s 2001 planning for both the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, motivated by control of oil. As noted by Prof. Richard Falk, a former board member of Human Rights Watch and ex-UN investigator, Enron’s Kenneth Lay “was the main confidential consultant relied upon by Vice President Dick Cheney during the highly secretive process of drafting a report outlining a national energy policy, widely regarded as a key element in the US approach to foreign policy generally and the Arab world in particular.”
The intimate secret meetings between senior Enron executives and high-level US government officials via the Pentagon Highlands Forum, from November 2000 to June 2001, played a central role in establishing and cementing the increasingly symbiotic link between Enron and Pentagon planning. The Forum’s role was, as O’Neill has always said, to function as an ideas lab to explore the mutual interests of industry and government.
Enron and Pentagon war planning
In February 2001, when Enron executives including Kenneth Lay began participating concertedly in the Cheney Energy Task Force, a classified National Security Council document instructed NSC staffers to work with the task force in “melding” previously separate issues: “operational policies towards rogue states” and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”
According to Bush’s treasury secretary Paul O’Neill, as quoted by Ron Suskind in The Price of Loyalty (2004), cabinet officials discussed an invasion of Iraq in their first NSC meeting, and had even prepared a map for a post-war occupation marking the carve-up of Iraq’s oil fields. The message at that time from President Bush was that officials must “find a way to do this.”
Cheney Energy Task Force documents obtained by Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information revealed that by March, with extensive industry input, the task force had prepared maps of Gulf state and especially Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, and refineries, along with a list titled ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.’ By April, a think-tank report commissioned by Cheney, overseen by former secretary of state James Baker, and put together by a committee of energy industry and national security experts, urged the US government “to conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments,” to deal with Iraq’s “destabilizing influence” on oil flows to global markets. The report included recommendations from Highlands Forum delegate and Enron chair, Kenneth Lay.
But Cheney’s Energy Task Force was also busily pushing forward plans for Afghanistan involving Enron, that had been in motion under Clinton. Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline. Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.
Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House’s National Security Council was running a cross-departmental ‘working group’ led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline. The NSC’s ‘Dabhol Working Group,’ chaired by Bush’s national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, generated a range of tactics to enhance US government pressure on India to complete the Dabhol plant — pressure that continued all the way to early November. The Dabhol project, and the Trans-Afghan pipeline, was by far Enron’s most lucrative overseas deal.
Throughout 2001, Enron officials, including Ken Lay, participated in Cheney’s Energy Task Force, along with representatives across the US energy industry. Starting from February, shortly after the Bush administration took office, Enron was involved in about half a dozen of these Energy Task Force meetings. After one of these secret meetings, a draft energy proposal was amended to include a new provision proposing to dramatically boost oil and natural gas production in India in a way that would apply only to Enron’s Dabhol power plant. In other words, ensuring the flow of cheap gas to India via the Trans-Afghan pipeline was now a matter of US ‘national security.’
A month or two after this, the Bush administration gave the Taliban $43 million, justified by its crackdown on opium production, despite US-imposed UN sanctions preventing aid to the group for not handing over Osama bin Laden.
Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron’s executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company’s hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron’s bankruptcy in December. That month, Enron officials met with Bush’s commerce secretary, Donald Evans, about the plant, and Cheney lobbied India’s main opposition party about the Dhabol project. Ken Lay had also reportedly contacted the Bush administration around this time to inform officials about the firm’s financial troubles.
By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas. On the 15th of that month, Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge told then White House economic advisor Robert McNally that Enron was heading for a financial meltdown that could cripple the country’s energy markets.
The Bush administration must have anticipated the Taliban’s rejection of the deal, because they had planned a war on Afghanistan from as early as July. According to then Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik, who had participated in the US-Taliban negotiations, US officials told him they planned to invade Afghanistan in mid-October 2001. No sooner had the war commenced, Bush’s ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, called Pakistani’s oil minister Usman Aminuddin to discuss “the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project,” according to the Frontier Post, a Pakistani English-language broadsheet. They reportedly agreed that the “project opens up new avenues of multi-dimensional regional cooperation particularly in view of the recent geo-political developments in the region.”
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda, including an “imminent” invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron’s Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
The Pentagon Highlands Forum’s background link with the interests involved in all this, show they were not unique to the Bush administration — which is why, as Obama was preparing to pull troops out of Afghanistan, he re-affirmed his government’s support for the Trans-Afghan pipeline project, and his desire for a US firm to construct it.
The Pentagon’s propaganda fixer
Throughout this period, information war played a central role in drumming up public support for war — and the Highlands Forum led the way.
In December 2000, just under a year before 9/11 and shortly after George W. Bush’s election victory, key Forum members participated in an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to explore “the impact of the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War on the US foreign policy making process.” Rather than proposing “incremental reforms,” the meeting was for participants to “build from scratch a new model that is optimized to the specific properties of the new global environment.”
Among the issues flagged up in the meeting was the ‘Global Control Revolution’: the “distributed” nature of the information revolution was altering “key dynamics of world politics by challenging the primacy of states and inter-state relations.” This was “creating new challenges to national security, reducing the ability of leading states to control global policy debates, challenging the efficacy of national economic policies, etc.”
In other words, how can the Pentagon find a way to exploit the information revolution to “control global policy debates,” particularly on “national economic policies”?
The meeting was co-hosted by Jamie Metzl, who at the time served on Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, where he had just led the drafting of Clinton’s Presidential Decision Directive 68 on International Public Information (IPI), a new multiagency plan to coordinate US public information dissemination abroad. Metzl went on to coordinate IPI at the State Department.
The preceding year, a senior Clinton official revealed to the Washington Times that Metz’s IPI was really aimed at “spinning the American public,” and had “emerged out of concern that the US public has refused to back President Clinton’s foreign policy.” The IPI would plant news stories favorable to US interests via TV, press, radio and other media based abroad, in hopes it would get picked up in American media. The pretext was that “news coverage is distorted at home and they need to fight it at all costs by using resources that are aimed at spinning the news.” Metzl ran the IPI’s overseas propaganda operations for Iraq and Kosovo.
Other participants of the Carnegie meeting in December 2000, included two founding members of the Highlands Forum, Richard O’Neill and SAIC’s Jeff Cooper — along with Paul Wolfowitz, another Andrew Marshall acolyte who was about to join the incoming Bush administration as Rumsfelds’ deputy defense secretary. Also present was a figure who soon became particularly notorious in the propaganda around Afghanistan and Iraq War 2003: John W. Rendon, Jr., founding president of The Rendon Group (TRG) and another longtime Pentagon Highlands Forum member.
John Rendon (right) at the Highlands Forum, accompanied by BBC anchor Nik Gowing (left) and Jeff Jonas, IBM Entity Analytics chief engineer (middle)
TRG is a notorious communications firm that has been a US government contractor for decades. Rendon played a pivotal role in running the State Department’s propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Kosovo under Clinton and Metzl. That included receiving a Pentagon grant to run a news website, the Balkans Information Exchange, and a US Agency for International Development (USAID) contract to promote “privatization.”
Rendon’s central role in helping the Bush administration hype up the non-existent threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify a US military invasion is now well-known. As James Bamford famously exposed in his seminal Rolling Stone investigation, Rendon played an instrumental role on behalf of the Bush administration in deploying “perception management” to “create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power” under multi-million dollar CIA and Pentagon contracts.
Among Rendon’s activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD. That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts — and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush’s National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.
But that is the tip of iceberg. Declassified documents show that the Highlands Forum was intimately involved in the covert processes by which key officials engineered the road to war on Iraq, based on information warfare.
A redacted 2007 report by the DoD’s Inspector General reveals that one of the contractors used extensively by the Pentagon Highlands Forum during and after the Iraq War was none other than The Rendon Group. TRG was contracted by the Pentagon to organize Forum sessions, determine subjects for discussion, as well as to convene and coordinate Forum meetings. The Inspector General investigation had been prompted by accusations raised in Congress about Rendon’s role in manipulating information to justify the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to the Inspector General report:
“… the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Chief Information Officer employed TRG to conduct forums that would appeal to a cross-disciplinary group of nationally regarded leaders. The forums were in small groups discussing information and technologies and their effects on science, organizational and business processes, international relations, economics, and national security. TRG also conducted a research program and interviews to formulate and develop topics for the Highlands Forum focus group. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration would approve the subjects, and TRG would facilitate the meetings.”
TRG, the Pentagon’s private propaganda arm, thus played a central role in literally running the Pentagon Highlands Forum process that brought together senior government officials with industry executives to generate DoD information warfare strategy.
The Pentagon’s internal investigation absolved Rendon of any wrongdoing. But this is not surprising, given the conflict of interest at stake: the Inspector General at the time was Claude M. Kicklighter, a Bush nominee who had directly overseen the administration’s key military operations. In 2003, he was director of the Pentagon’s Iraq Transition Team, and the following year he was appointed to the State Department as special advisor on stabilization and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The surveillance-propaganda nexus
Even more telling, Pentagon documents obtained by Bamford for his Rolling Stone story revealed that Rendon had been given access to the NSA’s top-secret surveillance data to carry out its work on behalf of the Pentagon. TRG, the DoD documents said, is authorized “to research and analyze information classified up to Top Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS.”
‘SCI’ means Sensitive Compartmented Information, data classified higher than Top Secret, while ‘SI’ designates Special Intelligence, that is, highly secret communications intercepted by the NSA. ‘TK’ refers to Talent/Keyhole, code names for imagery from reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites, while ‘G’ stands for Gamma, encompassing communications intercepts from extremely sensitive sources, and ‘HCS’ means Humint Control System — information from a very sensitive human source. In Bamford’s words:
“Taken together, the acronyms indicate that Rendon enjoys access to the most secret information from all three forms of intelligence collection: eavesdropping, imaging satellites and human spies.”
So the Pentagon had:
1. contracted Rendon, a propaganda firm;
2. given Rendon access to the intelligence community’s most classified information including data from NSA surveillance;
3. tasked Rendon to facilitating the DoD’s development of information operations strategy by running the Highlands Forum process;
4. and further, tasked Rendon with overseeing the concrete execution of this strategy developed through the Highlands Forum process, in actual information operations around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.
TRG chief executive John Rendon remains closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and ongoing DoD information operations in the Muslim world. His November 2014 biography for the Harvard Kennedy School ‘Emerging Leaders’ course describes him as “a participant in forward-thinking organizations such as the Highlands Forum,” “one of the first thought-leaders to harness the power of emerging technologies in support of real time information management,” and an expert on “the impact of emerging information technologies on the way populations think and behave.” Rendon’s Harvard bio also credits him with designing and executing “strategic communications initiatives and information programs related to operations, Odyssey Dawn (Libya), Unified Protector (Libya), Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Allied Force and Joint Guardian (Kosovo), Desert Shield, Desert Storm (Kuwait), Desert Fox (Iraq) and Just Cause (Panama), among others.”
Rendon’s work on perception management and information operations has also “assisted a number of US military interventions” elsewhere, as well as running US information operations in Argentina, Colombia, Haiti, and Zimbabwe — in fact, a total of 99 countries. As a former executive director and national political director of the Democratic Party, John Rendon remains a powerful figure in Washington under the Obama administration.
Pentagon records show that TRG has received over $100 million from the DoD since 2000. In 2009, the US government cancelled a ‘strategic communications’ contract with TRG after revelations it was being used to weed out reporters who might write negative stories about the US military in Afghanistan, and to solely promote journalists supportive of US policy. Yet in 2010, the Obama administration re-contracted Rendon to supply services for “military deception” in Iraq.
Since then, TRG has provided advice to the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, the Special Operations Command, and is still contracted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Army’s Communications Electronic Command, as well as providing “communications support” to the Pentagon and US embassies on counter-narcotics operations.
TRG also boasts on its website that it provides “Irregular Warfare Support,” including “operational and planning support” that “assists our government and military clients in developing new approaches to countering and eroding an adversary’s power, influence and will.” Much of this support has itself been fine-tuned over the last decade or more inside the Pentagon Highlands Forum.
Irregular war and pseudo-terrorism
The Pentagon Highlands Forum’s intimate link, via Rendon, to the propaganda operations pursued under Bush and Obama in support of the ‘Long War,’ demonstrate the integral role of mass surveillance in both irregular warfare and ‘strategic communications.’
One of the major proponents of both is Prof John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, the renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of ‘netwar,’ who today openly advocates the need for mass surveillance and big data mining to support pre-emptive operations to thwart terrorist plots. It so happens that Arquilla is another “founding member” of the Pentagon’s Highlands Forum.
Much of his work on the idea of ‘networked warfare,’ ‘networked deterrence,’ ‘information warfare,’ and ‘swarming,’ largely produced for RAND under Pentagon contract, was incubated by the Forum during its early years and thus became integral to Pentagon strategy. For instance, in Arquilla’s 1999 RAND study, The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward an American Information Strategy, he and his co-author David Ronfeldt express their gratitude to Richard O’Neill “for his interest, support and guidance,” and to “members of the Highlands Forum” for their advance comments on the study. Most of his RAND work credits the Highlands Forum and O’Neill for their support.
Prof. John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, and a founding member of the Pentagon Highlands Forum
Arquilla’s work was cited in a 2006 National Academy of Sciences study on the future of network science commissioned by the US Army, which found based on his research that: “Advances in computer-based technologies and telecommunications are enabling social networks that facilitate group affiliations, including terrorist networks.” The study conflated risks from terror and activist groups: “The implications of this fact for criminal, terror, protest and insurgency networks has been explored by Arquilla and Ronfeldt (2001) and are a common topic of discussion by groups like the Highlands Forum, which perceive that the United States is highly vulnerable to the interruption of critical networks.” Arquilla went on to help develop information warfare strategies “for the military campaigns in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to military historian Benjamin Shearer in his biographical dictionary, Home Front Heroes (2007) — once again illustrating the direct role played by certain key Forum members in executing Pentagon information operations in war theatres.
In his 2005 New Yorker investigation, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh referred to a series of articles by Arquilla elaborating on a new strategy of “countering terror” with pseudo-terror. “It takes a network to fight a network,” said Arquilla, drawing on the thesis he had been promoting in the Pentagon through the Highlands Forum since its founding:
“When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists. These ‘pseudo gangs’, as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists’ camps.”
Arquilla went on to advocate that western intelligence services should use the British case as a model for creating new “pseudo gang” terrorist groups, as a way of undermining “real” terror networks:
“What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today’s terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult.”
Essentially, Arquilla’s argument was that as only networks can fight networks, the only way to defeat enemies conducting irregular warfare is to use techniques of irregular warfare against them. Ultimately, the determining factor in victory is not conventional military defeat per se, but the extent to which the direction of the conflict can be calibrated to influence the population and rally their opposition to the adversary. Arquilla’s ‘pseudo-gang’ strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:
“Under Rumsfeld’s new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists…
The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon’s commando capabilities, said, ‘We’re going to be riding with the bad boys.’”
Official corroboration that this strategy is now operational came with the leak of a 2008 US Army special operations field manual. The US military, the manual said, can conduct irregular and unconventional warfare by using surrogate non-state groups such as “paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political ‘undesirables.’” Shockingly, the manual specifically acknowledged that US special operations can involve both counterterrorism and “Terrorism,” as well as: “Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions.” The purpose of such covert operations is, essentially, population control — they are “specifically focused on leveraging some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo,” or to accept “whatever political outcome” is being imposed or negotiated.
By this twisted logic, terrorism can in some cases be defined as a legitimate tool of US statecraft by which to influence populations into accepting a particular “political outcome” — all in the name fighting terrorism.
Is this what the Pentagon was doing by coordinating the nearly $1 billion of funding from Gulf regimes to anti-Assad rebels, most of which according to the CIA’s own classified assessments ended up in the coffers of violent Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda, who went on to spawn the ‘Islamic State’?
The rationale for the new strategy was first officially set out in an August 2002 briefing for the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, which advocated the creation of a ‘Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group’ (P2OG) within the National Security Council. P2OG, the Board proposed, must conduct clandestine operations to infiltrate and “stimulate reactions” among terrorist networks to provoke them into action, and thus facilitate targeting them.
The Defense Science Board is, like other Pentagon agencies, intimately related with the Highlands Forum, whose work feeds into the Board’s research, which in turn is regularly presented at the Forum.
According to the US intelligence sources who spoke to Hersh, Rumsfeld had ensured that the new brand of black operations would be conducted entirely under Pentagon jurisdiction, firewalled off from the CIA and regional US military commanders, and executed by its own secret special operations command. That chain of command would include, apart from the defense secretary himself, two of his deputies including the undersecretary of defense for intelligence: the position overseeing the Highlands Forum.
Strategic communications: war propaganda at home and abroad
Within the Highlands Forum, the special operations techniques explored by Arquilla have been taken up by several others in directions focused increasingly on propaganda — among them, Dr. Lochard, as seen previously, and also Dr. Amy Zalman, who focuses particularly on the idea of the US military using ‘strategic narratives’ to influence public opinion and win wars.
Like her colleague, Highlands Forum founding member Jeff Cooper, Zalman was schooled in the bowels of SAIC/Leidos. From 2007 to 2012, she was a senior SAIC strategist, before becoming Department of Defense Information Integration Chair at the US Army’s National War College, where she focused on how to fine-tune propaganda to elicit the precise responses desired from target groups, based on complete understanding of those groups. As of summer last year, she became CEO of the World Futures Society.
Dr. Amy Zalman, an ex-SAIC strategist, is CEO of the World Futures Society, and a long-time Pentagon Highlands Forum delegate consulting for the US government on strategic communications in irregular warfare
In 2005, the same year Hersh reported that the Pentagon strategy of “stimulating reactions” among terrorists by provoking them was underway, Zalman delivered a briefing to the Pentagon Highlands Forum titled, ‘In Support of a Narrative Theory Approach to US Strategic Communication.’ Since then, Zalman has been a long-time Highlands Forum delegate, and has presented her work on strategic communications to a range of US government agencies, NATO forums, as well as teaching courses in irregular warfare to soldiers at the US Joint Special Operations University.
Her 2005 Highlands Forum briefing is not publicly available, but the thrust of Zalman’s input into the information component of Pentagon special operations strategies can be gleaned from some of her published work. In 2010, when she was still attached to SAIC, her NATO paper noted that a key component of irregular war is “winning some degree of emotional support from the population by influencing their subjective perceptions.” She advocated that the best way of achieving such influence goes far further than traditional propaganda and messaging techniques. Rather, analysts must “place themselves in the skins of the people under observation.”
Zalman released another paper the same year via the IO Journal, published by the Information Operations Institute, which describes itself as a “special interest group” of the Associaton of Old Crows. The latter is a professional association for theorists and practitioners of electronic warfare and information operations, chaired by Kenneth Israel, vice president of Lockheed Martin, and vice chaired by David Himes, who retired last year from his position as senior advisor in electronic warfare at the US Air Force Research Laboratory.
In this paper, titled ‘Narrative as an Influence Factor in Information Operations,’ Zalman laments that the US military has “found it difficult to create compelling narratives — or stories — either to express its strategic aims, or to communicate in discrete situations, such as civilian deaths.” By the end, she concludes that “the complex issue of civilian deaths” should be approached not just by “apologies and compensation” — which barely occurs anyway — but by propagating narratives that portray characters with whom the audience connects (in this case, ‘the audience’ being ‘populations in war zones’). This is to facilitate the audience resolving struggles in a “positive way,” defined, of course, by US military interests. Engaging emotionally in this way with “survivors of those dead” from US military action might “prove to be an empathetic form of influence.” Throughout, Zalman is incapable of questioning the legitimacy of US strategic aims, or acknowledging that the impact of those aims in the accumulation of civilian deaths, is precisely the problem that needs to change — as opposed to the way they are ideologically framed for populations subjected to military action.
‘Empathy,’ here, is merely an instrument by which to manipulate.
In 2012, Zalman wrote an article for The Globalist seeking to demonstrate how the rigid delineation of ‘hard power’ and ‘soft power’ needed to be overcome, to recognize that the use of force requires the right symbolic and cultural effect to guarantee success:
“As long as defense and economic diplomacy remain in a box labeled ‘hard power,’ we fail to see how much their success relies on their symbolic effects as well as their material ones. As long as diplomatic and cultural efforts are stored in a box marked ‘soft power,’ we fail to see the ways in which they can be used coercively or produce effects that are like those produced by violence.”
Given SAIC’s deep involvement in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and through it the development of information strategies on surveillance, irregular warfare, and propaganda, it is hardly surprising that SAIC was the other key private defense firm contracted to generate propaganda in the run up to Iraq War 2003, alongside TRG.
“SAIC executives have been involved at every stage… of the war in Iraq,” reported Vanity Fair, ironically, in terms of deliberately disseminating false claims about WMD, and then investigating the ‘intelligence failure’ around false WMD claims. David Kay, for instance, who had been hired by the CIA in 2003 to hunt for Saddam’s WMD as head of the Iraq Survey Group, was until October 2002 a senior SAIC vice president hammering away “at the threat posed by Iraq” under Pentagon contract. When WMD failed to emerge, President Bush’s commission to investigate this US ‘intelligence failure’ included three SAIC executives, among them Highlands Forum founding member Jeffrey Cooper. The very year of Kay’s appointment to the Iraq Survey Group, Clinton’s defense secretary William Perry — the man under whose orders the Highlands Forum was set-up — joined the board of SAIC. The investigation by Cooper and all let the Bush administration off the hook for manufacturing propaganda to legitimize war — unsurprisingly, given Cooper’s integral role in the very Pentagon network that manufactured that propaganda.
SAIC was also among the many contractors that profited handsomely from Iraqi reconstruction deals, and was re-contracted after the war to promote pro-US narratives abroad. In the same vein as Rendon’s work, the idea was that stories planted abroad would be picked up by US media for domestic consumption.
Delegates at the Pentagon’s 46th Highlands Forum in December 2011, from right to left: John Seely Brown, chief scientist/director at Xerox PARC from 1990–2002 and an early board member of In-Q-Tel; Ann Pendleton-Jullian, co-author with Brown of a manuscript, Design Unbound; Antonio and Hanna Damasio, a neurologist and neurobiologist respectively who are part of a DARPA-funded project on propaganda
But the Pentagon Highlands Forum’s promotion of advanced propaganda techniques is not exclusive to core, longstanding delegates like Rendon and Zalman. In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the ‘Neurobiology of Narrative Framing’ project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman’s emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy “empathetic influence,” the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal “to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response,” but in different ways across different cultures. The most disturbing element of the research is its focus on trying to understand how to increase the Pentagon’s capacity to deploy narratives that influence listeners in a way that overrides conventional reasoning in the context of morally-questionable actions.
The project description explains that the psychological reaction to narrated events is “influenced by how the narrator frames the events, appealing to different values, knowledge, and experiences of the listener.” Narrative framing that “targets the sacred values of the listener, including core personal, nationalistic, and/or religious values, is particularly effective at influencing the listener’s interpretation of narrated events,” because such “sacred values” are closely tied with “the psychology of identity, emotion, moral decision making, and social cognition.” By applying sacred framing to even mundane issues, such issues “can gain properties of sacred values and result in a strong aversion to using conventional reasoning to interpret them.” The two Damasios and their team are exploring what role “linguistic and neuropsychological mechanisms” play in determining “the effectiveness of narrative framing using sacred values in influencing a listener’s interpretation of events.”
The research is based on extracting narratives from millions of American, Iranian and Chinese weblogs, and subjecting them to automated discourse analysis to compare them quantitatively across the three languages. The investigators then follow up using behavioral experiments with readers/listeners from different cultures to gauge their reaction different narratives “where each story makes an appeal to a sacred value to explain or justify a morally-questionable behavior of the author.” Finally, the scientists apply neurobiological fMRI scanning to correlate the reactions and personal characteristics of subjects with their brain responses.
Why is the Pentagon funding research investigating how to exploit people’s “sacred values” to extinguish their capacity for logical reasoning, and enhance their emotional openness to “morally-questionable behavior”?
The focus on English, Farsi and Chinese may also reveal that the Pentagon’s current concerns are overwhelmingly about developing information operations against two key adversaries, Iran and China, which fits into longstanding ambitions to project strategic influence in the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Equally, the emphasis on English language, specifically from American weblogs, further suggests the Pentagon is concerned about projecting propaganda to influence public opinion at home.
Rosemary Wenchel (left) of the US Department of Homeland Security with Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, a former musician and now US defense consultant who has worked for contractors like SAIC and Northrup Grumman. SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper is behind them
Lest one presume that DARPA’s desire to mine millions of American weblogs as part of its ‘neurobiology of narrative framing’ research is a mere case of random selection, an additional co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum in recent years is Rosemary Wenchel, former director of cyber capabilities and operations support at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Since 2012, Wenchel has been deputy assistant secretary for strategy and policy in the Department of Homeland Security.
As the Pentagon’s extensive funding of propaganda on Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates, population influence and propaganda is critical not just in far-flung theatres abroad in strategic regions, but also at home, to quell the risk of domestic public opinion undermining the legitimacy of Pentagon policy. In the photo above, Wenchel is talking to Jeff Baxter, a long-time US defense and intelligence consultant. In September 2005, Baxter was part of a supposedly “independent” study group (chaired by NSA-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton) commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, which recommended a greater role for US spy satellites in monitoring the domestic population.
Meanwhile, Zalman and Rendon, while both remaining closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, continue to be courted by the US military for their expertise on information operations. In October 2014, both participated in a major Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment conference sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, titled ‘A New Information Paradigm? From Genes to “Big Data” and Instagram to Persistent Surveillance… Implications for National Security.’ Other delegates represented senior US military officials, defense industry executives, intelligence community officials, Washington think-tanks, and academics.
John Rendon, CEO of The Rendon Group, at a Highlands Forum session in 2010
Rendon and SAIC/Leidos, two firms that have been central to the very evolution of Pentagon information operations strategy through their pivotal involvement in the Highlands Forum, continue to be contracted for key operations under the Obama administration. A US General Services Administration document, for instance, shows that Rendon was granted a major 2010–2015 contract providing general media and communications support services across federal agencies. Similarly, SAIC/Leidos has a $400 million 2010–2015 contract with the US Army Research Laboratory for “Expeditionary Warfare; Irregular Warfare; Special Operations; Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations” — a contract which is “being prepared now for recomplete.”
The empire strikes back
Under Obama, the nexus of corporate, industry, and financial power represented by the interests that participate in the Pentagon Highlands Forum has consolidated itself to an unprecedented degree.
Coincidentally, the very day Obama announced Hagel’s resignation, the DoD issued a media release highlighting how Robert O. Work, Hagel’s deputy defense secretary appointed by Obama in 2013, planned to take forward the Defense Innovation Initiative that Hagel had just announced a week earlier. The new initiative was focused on ensuring that the Pentagon would undergo a long-term transformation to keep up with leading edge disruptive technologies across information operations.
Whatever the real reasons for Hagel’s ejection, this was a symbolic and tangible victory for Marshall and the Highlands Forum vision. Highlands Forum co-chair Andrew Marshall, head of the ONA, may indeed be retiring. But the post-Hagel Pentagon is now staffed with his followers.
Robert Work, who now presides over the new DoD transformation scheme, is a loyal Marshall acolyte who had previously directed and analyzed war games for the Office of Net Assessment. Like Marshall, Wells, O’Neill and other Highlands Forum members, Work is also a robot fantasist who lead authored the study, Preparing for War in the Robotic Age, published early last year by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
Work is also pitched to determine the future of the ONA, assisted by his strategist Tom Ehrhard and DoD undersecretary for intelligence Michael G. Vickers, under whose authority the Highlands Forum currently runs. Ehrard, an advocate of “integrating disruptive technologies in DoD,” previously served as Marshall’s military assistant in the ONA, while Mike Vickers — who oversees surveillance agencies like the NSA — was also previously hired by Marshall to consult for the Pentagon.
Vickers is also a leading proponent of irregular warfare. As assistant defense secretary for special operations and low intensity conflict under former defense secretary Robert Gates in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Vickers’s irregular warfare vision pushed for “distributed operations across the world,” including “in scores of countries with which the US is not at war,” as part of a program of “counter network warfare” using a “network to fight a network” — a strategy which of course has the Highlands Forum all over it. In his previous role under Gates, Vickers increased the budget for special operations including psychological operations, stealth transport, Predator drone deployment and “using high-tech surveillance and reconnaissance to track and target terrorists and insurgents.”
To replace Hagel, Obama nominated Ashton Carter, former deputy defense secretary from 2009 to 2013, whose expertise in budgets and procurement according to the Wall Street Journal is “expected to boost some of the initiatives championed by the current Pentagon deputy, Robert Work, including an effort to develop new strategies and technologies to preserve the US advantage on the battlefield.”
Back in 1999, after three years as Clinton’s assistant defense secretary, Carter co-authored a study with former defense secretary William J. Perry advocating a new form of ‘war by remote control’ facilitated by “digital technology and the constant flow of information.” One of Carter’s colleagues in the Pentagon during his tenure at that time was Highlands Forum co-chair Linton Wells; and it was Perry of course that as then-defense secretary appointed Richard O’Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum as the Pentagon’s IO think-tank back in 1994.
Highlands Forum overlord Perry went on to join the board of SAIC, before eventually becoming chairman of another giant defense contractor, Global Technology Partners (GTP). And Ashton Carter was on GTP’s board under Perry, before being nominated to defense secretary by Obama. During Carter’s previous Pentagon stint under Obama, he worked closely with Work and current undersecretary of defense Frank Kendall. Defense industry sources rejoice that the new Pentagon team will “dramatically improve” chances to “push major reform projects” at the Pentagon “across the finish line.”
Indeed, Carter’s priority as defense chief nominee is identifying and acquiring new commercial “disruptive technology” to enhance US military strategy — in other words, executing the DoD Skynet plan.
The origins of the Pentagon’s new innovation initiative can thus be traced back to ideas that were widely circulated inside the Pentagon decades ago, but which failed to take root fully until now. Between 2006 and 2010, the same period in which such ideas were being developed by Highlands Forum experts like Lochard, Zalman and Rendon, among many others, the Office of Net Assessment provided a direct mechanism to channel these ideas into concrete strategy and policy development through the Quadrennial Defense Reviews, where Marshall’s input was primarily responsible for the expansion of the “black” world: “special operations,” “electronic warfare” and “information operations.”
Andrew Marshall, now retired head of the DoD’s Office of Net Assessment and Highlands Forum co-chair, at a Forum session in 2008
Marshall’s pre-9/11 vision of a fully networked and automated military system found its fruition in the Pentagon’s Skynet study released by the National Defense University in September 2014, which was co-authored by Marshall’s colleague at the Highlands Forum, Linton Wells. Many of Wells’ recommendations are now to be executed via the new Defense Innovation Initiative by veterans and affiliates of the ONA and Highlands Forum.
Given that Wells’ white paper highlighted the Pentagon’s keen interest in monopolizing AI research to monopolize autonomous networked robot warfare, it is not entirely surprising that the Forum’s sponsoring partners at SAIC/Leidos display a bizarre sensitivity about public use of the word ‘Skynet.’
On a Wikipedia entry titled ‘Skynet (fictional)’, people using SAIC computers deleted several paragraphs under the ‘Trivia’ section pointing out real-world ‘Skynets’, such as the British military satellite system, and various information technology projects.
Hagel’s departure paved the way for Pentagon officials linked to the Highlands Forum to consolidate government influence. These officials are embedded in a longstanding shadow network of political, industry, media and corporate officials that sit invisibly behind the seat of government, yet literally write its foreign and domestic national security policies whether the administration is Democrat of Republican, by contributing ‘ideas’ and forging government-industry relationships.
It is this sort of closed-door networking that has rendered the American vote pointless. Far from protecting the public interest or helping to combat terrorism, the comprehensive monitoring of electronic communications has been systematically abused to empower vested interests in the energy, defense, and IT industries.
The state of permanent global warfare that has resulted from the Pentagon’s alliances with private contractors and unaccountable harnessing of information expertise, is not making anyone safer, but has spawned a new generation of terrorists in the form of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ — itself a Frankenstein by-product of the putrid combination of Assad’s brutality and longstanding US covert operations in the region. This Frankenstein’s existence is now being cynically exploited by private contractors seeking to profit exponentially from expanding the national security apparatus, at a time when economic volatility has pressured governments to slash defense spending.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, from 2008 to 2013, the five largest US defense contractors lost 14 percent of their employees, as the winding down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to lack of business and squeezed revenues. The continuation of the ‘Long War’ triggered by ISIS has, for now, reversed their fortunes. Companies profiting from the new war include many connected to the Highlands Forum, such as Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing. War is, indeed, a racket.
No more shadows
Yet in the long-run, the information imperialists have already failed. This investigation is based entirely on open source techniques, made viable largely in the context of the same information revolution that enabled Google. The investigation has been funded entirely by members of the public, through crowd-funding. And the investigation has been published and distributed outside the circuits of traditional media, precisely to make the point that in this new digital age, centralized top-down concentrations of power cannot overcome the power of people, their love of truth and justice, and their desire to share.
What are the lessons of this irony? Simple, really: The information revolution is inherently decentralized, and decentralizing. It cannot be controlled and co-opted by Big Brother. Efforts to do so will in the end invariably fail, in a way that is ultimately self-defeating.
The latest mad-cap Pentagon initiative to dominate the world through control of information and information technologies, is not a sign of the all-powerful nature of the shadow network, but rather a symptom of its deluded desperation as it attempts to ward off the acceleration of its hegemonic decline.
But the decline is well on its way. And this story, like so many before it, is one small sign that the opportunities to mobilize the information revolution for the benefit of all, despite the efforts of power to hide in the shadows, are stronger than ever.
By Nafeez Ahmed
Published on Jan 22.
Find this story at 22 January 2015
Copyright Nafeez Ahmed
It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Times correspondent in Afghanistan, wrote that she’d been told by a ‘Pakistani official’ that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that he’d spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who – reflecting a widely held local view – asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was ‘quite possible’ that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, ‘but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.’
This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false.
‘When your version comes out – if you do it – people in Pakistan will be tremendously grateful,’ Durrani told me. ‘For a long time people have stopped trusting what comes out about bin Laden from the official mouths. There will be some negative political comment and some anger, but people like to be told the truth, and what you’ve told me is essentially what I have heard from former colleagues who have been on a fact-finding mission since this episode.’ As a former ISI head, he said, he had been told shortly after the raid by ‘people in the “strategic community” who would know’ that there had been an informant who had alerted the US to bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, and that after his killing the US’s betrayed promises left Kayani and Pasha exposed.
The major US source for the account that follows is a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. He also was privy to many aspects of the Seals’ training for the raid, and to the various after-action reports. Two other US sources, who had access to corroborating information, have been longtime consultants to the Special Operations Command. I also received information from inside Pakistan about widespread dismay among the senior ISI and military leadership – echoed later by Durrani – over Obama’s decision to go public immediately with news of bin Laden’s death. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001. Walk-ins are assumed by the CIA to be unreliable, and the response from the agency’s headquarters was to fly in a polygraph team. The walk-in passed the test. ‘So now we’ve got a lead on bin Laden living in a compound in Abbottabad, but how do we really know who it is?’ was the CIA’s worry at the time, the retired senior US intelligence official told me.
