America’s Secret Wars Among Its Intelligence Agencies Since NSA’s Inception

6 09 2012

By Trowbridge H. Ford

Why Relations Despite the Scandals Didn’t Change Much between Watergate and the 9/11 Bombings 

 
The 9/11 attacks gave the FBI its biggest black eye in its history. While it had been starved of intelligence about the planned suicide bombing, and cut out of any response because of the belated disclosure of the spying by agent Robert Hanssen for the Soviets for fear that it would somehow be leaked, the Bureau was still in the process of handing over the new leadership to Robert Mueller – delegating the domestic response to any such problems to the CIA which was most eager to regain the lead in the country’s response to terrorism anywhere.  Without any really important National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts of the messages the suicide bombers were exchanging in preparation for the attacks, the FBI had little chance of connecting the signal intelligence dots of what was afoot, especially since it had forced the retirement of its leading counter-terrorist spook, John O’Neill.(1) The planned response was, consequently, most ham-fisted with fifteen unarmed CIA agents, under the direction of Solicitor General Ted Olson’s wife Barbara, it seems,  trying to play copper with the 19 hijackers when they were dedicated to killing everyone they could, especially themselves.  The only reason that the Bureau wasn’t blamed more for the fiasco was because its causes were not easily discernible.(2)
 
The root of the problem went back to the NSA’s near paranoia about anyone without a need to know, knowing of its very existence, much less its product, particularly since Director J. Edgar Hoover would not provide cover for its work. It had been that way since its inception, and it only got worse when it was caught out in the Watergate scandal, thanks to the investigation of Frank Church’s Senate Intelligence Committee, that it had been eavesdropping illegally on private individuals through telecommunication companies for any information which might be relevant for it and any related agencies doing that work fully.  “Pushed by Church,” James Bamford has written in Body of Secrets, “the committee voted to make its report public – over NSA’s vehement objections, and to the greatest displeasure of its Republican members.” (p. 439)  In the process, its Director, General Lew Allen was forced to resign, and the agency was obliged to live with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which made any such eavesdropping illegal, being now required to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court if it wanted to listen to the communications of American citizens and permanent residents within the United States.
 
Of course, this made NSA the Bureau’s official master in domestic matters, as it was expected to get some kind of input from the Bureau before any domestic eavesdropping. This restriction was impossible for NSA to maintain, given its worldwide capability to tap micro-wave messages, and to eavesdrop on what was going on in foreign embassies when it came to American residents.  While the problem only surfaced when important Americans were involved, it was responsible for an increased sense of paranoia within the agency, leading its leadership constantly to be concerned about possible leaks.  This was best illustrated when Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman was Director, going wild when the media, especially The New York Times, leaked information about Illinois Congressman Edward Derwinski being investigated for tipping off South Korean officials that its top spook in New York was about to defect by NSA monitoring his calls to Seoul (ibid.,October 27, 1977 issue), and President Carter’s brother, Billy, was working as a business agent for´Gadaffi’s Libyan government, aka Billygate, in the same fashion. (Bamford, pp. 380-1)
 
To avoid such embarrassment and controversy, future Directors became even more secretive and  most devious about what was going on.  NSA Director Air Force
General Lincoln Faurer, Inman’s successor, become so concerned about details leaking out about Reagan’s covert government intruding into Swedish waters that he had Airman David Helmer defect to Stockholm in February 1984 so that there would be no paper trail about what his mission was. Hemler had a top-secret clearance, and was stationed in Augsburg, Germany in its elite 6913 Electronic Security Squadron which knew all about signal intelligence communication in the Baltic,  He told Swedish security what he apparently knew about what had been going on  – what reinforced what statsminister Olof Palme’s opponents, particularly Conservative Party leader Carl Bildt, had engaged in, especially sending the previous October a most provocative diplomatic note about it to Moscow. (3) Faurer added to the ruse by having John Lehman’s US Navy send more attack submarines into the area to keep the ploy going.(4)
 
When Faurer learned, though, that the Reagan administration was serious about using it in a non-nuclear showdown with Moscow to end the Cold War at Sweden’s expense, he resigned, only to be replaced by a more hard-line, covert operator, Army Lieutenant General William Odom. He had served as NSA Zbig Brzezinski’s military assistant during the Carter administration, and was most noted for wanting to roll back Soviet power and influence across the board. Odom was obsessed by the potential leaking of NSA secrets by its personnel, earning the sobriquet Captain Queeg among his subordinates, and even considered the President to be the biggest offender by divulging its secrets in covert operations.
 
Little wonder that when Ollie North wanted to do this in spades while working for Reagan NSA Bud McFarlane that Odom gave him what help he could to achieve the task.
 
