CIA in the Cold War

Sequester and Furloughs: It’s Discount Espionage Time

Published with Permission by:
Coleman, Timothy & Lint, James R., “Sequester and Furloughs: It’s Discount Espionage Time”, Homeland Security Today, 15 July 2013, Web,

On his deathbed in 1801, legend has it that the infamous American Continental Army Gen. Benedict Arnold, a hero of the battles of Ticonderoga and Saratoga who defected to the British Army, uttered his regret: “Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.”

But while scholars have debated the prevailing historical wisdom that Arnold’s treasonous conversion was motivated by his frustration at having been passed over for promotion and outraged that others took credit for his achievements and military victories, a congressional investigation indicted his motivation was purely financial — he was nearly penniless, having spent much of his own money on the American war effort. But when he joined the British Army as a brigadier general, the Red Coats gave him what was then a very generous pension and a £6,000 signing bonus.

It’s a familiar story, though: money, or ideology; sometimes both.

For American traitor Navy communications officer John Walker, Jr., his motivation for nearly two-decades of spying for the Soviets (which included providing “enough code-data information to alter significantly the balance of power between Russia and the United States”), was purely financial, prosecutors said.

Heavily in debt and bitter that his brilliance had gone unrecognized, veteran CIA Soviet counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames — among other things — sold to the KGB the identities of the CIA’s agents secreted throughout the Soviet spy agency.

FBI Soviet counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen spied for Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence services for 22 years also partly due to the same frustrations that tormented Ames, but also partly, it seemed according to prosecutors, because of the tastes of an expensive mistress. The Justice Department’s Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs said Hanssen “possibly [was] the worst intelligence disaster in US history.”

While these turncoats spied against their country during an espionage boom when the Soviet’s were quite willing to cut CEO-equivalent paychecks for such big fish, they were the exceptions rather than the rule. In today’s austere espionage market economy, brought on by sequester and furloughs, foreign intelligence services are far more likely to ensnare a broke and bitter GG-13 with access to secrets for a bargain basement price.

Foreign Intelligence Security Services (FISS) still keep a keen eye out for the Walkers, Ames, and Hanssens, but they’re also spending a great deal more time assessing the vulnerabilities of the many lower level military and Intelligence Community (IC) employees who have access to valuable secrets.

For decades, the US military, IC and contractors have been required to not only continuously evaluate their workforces for eligibility to access classified information, but also to be on the lookout for signs and indicators of potentially treasonous espionage from within their ranks. This includes the criminal leaking under the nation’s espionage laws of the nation’s most closely guarded foreign intelligence collection operations — — espionage operations former National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA director, AF Gen. (Ret.) Michael Hayden, recently pointed out that all nations’ intelligence services engage in.

Consequently, the failure of the early warning system to alert what NSA contractor Edward Snowden was up to has provoked an intensive investigation into whether there were, in fact, signs and indicators that someone had observed that weren’t properly reported. Former NSA official John R. Schindler recently remarked that Snowden’s security clearance background investigation was “clearly flawed.”

The threat of penetration by FISS is ever-present, and the Army trains its soldiers as well as civilian employees to always be vigilant. Training and awareness efforts are clearly articulated under US Army Regulation 382-12, Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (TARP), revised by the US Army on Oct. 4, 2010.

Formerly known as Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the US Army (SAEDA), TARP outlines the policy and responsibilities for threat awareness and reporting within the US Army. Specifically, it requires Department of the Army (DA) personnel to report any information to counterintelligence offices regarding known or suspected espionage, international terrorism, sabotage, subversion, theft or illegal diversion of military technology, information systems intrusions and unauthorized disclosure of classified information, among other required security and espionage concerns.

As the revised directive states: “The primary focus of this regulation is to ensure that DA personnel understand and report potential threats by foreign intelligence and international terrorists to the Army. Threat awareness and education training is designed to ensure that DA personnel recognize and report incidents and indicators of attempted or actual espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism or extremist activities directed against the Army and its personnel, facilities, resources and activities; indicators of potential terrorist associated insider threats; illegal diversion of military technology; unauthorized intrusions into automated information systems; unauthorized disclosure of classified information; and indicators of other incidents that may indicate foreign intelligence or international terrorism targeting of the Army.

Following the digital data dump of roughly a quarter-million State Department cables — six percent of which were classified “Secret” and the rest were either “Confidential” or unclassified  — accessed via classified Internet networks and downloaded onto thumb drives by low-level, but sufficiently cleared 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Private First Class Bradley Manning, President Obama on October 07, 2011, issued Executive Order 13587 that required government-wide “structural reforms to improve the security of classified networks and the responsible sharing and safeguarding of classified information.”

The order applies to “all agencies that operate or access classified computer networks, all users of classified computer networks (including contractors and others who operate or access classified computer networks controlled by the federal government), and all classified information on those networks …”

All of these security efforts are not without justifiable reasons. Cleared personnel can become the target for recruitment by foreign spies and hostile intelligence services by no fault of their own. It is simply the reality and consequence of having access to classified information and sensitive US government secrets.

Not access alone

It is not only access to classified information that makes one an inviting target, however, there are other activities that increase the desirability. In fact, any Army team member/employee and or soldier can be targeted because of where they are stationed, where they travel or even because of an ethnic or cultural background of particular interest.

It should be noted and emphasized that being a target for recruitment does not necessarily reflect poorly on an individual. The opposite also applies, especially if the reason a specific person is targeted is because of his or her susceptibility to recruitment or exposure to compromise. Even so, just being a target does carry with it embedded risk factors, as it clearly increases the potentiality that a weakness or pressure point can be discovered and exploited by foreign intelligence collectors.

Targets of convenient opportunity

The historical record clearly demonstrates that US personnel with security clearances are regularly targeted. ‘By hook or by crook,’ foreign counterintelligence agents have repeatedly been able to entice Americans to commit treason. The question then quickly becomes, what is it that makes America and would-be patriots such inviting targets of opportunity?

Prominent and well-publicized instances of Americans turned traitors shows that monetary reward and financial gain are very often a major driving factor in the equation. In turn, it should come as no surprise that foreign intelligence agents seeking new, well-placed assets often examine the financial circumstances and standing of identified potential targets.

Financial difficulties provides an initial and eventually lucrative ingress of potential exploitable temptation to facilitate the evolution of an individual’s compromise – and eventual treason. But it is generally not the only factor that’s in play in the targeting and recruitment effort.

Win, place or show: An espionage trifecta

Another and sometimes more nefarious element to recruitment can include exploiting personal feelings of disillusionment, anger, frustration and disappointment. These emotions can exist for a multitude of reasons, and can run the gamut from being passed over for a promotion, feeling underappreciated at work, disgruntled with the Army … or even America itself. These beliefs– indications of which can openly manifest as attitudes of anger and resentment — are recognized by foreign intelligence services’ case officers as openings to manipulate a potential target into justifying his or her espionage.

This can all add up to a desired trifecta of opportunity for a foreign counterintelligence case officer – a potent, readily exploitable human Petri dish seething with psychological, financial and other stressors that make the person a target ripe for recruitment.

An individual who possesses a security clearance, has financial problems and is disgruntled poses a dangerous triad … and a compounding problem for counterintelligence interdiction efforts. In the end, a counterintelligence target that embodies the aforementioned trifecta is one that has two more levers to pull, and two more pressure points than is required for an FISS to target.

This trifecta, in essence, can define the elements required for the low-hanging fruit of an American traitor that’s ripe for the picking.

Catch more flies with honey

With the current budgetary environment, furloughs the talk of the town, and sequestration the topic of water cooler chatter, low-hanging fruit that bear the elements of trifecta targets are sure to abound. Just a superficial reading of “Letters to the Editor” in various magazines and publications widely read by federal employees and members of the military makes the case for a target-rich environment for foreign agents. The problem is compounded by a growing segment of government personnel — many of whom likely hold security clearances — venting their frustration and anger in Internet blog comments, making them identifiable potential targets for recruitment.

Disgruntled individuals that publicly voice their justifiable concerns make easy work for foreign intelligence operatives who seek potential turncoats of opportunity. In many respects, it would appear as though potential opportunities for penetration are being served up on a silver platter at an all you can eat buffet where the chow line stretches around the proverbial corner!

We could even say that we are ensuring job advancement prospects for foreign intelligence agents and providing the very fodder for enemy promotions with such a perfect storm for motivating espionage from within our own ranks.

Consequences of context

Currently, sequester and  current furloughs are expected to impact soldiers with great effect. Stress and greater work scrutiny, coupled to an increase in regulations, and some early outs will cause worry among all ranks of the Army. Inevitably, this will extend into the civilian workforce, particularly with an estimated 20 percent pay cut caused by the recent start of 11 weeks of furlough.