The US initially kept what it knew from the Pakistanis. ‘The fear was that if the existence of the source was made known, the Pakistanis themselves would move bin Laden to another location. So only a very small number of people were read into the source and his story,’ the retired official said. ‘The CIA’s first goal was to check out the quality of the informant’s information.’ The compound was put under satellite surveillance. The CIA rented a house in Abbottabad to use as a forward observation base and staffed it with Pakistani employees and foreign nationals. Later on, the base would serve as a contact point with the ISI; it attracted little attention because Abbottabad is a holiday spot full of houses rented on short leases. A psychological profile of the informant was prepared. (The informant and his family were smuggled out of Pakistan and relocated in the Washington area. He is now a consultant for the CIA.)
‘By October the military and intelligence community were discussing the possible military options. Do we drop a bunker buster on the compound or take him out with a drone strike? Perhaps send someone to kill him, single assassin style? But then we’d have no proof of who he was,’ the retired official said. ‘We could see some guy is walking around at night, but we have no intercepts because there’s no commo coming from the compound.’
In October, Obama was briefed on the intelligence. His response was cautious, the retired official said. ‘It just made no sense that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. It was just too crazy. The president’s position was emphatic: “Don’t talk to me about this any more unless you have proof that it really is bin Laden.”’ The immediate goal of the CIA leadership and the Joint Special Operations Command was to get Obama’s support. They believed they would get this if they got DNA evidence, and if they could assure him that a night assault of the compound would carry no risk. The only way to accomplish both things, the retired official said, ‘was to get the Pakistanis on board’.
During the late autumn of 2010, the US continued to keep quiet about the walk-in, and Kayani and Pasha continued to insist to their American counterparts that they had no information about bin Laden’s whereabouts. ‘The next step was to figure out how to ease Kayani and Pasha into it – to tell them that we’ve got intelligence showing that there is a high-value target in the compound, and to ask them what they know about the target,’ the retired official said. ‘The compound was not an armed enclave – no machine guns around, because it was under ISI control.’ The walk-in had told the US that bin Laden had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains, and that ‘the ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him.’ (Reports after the raid placed him elsewhere in Pakistan during this period.) Bank was also told by the walk-in that bin Laden was very ill, and that early on in his confinement at Abbottabad, the ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army, to move nearby to provide treatment. ‘The truth is that bin Laden was an invalid, but we cannot say that,’ the retired official said. ‘“You mean you guys shot a cripple? Who was about to grab his AK-47?”’
‘It didn’t take long to get the co-operation we needed, because the Pakistanis wanted to ensure the continued release of American military aid, a good percentage of which was anti-terrorism funding that finances personal security, such as bullet-proof limousines and security guards and housing for the ISI leadership,’ the retired official said. He added that there were also under-the-table personal ‘incentives’ that were financed by off-the-books Pentagon contingency funds. ‘The intelligence community knew what the Pakistanis needed to agree – there was the carrot. And they chose the carrot. It was a win-win. We also did a little blackmail. We told them we would leak the fact that you’ve got bin Laden in your backyard. We knew their friends and enemies’ – the Taliban and jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan – ‘would not like it.’
A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis. ‘The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida. And they were dropping money – lots of it. The Pakistanis, in turn, were concerned that the Saudis might spill the beans about their control of bin Laden. The fear was that if the US found out about bin Laden from Riyadh, all hell would break out. The Americans learning about bin Laden’s imprisonment from a walk-in was not the worst thing.’
Despite their constant public feuding, American and Pakistani military and intelligence services have worked together closely for decades on counterterrorism in South Asia. Both services often find it useful to engage in public feuds ‘to cover their asses’, as the retired official put it, but they continually share intelligence used for drone attacks, and co-operate on covert operations. At the same time, it’s understood in Washington that elements of the ISI believe that maintaining a relationship with the Taliban leadership inside Afghanistan is essential to national security. The ISI’s strategic aim is to balance Indian influence in Kabul; the Taliban is also seen in Pakistan as a source of jihadist shock troops who would back Pakistan against India in a confrontation over Kashmir.
Adding to the tension was the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, often depicted in the Western press as an ‘Islamic bomb’ that might be transferred by Pakistan to an embattled nation in the Middle East in the event of a crisis with Israel. The US looked the other way when Pakistan began building its weapons system in the 1970s and it’s widely believed it now has more than a hundred nuclear warheads. It’s understood in Washington that US security depends on the maintenance of strong military and intelligence ties to Pakistan. The belief is mirrored in Pakistan.
‘The Pakistani army sees itself as family,’ the retired official said. ‘Officers call soldiers their sons and all officers are “brothers”. The attitude is different in the American military. The senior Pakistani officers believe they are the elite and have got to look out for all of the people, as keepers of the flame against Muslim fundamentalism. The Pakistanis also know that their trump card against aggression from India is a strong relationship with the United States. They will never cut their person-to-person ties with us.’
Like all CIA station chiefs, Bank was working undercover, but that ended in early December 2010 when he was publicly accused of murder in a criminal complaint filed in Islamabad by Karim Khan, a Pakistani journalist whose son and brother, according to local news reports, had been killed by a US drone strike. Allowing Bank to be named was a violation of diplomatic protocol on the part of the Pakistani authorities, and it brought a wave of unwanted publicity. Bank was ordered to leave Pakistan by the CIA, whose officials subsequently told the Associated Press he was transferred because of concerns for his safety. The New York Times reported that there was ‘strong suspicion’ the ISI had played a role in leaking Bank’s name to Khan. There was speculation that he was outed as payback for the publication in a New York lawsuit a month earlier of the names of ISI chiefs in connection with the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. But there was a collateral reason, the retired official said, for the CIA’s willingness to send Bank back to America. The Pakistanis needed cover in case their co-operation with the Americans in getting rid of bin Laden became known. The Pakistanis could say: “You’re talking about me? We just kicked out your station chief.”’
The bin Laden compound was less than two miles from the Pakistan Military Academy, and a Pakistani army combat battalion headquarters was another mile or so away. Abbottabad is less than 15 minutes by helicopter from Tarbela Ghazi, an important base for ISI covert operations and the facility where those who guard Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal are trained. ‘Ghazi is why the ISI put bin Laden in Abbottabad in the first place,’ the retired official said, ‘to keep him under constant supervision.’
The risks for Obama were high at this early stage, especially because there was a troubling precedent: the failed 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. That failure was a factor in Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan. Obama’s worries were realistic, the retired official said. ‘Was bin Laden ever there? Was the whole story a product of Pakistani deception? What about political blowback in case of failure?’ After all, as the retired official said, ‘If the mission fails, Obama’s just a black Jimmy Carter and it’s all over for re-election.’
Obama was anxious for reassurance that the US was going to get the right man. The proof was to come in the form of bin Laden’s DNA. The planners turned for help to Kayani and Pasha, who asked Aziz to obtain the specimens. Soon after the raid the press found out that Aziz had been living in a house near the bin Laden compound: local reporters discovered his name in Urdu on a plate on the door. Pakistani officials denied that Aziz had any connection to bin Laden, but the retired official told me that Aziz had been rewarded with a share of the $25 million reward the US had put up because the DNA sample had showed conclusively that it was bin Laden in Abbottabad. (In his subsequent testimony to a Pakistani commission investigating the bin Laden raid, Aziz said that he had witnessed the attack on Abbottabad, but had no knowledge of who was living in the compound and had been ordered by a superior officer to stay away from the scene.)
Bargaining continued over the way the mission would be executed. ‘Kayani eventually tells us yes, but he says you can’t have a big strike force. You have to come in lean and mean. And you have to kill him, or there is no deal,’ the retired official said. The agreement was struck by the end of January 2011, and Joint Special Operations Command prepared a list of questions to be answered by the Pakistanis: ‘How can we be assured of no outside intervention? What are the defences inside the compound and its exact dimensions? Where are bin Laden’s rooms and exactly how big are they? How many steps in the stairway? Where are the doors to his rooms, and are they reinforced with steel? How thick?’ The Pakistanis agreed to permit a four-man American cell – a Navy Seal, a CIA case officer and two communications specialists – to set up a liaison office at Tarbela Ghazi for the coming assault. By then, the military had constructed a mock-up of the compound in Abbottabad at a secret former nuclear test site in Nevada, and an elite Seal team had begun rehearsing for the attack.
The US had begun to cut back on aid to Pakistan – to ‘turn off the spigot’, in the retired official’s words. The provision of 18 new F-16 fighter aircraft was delayed, and under-the-table cash payments to the senior leaders were suspended. In April 2011 Pasha met the CIA director, Leon Panetta, at agency headquarters. ‘Pasha got a commitment that the United States would turn the money back on, and we got a guarantee that there would be no Pakistani opposition during the mission,’ the retired official said. ‘Pasha also insisted that Washington stop complaining about Pakistan’s lack of co-operation with the American war on terrorism.’ At one point that spring, Pasha offered the Americans a blunt explanation of the reason Pakistan kept bin Laden’s capture a secret, and why it was imperative for the ISI role to remain secret: ‘We needed a hostage to keep tabs on al-Qaida and the Taliban,’ Pasha said, according to the retired official. ‘The ISI was using bin Laden as leverage against Taliban and al-Qaida activities inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. They let the Taliban and al-Qaida leadership know that if they ran operations that clashed with the interests of the ISI, they would turn bin Laden over to us. So if it became known that the Pakistanis had worked with us to get bin Laden at Abbottabad, there would be hell to pay.’
At one of his meetings with Panetta, according to the retired official and a source within the CIA, Pasha was asked by a senior CIA official whether he saw himself as acting in essence as an agent for al-Qaida and the Taliban. ‘He answered no, but said the ISI needed to have some control.’ The message, as the CIA saw it, according to the retired official, was that Kayani and Pasha viewed bin Laden ‘as a resource, and they were more interested in their [own] survival than they were in the United States’.
A Pakistani with close ties to the senior leadership of the ISI told me that ‘there was a deal with your top guys. We were very reluctant, but it had to be done – not because of personal enrichment, but because all of the American aid programmes would be cut off. Your guys said we will starve you out if you don’t do it, and the okay was given while Pasha was in Washington. The deal was not only to keep the taps open, but Pasha was told there would be more goodies for us.’ The Pakistani said that Pasha’s visit also resulted in a commitment from the US to give Pakistan ‘a freer hand’ in Afghanistan as it began its military draw-down there. ‘And so our top dogs justified the deal by saying this is for our country.’
Pasha and Kayani were responsible for ensuring that Pakistan’s army and air defence command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission. The American cell at Tarbela Ghazi was charged with co-ordinating communications between the ISI, the senior US officers at their command post in Afghanistan, and the two Black Hawk helicopters; the goal was to ensure that no stray Pakistani fighter plane on border patrol spotted the intruders and took action to stop them. The initial plan said that news of the raid shouldn’t be announced straightaway. All units in the Joint Special Operations Command operate under stringent secrecy and the JSOC leadership believed, as did Kayani and Pasha, that the killing of bin Laden would not be made public for as long as seven days, maybe longer. Then a carefully constructed cover story would be issued: Obama would announce that DNA analysis confirmed that bin Laden had been killed in a drone raid in the Hindu Kush, on Afghanistan’s side of the border. The Americans who planned the mission assured Kayani and Pasha that their co-operation would never be made public. It was understood by all that if the Pakistani role became known, there would be violent protests – bin Laden was considered a hero by many Pakistanis – and Pasha and Kayani and their families would be in danger, and the Pakistani army publicly disgraced.
It was clear to all by this point, the retired official said, that bin Laden would not survive: ‘Pasha told us at a meeting in April that he could not risk leaving bin Laden in the compound now that we know he’s there. Too many people in the Pakistani chain of command know about the mission. He and Kayani had to tell the whole story to the directors of the air defence command and to a few local commanders.
‘Of course the guys knew the target was bin Laden and he was there under Pakistani control,’ the retired official said. ‘Otherwise, they would not have done the mission without air cover. It was clearly and absolutely a premeditated murder.’ A former Seal commander, who has led and participated in dozens of similar missions over the past decade, assured me that ‘we were not going to keep bin Laden alive – to allow the terrorist to live. By law, we know what we’re doing inside Pakistan is a homicide. We’ve come to grips with that. Each one of us, when we do these missions, say to ourselves, “Let’s face it. We’re going to commit a murder.”’ The White House’s initial account claimed that bin Laden had been brandishing a weapon; the story was aimed at deflecting those who questioned the legality of the US administration’s targeted assassination programme. The US has consistently maintained, despite widely reported remarks by people involved with the mission, that bin Laden would have been taken alive if he had immediately surrendered.
At the Abbottabad compound ISI guards were posted around the clock to keep watch over bin Laden and his wives and children. They were under orders to leave as soon as they heard the rotors of the US helicopters. The town was dark: the electricity supply had been cut off on the orders of the ISI hours before the raid began. One of the Black Hawks crashed inside the walls of the compound, injuring many on board. ‘The guys knew the TOT [time on target] had to be tight because they would wake up the whole town going in,’ the retired official said. The cockpit of the crashed Black Hawk, with its communication and navigational gear, had to be destroyed by concussion grenades, and this would create a series of explosions and a fire visible for miles. Two Chinook helicopters had flown from Afghanistan to a nearby Pakistani intelligence base to provide logistical support, and one of them was immediately dispatched to Abbottabad. But because the helicopter had been equipped with a bladder loaded with extra fuel for the two Black Hawks, it first had to be reconfigured as a troop carrier. The crash of the Black Hawk and the need to fly in a replacement were nerve-wracking and time-consuming setbacks, but the Seals continued with their mission. There was no firefight as they moved into the compound; the ISI guards had gone. ‘Everyone in Pakistan has a gun and high-profile, wealthy folks like those who live in Abbottabad have armed bodyguards, and yet there were no weapons in the compound,’ the retired official pointed out. Had there been any opposition, the team would have been highly vulnerable. Instead, the retired official said, an ISI liaison officer flying with the Seals guided them into the darkened house and up a staircase to bin Laden’s quarters. The Seals had been warned by the Pakistanis that heavy steel doors blocked the stairwell on the first and second-floor landings; bin Laden’s rooms were on the third floor. The Seal squad used explosives to blow the doors open, without injuring anyone. One of bin Laden’s wives was screaming hysterically and a bullet – perhaps a stray round – struck her knee. Aside from those that hit bin Laden, no other shots were fired. (The Obama administration’s account would hold otherwise.)
‘They knew where the target was – third floor, second door on the right,’ the retired official said. ‘Go straight there. Osama was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit.’ Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House’s initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defence, the retired official said. ‘Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defence? The house was shabby and bin Laden was living in a cell with bars on the window and barbed wire on the roof. The rules of engagement were that if bin Laden put up any opposition they were authorised to take lethal action. But if they suspected he might have some means of opposition, like an explosive vest under his robe, they could also kill him. So here’s this guy in a mystery robe and they shot him. It’s not because he was reaching for a weapon. The rules gave them absolute authority to kill the guy.’ The later White House claim that only one or two bullets were fired into his head was ‘bullshit’, the retired official said. ‘The squad came through the door and obliterated him. As the Seals say, “We kicked his ass and took his gas.”’
After they killed bin Laden, ‘the Seals were just there, some with physical injuries from the crash, waiting for the relief chopper,’ the retired official said. ‘Twenty tense minutes. The Black Hawk is still burning. There are no city lights. No electricity. No police. No fire trucks. They have no prisoners.’ Bin Laden’s wives and children were left for the ISI to interrogate and relocate. ‘Despite all the talk,’ the retired official continued, there were ‘no garbage bags full of computers and storage devices. The guys just stuffed some books and papers they found in his room in their backpacks. The Seals weren’t there because they thought bin Laden was running a command centre for al-Qaida operations, as the White House would later tell the media. And they were not intelligence experts gathering information inside that house.’
On a normal assault mission, the retired official said, there would be no waiting around if a chopper went down. ‘The Seals would have finished the mission, thrown off their guns and gear, and jammed into the remaining Black Hawk and di-di-maued’ – Vietnamese slang for leaving in a rush – ‘out of there, with guys hanging out of the doors. They would not have blown the chopper – no commo gear is worth a dozen lives – unless they knew they were safe. Instead they stood around outside the compound, waiting for the bus to arrive.’ Pasha and Kayani had delivered on all their promises.
The backroom argument inside the White House began as soon as it was clear that the mission had succeeded. Bin Laden’s body was presumed to be on its way to Afghanistan. Should Obama stand by the agreement with Kayani and Pasha and pretend a week or so later that bin Laden had been killed in a drone attack in the mountains, or should he go public immediately? The downed helicopter made it easy for Obama’s political advisers to urge the latter plan. The explosion and fireball would be impossible to hide, and word of what had happened was bound to leak. Obama had to ‘get out in front of the story’ before someone in the Pentagon did: waiting would diminish the political impact.
Not everyone agreed. Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, was the most outspoken of those who insisted that the agreements with Pakistan had to be honoured. In his memoir, Duty, Gates did not mask his anger:
Before we broke up and the president headed upstairs to tell the American people what had just happened, I reminded everyone that the techniques, tactics and procedures the Seals had used in the bin Laden operation were used every night in Afghanistan … it was therefore essential that we agree not to release any operational details of the raid. That we killed him, I said, is all we needed to say. Everybody in that room agreed to keep mum on details. That commitment lasted about five hours. The initial leaks came from the White House and CIA. They just couldn’t wait to brag and to claim credit. The facts were often wrong … Nonetheless the information just kept pouring out. I was outraged and at one point, told [the national security adviser, Tom] Donilon, ‘Why doesn’t everybody just shut the fuck up?’ To no avail.
Obama’s speech was put together in a rush, the retired official said, and was viewed by his advisers as a political document, not a message that needed to be submitted for clearance to the national security bureaucracy. This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following. Obama said that his administration had discovered that bin Laden was in Pakistan through ‘a possible lead’ the previous August; to many in the CIA the statement suggested a specific event, such as a walk-in. The remark led to a new cover story claiming that the CIA’s brilliant analysts had unmasked a courier network handling bin Laden’s continuing flow of operational orders to al-Qaida. Obama also praised ‘a small team of Americans’ for their care in avoiding civilian deaths and said: ‘After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.’ Two more details now had to be supplied for the cover story: a description of the firefight that never happened, and a story about what happened to the corpse. Obama went on to praise the Pakistanis: ‘It’s important to note that our counterterrorism co-operation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.’ That statement risked exposing Kayani and Pasha. The White House’s solution was to ignore what Obama had said and order anyone talking to the press to insist that the Pakistanis had played no role in killing bin Laden. Obama left the clear impression that he and his advisers hadn’t known for sure that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, but only had information ‘about the possibility’. This led first to the story that the Seals had determined they’d killed the right man by having a six-foot-tall Seal lie next to the corpse for comparison (bin Laden was known to be six foot four); and then to the claim that a DNA test had been performed on the corpse and demonstrated conclusively that the Seals had killed bin Laden. But, according to the retired official, it wasn’t clear from the Seals’ early reports whether all of bin Laden’s body, or any of it, made it back to Afghanistan.
Gates wasn’t the only official who was distressed by Obama’s decision to speak without clearing his remarks in advance, the retired official said, ‘but he was the only one protesting. Obama didn’t just double-cross Gates, he double-crossed everyone. This was not the fog of war. The fact that there was an agreement with the Pakistanis and no contingency analysis of what was to be disclosed if something went wrong – that wasn’t even discussed. And once it went wrong, they had to make up a new cover story on the fly.’ There was a legitimate reason for some deception: the role of the Pakistani walk-in had to be protected.
The White House press corps was told in a briefing shortly after Obama’s announcement that the death of bin Laden was ‘the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work’ that focused on tracking a group of couriers, including one who was known to be close to bin Laden. Reporters were told that a team of specially assembled CIA and National Security Agency analysts had traced the courier to a highly secure million-dollar compound in Abbottabad. After months of observation, the American intelligence community had ‘high confidence’ that a high-value target was living in the compound, and it was ‘assessed that there was a strong probability that [it] was Osama bin Laden’. The US assault team ran into a firefight on entering the compound and three adult males – two of them believed to be the couriers – were slain, along with bin Laden. Asked if bin Laden had defended himself, one of the briefers said yes: ‘He did resist the assault force. And he was killed in a firefight.’
The next day John Brennan, then Obama’s senior adviser for counterterrorism, had the task of talking up Obama’s valour while trying to smooth over the misstatements in his speech. He provided a more detailed but equally misleading account of the raid and its planning. Speaking on the record, which he rarely does, Brennan said that the mission was carried out by a group of Navy Seals who had been instructed to take bin Laden alive, if possible. He said the US had no information suggesting that anyone in the Pakistani government or military knew bin Laden’s whereabouts: ‘We didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people, all of our aircraft were out of Pakistani airspace.’ He emphasised the courage of Obama’s decision to order the strike, and said that the White House had no information ‘that confirmed that bin Laden was at the compound’ before the raid began. Obama, he said, ‘made what I believe was one of the gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory’. Brennan increased the number killed by the Seals inside the compound to five: bin Laden, a courier, his brother, a bin Laden son, and one of the women said to be shielding bin Laden.
Asked whether bin Laden had fired on the Seals, as some reporters had been told, Brennan repeated what would become a White House mantra: ‘He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know … Here is bin Laden, who has been calling for these attacks … living in an area that is far removed from the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield … [It] just speaks to I think the nature of the individual he was.’
Gates also objected to the idea, pushed by Brennan and Leon Panetta, that US intelligence had learned of bin Laden’s whereabouts from information acquired by waterboarding and other forms of torture. ‘All of this is going on as the Seals are flying home from their mission. The agency guys know the whole story,’ the retired official said. ‘It was a group of annuitants who did it.’ (Annuitants are retired CIA officers who remain active on contract.) ‘They had been called in by some of the mission planners in the agency to help with the cover story. So the old-timers come in and say why not admit that we got some of the information about bin Laden from enhanced interrogation?’ At the time, there was still talk in Washington about the possible prosecution of CIA agents who had conducted torture.
‘Gates told them this was not going to work,’ the retired official said. ‘He was never on the team. He knew at the eleventh hour of his career not to be a party to this nonsense. But State, the agency and the Pentagon had bought in on the cover story. None of the Seals thought that Obama was going to get on national TV and announce the raid. The Special Forces command was apoplectic. They prided themselves on keeping operational security.’ There was fear in Special Operations, the retired official said, that ‘if the true story of the missions leaked out, the White House bureaucracy was going to blame it on the Seals.’
The White House’s solution was to silence the Seals. On 5 May, every member of the Seal hit team – they had returned to their base in southern Virginia – and some members of the Joint Special Operations Command leadership were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House’s legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private. ‘The Seals were not happy,’ the retired official said. But most of them kept quiet, as did Admiral William McRaven, who was then in charge of JSOC. ‘McRaven was apoplectic. He knew he was fucked by the White House, but he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Seal, and not then a political operator, and he knew there’s no glory in blowing the whistle on the president. When Obama went public with bin Laden’s death, everyone had to scramble around for a new story that made sense, and the planners were stuck holding the bag.’
Within days, some of the early exaggerations and distortions had become obvious and the Pentagon issued a series of clarifying statements. No, bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. And no, bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a shield. The press by and large accepted the explanation that the errors were the inevitable by-product of the White House’s desire to accommodate reporters frantic for details of the mission.
One lie that has endured is that the Seals had to fight their way to their target. Only two Seals have made any public statement: No Easy Day, a first-hand account of the raid by Matt Bissonnette, was published in September 2012; and two years later Rob O’Neill was interviewed by Fox News. Both men had resigned from the navy; both had fired at bin Laden. Their accounts contradicted each other on many details, but their stories generally supported the White House version, especially when it came to the need to kill or be killed as the Seals fought their way to bin Laden. O’Neill even told Fox News that he and his fellow Seals thought ‘We were going to die.’ ‘The more we trained on it, the more we realised … this is going to be a one-way mission.’
But the retired official told me that in their initial debriefings the Seals made no mention of a firefight, or indeed of any opposition. The drama and danger portrayed by Bissonnette and O’Neill met a deep-seated need, the retired official said: ‘Seals cannot live with the fact that they killed bin Laden totally unopposed, and so there has to be an account of their courage in the face of danger. The guys are going to sit around the bar and say it was an easy day? That’s not going to happen.’
There was another reason to claim there had been a firefight inside the compound, the retired official said: to avoid the inevitable question that would arise from an uncontested assault. Where were bin Laden’s guards? Surely, the most sought-after terrorist in the world would have around-the-clock protection. ‘And one of those killed had to be the courier, because he didn’t exist and we couldn’t produce him. The Pakistanis had no choice but to play along with it.’ (Two days after the raid, Reuters published photographs of three dead men that it said it had purchased from an ISI official. Two of the men were later identified by an ISI spokesman as being the alleged courier and his brother.)
Five days after the raid the Pentagon press corps was provided with a series of videotapes that were said by US officials to have been taken from a large collection the Seals had removed from the compound, along with as many as 15 computers. Snippets from one of the videos showed a solitary bin Laden looking wan and wrapped in a blanket, watching what appeared to be a video of himself on television. An unnamed official told reporters that the raid produced a ‘treasure trove … the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever’, which would provide vital insights into al-Qaida’s plans. The official said the material showed that bin Laden ‘remained an active leader in al-Qaida, providing strategic, operational and tactical instructions to the group … He was far from a figurehead [and] continued to direct even tactical details of the group’s management and to encourage plotting’ from what was described as a command-and-control centre in Abbottabad. ‘He was an active player, making the recent operation even more essential for our nation’s security,’ the official said. The information was so vital, he added, that the administration was setting up an inter-agency task force to process it: ‘He was not simply someone who was penning al-Qaida strategy. He was throwing operational ideas out there and he was also specifically directing other al-Qaida members.’
These claims were fabrications: there wasn’t much activity for bin Laden to exercise command and control over. The retired intelligence official said that the CIA’s internal reporting shows that since bin Laden moved to Abbottabad in 2006 only a handful of terrorist attacks could be linked to the remnants of bin Laden’s al-Qaida. ‘We were told at first,’ the retired official said, ‘that the Seals produced garbage bags of stuff and that the community is generating daily intelligence reports out of this stuff. And then we were told that the community is gathering everything together and needs to translate it. But nothing has come of it. Every single thing they have created turns out not to be true. It’s a great hoax – like the Piltdown man.’ The retired official said that most of the materials from Abbottabad were turned over to the US by the Pakistanis, who later razed the building. The ISI took responsibility for the wives and children of bin Laden, none of whom was made available to the US for questioning.
‘Why create the treasure trove story?’ the retired official said. ‘The White House had to give the impression that bin Laden was still operationally important. Otherwise, why kill him? A cover story was created – that there was a network of couriers coming and going with memory sticks and instructions. All to show that bin Laden remained important.’
In July 2011, the Washington Post published what purported to be a summary of some of these materials. The story’s contradictions were glaring. It said the documents had resulted in more than four hundred intelligence reports within six weeks; it warned of unspecified al-Qaida plots; and it mentioned arrests of suspects ‘who are named or described in emails that bin Laden received’. The Post didn’t identify the suspects or reconcile that detail with the administration’s previous assertions that the Abbottabad compound had no internet connection. Despite their claims that the documents had produced hundreds of reports, the Post also quoted officials saying that their main value wasn’t the actionable intelligence they contained, but that they enabled ‘analysts to construct a more comprehensive portrait of al-Qaida’.
In May 2012, the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, a private research group, released translations it had made under a federal government contract of 175 pages of bin Laden documents. Reporters found none of the drama that had been touted in the days after the raid. Patrick Cockburn wrote about the contrast between the administration’s initial claims that bin Laden was the ‘spider at the centre of a conspiratorial web’ and what the translations actually showed: that bin Laden was ‘delusional’ and had ‘limited contact with the outside world outside his compound’.
The retired official disputed the authenticity of the West Point materials: ‘There is no linkage between these documents and the counterterrorism centre at the agency. No intelligence community analysis. When was the last time the CIA: 1) announced it had a significant intelligence find; 2) revealed the source; 3) described the method for processing the materials; 4) revealed the time-line for production; 5) described by whom and where the analysis was taking place, and 6) published the sensitive results before the information had been acted on? No agency professional would support this fairy tale.’
In June 2011, it was reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post and all over the Pakistani press that Amir Aziz had been held for questioning in Pakistan; he was, it was said, a CIA informant who had been spying on the comings and goings at the bin Laden compound. Aziz was released, but the retired official said that US intelligence was unable to learn who leaked the highly classified information about his involvement with the mission. Officials in Washington decided they ‘could not take a chance that Aziz’s role in obtaining bin Laden’s DNA also would become known’. A sacrificial lamb was needed, and the one chosen was Shakil Afridi, a 48-year-old Pakistani doctor and sometime CIA asset, who had been arrested by the Pakistanis in late May and accused of assisting the agency. ‘We went to the Pakistanis and said go after Afridi,’ the retired official said. ‘We had to cover the whole issue of how we got the DNA.’ It was soon reported that the CIA had organised a fake vaccination programme in Abbottabad with Afridi’s help in a failed attempt to obtain bin Laden’s DNA. Afridi’s legitimate medical operation was run independently of local health authorities, was well financed and offered free vaccinations against hepatitis B. Posters advertising the programme were displayed throughout the area. Afridi was later accused of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison because of his ties to an extremist. News of the CIA-sponsored programme created widespread anger in Pakistan, and led to the cancellation of other international vaccination programmes that were now seen as cover for American spying.
The retired official said that Afridi had been recruited long before the bin Laden mission as part of a separate intelligence effort to get information about suspected terrorists in Abbottabad and the surrounding area. ‘The plan was to use vaccinations as a way to get the blood of terrorism suspects in the villages.’ Afridi made no attempt to obtain DNA from the residents of the bin Laden compound. The report that he did so was a hurriedly put together ‘CIA cover story creating “facts”’ in a clumsy attempt to protect Aziz and his real mission. ‘Now we have the consequences,’ the retired official said. ‘A great humanitarian project to do something meaningful for the peasants has been compromised as a cynical hoax.’ Afridi’s conviction was overturned, but he remains in prison on a murder charge.
In his address announcing the raid, Obama said that after killing bin Laden the Seals ‘took custody of his body’. The statement created a problem. In the initial plan it was to be announced a week or so after the fact that bin Laden was killed in a drone strike somewhere in the mountains on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border and that his remains had been identified by DNA testing. But with Obama’s announcement of his killing by the Seals everyone now expected a body to be produced. Instead, reporters were told that bin Laden’s body had been flown by the Seals to an American military airfield in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and then straight to the USS Carl Vinson, a supercarrier on routine patrol in the North Arabian Sea. Bin Laden had then been buried at sea, just hours after his death. The press corps’s only sceptical moments at John Brennan’s briefing on 2 May were to do with the burial. The questions were short, to the point, and rarely answered. ‘When was the decision made that he would be buried at sea if killed?’ ‘Was this part of the plan all along?’ ‘Can you just tell us why that was a good idea?’ ‘John, did you consult a Muslim expert on that?’ ‘Is there a visual recording of this burial?’ When this last question was asked, Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, came to Brennan’s rescue: ‘We’ve got to give other people a chance here.’
‘We thought the best way to ensure that his body was given an appropriate Islamic burial,’ Brennan said, ‘was to take those actions that would allow us to do that burial at sea.’ He said ‘appropriate specialists and experts’ were consulted, and that the US military was fully capable of carrying out the burial ‘consistent with Islamic law’. Brennan didn’t mention that Muslim law calls for the burial service to be conducted in the presence of an imam, and there was no suggestion that one happened to be on board the Carl Vinson.
In a reconstruction of the bin Laden operation for Vanity Fair, Mark Bowden, who spoke to many senior administration officials, wrote that bin Laden’s body was cleaned and photographed at Jalalabad. Further procedures necessary for a Muslim burial were performed on the carrier, he wrote, ‘with bin Laden’s body being washed again and wrapped in a white shroud. A navy photographer recorded the burial in full sunlight, Monday morning, May 2.’ Bowden described the photos:
One frame shows the body wrapped in a weighted shroud. The next shows it lying diagonally on a chute, feet overboard. In the next frame the body is hitting the water. In the next it is visible just below the surface, ripples spreading outward. In the last frame there are only circular ripples on the surface. The mortal remains of Osama bin Laden were gone for good.
Bowden was careful not to claim that he had actually seen the photographs he described, and he recently told me he hadn’t seen them: ‘I’m always disappointed when I can’t look at something myself, but I spoke with someone I trusted who said he had seen them himself and described them in detail.’ Bowden’s statement adds to the questions about the alleged burial at sea, which has provoked a flood of Freedom of Information Act requests, most of which produced no information. One of them sought access to the photographs. The Pentagon responded that a search of all available records had found no evidence that any photographs had been taken of the burial. Requests on other issues related to the raid were equally unproductive. The reason for the lack of response became clear after the Pentagon held an inquiry into allegations that the Obama administration had provided access to classified materials to the makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty. The Pentagon report, which was put online in June 2013, noted that Admiral McRaven had ordered the files on the raid to be deleted from all military computers and moved to the CIA, where they would be shielded from FOIA requests by the agency’s ‘operational exemption’.
McRaven’s action meant that outsiders could not get access to the Carl Vinson’s unclassified logs. Logs are sacrosanct in the navy, and separate ones are kept for air operations, the deck, the engineering department, the medical office, and for command information and control. They show the sequence of events day by day aboard the ship; if there has been a burial at sea aboard the Carl Vinson, it would have been recorded.
There wasn’t any gossip about a burial among the Carl Vinson’s sailors. The carrier concluded its six-month deployment in June 2011. When the ship docked at its home base in Coronado, California, Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the Carl Vinson carrier strike group, told reporters that the crew had been ordered not to talk about the burial. Captain Bruce Lindsey, skipper of the Carl Vinson, told reporters he was unable to discuss it. Cameron Short, one of the crew of the Carl Vinson, told the Commercial-News of Danville, Illinois, that the crew had not been told anything about the burial. ‘All he knows is what he’s seen on the news,’ the newspaper reported.
The Pentagon did release a series of emails to the Associated Press. In one of them, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reported that the service followed ‘traditional procedures for Islamic burial’, and said none of the sailors on board had been permitted to observe the proceedings. But there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service.
Within weeks of the raid, I had been told by two longtime consultants to Special Operations Command, who have access to current intelligence, that the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson didn’t take place. One consultant told me that bin Laden’s remains were photographed and identified after being flown back to Afghanistan. The consultant added: ‘At that point, the CIA took control of the body. The cover story was that it had been flown to the Carl Vinson.’ The second consultant agreed that there had been ‘no burial at sea’. He added that ‘the killing of bin Laden was political theatre designed to burnish Obama’s military credentials … The Seals should have expected the political grandstanding. It’s irresistible to a politician. Bin Laden became a working asset.’ Early this year, speaking again to the second consultant, I returned to the burial at sea. The consultant laughed and said: ‘You mean, he didn’t make it to the water?’
The retired official said there had been another complication: some members of the Seal team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains – or so the Seals claimed. At the time, the retired official said, the Seals did not think their mission would be made public by Obama within a few hours: ‘If the president had gone ahead with the cover story, there would have been no need to have a funeral within hours of the killing. Once the cover story was blown, and the death was made public, the White House had a serious “Where’s the body?” problem. The world knew US forces had killed bin Laden in Abbottabad. Panic city. What to do? We need a “functional body” because we have to be able to say we identified bin Laden via a DNA analysis. It would be navy officers who came up with the “burial at sea” idea. Perfect. No body. Honourable burial following sharia law. Burial is made public in great detail, but Freedom of Information documents confirming the burial are denied for reasons of “national security”. It’s the classic unravelling of a poorly constructed cover story – it solves an immediate problem but, given the slightest inspection, there is no back-up support. There never was a plan, initially, to take the body to sea, and no burial of bin Laden at sea took place.’ The retired official said that if the Seals’ first accounts are to be believed, there wouldn’t have been much left of bin Laden to put into the sea in any case.
