Secrecy News -- 07/13/09

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Secrecy News -- 07/13/09

David P. Dillard


Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 14:18:54 -0400
From: Steven Aftergood <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Secrecy News -- 07/13/09 (alt list)

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2009, Issue No. 60
July 13, 2009

Secrecy News Blog:



From the point of view of an al Qaida military leader, Western intelligence
agents are now ubiquitous in the lands of Islam, and their operations have
been extraordinarily effective.  The Western spies are unfailingly lethal,
leaving a trail of dead Islamist fighters behind them.  Worst of all, they
have managed to recruit innumerable Muslims to assist their war efforts.

"The spies... were sent to penetrate the ranks of the Muslims generally, and
the mujahidin specifically, and [they] spread all over the lands like
locusts," wrote Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al Qaida field commander in
Afghanistan, in a new book called "Guidance on the Ruling of the Muslim

"The spies are busy day and night carrying out their duties in an organized
and secret manner... How many heroic leaders have been kidnapped at their
hands? How many major mujahidin were surprised to be imprisoned or traced?
Even the military and financial supply roads of the mujahidin, which are far
from the enemy's surveillance, were found by the spies."

Al Qaida operations have been severely impeded by the intelligence war
against them, al-Libi said.  "As soon as the mujahidin get secretly into an
area on a dark night, they are confronted by the Cross forces and their
helpers.  Many are killed or captured."

Western spies are found under every conceivable cover, al-Libi wrote.  "They
have among them old hunchbacked men who cannot even walk, strong young men,
weak women inside their house, young girls, and even children who did not
reach puberty yet.  The spy might be a doctor, nurse, engineer, student,
preacher, scholar, runner, or a taxi driver.  The spy can be anyone...."

"The occupation armies completely rely on recruiting spies and informants
from the Muslim lands they usurped and conquered... The spy lives among
Muslims, being one of them: living their life, wearing their dress, eating
what they eat... Therefore, he can access what the armed soldiers of the
occupation cannot put hands on."

In the new book, published on jihadist websites on June 30, al-Libi
ruminated at length on the religious and legal problem of the Muslim spy.
Can there be a Muslim who spies against other Muslims or, since such a
person would by definition be an apostate, is a Muslim spy a contradiction
in terms?  May such a person be killed?  (It depends.)  To convict a spy
nowadays is it necessary to rely on the traditional two witnesses?  (Again,
it depends.)  What about a person who is mistakenly executed as a spy?  (God
will reward him.)

Pervading the book is a sense of the overwhelming impact of U.S. and Allied
intelligence operations on jihadist forces, and the willingness of
indigenous Muslims to act with Western intelligence against those forces.

"Everyone who lives in the jihad battlegrounds... knows well that the
occupation forces could not do one-tenth of what they do now if they did not
recruit spies and informants....  Most of the mujahidin and their soldiers
were killed or captured because of the intelligence information that the
infidel forces have obtained from the secret soldiers whom they recruit,
like swarms of locusts, from the native citizens who talk our language and
pretend they are Muslims."

"Guidance on the Ruling of the Muslim Spy" by Abu Yahya al-Libi was
translated, rather clumsily, by the DNI Open Source Center.  A copy was
obtained by Secrecy News and is posted here:

The book cited the use of electronic homing devices to guide air-launched
missiles to their targets and images of several such devices were included
in the original Arabic version of the book (at page 146).  The purported use
of the devices was discussed in "CIA Drone Targeting Tech Revealed, Qaeda
Claims" by Adam Rawnsley, Wired Danger Room, July 8, 2009. also
prepared a proprietary translation of the new Al-Libi book, which was
reported by Fox News last week.


The National Reconnaissance Office, which develops, launches and operates
U.S. intelligence satellites, last week released most of the unclassified
portions of its Congressional Budget Justification Book for FY2009.  While
those unclassified portions are only a small fraction of the full budget
document, they still provide a fresh glimpse or two of the agency and its
four directorates (IMINT, SIGINT, Advanced Systems and Technology, and

"The U.S. is arguably more reliant on overhead collection that ever before,"
the NRO says, while "intelligence problems are becoming more complex and
increasingly require synergistic, multi-INT, multi-source solutions."  See
"National Reconnaissance Program," FY2009 Congressional Budget
Justification, February 2008, released under the Freedom of Information Act
July 2009:

The NRO has suffered serious acquisition failures in recent years and it has
been rumored, unconfirmably, that the agency may be broken up or
reorganized.  ("Spy Agency May Face Ax" by Colin Clark, DoD Buzz, July 1,
2009).  Meanwhile, President Obama reportedly issued a directive last spring
-- Presidential Study Directive 2 -- ordering a review of classified space
activities.  ("President Orders Sweeping U.S. Space Policy Review" by Amy
Klamper, Space News, July 6, 2009).


A newly disclosed report from the JASON defense advisory panel may not
excite the interest of anyone who is not a student of electrical
engineering.  It examines the distribution of electrical current flowing
through a long, narrow conductive object.  See "Current Spreading in Long
Objects," October 2008:

Somewhat more interesting is the fact that the JASON study was sponsored by
the Center for Security Evaluation.  The Center is a component of the Office
of the Director of National Intelligence that supports the Department of
State in protecting intelligence and other classified information in U.S.
diplomatic facilities abroad.  Its charter was set forth in "Center for
Security Evaluation," Intelligence Community Directive 707, October 17,


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation
of American Scientists.

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Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
email:  [hidden email]
voice:  (202) 454-4691