While 99.9 percent of the individuals who are likely to be the hardest hit are loyal and dedicated American patriots, there nevertheless will be a small percentage whose financial hardships and other life stresses become so overwhelming that the resulting discontent and dissatisfaction will make them vulnerable to persuasion by foreign intelligence operatives, whose efforts to entrap these susceptible and exposed targets will require little effort at all.

The certainty of maybe not today

As accurate and apropos as the adage, “if you play with fire you will get burned,” is, it is vital to understand that if you commit espionage, you will be caught.

The Army’s military intelligence and counterintelligence organizations are designed to protect soldiers and employees from espionage threats and FISS espionage overtures. These entities and their work remains key to protecting the technological advances that give American soldiers the edge on the battlefield. Army counterintelligence have partnered with the FBI and have taken down important foreign recruitment operations. While trifecta targets may, in turn, be a target rich environment for FISS recruitment, one should assume that Newton’s thirdlaw of motion applies to counterintelligence: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

To be specific, Army counterintelligence units have, and continue, to partner with the FBI on very important espionage investigations. Disgraced former US Army National Security Agency SIGINT analyst David Sheldon Boone’s 24 year and four month sentence for espionage on behalf of the former Soviet Union is proof positive that treason will be dealt with. Boone was arrested following a successful sting operation by the FBI in 1999 that was supported in large part by Army counterintelligence. According to press reports at the time, Boone decided to become a Soviet spy in order to alleviate “severe financial and personal difficulties” — a familiar refrain sung by many other American traitors in financial trouble.

Remaining true to the core values

It is not by accident that loyalty is the first word cited in the Seven Core Army Values. It is also isn’t accidental that the US Army is composed of both solders and civilians who know the importance of the mission at hand, and therefore go well above and beyond what is expected of them in their service to their country.

Nevertheless, because of current operating environments, tempos and the resulting pressures, there should be no doubt that there’s a well-trained cadre of highly proficient foreign intelligence professionals out there who are operating in overdrive. Like barbarians breaching the gate, or a pack of hungry wolves surrounding a campfire, we have no alternative other than to remain more vigilant than we’ve ever been, especially given that our enemies today have far better knowledge and understanding of the stresses that are on America’s Army workforce. This is why supporting your battle buddies, knowing your left and right flanks and having your six covered will get us through this time of seemingly unprecedented tribulations with our core security values intact.

It’s easy to imagine especially hostile foreign governments and their intelligence services plotting and rejoicing as they undoubtedly regard our furloughs and sequestration as a euphemism for discount espionage.

And a “discount espionage” opportunity almost assuredly is apparent in the minds of our avowed adversaries, as they understand that it’s now far cheaper to buy not just one, but perhaps many, Benedict Arnolds today than it was during, say, the Cold War era of President Ronald Reagan. The return on a foreign intelligence service’s investment has been made inherently worth the risk because of the cut-rate prices they can get away with paying today to comprise disgruntled, financially overextended and security cleared individuals. Like it or not, these individuals are perceived as virtually undemanding targets for espionage recruitment operations.

It is for this reason we must aggressively boost our awareness, redouble our vigilance and steadfastly support our fellow co-workers. The Army has a series of vitally important programs in place to take care of our people, yet they’re often underutilized. And they’re not new programs — many were launched more than half-a-century ago. But over time, they’ve become overlooked, underappreciated and underutilized. For those in uniform who may be experiencing a financial crisis, the Army Community Services, Employee Assistance Programs and organizational Chaplains are there to counsel and provide spiritual guidance. Financial counseling and assistance is also available.

Your Army, as well as those who lead it — are ready, willing and able to do their part. But it’s also the duty and responsibility for  all government employees, uniformed or civilian, to be vigilant and help your fellow soldier and office worker. It is one Army, and one team — and we are dependent on that more today than ever before.

Remember, inaction begets targeting. Targeting invites compromise, and compromise precipitates contrition. But forgiveness for treason remains unattainable.

James R. Lint served in the United States military for over 20 years, in both the US Marine Corps (7 years) and US Army (14 years). He spent three years in Marine Infantry, four years as a Marine Counterintelligence specialist, and nearly 15 years as an Army Counterintelligence Special Agent. Lint has expertise in counterintelligence, cyber intelligence, security, information assurance, terrorism studies, counterterrorism, human intelligence collection and low-intensity asymmetric warfare.

Previously, Lint served as Deputy Director for Safeguards & Security, Office of Science, at the Department of Energy. And prior to that, he served at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, where he was initially the lead cyber intelligence analyst and later the Chief of the Collection Analysis Team.

His military assignments include Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at American Military University.

Timothy W. Coleman is a writer and security analyst who has co-founded two technology startup firms. He has a Masters of Public and International Affairs in Security and Intelligence Studies, and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance.

The views expressed in this article are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy or the position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or any other department or agency within the US Government.

An Interview with Kevin Brothers, CDR, USN (Ret.)

John Wiseman: How would you define National Security and in what capacity have you been involved with United States National Security. How did you get involved? (Approximate dates and job titles if possible).

Kevin Brothers: When I first joined the military in 1984, the United States was deep into the Cold War. Back during the Reagan administration tensions with the Soviet Union were high. I was somewhat apprehensive about joining, but then I thought to myself, “if the balloon ever goes up, I want to be out there fighting and not staying at home letting someone else do it for me.” So after college I signed up with the Navy. I chose the Navy because it guaranteed me the career path of intelligence.

In those days, we weren’t too far past the Vietnam era of distrust of the military. There were no “Thank you for your service” greetings. It was a different time. About a week after I signed with Navy, I got a mysterious call from the CIA asking if I was interested. I told them it was too late. In the end, I think the Navy was a better option for me, so I’m glad the CIA didn’t call first.

After Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Pensacola, Florida, I was commissioned an Ensign, Special Duty, Aviation Intelligence. AOCS was not the easiest way to get a commission. The main purpose of the school was to produce naval aviators. The medical screening was legendary and many people failed out for that reason alone. Marine Corps Drill Instructors ran the school and they were demanding. I remember our Drill Instructor telling us, “My mission… is attrition.” I think something like 50% of the all candidates washed out before graduation, some for medical, some for academics, and some because the regimen was too tough.  The Drill Instructors taped off an alcove in the hallway of the barracks and every time a candidate “DORed” (Dropped on Request), they put that candidates’ “chrome dome” (aka shiny uniform helmet) in the “poopie graveyard” so we would all be reminded of those who dropped out. The DIs took glee every time they added a helmet to the “graveyard.” My class started with eight intelligence officer candidates in it, and I was the only one who made it through and graduated with my class on time. The school was made famous by the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman,” although the Navy refused to cooperate with the film, forcing the production company to actually shoot the picture in Washington State, not Florida.

In those days, most people had a pretty clear conception of what “national security” meant. It was to protect the United States from existential threats, primarily the Soviet Union. The Soviets used to operate submarines with nuclear warheads around the world, including in the Atlantic Ocean. The missiles on those subs had just a seven-minute flight time to Washington, DC. There was not a lot of room for error on our part. We had to keep track of them and it was serious business. The Soviets would also fly menacing bomber flights in the North Atlantic, along the east coast of the United States and all the way down to Cuba.  Everybody was a little on edge during such flights. We had to get it right to intercept them and escort them along their way.

After the Soviet empire collapsed in the 1990s and the threat from Russia decreased, many people started rethinking what “national security” meant. The term now can include everything from climate change to the financial sector to global health. I prefer to think of national security still in terms of the existential threat, even if it is not a use of military force. For example, to me, terrorism is not an existential threat to national security. Terrorists are not going to end the existence of the United States. Terrorists have to be dealt with, but in my opinion, the country spends too much time and treasure fighting a small, if politically potent threat.

In the middle of my military career, I took a break in service and went to law school. After law school I went back into the Navy Reserves. I actually had to go through the recruiting process again. I asked my recruiter if I should go into the Judge Advocate General Corps. He said, “Are you kidding, every lawyer I hear from wants to do intel” so I stayed intel.  I had some great assignments in the reserves both on active and reserve duty. I had assignments in the Pentagon, Germany, and Iceland and made it to the rank of Commander. In 2004, I was assigned to the faculty of what is now known as the National Intelligence University. It’s a unique school where all the faculty and students have to have high-level security clearances and have to come from government or the military. I got a master’s degree from the same school when I was on active duty. I taught graduate classes there in intelligence in the Reserve/Executive Management program on subjects ranging from intelligence law to international security. After retiring from the Navy, I have continued to teach graduate classes in intelligence in the private sector as a civilian adjunct. Right now I am teaching at the University of Maryland University College.

JW: What is one of the more memorable or impactful experiences during your National Security Career?