It was inevitable that the Obama administration’s lies, misstatements and betrayals would create a backlash. ‘We’ve had a four-year lapse in co-operation,’ the retired official said. ‘It’s taken that long for the Pakistanis to trust us again in the military-to-military counterterrorism relationship – while terrorism was rising all over the world … They felt Obama sold them down the river. They’re just now coming back because the threat from Isis, which is now showing up there, is a lot greater and the bin Laden event is far enough away to enable someone like General Durrani to come out and talk about it.’ Generals Pasha and Kayani have retired and both are reported to be under investigation for corruption during their time in office.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s long-delayed report on CIA torture, released last December, documented repeated instances of official lying, and suggested that the CIA’s knowledge of bin Laden’s courier was sketchy at best and predated its use of waterboarding and other forms of torture. The report led to international headlines about brutality and waterboarding, along with gruesome details about rectal feeding tubes, ice baths and threats to rape or murder family members of detainees who were believed to be withholding information. Despite the bad publicity, the report was a victory for the CIA. Its major finding – that the use of torture didn’t lead to discovering the truth – had already been the subject of public debate for more than a decade. Another key finding – that the torture conducted was more brutal than Congress had been told – was risible, given the extent of public reporting and published exposés by former interrogators and retired CIA officers. The report depicted tortures that were obviously contrary to international law as violations of rules or ‘inappropriate activities’ or, in some cases, ‘management failures’. Whether the actions described constitute war crimes was not discussed, and the report did not suggest that any of the CIA interrogators or their superiors should be investigated for criminal activity. The agency faced no meaningful consequences as a result of the report.
The retired official told me that the CIA leadership had become experts in derailing serious threats from Congress: ‘They create something that is horrible but not that bad. Give them something that sounds terrible. “Oh my God, we were shoving food up a prisoner’s ass!” Meanwhile, they’re not telling the committee about murders, other war crimes, and secret prisons like we still have in Diego Garcia. The goal also was to stall it as long as possible, which they did.’
The main theme of the committee’s 499-page executive summary is that the CIA lied systematically about the effectiveness of its torture programme in gaining intelligence that would stop future terrorist attacks in the US. The lies included some vital details about the uncovering of an al-Qaida operative called Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, who was said to be the key al-Qaida courier, and the subsequent tracking of him to Abbottabad in early 2011. The agency’s alleged intelligence, patience and skill in finding al-Kuwaiti became legend after it was dramatised in Zero Dark Thirty.
The Senate report repeatedly raised questions about the quality and reliability of the CIA’s intelligence about al-Kuwaiti. In 2005 an internal CIA report on the hunt for bin Laden noted that ‘detainees provide few actionable leads, and we have to consider the possibility that they are creating fictitious characters to distract us or to absolve themselves of direct knowledge about bin Ladin [sic].’ A CIA cable a year later stated that ‘we have had no success in eliciting actionable intelligence on bin Laden’s location from any detainees.’ The report also highlighted several instances of CIA officers, including Panetta, making false statements to Congress and the public about the value of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the search for bin Laden’s couriers.
Obama today is not facing re-election as he was in the spring of 2011. His principled stand on behalf of the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran says much, as does his decision to operate without the support of the conservative Republicans in Congress. High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no.
Seymour M. Hersh
21 May 2015
Copyright © LRB Limited 2015
Dr. Bruce Jessen’s handwritten notes describe some of the torture techniques that were used to “exploit” ”war on terror” detainees in custody of the CIA and Department of Defense.
Bush administration officials have long asserted that the torture techniques used on “war on terror” detainees were utilized as a last resort in an effort to gain actionable intelligence to thwart pending terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests abroad.
But the handwritten notes obtained exclusively by Truthout drafted two decades ago by Dr. John Bruce Jessen, the psychologist who was under contract to the CIA and credited as being one of the architects of the government’s top-secret torture program, tell a dramatically different story about the reasons detainees were brutalized and it was not just about obtaining intelligence.
Jason Leopold interviews Jessen’s former SERE colleague, retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns.
Rather, as Jessen’s notes explain, torture was used to “exploit” detainees, that is, to break them down physically and mentally, in order to get them to “collaborate” with government authorities. Jessen’s notes emphasize how a “detainer” uses the stresses of detention to produce the appearance of compliance in a prisoner.
Click to view notes larger.
Click to view larger.
Indeed, a report released in 2009 by the Senate Armed Services Committee about the treatment of detainees in US custody said Jessen was the author of a “Draft Exploitation Plan” presented to the Pentagon in April 2002 that was implemetned at Guantanamo and at prison facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. But to what degree is unknown because the document remains classified. Jessen also co-authored a memo in February 2002 on “Prisoner Handling Recommendations” at Guantanamo, which is also classified.
Moreover, the Armed Services Committee’s report noted that torture techniques approved by the Bush administration were based on survival training exercises US military personnel were taught by individuals like Jessen if they were captured by an enemy regime and subjected to “illegal exploitation” in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Jessen’s notes, prepared for an Air Force survival training course that he later “reverse engineered” when he helped design the Bush administration’s torture program, however, go into far greater detail than the Armed Services Committee’s report in explaining how prisoners would be broken down physically and psychologically by their captors. The notes say survival training students could “combat interrogation and torture” if they are captured by an enemy regime by undergoing intense training exercises, using “cognitive” and “exposure techniques” to develop “stress inoculation.” [Click here to download a PDF file of Jessen’s handwritten notes. Click here to download a zip file of Jessen’s notes in typewritten form.]
The documents stand as the first piece of hard evidence to surface in nine years that further explains the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program and the rationale for subjecting detainees to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).
Kearns and his boss, Roger Aldrich, the head of the Air Force Intelligence’s Special Survial Training Program (SSTP), based out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, hired Jessen in May 1989. Kearns, who was head of operations at SSTP and trained thousands of service members, said Jessen was brought into the program due to an increase in the number of new survival training courses being taught and “the fact that it required psychological expertise on hand in a full-time basis.”
“Special Mission Units”
Jessen, then the chief of Psychology Service at the US Air Force Survival School, immediately started to work directly with Kearns on “a new course for special mission units (SMUs), which had as its goal individual resistance to terrorist exploitation.”
The course, known as SV-91, was developed for the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) branch of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, which acted as the Executive Agent Action Office for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jessen’s notes formed the basis for one part of SV-91, “Psychological Aspects of Detention.”
Special mission units fall under the guise of the DoD’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and engage in a wide-range of highly classified counterterrorist and covert operations, or “special missions,” around the world, hundreds of who were personally trained by Kearns. The SV-91 course Jessen and Kearns were developing back in 1989 would later become known as “Special Survival for Special Mission Units.”
Before the inception of SV-91, the primary SERE course was SV-80, or Basic Combat Survival School for Resistance to Interrogation, which is where Jessen formerly worked. When Jessen was hired to work on SV-91, the vacancy at SV-80 was filled by psychologist Dr. James Mitchell, who was also contracted by the CIA to work at the agency’s top-secret black site prisons in Europe employing SERE torture techniques, such as the controlled drowning technique know as waterboarding, against detainees.
While they were still under contract to the CIA, the two men formed the “consulting” firm Mitchell, Jessen & Associates in March 2005. The “governing persons” of the company included Kearns’ former boss, Aldrich, SERE contractor David Tate, Joseph Matarazzo, a former president of the American Psychological Association and Randall Spivey, the ex-chief of Operations, Policy and Oversight Division of JPRA.
Mitchell, Jessen & Associates’ articles of incorporation have been “inactive” since October 22, 2009 and the business is now listed as “dissolved,” according to Washington state’s Secretary of State website.
Capt. Michael Kearns (left) and Dr. Bruce Jessen at Fort Bragg’s Nick Rowe SERE Training Center, 1989. Photo courtesy of retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns.
Lifting the “Veil of Secrecy”
Kearns was one of only two officers within DoD qualified to teach all three SERE-related courses within SSTP on a worldwide basis, according to a copy of a 1989 letter written by Aldrich, who nominated Kearns officer of the year.
He said he decided to come forward because he is outraged that Jessen used their work to help design the Bush administration’s torture program.
“I think it’s about time for SERE to come out from behind the veil of secrecy if we are to progress as a moral nation of laws,” Kearns said during a wide-ranging interview with Truthout. “To take this survival training program and turn it into some form of nationally sanctioned, purposeful program for the extraction of information, or to apply exploitation, is in total contradiction to human morality, and defies basic logic. When I first learned about interrogation, at basic intelligence training school, I read about Hans Scharff, a Nazi interrogator who later wrote an article for Argosy Magazine titled ‘Without Torture.’ That’s what I was taught – torture doesn’t work.”
What stands out in Jessen’s notes is that he believed torture was often used to produce false confessions. That was the end result after one high-value detainee who was tortured in early 2002 confessed to having information proving a link between the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, according to one former Bush administration official.
It was later revealed, however, that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, had simply provided his captors a false confession so they would stop torturing him. Jessen appeared to be concerned with protecting the US military against falling victim to this exact kind of physical and psychological pressure in a hostile detention environment, recognizing that it would lead to, among other things, false confessions.
In a paper Jessen wrote accompanying his notes, “Psychological Advances in Training to Survive Captivity, Interrogation and Torture,” which was prepared for the symposium: “Advances in Clinical Psychological Support of National Security Affairs, Operational Problems in the Behavioral Sciences Course,” he suggested that additional “research” should be undertaken to determine “the measurability of optimum stress levels in training students to resist captivity.”
“The avenues appear inexhaustible” for further research in human exploitation, Jessen wrote.
Such “research” appears to have been the main underpinning of the Bush administration’s torture program. The experimental nature of these interrogation methods used on detainees held at Guantanamo and at CIA black site prisons have been noted by military and intelligence officials. The Armed Services Committee report cited a statement from Col. Britt Mallow, the commander of the Criminal Investigative Task Force (CITF), who noted that Guantanamo officials Maj. Gen. Mike Dunleavy and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller used the term “battle lab” to describe the facility, meaning “that interrogations and other procedures there were to some degree experimental, and their lessons would benefit [the Department of Defense] in other places.”
What remains a mystery is why Jessen took a defensive survival training course and assisted in turning it into an offensive torture program.
Truthout attempted to reach Jessen over the past two months for comment, but we were unable to track him down. Messages left for him at a security firm in Alexandria, Virginia he has been affiliated with were not returned and phone numbers listed for him in Spokane were disconnected.
A New Emphasis on Terrorism
SV-91 was developed to place a new emphasis on terrorism as SERE-related courses pertaining to the cold war, such as SV-83, Special Survival for Sensitive Reconnaissance Operations (SRO), whose students flew secret missions over the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc, and other communist countries, were being scaled back.
The official patch of the Special Survival Training ProgramThe official coin of the Special Survival Training Program
The official patch and coin of the Special Survival Training Program. (Photo courtesy of retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns)
SSTP evolved into the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), the DoD’s executive agency for SERE training, and was tapped by DoD General Counsel William “Jim” Haynes in 2002 to provide the agency with a list of interrogation techniques and the psychological impact those methods had on SERE trainees, with the aim of utilizing the same methods for use on detainees. Aldrich was working in a senior capacity at JPRA when Haynes contacted the agency to inquire about SERE.
The Army also runs a SERE school as does the Navy, which had utilized waterboarding as a training exercise on Navy SERE students that JPRA recommended to DoD as one of the torture techniques to use on high-value detainees.
Kearns said the value of Jessen’s notes, particularly as they relate to the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program, cannot be overstated.
“The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is exploitation, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”
Ironically, in late 2001, while the DoD started to make inquiries about adapting SERE methods for the government’s interrogation program, Kearns received special permission from the US government to work as an intelligence officer for the Australian Department of Defence to teach the Australian Special Air Service (SAS) how to use SERE techniques to resist interrogation and torture if they were captured by terrorists. Australia had been a staunch supporter of the invasion of Afghanistan and sent troops there in late 2001.
Kearns, who recently waged an unsuccessful Congressional campaign in Colorado, was working on a spy novel two years ago and dug through boxes of “unclassified historical materials on intelligence” as part of his research when he happened to stumble upon Jessen’s notes for SV-91. He said he was “deeply shocked and surprised to see I’d kept a copy of these handwritten notes as certainly the originals would have been destroyed (shredded)” once they were typed up and made into proper course materials.
“I hadn’t seen these notes for over twenty years,” he said. “However, I’ll never forget that day in September 2009 when I discovered them. I instantly felt sick, and eventually vomited because I felt so badly physically and emotionally that day knowing that I worked with this person and this was the material that I believe was ‘reverse-engineered’ and used in part to design the torture program. When I found the Jessen papers, I made several copies and sent them to my friends as I thought this could be the smoking gun, which proves who knew what and when and possibly who sold a bag of rotten apples to the Bush administration.”
Kearns was, however, aware of the role SERE played in the torture program before he found Jessen’s notes, and in July 2008, he sent an email to the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin, who was investigating the issue and offered to share information with Levin about Jessen and the SERE program in general. The Michigan Democrat responded to Kearns saying he was “concerned about this issue” and that he “needed more information on the subject,” but Levin never followed up when Kearns offered to help.
“I don’t know how it went off the tracks, but the names of the people who testified at the Senate Armed Services, Senate Judiciary, and Select Intelligence committees were people I worked with, and several I supervised,” Kearns said. “It makes me sick to know people who knew better allowed this to happen.”
Levin’s office did not return phone calls or emails for comment. However, the report he released in April 2009, “Inquiry Into the Treatment of Detainees in US Custody,” refers to SV-91. The report includes a list of acronyms used throughout the report, one of which is “S-V91,” identified as “the Department of Defense High Risk Survival Training” course. But there is no other mention throughout the report of SV-91 or the term “High Risk Survival Training,” possibly due to the fact that sections of the report where it is discussed remain classified. Still, the failure by Levin and his staff to follow up with Kearns–the key military official who had retained Jessen’s notes and helped develop the very course those notes were based upon that was cited in the report–suggests Levin’s investigation is somewhat incomplete.
Control and Dependence
A copy of the syllabus for SV-91, obtained by Truthout from another source who requested anonymity, states that the class was created “to provide special training for selected individuals that will enable them to withstand exploitation methods in the event of capture during peacetime operations…. to cope with such exploitation and deny their detainers useable information or propaganda.”
Although the syllabus focuses on propaganda and interrogation for information as the primary means of exploiting prisoners, Jessen’s notes amplify what was taught to SERE students and later used against detainees captured after 9/11 . He wrote that a prisoner’s captors seek to “exploit” the prisoner through control and dependence.
“From the moment you are detained (if some kind of exploitation is your Detainer’s goal) everything your Detainer does will be contrived to bring about these factors: CONTROL, DEPENDENCY, COMPLIANCE AND COOPERATION,” Jessen wrote. “Your detainer will work to take away your sense of control. This will be done mostly by removing external control (i.e., sleep, food, communication, personal routines etc. )…Your detainer wants you to feel ‘EVERYTHING’ is dependent on him, from the smallest detail, (food, sleep, human interaction), to your release or your very life … Your detainer wants you to comply with everything he wishes. He will attempt to make everything from personal comfort to your release unavoidably connected to compliance in your mind.”
Jessen wrote that cooperation is the “end goal” of the detainer, who wants the detainee “to see that [the detainer] has ‘total’ control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.).”
Jessen described the kinds of pressures that would be exerted on the prisoner to achieve this goal, including “fear of the unknown, loss of control, dehumanization, isolation,” and use of sensory deprivation and sensory “flooding.” He also included “physical” deprivations in his list of detainer “pressures.”
“Unlike everyday experiences, however, as a detainee we could be subjected to stressors/coercive pressures which we cannot completely control,” he wrote. “If these stressors are manipulated and increased against us, the cumulative effect can push us out of the optimum range of functioning. This is what the detainer wants, to get us ‘off balance.’”
“The Detainer wants us to experience a loss of composure in hopes we can be manipulated into some kind of collaboration…” Jessen wrote. “This is where you are most vulnerable to exploitation. This is where you are most likely to make mistakes, show emotions, act impulsively, become discouraged, etc. You are still close enough to being intact that you would appear convincing and your behavior would appear ‘uncoerced.’”
Kearns said, based on what he has read in declassified government documents and news reports about the role SERE played in the Bush administration’s torture program, Jessen clearly “reverse-engieered” his lesson plan and used resistance methods to abuse “war on terror” detainees.
The SSTP course was “specifically and intentionally designed to assist American personnel held in hostile detention,” Kearns said. It was “not designed for interrogation, and certainly not torture. We were not interrogators we were ‘role-players’ who introduced enemy exploitation techniques into survival scenarios as student learning objectives in what could be called Socratic-style dilemma settings. More specifically, resistance techniques were learned via significant emotional experiences, which were intended to inculcate long-term valid and reliable survival routines in the student’s memory. The one rule we had was ‘hands off.’ No (human intelligence) operator could lay hands on a student in a ‘role play scenario’ because we knew they could never ‘go there’ in the real world.”
But after Jessen was hired, Kearns contends, Aldrich immediately trained him to become a mock interrogator using “SERE harsh resistance to interrogation methods even though medical services officers were explicitly excluded from the ‘laying on’ of hands in [resistance] ‘role-play’ scenarios.”
Aldrich, who now works with the Center for Personal Protection & Safety in Spokane, did not return calls for comment.
The companion paper Jessen wrote included with his notes, which was also provided to Truthout by Kearns, eerily describes the same torturous interrogation methods US military personnel would face during detention that Jessen and Mitchell “reverse engineered” a little more than a decade later and that the CIA and DoD used against detainees.
Indeed, in a subsection of the paper, “Understanding the Prisoner of War Environment,” Jessen notes how a prisoner will be broken down in an attempt to get him to “collaborate” with his “detainer.”
“This issue of collaboration is ‘the most prominent deliberately controlled force against the (prisoner of war),” Jessen wrote. “The ability of the (prisoner of war) to successfully resist collaboration and cope with the obviously severe approach-avoidance conflict is complicated in a systematic and calculated way by his captors.
“These complications include: Threats of death, physical pressures including torture which result in psychological disturbances or deterioration, inadequate diet and sanitary facilities with constant debilitation and illness, attacks on the mental health via isolation, reinforcement of anxieties, sleeplessness, stimulus deprivation or flooding, disorientation, loss of control both internal and external locus, direct and indirect attack on the (prisoner of war’s) standards of honor, faith in himself, his organization, family, country, religion, or political beliefs … Few seem to be able to hold themselves completely immune to such rigorous behavior throughout all the vicissitudes of long captivity. Confronted with these conditions, the unprepared prisoner of war experiences unmanageable levels of fear and despair.”
“Specific (torture resistance) techniques,” Jessen wrote, “taught to and implemented by the military member in the prisoner of war setting are classified” and were not discussed in the paper he wrote. He added, “Resistance Training students must leave training with useful resistance skills and a clear understanding that they can successfully resist captivity, interrogation or torture.”
Kearns also declined to cite the specific interrogation techniques used during SERE training exercises because that information is still classified. Nor would he comment as to whether the interrogations used methods that matched or were similar to those identified in the August 2002 torture memo prepared by former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee.
However, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee report “SERE resistance training … was used to inform” Yoo and Bybee’s torture memo, specifically, nearly a dozen of the brutal techniques detainees were subjected to, which included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, painful stress positions, wall slamming and placing detainees in a confined space, such as a container, where his movement is restricted. The CIA’s Office of Technical Services told Yoo and Bybee the SERE techniques used to inform the torture memo were not harmful, according to declassified government documents.
Many of the “complications,” or torture techniques, Jessen wrote about, declassified government documents show, became a standard method of interrogation and torture used against all of the high-value detainees in custody of the CIA in early 2002, including Abu Zubaydah and self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as well as detainees held at Guantanamo and prison facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The issue of “collaborating” with one’s detainer, which Jessen noted was the most important in terms of controlling a prisoner, is a common theme among the stories of detainees who were tortured and later released from Guantanamo.
For example, Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen who was rendered to Egypt and other countries where he was tortured before being sent to Guantanamo, wrote in his memoir, “My Story: the Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t,” after he was released without charge, that interrogators at Guantanamo “tried to make detainees mistrust one another so that they would inform on each other during interrogation.”
Binyam Mohamed, am Ethiopian-born British citizen, who the US rendered to a black site prison in Morocco, said that a British intelligence informant, a person he knew and who was recurited, came to him in his Moroccan cell and told him that if he became an intelligence asset for the British, his torture, which included scalpel cuts to his penis, would end. In December 2009, British government officials released documents that show Mohamed was subjected to SERE torture techniques during his captivity in the spring of 2002.
Abdul Aziz Naji, an Algerian prisoner at Guantanamo until he was forcibly repatriated against his wishes to Algeria in July 2010, told an Algerian newspaper that “some detainees had been promised to be granted political asylum opportunity in exchange of [sic] a spying role within the detention camp.”
Mohamedou Ould Salahi, whose surname is sometimes spelled “Slahi,” is a Mauritanian who was tortured in Jordan and Guantanamo. Investigative journalist Andy Worthington reported that Salahi was subjected to “prolonged isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings, death threats, and threats that his mother would be brought to Guantanamo and gang-raped” unless he collaborated with his interrogators. Salahi finally decided to become an informant for the US in 2003. As a result, Salahi was allowed to live in a special fenced-in compound, with television and refrigerator, allowed to garden, write and paint, “separated from other detainees in a cocoon designed to reward and protect.”
Still, despite collaborating with his detainers, the US government mounted a vigorous defense against Salahi’s petition for habeas corpus. His case continues to hang in legal limbo. Salahi’s fate speaks to the lesson Habib said he learned at Guantanamo: “you could never satisfy your interrogator.” Habib felt informants were never released “because the Americans used them against the other detainees.”
Jessen’s and Mitchell’s mutimillion dollar government contract was terminated by CIA Director Leon Panetta in 2009. According to an Associated Press report, the CIA agreed to pay – to the tune of $5 million – the legal bills incurred by their consulting firm.
Recently a complaint filed against Mitchell with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists by a San Antonio-based psychologist, an attorney who defended three suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo and by Zubaydah’s attorney Joseph Margulies. Their complaint sought to strip Mitchell of his license to practice psychology for violating the board’s rules as a result of the hands-on role he played in torturing detainees, was dismissed due to what the board said was a lack of evidence. Mitchell, who lives in Florida, is licensed in Texas. A similar complaint against Jessen may soon be filed in Idaho, where he is licensed to practice psychology.
Kearns, who took a graduate course in cognitive psychotherapy in 1988 taught by Jessen, still can’t comprehend what motivated his former colleague to turn to the “dark side.”
“Bruce Jessen knew better,” Kearns said, who retired in 1991 and is now working on his Ph.D in educational psychology. “His duplicitous act is appalling to me and shall haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 14:29
By Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout | Investigative Report
Find this story at 22 March 2011
© 2014 Truthout
“What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight … is how we behave. Ineverything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that wetreat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we arewarriors, we are also all human beings. “– General David PetraeusMay 10,2007(U) The collection oftimely and accurate intelligence is critical to the safety of U.S.personnel deployed abroad and to the security ofthe American people here at home. Themethods by which we elicit intelligence information from detainees in our custody affect notonly the reliability ofthat information, but our broader efforts to win hearts and minds and attractallies to our side.(U) AI Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are taught to expect Americans to abuse them. Theyare recruited based on false propaganda that says the United States is out to destroy Islam.Treating detainees harshly only reinforces that distorted view, increases resistance tocooperation, and creates new enemies. In fact, the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate”Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States” cited “pervasive anti U.S.sentiment among most Muslims” as an underlying factor fueling the spread ofthe global jihadistmovement. Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora testified to the Senate Armed ServicesCommittee in June 2008 that “there are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the fITstand second identifiable causes of U. S. combat deaths in Iraq – as judged by their effectiveness inrecruiting insurgent fighters into combat – are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib andGuantanamo.”(U) The abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of”a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United Statesgovernment solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law tocreate the appearance oftheir legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those effortsdamaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the handofour enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product oftheCommittee’s inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about.UNCLASSIFIEDxiiUNCLASSIFIEDPresidential Order Opens the Door to Considering Aggressive Techniques (U)(U) On February 7,2002, President Bush signed a memorandum stating that the ThirdGeneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and concluding that Talibandetainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or the legal protections afforded by the ThirdGeneva Convention. The President’s order closed off application ofCommon Article 3 oftheGeneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, toal Qaeda or Taliban detainees. While the President’s order stated that, as “a matter ofpolicy, theUnited States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extentappropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles ofthe Geneva Conventions,” the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legalcompliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted thetreatment of detainees in U.S. custody.(U) In December 2001, more than a month before the President signed his memorandum,the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel’s Office had already solicited information ondetainee “exploitation” from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), an agency whoseexpertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques consideredillegal under the Geneva Conventions.(U) JPRA is the DoD agency that oversees military Survival Evasion Resistance andEscape (SERE) training. During the resistance phase of SERE training, U.S. military personnelare exposed to physical and psychological pressures (SERE techniques) designed to simulateconditions to which they might be subject if taken prisoner by enemies that did not abide by theGeneva Conventions. As one JPRA instructor explained, SERE training is “based on illegalexploitation (under the rules listed in the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment ofPrisoners of War) of prisoners over the last 50 years.” The techniques used in SERE school,based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean war to elicit falseconfessions, include stripping students oftheir clothing, placing them in stress positions, puttinghoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loudmusic and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. It can also include faceand body slaps and until recently, for some who attended the Navy’s SERE school, it includedwaterboarding.(U) Typically, those who play the part of interrogators in SERE school neither are trainedinterrogators nor are they qualified to be. These role players are not trained to obtain reliableintelligence information from detainees. Their job is to train our personnel to resist providingreliable infonnation to our enemies. As the Deputy Commander for the Joint Forces Command(JFCOM), JPRA’s higher headquarters, put it: “the expertise ofJPRA lies in training personnelhow to respond and resist interrogations – not in how to conduct interrogations.” Given JPRA’srole and expertise, the request from the DoD General Counsel’s office was unusual. In fact, theCommittee is not aware ofany similar request prior to December 2001. But while it may havebeen the fast, that was not the last time that a senior government official contacted JPRA forUNCLASSIFIEDxiiiUNCLASSIFIEDadvice on using SERE methods offensively. In fact, the call from the DoD General Counsel’soffice marked just the beginning of JPRA’s support of U.S. government interrogation efforts.Senior Officials Seek SERE Techniques and Discuss Detainee Interrogations (U)(U) Beginning in the spring of 2002 and extending for the next two years, JPRAsupported U.S. government efforts to interrogate detainees. Duringthat same period, seniorgovernment officials solicited JPRA’s knowledge and its direct support for interrogations. Whilemuch ofthe information relating to JPRA’s offensive activities and the influence of SEREtechniques on interrogation policies remains classified, unclassified information provides awindow into the extent ofthose activities.(U) JPRA’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baumgartner testified that in late2001 or early 2002, JPRA conducted briefings of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnelon detainee resistance, techniques, and information on detainee exploitation.(U) On April 16, 2002, Dr. Bruce Jessen, the senior SERE psychologist at JPRA,circulated a draft exploitation plan to JPRA Commander Colonel Randy Mouhon and othersenior officials at the agency. The contents ofthat plan remain classified but Dr. Jessen’sinitiative is indicative ofthe interest of JPRA’s senior leadership in expanding the agency’s role.(U) One opportunity came in July 2002. That month, DoD Deputy General Counsel forIntelligence Richard Shiffrin contacted JPRA seeking information on SERE physical pressuresand interrogation techniques that had been used against Americans. Mr. Shiffiin called JPRAafter discussions with William “Jim” Haynes II, the DoD General Counsel.(U) In late July, JPRA provided the General Counsel’s office with several documents,including excerpts from SERE instructor lesson plans, a list ofphysical and psychologicalpressures used in SERE resistance training, and a memo from a SERE psychologist assessing thelong-term psychological effects of SERE resistance training on students and the effects ofwaterboarding. The list of SERE techniques included such methods as sensory deprivation,sleep disruption, stress positions, waterboarding, and slapping. It also made reference to asection ofthe JPRA instructor manual that discusses “coercive pressures,” such as keeping thelights on at all times, and treating a person like an animal. JPRA’s Chief of Staff, LieutenantColonel Daniel Baumgartner, who spoke with Mr. Shiffiin at the time, thought the
GeneralCounsel’s office was asking for the information on exploitation and physical pressures to usethem in interrogations and he said that JFCOM gave approval to provide the agency theinformation. Mr. Shiffiin, the DoD Deputy General Counsel for Intelligence, confmned that apurpose ofthe request was to “reverse engineer” the techniques. Mr. Haynes could not recallwhat he did with the information provided by JPRA.(U) Memos from Lieutenant Colonel Baumgartner to the Office of Secretary ofDefenseGeneral Counsel stated that JPRA would “continue to offer exploitation assistance to thosegovernment organizations charged with the mission of gleaning intelligence from enemyUNCLASSIFIEDUNCLASSIFIEDdetainees.” Lieutenant Colonel Baumgartner testified that he provided another governmentagency the same information he sent to the DoD General Counsel’s office.(U) Mr. Haynes was not the only senior official considering new interrogation techniquesfor use against detainees. Members ofthe President’s Cabinet and other senior officials attendedmeetings in the White House where specific interrogation techniques were discussed. Secretaryof State Condoleezza Rice, who was then the National Security Advisor, said that, “in the springof2002, CIA sought policy approval from the National Security Council (NSC) to begin aninterrogation progTam for high-level al-Qaida terrorists.” Secretary Rice said that she askedDirector of Central Intelligence George Tenet to briefNSC Principals on the program and askedthe Attorney General John Ashcroft “personally to review and confrrm the legal advice preparedby the Office of Legal Counsel.” She also said that Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeldparticipated in the NSC review ofthe CIA’s program.(U) Asked whether she attended meetings where SERE training was discussed, SecretaryRice stated that she recalled being told that U.S. military personnel were subjected in training to”certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques.” National Security Council (NSC)Legal Advisor, John Bellinger, said that he was present in meetings “at which SERE training wasdiscussed.”Department of Justice Redermes Torture (D)(U) On August 1, 2002, just a week after JPRA provided the DoD General Counsel’soffice the list of SERE techniques and the memo on the psychological effects of SERE training,the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued two legal opinions. Theopinions were issued after consultation with senior Administration attorneys, including thenWhiteHouse Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-Counsel to the Vice President DavidAddington. Both memos were signed by then-Assistant Attorney General for the Office ofLegalCounsel Jay Bybee. One opinion, commonly known as the first Bybee memo, was addressed toJudge Gonzales and provided OLe’s opinion on standards of conduct in interrogation requiredunder the federal torture statute. That memo concluded:[F]or an act to constitute torture as defmed in [the federal torture statute], it mustinflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must beequivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such asorgan failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mentalpain or suffering to amount to torture under [the federal torture statute], it mustresult in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting formonths or even years.(U) In his book The Terror Presidency, Jack Goldsmith, the former Assistant AttorneyGeneral ofthe OLC who succeeded Mr. Bybee in that job, described the memo’s conclusions:UNCLASSIFIEDxvUNCLASSIFIEDViolent acts aren’t necessarily torture; if you do torture, you probably have adefense; and even if you don’t have a defense, the torture law doesn’t apply if youact under the color of presidential authority.(U) The other OLC opinion issued on August 1,2002 is known commonly as the SecondBybee memo. That opinion, which responded to a request from the CI~ addressed the legalityof specific interrogation tactics. While the full list oftechniques remains classified, a publiclyreleased CIA document indicates that waterboarding was among those analyzed and approved.CIA Director General Michael Hayden stated in public testimony before the Senate IntelligenceCommittee on February 5, 2008 that waterboarding was used by the CIA And Steven Bradbury,the current Assistant Attorney General ofthe OLC, testified before the House JudiciaryCommittee on February 14,2008 that the CIA’s use of waterboarding was “adapted from theSERE training program.”(U) Before drafting the opinions, Mr. Y00, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for theOLC, had met with Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counselto the Vice President, to discuss the subjects he intended to address in the opinions. In testimonybefore the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Y00 refused to say whether or not he ever discussedor received information about SERE techniques as the memos were being drafted. When askedwhether he had discussed SERE techniques with Judge Gonzales, Mr. Addington, Mr. Yoo, Mr.Rizzo or other senior administration lawyers, DoD General Counsel Jim Haynes testified that he”did discuss SERE techniques with other people in the administration.” NSC Legal AdvisorJohn Bellinger said that “some ofthe legal analyses ofproposed interrogation techniques thatwere prepared by the Department ofJustice… did refer to the psychological effects ofresistancetraining.”(U) In fact, Jay Bybee the Assistant Attorney General who signed the two OLC legalopinions said that he saw an assessment ofthe psychological effects ofmilitary resistancetraining in July 2002 in meetings in his office with John Yoo and two other OLC attorneys.Judge Bybee said that he used that assessment to inform the August 1, 2002 OLC legal opinionthat has yet to be publicly released. Judge Bybee also recalled discussing detainee interrogationsin a meeting with Attorney General John Ashcroft and John Y00 in late July 2002, prior tosigning the OLC opinions. Mr. Bellinger, the NSC Legal Advisor, said that “the NSC’sPrincipals reviewed CIA’s proposed program on several occasions in 2002 and 2003” and that he”expressed concern that the proposed CIA interrogation techniques comply with applicable U. S.law, including our international obligations.”JPRA and CIA Influence Department of Defense Interrogation Policies (U)(U) As senior government lawyers were preparing to redefine torture, JPRA – respondingto a request from U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force 170 (JTF-170) at Guantanamo Bay(GTMO) – was finalizing plans to train JTF-170 personnel. During the week of September 16,2002, a group ofinterrogators and behavioral scientists from GTMO travelled to Fort Bragg,North Carolina and attended training conducted by instructors from JPRA’s SERE school. OnSeptember 25, 2002, just days after GTMO staffreturned from that training, a delegation ofUNCLASSIFIEDxviUNCLASSIFIEDsenior Administration lawyers, including Mr. Haynes, Mr. Rizzo, and Mr. Addington, visitedGTMO.(U) A week after the visit from those senior lawyers, two GTMO behavioral scientistswho had attended the JPRA-Ied training at Fort Bragg drafted a memo proposing newinterrogation techniques for use at GTMO. According to one ofthose two behavioral scientists,by early October 2002, there was “increasing pressure to get ‘tougher’ with detaineeinterrogations.” He added that ifthe interrogation policy memo did not contain coercivetechniques, then it “wasn’t going to go very far.”(U) JPRA was not the only outside organization that provided advice to GTMO onaggressive techniques. On October 2, 2002, Jonathan Fredman, who was chief counsel to theCIA’s CounterTerrorist Center, attended a meeting ofGTMO staff. Minutes ofthat meetingindicate that it was dominated by a discussion ofaggressive interrogation techniques includingsleep deprivation, death threats, and waterboarding, which was discussed in relation to its use inSERE training. Mr. Fredman’s advice to GTMO on applicable legal obligations was similar tothe analysis ofthose obligations in OLC’s first Bybee memo. According to the meeting m
