Cyber Intelligence War 2000 to Present

Starting from Titan Rain to present Nation State Actors conducting Cyber Espionage

One of the best articles about Titan Rain was from Time Magazine.

The lesson of Titan Rain: Articulate the dangers of cyber attack to upper management. article by Homeland Security News Wire.

(2003). Intelligence in Support of Strategic Signal Units – starts page 40 by James R. Lint

Please send your information, story or pictures for this time in history.

Titan Rain

Titan Rain: Chinese Cyberespionage? – TIME  Inside the Chinese Hack Attack 25 Aug 2005

The Invasion of the Chinese Cyberspies – TIME  29 Aug 2005

A look at how the hackers called TITAN RAIN are stealing U.S. secrets.

 Attack Via Chinese Web Sites – The Washington Post 25 Aug 2005

The US Army and the Press: Censorship in World War I

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

When Military Intelligence became a full-fledged member of the War Department’s General Staff, it took on a number of responsibilities that are not considered applicable to the intelligence mission today. One of those, wartime press censorship, was considered a variant of counterintelligence, or negative intelligence as it was referred to in 1918.

The objective of wartime censorship was to prevent the exposure of sensitive military information to the enemy. Similar censorship had been practiced by the US Army in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. During World War I, however, the press censorship system was formalized and extended, according to the Army’s official history, to include anything that might “injure morale in our forces here, or at home, or among our Allies,” or “embarrass the United States or her Allies in neutral countries.”

In July 1918, the War Department’s Military Intelligence Division established the MI-10 Censorship Section within the Negative Branch. Under the leadership of well-known author Maj. Rupert Hughes, MI-10 had 15 subsections focused on censorship of the mail, publications, telegraph, radio, photographs, and other sources of information. Subsection 10F, Press, implemented a form of “voluntary censorship,” bolstered by the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917 and the Sedition Act of May 1918, as well as several executive orders. Essentially, in a climate of cooperation fueled by patriotism and common sense, journalists dutifully avoided writing about topics recommended off-limits by the military.

In the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), Maj. Dennis Nolan dedicated the G-2-D section of his intelligence organization to Censorship and Press. Nolan had personally witnessed how contentious relations between the military and the press could lead to negative consequences.  During the Spanish-American War, when Nolan was Aide de Camp to the commander of the Fifth Army Corps in Cuba, the press leaked US plans to supply Cuban guerillas with weapons and horses. The operation had to be scrapped as a result. Nearly 20 years later, as the AEF’s senior intelligence officer, Nolan was determined to prevent similar compromises of military information.

The Press Section of the G-2-D was led by 44-year-old Frederick Palmer, a personal friend of Gen. John J. Pershing. Having covered nearly every military conflict in the world between the 1890s and World War I, Palmer was arguably the most experienced war correspondent in the American press community. As the only American correspondent accredited by the British, he had been covering the war with Germany since late 1914.  Just two weeks before the US entered the war, Palmer addressed students at the Army War College promoting the appointment of a civilian censor to work with Army forces.  Taking this recommendation, Pershing convinced Palmer to turn down a $40,000 annual salary at the New York Herald and instead take a Major’s commission at an annual salary of $2,400 to head the Press Section.

Maj. Frederick Palmer (in uniform) meets with American press correspondents in the garden of the AEF Headquarters in Paris, 1917. (National Archives Photo)

Under Palmer’s direction, the Press Section supervised accredited war correspondents and even provided their transportation and billeting. Unlike the British and French militaries, the AEF allowed the press unrestricted access to the troops.  However, when reviewing their dispatches, Palmer insisted on accuracy and censored any mention of specific units, their locations and capabilities, aircraft, supplies, lines of communications, and conditions or morale of the troops.  He also suppressed information that cast American soldiers in a negative light, such as an incident in which a German prisoner was killed during capture.

For the most part, journalists willfully cooperated with all Palmer’s requirements; however, at least three were banned from the AEF for publishing articles not reviewed by the censors.  Palmer also received criticism from commanders who felt the restriction against publishing information about specific units meant their military successes were being ignored.

For his part, Palmer may have regretted his pre-war recommendation and he reportedly considered resigning his post numerous times.  While he wholeheartedly supported the need to safeguard military secrets, he struggled to find balance between satisfying the American citizen’s right to the truth and preventing erosion of popular support for the war. He lamented being “cast for the part of a public liar to keep up the spirits of the armies and peoples on our side” and often “squirmed with nausea as he allowed propaganda to pass.”

Despite his internal struggle, Palmer undoubtedly played a key role in saving the lives of American soldiers and ensuring the support of the American public for the United States first large scale war effort. Gen. Pershing recognized this when he awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal, making Palmer the first war correspondent so decorated.