Odom ordered John Wobensmith of its Information Systems Security Directorate to give North whatever help he needed, including two of its KY-40 scramblers.- what he did without North having to sign a receipt for having gotten them. The lap-top computers contained “…secure encryption chips so that he and his fellow conspirators could communicate secretly via e-mail while traveling.” (Bamford, p. 391) An additional benefit was that it would be carried on without NSA having a clue about what was happening. The lap-tops were the crucial component of North’s “FLASH” communication network would get round all the red tape required by official institutions, and permit his operatives to do missions like capturing the Palestinian terrorists who killed Leon Klinghofer on board the Achille Lauro (5) to making Palme pay with his life for having stopped the transfer of arms for Tehran in exchange for the release of American hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
 
Of course, when Palme was assassinated, but the Soviets were not shown to have apparently done it, thanks to Moscow having been tipped off about the set up by the spies it had developed, and the countermeasures it had taken against any surprises triggering the planned non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War, all kinds of considerations became sensitive, and then alarming when Iran-Contra began unravelling.  It was then that Director Odom became particularly worried about using information NSA had about Libya’s alleged bombing of La Belle discotheque in West Berlin on April 5, 1986 for a retaliatory attack on Gaddafi’s capital Tripoli for fear that it would lead to what had happened in Stockholm the previous February 28th. Then when the C-123 carrying arms for the Contras was shot down over Nicaragua in the fall, the concerns resulted in murders of dangerous participants or their being forgotten about, especially the spies still unrevealed, destruction of key evidence about the plots, and defusing damaging evidence by rendering its sources immune from prosecution – what required the most strenuous efforts by the NSA and others.
 
The strain was immediately demonstrated when North put the highest priority on destroying incriminating evidence.  He was shedding all the evidence he could lay his hands on in his office and that of the National Security Council, only to have his former boss, McFarlane, remind him of an even more important chore: “I hope to daylights that someone has been purging the NSA files on this episode.” (6)  This problem was greatly complicated by the fact that NSA had not given North’s people just two KY.40 scamblers but fifteen KL-43 encryption devices whose codes had been changed every month, and had recorded everything they transmitted.The prospect of retrieving all the devices, and discovering what was within them made the possibility of what had really gone on most remote. In addition, the PROF notes between North and the new NSA Admiral John Poindexter about the operation were destroyed, but they had been copied by the agency’s computer system, and were ultimately discovered.
 
Then there was all kinds of intercepts that NSA had normally collected from around the world. The fleet of attack submarines, especially the Parche, SSN-683, which had been moving into position to sink Soviet hunter and boomer subs, once they started moving into launch position after the surprise assassination of Sweden’s statsminster had occurred –  had created a vast amount of communications which would become really troublesome if the real cause of Iran-Contra’s illegalities came into focus. The double agents that the CIA had developed in the USSR during Operation Courtship to pin the set up on Moscow would become serious if any investigators suspected so. Also there was all the data which had been collected by the monitoring device that technician spy TAW had placed on the KGB communication center southward of Moscow, and what operation ABSORB disclosed about the movement of ICBMs along the Trans-Siberian railroad in preparation for a first strike upon America.(7)  
 
Then Director Odom tried to pin the blame on Wobensmith for North’s people having the KY-40 lap-tops. Wobensmith claimed that Odom was so positive about helping that he did not even make North sign receipts when receiving them. Two years later, Wobensmith was suspended without pay for fifteen days by a NSA superior because of the oversight. and not instructing North how to properly use them, but an appeals board recommended that it be reversed and Webensmith reimbursed for his legal fees – what incensed Odom. “He believed that Wobensmith was responsible for casting the agency into the public spotlight, a rare and unforgivable sin in NSA’s secret city.”(Bamford, p.391).  As a result, he only received $1,229 for his legal fees, and was demoted in rank.
 
By scapegoating Wobensmith, Odom made it easier for the agency to keep Special Counsel Walsh investigating Iran-Contra at arm’s length. While Walsh  was finally able to obtain over 100,000 pages of classified documents to begin trying defendants in the conspiracy, their success depended largely upon their use in the trail – what NSA General Counsel Elizabeth Rinskopf doggedly opposed.  “Her concern was not only the preservation of intelligence sources, but also the protection of her agency from embarrassment.” (Bamford, p. 176) She insisted, for example, that McFarlane’s message to North in his PROf notes, about wanting the NSA traffic files purged, be redacted. More important, Walsh had to resort to various expedients to hide NSA being the source of information most germane to successful prosecutions of the conspiracy and diversion charges in North’s indictment, but Attorney General Richard Thornburgh refused to go along with the scheme – what Bamford, by then the author of The Puzzle Palace about NSA, surprisingly explained on national TV was required to maintain its secret intelligence capability.
 
With NSA’s role in Iran-Contra being effectively covered up, it was passed time for Odom to go, and he was replaced by Office of Naval Intelligence Director Vice Admiral William Studeman who was a soft-spoken copy of the former director.
 
 In taking leave, though, Odom could not restrain himself from leaking more secret information by comparing .the Agency with his agency:  “The CIA is good at stealing a memo off a prime minister’s desk, but they’re not much good at anything else.” (Quoted from Body…, p. 474.) This was obviously a reference to stealing Palme’s agenda in October 1985 for his scheduled meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in April 1986 – what allegedly included establishing a non-nuclear weapons zone in Scandinavia, and what was used by William Casey’s CIA to justify his assassination.  CIA resident in Stockholm Jennone Walker apparently got MI6 agent E. D.´Mack´ Falkirk in Oslo to steal the document. 
 
The only problem with the theft was that it did not trigger a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War at Palme’s expense – that was achieved by the Anglo-American leaders with Gorbachev themselves after the set up fizzled out because of countermeasures that Moscow took for the intended surprise, thanks to its spies around Washington.
 