inutes,Mr. Fredman said that ”the language ofthe statutes is written vaguely … Severe physical paindescribed as anything causing permanent damage to major organs or body parts. Mental torture[is] described as anything leading to permanent, profound damage to the senses or personality.”Mr. Fredman said simply, “It is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies you’re doingit wrong.”(U) On October 11,2002, Major General Michael Dunlavey, the Commander ofJTF-170at Guantanamo Bay, sent a memo to General James Hill, the Commander of US. SouthernCommand (SOUfHCOM) requesting authority to use aggressive interrogation techniques.Several ofthe techniques requested were similar to techniques used by lPRA and the militaryservices in SERE training, including stress positions, exploitation of detainee fears (such as fearof dogs), removal of clothing, hooding, deprivation of light and sound, and the so-called wettowel treatment or the waterboard. Some ofthe techniques were even referred to as “those usedin US. military interrogation resistance training.” Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, GTMO’sStaffJudge Advocate, wrote an analysis justifYing the legality ofthe techniques, though sheexpected that a broader legal review conducted at more senior levels would follow her own. OnOctober 25, 2002, General Hill forwarded the GTMO request from Major General Dunlavey toGeneral Richard Myers, the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff. Days later, the Joint Staffsolicited the views ofthe military services on the request.(U) Plans to use aggressive interrogation techniques generated concerns by some atGTMO. The Deputy Commander ofthe Department of Defense’s Criminal Investigative TaskForce (CITF) at GTMO told the Committee that SERE techniques were “developed to betterprepare U.S. military personnel to resist interrogations and not as a means of obtaining reliableinformation” and that “CITF was troubled with the rationale that techniques used to hardenresistance to interrogations would be the basis for the utilization oftechniques to obtaininformation.” Concerns were not limited to the effectiveness ofthe techniques in obtainingreliable information; GTMO’s request gave rise to significant legal concerns as well.UNCLASSIFIEDxviiUNCLASSIFIEDMilitary Lawyers Raise Red Flags and Joint Staff Review Quashed (D)(U) In early November 2002, in a series of memos responding to the Joint Staff’s call forcomments on GTMO’s request, the military services identified serious legal concerns about thetechniques and called for additional analysis.(U) The Air Force cited “serious concerns regarding the legality of many ofthe proposedtechniques” and stated that “techniques described may be subject to challenge as failing to meetthe requirements outlined in the military order to treat detainees humanely…” The Air Forcealso called for an in depth legal review ofthe request.(U) CITF’s Chief Legal Advisor wrote that certain techniques in GTMO’s October 11,2002 request “may subject service members to punitive articles ofthe [Uniform Code of MilitaryJustice],” called “the utility and legality of applying certain techniques” in the request”questionable,” and stated that he could not “advocate any action, interrogation or otherwise, thatis predicated upon the principle that all is well ifthe ends justify the means and others are notaware ofhow we conduct our business.”(U) The Chief ofthe Army’s International and Operational Law Division wrote thattechniques like stress positions, deprivation of light and auditory stimuli, and use of phobias toinduce stress “crosses the line of ‘humane’ treatment,” would “likely be consideredmaltreatment” under the UCMJ, and “may violate the torture statute.” The Army labeledGTMO’s request “legally insufficient” and called for additional review.(U) The Navy recommended a “more detailed interagency legal and policy review” oftherequest. And the Marine Corps expressed strong reservations, stating that several techniques inthe request “arguably violate federal law, and would expose our service members to possibleprosecution.” The Marine Corps also said the request was not “legally sufficient,” and like theother services, called for “a more thorough legal and policy review.”(U) Then-Captain (now Rear Admiral) Jane Dalton, Legal Counsel to the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that her staff discussed the military services’ concerns with theDoD General Counsel’s Office at the time and that the DoD General Counsel Jim Haynes wasaware ofthe services’ concerns. Mr. Haynes, on the other hand, testified that he did not knowthat the memos from the military services existed (a statement he later qualified by stating that hewas not sure he knew they existed). Eliana Davidson, the DoD Associate Deputy GeneralCounsel for International Affairs, said that she told the General Counsel that the GTMO requestneeded further assessment. Mr. Haynes did not recall Ms. Davidson telling him that.(U) Captain Dalton, who was the Chairman’s Legal Counsel, said that she had her ownconcerns with the GTMO request and directed her staffto initiate a thorough legal and policyreview ofthe techniques. That review, however, was cut short. Captain Dalton said that GeneralMyers returned from a meeting and advised her that Mr. Haynes wanted her to stop her review,UNCLASSIFIEDxviiiUNCLASSIFIEDin part because of concerns that people were going to see the GTMO request and the militaryservices’ analysis of it. Neither General Myers nor Mr. Haynes recalled cutting short the Daltonreview, though neither has challenged Captain Dalton’s recollection. Captain Dalton testifiedthat this occasion marked the only time she had ever been told to stop analyzing a request thatcame to her for review.Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld Approves Aggressive Techniques (U)(U) With respect to GTMO’s October 11, 2002 request to use aggressive interrogationtechniques, Mr. Haynes said that “there was a sense by the DoD Leadership that this decisionwas taking too long” and that Secretary Rumsfeld told his senior advisors “I need arecommendation” On November 27, 2002, the Secretary got one. Notwithstanding the seriouslegal concerns raised by the military services, Mr. Haynes sent a one page memo to theSecretary, recommending that he approve all but three ofthe eighteen techniques in the GTMOrequest. Techniques such as stress positions, removal of clothing, use ofphobias (such as fear ofdogs), and deprivation oflight and auditory stimuli were all recommended for approval.(U) Mr. Haynes’s memo indicated that he had discussed the issue with Deputy SecretaryofDefense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary ofDefense for Policy Doug Feith, and GeneralMyers and that he believed they concurred in his recommendation. When asked what he reliedon to make his recommendation that the aggressive techniques be approved, the only writtenlegal opinion Mr. Haynes cited was Lieutenant Colonel Beaver’s legal analysis, which seniormilitary lawyers had considered “legally insufficient” and “woefully inadequate,” and whichLTC Beaver herself had expected would be supplemented with a review by persons with greaterexperience than her own.(U) On December 2,2002, Secretary Rumsfeld signed Mr. Haynes’s recommendation,adding a handwritten note that referred to limits proposed in the memo on the use of stresspositions: “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”(U) SERE school techniques are designed to simulate abusive tactics used by ourenemies. There are fundamental differences between a SERE school exercise and a real worldinterrogation. At SERE school, students are subject to an extensive medical and psychologicalpre-screening prior to being subjected to physical and psychological pressures. The schoolsimpose strict limits on the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of certain techniques.Psychologists are present throughout SERE training to intervene should the need arise and tohelp students cope with associated stress. And SERE school is voluntary; students are evengiven a special phrase they can use to immediately stop the techniques from being used againstthem.(U) Neither those differences, nor the serious legal c
oncerns that had been registered,stopped the Secretary ofDefense from approving the use ofthe aggressive techniques againstdetainees. Moreover, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the techniques without apparentlyproviding any written guidance as to how they should be administered.UNCLASSIFIEDxixUNCLASSIFIEDSERE Techniques at GTMO (U)(U) Following the Secretary’s December 2, 2002 authorization, senior staff at GTMObegan drafting a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) specifically for the use ofSEREtechniques in interrogations. The draft SOP itself stated that “The premise behind this is that theinterrogation tactics used at U.S. military SERE schools are appropriate for use in real-worldinterrogations. These tactics and techniques are used at SERE school to ‘break’ SERE detainees.The same tactics and techniques can be used to break real detainees during interrogation” Thedraft “GTMO SERE SOP” described how to slap, strip, and place detainees in stress positions. Italso described other SERE techniques, such as “hooding,” “manhandling,” and “walling”detainees.(U) On December 30,2002, two instructors from the Navy SERE school arrived atGTMO. The next day, in a session with approximately 24 interrogation personnel, the twoSERE instructors demonstrated how to administer stress positions, and various slappingtechniques. According to two interrogators, those who attended the training even broke off intopairs to practice the techniques.(U) ExemplifYing the disturbing nature and substance ofthe training, the SEREinstructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used bythe Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during theKorean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart ofthose coercive techniques. Three daysafter they conducted the training, the SERE instructors met with GTMO’s Commander, MajorGeneral Geoffrey Miller. According to some who attended that meeting, Major General Millerstated that he did not want his interrogators using the techniques that the Navy SERE instructorshad demonstrated. That conversation, however, took place after the training had alreadyoccurred and not all ofthe interrogators who attended the training got the message.(U) At about the same time, a dispute over the use ofaggressive techniques was raging atGTMO over the interrogation ofMohammed al-Khatani, a high value detainee. Personnel fromCITF and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigations (FBI) had registered strong opposition, tointerrogation techniques proposed for use on Khatani and made those concerns known to theDoD General Counsel’s office. Despite those objections, an interrogation plan that includedaggressive techniques was approved. The interrogation itself, which actually began onNovember 23,2002, a week before the Secretary’s December 2,2002 grant ofblanket authorityfor the use ofaggressive techniques, continued through December and into mid-January 2003.(U) NSC Legal Advisor John Bellinger said that, on several occasions, Deputy AssistantAttorney General Bruce Swartz raised concerns with him about allegations of detainee abuse atGTMO. Mr. Bellinger said that, in tum, he raised these concerns “on several occasions withDoD officials and was told that the allegations were being investigated by the Naval CriminalInvestigative Service.” Then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that Mr.Bellinger also advised her “on a regular basis regarding concerns and issues relating to DoDdetention policies and practices at Guantanamo.” She said that as a result she convened a “seriesUNCLASSIFIED:1:1:UNCLASSIFIEDofmeetings ofNSC Principals in 2002 and 2003 to discuss various issues and concerns relatingto detainees in the custody ofthe Department of Defense.”(U) Between mid-December 2002 and mid-January 2003, Navy General Counsel AlbertoMora spoke with the DoD General Counsel three times to express his concerns aboutinterrogation techniques at GTMO, at one point telling Mr. Haynes that he thought techniquesthat had been authorized by the Secretary ofDefense “could rise to the level oftorture.” OnJanuary 15,2003, having received no word that the Secretary’s authority would be withdrawn,Mr. Mora went so far as to deliver a draft memo to Mr. Haynes’s office memorializing his legalconcerns about the techniques. In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Mora told Mr. Haynes he wouldsign his memo later that day unless he heard defmitively that the use ofthe techniques wassuspended. In a meeting that same day, Mr. Haynes told Mr. Mora that the Secretary wouldrescind the techniques. Secretary Rumsfeld signed a memo rescinding authority for thetechniques on January 15,2003.(U) That same day, GTMO suspended its use ofaggressive techniques on Khatani.While key documents relating to the interrogation remain classified, published accounts indicatethat military working dogs had been used against Khatani. He had also been deprived ofadequate sleep for weeks on end, stripped naked, subjected to loud music, and made to wear aleash and perform dog tricks. In a June 3, 2004 press briefing, SOUTHCOM CommanderGeneral James Hill traced the source oftechniques used on Khatani back to SERE, stating: “Thestaff at Guantanamo working with behavioral scientists, having gone up to our SERE school anddeveloped a list oftechniques which our lawyers decided and looked at, said were OK.” GeneralHill said “we began to use a few ofthose techniques … on this individuaL.”(U) On May 13, 2008, the Pentagon announced in a written statement that the ConveningAuthority for military commissions “dismissed without prejudice the sworn charges againstMohamed al Khatani.” The statement does not indicate the role his treatment may have playedin that decision.DoD Working Group Ignores Military Lawyers and Relies on OLC (D)(U) On January 15, 2003, the same day he rescinded authority for GTMO to useaggressive techniques, Secretary Rumsfeld directed the establishment ofa “Working Group” toreview interrogation techniques. For the next few months senior military and civilian lawyerstried, without success, to have their concerns about the legality ofaggressive techniques reflectedin the Working Group’s report. Their arguments were rejected in favor ofa legal opinion fromthe Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) John Yoo. Mr. Yoo’s opinion, thefinal version of which ‘was dated March 14,2003, had been requested by Mr. Haynes at theinitiation ofthe Working Group process, and repeated much of what the first Bybee memo hadsaid six months earlier.(U) The first Bybee memo, dated August 1, 2002, had concluded that, to violate thefederal torture statute, physical pain that resulted from an act would have to be “equivalent inintensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment ofUNCLASSIFIEDxxiUNCLASSIFIEDbodily function, or even death.” Mr. Yoo’s March 14, 2003 memo stated that criminal laws,such as the federal torture statute, would not apply to certain military interrogations, and thatinterrogators could not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for using interrogation methodsthat would otherwise violate the law.(U) Though the final Working Group report does not specifically mention SERE, the listofinterrogation techniques it evaluated and recommended for approval suggest the influence ofSERE. Removal of clothing, prolonged standing, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation,hooding, increasing anxiety through the use ofa detainee’s aversions like dogs, and face andstomach slaps were all recommended for approval.(U) On April 16, 2003, less than two weeks after the Working Group completed itsreport, the Secretary authorized the use of24 specific interrogation techniques for use at GTMO.While the authorization included such techniques as dietary manipulation, environmentalmanipulation, and sleep adjustment, it was silent on many ofthe techniques in the WorkingGroup report. Secretary Rumsfeld’s memo said, however, that “If, in your view, you requireadditional interrogation techniques for a particular detainee, you should provide me, via theChairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, a written request describing the proposed te
chnique,recommended safeguards, and the rationale for applying it with an identified detainee.”(U) Just a few months later, one such request for “additional interrogation techniques”arrived on Secretary Rumsfeld’s desk. The detainee was Mohamedou QuId Slahi. Whiledocuments relating to the interrogation plan for Slahi remain classified, a May 2008 report fromthe Department of Justice Inspector General includes declassified information suggesting theplan included hooding Slahi and subjecting him to sensory deprivation and “sleep adjustment.”The Inspector General’s report says that an FBI agent who saw a draft ofthe interrogation plansaid it was similar to Khatani’s interrogation plan. Secretary Rumsfeld approved the Slahi planon August 13, 2003.Aggressive Techniques Authorized in Afghanistan and Iraq (U)(U) Shortly after Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 approval ofhis GeneralCounsel’s recommendation to authorize aggressive interrogation techniques, the techniquesandthe fact the Secretary had authorized them – became known to interrogators in Mghanistan.A copy ofthe Secretary’s memo was sent from GTMO to Mghanistan. Captain Carolyn Wood,the Officer in Charge ofthe Intelligence Section at Bagram Airfield in Mghanistan, said that inJanuary 2003 she saw a power point presentation listing the aggressive techniques that had beenauthorized by the Secretary.(U) Despite the Secretary’s January 15,2003 rescission ofauthority for GTMO to useaggressive techniques, his initial approval six weeks earlier continued to influence interrogationpolicies.(U) On January 24, 2003, nine days after Secretary Rumsfe1d rescinded authority for thetechniques at GTMO, the StaffJudge Advocate for Combined Joint Task Force 180 (CJTF-180),UNCLASSIFIEDxxiiUNCLASSIFIEDu.s. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) conventional forces in Afghanistan, produced an”Interrogation techniques” memo. While that memo remains classified, unclassified portions ofa report by Major General George Fay stated that the memo “recommended removal of clothing- a technique that had been in the Secretary’s December 2 authorization” and discussed”exploiting the Arab fear ofdogs” another technique approved by the Secretary on December 2,2002.(U) From Afghanistan, the techniques made their way to Iraq. According to theDepartment of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (lG), at the beginning ofthe Iraq war, specialmission unit forces in Iraq “used a January 2003 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which hadbeen developed for operations in Afghanistan.” According to the DoD IG, the Afghanistan SOPhad been:[I]nfluenced by the counter-resistance memorandum that the Secretary of Defenseapproved on December 2, 2002 and incorporated techniques designed fordetainees who were identified as unlawful combatants. Subsequent battlefieldinterrogation SOPs included techniques such as yelling, loud music, and lightcontrol, environmental manipulation, sleep deprivation/adjustment, stresspositions, 20-hour interrogations, and controlled fear (muzzled dogs) …(U) Techniques approved by the Secretary of Defense in December 2002 reflect theinfluence ofSERE. And not only did those techniques make their way into official interrogationpolicies in Iraq, but instructors from the JPRA SERE school followed. The DoD IG reported thatin September 2003, at the request ofthe Commander ofthe Special Mission Unit Task Force,JPRA deployed a team to Iraq to assist interrogation operations. During that trip, which wasexplicitly approved by U.S. Joint Forces Command, JPRA’s higher headquarters, SEREinstructors were authorized to participate in the interrogation ofdetainees in U.S. militarycustody using SERE techniques.(U) In September 2008 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, ColonelSteven Kleinman, an Air Force Reservist who was a member ofthe interrogation support teamsent by JPRA to the Special Mission Unit Task Force in Iraq, described abusive interrogations hewitnessed, and intervened to stop, during that trip. Colonel Kleinman said that one ofthoseinterrogations, which took place in a room painted all in black with a spotlight on the detainee,the interrogator repeatedly slapped a detainee who was kneeling on the floor in front oftheinterrogator. In another interrogation Colonel Kleinman said the two other members oftheJPRA team took a hooded detainee to a bunker at the Task Force facility, forcibly stripped himnaked and left him, shackled by the wrist and ankles, to stand for 12 hours.(U) Interrogation techniques used by the Special Mission Unit Task Force eventuallymade their way into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued for all U.S. forces in Iraq. Inthe summer of2003, Captain Wood, who by that time was the Interrogation Officer in Charge atAbu Ghraib, obtained a copy ofthe Special Mission Unit interrogation policy and submitted it,virtually unchanged, to her chain ofcommand as proposed policy.UNCLASSIFIEDxxiiiUNCLASSIFIED(U) Captain Wood submitted her proposed policy around the same time that a messagewas being conveyed that interrogators should be more aggressive with detainees. In mid-August2003, an email from staffat Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) headquarters in Iraqrequested that subordinate units provide input for a “wish list” of interrogation techniques, statedthat “the gloves are coming off,” and said “we want these detainees broken.” At the end ofAugust 2003, Major General Geoffrey Miller, the GTMO Commander, led a team to Iraq toassess interrogation and detention operations. Colonel Thomas Pappas, the Commander ofthe20Sth Military Intelligence Brigade, who met with Major General Miller during that visit, saidthat the tenor ofthe discussion was that “we had to get tougher with the detainees.” A ChiefWarrant Officer with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said that during Major General Miller’s tourofthe ISG’s facility, Major General Miller said the ISG was “running a country club” fordetainees.(U) On September 14,2003 the Commander ofCJTF-7, Lieutenant General RicardoSanchez, issued the fIrst CJTF-7 interrogation SOP. That SOP authorized interrogators in Iraq touse stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogsin interrogations. Lieutenant General Sanchez issued the September 14, 2003 policy with theknowledge that there were ongoing discussions about the legality ofsome ofthe approvedtechniques. Responding to legal concerns from CENTCOM lawyers about those techniques,Lieutenant General Sanchez issued a new policy on October 12,2003, eliminating many ofthepreviously authorized aggressive techniques. The new policy, however, contained ambiguitieswith respect to certain techniques, such as the use of dogs in interrogations, and led to confusionabout which techniques were permitted.(U) In his report of his investigation into Abu Ghraib, Major General George Fay saidthat interrogation techniques developed for GTMO became “confused” and were implemented atAbu Ghraib. For example, Major General Fay said that removal of clothing, while not includedin CJTF-Ts SOP, was “imported” to Abu Ghraib, could be ”traced through Mghanistan andGTMO,” and contributed to an environment at Abu Ghraib that appeared “to condone depravityand degradation rather than humane treatment of detainees.” Major General Fay said that thepolicy approved by the Secretary ofDefense on December 2,2002 contributed to the use ofaggressive interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib in late 2003.OLC Withdraws Legal Opinion – JFCOM Issues Guidance on JPRA “Offensive” Support(U)(U) As the events at Abu Ghraib were unfolding, Jack Goldsmith, the new Assistant AttorneyGeneral for the Office of Legal Counsel was presented with a “short stack” of0 Le opinions thatwere described to him as problematic. Included in that short stack were the Bybee memos ofAugust 1,2002 and Mr. Yoo’s memo of March 2003. After reviewing the memos, Mr.Goldsmith decided to rescind both the so-called fIrst Bybee memo and Mr. Yoo’s memo. In lateDecember 2003, Mr. Goldsmith notifIed Mr. Haynes that DoD could no longer rely on Mr.Yoo’s memo in determining the lawfulness ofinterrogation techniques. The change in OLeguidance, however, did not keep
JPRA from making plans to continue their support tointerrogation operations. In fact, it is not clear that the agency was even aware ofthe change.UNCLASSIFIEDxxivUNCLASSIFIED(U) In 2004, JPRA and CENTCOM took steps to send a JPRA training team toAfghanistan to assist in detainee interrogations there. In the wake ofthe public disclosure ofdetainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, however, that trip was cancelled and JFCOM subsequently issuedpolicy guidance limiting JPRA’s support to interrogations.(U) On September 29, 2004 Major General James Soligan, JFCOM’s Chief of StatI,issued a memorandum referencing JPRA’s support to interrogation operations. Major GeneralSoligan wrote:Recent requests from [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the CombatantCommands have solicited JPRA support based on knowledge and informationgained through the debriefing of former U.S. POWs and detainees and theirapplication to U.S. Strategic debriefmg and interrogation techniques. Theserequests, which can be characterized as ‘offensive’ support, go beyond thechartered responsibilities of JPRA… The use of resistance to interrogationknowledge for ‘offensive’ purposes lies outside the roles and responsibilities ofJPRA(U) Lieutenant General Robert Wagner, the Deputy Commander ofJFCOM, later calledrequests for JPRA interrogation support “inconsistent with the unit’s charter” and said that suchrequests “might create conditions which tasked JPRA to engage in offensive operationalactivities outside ofJPRA’s defensive mission.”(U) Interrogation policies endorsed by senior military and civilian officials authorizingthe use of harsh interrogation techniques were a major cause ofthe abuse of detainees in U.S.custody. The impact ofthose abuses has been significant. In a 2007 international BBC poll,only 29 percent of people around the world said the United States is a generally positiveinfluence in the world. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have a lot to do with that perception. Thefact that America is seen in a negative light by so many complicates our ability to attract allies toour side, strengthens the hand of our enemies, and reduces our ability to collect intelligence thatcan save lives.(U) It is particularly troubling that senior officials approved the use ofinterrogationtechniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies againstour own soldiers and that were modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese toelicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel. While some argue that the brutality anddisregard for human life shown by al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists justifies us treating themharshly, General David Petraeus explained why that view is misguided. In a May 2007 letter tohis troops, General Petraeus said “Our values and thelaws governing warfare teach us to respecthuman dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our valuesdistinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which mustunderstand that we – not our enemies – occupy the moral high ground.”UNCLASSIFIEDxxvUNCLASSIFIEDSenate AImed Services Committee ConclusionsConclusion 1: On February 7,2002, President George W. Bush made a written determinationthat Common Article 3 ofthe Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimumstandards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. Following thePresident’s determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions, used inSERE training to simulate tactics used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions,were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.Conclusion 2: Members of the President’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated inmeetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques wered~scussed. National Security Council Principals reviewed the CIA’s interrogation programduring that period.Conclusions on SERE Training Techniques and InterrogationsConclusion 3: The use oftechniques similar to those used in SERE resistance training – suchas stripping students oftheir clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over theirheads, and treating them like animals – was at odds with the commitment to humane treatment ofdetainees in U.S. custody. Using those techniques for interrogating detainees was alsoinconsistent with the goal of collecting accurate intelligence information, as the purpose of SEREresistance training is to increase the ability of U. S. personnel to resist abusive interrogations andthe techniques used were based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during theKorean War to elicit false confessions.Conclusion 4: The use oftechniques in interrogations derived from SERE resistance trainingcreated a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to detainees. The SERE schoolsemploy strict controls to reduce the risk of physical and psychological harm to students duringtraining. Those controls include medical and psychological screening for students, interventionsby trained psychologists during training, and code words to ensure that students can stop theapplication ofa technique at any time should the need arise. Those same controls are not presentin real world interrogations.Conclusions on Senior Official Consideration of SERE Techniques for InterrogationsConclusion 5: In July 2002, the Office ofthe Secretary of Defense General Counsel solicitedinformation from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) on SERE techniques for useduring interrogations. That solicitation, prompted by requests from Department ofDefenseGeneral Counsel William J. Haynes II, reflected the view that abusive tactics similar to thoseused by our enemies should be considered for use against detainees in U.S. custody.’Conclusion 6: The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation program included at leastone SERE training technique, waterboarding. Senior Administration lawyers, including AlbertoUNCLASSIFIEDxxviUNCLASSIFIEDGonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, wereconsulted on the development oflegal analysis ofCIA interrogation techniques. Legal opinionssubsequently issued by the Department ofJustice’s Office ofLegal Counsel (OLC) interpretedlegal obligations under u.s. anti-torture laws and determined the legality ofCIA interrogationtechniques. Those OLC opinions distorted the meaning and intent ofanti-torture laws,rationalized the abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody and influenced Department ofDefensedeterminations as to what interrogation techniques were legal for use during interrogationsconducted by u.s. military personnel. .Conclusions on JPRA Offensive ActivitiesConclusion 7: Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) efforts in support of”offensive”interrogation operations went beyond the agency’s knowledge and expertise. JPRA’s support toU.S. government interrogation efforts contributed to detainee abuse. JPRA’s offensive supportalso influenced the development ofpolicies that authorized abusive interrogation techniques foruse against detainees in U.S. custody.Conclusion 8: Detainee abuse occurred during JPRA’s support to Special Mission Unit (SMU)Task Force (TF) interrogation operations in Iraq in September 2003. JPRA Commander ColonelRandy Moulton’s authorization ofSERE instructors, who had no experience in detaineeinterrogations, to actively participate in Task Force interrogations using SERE resistance trainingtechniques was a serious failure in judgment. The Special Mission Unit Task ForceCommander’s failure to order that SERE resistance training techniques not be used in detaineeinterrogations was a serious failure in leadership that led to the abuse ofdetainees in Task Forcecustody. Iraq is a Geneva Convention theater and techniques used in SERE school areinconsistent with the obligations of U.S. personnel under the Geneva Conventions.Conclusion 9: Combatant Command requests for JPRA “offensive” interrogation support andU.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) authorization ofthat support led to JPRA operatingoutside the agency’s charter and beyond its expertise. Only when JFCOM’s
StaffJudgeAdvocate became aware ofand raised concerns about JPRA’s support to offensive interrogationoperations in late September 2003 did JFCOM leadership begin to take steps to curtail JPRA’s”offensive” activities. It was not until September 2004, however, that JFCOM issued a formalpolicy stating that support to offensive interrogation operations was outside JPRA’s charter.Conclusions on GTMO’s Request for Ageressive TechniquesConclusion 10: Interrogation techniques in Guantanamo Bay’s (GTMO) October 11, 2002request for authority submitted by Major General Michael Dunlavey, were influenced by JPRAtraining for GTMO interrogation personnel and included techniques similar to those used inSERE training to teach U.S. personnel to resist abusive enemy interrogations. GTMO StaffJudge Advocate Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver’s legal review justifying the October 11, 2002GTMO request was profoundly in error and legally insufficient. Leaders at GTMO, includingMajor General Dunlavey’s successor, Major General Geoffrey Miller, ignored warnings fromUNCLASSIFIEDxxviiUNCLASSIFIEDDoD’s Criminal Investigative Task Force and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation that thetechniques were potentially unlawful and that their use would strengthen detainee resistance.Conclusion 11: Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers’s decision to cutshort the legal and policy review ofthe October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by his LegalCounsel, then-Captain Jane Dalton, undermined the military’s review process. Subsequentconclusions reached by Chairman Myers and Captain Dalton regarding the legality ofinterrogation techniques in the request followed a grossly deficient review and were at odds withconclusions previously reached by the Anny, Air Force, Marine Corps, and CriminalInvestigative Task Force.Conclusion 12: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s effort to cutshort the legal and policy review ofthe October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by thenCaptainJane Dahon, Legal Counsel to the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, wasinappropriate and undermined the military’s review process. The General Counsel’s subsequentreview was grossly deficient. Mr. Haynes’s one page recommendation to Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld failed to address the serious legal concerns that had been previously raised bythe military services about techniques in the GTMO request. Further, Mr. Haynes’s reliance on alegal memo produced by GTMO’s StaffJudge Advocate that senior military lawyers called”legally insufficient” and “woefully inadequate” is deeply troubling.Conclusion 13: Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization ofaggressiveinterrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there.Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 approval of Mr. Haynes’s recommendation that most ofthe techniques contained in GTMO’s October 11, 2002 request be authorized, influenced andcontributed to the use ofabusive techniques, including military working dogs, forced nudity, andstress positions, in Afghanistan and Iraq.Conclusion 14: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s direction to theDepartment of Defense’s Detainee Working Group in early 2003 to consider a legal memo fromJohn Yoo ofthe Department of Justice’s OLC as authoritative, blocked the Working Group fromconducting a fair and complete legal analysis and resulted in a report that, in the words ofthenDepartmentofthe Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora contained “profound mistakes in itslegal analysis.” Reliance on the OLC memo resulted in a final Working Group report thatrecommended approval of several aggressive techniques, including removal of clothing, sleepdeprivation, and slapping, similar to those used in SERE training to teach U. S. personnel to resistabusive interrogations.Conclusions on Interrogations in Iraq and AfghanistanConclusion 15: Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force (TF) interrogation policies wereinfluenced by the Secretary ofDefense’s December 2,2002 approval ofaggressive interrogationteclmiques for use at GTMO. SMU TF interrogation policies in Iraq included the use ofaggressive interrogation techniques such as military working dogs and stress positions. SMU TFUNCLASSIFIEDxxviiiUNCLASSIFIEDpolicies were a direct cause of detainee abuse and influenced interrogation policies at AbuGhraib and elsewhere in Iraq.Conclusion 16: During his assessment visit to Iraq in August and September 2003, GTMOCommander Major General Geoffrey Miller encouraged a view that interrogators should be moreaggressive during detainee interrogations.Conclusion 17: Interrogation policies approved by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, whichincluded the use ofmilitary working dogs and stress positions, were a direct cause of detaineeabuse in Iraq. Lieutenant General Sanchez’s decision to issue his September 14,2003 policywith the knowledge that there were ongoing discussions as to the legality of some techniques init was a serious error in judgment The September policy was superseded on October 12,2003as a result oflegal concerns raised by U.S. Central Command. That superseding policy,however, contained ambiguities and contributed to confusion about whether aggressivetechniques, such as military working dogs, were authorized for use during interrogations.Conclusion 18: U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) failed to conduct proper oversight ofSpecial Mission Unit Task Force interrogation policies. Though aggressive interrogationtechniques were removed from Combined Joint Task Force 7 interrogation policies afterCENTCOM raised legal concerns about their inclusion in the September 14, 2003 policy issuedby Lieutenant General Sanchez, SMU TF interrogation policies authorized some ofthose sametechniques, including stress positions and military working dogs.Conclusion 19: The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of afew soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees oftheirclothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate themappeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO.Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 authorization ofaggressiveinterrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by seniormilitary and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation wereappropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion instandards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.
Find this story at 20 November 2008
20 August 1999
Source: Hardcopy of 61 pages. Thanks to Sten Linnarsson.
Find this story at 2000 part 1
Find this story at 2000 part 2
Find this story at 2000 part 3
Find this story at 2000 part 4
Campbell’s report: http://cryptome.org/jya/ic2000.zip (981KB)
This is part 1 of 4 of “Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information (an appraisal of technologies of political control).”
Part 2: “The legality of the interception of electronic communications: A concise survey of the principal legal issues and instruments under international, European and national law,” by Prof. Chris Elliott: http://cryptome.org/dst-2.htm
Part 3: “Encryption and cryptosystems in electronic surveillance: a survey of the technology assessment issues,” by Dr. Franck Leprévost: http://cryptome.org/dst-3.htm
Part 4: “The state of the art in Communications Intelligence (COMINT) of automated processing for intelligence purposes of intercepted broadband multi-language leased or common carrier systems, and its applicability to COMINT targeting and selection, including speech recognition,” by Duncan Campbell: http://www.iptvreports.mcmail.com/stoa_cover.htm [dead]
Campbell’s report: http://cryptome.org/jya/ic2000.zip (981KB)
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL OPTIONS ASSESSMENT
DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE
TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE
OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION
(An appraisal of technologies of political control)
The perception of economic risks arising from the potential vulnerability
of electronic commercial media to interception
Survey of opinions of experts
Working document for the STOA Panel
Luxembourg, May 1999 PE 168.184/Int.St./part 1/4
Directorate General for Research
Part 1/4 of:
DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND
RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION
(An appraisal of technologies of political control)
Workplan Ref.: EP/IV/B/STOA/98/1401
Publisher: European Parliament
Directorate General for Research
The STOA Programme
Author: Mr Nikos BOGONIKOLOS – ZEUS E.E.I.G.
Editor: Mr Dick HOLDSWORTH, Head of STOA Unit
Date: May 1999
PE number: PE 168. 184/Int.St./1/4
This document is a working Document for the ‘STOA Panel’. It is not an official publication of STOA.
This document does not necessarily represent the views of the European Parliament.
PART A: OPTIONS
General overview of the outcome of the survey (interim stage)
Views on privacy collected from the survey
General privacy issue
The market for privacy
The role of industry
The need for European legislation
Options for action on surveillance and privacy
PART B: ARGUMENTS AND EVIDENCE
Examples of Abuse of Economic Information
PART C: TECHNICAL FILE
Surveillance and Privacy
Risks Inherent in Data Surveillance
2. SURVEILLANCE: TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES – Current technologies
1. Visual Surveillance
2. Audio Surveillance
3. Phone Tapping and Encryption
4. Voice and Word Pattern Recognition
5. Proximity Smart Cards
6. Transmitter Location
7. E-mail at Workplace
8. Electronic Databases
9. The Internet
3. THE USE OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS FOR THE TRANSMISSION AND COLLECTION OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION
3.1 CALEA System
3.2 ECHELON Connection
3.3 Inhabitant identification Schemes
4. THE NATURE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION SELECTED BY SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
A. From telecommunication systems
B. From new information technologies (Internet)
C. Some examples of data collection on the Internet
5. PROTECTION FROM ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE
A. Encryption (Cryptography)
Private sector initiatives
B. Key – recovery
Encryption and the global information infrastructure
Key-Recovery: Requirements and proposals
6. SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS IN LEGAL AND REGULATORY CONTEXT
A. Privacy regulation
Multinational data protection measures
Data protection directive in Europe
Privacy regulation in the United States
B. Protection of Privacy in the telecommunications sector
Cryptography policy in USA
Cryptography policy guidelines from OECD
E. U. cryptography policy
Other national and international activities related to cryptography policy
D. Key recovery
E. European Initiatives
DLM-FORUM- Electronic Records
Promoting Safe Use of Internet
PART A: OPTIONS
The present study, ‘Development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information’ presents the interim results from a survey of the opinions of experts, together with additional research and analytical material by the authors. It has been conducted by ZEUS E.E.I.G. as part of a technology assessment project on this theme initiated by STOA in 1998 at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs of the European Parliament. This STOA project is a follow-up to an earlier one entitled: “An appraisal of technologies of political control” conducted for the same Committee. The earlier project resulted in an Interim Study (PE 166.499) written by OMEGA Foundation, Manchester, and published by STOA on January 1998 and later updated (September 1998).
In the earlier study it was reported that within Europe all fax, e-mail and telephone messages are routinely intercepted by means of what is called the ECHELON global surveillance system. The monitoring was said to be “routine and indiscriminate”. The ECHELON system formed part of the UKUSA system, but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the cold war, ECHELON was said to be designed for primarily non-military targets: governments, organisations and businesses in virtually every country.