Wartime censorship remained the responsibility of Military Intelligence through the early 1970s.  While the military does not censor the press today, both entities continue to struggle with the same dilemma that Palmer faced: that delicate balance to protect wartime secrets, avoid propaganda, and defend the First Amendment.

Value and Handling of Prisoners in World War I

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

“Prisoners or deserters constitute one of the most fruitful sources from which information of the enemy is obtained.”
Intelligence Regulations, American Expeditionary Forces, October 21, 1918

By the time of the Armistice ending World War I on November 11, 1918, the US held nearly 48,000 prisoners of war. The majority had been captured within the final months as the war moved out of the trenches.  The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) G-2, Maj. (later Maj. Gen.) Dennis Nolan put much emphasis on the information obtained from enemy prisoners. After the war, he remarked, “[A prisoner] can, as a rule, tell you much more than a spy…who is trying to get around and find out about the enemy.  [A prisoner] knows and the other man is frequently guessing at it.”

In mid-October 1918, Capt. Ernst Howald (standing right), the lead interrogator for the 28th Division, Second US Army, used prisoner statements to construct a detailed template showing the enemy facing the division. After the war, his estimates were proven to be highly accurate.

As Nolan shaped his formal intelligence organization in the early months of American involvement, he recognized prisoners could be captured any time on any battlefield, and commanders at every echelon wanted to examine the prisoners they captured.  He also realized that, due to a lack of personnel and the high operating tempo, in-depth interrogations at lower echelons were not practicable or effectual.  Nolan developed a hierarchical system for the examination of prisoners at all echelons and outlined clear guidelines for handling prisoners in the 1918 Intelligence Regulations and Instructions for Regimental Intelligence Service. Those same guidelines were published in the Army’s first (provisional) Combat Intelligence Manual, also printed in 1918.

Nolan’s system started at the regiment.  The Regimental Intelligence Officer, typically a first lieutenant, determined the name, rank, and organization of any prisoners, as well as the time and place captured.  Prisoners were searched and then quickly transferred to division assembly points.  The division G-2 sections, led by a lieutenant colonel or major, conducted limited questioning, with the help of commissioned linguists from the Corps of Interpreters.  This questioning focused on necessary tactical information about the division sector to a depth of two miles behind the enemy front lines.

From the division, prisoners were transferred to the corps collecting centers, where more in-depth questioning began.  The number of prisoners, especially during offensive operations, often stressed the corps G-2 sections.  At those times, Army headquarters dispatched teams of four sergeants and one officer to augment the corps’ interrogation efforts.  During the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives in the fall of 1918, French interrogators also supplemented the US interrogators.

The corps intelligence sections found that simple and direct questioning, combined with kindness and courtesy, was the most effective method for eliciting information.  Many of the AEF’s interrogators had been lawyers in their civilian lives and could coax information out of the most recalcitrant prisoner.  Corps interrogators used a variety of other tactics to elicit information, as well.  One interrogator found that he could get prisoners to talk openly if he showed them aerial photographs with landmarks they recognized. The II Corps G-2, Col. “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, recruited a drafted German soldier, who had previously lived in the United States and yearned to return there, to “work the prisoner cages” and glean information from his fellow prisoners.  Additionally, US interpreters donned German uniforms and wandered the collection points to eavesdrop on prisoners bragging about intentionally misleading their interrogators.  This use of “stool pigeons” was common practice throughout the war.

The quality and veracity of the information varied with the rank of the prisoner.  Lt. Col. Walter Sweeney, who served in the AEF G-2 during the war, claimed that “noncommissioned officers were by far the best sources for gaining information” and “few of them resisted insistent interrogation.”  About 60 percent of officers “invoked military honor” and refused to cooperate.  A typical German soldier had little knowledge about the larger battlefield, but he provided details on his own unit, weapons, troop losses, and general morale.  Enemy soldiers from Poland, Denmark, the Alsace-Lorraine region and southern Germany were particularly cooperative.  Unquestionably, the most important information obtained from prisoners was enemy order of battle, but they also gave up their routes of movement; the position and condition of trenches, dugouts and wire entanglements; their capacity to attack; and how susceptible they were to being attacked.

Based on the preceding outline, it is clear that World War I was no different than any other war in US Army history: prisoners of war have always been proven and valued sources of intelligence.  However, formalizing and standardizing the process for handling and examining prisoners in the 1918 Intelligence Regulations and provisional manuals was one more step in modernizing US Army Intelligence.  While field manuals published in 1940 provided more details on accepted interrogation techniques, the system for prisoner-of-war handling Nolan developed for World War I continued, with minor changes, throughout the 20th century.

What Will We Say About the North Korea Situation in 2021?