During the next decade after the collapse of the USSR, the struggle within America’s intelligence community was plagued by ferreting out the spies, especially CIA’s Aldrich ‘Rick’ Ames, a process so damaging that it almost ended the Agency’s existence while the Bureau was increasingly taking the lead in fighting terrorism, even overseas, thanks to copper Louis Freeh becoming its Director, and the wake up call it had received because of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993. The impact on NSA was devastating because of the continuous reduction of its enormous size, and a peacetime mission in a growing world economy, as Air Force Director General Kenneth Minihan discovered. The Bureau went wild on fishing trips with NSA intercepts to find foreign companies which were engaging in illegal activities at the expense of legitimate American business.  While Minihan gave the impression that he was a great promoter of agency transparency, he ran a very tight organization.
 
While Miniham’s replacement, Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, had great plans for reforming NSA so its operators and funders could be happier about its performance, everything was put on hold to clear the air until the 9/11 attacks surprised everyone – making a bad situation much worse. A cause of the delay was the most belated discovery that Bureau’s Special Agent Robert Hanssen had been another spy like the Agency’s Ames – what Director Freeh compounded by immediately resigning, leaving the FBI naked to its enemies.(8) 
 
DCI George Tenet cut the Bureau out of having anything to do in subduing the suspected hijackers of the four planes while its agents in the field were increasingly having trouble connecting the dots in all its criminal investigations.(9) Moreover, the NSA did not accept Rick Taylor’s recommendation about implementing his system called Thinthread which would allow it to see the head notes of foreign e-mails entering the States while the Bureau was forced by the FISA court to keep its data gathering more separated from its criminal investigations.(10)
 
The results would be the 9/11 disasters where both the failings of the Bureau and NSA would be paramount, but this time the FBI was more exposed in the fallout, and would resort to more drastic attempts to fix it, as we shall see in the concluding article.       
 
          .          
 
References
 
1. For more, see this link: https://flyingcuttlefish.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/oneill-a-voice/
2. For a more complete explanation, see Trowbridge H. Ford, “The Prelude: US Intelligence – 11 September 2001, Eye Spy magazine, Issue Eight 2002, pp. 26-33.
3. Svenska Dagbladet, April 27, 1983.
4. For more about this, see the awards that the US Navy’s submarines received during 1984 and 198 in Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind’s Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, p. 426.
5.  Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America, pp. 140-1.
6.  Quoted from Lawrence E. Walsh, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, p. 8.
7.  Pete Earley, Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames, pp. 117-8.
8.  Ford, op. cit., p.26ff.
9.  James Bamford, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. p. 108ff.
19. Ibid., p. 44ff.

 





Why America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Had Gareth Williams Assassinated

4 11 2011

By Trowbridge H. Ford
 
The National Security Agency’s new Director in 1999, Air Force General Michael Hayden, had a long career in its surveillance operations but his primary qualification for office was his adherence to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement – one which sought direct religious experience with Christ through Pentecostal and evangelical experience.  It was a millinarian type of religious group, reminiscent of the crusading orders of the Middle Ages, and best exemplified in the modern world by the Knights of Malta, the great recruiting agency of many of today’s New World Order people. Its capacity to find essential professionals, and fit them into key government positions goes far beyond what Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society can accomplish.  While Hayden was attending Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, he studied American history – getting an M.A. on the impact of the Marshall Plan upon Europe, the first step in the West’s renewal after the catastrophic collapse in WWII. “Like many of his religious and conservative classmates,” James Bamford wrote, “Hayden rejected the antiwar movement and the social revolution and instead would embrace the military.” (1)
 
CIA Director George Tenet became interested in Hayden’s potential to ignite NSA in an fightback against the continuing stalemate over Palestine, and growing Muslim hostility toward America.  “The CIA chief liked what he heard and Hayden flew back to Korea virtually assured that he had the job as director of the NSA.” (2)  It recalled Henry Kissinger’s hiring of lowly Major Alexander Haig as his military aide as the Nixon administration was gearing up to pull off a surprising victory in the Vietnam War despite the apparent hopelessness of the struggle, and all the campaign rhetoric about negotiating peace with the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong.  Despite appearances, both military men were well versed in the operation of America’s covert government, whatever was required at a given moment. It looked like new Tonkin Gulf incidents were required if any new initiative was to be established.
 
While Tenet certainly mentored Hayden, it is worth remembering that Tenet was mentored by former DCI Richard Helms, so much so that he had Helms’ official portrait at the Langley headquarters moved into his office so that every DCI would see him as a model. It is also worth remembering that Helms had such a bitter hatred of his rival William Colby that he ultimately volunteered in his unexpected memoirs, A Look Over My Shoulder – even an allusion to such treachery – that Colby hurt Western intelligence more than the notorious KGB spy, Kim Philby.(3) It seems most likely that Tenet, while Deputy Director when Colby was assassinated, was given the nod by Helms to arrange the killing – what resulted in DCI John Deutch to suddenly resign when he learned about it, clearing the way for Tenet to take over officially. After Deutch’s departure, an inquiry was started to see if he should be prosecuted for having classified materials on his laptops, what seems like a belated effort to explain it away, but Attorney General Janet Reno refused to prosecute him, and President Bill Clinton pardoned him for the alleged offense on his last day in office.
 