In the present study the authors were requested to investigate the use of surveillance technology systems, for the collection and possible abuse of sensitive economic information.
The principal method selected was a procedure of data collection and processing based on a modified DELPHI method (to be referred to here as “the survey”). Under this method, a list of potential sources of data was prepared. These were some 49 experts from universities, industrial and commercial undertakings in the informations and telecommunications technology sector, as well as a smaller number of persons in international or governmental organisations. The experts were drawn from 11 Member States of the European Union, plus Cyprus, Norway and Switzerland.
The next step was the collection of the data. This was mostly achieved by direct interviews of the experts, with the use of a questionnaire. The views (data) were processed and a convergence examination performed. The convergence procedure was based on a recursive approach for the exclusion of the non-reliable data. The last step was the drawing of the analytical results.
General overview of the outcome of the survey
The predominant view among the experts was that since nowadays almost all economic information is exchanged through electronic means (telephone, fax, e-mail), and, in addition, all digital telecommunication devices and switches have enhanced wiretapping capabilities, for these reasons they suggested that we must focus on the protection of the data when transmitted (using encryption products), on the use of government-approved encryption products and on the adoption of common standards concerning encryption and key-recovery products. The position could be summed up in the statement that ‘since it is difficult to prove that economic information has been captured by ECHELON system and passed on by the NSA, we have to consider privacy protection in a global international networked society’.
In summary, therefore, we see that two perceptions of this question emerge: (1) a concern about the possible threat to privacy and economic and civil rights potentially posed by global clandestine electronic surveillance systems operated by large and powerful secret government agencies, and (2) anxiety about the problems of commercial and personal privacy which arise now that so much commercial and other communications traffic is conducted over the Internet. Managers of businesses engaged in electronic commerce may perhaps be concerned about global clandestine surveillance systems: what is certain is that they are worried in a more familiar way about threats to commercial security posed by the nature of the new electronic business media and their possible vulnerability to interception by competitors and fraudsters.
Reflecting the feedback from the survey, the present study tends to reflect Perception 2, whereas the earlier one of 1998 tended to reflect Perception 1.
Advances in information and communication technologies have fostered the development of complex national and international networks which enable thousands of geographically dispersed users to distribute, transmit, gather and exchange all kinds of data. Transborder electronic exchanges — private, professional, industrial and commercial — have proliferated on a global scale and are bound to intensify among businesses and between businesses and consumers, as electronic commerce develops.
At the same time developments in digital computing have increased the capacity for accessing, gathering, recording, processing, sorting, comparing and linking alphanumeric, voice and image data. This substantial growth in international networks and the increase in economic data processing have arisen the need at securing privacy protection in transborder data flows.
Today, it is not necessary to define new principles for the protection of data (and privacy) in an expanding global electronic environment. It is necessary to define the appropriate means of putting the established principles into practice, particularly on the information and communication networks.
An active education strategy may be one of the ways to help achieve on-line and privacy protection and to give all actors the opportunities to understand their common interests.
Common technological solutions can assist in implementing privacy and data protection guidelines in global information networks. The general optimism about technological solutions, the pressure to collect economic information and the need for political and social policy decisions to ensure privacy must be considered.
The growth in international networks and the increase in economic data processing have arisen the need at securing privacy protection in transborder data flows and especially the use of contractual solutions. Global E-Commerce has changed the nature of retailing. There were great cultural and legal differences between countries affecting attitudes to the use of sensitive data (economic or personal) and the issue of applicable law in global transaction had tope resolved. Contracts might bridge the gab between those with legislation and the others.
Since Internet symbolised global commerce, faced with a rapid expansion in the numbers of transactions, there is a need to define a stable lasting framework for business. Internet is changing profound the markets and adjusting new contracts. To that reality is a complex problem.
Views on privacy collected from the survey
In this section the experts’ views on the various privacy issues are reported. The information was mostly collected by direct interviews of the experts, based on a predefined questionnaire.
General privacy issues
Privacy can be a contentious subject because it means different things to different people. The definition given is: “Privacy is the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves how, when and to what extent information about them is communicated to others”
A clear problem expressed is that in an electronic environment, it becomes hard to differentiate between a private and public place and therefore what should be protected and what should not.
It was argued that is unreasonable for the society to subsidise the cost of individuals to maintain their privacy, pointing out that most people will choose utility over security (and consequently privacy)
It was suggested that privacy in many ways sacrifices other goods (time, effort and energy among them) in order to obtain it.
Three basic tools necessary for privacy protection were outlined: notice (to the data supplier), consent (to the consumer), and accountability.
Although accountability may be essential to ensuring privacy, it unfortunately conflicts with the anonymity, privacy implies. For any commerce to take place on the Internet, therefore, some level of anonymity and therefore privacy must be sacrificed. The question to be answered is ” how much and who will decide”.
The market for privacy
When the European Commission adopted the privacy directive (95/46/EC), it stated that privacy protection is a central precondition to consumers’ acceptance of electronic commerce. Accordingly, a critical issue experts argued, was whether there was a “market failure’ in the electronic environment that required some sort of government intervention to ensure data privacy.
Some experts responded that data privacy is not purely a public good, and so at some point someone will have a market incentive to protect it. Some corporations that have tried to market their strong privacy protection have yet to see any results and have concluded that: “privacy doesn’t sell”. Other industries have marketed privacy successfully (such as the cellular telephone industry) which could mean that the public demands for privacy are forthcoming and will eventually be profitable.
They feel that a question to be answered is: Who governs the responsibility of the information collector, or does society have to impose a sense of responsibility?”
The role of industry
Most experts expressed the view that the information industry should be primarily self-regulated: the industry is changing too rapidly for government legislative solutions, and most corporations are not simply looking at National or European but at global markets, which national governments cannot regulate.
Indeed several experts expressed the fear that any European attempt to allow USA to oversee (via global surveillance systems) data would lead to abuses by the government or other competitive companies.
They noted that many companies (such as Citibank) already inform consumers and clients that, unless told otherwise, they will disclose information to their affiliates. They suggested that a simple seal on the home page of a Web site, declaring that a company adheres to certain industry privacy standards might cease the fears of the public and offer some level of accountability.
Alternatively, they suggested that the media could act as an effective watchdog, informing consumers and companies of what information is being collected about them and how that information is being used.
They also noted that multinational companies could better negotiate for themselves across national boundaries than governments can. Electronic commerce is unlikely to gain popularity until the issues of notice, consent and recourse have been resolved. The market will force companies wishing to participate in this medium to address and solve these concerns.
The need for European legislation
Experts took the view that the European Parliament must now ask how, in a world of the Internet, one reconciles the objectives of protecting both: privacy and free flow of information.
In recent years there have been disclosures that unauthorised individuals have examined financial information from the Internal Revenue Service in USA. Several experts pointed to the flap over the decision by the Social Security Administration in USA to provide companies account information on-line. Each of these examples suggests that protecting data privacy may be a great challenge for the European Parliament.
Experts agreed that the European Parliament should play a role in creating a standard for disclosure. Several experts went further and argued the need of a privacy agency within the European Union to act as an ombudsman and to represent privacy interests, so that in debates between European Union and USA there is someone whose responsibility would be to protect privacy.
Whatever several experts believe the appropriate role for national governments to be in ensuring privacy in an electronic environment, some “private regulation” is already occurring on the Internet by the computer engines, who write code and decide computer standards. In fact experts suggested that when encryption software becomes ubiquitous it will push Internet commerce because it allows for potentially anonymous transactions, which will solve privacy issues by default.
It was pointed out that a group of high-tech companies in co-operation with standardisation organisations should agree on a web-based standard that would allow companies and consumers to interact with data collectors and inform them of what information they would be comfortable having disclosed to other parties.
Options for action on surveillance and privacy
The policy options for consideration by the committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs of the European Parliament which emerged from the survey are:
Authorities in the EU and Member States should:
engage in a dialogue involving the private sector and individual users of networks in order to learn about their needs for implementing the privacy guidelines in the global network;
undertake an examination of private sector technical initiatives;
encourage the development of applications within global networks, of technological solutions that implement the privacy principles and uphold the right of users, businesses and consumers for protection of their privacy in the electronic environment.
Drafting methods for enforcing codes of conduct and privacy statements ranging from standardisation, labelling and certification in the global environment through third-party audit to formal enforcement by a regulatory body.
Definitions of the transactions which must remain anonymous, and technical capabilities for providing anonymity need to be specified.
Enforcement for the adoption of adequate standards (cryptography and key encryption) from all E.U. member states. Multilateral agreements with other countries could then be negotiated.
Drafting of common guidelines of credit information use (in each member state of the E.U. different restriction policies exist). It must be dear how those restrictions could apply to a globally operating credit reference agency.
Drafting of common specifications for cryptography systems and government access key recovery systems, which must be compatible with large scale, economical, secure cryptographic systems.
Enforcement for the adoption of special authorisation schemes for Information Society Services and supervision of their activities by National Authorisation Bodies.
Drafting of a common responsibilities framework for on-line service providers, who transmit and store third party information. This could be drafted and supervised by National PTTs.
The European Parliament should examine critically proposals from the US for the elimination of cryptography and the adoption of encryption controls supervised by US Agencies.
Annual statistics and reporting on abuse of economic information by any means must be reported to the Parliament of each member state of the E.U.
Measures for encouraging the formal education systems of each member state of the E.U. or the appropriate European Training Institute/Organisation to take up the general task of educating users in the technology and their rights.
PART B: ARGUMENTS AND EVIDENCE
Nowadays almost all economic information is exchanged through electronic means (telephone, fax, e-mail). In addition, all digital telecommunication devices and switches have enhanced wiretapping capabilities. As a conclusion we have to consider privacy protection in a global international networked society. And when we speak about electronic protection and privacy in the exchange of economic information, we actually speak for electronic commerce over the Internet.
The information society promises economic and social benefits for all: citizens, companies and governments. Advances in information and communication technologies have fostered the proliferation of private, professional, industrial and commercial transborder electronic exchanges on a global scale which are bound to intensify among businesses and between businesses and consumers as electronic commerce develops. New methods for processing the vast accumulation of data -such as data mining techniques- make it possible, on the basis of demographic data, credit information, details of on-line transactions etc, to identify new kinds of purchasing patterns or unusual relationships.
Indeed, compliance with rules governing the protection of privacy and personal data is crucial to establishing confidence in electronic transactions, and particularly in Europe, which has traditionally been heavily regulated in this area. The development of the global information society makes the convergence of government policies, the transparency of rules and regulations and their effective implementation on economic and social life. In particular, in the context of electronic commerce, the development of on-line commercial activities hinges to a large extent, not only on the faith consumers have in business in terms of guaranteed product delivery or security payment systems, but also on the confidence that users and consumers will have in the ways that businesses handle their personal data.
To operate with confidence on the global networks, most consumers need assurance that their on-line activities and electronic transactions will not be collected or used without their knowledge or made available to parties other than their initial correspondents. Neither linked to other data about them in order to compile behavioural profiles without their consent.
The importance of information and communication systems for society and the global economy is intensifying with the increasing value and quantity of data that is transmitted and stored on those systems. At the same time those systems and data are also increasingly vulnerable to a variety of threats such as unauthorised access and use, misappropriation, alteration and destruction. Proliferation of computers, increased computing power, interconnectivity, decentralisation, growth of networks and the number of users, as well as the convergence of information and communication technologies, while enhancing the utility of these systems, also increase system invulnerability.
Cryptography is an important component of secure information and communication systems and a variety of application have been developed that incorporate cryptographic methods to provide data security.
Although there are legitimate governmental, commercial and individual needs and uses for cryptography, it may also be used by individuals or entities for illegal activities, which can affect public safety, national security, the enforcement of laws, business interests, consumers interests or privacy. Governments together with industry and the general public, are challenged to develop balanced policies to address these issues.
Cryptography uses an algorithm to transform data in order to render it unintelligible to anyone who does not possess certain secret information (the cryptographic “key”), necessary for decryption of the data. Within the new concept of cryptography, rather than sharing one secret key, the new design uses two mathematically related keys for each communication party: a “public key” that is disclosed to the public and a corresponding “private key”, that is kept secret. A message that is encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted by the corresponding private key.
An important application for public key cryptography is “digital signature”, which can be used to verify the integrity of data or the authenticity of the sender of data. In this case, the private key is used to “sign” a message, while the corresponding public key is used to verify a “signed” message.
Public key cryptography plays an important role in developing information infrastructure. Much of the interest in information and communication networks and technologies centres on their potential to accommodate electronic commerce; however open networks such as the Internet present significant challenges for making enforceable electronic contracts and secure payments.
Since Electronic Commerce on one hand is one of the key strategies of the European Union and the privacy protection on the other hand, one of its main principles, E.U. in 1998 released three “key” working documents:
Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on certain legal aspects of Electronic Commerce in the internal market [ COM(1998) 586 final].
Proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive on a common framework for electronic signatures [COM (1998)297 final].
Ensuring security and trust in electronic communication: “Towards a European framework for digital signatures and Encryption” [COM(1997) 503 final].
Increasing the number of people with authorised access to the critical infrastructure and to business data, will increase the likelihood of attack, whether through technical means, by exploitation of mistakes or through corruption. Further “key-recovery” requirements to the extent that they made encryption can have the effect of discouraging or delaying the deployment of cryptography in increasingly vulnerable computing and communication networks.
As the Internet and other communications systems reach further into everyday lives, national security, law enforcement and individual privacy have become perilously intertwined. Governments want to restrict the free flow of information; software producers are seeking ways to ensure consumers are not bugged from the very moment of purchase. The US is behind a world-wide effort to limit individual privacy and enhance the capability of its intelligence services to eavesdrop on personal conversations. The campaign has had two legal strategies: the first made it mandatory for all digital telephone switches, cellular and satellite phones and all developing communication technologies to build in surveillance capabilities; the second sought to limit the dissemination of software that contains encryption, a technique which allows people to scramble their communications and files to prevent others from reading them. The first effort to heighten surveillance opportunities was to force telecommunications companies to use equipment designed to include enhanced wiretapping capabilities. The end goal was to ensure that the US and its allied intelligence services could easily eavesdrop on telephone networks anywhere in the world. In the late 1980s, in a programme known internally as ‘Operation Root Canal’, US law enforcement officials demanded that telephone companies alta their equipment to facilitate the interception of messages. The companies refused but, after several years of lobbying, Congress enacted the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in 1994.
CALEA requires that terrestrial carriers, cellular phone services and other entities ensure that all their ‘ equipment, facilities or services’ are capable of expeditiously. . . enabling the government…to intercept… all wire and oral communications carried by the carrier…concurrently with their transmission.’ Communications must be interceptable in such a form that they could be transmitted to a remote government facility.
Manufacturers must work with industry and law enforcement officials to ensure that their equipment meets federal standards. A court can fine a company US$10,000 per day for each product that does not comply.
The passage of CALEA has been controversial but its provisions have yet to be enforced due to FBI efforts to include even more rigorous regulations under the law. These include the requirement that cellular phones allow for location-tracking on demand and that telephone companies provide capacity for up to 50,000 simultaneous wiretaps.
While the FBI lobbied Congress and pressured US companies into accepting a tougher CALEA, it also leaned on US allies to adopt it as an international standard. In 1991, the FBI held a series of secret meetings with EU member states to persuade them to incorporate CALEA into European law. The plan, according to an EU report, was to ‘call for the Western World (EU, US and allies) to agree to norms and procedures and then sell their products to Third World countries. Even if they do not agree to interception orders, they will find their telecommunications monitored by the UK-USA signals intelligence network the minute they use the equipment.’ The FBI’s efforts resulted in an EU Council of Ministers resolution that was quietly adopted in January 1995, but not publicly released until 20 months later. The resolution’s text is almost word for word identical to the FBI’s demands at home. The US government is now pressuring the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to adopt the standards globally.
The second part of the strategy was to ensure that intelligence and police agencies could understand every communication they intercepted. They attempted to impede the development of cryptography and other security measures, fearing that these technologies would reduce their ability to monitor the emissions of foreign governments and to investigate crime.
These latter efforts have not been successful. A survey by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) found that most countries have either rejected domestic controls or not addressed the issue at all. The GILC found that ‘many countries, large and small, industrialised and developing, seem to be ambivalent about the need to control encryption technologies’.
The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) have instigated efforts to restrict the availability of encryption world-wide. In the early 1970s, the NSA’s pretext was that encryption technology was ‘born classified’ and, therefore, its dissemination fell into the same category as the diffusion of A-bomb materials. The debate went underground until 1993 when the US launched the Clipper Chip, an encryption device designed for inclusion in consumer products. The Clipper Chip offered the required privacy, but the government would retain a ‘pass-key’ – anything encrypted with the chip could be read by government agencies.
Behind the scenes, law enforcement and intelligence agencies were pushing hard for a ban on other forms of encryption. In a February 1993 document, obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), they recommended ‘Technical solutions, such as they are, will only work if they are incorporated into all encryption products’.
To ensure that this occurs, legislation mandating the use of government-approved encryption products, or adherence to government encryption criteria, is required.’ The Clipper Chip was widely criticised by industry, public interest groups, scientific societies and the public and, though it was officially adopted, only a few were ever sold or used.
From 1994 onwards, Washington began to woo private companies to develop an encryption system that would provide access to keys by government agencies. Under the proposals – variously known as ‘key escrow’, ‘key recovery’ or ‘trusted third parties’ – the keys would be held by a corporation, not a government agency, and would be designed by the private sector, not the NSA. The systems, however, still entailed the assumption of guaranteed access to the intelligence community and so proved as controversial as the Clipper Chip. The government used export incentives to encourage companies to adopt key escrow products: they could export stronger encryption, but only if they ensured that intelligence agencies had access to the keys.
Under US law, computer software and hardware cannot be exported if it contains encryption that the NSA cannot break. The regulations stymie the availability of encryption in the USA because companies are reluctant to develop two separate product lines — one, with strong encryption, for domestic use and another, with weak encryption, for the international market. Several cases are pending in the US courts on the constitutionality of export controls; a federal court recently ruled that they violate free speech rights under the First Amendment.
(… The NSA is one of the shadowiest of the US intelligence agencies. Until a few years ago, it existence was a secret and its charter and any mention of its duties are still classified. However, it does have a Web site (www.nsa.gov:8080) in which it describes itself as being responsible for the signals intelligence and communications security activities of the US government. One of its bases, Menwith Hill, was to become the biggest spy station in the world. Its ears — known as radomes — are capable of listening in to vast chunks of the communications spectrum throughout Europe and the old Soviet Union
In its first decade the base sucked data from cables and microwave links running through a nearby Post Office tower, but the communications revolutions of the Seventies and Eighties gave the base a capability that even its architects could scarcely have been able to imagine. With the creation of Intelsat and digital telecommunications, Menwith and other stations developed the capability to eavesdrop on an extensive scale on fax, telex and voice messages. Then, with the development of the Internet, electronic mail and electronic commerce, the listening posts were able to increase their monitoring capability to eavesdrop on an unprecedented spectrum of personal and business communications.
This activity has been all but ignored by the UK Parliament. When Labour MPs raised questions about the activities of the NSA, the Government invoked secrecy rules. It has been the same for 40years…. )
(Simon Davis report: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)
The FBI has not let up on efforts to ban products on which it cannot eavesdrop. In mid-1997, it introduced legislation to mandate that key-recovery systems be built into all computer systems. The amendment was adopted by several congressional Committees but the Senate preferred a weaker variant. A concerted campaign by computer, telephone and privacy groups finally stopped the proposal; it now appears that no legislation will be enacted in the current Congress.
While the key escrow approach was being pushed in the USA, Washington had approached foreign organisations and states. The linchpin for the campaign was David Aaron, US ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who visited dozens of countries in what one analyst derided as a programme of ‘laundering failed US policy through international bodies to give it greater acceptance’.
Led by Germany and the Scandinavians, the EU has been generally distrustful of key escrow technology. In October 1997, the European Commission released a report which advised: ‘Restricting the use of encryption could well prevent law-abiding companies and citizens from protecting themselves against criminal attacks. It would not, however, totally prevent criminals from using these technologies.’ The report noted that ‘privacy considerations suggest limit the use of cryptography as a means to ensure data security and confidentiality’.
Some European countries have or are contemplating independent restrictions. France had a longstanding ban on the use of any cryptography to which the government does not have access. However, a 1996 law, modified the existing system, allowing a system of “tiers du confidence”, although it has not been implemented, because of EU opposition. In 1997, the Conservative government in the UK introduced a proposal creating a system of trusted third parties.
It was severely criticised at the time and by the new Labour government, which has not yet acted upon its predecessor’s recommendations. The debate over encryption and the conflicting demands of security and privacy are bound to continue. The commercial future of the Internet depends on a universally-accepted and foolproof method of on-line identification; as of now, the only means of providing it is through strong encryption. That put the US government and some of the world’s largest corporations, notably Microsoft, on a collision course. (Report of David Banisar, Deputy director of Privacy International and Simon Davies, Director General of Privacy International).
The issue of encryption divides the member states of the European Union. Last October the European Commission published a report entitled: “Ensuring security and Trust in Electronic Commerce”, which argued that the advantages of allowing law enforcement agencies access to encrypted messages are not clear and could cause considerable damage to the emerging electronic industry. It says that if citizens and companies “fear that their communications and transactions are being monitored with the help of key access or similar schemes unduly enlarging the general surveillance possibility of government agencies, they may prefer to remaining in the anonymous off-line world and electronic commerce will just not happen”.
However, Mr Straw said in Birmingham (JHA Informal JHA Ministers) that: “It would not be in the public interest to allow the improper use of encryption by criminals to be totally immune from the attention of law enforcement agencies”. The UK, along with France (which already has a law obliging individuals to use “crackable” software) and the USA, is out on a limb in the EU. “The UK presidency has a particular view and they are one of the access hard-liners. They want access: “them and the French”, commented an encryption expert. They are particularly about “confidential services” which ensure that a message can only be read by the person for whom it is intended who has a “key” to access it. The Commission’s report proposes “monitoring” Member States laws’ on “confidential services” to ensure they do not contravene the rules of the single market.
Examples of Abuse of Economic Information
In the course of collecting the data for and preparing this Interim Study various examples were cited of abuse of privacy via global surveillance telecommunication systems. A number of them is given in . For the final version of the study, we shall see whether the experts have further comments to make on these examples, or whether they have new examples to suggest.
The consultation of experts in our survey so far yielded the following comments:
Since Internet has come to play a significant role in global commerce, then (as in Examples 1, 2, 3 and 4 cited below) Internet also became a tool of misleading information and a platform for deceitful advertisement.
On the positive side, Internet is a “golden highway” for those interested in the process of information.
However, apart from global surveillance technology systems, additional tools have been developed for surveillance. The additional tool used for information transferred via Internet or via Digital Global telecommunication systems is the capture of data with Taiga software. Taiga software has the possibility to capture, process and analyse multilingual information in a very short period of time (I billion characters per second), using key-words.
The examples given below are taken from the sources named:
On January 15, 1990, the telephone network of AT&T company, in all the North-east part of USA faced serious difficulties. The network NuPrometheus had illegally owned and distributed the key-code of the operational system of AT&T Macintosh computer (Apple company).
J.P. Barlow: “A not terribly brief history of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,” 8 November 1990
On January 24, 1990, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in USA, accused a huge police operation under the encoded name “Sun Devil”, in which 40 computers and 23,000 diskettes were seized from teenagers, in 15 towns within USA. Teenager Craig Neidorf supported by EFF, not to be punished in 60 years prison and 120,000 USD penalty. Craig Neidorf had published in Phrack (a hackers magazine) part of the internal files of a telephone company.
M. Godwin: “The EFF and virtual communities,” 1991
On June 25, 1998, in Absheim, an aircraft A-320 of the European Company “Airbus Industries” crashed during a demonstration flight. The accident was reportedly caused by dangerous manoeuvres. One person died and 20 were injured.
Very soon afterwards, and before the announcement of the official report, in the aerospace and transport Internet newsgroups there appeared many hostile messages against the Airbus undertaking and against the French company Aerospatiale as well, with which Airbus had close cooperation. Messages declared that the accident was to be expected because European engineers are not so highly qualified as American engineers. It was also clearly stated, that in the future similar accidents were to be expected.
Aerospatiale’s representatives took these hostile messages very seriously. They tried to discover the sources of messages and they finally realised that senders’ identification data, addresses and nodes were false. The source messages came from USA, from computers with misleading identification data and transferred from anonymous servers in Finland.
B. Martnet and Y.M. Marti: “L’intelligence econimique. Les yeux et les oreilles de 1′ enterprise, Editions d’organisation”. Paris 1995
In October 31, 1994, in USA, an accident occurred to an ATR aircraft (of the European Consortium Aeritalia and Aerospatiale). Owing to this accident, a ban on ATR flights for two months was imposed. This decision became catastrophic on a commercial level for the company, because ATR was obliged to carry out test flights in fog conditions.
During this period, in Internet newsgroups (and especially in the AVSIG forum, supported by Compuserve), the exchange of messages was of vital significance. The messages supporting the European company were few, while the messages against ATR were many.
At the beginning of January 1995, there appeared a message from a journalist in this forum asking the following: “I have heard that ATR flights will begin soon. Can anybody confirm this information?” The answer came very soon. Three days after, unexpectedly, permission to continue ATR flights was given. The company learned this, as soon as the permission announced. But if they had actively participated in the newsgroups, they would have gained some days to inform their offices and their clients.
“Des langages pour analyser la poussiere d’ info”, Liberation, 9 June 1995
The government of Brasil in 1994, announced its intention to assign an international contract (Amazonios). This procurement was of great interest since the total amount available for the contract was 1,4 billion USD. From Europe, the French companies Thomson and Alcatel expressed their interest and from USA, the huge weapon industry Raytheon. Although the offer of the French companies was technically excellent and allegedly better documented, the contract was eventually assigned to the USA company. It was reported in the press that this was achieved with a new offensive strategy used by USA. When the government of Brazil was about to assign the contract to the French companies, American Officials (allegedly with the personal involvement of President Bill Clinton) readjusted their offer, according to the offer of the European companies, and asserted that French companies influenced the committee, an accusation which was never proved. On the other hand, the European companies were reported to have indications that the intention of the government of Brazil to assign the contract to the European companies became known to Americans with the use of FBI’s surveillance technologies.
“La nouvelle machine de querre americaine”, LeMonde du reseingnement no 158, 16 February 1995
In January 1994 Edouard Balladur, French Prime Minister, went to Ryadh (Saudi Arabia), feeling certain to bring back a historic contract for more than 30 million francs in sale of weapons and, especially, Airbus. He returned disappointed. The contract went to the McDonnell-Douglas American company, rival of Airbus. The French were report to believe that this was at least in part due to electronic surveillance by the ECHELON system, which had given to the Americans the financial conditions and incentives authorised by Airbus.
French press reports said the National Security Agency is the most secret and most significant of the thirteen secret agencies of the United States. It receives about a third of the appropriations allocated with clandestine intelligence: 8 of the 26,6 billion dollars (160 18 billion francs) registered appropriations in the 1997 budget. With its 20.000 employees in United States and some thousands of agents throughout the world, the NSA (which forms part of ministry for Defence since its creation in 1956) is more important than the CIA, even if the latter is better known to the public. Its site at Fort Meade contains, according to sources familiar with the place, the greatest concentration of data processing power and mathematicians in the world. They are employed to sort and analyse the flood of data acquired by ECHELON on the networks of international telecommunications.
“Echelon est au service des interets americains”, Liberation, 21 April 1998
PART C: TECHNICAL FILE
Surveillance and Privacy
Surveillance is the systematic investigation or monitoring of the actions or communications of one or more persons. It has traditionally been undertaken by physical means (e.g. prison guards on towers). In recent decades it has been enhanced through image amplification devices such as binoculars and high-resolution satellite cameras.
The basic born [sic] physical surveillance comprises watching (visual surveillance) and listening (aural surveillance). Monitoring may be undertaken remotely in space, with the aid of image amplification devices like field glasses, infrared binoculars, light amplifiers and satellite cameras and sound amplification devices like directional microphones; and remotely in time with the aid of image and sound recording devices.
Electronic devices have been developed to augment physical surveillance and offer new possibilities such as closed-circuit TV (CCTV), VCR, telephone bugging, Proximity cards, Electronic Database, etc.
In addition to physical surveillance, several kinds of communications surveillance are practiced, including mail covers and telephone interception.
The popular term electronic surveillance refers to both augmentations to physical surveillance (such as directional microphones and audio bugs) and to communication surveillance, particularly telephone taps.
The recent years have seen the emergence and refinement of a new form of surveillance no longer of the real person, but of the person’s data shadow or digital persona. Data surveillance or Dataveillance is the systematic use of personal data systems in the investigation or monitoring of the actions or communications of one or more persons. Dataveillance is significantly lees expensive than physical and electronic surveillance, because it can be automated. As a result, the economic constraints on surveillance are diminished and more individuals and larger populations are capable of being monitored. Like surveillance, more generally, Dataveillance is of two kinds: “personal Dataveillance”, where a particular person has been previously identified as being of interest, “mass Dataveillance”, where a group or large population is monitored, in order to detect individuals of interest, and / or to deter people from stepping out of line.
Surveillance technology systems are mechanisms, which can identify, monitor and track movements and data. During the last few decades since information technology has become immensely sophisticated real benefits have been achieved in the development of surveillance technology systems.
On the other hand, negative impacts have been considerable:
The application of IT to the surveillance of people through their data.
IT technology may have substantial implications in privacy.
People often think of privacy as some kind of right. Unfortunately, the concept of a “right” is a problematic way to start, became a right seems to be some kind of absolute standard. What’s worse, is very easy to get confused between legal rights on one hand and natural or moral rights on the other. It turns out to be much more useful to think about privacy as one kind of thing (among many kinds of things) that people like to have lots of.
Privacy the interest that individuals have in sustaining a “personal space” free from interference by other people and organizations.
To a deeper level privacy turns out not to be a single interest but rather has several dimensions:
privacy of the person
privacy of personal behavior
privacy of personal communications
privacy of personal data
With the close coupling that has occurred between computing and communications, particularly since the 1980’s the last two aspects have become closely linked, and are commonly referred as information privacy.
Information privacy is the interest an individual has in controlling, or at least significantly influencing the handling of data about themselves.
The term ‘data privacy’ is sometimes used in the same way. ‘Data’ refers to inert numbers, where information implies the use of data by humans to extract meaning; hence ‘information privacy’ is arguably the more descriptive way of the two alternatives.
‘Confidentiality’ is an incidental and wholly inadequate substitute for proper information privacy, protection, where:
‘Confidentiality is the legal duty of individuals who come into the procession of information about others, especially in the course of particular kinds of relationships with them’.
A variety of Dataveillnce techniques exists. Front-end verification (FEV), for example, comprises the checking of data supplied by an applicant (e.g. for a loan or government benefit) against data from a variety of additional sources, in order to identify discrepancies.
FEV may be applied as a person dataveillance tool where responsible grounds exist for suspecting that the information the person has provided may be unreliable; where, on the other hand, it is applied to every applicant, mass dataveillance is being undertaken. Data matching is a facilitative mechanism of particular value in mass dataveillance. It involves trawling through large volumes of data collected for different purposes, searching for discrepancies and drawing influences from them.
Personal dataveillance of previously identified individuals
integration of data hitherto stored in various locations within a single organization
screening or authentication of transactions against internal norms
front-end verification of transactions that appear to be exceptional, against data relevant to the matter at hand. and sought from other databases or from third parties.
front-end audit of individuals who appear to be exceptional against data related to other databases or from third parties.
cross-system enforcement against individuals, where a third party reports that the individual has committed a transgression in his or her relationship with the third party.
Mass dataveillance of groups of people.
screening or authentication of all transactions, where or not they appear to be exceptional, against internal norms
front-end verification of all transactions, whether or not they appear to be exceptional against data relevant to the matter at hand, as sought from other internal databases or from third parties.
front-end audit of individuals, whether or not they appear to be exceptional against data relevant to the matter at hand, as sought from other internal databases or from third parties.
single-factor file analysis of all data held or able to be acquired, whether or not they appear to be exceptional, variously involving transaction data compared against a norm, permanent data or other transaction data.
profiling or multi-factor file analysis of all data held or able to acquire, whether or not they appear to be exceptional, variously involving singular profiling of data held at a point in time, or aggregative profiling of transaction trails over time.
Facilitative mechanisms could be:
computer data matching, in which personal data records relating to many people are compared in order to identify cases of interest
data concentration, homely the combination of personal data interchange networks and hub systems.
Risks inherent in Data Surveillance
Data surveillance’s broader social impacts can be grouped as follows:
In personal dataveillance
low data quickly decisions [sic]
lack of subject knowledge of, and consent to, data flows
denial of redemsion [sic]
In mass surveillance
a. Risks to the individuals:
a contextual data merger
complexity and incomprehensibility of data
ex-ante discrimination and guilt prediction
inversion of the onus of proof
unknown accusations and accusers
denial of due process
b. Risks to society:
prevailing climate of suspicion
focus of law enforcement on easily detectable and provable offences
inequitable application of the law
decreased respect for the law and low enforcers
reduction in the meaningfulness of individual actions
reduction in self-reliance and self-determination
stultification of originality
increased tendency to opt out of the official level of society
weakening of society’s moral fibre and cohesion
destabilization of the strategic balance of
power repressive potential for the totalitarian government.
By way of example, individuals can suffer as a result of misunderstandings about the meaning of data on the file, or because the file contains erroneous data, which the individual does not understand and against which he / she has little or not chance of arguing without the help of a specialized lawyer.
Such seemingly small, but potentially very frustrating and infuriating personal problems can escalate into widespread distrust by people of government agencies and the legal system as a whole
Of course, many of the risks referred are diffuse. On the other hand, there is a critical economic difference between conventional forms of surveillance and Dataveillance.
Physical surveillance is expensive because it requires the application of considerable resources. Although (with few exceptions), this expense has been sufficient to restrict the use of surveillance. Admittedly the selection criteria used by the surveillance agencies have not always accorded with what the citizenry might have preferred, but at least its extent was limited. The effect was that in most countries the abuses affected particular individuals who had attracted the attention of the state, but were not so pervasive that artistic and potential freedoms were widely constrained.
Dataveillance changes all that. Dataveillance is relatively very cheap and getting cheaper all the time, thanks to progress in information technology. The economic limitations are overcome and the digital persona can be monitored with thoroughness and frequency and surveillance extended to whole populations. Nowadays, a number of particular populations have attracted the bulk of the attention, because the state already processed substantial data – holdings about them. There are social welfare recipients and employers of the state. Now that techniques have been refined, they are being pressed into more general usage, in the private as well in the public sector.
If dataveillance is burgeoning, controls are needed to ensure that its use is not excessive or unfair. There is a variety of natural or intrinsic controls, such as self-restraint and morality. Unfortunately morality has been shown many times to be an entirely inadequate influence over people’s behaviour. There is also the economic constraint, whereby work that isn’t worth doing tends not to get done, because people perceive better things to do with the same scarce resources. Regrettably this too is largely ineffective. Cost/benefit analysis of dataveillance measures is seldom performed, and when it has been the quality has generally been appalling. This reflects the dominance of political over economic considerations — both politicians and public servants want action to be seen to be being taken, and are less concerned about its effectiveness than its visibility.
