TBR News October 25, 2019

Oct 25 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 25, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 25:” Today, entirely by accident, I heard President Trump, coming out of a conference with lawyers, say loudly, ‘America should have a king and I am willing and able to fulfill this role. They can never touch me then.’ He is a narcissist for sure and a megalomaniac as well. Maybe we could sell him to the Saudis for camel food but we do not need that sort of nut anywhere near the levers of power or a loaded gun.”



The Table of Contents

  • Judge orders State Department to release documents on Trump dealings with Ukraine
  • Imperial Capital but America-First Nation
  • Trump and his lawyers think he can get away with anything. It’s outlandish.
  • Trump’s presidency is built on lies. Does he actually believe them?
  • The Orange Revolution and other games
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons



Judge orders State Department to release documents on Trump dealings with Ukraine

October 23, 2019

by Justin Wise

The Hill

The State Department must begin turning over documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine within 30 days, a judge ruled Wednesday.

American Oversight, an ethics watchdog organization, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department in early October in an attempt to gain access to documents related to communications between President Trump

The group also requested records related to the recall of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled Wednesday that the records sought were of public importance and that the State Department needed to begin disclosing documents within 30 days, NBC New York reported. Cooper reportedly advised American Oversight to meet with the government to narrow the request.

“Despite the ongoing obstruction of Congress, the Trump administration will now have to start releasing records concerning its dealings with Ukraine,” Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight, said in a statement to The Hill.

“This is an important victory for the American people’s right to know the facts about Ukraine, and it is a major setback for the White House’s stonewalling. The court recognized the importance of these documents and the need for the State Department to rapidly release them, and American Oversight will continue fighting to make sure the truth comes out.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Cooper’s ruling comes weeks into House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry, which is centered around a whistleblower complaint accusing Trump of pressuring Ukraine to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over unfounded allegations of corruption.

A group of House committees has issued deposition and documents requests to numerous administration officials as part of the inquiry. The House Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late September for documents related to the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, though he has refused to comply with the demand.

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), the chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees, respectively, sent a letter to the State Department on Wednesday renewing their demand for records.

The committee chairs said in the letter that they had identified specific documents in the control of the State Department that are “directly and highly relevant to the [impeachment] inquiry.”

“The Committees consider the refusal to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena as obstruction of the lawful functions of Congress and of the impeachment inquiry,” the lawmakers wrote.

Despite the White House’s efforts to prevent cooperation with the impeachment inquiry, several former and current administration officials have privately testified before Congress. On Tuesday, William Taylor, a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified that he was told nearly $400 million in Ukrainian military aid was conditioned on the nation publicly declaring investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told Taylor that Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ” ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations,” Taylor said in his opening statement.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of a quid pro quo.



Imperial Capital but America-First Nation

October 25, 2019

by Patrick J. Buchanan

“Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand,” saidPresident Donald Trump in an impassioned defense of his decision to cut tiesto the Syrian Kurds, withdraw and end these “endless wars.”

Are our troops in Syria, then, on their way home? Well, not exactly.

Those leaving northern Syria went into Iraq. Other U.S. soldiers will stayin Syria to guard oil wells that we and the Kurds captured in the war with ISIS.Another 150 US troops will remain in al-Tanf to guard Syria’s border with Iraq,at the request of Jordan and Israel.

And 2,000 more US troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia to help defend thekingdom from Iran, which raises a question: Are we coming or going?

In his conflicting statements and actions, Trump seemingly seeks to mollifyboth sides of our national quarrel:

Is America still the world’s last superpower with global policing obligations?Or should we shuck off this imperial role and make America, again, in JeaneKirkpatrick’s phrase, “a normal country in a normal time”?

In Middle America, anti-interventionism has carried the day. As Trump says,no declaration at his rallies is more wildly welcomed than his pledge to endour Middle East wars and bring the troops home.

But in this imperial capital, the voice of the interventionist yet prevails.The media, the foreign policy elite, the think tanks, the ethnic lobbies, thePentagon, the State Department, Capitol Hill, are almost all interventionist,opposed to Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds. Rand Paul may echo Middle America,but Lindsey Graham speaks for the Republican establishment.

Yet the evidence seems compelling that anti-interventionism is where the countryis at, and the Congress knows it.

For though the denunciations of Trump’s pullout from Syria have not ceased,one detects no campaign on Capitol Hill to authorize sending US troops backto Syria, in whatever numbers are needed, to enable the Kurds to keep controlof their occupied quadrant of that country.

Love of the Kurds, so audible on the Hill, does not go that far.

While surely loud, the neocons and liberal interventionists who drown out dissentin D.C. appear to lack the courage of their New World Order convictions.

In 1940-41, the anti-interventionists of “America First” succeeded in keeping us out of the world war (after Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland inSeptember of 1939 and Britain and France went to war). Pearl Harbor united thenation, but not until Dec. 7, 1941, two years later – when America First foldedits tents and enlisted.