Hardly had Hayden taken over at Fort Meade than he showed Tenet that he was the right person to run NSA.  The bombing campaign of Serbia was in full swing but NATO’s planes were not hitting anything of value in Slobodan Milosevic’s military arsenal, thanks to a Turkish informer within its ranks informing Belgrade of intended targets through the Chinese Embassy. NSA learned of this through its capture of microwave communications to the Chinese through its eavesdropping satellites and ground-based stations, most likely in Bad Aibling in Germany and Menwith Hill in Yorkshire – what seemed like a resumption of Operation Shamrock under modern conditions.
 
Then CIA played dumb with its maps, acting as if the Embassy was a Yugoslav military facility. On May 7, 1999, NATO bombers hit the facility with five bombs, killing three residents.  For good measure, NSA’s Keyhole laser satellites were used the following August to trigger an earthquake in the qanat system of Izmit, Turkey to punish its Nationalist leadership for betraying NATO secrets to Yugoslav President Milosevic. The mission was a good example of what former SoD Robert Gates said about former Los Alamos intelligence chief Danny “(Stillman’s) ability to adapt the latest advance in science to solve unmanageable problems and to analyze foreign technologies made him an invaluable asset to the Intelligence Community.”(5)
 
The earthquake was intended to so embarrass Turkey’s government during the relief effort that it would be overthrown, either at the polls or by its military – what occurred during the 2002 elections when Bulent Ecevit’s government was soundly trounced. It was a brilliant use of new technology to take advantage of ancient technology to fulfill Washington’s goals.
 
Given such achievements, Washington wasn’t too concerned about what Al-Qaeda was up to, helping explain why both Tenet and Hayden were kept at their posts after George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential poll. It was more concerned about the exposure of satellite abilities to gain vital information, and to deliver devastating reprisals than deliberately stopping any of its small scale operations. “In the few years between 1991 and 1994,” Bamford wrote, “the number of spy satellites dropped by nearly half.”(6)  He failed to add that the remaining ones were far more versatile and powerful than the ones they replaced. As a result, the Al-Qaeda calls emanating from and received by its headquarters in Yemen were ignored, resulting in the 1998 devastating bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole the following year when it docked in Aden to refuel.(7) 
 
NSA was still almost paranoid about its operations being leaked somehow, and did not want to take any unnecessary risks by going to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant.
 
Director Hayden based his decision upon three factors –  fears that NSA would be seen “as America’s secret and powerful ‘boogeyman’ “,  that NSA officials would again be threatened with prosecutions for eavesdropping on Americans, and fears that its activities would be leaked to the press and America’s foes. The best way to avoid the first two concerns, Bamford wrote tellingly, “…was to keep his agency’s operations as far away from U.S. territory as possible. If a terrorist in the U.S. was communicating with his masters in a foreign country, Hayden reasoned, that was the FBI’s responsibility, not his.”(8) The ability of the Bureau to meet its responsibility was seriously impaired, though Hayden didn’t mention it, by the continued spying for the Russians by its agent Robert Hanssen – what was finally disclosed in February 2001, and he pleaded guilty to 19 counts of espionage in July after colleagues, like in the Ronald Pelton case, recognized his voice in a conversation long before with his KGB handler in Washington on a NSA tape recording.      
 
The wheels for a payback now for Al-Qaeda’s operations far away from America’s shores had started turning soon after Hayden started working at Fort Meade.  Rich Taylor, NSA’s Deputy Director for Operations, wanted to fix the agency’s aimless, eavesdropping operations by adopting project Thinthread: “The first and most important issue for NSA/CSS (Central Security Service),” Bamford quoted, “is to reform our management and leadership system…we have good people in a flawed system.”(9) 
 
Thinthread called for the encryption of all messages and phone calls entering and leaving the States – so as not to need a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Security Court (FISC) – except the headers of such messages which would show their origin or destination. It would solve the problem of getting an FISA warrant without engaging in undue search and seizure while obtaining probable cause to continue eavesdropping without committing anything illegal.
 
Tests of the proposal in 1998 had proven quite successful    Also, NSA needed to strengthen its ties with strategic partners, especially the other members of the Five Eyes group, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
 
Hayden wanted nothing to do with the proposal, preferring instead a program called Trailblazer. Instead of running the risks of trying to catch terrorists, concerns that the Bureau should be involved in, Hayden wanted to catch foreigners before they even got involved in the process. It essentially collected everything it could get its hands on, hoping that super computers could make sense of the mass of information collected – “…the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mails.” (10) While Taylor and Hayden continued to argue about which system to adopt, it peaked in the fall of 2000, with the Director going for Trailblazer, and Taylor heading for the exit.
 
While Hayden then asked for bids from defense contractors for working on Trailblazer, there was no big time response by NSA’s contractors – Boeing, IBM, SAIC, Computer Science Corporation, and Litton – persuading Hayden and Tenet that some big time event was necessary to shake up the country for more direct action.
 
The last operational hurdle to such action was the continued presence of the Bureau’s counter-terrorist expert in New York, John O’Neill.  He was responsible for getting to the bottom of the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993, and was certain that Muslim terrorists would try it again.  He was committed to stopping them, the last thing that Tenet and Hayden wanted, so he was sidelined from the planning of the covert operation for fear, it seems, that leaks from it would jeopardize what CIA and NSA had in mind.(11)  
 
The plan that Tenet and Hayden had in mind was to catch the now well-identified 19 hijackers in the act of hijacking the four planes on September 11.To prevent the hijackers from getting wind of the plan, leader Mohamed Atta – whose calls from the States, especially the San Diego area, were never passed on by NSA to other security agencies (12) –  and four of his associates, were allowed to board the first plane leaving from Boston without any accompanying CIA agents. 
 