If intrinsic controls are inadequate, extrinsic measures are vital. For example, the codes of ethics of professional bodies and industry associations could be of assistance. Regrettably, these are generally years behind the problems, and largely statements of aspiration rather than operational guidelines and actionable statements of what is and is not acceptable behaviour. Over twenty years after the information privacy movement gathered steam, there are few and very limited laws which make dataveillance activities illegal, or which enable regulatory agencies or the public to sue transgressing organisations. A (limited) statute exists at national level, but none at all at the level of State Governments. In any case, statutory regimes are often weak due to the power of data-using lobbies, the lack of organisation of the public, and the lack of comprehension and interest by politicians. The public has demonstrated itself as being unable to focus on complex issues; public apathy is only overcome when a proposal is presented simply and starkly, such as ‘the State is proposing to issue you with a plastic card. You will need to produce it whenever anyone asks you to demonstrate that you have Permission to breathe’.
There is a tendency for dataveillance tools to be developed in advanced nations, which have democratic traditions and processes (however imperfect). There is a further tendency for the technology to be exported to less developed countries.
Many of these have less well-developed democratic traditions, more authoritarian and even repressive regimes. The control mechanisms in advanced western democracies are inadequate to cope with sophisticated dataveillance technologies; in third world countries there is very little chance indeed of new extrinsic controls being established to ensure balance in their application. It appears that some third-world countries may be being used as test-beds for new dataveillance technologies.
2. SURVEILLANCE: TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES – Current technologies
Surveillance is using some of the most advanced and sophisticated technology to keep track of individuals; where they go, what they do and even what they say.
Visual and audio surveillance are almost everywhere, and, modern electronic technology gives the possibility of keeping track of individual’s moments without cameras or microphones, just with surveillance of their data (Dataveillance )
1. Visual Surveillance
Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) is the most common electronic visual surveillance technique.
Recording can be in two modes: real-time or time-lapse. Real-time is regular TV (at 30 frames (second) showing full motion). Time-lapse selects only a few frames per time period, perhaps one or two per second, to record. The advantage of time-lapse is that it allows one tape to record for a much longer time than real time recording
Video electronics can be very sophisticated indeed and the recent trend is digital video. This allows using the QUAD recording system, a method of compressing four separate camera images into a single frame, so that the guard could see all four views on the monitor screen and record them on a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) at the same time. These systems allow detailed surveillance and plant monitoring, so that responsibles can observe everything happening within the facility.
In the previous years may be, only the entrance (or specific spaces) would be under video surveillance. Now it is possible to have surveillance everywhere. Using hard disks instead of videotape allows keeping a record of several month’s worth of time-lapse video.
Cameras also are much more sophisticated today than years ago. New circuits allow the camera to ignore bright, light-emitting objects within their fields of view. Miniaturization allows easier concealment, infra-red cameras allow surveillance in darkness. Video surveillance is portable as well. The old days of concealing a camcorder in a briefcase or duffel bag have given way to subminiature cameras concealed in neckties and other items. Decoy items (items containing the surveillance equipment) include baseball caps, belt buckles, briefcases, eyeglasses and wristwatches.
CCTV is very quickly becoming an internal part of crime control policy, social control theory and Community consciousness. It is promoted by police and politicians as primary solution for urban dysfunction.
They are now used in many areas, including roads, trains, railway platforms, car parks, loading docks, shopping centers, individual retail stores, banks, automatic teller machines, petrol stations, lifts, lobby areas, cash handling and storage areas and employee recreation rooms.
Within the aims of the contract, this study looks at its usage in five main industrial contexts: retail stores, financial services, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, larger office buildings and leisure and entertainment complexes.
Video surveillance is used in these industries for several reasons:
to minimize the risk of theft, especially in the retail industry for purposes of deterring and detecting crime
protect premises from threats to property such as sabotage, arson and vandalism
to monitor individual employee work performance
to improve customer service by observing peak periods and planning the allocation of staff throughout the day
to assist in staff training
to enhance health and safety standards
to ensure that employees comply with legal obligations
to protect employers from liability claims
to monitor production processes.
Most surveillance systems are being installed to prevent theft, either by outsiders or employees, but, video surveillance systems often are used for a range of purposes beyond what was originally intended. Surveillance systems which are initially installed for the purpose of protecting property against an external security threat can be used for other purposes, such as to monitor employees’ productivity and work behavior.
The routine use of video surveillance has the potential to undermine employees’ sense of privacy and dignity in the workplace. Surveillance is associated with increased levels of stress, undermining morale and creating distrust and suspicion between employees and management. While it may be an effective instrument to protect an employer from external security threats, it is not appropriate as a means of monitoring individual employee performance.
Covert surveillance with a smaller number of hidden cameras may in fact be a much popular and at the same time cheaper option than a general security system.
Some of the justifications offered for covert video surveillance are:
employers have a right to protect their business interests
covert surveillance affect fewer employees than overt surveillance and is much cheaper
if employees are unaware of surveillance, there is less risk of individual disputation
covert surveillance is often the most effective means of detecting unlawful activity.
2. Audio Surveillance
Audio surveillance is no longer merely an arcane art practiced by spies and private detectives. Today, it’s common place and spreading. Tape recorders are a fact of life, and they’re often used to document a transaction. Trying to telephone some companies and some government agencies there is a recording sign says: “This transaction is being recorded to help us assure …”.
In some companies the real purpose of tape recording conversation is to check how may the handle an hour, and to have evidence in case the customer says something that can used against him.
In prisons, officials often use electronic equipment to record all telephone conversations. Some of these are between lawyer and client, but all they go onto tape. It depends on the ethics of the guards whether they listen or not.
They are “high tech voice recorders” that put every conversation on a CD disk. A model made for correctional use is the “Laser voice”, using optional disk voice recording.
“Tube mike” is an electric device for “bugging” a room, motor vehicle, or other premises. It is a plastic tube passed through a small hole in a wall to conduct sound from the room to a small microphone at the other end.
This could be characterized as “non- access surveillance”.
“Tube microphones” come in all sizes. Some are relatively large plastic tubes (about 1/2” in diameter), but for tight spaces or maximum concealment there are “needle microphones” pressed against a wall to hear sounds in the next room.
If there is access to a room, a bug could be planted almost anywhere, even in the subject’s clothing. “Radio mikes” transmit whatever they pick up to a nearby receiver eliminating the need for tell-tale wires. Their only drawback, if they’re totally self-contained, is battery life. Other models fit into wall plugs, and take their power from the house current
One type of portable radio mike is the size and shape of a credit card, with a range of several hundred feet and a 30-hour battery life. Placed into the beast pocket of the subjects jacket, it permits monitoring a conversation held outdoors. The value of this is that many people think its possible to overhear a conversation held on the street or in a park, and that walking will defeat any prospect of a bug planted nearby.
In the open market there are several models of “gimmicked telephones” that use in the built in microphone to pick up any conversation in the room even when the telephone is not in use.
All the types of audio surveillance with miscellaneous bugging devices described before, are used today mainly in police and internal security agencies (such as FBI, NSA etc) or in companies security departments.
Telephone tapping still exists, but with today’s Electronic Switching System (ESS) its no longer necessary to go out and physically tap a person’s telephone line.
3. Phone Tapping and Encryption
Whenever a telephone line is tapped the privacy of the persons at both ends of the line is invaded and all conversations between them upon any subject and although proper, confidential and privileged ma be overheard.
The phone tapping normally used for surveillance of communications to combat “serious crime” and to protect “national security”.
On the other hand often companies keep records of phone numbers calls and the duration of such calls. In some companies these records are used to gauge job performance, while in others it simply allows employees to review calls and reimburse the employer for calls of a purely personal nature.
4. Voice and Word Pattern Recognition
Since it is no possible for an Agency or organization to employ a staff large enough to listen to all telephone conversations, read all faxes, etc, word recognition has to be computerized.
In this case a central computer could monitor all (or a group) of telephone conversations and recognize those in which the agency had an interest by using voice patterns and key words.
A wide variety of techniques are used to perform speech recognition. Typically speech recognition starts with the digital sampling of speech. The next stage is acoustic signal processing. Most techniques include spectral analysis e.g. LPC (Linear Predictive Coding), MFCC (Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients) cochlea modeling and many more.
The next stage is recognition of phonemes, groups of phonemes and words. This stage can be achieved by many processes such as DTW (Dynamic Time Warping), HMM (Hidden Markov modeling), expert systems and combination of techniques.
Most systems utilize some knowledge of the language to aid the recognition process. Some systems try to “understand” speech. That is try to convert the words into a representation of what the speaker intended to mean or achieve by what they said.
Voice and pattern recognition used as an advanced tool and a helpful technique (thanks to the IT) for surveillance of communications to combat “serious crime” or to protect “national security”
5. Proximity Smart Cards
Originally, electronic cards were substitutes for keys, which were too easy to reproduce. A metal key blank and a file where all that were necessary to duplicate a key, but more sophisticated equipment is necessary to duplicate even the simplest sort of electronic card.
The first type of electronic card used barium ferrite as magnetic dots embedded in the magnetic layer. This was a significant advance over punched cards, that were relatively easy to duplicate.
In the early 1970s, magnetic stripe cards were produced (by IBM), which are still used in credit cards and are somewhat more secure. However, they’re still too easy to forge and should pass through a magnetic stripe reader.
In the early 1980s, the advent of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology, resulted in what quickly become known as “smart card” which could hold a variety of codes and information to make misuse or duplication almost impossible. This was the first “proximity card”, which did not require direct contact through a card recorder.
The proximity card is basically a “transponder” an electronic device that replies to a radio signal that “interrogates” it. The extended range model doesn’t require even placing it near the card reader, as it transmits to a receiver several feet away.
Use of proximity smart card as Transport card / E-purse
Transportation companies use the proximity smart cards to replace metro, bus, train tickets and boarding cards, etc.
The proximity smart card results in considerable time saving by greatly increasing passenger flow without diminishing security
With the contact part of the card, the proximity smart card is perfectly suited to financial transactions involving small amounts of money: automatic vending cafeterias, local shops, parking fees, cinemas, recreation / amusement parks, cultural and sports centers etc.
Use of proximity smart card as Access control / ID card
The company Proximity smart card contains data used to identify cardholders, as well as his own different access rights. The contactless part of the card is used to access building and other protected areas.
The contact portion can be used for network access, such as the Internet. With the electronic purse function it can be used in the company restaurant, at automatic vending machines, just like a traditional multi-service card.
One application, although, extends the proximity card’s usefulness by turning it into a tracking device. Proximity readers installed along the walls of a building allow tracking each card within the facility. If somebody is carrying one of these cards within a building so equipped, the central computer can sense exactly where he (she is at all times). There is a record of which area the employee (or visitor) is in, when he leaves, and where else within the building he may go. If the employee goes to the cafeteria, the computer will log when he lefts his work station, how long it took him to get to the cafeteria, which root he took, how long he remained in the cafeteria, when he started back and by which route, and when he arrived back in his work area. Likewise if he went to the bathroom. The computer can record whether he/she went to the men’s room or the ladies’ room.
Many countries are actively considering adopting national ID cards for the variety of functions. These include the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
There are ID cards (credit cards) used for digital cash service which is supposed to be “anonymous”. But, it appears that the bank and the merchants could find the identity of the users.
The customer is identified to the trader and ultimate to the bank by the 300 previous transactions. Each of these will soon be superseded by further transactions and drop off end of the list.
These can be monitored by the bank and could be used for marketing purposes. This is the audit trail and could be sold to business users for third party marketing.
6. Transmitter Location
When a telephone or mobile phone used, the location of the user could be identified. The science of location radio uses three methods of finding a transmitter. The oldest is triangulation, in which several receiving stations with directional antennas take bearing on a transmission and communicate the bearing to a central plotting room.
Technicians trace each bearing on a map of the area and the intersection of the bearing pinpoints the location of the transmitter.
The second method requires several receives as well, and works by measuring the relative strengths of signals received. A computer analyses the strengths and determines the location of the transmitter
The third method also requires a computer-controlled chain of receives and measures the minute differences in the time the signal arrives at each receiver.
Formerly classified, these techniques are now available on the civilian market for law enforcement and private security. One application is locating stolen cars by pinpointing radio transmitters installed in the vehicle for this purpose.
Location of cellular phones in another application. Police today are using (in some countries) this application to pinpoint the location of cellphone users. Purportedly, this is to speed emergency response when a citizen calls for help (at home or in the road). Once the equipment is in place, it can, and must, serve other purposes. Criminal investigators will be able to pinpoint a specific cellphone each time the caller uses it, this will help an investigation into a stolen cellphone, or help locate wanted persons unwise enough to use cellphone or mobile phone.
Another device, sold only to police, is the “cellphone ESN Reader”, which reads the numbers of the targeted cellphone. This detects and records the cellular phone number, called number and ESN of the target phone of a ranges of up to two miles.
Theoretically, the technology can locate every cellphone and every mobile phone in the country every time someone makes a call on it (for cellphones) or just open it (for mobile phones).
7. E-mail at workplace
Personal messages the employee sent over his company’s e-mail are not private. They are not, and court decisions have held that they’re not.
It is a safe assumption that companies will keep an increasingly watchful eye on their internal email, and scrutinize what employees are saying to each other. It is easy to see that some companies may find that scrutinising staff e-mail can have more than one advantage for a company management. Originally instigated to avoid liability, reading employee’s e-mail can also serve to alert management of dishonesty, disloyalty or even matters like union activity.
8. Electronic Databases
The computer age has brought surveillance into a new era in which information about almost anybody is available to almost anybody.
Databases from Human Identification
There are a lot of government databases containing information about almost every resident in United States and in many European Countries as well.
A variety of person identification techniques are available, which can assist in associating data with them. Important examples of these techniques are:
names (what the person is called by other people)
codes (what the person is called by the organization)
knowledge (what the person knows)
biometrics (what the person is, does, or looks like e.g. appearance, natural physiography, etc.)
Data bases for financial surveillance
Financial records are gathered privately by several giant companies that specialize in this sort of information. These “credit reporting bureaus” purportedly maintain credit records, but in fact keep far more than credit information in their databases.
Other databases for human identification
There exist specialized databases available mainly to private investigators. These call information from telephone directories, city directories, voter registration records and many other public and private records to provide a profile of the person being investigated.
9. The Internet
The Internet, which began as a Computer communication network between Universities and laboratories decades ago, has turned into a vast public forum accessible to anyone with a computer.
International organizations, Public authorities, Companies, Universities, Research centers and individuals have access and exploit the Internet.
On the other hand Internet became:
an entertainment tool
a huge Information source
an important marketing tool
a big virtual electronic market with a considerable number of economic transactions every second
IT technology at the same time, restricted the individuals’ right to privacy since they could be identified through their ID number or through their records or transactions.
The growing rift between the needs of Internet Commerce and the individual’s right to privacy gave rise to the development of new tools.
In January 1999 Intel announced its plans for the development of a microchip containing embedded electronic serial numbers that allow individual computers to be readily identified.
The identities, similar to the unique vehicle identification numbers on cars and trucks would be a caller ID technology for computer.
But critics see it is on an ominous development, ushering in a new period of electronic surveillance. Privacy experts fear the new Intel chip could mean the death of anonymity on the Internet.
But this would appear to really variously endanger privacy on the Internet by creating a permanent ID number for every Intel user on the Net.
3. THE USE OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS FOR THE TRANSMISSION AND COLLECTION OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION
As the Internet and other communication systems reach further into the everyday lives, national security, low enforcement and individual privacy have become perilously intertwined. Governments want to restrict the free flow of information and software producers are seeking ways to ensure consumers are not bugged from the moment of purchases.
All developing communication technologies, digital telephone switches cellular and satellite phones HAVE SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES. On the other hand the development of software that contains encryption, a telephone which allows people to scramble their communications and files to prevent others from reading them gourd earth [sic].
3.1 CALEA system
The first effort to heighten surveillance opportunities (made by USA) was to force telecommunication companies to use equipment desired to include enhanced wiretapping capabilities.
In the late 1980s in a program known internally as “Operation Root Canal” US low enforcement officials demanded that telephone companies alter their equipment to facilitate the interception of messages. The companies refused but, after several years of lobbying, Congress enacted the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement ACT (CALEA) in 1994.
CALEA requires that terrestrial cellular phone services and other entities ensure that all their equipment, facilities or services are capable of expeditiously, enabling the government to intercept all wire and oral communications varied by the carrier concurrently with their transmission.
Communications must be interceptable in such a form that they could be transmitted to a remote government facility. Manufactures must work with industry and low enforcement officials to ensure that their equipment meets federal standards.
The passage of CALEA has been controversial, but its provisions have yet to be enforced due to FBI efforts to include even more rigorous regulations under the law. These include: the requirement, the cell phones allow for location – tracking on demand and that telephone companies provide capacity for up to 50.000 simultaneous wiretaps.
CALEA finally has been accepted as an International standard in US. In 1991 the FBI contacted EU member states in order to propose to them do incorporate CALEA into European Law. This plan according to an EU report, was to call for the Western World (EU, US and allies) to agree to norms and procedures and then sell their products to Third World countries. There is a council resolution that was adopted on 17 January 1997 on the lawful interception of communications (961C329/a). The US government is now in negotiations with the International Telecommunications Unit (ITU) to adopt the standards globally.
3.2 ECHELON Connection
The previous STOA Interim Study (PE 166.499) entitled “An Appraisal of technologies of political control” made certain statements concerning the ECHELON global surveillance system. This is reported to be a world-wide surveillance system designed and coordinated by the US NSA (National Security Agency) that intercepts e-mail, fax, telex and international telephone communications carried via satellites and has been operating since the early 1980s – it is part of the post Cold War developments based on the UK-USA agreement signed between the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 1948.
The five agencies said to be involved are: the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in New Zealand, Government Communications Headquarters Signals Directorate (DSD) in Australia. The system was brought to light by the author Nicky Hager in his 1996 book Secret Power: New Zealand’s role in the International Spy Network. For this, he interviewed more than 50 people who work or have worked in intelligence who are concerned at the uses of ECHELON. It is said that “The ECHELON system is not designed to eavesdrop on a particular individual’s e-mail or fax link. Rather, the system works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages from the mass of unwanted ones”.
According to Interim Study (PE 166.499) of 1998, there are reported to be three components to ECHELON:
1. The monitoring of Intelsats, international telecommunications satellites used by phone companies In most countries. A key ECHELON station is at Morwenstow in Cornwall monitoring Europe, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
2. ECHELON interception of non-Intelsat regional communication satellites. Key monitoring stations are Menwith Hill in Yorkshire and Bad Aibling in Germany.
3. The final element of the ECHELON system is the surveillance of land-based or under-sea systems, which use cables or microwave tower networks.
At present it is thought ECHELON’s effort is primarily directed at the “written form” (e-mails, fixes, and telexes) but new satellite telephones system which take over from old land-based ones will be as vulnerable as the “written word”.
Each of the five centres supply to the other four “Dictionaries” of keywords, phrases, people and places to ‘stag” and tagged intercept is forwarded straight to the requesting country.
It is the interface of the ECHELON system and its potential development on phone calls combined with the standardisation of”tappable” telecommunications centres and equipment being sponsored by the EU and the USA which presents a truly global threat over which there are no legal or democratic controls.
The earlier study (PE 166.499) identified a number of options for the European Union, centred round the proposition that:
“All surveillance technologies, operations and practices should be subject to procedures to ensure democratic accountability and there should be proper codes of practice to ensure redress if malpractice or abuse takes place. Explicit criteria should be agreed for deciding who should be targeted for surveillance and who should not, how such data is stored, processed and shared. Such criteria and associated codes of practice should be made publicly available.”
Other points included:
– All requisite codes of practice should ensure that new surveillance technologies are brought within the appropriate data protection legislation.
– Given that data from most digital monitoring systems can be seamlessly edited, new guidance should be provided on what constitutes admissible evidence. This concern is particularly relevant to automatic identification systems which will need to take cognizance of the provisions of Article 15, of the 1995 European Directive on the Protection of Individuals and Processing of Personal Data.
– Regulations should be developed covering the provision of electronic bugging and tapping devices to private citizens and companies, so that their sale is governed by legal permission rather than self regulation.
– Use of telephone interception by Member states should be subject to procedures of public accountability referred to in (1) above. Before any telephone interception takes place a warrant should be obtained in a manna prescribed by the relevant parliament. In most cases, law enforcement agencies will not be permitted to self-authorise interception except in the most unusual of circumstances which should be reported back to the authorising authority at the earliest opportunity.
– Annual statistics on interception should be reported to each member states’ parliament. These statistics should provide comprehensive details of the actual number of communication devices intercepted and data should be not be aggregated. (This is to avoid the statistics only identifying the number of warrants, issued whereas organisations under surveillance may have many hundreds of members, all of whose phones may be subject to interception).
– Technologies facilitating the automatic profiling and pattern analysis of telephone calls to establish friendship and contact networks should be subject to the same legal requirements as those for telephone interception and reported to the relevant member state parliament.
– The European Parliament should reject proposals from the United States for making private messages via the global communications network (Internet) accessible to US Intelligence Agencies. Nor should the Parliament agree to new expensive encryption controls without a wide ranging debate within the EU on the implications of such measures. These encompass the civil and human rights of European citizens and the commercial rights of companies to operate within the law, without unwarranted surveillance by intelligence agencies operating in conjunction with multinational competitors.
3. Inhabitant identification Schemes
Inhabitant identification schemes are schemes, which provide all, or most people in the country with a unique code and a token (generally a card) containing the code.
Such schemes are used in many European Countries for a defined set of purposes, typically the administration of taxation, natural superannuation and health insurance. In some countries, they are used for multiple additional purposes.
4. THE NATURE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION SELECTED BY SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
A. From telecommunication systems
Concerning public authorities and organizations:
secret telephone conversations, fax messages and electronic mail
sensitive information concerning taxation
information concerning various fund transfers especially from one service to the other and financial transactions
data used in the critical banking infrastructure systems
private business communication, including telephone conversations, fax messages and electronic mail
order from fund transfers and other financial transactions (e.g. payments by credit cards by fax)
sensitive business information and trade secrets
private conversations, fax messages, e-mail
payments by credit cards
secret information concerning taxation
B. From new information technologies (Internet)
Concerning public authorities and organizations:
sensitive information and state secrets
tax records and other financial information
data used in the operation of critical infrastructure systems
public contracts received by electronic mail
invoices and other official documents
secret electronic transactions
risk of international property and license in secret transactions
payment orders by credit cards
payments received on-line
Concerning consumers and individuals:
payment by credit cards
contracts and agreements
electronic financial transactions (e.g. tele-banking).
C. Some examples of data collection on tSe Internet
Data can be collected over the Internet either directly or indirectly; in other words, it can be collected either at the time of contact with a correspondent or without the knowledge of the person concerned, often automatically. The nature of the data collected varies according to the protocol used on the network i.e. according to the type of service. In practice, different protocols are very often used in combination to augment the profitability or quality of exchanges. For example, a Web page may propose an exchange of correspondence or a transfer of documents via links with the e-mail protocol and the protocol used for transferring files, which is more powerful.
When electronic messaging is used (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol — SMTP, and Network News Transfer Protocol — NNTP), communication is established from one personal mailbox to another, or between a personal mailbox and a mailbox common to a number of correspondents. The information transmitted consists of the name and e-mail address, the server address and the signature file (sig.file) if created by the user of the machine. If a communication is addressed to a joint mailbox, this information is given out to an indeterminate number of correspondents, participation in a discussion group being theoretically free. As a result, any person listed on a distribution list can at the very least obtain the e-mail addresses of all other listed parties, since this information is provided automatically for purposes of communication on a given topic.
While most downloading (File Transfer Protocol — FTP) is done anonymously, with only the network’s Internet Protocol — IP — address being revealed, the same cannot be said for document presentation (World Wide Web — WWW, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol — HTTP). The minimum information revealed at each step in the Web is the name of the network machine making the request and the type of browser being used. Browsers contain an identification — ID — file which, is configured by the user or at the user’s request, stores various personal data such as the user’s name or e-mail address. If a Web server requests this information, it can be automatically given out.
A Web server can also send out information, which is stored by the user’s navigator (so-called ‘cookies’) and retrieved at a subsequent connection to the server. This system indicates that a visitor has been there before, but without revealing his identity: identification requires matching with other information. As a result, when linked to the ID file incorporated into the browser and transmitted to a server, the information recorded in cookies c-an yield valuable user profiles. It can be noted, however, that some navigations — to a varying and often inadequate extent — allow use of these cookies to be blocked.
5. PROTECTION FROM ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE
A. Encryption (Cryptography)
Finally, new information technologies include the privacy of individuals, the security of data in the computer or on the network, and the availability of encryption software to protect data in the event they are intercepted. In this context, privacy refers to controlling the dissemination and use of data, including information that are unintentionally revealed as a by-product of the use of the information technologies themselves.
Security refers to the integrity of the data storage, processing, and transmitting systems and includes concerns about the reliability of the hardware and software, the protections against intrusion into the theft of the computer equipment, and the resistance of computer systems to infiltration by unpermitted users, that is, “hacking”. Encryption is the practice of encoding data so that even if a computer or network is compromised, the data’s content will remain secret. Security and encryption issues are important because they are central to public confidence in networks and to the use of the systems for the sensitive or secret data, such as the processing of information touching on national security. These issues are surpassingly controversial because of governments’ interest in preventing digital information from being impervious to official interception and decoding for low enforcement and other purposes.
Private sector initiatives
A large number of private sector interests, in the United States in particular, are attempting, a view to fostering electronic commerce, to promote technological solutions that will provide a a1 practical response to consumers concerns while still preserving business interests. In other words, they are starting to explore ways and means of making privacy work in communication networks. These initiatives go in the right direction and it would be worthwhile for governments to engage in a dialogue on the basis.
As an example, Netscape joined by Microsoft, is leading an industry initiative (40 companies) to cope with privacy issues and proposes standard software intended to enable computer users to control what personal information is obtained when they visit Internet sites and how the information is used, as well as avoid unwanted e-mail. The proposal, called the OPS — Open Profiling Standard –, which has been submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium — W3C, provides the users with a way to pre-package the personal registration information Web sites may require. At the same time, OPS lets users control when and how much of their personal profiles can be passed to a third party. OPS would have users fill out profiles and preference information in a standard that could be identified by a digital certificate (that would give a guarantee from a trusted third party that the person is really who they say they are). The standardized format and brand names associated with the profile forms would be incorporated, in the case of Netscape, into the Communicator browser. According to some specialists, OPS is an addition to rather than replacement for the intrusive cookie method of tracking user information.
Another project is the new W3C Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3) Project developed by the W3C. The P3 Project is a platform on which other technological, market and regulatory solutions can interoperate and build. The P3 prototype allows Web sites to easily describe their privacy practices as well as users to set policies about the collection and use of their personal data. A flexible ‘negotiation’ between the Web site’s practices and the user’s preferences allows service to offer the preferred level of service and data protection to the user. If there is a match, access to the site is seamless; otherwise the user is notified of the difference and is offered other access options to proceed. With P3, users can download ‘recommended’ settings established by organizations such as industry associations and consumer advocacy groups. According to some privacy specialists, P3 requires users to disclose privacy preferences when good privacy policies should provide meaningful information for users about Web site practices and not require users to disclose personal information.
Techniques to provide users with more information about privacy practices are also being developed. For instance, a number of companies and service operators have a privacy Icon which appears either when the user enters a site, or when the user starts to provide information. The Icon can either lead by hyper-link to a sophisticated service providing details of the company’s (service operator) data protection policies and a tick box(es) allowing the user to opt out of having his/her data used foe specific purposes, or the icon can lead to page referring the user, for example, to an address from which further details are available.
Another example is the development of services and branding techniques, which intend to provide, dear meaningful designations for privacy practices such as TRUSTe, formerly eTRUST.
The TRUSTe program will focus on addressing privacy issues concerning data collection on the Internet. With an emphasis on analysing consumer fears surrounding electronic commerce, the program will utilise Web site icons (trustmarks) to alert online consumers to the uses of their personal information.
The three trustmarks will be:
No Exchange – no personally identifiable information is used by the site.
One-to-one Exchange is collected only for the site owner’s use.
Third Party Exchange – data is collected and provided to specified third parties but only with the user’s knowledge and consent.
The TRUSTe initiative was launched in July 1996 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a group of pioneering Internet companies. CommerceNet and the EFF then partnered in October 1996 to move forward in implementing the initiative.
Finally, systems for implementing on-line E-mail Preference Services (EPS) or ‘E-mail Robinson Lists’ are also under consideration (EPS allow consumers who do not wish to receive e-mails to be excluded from lists, the common database used to register opt out demands being then used to clean marketing lists). As an example, a software package is being developed in the USA which would allow consumers to register on-line; would be secure from intruders, and yet user-friendly for industry to clean their E-mail marketing lists; and which could be serviced easily by the operator (the Direct Marketing Association (DMA-US)). A similar system will be developed in the United Kingdom, and it is planned that these two countries would then spearhead a Global Convention on EPS inviting other DMSs to join. Another proposal, which has yet to be fully considered by industry, comes from the UK data protection Registrar, which has suggested a mechanism enabling the consumers to indicate if they do not wish to be contacted be e-mail in their e-mail address. A universally agreed character (a marker) would indicate that the user does not want to receive any marketing solicitations. The user would also be free to make different choices: i.e. to use the marker when visiting one site and not to use it when visiting another. This system should be combined with others, such as the proposed E-mail Preference Service.
Cryptography is a complex area, with scientific, technical, political, social, business, and economic dimensions.
For the purpose of this report, ‘key recovery’ systems are characterized by the presence of some mechanism for obtaining exceptional access to the plain text of encrypted traffic. Key recovery might serve a wide spectrum of access requirements, from a backup mechanism that ensures a business’ continued access to its own encrypted archive in the event keys are lost, to providing covert law enforcement access to wiretapped encrypted telephone conversations. Many of the costs, risks, and complexities inherent in the design, implementation, and operation of key recovery systems depend on the access requirements around which the system is designed.
We focus specifically on key recovery systems designed to meet government access specifications. These specifications diverge in important ways from the needs of commercial or individual encryption users:
Access without end-user knowledge or consent — Few commercial users need (or want) covert mechanisms to recover keys or plain text data they protect. On the contrary, business access rules are usually well known, and audit is a very important safeguard against fraud and error. Government specifications require mechanisms that circumvent this important security practice.
Ubiquitous adoption — Government seeks the use of key recovery for all encryption, regardless of whether there is benefit to the end-user or whether it makes sense in context. In fact, there is little or no demand for key recovery for many applications and users. For example, the commercial demand for recovery of encrypted communications is extremely limited, and the design and analysis of key recovery for certain kinds of communications protocols is especially difficult.
Fast paths to plain text — Law enforcement demands fast (near real-time), 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year access to plain text, making it impossible to employ the full range of safeguards that could ameliorate some of the risks inherent in commercial key recovery systems.
Encryption and the global information infrastructure
The Global Information Infrastructure promises to revolutionize electronic commerce, reinvigorate government, and provide new and open access to the information society. Yet this promise cannot be achieved without information security and privacy. Without a secure and trusted infrastructure, companies and individuals will become increasingly reluctant to move their private business or personal information online.
The need for information security is widespread and touches all of us, whether users of information technology or not. Sensitive information of all kinds is increasingly finding its way into electronic form. Examples include:
Private personal and business communications, including telephone conversations, fax messages, and electronic mail;
Electronic funds and other financial transactions;
Sensitive business information and trade secrets;
Data used in the operation of critical infrastructure systems such as air traffic control, the telephone network or the power grid; and
Health records, personnel files, and other personal information.
Electronically managed information touches almost every aspect of daily life in modern society. This rising tide of important yet unsecured electronic data leaves our society increasingly vulnerable to curious neighbors, industrial spies, rogue nations, organized crime, and terrorist organizations.
Paradoxically, although the technology for managing and communicating electronic information is improving at a remarkable rate, this progress generally comes at the expense of intrinsic security. In general, as information technology improves and becomes faster, cheaper, and easier to use, it becomes less possible to control (or even identify) where sensitive data flows, where documents originated, or who is at the other end of the telephone. The basic communication infrastructure of our techniques more and more frequently will become the only visible approach to assuring the privacy and safety of sensitive information as these trends continue.
Encryption is an essential tool in providing security in the information age. Encryption is based on the use of mathematical procedures to scramble data so that it is extremely difficult — if not virtually impossible — for anyone other than authorized recipients to recover the original ‘plain text’. Properly implemented encryption allows sensitive information to be stored on insecure computers or transmitted across insecure networks. Only parties with the correct decryption ‘key’ (or keys) are able to recover the plain text information.
Highly secure encryption can be deployed relatively cheaply, and it is widely believed that encryption will be broad}y adopted and embedded in most electronic and communications products and applications for handling potentially valuable data. Applications of cryptography include protecting files from theft or unauthorized access, securing communications from interception, and enabling secure business transactions. Other cryptographic techniques can be used to guarantee that the contents of a file or message have not been altered (integrity), to establish the identity of a party (authentication), or to make legal commitments (non-repudiation).
In making information secure from unwanted eavesdropping, interception, and theft, strong encryption has an ancillary effect: it becomes more difficult for law enforcement to conduct certain kinds of surreptitious electronic surveillance (particularly wiretapping) against suspected criminals without the knowledge and assistance of the target. This difficulty is at the core of the debate over key recovery.
Key-Recovery: Requirements and proposals
The United States and other national governments have sought to prevent widespread use of cryptography unless ‘key recovery’ mechanisms guaranteeing law enforcement access to plain text are built into these systems. The requirements imposed by such government-driven key recovery systems are different from the features sought by encryption users, and ultimately impose substantial new risks and costs.
Key recovery encryption systems provide some form of access to plain text outside of the normal channel of encryption and decryption. Key recovery is sometimes also called ‘key escrow’. The term ‘escrow’ became popular in connection with the U.S. government’s Clipper Chip initiative, in which a master key to each encryption device was held ‘in escrow’ for release to law enforcement. Today the term ‘key recovery’ is used as generic term for these systems, encompassing the various ‘key escrow’, ‘trusted third party’, ‘exceptional access’, ‘data recovery’, and ‘key recovery’ encryption systems introduced in recent years. Although there are differences between these systems, the distinctions are not critical for our purposes. In this report, the general term ‘key recovery’ is used in a broad sense, to refer to any system for assuring third-party (government) access to encrypted data.
Key recovery encryption systems work in a variety of ways. Early ‘key escrow’ proposals relied on the storage of private keys by the U. S. government, and more recently by designated private entities .
Other systems have ‘escrow agents’ or ‘key recovery agents’ that maintain the ability to recover the keys for a particular encrypted communication session or stored file; these systems require that such ‘session keys’ be encrypted with the key known by a recovery agent and included with the data. Some systems split the ability to recover keys among several agents.
Many interested parties have sought to draw sharp distinctions among the various key recovery proposals. It is certainly true that several new key recovery systems have emerged that they can be distinguished from the original ‘Clipper’ proposal by their methods of storing and recovering keys. However, our discussion takes a higher-level view of the basic requirements of the problem rather than the details of any particular scheme; it does not require a distinction between ‘key escrow’, ‘trusted third-party’, and ‘key recovery’. All these systems share the essential elements that concern us for the purposes of this study:
A mechanism, external to the primary means of encryption and decryption, by which a third party can obtain covert access to the plain text of encrypted data.
The existence of a highly sensitive secret key (or collection of keys) that must be secured for an extended period of time.
Taken together, these elements encompass a system of ‘ubiquitous key recovery’ designed to meet law enforcement specifications. While some specific details may change, the basic requirements most likely will not: they are the essential requirements for any system that meets the stated objective of guaranteeing law enforcement agencies timely access, without user notice, to the plain text of encrypted communications traffic.
6. SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS IN LEGAL AND REGULATORY CONTEXT
As a conclusion from this present Interim Study is the principle that WE HAVE TO CONSIDER PRIVACY PROTECTION IN THE CONTEXT OF A GLOBAL NETWORKED SOCIETY. And when we speak about electronic privacy in the exchange of economic information, we are speaking about one single thing above all others: Electronic Commerce over the Internet.
A. Privacy regulation
Multinational data protection measures
Enactment of data protection laws by individual European nations has been paralleled and, in some cases anticipated, by multinational actions. In 1980 the Committee of Ministers of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (guidelines). The guidelines outline basic principles for both data protection and the free flow of information among countries that have laws conforming with the protection principles. The guidelines, however, have no blinding force and permit broad variation in national implementation.
One year after the OECD issued its guidelines, the Council of Europe promulgated a convention, For the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. The convention, which took effect in 1985, is similar to the guidelines, although it focuses more on the importance of data protection to protect personal privacy. The convention specifies that data must be obtained and processed fairly; used and stored only for legal purposes; adequate, relevant, and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which they are processed; accurate and up-to-date; and stored no longer than necessary. The document gives individuals the right to inquire about the existence of data files concerning them; obtain a copy of that data; and have false or improperly processed data corrected or erased.
The convention requires each of the member countries (now twenty-six) to enact conforming national laws. By 1992, however, when debate over the more detailed European Union data protection directive, discussed below, overtook the convention, only ten countries — Austria, Denmark France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain Sweden and the United Kingdom — had ratified the convention, while eight — Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Island, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey — had signed without ratification. The Council of Europe subsequently urged all European Union member states to ratify and implement the convention when it endorsed the European Commission’s proposal for a data protection directive. By 1997, all of the fifteen EU member states (except Greece, which is currently considering a privacy bill) and Switzerland have national legislation consistent with the convention.
Nevertheless, the resulting protection for personal privacy is far from uniform, for at least three reasons. First, some of the national data protection legislation existed before the adoption of the convention. Second, the convention was not self-executing and therefore permitted each country to implement its national laws conforming to the government’s terms in very different ways. Finally, the convention did not include definitions for important terms, such as what constitutes an ‘adequate’ level of data protection; as result, member countries were left free to adopt their own, inconsistent definitions in their national legislation.
Data protection directive in Europe
Although, legal protection for a ‘right of privacy’ originated in the United States, Europe was the site of the first privacy legislation and has been the source of most comprehensive privacy regulation.
Europe is the site of the first privacy legislation, the earliest national privacy statute, and now the most comprehensive protection for information privacy in the world. That protection reflects on apparent consensus within Europe that privacy is a fundamental human right which few in any other rights equal. In the context of European history and civil law culture, that consensus makes possible extensive, detailed regulation of virtually all activities concerning ‘any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person’. It is difficult to imagine a regulatory regime offering any greater protection to information privacy, or greater contrast to U.S. law.
As a result of the variation and uneven application among national laws permitted by both the guidelines and the convention, in July 1990 the commission of the then-European Community (EC) published a draft Council Directive on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on Free Movement of Such Data The draft directive was part of the ambitious program by the countries of the European Union to create not merely the ‘common market’ and ‘economic and monetary union’ contemplated by the Treaty of Rome, but also the potential union embodied in the Treaty on European Union signed in 1992 in Maastricht.
The shift from economic to broad-based political union brought with it new attention to the protection of information privacy. On March 1 1, 1992, the European Parliament amended the commission’s proposal to eliminate the distinction in the 1990 draft between public and private sector data protection and then overwhelmingly approved the draft directive. On October 15, 1992, the commission issued its amended proposal; on February 20, 1995, the Council of Ministers adopted a Common Position with a View to Adopting Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data. The directive was formally approved on October 24, 1995, and took effect three years later.
Privacy regulation in the United States
The protection for the information privacy in the United States is disjoined, inconsistent, and limited by conflicting interests. There is no explicit constitutional guarantee of a right to privacy in the United States. Although the Supreme Court has fashioned a variety of rights out of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, ‘information privacy’ has received little protection, primarily based on the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. In the Fourth Amendment arena, the Court has found constitutional violations when the police have searched for or seized records without a warrant or meeting one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement. The Court, however, has written that the Fourth Amendment privacy right has little application outside of the context of the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity. Moreover, this protection against such searches does not extend to information controlled by a third person. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court has recognized a constitutional right restricting the government from compelling individuals to disclose certain personal information. This right protects only the interest of an individual in not disclosing certain information, and that right is evaluated under intermediate scrutiny, as opposed to the strict scrutiny required when fundamental rights are at stake
As with all constitutional rights, these apply only against the government, not private actors. The requirement for state action and the ‘negative’ nature of constitutional rights require only that the government refrain from taking actions that impermissibly invaded individuals’ information privacy rights, not that the government take steps to affirmatively protect those rights. The Constitution also requires, however, that the government avoid actions that infringe other rights enumerated therein, such as the protection for expression in the Fifth Amendment, the government cannot take private property, whether by physical occupation or extensive regulation, without according due process and paying just compensation to the owner.
Outside of the constitutional arena, protection for information privacy relies on hundreds of federal and state laws and regulations, each of which applies only to a specific category of information user (such as the government or retailers of videotapes), context (applying for credit or subscribing to cable television), type of information (criminal records or financial information), or use for that information (computer matching or impermissible discrimination). PrivacY laws in 49 the United States most often prohibit certain disclosures, rather than collection, use, or storage, of personal information. When those protections extend to the use of personal information, it is often as a by-product of legislative commitment to another goal, such as eliminating discrimination. And the role provided for the government in most U. S. privacy laws is often limited to providing a judicial form for resolving disputes.
Passage of the privacy provisions in the Cable Communications Policy Act, and recent passage of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act and the CPNI provision of the Telecommunications Act, demonstrate that Congress can enact serious privacy protection, even if limited to narrow sectoral environments. The later two acts and the expanding debate in Washington over the privacy evince the growing attention to the development of laws and regulations to protect privacy.
However, as the limits and exceptions within existing privacy laws indicate, privacy protection in the United States is fundamentally in tension with other cherished values. The legal regulation of privacy is significantly influenced by the importance placed by society on the prevention of crime and prosecution of criminals, free expression and an investigatory press, the acquisition and use of property, and a limited role for government involvement in daily life. A comparison of the legal regimes of the EU and the United States suggests that the Europe privacy is more valued and less in conflict with other widely shared values.
B. Protection of Privacy in the telecommunications sector
Directive 97/66/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of the 15 December 1997 concerns the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector.
This directive provides for the harmonisation of the provisions of the member states required to ensure an equivalent level of protection of fundamental rights and freedom, and in particular the right to privacy, with respect to the processing of personal data in the telecommunications sector and to ensure the free movement of such data and telecommunications equipment and services in the Community.
The provision of this directive particularises and complements the directive 95/46/EC for the purpose mentioned above. Moreover they provide for protection and legitimate interests of subscribers who are legal persons.
This directive shall not apply to the activities which fall outside the scope of Community law, such as those provided for by titles V and VI of the treaty on European Union, and in any case to activities concerning public security, defence, state security (including the economic well being of the state when the activities relate to state security matters) and the activities of the state in areas of criminal law.
Cryptography policy in USA
It is part of the strategy to ensure that police and intelligence agencies could understand every communication they intercepted.
They attempted to impede the development of cryptography and other security measures, fearing that these technologies would reduce their ability to monitor the emissions of foreign governments and to investigate crime.
A survey by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) found that most countries either rejected domestic controls or not addressed the issue at all. The GILC found that many countries, large and small, industrialised and developing, seem to be ambivalent about the need to control encryption technology.
The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) have instigated efforts to restrict the availability of encryption world-wide, in the early 1970s, the NSA’s pretext was that encryption technology was ‘born classified’ and, therefore, it dissemination fell into the same category as the diffusion of A-bomb materials. The debate went underground until 1993 when the US launched the Clipper Chip, an encryption device designed for inclusion in consumer products. The Clipper Chip offered the required privacy, but the government would remain a ‘pass- key’ — anything encrypted with the chip could be read by government agencies.
Behind the scenes, law enforcement and intelligence agencies were pushing hard for a ban on other forms of encryption. In a February 1993 document, obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC), recommended ‘Technical solutions, such as they are, will only work if they are incorporated into all encryption products. To ensure that this occurs, legislation mandating the use of government-approved encryption products, or adherence to government encryption criteria’. The Clipper Chip was widely criticised by industry, public interest groups, scientific societies and the public and, though it was officially adopted, only a few were ever sold or used.
From 1994 onwards, USA began to woo private companies to develop an encryption system that would provide access to keys by government agencies. Under the proposals — variously known as ‘key recovery’ or ‘trusted third parties’ — the key would be held by a corporation, not a government agency, and would be designed by the private sector, not the NSA. The systems, however, still entitled the assumption of guaranteed access to the intelligence community and so proved as controversial used export incentives to encourage companies to adopt key escrow products: they could export stronger encryptions but only if they ensured that intelligence agencies had access to the keys.
Under US law, computer software and hardware cannot be exported if it contains encryption that the NSA cannot break. The regulations stymie the availability of encryption in the USA because companies are reluctant to develop two separate product lines – one, with strong encryption, for domestic use and another, with weak encryption, for the international market. Several cases are pending in the US courts on the constitutionality of export controls; a federal court recently ruled that they violate free speech rights under the First Amendment.
The FBI has not let up on efforts to ban products on which it cannot eavesdrop. In mid-1997, it introduced legislation to mandate that key-recovery systems be built into all computer systems. Several congressional committees adopted the amendment but the Senate preferred a weaker variant. A concerted campaign by computer, telephone and privacy groups finally stopped the proposal; it now appears that no legislation will be enacted in the current Congress.
Cryptography policy guidelines from OECD
The organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1997 issued a report on cryptography policy entitled: CRYPTOGRAPHY POLICY: THE GUIDELINES AND THE ISSUES (OCOE / GD (97) 204). The basic principles (each of which addresses an important policy concern) are independent and should be considered as a whole so as to balance the various interests. The principles are:
Trust in cryptographic methods: Users should be trustworthy in order to generate confidence in the use of information and commercial data.
Choice of Cryptographic methods: Users should have a right to choose any cryptographic method, subject to applicable law.
Market driven development of cryptographic methods: Cryptographic methods should be developed in response to the needs, demands and responsibilities of individuals, business and governments.
Standards for cryptographic methods: Technical standards, criteria and protocols for cryptographic methods should be developed and promulgated at the national and international law.
Protection of privacy and Personal data: the fundamental rights of individuals, to privacy, including secrecy of communications and protection of personal data, should be respected in national cryptography policies and in the implementation and use of cryptographic methods.
Lawful access: National cryptography policies may allow lawful access to plain text, or cryptographic keys, of encrypted data. These policies must respect the other principles contained in the guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
Liability: whether established by contract on legislation, the liability of individuals and entities that offer cryptographic services or hold or access cryptographic keys should be clearly stated.
International co-operation: Governments should cooperate to coordinate cryptography policies. As part of this effort, governments should remove, or avoid creating in the name of cryptography policy, unjustified obstacles to trade.
Given the role of cryptography in the information and communications infrastructure and in developing electronic commerce, cryptography policy has the broader perspective to overlap with economic, legal and political aspects of a number of information systems, protection of privacy and personal data and intellectual property protection.
E.U. cryptography policy
Led by the Germany and the Scandinavians, the EU has been generally distrustful of key escrow technology. In October 1997, the European Commission released a report entitled: ‘Towards a European Framework of Digital Signatures and Encryption’, ensuring security and trust in electronic communications (COM (97)503 final) which advised: ‘Restricting the use of encryption could well prevent law-abiding companies and citizens from protecting themselves against criminal attacks. It would not, however, totally prevent criminals from using these technologies’. The report noted that ‘privacy considerations suggest limit the use of cryptography as a means to ensure data security and confidentiality’.
Some European countries have or are contemplating independent restrictions. France had a longstanding ban on the use of any cryptography to which the government does not have access. However, a 1996 law, modifying the existing system, allows a system of tiers du confidence, although it has not been implemented because of EU opposition. In 1997, the Conservative government in the UK introduced a proposal creating a system of trusted third parties. It was severely criticised at the time and by the new Labour government, which has not yet acted upon its predecessor’s recommendations.
0 The debate over encryption and the conflicting demands of security and privacy are bound to continue. The commercial future of the Internet depends on a universally-accepted and foolproof method of on-line identifications; as of now, the only means of providing it is through strong encryption. This put the US government and some of the world’s largest corporations, notably Microsoft, on a collision course.
Other national and international activities related to cryptography policy
Cryptographic products and technologies have historically been subject to export controls. The current basis for export controls in the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (agreed on 13 July 1996), which includes cryptography products on its control lists for export. The Agreement is implemented in national regulations. Regulation [(EC) 3381/94] and Decision [94/942/PESC] of the Council of the European Union of 19 December 1994 on the control of the export of dual-use goods are also applicable to the export of cryptographic products.
The Council of Europe has developed considerable resources to studying the subject of computer-related crime, issuing the Recommendation [R(95)13] of the Council of Europe of 11 September 1995 concerning problems of criminal procedural law connected with information technology, and is considering suggesting an international convention to address the issue. Such a convention could address matters such as exchange of information among government agencies in case involving the use of cryptography.
At the G7 Summit meeting on anti-terrorism in July 1996, G7 governments announced that consultations would be accelerated, ‘in appropriate bilateral or multilateral for a, on the use of encryption that allows, when necessary, lawful government access to data and communication in order, inter alia, to prevent or investigate acts of terrorism, while protecting the privacy of legitimate communications’.
In May 1996 the US National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board published the report ‘Cryptography’s Role in Securing the Information Society’. This interagency study assesses the effect of cryptographic technologies on US national security, law enforcement, commercial and privacy interests, and reviews the impact of export controls on cryptographic technologies. This authoritative report provides a comprehensive review of the cryptography policy issues faced by the US Government.
C. Key recovery
As of mid-1998 a wide range of government, industry, and academic efforts toward specifying, prototyping, and standardising key recovery system that meet government specifications have been implemented. Some of industry’s efforts were stimulated by U.S. government policies that offer more favorable export treatment to companies that commit to designing key recovery features into the future products, and by U.K. government moves to link the licensing of certification authorities to the use of key recovery software.
Yet despite these incentives, and the intense interest and effort by research and development teams, neither industry nor government has yet produced a key recovery architecture that universally satisfies both the demands of government and the security and cost requirements of encryption users.
The commercial key recovery products in existence today do not reconcile the conflict between commercial requirements and government specifications. In the absence of government pressure, commercial key recovery features are by their nature of interest primarily to business operations willing to pay a significant premium to ensure continued access to stored data maintained only in applications of encryption (such as communication traffic) are known in advance not to require recoverability and therefore would not be designed to use a key recovery system.
Another problem is that the most secure and economical commercial key recovery do not support the real-time, third-party, covert access sought by governments in order to support surveillance. In particular, ‘self-escrow’ by an individual does not meet government access demands. The third-party nature and global reach implied by these government demands make key recovery systems a much more difficult, expensive, and risky proposition than a facility for internal, off-line recovery in business enterprise. For example, most organizations keep backups in the form of plain text on magnetic media in physically protected premises. Similarly, organizations that keep encrypted data might naturally be best served by storing backup keys in a bank safe deposit box. A requirement for near-real-time access would preclude this approach, however prudent or appropriate.
Any access-time requirement carries with it special risks. In particular, some sort of network technology will generally be required. Such a network, which must link a large number of law enforcement agencies with different key recovery centers, would be extraordinarily difficult to secure. The current attention in the U.S. on the problem of securing critical infrastructure, such as telephone networks, power grids, national banking networks and air traffic control systems, underscores the problem of managing risk in key recovery. The system that support critical infrastructure, which are increasingly reliant on open networks and information systems, are among the most important current and future applications of cryptography. The complexity and increased risk introduced with key recovery would make critical infrastructure protected by cryptography more vulnerable to the kinds of sophisticated attackers that pose the most serious threats to these systems.
Government specifications for key recovery systems for export approval are focused on the easier problem of ensuring that keys are recoverable when authorized. They do not address or give techniques for the far harder problem of ensuring against unauthorized disclosure of data. The design and construction of prototype key recovery systems that satisfy government specifications for export, therefore, are not sufficient to demonstrate that these systems can be operated securely, in an economical manner, on a large scale, or without introducing unacceptable new risks. Any assessment of a proposed system must take into account a broad range of design, implementation, operation, and policy considerations.
As of mid-1998, we are aware of no key recovery proposals that have undergone analysis of the kind required. On the other hand, as our report notes, there are compelling reasons to believe that, given the state of the art in cryptography and secure systems engineering, government-access key recovery is not compatible with large scale, economical, secure cryptography systems.
D. European Initiatives
DLM-FORUM — Electronic Records
The first multidisciplinary European DLM-Forum (DLM-Forum’96) on electronic records which took place in Brussels between the 18th and 20th December 1996 was a major event in the investigation of possibilities for wider co-operation in this area both between Member States and at Community level. It was initiated by the experts’ report Archives in the European Union (Report of the Group of Experts on the Coordination of Archives. Brussels – Luxembourg: OPOCE 1994) and confirmed by the EU-Council Conclusions of June 1994 (94/C 235/03).
Organised by the European Commission in close co-operation with the EU member states it hosted more than 300 experts and decision-makers from public administration, archives, industry (hard- and software suppliers) and research. The multidisciplinary approach and the aim to publish guidelines on machine readable data as a concrete result as well as the high quality of the presentations were the attractions that turned this inaugural event into a European forum of international interest in the field of electronic records administration and storage. Participants came from all the EU member states, from other European countries (including the Russian Federation and Poland), as well as from Canada and the USA.
First reviews that have been published by specialised journals are unanimously enthusiastic. The forum’s success owed a lot to the Programme Committee’s preparations and should also be attributed to the undivided and continuous support of the Irish and Dutch presidencies of the EU-Council.
The forum was opened by the Secretary General of the European Commission, David Williamson who emphasised that archives, including increasingly electronic documents, are our collective memory and how important it is to retain that memory and to insure that it remains accessible in the future. In their keynote addresses the Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for Science, Research and Development, Hendrik Tent and the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union, H.E. Ambassador Denis O’Leary laid out the political and technical framework of the DLM-Forum’96. Mr Tent described the importance of the forum with respect to innovation in the digital era and the Commission’s approach towards this challenge. Mr O’Leary stressed the role of archives in our society and the citizens’ right of access to information. In his closing speech the Head of Commissioner Bangemann’s Cabinet, Paul Weissenberg, pointed to the importance of electronic archives in the European Union’s concept of the Information Society as set out in the Bangemann report and subsequent documents. He stressed the necessity of concrete measures as an immediate consequence to the DLM-Forum.
The ‘life-cycle’-concept of electronic records guided the three parallel sessions. Thus the speakers in those sessions reflected on electronic documents in the different phases of their administrative life. The multitude of topics ranged from discussions of norms and standards for data interchange to the presentation of new electronic storage material. Surveys on the ‘state of the art’ in Europe completed this first interdisciplinary approach to retaining the collective memory of the Information Society.
It was the balance between working sessions and spontaneous and informal discussions outside those sessions that produced a most agreeable working atmosphere in which experts’ debates led to the kind of mutual understanding and the establishment of personal ties and relations needed to solve problems that concern all the disciplines represented at the forum. Thus the catalyst effect, which was hoped for, was achieved: experts from industry and research became sensitive to the concerns of archives and administrations.
The forum will lead, as foreseen, to amendments to the first draft of multidisciplinary guidelines Best practices for using Machine Readable Data which had been distributed to the participants.
Furthermore a document for follow-up measures, the so-called ’10 points’, was agreed on by the participants. One major topic for follow-up activities is the establishment of national focal points to improve co-ordination and networking and to establish functional requirements for electronic records management in the public and private sectors. Another topic concerns the urge for establishing training programmes for archivists and administrators.
In a world of continuous and rapid change modern archives services are an element of continuity, stability and a solid base for essential information and indispensable records. Modern management in public and private institutions has to be dynamic, active and innovative, and above all has to cover the entire continuum of the life of documents. ‘The DLM-Forum’96 demonstrated that the issues posed by the preservation and re-use of electronic records are central not only to the work of archivists, but also form the cornerstone of future economic growth and development within the European Union.’ as Seamus Ross points out in his presentation. In short: the problem of preserving electronic records concerns even more people and areas than have been covered by the forum’s participants. Further activities should include among others legal advisors, system designers and application developers, auditors and insurance providers. Contacts with existing working groups (e.g. the European Commission’s Legal Advisory Board for the information market) have to be established or intensified. A first step to co-ordinate these activities is the installation of the DLM-Monitoring Committee in April 1997.
Promoting safe Use of Internet
To prevent illegal and harmful content being distributed on the Internet the European Commission is promoting initiatives which are aimed at increasing the general awareness among parents, teachers, public sector and the information industry about how to deal with the issue in practical terms.
This action accompanies the Green Paper on Protection of Minors and Human Dignity in Audiovisual and Information Services, the Communication on Illegal and Harmful Content on the Internet, and the Action plan on promoting safe use of the Internet.
1. STOA, PE 166499: “An appraisal of technologies of political control”, 1998.
2. R. Clarke: Dataveillance: Delivering “1984”, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, February 1993.
3. R. Clarke: Introduction to Dataveillance and Information Privacy and Definitions of Terms, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, October 1998.
4. R. Clarke: A Future Trace on Dataveillance: Trends in the Anti-Utopial Science Fiction Genre, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd. March 1993.
5. T. Dixon: Workplace video surveillance – controls sought, Privacy law and Policy Reporter, 2 PLPR 141, l995.
6. T. Dixon: Privacy charter sets new benchmark in privacy protection, Privacy law and Policy Reporter, 2 PLPR 41. 1995.
7. D. Banisar and S. Davies: The code war, Index online, News Analysis, issue 1998.
8. T. Lesce: They’re Watching You! The Age of Surveillance, Breakout Productions, 1998.
9. W.G. Staples: The Culture of Surveillance, St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
10. D. Lyon and E. Zureik: Computers, Surveillance and privacy, University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
11. D. Lyon: The Electronic Eye – The rise of Surveillance Society, University of Minnesota Press. 1994.
12. F.H. Cate: privacy in the Information Age, Brookings Institution Press, 1997.
13. P. Brookes: Electronic Surveillance Devices, Newnes, 1998.
14. O.E.C.D.: Privacy Protection in a Global Networked Society, DSTI/ICCPAREG(98)5/FINAL, July 1998.
15. O.E.C.D.: Implementing the OECD “Privacy Guidelines” in the Electronic Environment: Focus on the Internet, DSTI/ICCP/REG(97)6/FINAL, September 1998.
16. O.E.C.D.: Cryptography policy: The Guidelines and the issues, OCDE/GD(97)204, 1997.
17. Report By an Ad Hoc Group of Cryptographers and Computer Scientists: The Risks of Key Recovery, Key Escrow, and Trusted Third Party Encryption, 1998.
18. COM(98) 586 final: Legal framework for the Development of electronic Commerce.
19. COM(98) 297 final: Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on a common framework for electronic signatures, OJ C325, 23/10/98.
20. A. Troye-Walker, European Commission: Electronic Commerce: EU policies and SMEs, August 1998.
21. COM(97) 503 final: Ensuring security and trust in electronic communications – Towards a European Framework for Digital Signatures and Encryption.
22. Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of May 1997 on the protection of Consumers in respect of Distance Contracts. OJ L 144. 14/6/1997.
23. ISPO: Electronic Commerce – Legal Aspects. http://www.ispo.cec.be .
24. Privacy International: http://www.privacy.org .
25. Newton and Mike: Picturing the future of CCTV, Security Management, November 1994.
26. Gips and A. Michael: Tie Spy, Security Management, November 1996.
27. Clarke and Barry: Get Carded With Confidence, Security Management, November 1994.
28. Horowitz and Richard: The Low Down on Dirty Money, Security Management, October 1997.
29. Cellular E-911 Technology Gets Passing Grade in NJ Tests, Law Enforcement News, July – August 1997.
30. Shannon and Elaine: Reach Out and Waste Someone, Time Digital, July August 1997.
31. Thompson, Army, Harowitz, and Sherry: Taking a Reading on E-mail Policy, Security Management, November 1996.
32. Trickey and L. Fried: E-mail Policy by the Letter, Security Management, April 1996.
33. Net Proceeds, Law Enforcement News, January 1997.
34. Burrell, and Cassandra: Lawmen Seek Key to Computer Criminals, Associated Press, July 10, 1997, Albuquerque Journal.
35. Gips and A. Michael: Security Anchors CNN, Security Management, September 1996.
36. Bowman and J. Eric: Security Tools up for the Future, Security Management, January 1996.
37. E. Alderman and C. Kennedy: The right to Privacy, Knopf 1995.
38. Bennet and J. Colin: Regulating Privacy — Data protection and public Policy in Europe and the United States, Cornell University Press, 1992
39. BeVier and R Lillian: Information about Individuals in the Hands of Government — Some reflections on Mechanisms for Privacy Protection, William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal 4, Winter 1995.
40. Branscomb and A. Well: Who owns Information? From Privacy to Public Access, Basic Books 1994
41. Branscomp: Global Governance of Global Networks, Indiana Journal of Global Legal studies, Spring 1994.
42. Network Wizards, Internet Domain Survey, January 1997, http://www.nw.com/zone/WWW/report.html .
43. Network Wizards, Internet Domain Survey, January 1997, http://nw.com/zone/WWW/lisybynum.html .
44. Simon Davis: report, December 1997, http://www.telegraph.co.uk .
45. Francis S. Chlapowski: The Constitutional Protection of Information Privacy: Boston University Law Review, January 1991.
46. Ibid., p. 35.
47. Ibid., p. 45.
48. Ibid., p. 48.
49. Ibid., p. 57
50. Ibid., p. 82.
51. Ibid., p. 276.
52. Ibid., p. 267.
53. J. Guisnel: Guerres dans le cyberspace, Editions la decouverte, 1995.
54. http://www.dis.org .
55. http://www.telegraph.co.uk .
Directorate-General for Research
Tel: +352 4300 22511
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For more information on the lack of public and press access to United States v. Pfc. Manning, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed a petition requesting the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) “to order the Judge to grant the public and press access to the government’s motion papers, the court’s own orders, and transcripts of proceedings, none of which have been made public to date.”
The statement below was read by Private First Class Bradley E. Manning at the providence inquiry for his formal plea of guilty to one specification under Article 92 with a substituted time frame for the offense, and nine specifications for lesser included offenses under Article 134. He pled not guilty to 12 other specifications. This transcript was taken by journalist Alexa O’Brien at the Article 39(a) session of United States v. Pfc. Bradley Manning on February 28, 2013 at Fort Meade, MD, USA.
Judge Lind: Pfc. Manning you may read your statement.
Pfc. Bradley Manning: Yes, your Honor. I wrote this statement in the confinement facility. Start now. The following facts are provided in support of the providence inquiry for my court martial, United States v. Pfc. Bradley E. Manning.
I am a twenty-five year old Private First Class in the United States Army currently assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, HHC, US Army Garrison (USAG), Joint Base Myer, Henderson Hall, Fort Meyer, Virginia.
My [exodus?] assignment I was assigned to HHC, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. My primary military occupational specialty or MOS is 35 Foxtrot intelligence analyst. I entered active duty status on 2 October 2007. I enlisted with the hope of obtaining both real world experience and earning benefits under the GI Bill for college opportunities.
Facts regarding my position as an intelligence analyst.
In order to enlist in the Army I took the Standard Armed Services Aptitude Battery or [ASVAB?]. My score on this battery was high enough for me to qualify for any enlisted MOS position. My recruiter informed me that I should select an MOS that complimented my interests outside the military. In response, I told him that I was interested in geopolitical matters and information technology. He suggested that I consider becoming an intelligence analyst.
After researching the intelligence analyst position, I agreed that this would be a good fit for me. In particular, I enjoyed the fact that an analyst could use information derived from a variety of sources to create work products that informed the command of its available choices for determining the best course of action or COA’s. Although the MOS required working knowledge of computers, it primarily required me to consider how raw information can be combined with other available intelligence sources in order to create products that assisted the command in its situational awareness or SA.
I accessed that my natural interest in geopolitical affairs and my computer skills would make me an excellent intelligence analyst. After enlisting I reported to the Fort Meade military entrance processing station on 1 October 2007. I then traveled to and reported at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on 2 October 2007 to begin basic combat training or BCT.
Once at Fort Leonard Wood I quickly realized that I was neither physically nor mentally prepared for the requirements of basic training. My BCT experience lasted six months instead of the normal ten weeks. Due to medical issues, I was placed on a hold status. A physical examination indicated that I sustained injuries to my right soldier and left foot.
Due to those injuries I was unable to continue ‘basic’. During medical hold, I was informed that I may be out processed from the Army, however, I resisted being chaptered out because I felt that I could overcome my medical issues and continue to serve. On 2[8 or 20?] January 2008, I returned to basic combat training. This time I was better prepared and I completed training on 2 April 2008.
I then reported for the MOS specific Advanced Individual Training or AIT on 7 April 2008. AIT was an enjoyable experience for me. Unlike basic training where I felt different from the other soldiers, I fit in and did well. I preferred the mental challenges of reviewing a large amount of information from various sources and trying to create useful or actionable products. I especially enjoyed the practice of analysis through the use of computer applications and methods that I was familiar with.
I graduated from AIT on 16 August 2008 and reported to my first duty station, Fort Drum, NY on 28 August 2008. As an analyst, Significant Activities or SigActs were a frequent source of information for me to use in creating work products. I started working extensively with SigActs early after my arrival at Fort Drum. My computer background allowed me to use the tools of organic to the Distributed Common Ground System-Army or D6-A computers to create polished work products for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team chain of command.
The non-commissioned officer in charge, or NCOIC, of the S2 section, then Master Sergeant David P. Adkins recognized my skills and potential and tasked me to work on a tool abandoned by a previously assigned analyst, the incident tracker. The incident tracker was viewed as a back up to the Combined Information Data Network Exchange or CIDNE and as a unit, historical reference to work with.
In the months preceding my upcoming deployment, I worked on creating a new version of the incident tracker and used SigActs to populate it. The SigActs I used were from Afghanistan, because at the time our unit was scheduled to deploy to the Logar and Wardak Provinces of Afghanistan. Later my unit was reassigned to deploy to Eastern Baghdad, Iraq. At that point, I removed the Afghanistan SigActs and switched to Iraq SigActs.
As and analyst I viewed the SigActs as historical data. I believed this view is shared by other all-source analysts as well. SigActs give a first look impression of a specific or isolated event. This event can be an improvised explosive device attack or IED, small arms fire engagement or SAF, engagement with a hostile force, or any other event a specific unit documented and recorded in real time.
In my perspective the information contained within a single SigAct or group of SigActs is not very sensitive. The events encapsulated within most SigActs involve either enemy engagements or causalities. Most of this information is publicly reported by the public affairs office or PAO, embedded media pools, or host nation (HN) media.
As I started working with SigActs I felt they were similar to a daily journal or log that a person may keep. They capture what happens on a particular day in time. They are created immediately after the event, and are potentially updated over a period of hours until final version is published on the Combined Information Data Network Exchange. Each unit has its own Standard Operating Procedure or SOP for reporting and recording SigActs. The SOP may differ between reporting in a particular deployment and reporting in garrison.
In garrison, a SigAct normally involves personnel issues such as driving under the influence or DUI incidents or an automobile accident involving the death or serious injury of a soldier. The reports starts at the company level and goes up to the battalion, brigade, and even up to the division level.
In deployed environment a unit may observe or participate in an event and a platoon leader or platoon sergeant may report the event as a SigAct to the company headquarters and through the radio transmission operator or RTO. The commander or RTO will then forward the report to the battalion battle captain or battle non-commissioned officer or NCO. Once the battalion battle captain or battle NCO receives the report they will either (1) notify the battalion operations officer or S3; (2) conduct an action, such as launching a quick reaction force; or (3) record the event and report– and further report it up the chain of command to the brigade.
The reporting of each event is done by radio or over the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network or SIPRNet, normally by an assigned soldier, usually junior enlisted E-4 and below. Once the SigAct is recorded, the SigAct is further sent up the chain of command. At each level, additional information can either be added or corrected as needed. Normally within 24 to 48 hours, the updating and reporting or a particular SigAct is complete. Eventually all reports and SigActs go through the chain of command from brigade to division and division to corps. At corps level the SigAct is finalized and [missed word].
The CIDNE system contains a database that is used by thousands of Department of Defense– DoD personnel– including soldiers, civilians, and contractors support. It was the United States Central Command or CENTCOM reporting tool for operational reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two separate but similar databases were maintained for each theater– CIDNE-I for Iraq and CIDNE-A for Afghanistan. Each database encompasses over a hundred types of reports and other historical information for access. They contain millions of vetted and finalized directories including operational intelligence reporting.
CIDNE was created to collect and analyze battle-space data to provide daily operational and Intelligence Community (IC) reporting relevant to a commander’s daily decision making process. The CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases contain reporting and analysis fields for multiple disciplines including Human Intelligence or HUMINT reports, Psychological Operations or PSYOP reports, Engagement reports, Counter Improvised Explosive Device or CIED reports, SigAct reports, Targeting reports, Social and Cultural reports, Civil Affairs reports, and Human Terrain reporting.
As an intelligence analyst, I had unlimited access to the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases and the information contained within them. Although each table within the database is important, I primarily dealt with HUMINT reports, SigAct reports, and Counter IED reports, because these reports were used to create a work product I was required to published as an analyst.
In working on an assignment I looked anywhere and everywhere for information. As an all-source analyst, this was something that was expected. The D6-A systems had databases built in, and I utilized them on a daily basis. This simply was– the search tools available on the D6-A systems on SIPRNet such as Query Tree and the DoD and Intellink search engines.
Primarily, I utilized the CIDNE database using the historical and HUMINT reporting to conduct my analysis and provide a back up for my work product. I did statistical analysis on historical data including SigActs to back up analysis that were based on HUMINT reporting and produce charts, graphs, and tables. I also created maps and charts to conduct predictive analysis based on statistical trends. The SigAct reporting provided a reference point for what occurred and provided myself and other analysts with the information to conclude possible outcome.
Although SigAct reporting is sensitive at the time of their creation, their sensitivity normally dissipates within 48 to 72 hours as the information is either publicly released or the unit involved is no longer in the area and not in danger.
It is my understanding that the SigAct reports remain classified only because they are maintained within CIDNE– because it is only accessible on SIPRnet. Everything on CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A to include SigAct reporting was treated as classified information.
Facts regarding the storage of SigAct Reports.
As part of my training at Fort Drum, I was instructed to ensure that I create back ups of my work product. The need to create back ups was particularly acute given the relative instability and reliability of the computer systems we used in the field during deployment. These computer systems included both organic and theater provided equipment (TPE) D6-A machines.
The organic D6-A machines we brought with us into the field on our deployment were Dell [missed word] laptops and the TPE D6-A machines were Alienware brand laptops. The [M90?] D6-A laptops were the preferred machine to use as they were slightly faster and had fewer problems with dust and temperature than the theater provided Alienware laptops. I used several D6-A machines during the deployment due to various technical problems with the laptops.
With these issues several analysts lost information, but I never lost information due to the multiple backups I created. I attempted to backup as much relevant information as possible. I would save the information so that I or another analyst could quickly access it whenever a machine crashed, SIPRnet connectivity was down, or I forgot where the data was stored.