KB: After about a week of Operation Desert Storm, we realized we had a problem with Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA). This was a lost art, because nobody had been doing it since Vietnam and we had no idea how much damage our military campaign was having against the forces of Saddam Hussein. It became a political issue and the president wanted to be able to understand the effect of the entire war effort.  The Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, directed his Director of Intelligence to immediately put together a BDA team to produce bomb damage assessment reports as a top priority. I was assigned to this small team, not because I had any bomb damage assessment experience, hardly anybody did, but rather because I was a “Mac driver” as we were called in those days. Few people knew how to run Apple computers back then and only Apples had the screaming 8MB of RAM it took to make the necessary graphics. Hence I found myself on the team as the expert who could transform numbers into graphics, bar charts, and maps.

On our first morning, the director of the team asked me what kind of computer equipment I needed. I got a computer catalog and circled the items I needed. Now normally, the government procurement process was lengthy and cumbersome and takes months. This time, all the items I circled were in our spaces in the Pentagon by 1600 that same afternoon. I have no idea how they got there, I was so busy doing other things; they just magically appeared. It is amazing how fast things can get done when something is a presidential priority.

I set everything up and then went home because I was going to have to start reporting to work at 0100 every day, which is an odd time to be starting one’s work day, especially when quitting time was still around 1700 every day.  Every night/morning, I would go over the data, update charts, figure out the best kind of graphs and images to include to supplement the reports and print them out right there in the office. The pressure to get this right was intense. My boss or his boss would take the report every morning and use it to brief both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. The Chairman or Secretary would then take the report across the river and brief the president with it in person at the White House.

One day during the campaign, RADM Schaefer, who was the Deputy Director of DIA at the time, wanted a copy of the report because he had to brief all the living presidents at the time – Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan.  Word came back to me from RADM Schaefer that Richard Nixon “loved the graphics.” Having your work presented to five different presidents in the same day is a pretty cool thing!

JW: Was there a particularly funny or comedic experience?

KB: One time we pulled into port in Palermo, Sicily. There was not a lot to do in Palermo, but there was some big news going on. The Soviets were sending their new Kilo class submarines out of area for the first time on its way to India. A Kilo was going to be in port the same time we were. The Italians were eager to avoid an incident and our captain told us to stay away from the Kilo, which was going to be in a different part of the port.

Now I was the intelligence officer in an aircraft squadron, so all the other officers in the squadron except one maintenance officer were pilots. I went out on liberty with two of our pilots, one of whom was a Canadian exchange pilot, who also had a van for some reason. The two pilots sat in front of the van while I was in the back.

Pilots are much more risk takers than intelligence officers. They decided it would be really cool to snap some pics of the Kilo. I explained to them that this was a bad idea.  Having an intelligence officer involved in spying on a Soviet submarine could cause a major diplomatic incident. They ignored me.

We drove to a remote part of the Italian naval base with a view of the Kilo. They got out and indiscreetly started taking a bunch of happy snaps. I didn’t. Then suddenly one of the Soviet sailors noticed them taking the pictures. Immediately we could see all the Soviet sailors start to scramble around and cover things up on the deck. We decided then it would be in our interest to leave.

Our Canadian driver put in an admirable effort to get out the gate before word could reach the Italian guards.  He drove as recklessly as any Neapolitan cab driver in a desperate attempt to get off the base.  We were just nearing the main gate when we saw a guard hang up a phone at the guard post and then order us to stop. So close.  The guards, made us all get out hand over our IDs and they started asking a bunch of questions. I never let on I was an intelligence officer and just stayed quiet and let the pilots do all the talking, fortunately the other pilot was Italian-American and that may have helped our situation. Inside, my heart was racing a mile a minute. I thought we might be detained and we would miss the ship’s movement, which is a big deal.  Or worse, the incident could end my career. The Italian guards made us hand over our cameras. They opened the cameras and exposed all our film and then they let us go, much to our great relief. Sometimes the Italian “shrug of the shoulders” attitude about things is a nuisance, but this time it paid off.

Another funny story involved an officer candidate at AOCS we all called “Bones” because he was so skinny. There was a tradition at the school that the candidate with the highest body fat percentage at the end of the program had to buy a round of beer for the rest of the class.  Because of the strange way that the Navy measured body fat percentage, which involved comparing neck measurements to waist measurements, Bones had the highest body fat percentage in the class because his neck was so thin. In the end, Bones had to buy us all a beer for being so “fat.”

JW: What is one of the most valuable lessons you learned from your NS time?

KB: I was the senior briefer for Carrier Airwing Six during the USS Vincennes shootdown of an Iranian airliner. Our team was in charge of briefing both air operations and the intelligence picture to all the embarked flight crews. That day, everyone was on edge because these little Iranian boats, Boghammers, were coming out and harassing the fleet. There were some exchanges of fire between our units and theirs.

Normally, the aircraft carrier should have had control of the airspace, but that day for some unknown reason we didn’t, which was unusual. The operational situation was confused. I was splitting my time between the carrier’s command center listening to everything unfold and the intel center where I had to relay the intelligence and air ops picture out to the aircrews in their ready rooms via closed circuit TV. We knew the Iranians still had some F-14s, which everybody was our big concern because it was a capable aircraft.

I was in the command center when I heard a radio call, “Splash one foxtrot one four,” coming from the Vincennes meaning the ship had just shot down an Iranian F-14. At this point, after the shootdown and all the little harassing incidents going on with the small boys (the smaller ships in a carrier battle group), it looked like things were really going to being spinning out of control fast. I remember during one of my briefs to the aircrews I was really talking fast and my boss told me to “slow down.”

It didn’t take long before we realized Vincennes had shot down a civilian airliner, not an F-14. We were all stunned. I remember distinctly the feeling of numbness that everyone had when we realized what had happened. The lesson there was that there really is a “fog of war.” Just because you think you understand an event does not mean you really do. Initial reports, even from direct participants, can be wrong. What we thought was a great military success was, ended up being a tragic accident where 290 civilians lost their lives. The more chaotic a situation, the more you have to stay calm and even-keeled in order to think clearly about all the possible scenarios and not jump to conclusions.

I saw this same kind of thing happen while working as an intelligence watchstander. Initial reports are often wrong and it takes time and additional sources to really put together a picture of any event.

JW: What was one of the most difficult experiences you faced during your NS time?

KB: Watchstanding ashore can really be a grind. At the National Military Joint Intelligence Center (NMJIC), the rotating watch schedule requires one week of daytime watchstanding (from 0600-1400), followed by one week of swing shifts (1400-2200), followed by one week of mids (2200—0600) that ends with two 12 hour weekend mids. Then you get five days off, do two 12-hour weekend day shifts, then a week off before starting the 0600 shift again. The work on the watch floor is really interesting requiring watchstanders to stay on top of current events in order to alert the military leadership to missile launches, troop movements, invasions, hostile aircraft flight patterns etc., but it’s physically demanding. Constantly switching from midnight shift back to morning shift does a number on your circadian rhythm.

JW: What advice would you give new personnel thinking about starting a career in National Security?

KB: Get to know the world. It really helps to know at least one foreign language well. While the national security community makes a big deal about certain “critical” languages, knowing any other language is big help. Today’s “critical” languages might be not worth much in five years, but language is always a window into how others think, view the United States, and might act. Foreign residence is also helpful. There is no better way to understand the United States and its interests than by seeing the country from the outside.

It’s also important to be able to think critically and write effectively. This matters in most areas of national security, but especially intelligence. No matter what area of national security one ends up in, there is almost always going to be a requirement to write reports and make recommendations. Good ones will get noticed. Those who are well prepared in this area have an edge.


World War I Counterintelligence Agents Get Their Man – February 1918

Published with Permission by:
Lori S. Tagg, Command Historian,
US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca, AZ.

On August 13, 1917, the US Army’s Military Intelligence Section (later elevated to Division) created the Corps of Intelligence Police (CIP) to protect American forces in France from sabotage and subversion. CIP agents also conducted special investigations, including suspected German espionage activities, throughout the United States.  The CIP had difficulty apprehending the enemy agents involved because they often fled to Mexico.  Several CIP agents were stationed along the US-Mexico border during this period to investigate and apprehend suspected German spies.

Two CIP agents in Nogales, Arizona, Captains Joel A. Lipscomb and Byron S. Butcher, recruited Dr. Paul B. Altendorf to infiltrate German spy rings in Mexico.  Altendorf was an Austrian immigrant to Mexico, where he served as a Colonel in the Mexican army.  Known to the CIP as Operative A-1, Altendorf managed to join the German Secret Service and become linked with several other German spies living in Mexico.