The 15 agents were on the other three flights, under the direction of Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, and they were to overpower the hijackers as the planes neared LA.  The link between the Agency and NSA was the close association that Tenet had with Hayden.(13)  To give more propitious effect to the ploy, NSA’s associate agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), conducted a training exercise of a plane crashing into one of its buildings 50 minutes after American Airline’s Flight 77, carrying Olson and three of the agents, had already taken off from Washington’s Dulles Airport.
 
The covert operation, of course, ended up as a complete tragedy after the hijackers turned out to be suicide bombers. The best evidence that it had gone wrong was when the President stayed put in the Florida kindergarten while the operation was still going on, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had Air Force fighters shoot down the last hijacked plane in western Pennsylvania before it could crash into the Capitol or the White House.
 
The most important act in damage-control was preventing the full disclosure of the planes’ passenger lists – what left out the names of the 19 suicide bombers, and the unarmed 15 agents who had futilely tried to stop them – what permitted conspiracy theorists to go wild about who was really on the planes, who or what piloted them, why the buildings around the WTC really collapsed, etc. The most damaging evidence that Washington, especially NSA, could not suppress was all the telephone calls, especially those of Barbara Olson, that passengers on the planes made and received before they died. 
 
At least her husband finally admitted to Bamford:  “I, by this time, had made the calculation that these were suicide persons, bent on destroying as much of America as they could.”(14)
 
Hayden acted as if the tragedy was another Pearl Harbor, and it was, though President Roosevelt was dealing with a desperate imperial Japan while NSA only had been confronted by 19 suicide bombers – what Japan lost hundreds of from Okinawa during the final days of WWII through Kamikazi attacks.  NSA’s incredibly cautious approach to eavesdropping on them had directly led to the attacks, and now Hayden would go for broke in making sure that it was not repeated.
 
While much has been written about what ensued, the only aspect to be considered in this article is what NSA, the Bureau and GCHQ could legally do in the process, though it should be noted that Tenet and Hayden combined when it came time to make sure that Iran did not take advantage of the West’s showdown with Saddam by either helping him in his difficulties, or, more likely, try to take part of Iraq’s Shia-dominated area during the struggle – what was prevented by NSA seeing that the NRO caused the earthquake in the qanat areas surrounding Bam with the chemical laser aboard its Misty radar satellite, leaving Iran with more than enough troubles of its own.
For NSA and the FBI, anything went when it came to warrantless eavesdropping as Hayden, an American historian of sorts, thought that the post 9/11 emergency justified the overriding of all of the protections that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provided against undue searches of one’s home, person and possessions as the tapping of phone lines and cellphones didn’t amount to this, especially since NSA’s lawyers agreed.  And the Bureau was willing to go along with such sentiments after presiding FISA court judge Royce C. Lamberth approved all the surveillance it wanted to get the culprits of the attacks, and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s subordinate John C.Yoo agreed independently with Hayden’s lawyers about what the emergency permitted.(15) While others disapproved of what they knew or suspected was happening, there was nothing they could do to really challenge it, much less stop it.
 
In Britain, there have never been any serious restrictions on what its intelligence community, particularly GCHQ, can do. Actually, given its policy of ever eavesdropping if it serves the national interest, the legal provisions of the Official Secrets Acts are all against employees and members of the public leaking secrets.  And any employee who wants to or is required to work for American agencies can do so without risking any legal penalty, as Bamford explained:  “Hayden suggested that such activity was not prohibited by federal law. Instead it was prohibited only by presidential executive order, and executive orders can be canceled or changed at the whims of a president.  ‘By executive order,’ Hayden said, ‘it is illegal for us to ask others to do what we cannot do ourselves, and we don’t do it’.”(16)
 
The crisis over what became known as NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) occurred when it came time for its renewal, March 11, 2004. Underlings of Ashcroft and Yoo at the Justice Department, James Comey and Jack Goldsmith, decided that it was an abomination to the Constitution, and recommended that it not be renewed. This led to a political firefight between the White House and the headless Department of Justice because Ashcroft was then in the hospital, suffering from gallstone pancreatitis.  “Without Comey’s signature,” Bamford wrote, “the NSA would have to immediately pull the plug on the operation or possibly face criminal charges.” (17)
 
With the public totally oblivious of what was going on, the White House and Ashcroft’s subordinates fought it out in a manner reminiscent of ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’.  While Bush reauthorized the program without Justice Department approval, he seemed to agree to changes in it which would bring it back within the law.  In the end, the changes only amounted to getting rid of the most egregious violations of FISA, and their continued justification.
 
Hayden’s protection of his secret, illegal operations started to fray a few months later when New York Times reporter James Risen, who helped break the spying for the Soviets by the Bureau’s Robert Hanssen, called, asking Hayden about his warrantless eavesdropping on Americans.(18)  Of course, Hayden panicked over the call, denying that anything untoward was going on at NSA, but he believed TSP’s days were numbered.  While Bamford seemed completely uninterested in who was Risen’s source, it was  Russell Tice, but the newspaper was unwilling to pursue it because it could not find anyone else to back up his claims, and word got out that Tice was a bit paranoid, leading to his being fired by NSA in May 2005. Perhaps,Tice was deliberately chosen to kill the story, once his lack of credibility was determined.
 