Published with Permission by:
Lint, James R., “Potential Worst-Case Scenarios from North Korea’s Nuclear Threat”, In Homeland Security, 19 Sept. 2017, Web,

By James Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Senior Editor for InCyberDefense and Contributor, In Homeland Security

Correctly anticipating attacks is a difficult science. Years after Pearl Harbor, historians and academics still study why we were so surprised by the Japanese attack on our largest Pacific naval base.

All Events Have Indicators and Warnings

On July 26, 1941, about five months before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the United States, which effectively ended commercial relations between the two nations. A week later, Roosevelt placed an embargo on oil exports to Japan. This action followed a string of other sanctions placed on Japan for its military aggression in Asia.

Similarly, the Korean War began in 1950 when North Korean troops invaded South Korea. We entered the Korean War at a time when U.S. military strength was at a much lower level than it was five years earlier at the end of World War II. When the North Koreans built up their troop strength, the U.S. and South Korea should have increased their troop strength and defenses to prevent the surprise attack that came on an early morning.

In addition, we remember the 9/11 attacks and how we later discovered that the terrorists attended flight schools in the U.S. We should have anticipated potential trouble when we discovered that those pilot terrorists were more interested in learning takeoffs than landings.

Foreign Policy Magazine stated: “Thinking about risks we face today, we should reflect on the major conclusion of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission established to investigate that catastrophe. The U.S. national security establishment’s principal failure prior to September 11, 2001, was, the commission found, a ‘failure of imagination.’”

Unfortunately, indications and warnings (I&W) are always clearer after an event.

How Should We Interpret North Korea’s Launch of a Potentially Nuclear Missile?

On July 4, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which he said could carry a nuclear warhead. Launching the missile on America’s Independence Day was a strategic message to the United States from North Korea.

According to Newsweek magazine, Kim said, “the test should be considered retribution for the U.S.’s ‘arrogant’ decisions, ‘hostile policies’ and ‘nuclear threats.’ With a smile on his face, Kim also called on his officials to ‘frequently send large and small “gift packages” to the Yankees.’”

On September 16, Kim said there will be more missile tests in North Korea. The New York Times reported Kim as saying “all future drills should be ‘meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force’ to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for ‘actual war.’”

Two days earlier, the Washington Post reported, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressed China to cut oil exports in a bid to prod North Korea toward talks after Kim Jong Un’s regime threatened to sink Japan ‘into the sea’ with a nuclear strike and turn the U.S. into ‘ashes and darkness’ for agreeing to the latest UN sanctions.”

The Post continued, “In comments reflecting North Korea’s penchant for apocalyptic rhetoric, the state-run Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] said, ‘Japan is no longer needed to exist near us.’ Citing a statement by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, KCNA said, ‘The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,’ a reference to the regime’s ideology of self-reliance.”

KCNA labeled South Korea’s military as “puppet forces.” It then blamed the South Korean “traitors and dogs of the U.S. for backing sanctions against their fellow countrymen.” According to the Post, KCNA added that the “group of pro-American traitors should be severely punished and wiped out with fire attack so that they could no longer survive.”

Pyongyang’s latest verbal assaults come while South Korea is considering providing $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea.

Do All of Kim’s Warnings Constitute Indications of a Potential Attack By North Korea?

When Kim stated in 2015 that he was ready to detonate an A-bomb and an H-bomb, few people believed him. But in 2017, Kim did precisely what he promised. Maybe people should have believed his statements.

So what will the U.S., Japan and South Korea do regarding Kim’s actions in 2017? Have they had enough indicators and warnings?

Will We Wonder in 2021 Why No One Saw the Loss of an American City?

Will we look back in 2021 at Kim’s statements over the years and wonder why no one foresaw the loss of an American city to North Korea’s nuclear weapons? In retrospect, most people in 2021 will probably see that we received plenty of warnings.

Kim’s warnings were credible because Kim said he would have ICBMs and he does. Kim said North Korea would soon have an atomic bomb and it does.

Kim also said North Korea would have a hydrogen bomb, and he has demonstrated that claim is also true. Kim seems to speak the truth.

The military often produces After Action Reports (AARs) or reviews of recent exercises or tests. They do so to look for lessons learned and to improve U.S. capabilities.

This AAR was conducted before the problem occurred to aid in predicting and analyzing the future and to prevent a disastrous AAR in 2021.

What we might see in 2021 AARs will be more of Kim’s claims about his nuclear capability and his intent to destroy other areas of the globe. Hopefully, it will be nothing more than that.

About the Author

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. James has been involved in cyberespionage events from just after the turn of the century in Korea supporting 1st Signal Brigade to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis as the first government cyber intelligence analyst. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, government contracting and civil service.

Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded its 45th scholarship for national security students and professionals. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has also served in the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office after his active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba, in addition to numerous CONUS locations. In 2017, he was appointed to the position of Adjutant for The American Legion, China Post 1. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” a book published in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea,” and a new book in 2017 Secrets to Getting a Federal Government Job.”