In January 1918, the CIP learned that Altendorf was accompanying one Lothar Witzke from Mexico City to the US border.  Witzke was a 22-year-old former lieutenant in the Germany navy, who alternately went by Harry Waberski, Hugo Olson, and Pablo Davis, to name just a few of his many aliases.  He had long been under CIP surveillance as a suspected German spy and saboteur.  During the trip from Mexico City, Witzke had no suspicion that his companion was an Allied double agent taking note of Witzke’s every move and indiscretion.  At one point, a drunk Witzke let slip bits of information that Altendorf quickly passed on to Capt. Butcher.  Specifically, Altendorf informed the CIP that Witzke’s handlers had sent him back to the US to incite mutiny within the US Army and various labor unions, conduct sabotage, and assassinate American officials.

On or about February 1, 1918, Capt. Butcher apprehended Witzke once he crossed the border at Nogales, and a search of Witzke’s luggage revealed a coded letter and Russian passport. Capt. John Manley, assistant to Herbert Yardley in the Military Intelligence Division’s MI-8 Cryptographic Bureau in Washington, DC, deciphered the letter, revealing Witzke’s German connections. The letter stated: “Strictly Secret! The bearer of this is a subject of the Empire who travels as a Russian under the name of Pablo Waberski. He is a German secret agent.”

While detained at Fort Sam Houston awaiting trial, Witzke was extensively interrogated by CIP agents but refused to provide any details about his contacts, co-conspirators, or alleged espionage.  His trial began in August 1918, and witnesses against him included Dr. Altendorf, Capt. Butcher, Capt. Lipscomb, and Capt. Manley.  Witzke took the stand in his own defense and spun a fantastical tale of how he was simply a down-on-his-luck drifter framed as a German spy.  The Military Commission found Witzke guilty of espionage and sentenced him to death, the only German spy thus sentenced in the US during World War I.  After the war, President Woodrow Wilson commuted his sentence to life in prison, and he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth.  In 1923, however, Witzke was pardoned and released to the German government.

A decade later, during the international Mixed Claims Commission hearings into damages related to the war, several American lawyers revealed Witzke’s role in the sabotage of the Black Tom Island munitions depot in New York Harbor on July 20, 1916. Ostensibly, he had been one of three collaborators who had placed dynamite on several barges loaded with ammunition causing a blast felt as far away as Philadelphia and Maryland.  The explosion lit up the night sky, shattered windows, broke water mains, and peppered the Statue of Liberty with shrapnel.  Seven people were killed.  Although in 1939 the Mixed Claims Commission found Germany complicit in the sabotage, Witzke and his co-conspirators, allegedly responsible for the worst act of terrorism on American soil up to that time, went unpunished.  Additionally, Germany refused to pay the $50 million judgment.

The capture of Witzke and other German spies and saboteurs by the Army’s counterintelligence agents undoubtedly prevented many, but not all, planned sabotage activities during the war.  Such incidents poisoned relations between the US and Germany and introduced suspicions and fear in the minds of the American public.  Americans could no longer assume complete security from enemy acts of terror on US soil, a reminder still valid today.

For more information on the Black Tom Island incident, see Michael Warner’s “The Kaiser Sows Destruction: Protecting the Homeland the First Time Around,”


Damage to a pier at Black Tom Island caused by German sabotage to prevent American munitions from reaching Germany’s enemies.
(Library of Congress Photo)

Intelligence and the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

The blame for the attack on Pearl Harbor cannot be laid solely on intelligence failures. The Pearl Harbor investigations affixed plenty of blame to faulty leadership, inflexible policies and procedures, and overall complacency after more than two decades of peace. These same investigations, however, called attention to the long overlooked concepts that intelligence work not only required expert personnel and continuity in time of peace, but that it also should be recognized as an essential function of command.

DMZ Golf in Korea

Some days are better – Unique Golf Course on DMZ in Korea

Many have played Golf in unique courses, hit straight or it might kill you. Minefields on three sides. Live well!

Manchuria 1945-1950

Aug 25, 2016

James E. Parker

Over this past summer I took a look at how our US military went from world-beaters in 1945, defeating two highly industrialized countries with ferocious, dedicated military, to its unsuccessful fight with the sub-par North Vietnamese 1965/1975.

Ended up where I never imagined.

Yalta 1945.

Allow me to explain.

The Korean War was significant among events that led to Vietnam.  Early on I came across that famous speech of MacArthur on 23 August 1950 in the conference room of his Hqs in the Dai Ichi building downtown Tokyo.  To relieve the pressure on the 8th Army at the Pusan perimeter in the south, MacArthur wanted to invade Korea at Inchon, despite the advice against that by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Marines and the US Navy.  No one thought the harbor at Inchon was a realistic landing site… with its limited beaches, high docks, enormously shifting tides and narrow approach channel that may have been mined.  The US invasion force would be massive; the Inchon landing place tiny and hard to access.

The best military minds in our country – save MacArthur – said no.  Not just no, but hell No. General Collins, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and Admiral Sherman, the Chief of Naval Operations, went to Tokyo for the express purpose of persuading MacArthur against this operation.

At that 23 August 1950 meeting with Collins and Sherman, MacArthur said their thinking got at one of the reasons Inchon would work, because the communist knew the U.S. military brass wouldn’t consider Inchon, and we’d catch them by surprise.

Impressive with his commanding presence and his persuasive, eloquent-phrased arguments, he carried the day.

Invasion at Inchon 15 September 1950 it would be.

And against all odds it was an enormous success.   In fact, most military scholars consider the battle one of the most decisive military operations in modern warfare; describing the Inchon “Chromite operation” as “an example of brilliant generalship and military genius.”

The general plan and the decision to land at Inchon were entirely MacArthur’s. He had made several significant battle plans throughout his military career, but none more momentous, none more fraught with danger, none that promised to be more decisive if successful.

Inchon was more than merely a name for a battle that changed the balance of power in Korea, more than just a great strategic victory; it was also an intensely personal victory for MacArthur.  Inchon had vindicated his judgment. He had – despite all opposition – come, planned, and conquered. He had assumed that the harbor approaches to Inchon would not be heavily guarded or mined; that the difficulties of tide and terrain could be surmounted; that the North Korean reserves stationed near the port would be slender; that the enemy’s morale would be quickly broken; and that Japan, stripped of its occupation troops, would remain quiet and orderly. Because he had assumed correctly on 23 August 1950, the Inchon invasion will go down in infamy as genus generalship.

MacArthur bent the US military to his will with his determined, persuasive arguments because he must have known that Inchon was absolutely doable, right?

Must have had the intelligence that he could bring in 60-80 thousand US GIs on maybe 250 ships through a very narrow channel and put them on shore against whatever the North Korean had set up in the way of defensives.  Shallow bottom.  Tides shifting up to 30 foot twice a day.  Mud flats.  Mines. Reinforced enemy positions with commanding fields of fire across the harbor.

Whole world watching.  Certainly the future of South Korea in the balance.

Like Daniel Boone said way back in his day, “Make sure you’re right and then go ahead.”

That was my thought about MacArthur.

Well, here’s the thing, MacArthur didn’t have good current intelligence on Inchon.  Had no friggin’ idea what was really out there when he convinced the US military to go along with his plans, and it was like three weeks before the invasion.

You read your history.  MacArthur’s G-2 Charles Willoughby only had dated ideas on the layout of the harbor’s defenses… and really no information on whether the channel was mined or not.

And like I said, it was three weeks before D-Day.

From the following books – Battle Report, The Landing at Inchon, MacArthur, Inchon Landing, Korea and Korea, The Untold Story – came reports of a mission organized right after the 23 August 1950 conference in which US Navy Lt Commander Eugene Clark, with a couple of ROK officers and some young South Korean partisans, evaded North Koreans for 15 days operating from one of the out-laying islands (Yonghung-do) near the approach to the Flying Fish Channel.  Despite the danger, despite the fact he operated as a singleton American using local resources and partisans… he got the necessary information on which MacArthur could make his final invasion plans.  Of particular interest to me was the locally scrounged single piston, putt-putt sampan on which he mounted a .50 caliber machine gun he had brought on the mission… that he used to destroy a small fleet of North Koreans who were intent on killing Clark.  He described the captain as an almost toothless old South Korean fisherman, who would – often at critical moments – have to restart the one piston engine to get out of harm’s way.  Makes for a great visual.


The whole Inchon invasion hinged on the work of one American; racing the clock, behind the lines, out witting the North Koreans who found out he was there.  Ending when he lit the harbor lighthouse to lead the invasion force in.

Military historians maybe haven’t given Clark his due for what he did… against almost impossible odds.  Someone suggested he had something like 500-1 chances of coming out alive.

Plus Clark himself knew the date of the invasion, so for him capture was not an option.  He supposedly carried a grenade around for a sure suicide in case capture seemed imminent.

I found that Eugene Clark had written a book on his mission, so I ordered a used copy from and went back with my main research about the corrosion of US military effectiveness during the middle of the 20th century.  But I sure liked Clark.