In any case, more than a year later Thomas A. Drake – a  NSA software purchaser executive who supported what Taylor had tried to get Hayden to do, especially the adoption of Thinthread rather than the most expensive wild goose chase that Trailblazer promised – apparently started whistle-blowing too on NSA. With Thinthread, Drake thought that NSA could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, and by 2002 he was telling anyone who would listen just that. 
 
Supported by NSA’s math specialist William Binney and communication analyst J. Kirk Wiebe, Drake soon got Diane Roark, a Republican aide to the House Intelligence Committee, taking his complaints seriously. Drake testified before congressional committees about his complaints, and worked with the DoD’s Inspector General for two and a half years to obtain official action regarding them but without any evidence of success in his December 2004 report. On his supporters’ advice, he not only contacted reporter Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun but apparently also the NYT.(19)
 
The Times article ultimately appeared on December 16, 2005, and a little over a year later, Attorney General Gonzales announced that the warrantless eavesdropping program had ended.  Once again, all eavesdropping would be subject to FISC warrants, as the President, this time, had refused to reauthorize TSP when it was needed for it to continue. NSA would not need to apply for a warrant, though, in foreign-to-foreign communications except when one end of it reached a U.S. phone, and then NSA had three days to apply to the court with an emergency application for the tap to be legal.
 
Shortly thereafter, Hayden left NSA, replaced as Director by General Keith Alexander while joining former NSA Director Mike McConnell, National Intelligence Director, as his deputy.  Because of the blow-back from the murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, who was repeatedly raped first, and her family in Iraq, National Intelligence made a meal of the kidnapping of two of the soldiers involved by getting the Justice Department to sign a emergency FISA request, certifying that it had probable cause for the Bureau to put the suspected kidnappers names on the watch list, and targeting their activities.
 
Then McConnell, thanks to input from Hayden, panicked Congress into passing the FISA Amendment Act which replaced the expiring Protect America Act – giving legal immunity to telecoms which engage in eavesdropping so that there would be no new Shamrock scandal, weakened the authority of its court, and gave NSA a freer hand in targeting suspected terrorists abroad.(20) It and the Bureau would still have to get an FISA order to target Americans and green card residents living in the States.
 
Despite Senator Obama’s campaign pledge that he would straighten out the whole warrantless eavesdropping mess if elected President, he has done nothing of the sort.  If anything, he has made it worse, claiming it is necessary in the war on terror while protecting ‘state secrets’ .(21) One can only speculate what secrets he had in mind.  The murder of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London comes readily to mind back in November 2006. The CIA was going through another terrible period in its history with the forced resignation of Director Porter Goss in May 2006, and Hayden taking over at the end of the month, starting a period during which the National Security Archive released the Agency’s Family Jewels, many of which concerned Helms’ violation of its Charter – MH-CHAOS, Shamrock, MK-Ultra and the stirring up of the Hungarian Uprising.
 
On the day Litvinenko was apparently poisoned, the George Washington University institution released the worst files, highlighted by a bit of the NYT front page where a Seymour Hersh article described Watergate’s fallout at Helms’ expence.(22)  The Agency’s staff needed something to stem the flow of damaging revelations, and Hayden’s presence there deflected attention away from its cause. 
 
NSA certainly had an interest in shutting up Litvinenko, who has threatening everyone he knew anything about, starting with Italy’s Romano Prodi with blackmail – what could go all the way back to the non-nuclear showdown with the Soviets after triggering it by assassinating Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme. Not only would the leaderships of Washington and London risk being implicated in this claims but also the double agent spying on Moscow which neither of them wanted aired again. Little wonder that he was killed in a most confusing way, particularly where he was poisoned, by what, by whom, and for what reason.(23)  The poison was most notable for its delayed, devastating effect. 
 
Edward Epstein, famous for helping cover up previous CIA-NSA plots, conveniently claimed that Litvinenko must have poisoned himself with the polonium-210 for some unknown reason.
 
The plot was intended to implicate Russian President Vladimir Putin in the assassination, but he stood his ground without flinching, protecting the alleged assassin Andrei Lugovoy, and making the plotters even more eager to punish the now Russian Prime Minister. They, headed by CIA’s director of operations Stephen Kappes, started a new assault on Moscow by building up a ‘false flag’ operation, dealing with illegal agents called New Rodina, based upon what the KGB had done with their original operation to genuinely do the same with real illegals back in the 1970s under Yuri Andropov. The covert operation was the leading one in President Obama’s secret agenda, explaining why he did nothing about warrantless eavesdropping, and why he was so supportive of Leon Panetta to be DCI. 
 
Panetta, as head of OMB and as Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration, knew about the convenient assassinations, particularly that of Colby, and now wanted to move on in a more coherent, structured way.  Of course, liberal Democrats like California’s Dianne Feinstein just cleared the way for his getting started by claiming she would only support his confirmation if he kept Kappes on, and when DNI Admiral Dennis Blair tried to interfere with what Panetta was doing with his resident agents in places like London, he was given the door after Leon blew his customary cool over the matter.
 