When backing up information I would do one or all of the following things based on my training:
[(1)] Physical back up. I tried to keep physical back up copies of information on paper so that the information could be grabbed quickly. Also, it was easier to brief from hard copies of research and HUMINT reports.
(2) Local drive back up. I tried to sort out information I deemed relevant and keep complete copies of the information on each of the computers I used in the Temporary Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or T-SCIF, including my primary and secondary D6-A machines. This was stored under my user profile on the desktop.
[(3)] Shared drive backup. Each analyst had access to a ‘T’ drive– what we called ‘T’ drive shared across the SIPRnet. It allowed others to access information that was stored on it. S6 operated the ‘T’ drive.
[(4)] Compact disk rewritable or CD-RW back up. For larger datasets I saved the information onto a re-writable disk, labeled the disks, and stored them in the conference room of the T-SCIF. This redundancy permitted us the ability to not worry about information loss. If the system crashed, I could easily pull the information from a my secondary computer, the ‘T’ drive, or one of the CD-RWs.
If another analyst wanted to access my data, but I was unavailable she could find my published products directory on the ‘T’ drive or on the CD-RWs. I sorted all of my products or research by date, time, and group; and updated the information on each of the storage methods to ensure that the latest information was available to them.
During the deployment I had several of the D6-A machines crash on me. Whenever one of the a computer crashed, I usually lost information but the redundancy method ensured my ability to quickly restore old backup data and add my current information to the machine when it was repaired or replaced.
I stored the backup CD-RW with larger datasets in the conference room of the T-SCIF or next to my workstation. I marked the CD-RWs based on the classification level and its content. Unclassified CD-RWs were only labeled with the content type and not marked with classification markings. Early on in the deployment, I only saved and stored the SigActs that were within or near our operational environment.
Later I thought it would be easier to just to save all of the SigActs onto a CD-RW. The process would not take very long to complete and so I downloaded the SigActs from CIDNE-I onto a CD-RW. After finishing with CIDNE-I, I did the same with CIDNE-A. By retrieving the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs I was able to retrieve the information whenever I needed it, and not rely upon the unreliable and slow SIPRnet connectivity needed to pull. Instead, I could just find the CD-RW and open up a pre-loaded spreadsheet.
This process began in late December 2009 and continued through early January 2010. I could quickly export one month of the SigAct data at a time and download in the background as I did other tasks.
The process took approximately a week for each table. After downloading the SigAct tables, I periodically updated them, by pulling only the most recent SigActs and simply copying them and pasting them into the database saved on the CD-RW. I never hid the fact that I had downloaded copies of both the SigAct tables from CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A. They were stored on appropriately labeled and marked CD-RWs, stored in the open.
I viewed the saved copies of the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables as being for both for my use and the use of anyone within the S2 section during the SIPRnet connectivity issues.
In addition to the SigAct tables, I had a large repository of HUMINT reports and Counter IED reports downloaded from CIDNE-I. These contained reports that were relevant to the area in and around our operational environment in Eastern Baghdad and the Diyala Province of Iraq.
In order to compress the data to fit onto a CD-RW, I used a compression algorithm called ‘bzip2’. The program used to compress the data is called ‘WinRAR’. WinRAR is an application that is free, and can be easily downloaded from the internet via the Non-Secure Internet Relay Protocol Network or NIPRnet. I downloaded WinRAR on NIPRnet and transferred it to the D6-A machine user profile desktop using a CD-RW. I did not try to hide the fact that I was downloading WinRAR onto my SIPRnet D6-A machine or computer.
With the assistance of the bzip2 compression algorithm using the WinRAR program, I was able to fit all of the SigActs onto a single CD-RW and relevant HUMINT and Counter IED reports onto a separate CD-RW.
Facts regarding my knowledge of the WikiLeaks Organization or WLO.
I first became vaguely aware of the WLO during my AIT at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, although I did not fully pay attention until the WLO released purported Short Messaging System or SMS messages from 11 September 2001 on 25 November 2009. At that time references to the release and the WLO website showed up in my daily Google news open source search for information related to US foreign policy.
The stories were about how WLO published about approximately 500,000 messages. I then reviewed the messages myself and realized that the posted messages were very likely real given the sheer volume and detail of the content.
After this, I began conducting research on WLO. I conducted searches on both NIPRnet and SIPRnet on WLO beginning in late November 2009 and early December 2009. At this time I also began to routinely monitor the WLO website. In response to one of my searches in December 2009, I found the United States Army Counter Intelligence Center or USACIC report on the WikiLeaks organization. After reviewing the report, I believed that this report was possibly the one that my AIT referenced in early 2008.
I may or may not have saved the report on my D6-A workstation. I know I reviewed the document on other occasions throughout early 2010, and saved it on both my primary and secondary laptops. After reviewing the report, I continued doing research on WLO. However, based upon my open-source collection, I discovered information that contradicted the 2008 USACIC report including information that indicated that similar to other press agencies, WLO seemed to be dedicated to exposing illegal activities and corruption.
WLO received numerous award and recognition for its reporting activities. Also, in reviewing the WLO website, I found information regarding US military SOPs for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and information on the then outdated rules of engagement for ROE in Iraq for cross-border pursuits of former members of Saddam Hussein [missed word] government.
After seeing the information available on the WLO website, I continued following it and collecting open source information from it. During this time period, I followed several organizations and groups including wire press agencies such as the Associated Press and Reuters and private intelligence agencies including Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor. This practice was something I was trained to do during AIT, and was something that good analysts were expected to do.
During the searches of WLO, I found several pieces of information that I found useful in my work product– in my work as an analyst, specifically I recall WLO publishing documents related to weapons trafficking between two nations that affected my OP. I integrated this information into one or more of my work products.
In addition to visiting the WLO website, I began following WLO using Instant Relay Chat or IRC Client called ‘XChat’ sometime in early January 2010.
IRC is a protocol for real time internet communications by messaging and conferencing, colloquially referred to as chat rooms or chats. The IRC chat rooms are designed for group communication discussion forums. Each IRC chat room is called a channel– similar to a television where you can tune in or follow a channel– so long as it is open and does not require an invite.
Once you joining a specific IRC conversation, other users in the conversation can see that you have joined the room. On the Internet there are millions of different IRC channels across several services. Channel topics span a range of topics covering all kinds of interests and hobbies. The primary reason for following WLO on IRC was curiosity– particularly in regards to how and why they obtained the SMS messages referenced above. I believed that collecting information on the WLO would assist me in this goal.
Initially I simply observed the IRC conversations. I wanted to know how the organization was structured, and how they obtained their data. The conversations I viewed were usually technical in nature but sometimes switched to a lively debate on issues the particular individual may have felt strongly about.
Over a period of time I became more involved in these discussions especially when conversations turned to geopolitical events and information technology topics, such as networking and encryption methods. Based on these observations, I would describe the WL organization as almost academic in nature. In addition to the WLO conversations, I participated in numerous other IRC channels across at least three different networks. The other IRC channels I participated in normally dealt with technical topics including with Linux and Berkley Secure Distribution BSD operating systems or OS’s, networking, encryption algorithms and techniques, and other more political topics, such as politics and [missed word].
I normally engaged in multiple IRC conversations simultaneously– mostly publicly, but often privately. The XChat client enabled me to manage these multiple conversations across different channels and servers. The screen for XChat was often busy, but its screens enabled me to see when something was interesting. I would then select the conversation and either observe or participate.
I really enjoyed the IRC conversations pertaining to and involving the WLO, however, at some point in late February or early March of 2010, the WLO IRC channel was no longer accessible. Instead, regular participants of this channel switched to using the Jabber server. Jabber is another internet communication [missed word] similar but more sophisticated than IRC.
The IRC and Jabber conversations, allowed me to feel connected to others even when alone. They helped me pass the time and keep motivated throughout the deployment.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the SigActs.
As indicated above I created copies of the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables as part of the process of backing up information. At the time I did so, I did not intend to use this information for any purpose other than for back up. However, I later decided to release this information publicly. At that time, I believe and still believe that these tables are two of the most significant documents of our time.
On 8 January 2010, I collected the CD-RW I stored in the conference room of the T-SCIF and placed it into the cargo pocket of my ACU or Army Combat Uniform. At the end of my shift, I took the CD-RW out of the T-SCIF and brought it to my Containerized Housing Unit of CHU. I copied the data onto my personal laptop. Later at the beginning of my shift, I returned the CD-RW back to the conference room of the T-SCIF. At the time I saved the SigActs to my laptop, I planned to take them with me on mid-tour leave and decide what to do with them.
At some point prior to my mid-tour leave, I transferred the information from my computer to a Secure Digital memory card from for my digital camera. The SD card for the camera also worked on my computer and allowed me to store the SigAct tables in a secure manner for transport.
I began mid-tour leave on 23 January 2010, flying from Atlanta, Georgia to Reagan National Airport in Virginia. I arrived at the home of my aunt, Debra M. Van Alstyne, in Potomac, Maryland and quickly got into contact with my then boyfriend, Tyler R. Watkins. Tyler, then a student at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and I made plans for me to visit him [the] Boston, Massachusetts area.
I was excited to see Tyler and planned on talking to Tyler about where our relationship was going and about my time in Iraq. However, when I arrived in the Boston area Tyler and I seemed to become distant. He did not seem very excited about my return from Iraq. I tried talking to him about our relationship but he refused to make any plans.
I also tried to raising the topic of releasing the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables to the public. I asked Tyler hypothetical questions about what he would do if he had documents that he thought the public needed access to. Tyler really didn’t really have a specific answer for me. He tried to answer the questions and be supportive, but seemed confused by the question in this and its context.
I then tried to be more specific, but he asked too many questions. Rather than try to explain my dilemma, I decided to just to drop the conversation. After a few days in Waltham, I began to feel really bad feeling that I was over staying my welcome, and I returned to Maryland. I spent the remainder of my time on leave in the Washington, DC area.
During this time a blizzard bombarded the mid-atlantic, and I spent a significant period of time essentially stuck in my aunt’s house in Maryland. I began to think about what I knew and the information I still had in my possession. For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.
At my aunt’s house I debated what I should do with the SigActs– in particular whether I should hold on to them– or expose them through a press agency. At this point I decided that it made sense to try to expose the SigAct tables to an American newspaper. I first called my local newspaper, The Washington Post, and spoke with a woman saying that she was a reporter. I asked her if The Washington Post would be interested in receiving information that would have enormous value to the American public.
Although we spoke for about five minutes concerning the general nature of what I possessed, I do not believe she took me seriously. She informed me that The Washington Post would possibly be interested, but that such decisions were made only after seeing the information I was referring to and after consideration by the senior editors.
I then decided to contact the largest and most popular newspaper, The New York Times. I called the public editor number on The New York Times website. The phone rang and was answered by a machine. I went through the menu to the section for news tips. I was routed to an answering machine. I left a message stating I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I believed was very important. However, despite leaving my Skype phone number and personal email address, I never received a reply from The New York Times.
I also briefly considered dropping into the office for the Political Commentary blog, Politico, however the weather conditions during my leave hampered my efforts to travel. After these failed efforts I had ultimately decided to submit the materials to the WLO. I was not sure if the WLO would actually publish these the SigAct tables [missed a few words]. I was also concerned that they might not be noticed by the American media. However, based upon what I read about the WLO through my research described above, this seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information to the world within my reach.
At my aunt’s house I joined in on an IRC conversation and stated I had information that needed to be shared with the world. I wrote that the information would help document the true cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the individuals in the IRC asked me to describe the information. However, before I could describe the information another individual pointed me to the link for the WLO website’s online submission system. After ending my IRC connection, I considered my options one more time. Ultimately, I felt that the right thing to do was to release the SigActs.
On 3 February 2010, I visited the WLO website on my computer and clicked on the submit documents link. Next I found the submit your information online link and elected to submit the SigActs via the onion router or TOR anonymizing network by a special link. TOR is a system intended to provide anonymity online. The software routes internet traffic through a network of servers and other TOR clients in order to conceal the user’s location and identity.
I was familiar with TOR and had it previously installed on a computer to anonymously monitor the social media websites of militia groups operating within central Iraq. I followed the prompts and attached the compressed data files of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs. I attached a text file I drafted while preparing to provide the documents to The Washington Post. It provided rough guidelines saying ‘It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information. You might need to sit on this information– perhaps 90 to 100 days to figure out how best to release such a large amount of data and to protect its source. This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of twenty-first century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.’
After sending this, I left the SD card in a camera case at my aunt’s house in the event I needed it again in the future. I returned from mid-tour leave on 11 February 2010. Although the information had not yet been publicly published by the WLO, I felt this sense of relief by them having it. I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of 10 Reykjavik 13.
I first became aware of the diplomatic cables during my training period in AIT. I later learned about the Department of State or DoS Net-centric Diplomacy NCD portal from the 2/10 Brigade Combat Team S2, Captain Steven Lim. Captain Lim sent a section wide email to the other analysts and officers in late December 2009 containing the SIPRnet link to the portal along with the instructions to look at the cables contained within them and to incorporate them into our work product.
Shortly after this I also noticed the diplomatic cables were being reported to in products from the corps level US Forces Iraq or USF-I. Based upon Captain Lim’s direction to become familiar with its contents, I read virtually every published cable concerning Iraq.
I also began scanning the database and reading other random cables that piqued my curiosity. It was around this time– in early to mid-January of 2010, that I began searching the database for information on Iceland. I became interested in Iceland due to the IRC conversations I viewed in the WLO channel discussing an issue called Icesave. At this time I was not very familiar with the topic, but it seemed to be a big issue for those participating in the conversation. This is when I decided to investigate and conduct a few searches on Iceland and find out more.
At the time, I did not find anything discussing the Icesave issue either directly or indirectly. I then conducted an open source search for Icesave. I then learned that Iceland was involved in a dispute with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands concerning the financial collapse of one or more of Iceland’s banks. According to open source reporting much of the public controversy involved the United Kingdom’s use of anti-terrorism legislation against Iceland in order to freeze Icelandic access assets for payment of the guarantees for UK depositors that lost money.
Shortly after returning from mid-tour leave, I returned to the Net Centric Diplomacy portal to search for information on Iceland and Icesave as the topic had not abated on the WLO IRC channel. To my surprise, on 14 February 2010, I found the cable 10 Reykjavik 13, which referenced the Icesave issue directly.
The cable published on 13 January 2010 was just over two pages in length. I read the cable and quickly concluded that Iceland was essentially being bullied diplomatically by two larger European powers. It appeared to me that Iceland was out viable options and was coming to the US for assistance. Despite the quiet request for assistance, it did not appear that we were going to do anything.
From my perspective it appeared that we were not getting involved due to the lack of long term geopolitical benefit to do so. After digesting the contents of 10 Reykjavik 13 I debated on whether this was something I should send to the WLO. At this point the WLO had not published or acknowledged receipt of the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables. Despite not knowing that if the SigActs were a priority for the WLO, I decided the cable was something that would be important and I felt that I would I might be able to right a wrong by having them publish this document. I burned the information onto a CD-RW on 15 February 2010, took it to my CHU, and saved it onto my personal laptop.
I navigated to the WLO website via a TOR connection like before and uploaded the document via the secure form. Amazingly, when WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 within hours, proving that the form worked and that they must have received the SigAct tables.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team or AW team video.
During the mid-February 2010 time frame the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division targeting analyst , then Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman and others discussed a video that Ms. Showman had found on the ‘T’ drive.
The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me.
As Showman and a few other analysts and officers in the T-SCIF commented on the video and debated whether the crew violated the rules of engagement or ROE in the second engagement, I shied away from this debate, instead conducting some research on the event. I wanted to learn what happened and whether there was any background to the events of the day that the event occurred, 12 July 2007.
Using Google I searched for the event by its date by its and general location. I found several news accounts involving two Reuters employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story explained that Reuters had requested for a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to be able to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of the video.
Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist. Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request, they still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA.
The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good samaritans’. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.
They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote “dead bastards” unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew– as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.
Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kid’s into a battle” unquote.
The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team crew verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body– or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.
In Mr. Finkel book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As, I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.
It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account of the engagement by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger.
The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter. Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well. To make matter worse, in the last moments of his life, he continues to express his friendly gesture– his friendly intent– only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness. For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together , and it burdens me emotionally.
I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period– as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW, the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for of engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in Summer of 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.
However, after the WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I re-deployed from Iraq. On about 21 February 2010, I as described above, I used the WLO submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on 5 April 2010. After the release, I was concern about the impact of the video and how it would be received by the general public.
I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public, who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled– if not more troubled that me by what they saw.
At this time, I began seeing reports claiming that the Department of Defense and CENTCOM could not confirm the authenticity of the video. Additionally, one of my supervisors, Captain Casey Fulton, stated her belief that the video was not authentic. In her response, I decided to ensure that the authenticity of the video would not be questioned in the future. On 25 February 2010, I emailed Captain Fulton a link to the video that was on our ‘T’ drive, and a copy of the video published by WLO that was collected by the Open Source Center, so she could compare them herself.
Around this time frame, I burned a second CD-RW containing the aerial weapons team video. In order to made it appear authentic, I placed a classification sticker and wrote Reuters FOIA REQ on its face. I placed the CD-RW in one of my personal CD cases containing a set of ‘Starting Out in Arabic’ CD’s. I planned on mailing out the CD-RW to Reuters after our I re-deployed , so they could have a copy that was unquestionably authentic.
Almost immediately after submitting the aerial weapons team video and the rules of engagement documents I notified the individuals in the WLO IRC to expect an important submission. I received a response from an individual going by the handle of ‘ox’ ‘office’– at first our conversations were general in nature, but over time as our conversations progressed, I accessed assessed this individual to be an important part of the WLO.
Due to the strict adherence of anonymity by the WLO, we never exchanged identifying information. However, I believe the individual was likely Mr. Julian Assange [he pronounced it with three syllables], Mr. Daniel Schmidt, or a proxy representative of Mr. Assange and Schmidt.
As the communications transferred from IRC to the Jabber client, I gave ‘ox’ ‘office’ and later ‘pressassociation’ the name of Nathaniel Frank in my address book, after the author of a book I read in 2009.
After a period of time, I developed what I felt was a friendly relationship with Nathaniel. Our mutual interest in information technology and politics made our conversations enjoyable. We engaged in conversation often. Sometimes as long as an hour or more. I often looked forward to my conversations with Nathaniel after work.
The anonymity that was provided by TOR and the Jabber client and the WLO’s policy allowed me to feel I could just be myself, free of the concerns of social labeling and perceptions that are often placed upon me in real life. In real life, I lacked a closed friendship with the people I worked with in my section, the S2 section.
In my section, the S2 section and supported battalions and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team as a whole. For instance, I lacked close ties with my roommate to his discomfort regarding my perceived sexual orientation. Over the next few months, I stayed in frequent contact with Nathaniel. We conversed on nearly a daily basis and I felt that we were developing a friendship.
Conversations covered many topics and I enjoyed the ability to talk about pretty much everything anything, and not just the publications that the WLO was working on. In retrospect I realize that that these dynamics were artificial and were valued more by myself than Nathaniel. For me these conversations represented an opportunity to escape from the immense pressures and anxiety that I experienced and built up through out the deployment. It seems that as I tried harder to fit in at work, the more I seemed to alienate my peers and lose the respect, trust, and support I needed.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of documents related to the detainments by the Iraqi Federal Police or FP, and the Detainee Assessment Briefs, and the USACIC United States Army Counter Intelligence Center report.
On 27 February 2010, a report was received from a subordinate battalion. The report described an event in which the Federal Police or FP detained 15 individuals for printing anti-Iraqi literature. On 2 March 2010, I received instructions from an S3 section officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Tactical Operation Center or TOC to investigate the matter, and figure out who these quote ‘bad guys’ unquote were and how significant this event was for the Federal Police.
Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several photos from the scene– from the subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on than the S2 section and she forwarded them to me.
These photos included picture of the individuals, pallets of unprinted paper and seized copies of the final printed material or the printed document; and a high resolution photo of the printed material itself. I printed up one [missed word] copy of a high resolution photo– I laminated it for ease of use and transfer. I then walked to the TOC and delivered the laminated copy to our category two interpreter.
She reviewed the information and about a half an hour later delivered a rough written transcript in English to the S2 section. I read the transcript and followed up with her, asking her for her take on the content. She said it was easy for her to transcribe verbatim, since I blew up the photograph and laminated it. She said the general nature of the document was benign. The documentation, as I had sensed as well, was merely a scholarly critique of the then current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police’s report and the interpreter’s transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn’t need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote “drop it” unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote “anti-Iraqi literature” unquote.
I couldn’t believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.
I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts in my section or other sections within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.
I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time– if ever.
Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the WLO, in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down on political opponents of al-Maliki.
On 4 March 2010, I burned the report, the photos, the high resolution copy of the pamphlet, and the interpreter’s hand written transcript onto a CD-RW. I took the CD-RW to my CHU and copied the data onto my personal computer. Unlike the times before, instead of uploading the information through the WLO website’s submission form. I made a Secure File Transfer Protocol or SFTP connection to a file drop box operated by the WLO.
The drop box contained a folder that allowed me to upload directly into it. Saving files into this directory, allowed anyone with log in access to the server to view and download them. After uploading these files to the WLO, on 5 March 2010, I notified Nathaniel over Jabber. Although sympathetic, he said that the WLO needed more information to confirm the event in order for it to be published or to gain interest in the international media.
I attempted to provide the specifics, but to my disappointment, the WLO website chose not to publish this information. At the same time, I began sifting through information from the US Southern Command or SOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Cuba or JTF-GTMO. The thought occurred to me– although unlikely, that I wouldn’t be surprised if the individuals detainees detained by the Federal Police might be turned over back into US custody– and ending up in the custody of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
As I digested through the information on Joint Task Force Guantanamo, I quickly found the Detainee Assessment Briefs or DABs. I previously came across the documents before in 2009 but did not think much about them. However, this time I was more curious in during this search and I found them again.
The DABs were written in standard DoD memorandum format and addressed the commander US SOUTHCOM. Each memorandum gave basic and background information about a specific detainee held at some point by Joint Task Force Guantanamo. I have always been interested on the issue of the moral efficacy of our actions surrounding Joint Task Force Guantanamo. On the one hand, I have always understood the need to detain and interrogate individuals who might wish to harm the United States and our allies, however, I felt that’s what we were trying to do at Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
However, the more I became educated on the topic, it seemed that we found ourselves holding an increasing number of individuals indefinitely that we believed or knew to be innocent, low level foot soldiers that did not have useful intelligence and would be released if they were still held in theater.
I also recall that in early 2009 the, then newly elected president, Barack Obama, stated that he would close Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and that the facility compromised our standing over all, and diminished our quote ‘moral authority’ unquote.
After familiarizing myself with the Detainee Assessment Briefs, I agree. Reading through the Detainee Assessment Briefs, I noticed that they were not analytical products, instead they contained summaries of tear line versions of interim intelligence reports that were old or unclassified. None of the DABs contained the names of sources or quotes from tactical interrogation reports or TIR’s. Since the DABs were being sent to the US SOUTHCOM commander, I assessed that they were intended to provide a very general background information on each of the detainees and not a detailed assessment.
In addition to the manner in which the DAB’s were written, I recognized that they were at least several years old, and discussed detainees that were already released from Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Based on this, I determined that the DABs were not very important from either an intelligence or a national security standpoint. On 7 March 2010, during my Jabber conversation with Nathaniel, I asked him if he thought the DABs were of any use to anyone.
Nathaniel indicated, although he did not believe that they were of political significance, he did believe that they could be used to merge into the general historical account of what occurred at Joint Task Force Guantanamo. He also thought that the DAB’s might be helpful to the legal counsel of those currently and previously held at JTF-GTMO.
After this discussion, I decided to download the data DABs. I used an application called Wget to download the DABs. I downloaded Wget off of the NIPRnet laptop in the T-SCIF, like other programs. I saved that onto a CD-RW, and placed the executable in my ‘My Documents’ directory on of my user profile, on the D6-A SIPRnet workstation.
On 7 March 2010, I took the list of links for the Detainee Assessment Briefs, and Wget downloaded them sequentially. I burned the data onto a CD-RW, and took it into my CHU, and copied them to my personal computer. On 8 March 2010, I combined the Detainee Assessment Briefs with the United States Army Counterintelligence Center report on the WLO, into a compressed [missed word] IP or zip file. Zip files contain multiple files which are compressed to reduce their size.
After creating the zip file, I uploaded the file onto their cloud drop box via Secure File Transfer Protocol. Once these were uploaded, I notified Nathaniel that the information was in the ‘x’ directory, which had been designated for my own use. Earlier that day, I downloaded the USACIC report on WLO.
As discussed about above, I previously reviewed the report on numerous occasions and although I saved the document onto the work station before, I could not locate it. After I found the document again, I downloaded it to my work station, and saved it onto the same CD-RW as the Detainee Assessment Briefs described above.
Although my access included a great deal of information, I decided I had nothing else to send to WLO after sending the Detainee Assessment Briefs and the USACIC report. Up to this point I had sent them the following: the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs tables; the Reykjavik 13 Department of State Cable; the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team video and the 2006-2007 rules of engagement documents; the SigAct report and supporting documents concerning the 15 individuals detained by the Baghdad Federal Police; the USSOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force Guantanamo Detainee Assessment Briefs; a USACIC report on the WikiLeaks organization website.
Over the next few weeks I did not send any additional information to the WLO. I continued to converse with Nathaniel over the Jabber client and in the WLO IRC channel. Although I stopped sending documents to WLO, no one associated with the WLO pressured me into giving more information. The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO and the website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of other Government documents.
One 22 March 2010, I downloaded two documents. I found these documents over the course of my normal duties as an analyst. Based on my training and the guidance of my superiors, I look at as much information as possible.
Doing so provided me with the ability to make connections that others might miss. On several occasions during the month of March, I accessed information from a government entity. I read several documents from a section within this government entity. The content of two of these documents upset me greatly. I had difficulty believing what this section was doing.
On 22 March 2010, I downloaded the two documents that I found troubling. I compressed them into a zip file named blah.zip and burned them onto a CD-RW. I took the CD-RW to my CHU and saved the file to my personal computer.
I uploaded the information to the WLO website using the designated prompts.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the Net Centric Diplomacy Department of State cables.
In late March of 2010, I received a warning over Jabber from Nathaniel, that the WLO website would be publishing the aerial weapons team video. He indicated that the WLO would be very busy and the frequency and intensity of our Jabber conversations decrease significantly. During this time, I had nothing but work to distract me.
I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy server. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting.
The more I read, the more I was fascinated with by the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think that the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.
Up to this point, during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn’t harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.
In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.
The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity level of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.
The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS [missed word] caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.
The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personnel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.
The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that– that this type of information should become public. I once read a and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.
I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables information that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption, I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States; however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.
In many ways these cables are a catalogue of cliques and gossip. I believed exposing this information might make some within the Department of State and other government entities unhappy. On 22 March 2010, I began downloading a copy of the SIPDIS cables using the program Wget, described above.
I used instances of the Wget application to download the Net Centric Diplomacy cables in the background. As I worked on my daily tasks, the Net Centric Diplomacy cables were downloaded from 28 March 2010 to 9 April 2010. After downloading the cables, I saved them onto a CD-RW.
These cables went from the earliest dates in Net Centric Diplomacy to 28 February 2010. I took the CD-RW to my CHU on 10 April 2010. I sorted the cables on my personal computer, compressed them using the bzip2 compression algorithm described above, and uploaded them to the WLO via designated drop box described above.
On 3 May 2010, I used Wget to download and update of the cables for the months of March 2010 and April 2010 and saved the information onto a zip file and burned it to a CD-RW. I then took the CD-RW to my CHU and saved those to my computer. I later found that the file was corrupted during the transfer. Although I intended to re-save another copy of these cables, I was removed from the T-SCIF on 8 May 2010 after an altercation.
Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of Garani, Farah Province Afghanistan 15-6 Investigation and Videos.
[NB Pfc. Manning plead ‘not guilty’ to the Specification 11, Charge II for the Garani Video as charged by the government, which alleged as November charge date. Read more here.]
In late March 2010, I discovered a US CENTCOM directly on a 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan. I was searching CENTCOM for information I could use as an analyst. As described above, this was something that myself and other analysts and officers did on a frequent basis. As I reviewed the documents I recalled the incident and what happened. The airstrike occurred in the Garani village in the Farah Province, Northwestern Afghanistan. It received worldwide press coverage during the time as it was reported that up to 100 to 150 Afghan civilians– mostly women and children– were accidentally killed during the airstrike.
After going through the report and the [missed word] annexes, I began to review the incident as being similar to the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team engagements in Iraq. However, this event was noticeably different in that it involved a significantly higher number of individuals, larger aircraft and much heavier munitions. Also, the conclusions of the report are even more disturbing than those of the July 2007 incident.
I did not see anything in the 15-6 report or its annexes that gave away sensitive information. Rather, the investigation and its conclusions helped explain how this incident occurred, and were– what those involved should have done, and how to avoid an event like this from occurring again.
After investigating the report and its annexes, I downloaded the 15-6 investigation, PowerPoint presentations, and several other supporting documents to my D6-A workstation. I also downloaded three zip files containing the videos of the incident. I burned this information onto a CD-RW and transferred it to the personal computer in my CHU. I did later that day or the next day– I uploaded the information to the WLO website this time using a new version of the WLO website submission form.
Unlike other times using the submission form above, I did not activate the TOR anonymizer. Your Honor, this concludes my statement and facts for this providence inquiry.
UPDATE: On March 2, 2013, I went through each line of the rush transcript published here on March 1 to check it for accuracy and inadvertent typos or misspellings.
Since multiple news outlets have printed the rush transcript that was originally published here; every single amendment made during this review– including non-substantive typos– are noted with a strike-through and/or highlighted.
When I first published the rush transcript of Manning’s statement, I had noted under “Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team or AW team video” that the handle of the individual who Manning said he interacted with was ‘office’ and not ‘ox’.
When Guardian journalist, Ed Pilkington, approached me to ask for permission to publish the rush transcript on the guardian.co.uk, we had a quick conversation concerning the fact that both he and a Wired journalist had noted the handle was ‘ox’ and not ‘office’.
Because of the overriding need to publish Manning’s statement as soon as possible, and my being back in Court at Fort Meade during our exchange after having worked through the night to get a rush transcript completed and published, I quickly deferred to consensus and amended ‘office’ to ‘ox’.
After reviewing my rush transcript line-by-line, however, I stand by my original notation of the handle as ‘office’, and not ‘ox’. I have amended the transcript above to reflect that determination.
Categories: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks
By Alexa O’Brien on February 28, 2013 11:59 AM |
German Union for Data-protection
Are you afraid of international car thieves, Mafia drugs bosses, plutonium smugglers, Far-Eastern cigarette traffickers or fundamentalist terrorists? Yes? Or are you afraid of a European police authority passing on information about you to the police in Portugal, Greece and Norway? No, you have not done anything wrong? Then you are just the EU citizen the governments of the EU States want. You will not have anything against the Europol Drugs Unit, the EDU, either, which in 1994 took up the fight against international crime. Nor will you have anything against the Europol Convention which the EU Council of 27 June in Cannes could not quite bring itself to sign and nor will you have any comprehension for the data protection officials carping about the EDU and the Europol Convention. Perhaps you are reminded of old saying of the German police that ‘Data protection is perpetrator protection’.
However, if you are one of those rare kinds of people who regard democratic and parliamentary accountability, the protection of the Constitution and the rule of law as principal virtues of a society, then the EDU and Europol ought to be setting off alarm bells. Not because the politicians who dreamt up the EDU and Europol and the officials working there are bad people. The head of the EDU, Mr Storbeck, is regarded as a liberal, and the Social Democrats, who are just as strongly in favour of Europol as are the Christian Democrats, cannot of course be suspected of openly advocating a police state. They are however all helping to set up a central police authority in the Hague which, unhampered by any democratic control, is to process data on millions of people without their being able to prevent it. They are helping to ensure that a Kurd standing up for his country’s independence can be branded a terrorist throughout Europe on the basis of Turkish information. They are helping to ensure that a German citizen whose car was stolen, but whom the insurance company suspects of insurance fraud, can be arrested by the Italian police as a sophisticated car smuggler when he buys a new car in Milan.
Proposal for recommendations concerning drug-related offences committed via COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels, 26 July 2000 (23.08)
STUP 1 1
to : Working Party on Drug Trafficking
No. prev. doc : SCH/stup(99) 14, 7430/00 STUP 3
Subject: Proposal for recommendations concerning drug-related offences committed via
Cross-border operational cooperation
Controlling the Internet is, by its very nature, an international affair. The Internet is not restricted by national boundaries, whereas governmental legislative authority is still largely subject to national boundaries. In order to actually monitor and trace on a global level, legal authorities must be in tune with each other. Efficient international cooperation, preferably without too many complicated bureaucratic procedures is also essential. The harmonisation of rules regarding the penalisation of Internet criminals, the regulation of tracking powers and cross-border cooperation are regular topics at international meetings.
The Europol Working Party is considering the effect of the recommendations in the Tampere conclusions as far as they relate to Europol. These include Joint investigative teams (recommendation 43), the creation of a European Police Chiefs operational task force (recommendation 44), the receipt of operational data by Europol (recommendation 45), Europol to ask member states to start investigations (recommendation 45), relations with “EUROJUST” (recommendation 46; see discussion paper 5700/00 CATS 7 on the establishment of EUROJUST) and the extension of the Europol mandate to cover all forms of money laundering (recommendation 56).
The report openly seeks to find ways of extending Europol’s role so that it can become “operational”, to create joint cross-border teams and to give a formal role to the “European Police Chiefs Operational Task Force” without having to amend the Europol Convention – which would mean a lengthy process involving national parliaments.
Met de ondertekening van het Europol-verdrag wordt de inhoud openbaar. Naast de Kamerleden kunnen nu ook pers en publiek lezen wat er in hun naam is afgesproken door de Nederlandse regering. De kritiek is fors, zowel binnen als buiten het parlement.
Een gedeelte van de kritiek richt zich op de vele onduidelijkheden in het verdrag. Europol gaat zich bij uitstek bezig houden met de bestrijding van de georganiseerde criminaliteit in Europa. Maar er valt nergens een definitie van georganiseerde criminaliteit te lezen. Uit de praktijk in de verschillende landen blijkt dat er geheel verschillende definities worden gehanteerd.
Tegelijkertijd staat op verschillende plekken in het verdrag te lezen dat Europol zich ook mag bezighouden met misdaden die ‘gerelateerd’ zijn aan de misdrijven waarvoor Europol officieel bevoegd is. Voorts kan de JBZ-Raad besluiten de taakvelden verder uit te breiden of nieuwe definities toe te voegen. Europol lijkt zich dus met vrijwel alles te kunnen (gaan) bezighouden.
Met de ondertekening van het Europol-verdrag wordt de inhoud openbaar. Naast de Kamerleden kunnen nu ook pers en publiek lezen wat er in hun naam is afgesproken door de Nederlandse regering. De kritiek is fors, zowel binnen als buiten het parlement.
Een gedeelte van de kritiek richt zich op de vele onduidelijkheden in het verdrag. Europol gaat zich bij uitstek bezig houden met de bestrijding van de georganiseerde criminaliteit in Europa. Maar er valt nergens een definitie van georganiseerde criminaliteit te lezen. Uit de praktijk in de verschillende landen blijkt dat er geheel verschillende definities worden gehanteerd.