I finally came to some conclusion on what happened to the US military and published an article on my web site mid May 2016.  I then re-worded the core of that research into a new introduction of my The Vietnam War Its Ownself… that will be out 1st of September 2016.  [Stayed tuned to]

But all the time when I’m writing up the decline of our winning military ways… I kept expanding my reading and research about Clark, and his pre-invasion reconnaissance there behind lines, a whole invasion force waiting completion of his work.

The operation was called Trudy Jackson and Clark’s book, the Secrets of Inchon, was an interesting read… though some of it – to my great disappointment – didn’t ring true… like for example his Chapter 7 Taemuui-Do Raid, was just too hokey, too much like a bar-room sounding war story… and the raid wasn’t mentioned in any of the other books on Inchon I had read.

Also Clark’s mission was a joint operation with the CIA, as most books/articles pointed out, but Clark, other than saying up front it was a joint ops, never had anything to say about the CIA; who went, what the CIA did, or didn’t do.  And you gotta remember MacArthur didn’t allow the OSS into his Pacific theater during WW II… and the CIA had just been created, so this would have been the first joint ops with the CIA MacArthur ever authorized, so how it was managed was of interest to me.

Not a word in Clark’s book.

Through the help of a friend, we went through the gentleman who did the introduction to his book to get the name of Clark’s daughter (Clark himself has died), who supposedly had the manuscript daddy Clark had written in 1951 on the mission. We made contact over the telephone and had lunch together 26 December 2015 near her home in Reno.  She gave me the information on how the book came to be published from a manuscript she had kept “laying around the house” and some personal background on her Dad.

Her story had holes in it.  The chain of acquisition on the text/narrative of the book was not provable back to her Dad… in fact that the daughter dealt with professional writer/historian Thomas Fleming and Fleming’s agent to get it published – and received a $125,000 advance – seemed to add to the appearance of impropriety about its authenticity.

To find out last week that the publishing house, when the book was catalogued with the Library of Congress, had listed the book as “fiction.”  I got in contact with the Library of Congress to double check this… to find the Library of Congress wants to change the classification to “non-fiction” based almost entirely on the number of times the book is referenced in other books/articles on the Inchon invasion.  On Friday the 5th I sent the Library of Congress an email explaining my many areas of doubt about the veracity of the book… their final determination is goin’ be interesting.

But anyway in digging into Clark’s account of the invasion, up jumped Operation Racketeer, maybe a joint operation with the CIA that Clark led up the west coast of North Korea the last two week of October 1950, the month after the Inchon Invasion.  The mother ship in this very, very dangerous operation, far behind enemy lines, was PC 703, the same ROK sub chaser used to put the Trudy Jackson team on that island near the mouth of the Inchon channel early September.


Operation Racketeer got Clark to the mouth of the Yalu River, where he reported – in 6 of the 43 Intel reports he sent out during the mission – that 300,000 Red Chinese had crossed the Yalu and were in northern North Korea.


At the time MacArthur’s G-2, General Charles Willoughby, carried only 60 to 80 thousand Red Chinese in the mountains of northern North Korea.  So now with Clark’s information you’d expect Willoughby would have upped the estimated number of enemy in front of the two prongs of the US military 8th Army and the X Corps advancing towards the Yalu.



Willoughby must disseminate Clark’s information to the intelligence community and back to Washington.  Six times Clark said 300,000 Chinese soldiers have crossed the Yalu and were waiting for MacArthur’s army.

Yet, not a word from Willoughby.  No change to the projected number of Chinese soldiers in North Korea MacArthur’s headquarters.  And consequently no change to the CIA estimates on Chinese military in North Korea.

Understand Clark’s information went directly to Willoughby.  The receiving radio station for Clark’s one-time pad reports was near Willoughby’s desk.

In 1987 Clark gave an interview to historian John Toland (author of In Mortal Combat among many other classics), in which 1) he never mentioned having written a book about his mission… in fact was unsure of some of the facts Toland asked about, that were spelled out in the book he had supposedly written.  2) He did go into considerable discussion about the CIA participation in Trudy Jackson and its lack of participation in the Yalu River part of Racketeer.

CIA answered my FOIA request with something that they could find no records on CIA involvement in Trudy Jackson or Racketeer.

But other information is accumulating and I’m near a point to publish what I know about those two operations… with the significance of Trudy Jackson being the way the CIA and MacArthur’s people worked together, and Clark’s absolutely incredible contributions (despite what I’m considering a fanciful account credited to him 50 years after the fact, written by who knows who).

The significance of the Racketeer operation is Willoughby’s (or MacArthur’s) decision not to disseminate Clark’s behind-the-lines patrol reports.

But all this has led me to the question:  How did the Chinese communist come to be in Manchuria in such numbers that they could send at least 300,000 of their forces into North Korea?

This just 5 years after the end of WW II, when the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek was around 3 million strong, and Mao’s communist troops considerably less, 1.5 or 2 million.  This though the Nationalist had suffered the most casualties fighting the Japanese during the war.  Mao more or less sitting off to the side, hunkering down, waiting the war out, in northwest China, near the terminus of Soviet railroads.

US supported Chiang Kai-Shek.

USSR supported Mao Zedung.

How did Mao turn things around in 5 years?

Well, it doesn’t take much looking to see that the Russian invasion of Manchuria on the day after the US dropped Little Boy on top of Hiroshima, and the Soviet subsequent occupation of Manchuria and Port Arthur, played a big, big role in changing the history and the destiny of the Far East.


Here’s what Russia – Stalin – did:

First he used many or most of his “Penal” Divisions in the assault… these are front line outfits made up of riff-raff from other divisions.  Soldiers were assigned there rather than face execution or jail for violation of Soviet Army rules.  While some Penal units acquitted themselves well in combat, others acted just like a bunch of thugs.  They were regarded, understandably, as dregs of the Soviet military… throwaways.

These Penal divisions met light resistance from the Japanese in their invasion of Manchuria, because the Japanese troops here had been depleted to fill out replacement quotes for the Japanese Army out in the Pacific.

Then the more elite Soviet Army units moved in and took control of all the ports, including the strategic Port Arthur.

Behind them came the third wave of… Soviet engineers, who stripped the Japanese factories throughout Manchuria and sent the heavy equipment back to Russia.  Mukden, Manchuria, for example, was a thriving city of 2 million with Japanese factories galore when the Soviets attacked.  All factories, one after the other, were stripped clean of machinery by the Soviets.  OSS teams that entered the country soon after the Soviet occupation began, found factory after factory after factory, little more than building shells.  Nothing inside.

And the Soviets took over all the banks and transferred the gold, other precious metals and international currency back to the Soviet Union, exchanging them for worthless “Occupation Yen.”

And at the ports?  Soviets did not allow the Nationalist troops to come into Manchuria… giving Mao time to move his army up north.  And keep in mind that before the Soviet invasion, the Japanese kept Manchuria commie-free.


And in the insuring Chinese civil war 1945 to 1949, Manchuria became critical terrain.  Lower China would go to whatever army controlled Manchuria.

Surely you say the US saw this coming.  Right?

Wrong, again!

General Stilwell who worked with Chiang Kai-shek didn’t like him. Check the record.  And one of the reasons it seems to me, is that Stilwell didn’t consider Chiang Kai-shek an equal.  Chiang didn’t speak English.  Didn’t kowtow to the westerner or his ways.  Stilwell resented this.

And the “ol’ China hands” in the US State Department were predominately sons of missionaries who had been born in China, spoke the language fluently, and – because of the religious nature of their upbringing – believed the Mao propaganda about a “people’s” army.  State Department for the most part didn’t look on Mao as a communist that was getting great help from the Soviets and falling in line with their attitudes and policies, so much as Mao was a man of the people.

Then there was General George Marshall, who came over as the China civil war was just getting started and said, hey hold on a minute, let’s all take a minute here, catch our breaths and figure this thing out… like let’s have a cease fire… you, Chiang, and over there, you, Mao… let’s see if we can find a way to have a joint gov’t.

He kept to this cease-fire thing and “let’s talk” attitude, even though Mao boldly told him one time that his tactic in waging a long contested war was “Talk-Fight, Fight-Talk” (“Da-Da, Tan-Tan”).

Because the U.S. was providing the Nationalist with weapons and equipment, Chiang had to “cease fire.”

Did Mao?  Of course not.  He used the Marshall-imposed halt to Chiang’s maneuvering, to take great advantage.  Certainly to move up at the Soviet’s invitation into Manchuria.

And Marshall is on record as saying he didn’t like Chiang.  Again like Stilwell he never treated him as an equal and long-time ally of the U.S., the leader of western oriented forces in China.  Marshall it seems regarded Chiang pretty much as the union leader of bucktooth Asian laundry men, not at all comparable to say, European leaders.

And Marshall went on to be Secretary of Defense and then, God Save the Queen, he became the U.S. Secretary of State.