The sleeper cell contained 10 Russians, and their Canadian handler Robert Christopher Metsos.  For several years, the ten tried to integrate as well as they could into American society, reminiscent of how illegal KGB agent Vilyam Fisher ran the most effective VOLUNTEER group in NYC during the late 1940s.  “Under his later alias ‘Rufolp Abel’, Fisher was to become one of the best-known of all Soviet illegals, whose career was publicized by the KGB as a prime example of the success and sophistication of its operations in the West during the Cold War.”(24) While Andrew characteristically debunked Abel’s achievements, the so called Manhattan 11 group never really got started, just sleeping away along America’s east coast, and collecting their pay while awaiting instructions about doing something significant.  It seems that all but Metsos thought that they were there to infiltrate really sleeper groups for Moscow.
 
When it came time to entrap them, just before President Dmitri Medvedev came to Washington for a fence-mending meeting with President Obama, the Bureau set up Anna Chapman, the only one connected to Britain, by having her send deeply encrypted messages by a computer wireless network she had been given to another of the sleepers, at the suggestion of an FBI agent feigning to be a Russian Embassy official, about getting a false passport. The messages were sent on sophisticated laptops which the Bureau had provided, and had software to encrypt and decrypt them – what prevented Bureau agents from being involved in any illegal wiretapping.
 
When Chapman ultimately refused to go ahead with the exchange, thanks to advice from her father, a former KGB agent, Chapman and the others were arrested as foreign agents, and the media went wild over the story.(25) 
 
The Bureau soon learned that it would be in difficulty if it went ahead with these most serious prosecutions as the evidence could be quickly shown to be fraudulent, charging them instead with only failing to register with the Attorney General as agents of a foreign power, and for money laundering with the secret payments they received. Then Prime Minister Putin surprisingly agreed to exchange them for four real spies being held by the Russians.
 
The weakness of the evidence was manifest when the Bureau on Halloween released the videos of Operation Ghost Stories, showing ten of the sleepers doing most ordinary things or deliberately contrived ones when no known Russian handler was ever exposed – only Bureau agents posing to be so. Sleepers are said to be shown engaging in tradecraft when there is no evidence of their actually doing so, and making exchanges when only they, particularly Metsos, are identified.
 
The best example of the contrivance that the Bureau engaged in is shown in the 7:40 minute-long video of sexy Anna Chapman walking around a department store on January 29, 2010, allegedly communicating with her Russian handler outside. The stacked videos of her are quite clearly ones of the store’s, looking for shoplifters. Chapman certainly looks like one while aimlessly walking around it rather than engaged in any wireless conversation. At the same time, the man outside – with his face blacked out – is endlessly talking to someone on his cellphone. There seems to be no conversation between them at all, and the handler could not be a Russian official as the FBI would have loved to have displayed his face if he had been one.  Ghost Stories indeed!  
 
The Bureau’s concerns were that spy prosecutions would be seen as the result of a deliberate fishing expedition for years to get around the law  – what did violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution about unreasonable searches and seizures, and that the “wall” between intelligence and criminal squads had been broken through during the process.
 
“The FBI then decided to allow only agents and analysts assigned to intelligence duties access to FISA materials, not the criminal investigators.” (26)  For good measure, anyone who reviewed transcripts of domestic electronic surveillance must sign a certification that court approval was required before they were handed over to criminal prosecutors.  None of this was done, and the Bureau’s leaderhip would be in serious trouble if it were exposed by someone with inside credibility.
 
And that person was Gareth Williams, GCHQ’s whiz kid software man who could encrypt messages to remain secret during any transmission or decode any such message received, and who was on secondment to MI6 to help out its spies to get what they wanted. While it seems a bit of a stretch that he was actually involved in helping entrap the Manhattan 11, it seems quite clear that he knew that he was in no trouble whatever the Bureau had done.(27) 
 
When that became important was when a couple visited his safe flat in Mayfair right after the case broke. The couple could have been Putin’s agents, seeking approval for the spy swap. Then it could have been her former husband Alex Chapman, and her former roommate Lena Savitskaya who knew only about the MI6 flat, not who had occupied it, explaining why they knocked on other doors first to find out where it was in the building, once they had gained entrance. The meeting resulted in their adopting a plan to embarrass NSA/GCHQ as much as possible, with Gareth apparently supplying the funds up front to get it started.
 
Williams went back to the States in July, and started asking questions about what NSA had really been doing when it came of warrantless eavesdropping, especially after it became clear of Thomas Drake’s plight for whistle-blowing about the problems at NSA.(28)  He faced 35 years in prison for continuing to air his complaints through reporter Gorman who had now moved on to The Wall Street Journal  – what he had even tried to get Seymour Hersh to go along with, but without success. Drake’s problems just made Williams want to get to the bottom of the covert operations more, so much so that he apparently disclosed his aims to a GCHQ colleague and her husband who were at Fort Meade in his stead, forcing MI6 to transfer them to Denver on another alleged covert mission so that they could not be involved in any further developments.
 
The assassination of Williams and its cover up were the main problems. He was apparently poisoned by death cap mushrooms, amanita phalloides, just before he left to go back to Britain on 10th August, either by their being placed in the food at his apartment there or while he was eating out somewhere. Shortly after he returned, he suffered the vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc. which are characteristic of this kind of poisoning, but he seems not to have taken it seriously at first.
 
Almost everyone has had such experiences, and almost never have suspected that they were the results of deliberate, deadly poisoning, especially when they soon stopped – what also happened in this case.  The only problem was that this was the second stage of the poisoning, and not just getting over some cook’s alleged revenge. It apparently ended on the 14th after Williams bought some medication at Harrods’ Dispensing Pharmacy to deal with the resumption of the problems(29), but by now it was too little too late.  Taking pills like rifampicin, antamanide, paclitaxed and the like orally are no substitute for them taken intravenously, especially if one has not at first cleaned out one’s gut some way.
 
The plight of Williams is seen in the video tapes of him, both apparently taken on the 14th though the police say that one, the one outside Harrods, was on the 15th.  Both show a very jaundiced, feverish soul, dragging himself around as best he can. His pallor at the Holland Park Station is that of a person going into the final stage of phallotoxin poisoning where the cells of the liver are dropping dead.(30) The police want, it seems, to explain away Williams having bought £90-worth of medication on the 14th, making it look like it was for women’s toiletries – the cause of his alleged cross dressing – because they found a bill from the pharmacy at the flat but no signs of the medications. They want to maintain the myth that he was a perfectly healthy person until he surprisingly died for some unknown reason.
 
When Williams realized he was dying, perhaps on the night of the 14th, there was nothing he could do about it which would make it any better physically or mentally.  Calls to family and friends would have only alarmed them, and alerted them that he was being murdered for some alleged betrayal. Going to a hospital or a doctor would end with results even worse. So he just allowed himself to die, slowly in his flat. The death could have occurred any time after the 15th, as the process usually takes between six and sixteen days after ingesting the poison.  Williams hoped that the murder scene would be seen as such by the police when they finally discovered it.
 
It seems that Williams dead or dying was discovered by British covert agents, helping out NSA in the process. They were the ones who let themselves into the flat, found Williams’ body, moved it into the carryall, zipped it up and padlocked it, recovered all his medicines, and then let themselves out, locking the door behind them. They hoped that investigators would see it as the result of some sex game, gone wrong.  The only thing they overlooked was leaving the receipt for Williams’ medical assistance.
 
It was most interesting that NSA immediately and unprecedentally denied that his death had anything to do with its operations.(31)  An alleged former CIA officer in London was sure that it had nothing to do with his work. Now the investigation of the murder is in a state of suspended animation, letting the Bureau agents see if they can connect the Mediterranean-looking couple to the killing – apparently a lead to Alex Chapman and his female associate – and if they can’t, Williams will be written off as an accidental self-killing, like that of former GMP Chief Constable Mike Todd.    
 
 
References
 
1. James Bamford, The Shadow Factory:  The Ultra-Secret from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, p. 29. For more on the Catholic movement, see this link:
http://www.nsc-chariscenter.org/AboutCCR/
2.  Ibid., p. 30.
3.  For more belated discussion about the deadly controversy in Helm’s memoirs,  see Thomas Troy’s review of it in Studies in Intelligence, and the cover-up response to it:
http://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/sci-studies/vol48no1/article.08.html
http://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/sci-studies/vol48no4/exception.html
4.  For more, see:  http://mirror.robert-marquardt.com/cryptome/001/usa-disasters.htm
5.  Quoted the back of the dustcover of Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman, The Nuclear Express.
6.  James Bamford, Body of Secrets: How America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Eavesdrop on the World, p. 549.
7.  Bamford, op. cit., p. 8.
8.  Ibid., pp. 31-2.
9.  Quoted in ibid.,p. 41.
10  Bamford, The…, p. 329.
11. For more, see Trowbridge H. Ford, “O’Neill: A Voice in the Wilderness?,” Eye Spy!, Issue Thirteen, pp. 22-23.
12. Bamford, The…, pp. 40-1.
13. For more, see Trowbridge H, Ford, “The Prelude: US Intelligence – 11 September 2001,” Eye Spy!, Issue Eight, pp. 26-33.
14. Quoted from Bamford, The…, pp. 90-1.
15.  Ibid., pp. 115-6.
16.  Ibid., p. 38.
17.  Ibid., p. 281.
18.  Ibid., p. 287.
19.  For more, see James O’Rourke’s article: http://politicsorpoppycock.com/2010/07/14/act-of-honor-or-betrayal/
20.  Bamford, The…, p. 307.
21.  For more, see this link: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/05
22.  http://www.gwu.edu/~asarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB222(index.htm  And remember that Hayden was DCI when Studies in Intelligence printed the exchange which attempted to rehabilitate Helms
23.  For more, see these links:
http://cryptome.org/mi6-litvinenko.html
http://codshit.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-and-how-alexander-litvinenko-was.html
24. Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield, p.148
25.  See, e. g., this link: http://www.cbsnews/com/stories/2010/06/28/world/main6627393.shtml
26.  Bamford, The…, p. 67.
27.  Ibid., p. 38.
28.  See O’Rourke, op. cit.
29.  For its existence – what some investigators deny – see this link: http://www.londontoolkit.com/whattodo/harrods.htm
30.  http://www.thisislondom.co.uk/standard-23874697-last-images-of-spy-in-bag-gareth-williams.do
31.  http://blog.wshingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/gareth_williams_death_not_spy-.html