Chiang was toast.

The Chinese communist army would force the Nationalist Kuomintang out the back door to Taiwan and in October 1949, Mao assumed control of all China…. and a year later sent his troops across the Yalu to attack American forces…

So how did Stalin get such a good deal of occupying Manchuria ostensibly to help the US with its war on Japan… that eventually, surely, led to Mao’s victory in China?

Read the two attachments below:  excerpts from Spanning the Century and Special Envoy.  

Come to your own conclusions.  Decide who’s to blame for aiding and abetting the communist in Manchuria, and Korea, and then subsequently in Vietnam?



 “….  hurried to install an emergency power station and lay transmission lines to the conference sites. To Kathleen and Eddie Page fell the responsibility of assigning quarters. 

The Czar’s bedroom suite, the only one with a private bath, was reserved for the President. Private bed rooms nearby were set aside for Stettinius, who had succeeded Hull as secretary of state, Hopkins, Harriman, Bohlen, and James F. Byrnes, director of the Office of War Mobilization. General Marshall and Admiral King were put on the second floor, the latter in a suite that had once been the Czarina’s boudoir. The others were less fortunate. Major generals were billeted four to a room, colonels sixteen. Thirty-five officers were assigned to a single bath and forced to shave at water buckets beside their cots. 

After two days, Harriman boarded the President’s plane, the Sacred Cow, which had been ferried from Washington to Sevastopol, and flew off to meet Roosevelt nearly 1,400 miles away at Malta, while Kathleen was left behind to complete preparations at the palace. 

Churchill was already there when he arrived, as were the American and British military chiefs, who had been in a day-long debate over General Eisenhower’s strategy for crossing the Rhine. Hopkins had also joined the party, arriving from Paris, where he had gone to see de Gaulle. Worn out from his trip, he dragged himself off to bed early, leaving Harriman and Churchill to play bezique for several hours and to hash over what they expected from Stalin. 

The following morning, Roosevelt arrived aboard the cruiser USS Quincy after ten days at sea. It had been the kind of interlude that ordinarily rejuvenated him physically and spiritually, but this one obviously had not. Harriman was shaken by his “worn, wasted” appearance, alarmingly deteriorated since November. But haggard as he was, Roosevelt was alert and clearly excited about meeting Stalin with the end of the war in sight. He had only one short night to rest before jumping off on the last leg of his journey. 

The flight across the Mediterranean, over Greece, the Macedonian peninsula, and the Black Sea to the Crimea was the most hazardous part of the journey because there were still Nazi-controlled airfields along the route. To take advantage of darkness, they took off at three o’clock in the morning, under escort by half a dozen heavily armed P-38s. Churchill followed ten minutes later. Aside from the fighters, they entrusted their security to the darkness, radio silence, and a course carefully charted to take them around the enemy-held island of Crete.

The precautions were now especially serious, for American intelligence had learned that the Germans had discovered the location of the conference. And just the day before, an American plane taking equipment to Yalta had carelessly flown so close to Crete that German antiaircraft guns had attacked and damaged it before it got out of range.  

Seven hours after leaving Malta, they arrived at Saki Airfield at Sevastopol. In a huge tent, the Russians had laid out the inevitable refreshments- tables laden with cold cuts, eggs, curd cakes, wine, champagne, and Crimean brandy. Roosevelt skipped all of it, staying just long enough to join Churchill in inspecting the honor guard before leaving on the ninety-mile drive to Yalta. 

By the time the party reached the palace, Hopkins was so spent that Admiral Ross Mcintire, the President’s physician, seriously considered putting him aboard the Catoctin so he could have intense medical care. Hopkins would have none of that, but he stayed in his room throughout the conference, convening a few bedside meetings and, with obvious effort, taking the few steps down the hall for each day’s plenary meeting. Harriman stepped into his friend’s customary role.  He was, therefore, at Roosevelt’s side through much of the day; and on several evenings, he and Kathleen shared a quiet dinner in the President’s suite with Roosevelt and his daughter Anna. 

The President immediately went to work where he had left off at Teheran, trying to promote a civil relationship with the Russians after the war, but Stalin was as obstreperous as ever. To Averell’s consternation, the President made little effort at coordination with Churchill, allowing five days to pass without a private talk with the Prime Minister. Although Yalta would be ridiculed as a capitulation by an exhausted President, its political agenda had been thoroughly explored at Teheran and in the intervening fourteen months had dominated Harriman’s contacts with the Kremlin. Particularly in the case of the Far East, Yalta confirmed what had already been worked out through Harriman during the fall. 

The Pacific had been one of his urgent priorities from the day he arrived in Moscow. He had dogged the Russians for permission to use Soviet airfields in the bombing of Japan’s home islands, and since the Teheran conference, he had pressed Stalin to name his conditions for a Soviet declaration of war in the Pacific. 

As far back as the Moscow foreign ministers’ meeting in October 1943, Stalin had voluntarily assured Hull that the Soviets would help defeat Japan after Hitler was finished. Although he had extended his personal assurances to the President at Teheran, he had been reluctant to lay out his conditions. 

While Churchill was in Moscow in October 1944, Stalin had told Averell that the Red Army could mount an offensive against Japanese forces in Manchuria three months after the capitulation of Germany.  He had thirty divisions in the Far East, and he would move about thirty more from Europe after Hitler’s surrender. In preparation, he wanted the United States to stockpile supplies for two or three months’ fighting. He did not think the war would go on much longer.  

But aside from the American arms and ammunition, he continued, “political considerations” had to be taken into account. The Russian people had to know what they were fighting for. They fought against the Germans because they had been invaded. They would have to understand why they were fighting against the Japanese.

Two days later, Stalin handed Harriman the long list of supplies he wanted and promised to let him know in two weeks when the United States could begin delivering the four-engine bombers it was providing the Red Air Force. 

Clearly, the Soviet dictator now wanted to play a larger part than the Americans had in mind. In Washington, strategists envisioned the Soviet role as one of securing the railroads and taking control of Manchuria. But Stalin’s plan sketched for Averell was to drive south across the Mongolian desert into China, all the way south to Peking.

With that, Harriman had flown home to give Roosevelt a full account of Churchill’s Moscow visit and his own talks with the Premier. The President was pleased with Stalin’s new forthrightness and not particularly disturbed that references to “political considerations” indicated that territorial demands were coming. But Stalin’s comments about driving all the way to Peking caused him to wonder aloud, “If the Russians go in, will they ever go out?”40 

With the second Big Three summit delayed by quibbling over the site, the Soviets’ political demands in the Far East were finally spelled out to Harriman when he met Stalin at the Kremlin on December 14. 

In brief, Stalin wanted the Kuril Islands, an archipelago stretching from the northern tip of Japan to the Kamchatka Peninsula, plus the southern half of Sakhalin Island, which the Japanese had got in the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth. With control of the Kurils and all of Sakhalin, the Soviet Navy would have unimpeded access to the Pacific. He also wanted leases on the Manchurian ports of Dairen and Port Arthur, as well as on the Chinese Eastern and South Manchuria railroads. The rails would link Dairen and Port Arthur with the port at Vladivostok.

Harriman was skeptical of Stalin’s assurance that the Soviets would do nothing to interfere with China’s sovereignty in Manchuria, but Washington indicated neither disapproval nor acceptance of Stalin’s claims, and there the matter still stood when the leaders gathered at Yalta. 

It seemed as urgent as ever to bring the Soviets into the Pacific war. During their stopover at Malta, the combined military chiefs had reconfirmed their judgment that it would take eighteen months after Germany’s surrender to defeat Japan. Estimates suggested that as many as 200,000 American casualties could be prevented by prompt Soviet entry into the conflict. 

At Livadiya Palace, Harriman sat with Roosevelt and Stalin as the Marshal went over his demands again. Despite their profound implications, President accepted them almost casually, and Harriman raised no question. The agreement had to be protected with extraordinary secrecy because it would take time to move the Soviet divisions across Siberia and into position for the offensive. If it was revealed to the Chinese, both Stalin and Roosevelt feared, the Japanese would promptly learn about it and might even attempt a preemptive attack on the port of Vladivostok to prevent the buildup of stockpiles. 

Even Roosevelt’s secretary of state was kept in the dark. When Stettinius inquired whether his department should not be involved in the Far East discussions, the President politely told him that it was a military matter. Asia was never mentioned in the plenary meetings, nor in the sessions of the foreign ministers. When the conference ended, the only American copy of the agreement was taken back to the White House and locked in a safe by Admiral Leahy. Not even Chiang Kai-shek learned of the concessions until after the President’s death. 

While he raised no objection to Stalin’s demand for the islands, Roosevelt balked at the proposed lease arrangement for the ports and the rail lines. He preferred to see Dairen operated as a free port controlled by an international commission instead of being leased to the USSR. The Manchurian railroad, he insisted, should be jointly operated by a Soviet­ Chinese commission. After one meeting on the subject, drafting was turned over to Harriman and Molotov. As Harriman shuttled the various versions back to Livadiya, the President insisted upon keeping his amendments on both the railroads and the port at Dairen. Besides finally accepting the American position, the Soviets also bowed to Roosevelt’s insistence that the ten-paragraph agreement require the approval of Chiang. The President reciprocated by dropping his demand that Port Arthur be put under international control, accepting Stalin’s contention that a lease was necessary, since the port would become a Soviet naval base. 

Years later, the secret accord would become an exhibit for Yalta critics contending that the President had been fleeced by the Soviet dictator. Bohlen, who interpreted all of the conversations between the President and Stalin, thought that where the Far East was concerned, the United States had indeed been caught napping.

Being the American most involved, Harriman shared the blame, but he did not readily accept it. In his memoire, Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, published in 1975, he insisted that he himself had been unhappy with parts of the agreement. He did not, he said, like the railroad and ports section, which stated that the Soviet Union’s “pre-eminent interests” would be protected at the international port of Dairen. Nor did he like the pledge that the Soviet claims would be “unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated.” He had told the President as much, but the President “was not disposed to fuss over words.” Harriman said he had hoped that the military chiefs would complain and give him an excuse to go back to Roosevelt, but they raised no objection. 

In demanding the Kurils and southern Sakhalin, Stalin insisted that he merely wanted a return to the situation that existed before the Russo­ Japanese War forty years earlier. The well-known truth was that Japan had gotten only the portion of the island below fifty degrees north latitude at the end of the conflict. The Kurils had been acquired from Russia by treaty in 1875. If Roosevelt had forgotten that, the State Department had not, and neither had Harriman. A memorandum describing the issue in detail was prepared before the President left Washington, but apparently he never saw it. When Harriman mentioned the history of the island chain, Roosevelt casually dismissed it. The Kurils seemed to him “a minor matter.“ 

The agreement was not accompanied by a map or list of the islands. Consequently, decades later, Russo-Japanese relations remained soured by Japan’s insistence that four of the islands ceded to Stalin at Yalta were, in fact, a part of the Japanese homeland, not the Kuril chain. 

Harriman saw Franklin Roosevelt for the last time on the day after the conference ended. 

Following a jovial luncheon to celebrate the signing ceremony at Livadiya, the President drove eighty miles down the coast to board the Catoctin, still anchored off Sevastopol. At the suggestion of his naval aide, Vice-Admiral Wilson Brown, Roosevelt agreed to spend the night aboard the ship as a gesture of thanks to the crew that had supported America’s Yalta contingent around the clock. 

Having watched the President at close range for nine days, Harriman had become truly alarmed over his physical condition. Now, following the strenuous conference, Roosevelt faced a trip home that would be as taxing as his journey to Yalta. From the Crimea, he would fly to Egypt, where he would re-board the Quincy. Before sailing, he was to meet with King Farouk, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, lbn Saud of Saudi Arabia, and Churchill. 

Under the circumstances, Harriman thought the President should rest another night at Yalta. He was furious at Brown’s insensitivity in suggesting that he go through the rigor of boarding ship and spending the night in cramped quarters. Nevertheless, the party went aboard in the late afternoon and passed what Harriman called a “ghastly night” in stifling heat. 

They departed at daybreak, and back at Saki Airfield, Harriman said good-bye. After Roosevelt had been lifted into his plane in a marrow­ chilling rain, the giant C-54 lumbered down the runway and climbed slowly into the sky over the Black Sea.”


 “…agree that any action of the Big Three powers should be submitted to the judgment of the little ones. Churchill challenged this remark. There was no question of the small powers dictating to the great ones. he said, but greatness carried with it a moral responsibility to exercise power with moderation and respect for the rights of weaker nations. “The eagle,” Churchill said, “should permit the small birds to sing an’ care not where for they sang.” 

When the Prime Minister offered a toast to the proletarian masses of the world, possibly by way of placating Stalin, the talk turned to the rights of people to govern themselves and get rid of leaders who no longer enjoyed their support. Churchill made the point that although he was constantly being “beaten up” as a reactionary, he happened to be the only leader present who could be thrown out of office at any time by his people, adding that he personally gloried in that danger. Stalin remarked that Churchill seemed to be afraid of election. Not at all, the Prime Minister replied. Far from fearing them, he was proud of the right enjoyed by the British people to change governments whenever they saw fit. 

A great cloud of myth and misinformation has obscured the true shape of the Yalta decisions for three decades.  Now, with the benefit of hindsight, certain right-wing critics have traced back to Yalta many of America’s postwar difficulties with the Soviet Union, the origins of the Cold War itself, and even the victory of Mao Tse-tung’s Communist armies in China.  Harriman, who was at Roosevelt’s side during most: the crucial Yalta negotiations, stands by his 1951 testimony:

The discussions at Yalta and the understandings reached there were an integral part of our negotiations with the Soviet Union throughout the war to bring the desperate struggle to a victorious and early conclusion and to find a way in which the United States, Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. could live together in peace. The postwar problems have resulted not from the understandings reached at Yalta but from the fact that Stalin failed to carry out those understandings and from aggressive actions by the Kremlin.

The Yalta discussions covered a wide range of topics:  final plans for concerting the defeat and occupation of Germany, and the terms and circumstances for Soviet participation in the war against Japan.   These essentially military decisions are best understood in light of the actual battlefield situation that first week of February 1945. Although General MacArthur had just entered Manila, the bloody battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were yet to be fought. It would be more than five months before the first experimental explosion of the atomic bomb at Alamagordo, New Mexico. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had not taken the bomb into account in their calculations of the military pressures needed to break Japan’s resistance. (Harriman recalls that even five months later, at Potsdam, Admiral Leahy was offering bets that the bomb would not work.) The Chiefs of Staff, just before Yalta, had estimated that it would take eighteen months after the German surrender to defeat Japan. Far from visualizing Japan’s quick collapse, they were planning to invade the home islands in the winter of 1945-46. And in the event that the European war was prolonged, necessarily postponing the redeployment of troops to the Pacific, they contemplated postponing that invasion until “well into 1946.”

Anxious to reduce American casualties from what General Marshall conceived as a bitter-end campaign to invade and occupy the industrial heart of Japan through the Tokyo Plain, the Joint Chiefs looked to the Russians for help. In a memorandum to the President, dated January 2 3, 1945, they declared: 

Russia’s entry at as early a date as possible consistent with her ability to engage in offensive operations is necessary to provide maximum assistance to our Pacific operations. The United States will provide maximum support possible without interfering with our main effort against Japan. The objectives of Russia ‘s military effort against Japan in the Far East should be the defeat of the Japanese forces in Manchuria, air operations against Japan proper in collaboration with United States Air Forces based in eastern Siberia, and maximum interference with Japanese sea traffic between Japan and the mainland of Asia.

Stalin, understandably, had his own set of objectives in the Far East. He had outlined his terms to Harriman in December, claiming the return to Russia of the lower half of Sakhalin Island and the Kuriles. He wanted leases on the ports of Dairen and Port Arthur as well as the railroads in Manchuria built and operated by the Russians in Czarist times under contract with the Chinese. He also had asked for recognition of the status quo in Outer Mongolia, promising that the Soviet Union would not interfere with China’s sovereignty over Manchuria. On February 8, at Yalta, Stalin took up his demands with Roosevelt. Secretary of State Stettinius had no part in these discussions. The President asked Harriman alone to join him, Bohlen sitting in as the interpreter. Stalin, who brought Molotov and his own interpreter, V. N. Pavlov, to the meeting, said he would like to discuss the political conditions under which the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan, as he had explained them to Harriman earlier. Roosevelt saw no difficulty about the return of South Sakhalin or the transfer of the Kurile Islands. As for Dairen, he had suggested at Teheran that the Soviet Union ought to have access to a warm-water port at the end of the South Manchurian Railroad. But he could not speak for Chiang Kai-shek. Perhaps, rather than ask the Chinese for an outright lease, Dairen could become a free port under an international commission. That was the method he preferred, Roosevelt said, not only in Dairen but also in Hong Kong. As for the Manchurian railroads, instead of leasing them he would like to see them operated jointly by the Russians and the Chinese. 

Stalin pressed harder. Unless his conditions were met, he said, it would be difficult for the Soviet peoples to understand why Russia was going to war with Japan. They clearly understood the war against Germany, which had threatened the very existence of the Soviet Union, but they would not understand why Russia should attack the Japanese. If his political conditions were met, however, the matter could be more easily explained to the people – and the Supreme Soviet – in terms of “the national interest involved.”

Roosevelt stressed that he had not had an opportunity to discuss the matter with Chiang. It was difficult to speak frankly with the Chinese, he said, because anything said to them in confidence was known round the world, Tokyo included, in twenty-four hours. 

There was no rush about talking to the Chinese, Stalin said, but he did want his proposals put in writing and agreed to by Roosevelt and Churchill before the conference ended. Turning then to internal conditions in China, Stalin said he could not understand why the united front against the Japanese invaders had broken down. The time had come, he said, for Chiang to take the leadership, uniting his Kuomintang forces with Mao’s Communists in a common front against Japan. 

On February 10, at Molotov’s request, Harriman called at the Villa Koreis to receive and discuss the first draft in English of Stalin’ political conditions for entering the war against Japan.  He explained to the Soviet Foreign Minister that Roosevelt would have to ask for three amendments.  Stalin had agreed two days earlier, Harriman pointed out, that Port Arthur and Dairen should be free ports and that the Manchurian railroads should be operated by a joint Russian-Chinese commission. He also felt certain that the President would not wish to settle these matters without Chiang’s concurrence. All three changes would have to be incorporated in the Russian draft. 

Returning to Livadia, Harriman showed the President Molotov’ draft together with the amendments he was suggesting.  Roosevelt promptly approved the changes and Harriman resubmitted them to Molotov. The matter was settled after the formal conference session later that day. Stalin told Roosevelt that he agreed it would be more appropriate for the Manchurian railroads to be operated by a joint commission.  He accepted the requirement for Chiang’s concurrence adding that he wanted Chinese concurrence also on the status quo in Outer Mongolia. He was entirely willing to have Dairen a free port under international control, Stalin added, but Port Arthur was going to be used as a Soviet naval base, and for this a lease arrangement would be required. Roosevelt accepted this change, taking upon himself the responsibility for consulting Chiang Kai-shek as soon as Stalin notified him that the time was ripe. 

Harriman was unhappy with the final Soviet text, submitted for signing by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin on February 11. Without prior discussion, the Russians had written into the sections concerning Manchurian ports and railroads a provision that “the pre-eminent interests of the Soviet Union shall be safeguarded.” Harriman disliked the term “pre-eminent interests” and said as much to Roosevelt. But the President was not disposed to fuss over words. They meant nothing more, he said, than that the Russians had a larger interest in the area than the British or the Americans. This seemed to him true, and he was not disposed to argue over two words. Harriman also questioned a paragraph stipulating that the territorial claims of the Soviet Union in the Far East “shall be unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated.” It was just language, Roosevelt replied. Here again he was not going to quarrel with Stalin. 

Roosevelt felt other matters were more important, the establishment of the United Nations, for example. “He was trying like the dickens,” Harriman recalled, “to get Stalin to be more cooperative in other areas that he cared about, the United Nations and Poland.  He didn’t want to use up whatever trading positions he had and he may have been trying to save his strength. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. Roosevelt never was much of a stickler for language. Even at Teheran, when his health was better, he didn’t haggle with Stalin over language. It was my impression that as long as he could put his own interpretation on the language, he didn’t much care what interpretations other people put on it.” 

Nor did the Joint Chiefs of Staff raise the slightest objection when Harriman showed each of them the draft agreement. He hoped that they would question one detail or another so that be could take it back to Roosevelt and persuade him to get the language changed. But Marshall, King and Leahy all approved the draft. Even Admiral Leahy, who later wrote that he believed Japan could be defeated without Russian participation, remarked to Harriman, “This makes the trip worth­ while.” In his memoirs Leahy wrote: “No one was more surprised than I to see these conditions agreed to at Yalta labeled as some horrendous concessions made by Roosevelt to an enemy.”

The admiral carried the signed agreement back to Washington and locked it in the President’s personal safe. It was not mentioned in the protocol of the Yalta Conference. When Stettinius in a private conversation at Yalta asked the President whether there was some aspect of the Far East negotiations that the State Department ought to know about, the reply was that Harriman alone had handled the matter, which was primarily military in any case, and that it had best remain that way.

Roosevelt, it would seem, had not a great deal more confidence in the State Department than in the Chiang Kai-shek entourage at Chungking, when it came to keeping secrets. The most important reason for secrecy, of course, was the plain fact that Russia remained at peace with Japan and ostensibly neutral. Stalin had promised Roosevelt he would shift some twenty-five divisions to the Far East as soon as they could be spared from the European front, and he had reason to fear a pre-emptive attack by the Japanese against this thinly defended area if word of his intention to declare war leaked out before those divisions were in place. 

The crucial agreement, so far as the Joint Chiefs were concerned, was Stalin’s commitment to join the war against Japan within two or three months after the German surrender. The Soviet Union also undertook to conclude an alliance with Chiang Kai-shek, to assist the Chinese in driving out the Japanese invaders and to respect China’s “full sovereignty” in Manchuria. Stalin contended that he was asking, in return, little more than the restoration of rights and territories wrested from Imperial Russia by the Japanese in 1904. This was not strictly true of the Kurile Islands, which in fact had been peaceably transferred to Japan in 1875 by the terms of a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Russia. But Roosevelt dismissed Harriman’s reservations on this point before signing the agreement. The Kuriles seemed to him a minor matter, measured against the larger benefits of a Russian helping hand against Japan. 

Harriman, in spite of his reservations, felt the Far Eastern agreement was undermined less by Stalin’s duplicity than by Chiang’s weakness. “The agreement in no way weakened him,” Harriman said. “Stalin recognized Chiang as the head of the government of China. The formal agreement negotiated with Stalin by Foreign Minister T.V. Soong in July of 1945 promised to respect continuing Chinese sovereignty in Manchuria. If Chiang had been strong enough at home to hold up his end, the outcome might well have been different. In my judgment it was Chiang’s inherent weakness that gave the Chinese Communists their opportunity.“ 

For Churchill the problems of winning the war in the Far East were “remote and secondary.”13 Although he signed the agreement, he had taken no part in the negotiations. His chief concern was to prevent the domination of Europe by the Soviet Union. He fought Stalin hard (Roosevelt as well, at times) to ensure a respectable postwar role for France, to block the dismemberment of Germany and to guarantee the right to govern themselves.”

332nd MI Co Final Unit Historical Report

Final historical report before redesignation from ASA

by James T. Faust, COL (Ret,), USA

Download (PDF, 14.24MB)

CPT Fulton's Career Awards

Awards and Commission CPT Fulton

Two photos from Captain Fulton’s history. One is his career awards and the other is his promotion to the rank of Captain.  Shows a great career and the pride of that career.

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CPT Fulton's Career Awards

CPT Fulton’s Career Awards


Promotion of CPT Fulton

Promotion of Captain Fulton


An Interview with Gene Discipio

The Lint Center’s John Thomas Wiseman interviews Gene Discipio.

John Thomas Wiseman: How would you define National Security and in what capacity have you been involved with United States National Security? How did you get involved?
Gene Discipio: National Security is the concept and the primary responsibility of the Federal Government to protect our physical state and people usually against foreign problems by whatever means possible, including military action, diplomacy and economic sanctions. I’ve been involved with National Security through my work as a Government employee in the Intelligence Community and now as a systems engineer with the MITRE Corporation working with various US Government agencies. I was hired by the CIA as an imagery analyst (now called a geospatial analyst). I held this position from November 1996 to January 2008. I’ve been at the MITRE Corporation since January 2008.

JTW: What is one of the more memorable or impactful experiences during your National Security Career?
GD: I authored several reports that were read by the Vice-President and Secretary of Defense.

JTW: Was there a particularly funny or comedic experience?
GD: There were no specific events that I would consider particularly funny, but I along with my co-workers, would always try to have fun at our jobs in the course of a normal workday.

JTW: What is one of the most valuable lessons you learned from your NS time?
GD: Be patient and verify everything. The answer to the problem you are working may take longer to find than you anticipated. Along with the quality assurance mechanisms that are in place, always coordinate your work with as many people as possible and solicit feedback.

JTW: What was one of the most difficult experiences you faced during your NS time?
GD: The only thing that I would say was difficult would be working nights, weekends and holidays at various times throughout my career.

JTW: What advice would you give new personnel thinking about starting a career in National Security?
GD: Research the agency that you would like to work for and study the area that they would be most interested in.

Fort Monmouth Garrison

Fort Monmouth, NJ – Army

The post was home to several units of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Communications Electronic Command (CECOM) and offices of the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) that research and manage Command and Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and related technology, as well as an interservice organization designed to coordinate C4ISR, an academic preparatory school, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit, a 902d Military Intelligence Group Office, a garrison services unit, an Army health clinic, and a Veterans Administration health clinic. Other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Emergency Management Agency, have presences on the post.

The post was selected for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005. Most Army functions and personnel were required to be moved to Army facilities in Maryland, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and a few to Ohio by 2011. The fort officially closed on September 15, 2011.