Today, because both sides of our foreign policy quarrel have powerful constituencies,we have paralysis anew, reflected in policy.

We have enough troops in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from overrunningKabul and the big cities, but not enough to win the war.

In Iraq, which we invaded in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein and install a democracy,we brought to power the Shia and their Iranian sponsors. Now we battle Iranfor political influence in Baghdad.

Across the Middle East, we have enough troops, planes and ships to preventour expulsion, but not enough to win the wars from Syria to Yemen to Afghanistan.

Bahrain in the Persian Gulf is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet. We have13,000 troops and a major air base at Al Udeid in Qatar. US Army Central Commandand 13,000 US troops are in Kuwait. Trump has sent more troops to Saudi Arabia,but it was the “infidel” troops’ presence on sacred Saudi soil thatwas among the reasons Osama bin Laden launched 9/11.

To the question, “Are we going deeper into the Middle East or coming out?”the answer is almost surely the latter.

Among the candidates who could be president in 2021 – Trump, Joe Biden, ElizabethWarren, Bernie Sanders – none is an interventionist of the Lindsey Graham school.Three are anti-interventionist and antiwar, which may help explain why Democratsare taking a second look at Hillary Clinton.

According to polls, Iran is first among the nations that Americans regard asan enemy. Still, there is no stomach for war with Iran. When Trump declinedto order a strike on Iran – after an air and cruise missile attack shut downhalf of Saudi oil production – Americans, by their silent acquiescence, seemed to support our staying out.

Yet if there is no stomach in Middle America for war with Iran and a manifestdesire to pull the troops out and come home, there is ferocious establishmentresistance to any withdrawal of US forces. This has bedeviled Trump throughthe three years of his presidency.

Again, it seems a stalemate is in the cards – until there is some new explosionin the Mideast, after which the final withdrawal for America will begin, asit did for the exhausted British and French empires after World War II.

That we are leaving the Middle East seems certain. Only the departure dateis as yet undetermined.


Trump and his lawyers think he can get away with anything. It’s outlandish.

October 24, 2019

by Ruth Marcus

Deputy editorial page editor

The Washington Post

“The king can do no wrong.” That is the ancient legal maxim used to explain why a sovereign should not be held to account for misdeeds. President Trump and his lawyers are now making arguments that make this legal doctrine look wimpy. Their vision boils down to: The king can do whatever wrong he damn pleases, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

This approach, aggressive to the point of outlandish, was on florid display in a federal appeals court in New York this week, as the president’s private lawyer asserted that, yes, Trump could actually shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue with impunity so long as he is president.

This might sound like a catchy restatement of the generally accepted, although constitutionally untested, wisdom that a sitting president cannot be indicted. But it is actually much worse. Trump lawyer William S. Consovoy was not only asserting that the president is immune from being criminally charged while in office. He was claiming that the president cannot even be investigated.

To understand the radical nature of this claim, consider the setting in which it arose. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is seeking documents — not testimony, just information, including eight years of Trump’s tax returns. He is seeking them not from Trump himself but from his accounting firm. They would be protected from disclosure by grand jury secrecy. Apparently, however, the king’s business can do no wrong either.

Second, consider the difference between Consovoy’s assertion and the approach taken by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Complying with Justice Department policy, Mueller accepted that Trump couldn’t be indicted. But Mueller explained that it was not only permissible to conduct an investigation while Trump was in office, it was also important to collect evidence while it was still fresh. Indeed, the very Justice Department memo on which Mueller relied made clear that a “grand jury could continue to gather evidence throughout the period of [presidential] immunity.”

Now comes Consovoy, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to claim that the powers of the presidency cannot tolerate Vance’s attempted intrusion. This is an astonishing departure from settled law. In U.S. v. Nixon in 1974, a unanimous Supreme Court upheld a subpoena for tapes of the president’s private conversations while in office, rejecting “an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.” Vance’s subpoena, by contrast, calls only for Trump’s private records; it would not chill his ability to receive candid advice from aides.

In 1997, again unanimously, the court ruled that another sitting president, Bill Clinton, could be sued for sexual harassment in federal court. Although the decision did not address the question of state lawsuits, it is hard to imagine how a civil lawsuit could be allowed while a grand jury subpoena for his records would go too far. Which is a greater distraction for a sitting president?

The dangerous audacity of Trump’s position becomes clear: Whatever information his adversaries are seeking, whether in a lawsuit or a congressional inquiry, they can’t have it. And he is making the claim everywhere:

  • Trump’s private lawyers, backed by the Justice Department, have argued that the House Oversight Committee has no right to obtain records from Trump’s accounting firm because its investigation serves “no legitimate legislative purpose” — that is, the records are not being sought as part of an impeachment inquiry. This month, the federal appeals court in Washington rejected this contention.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department went to court rather than comply with the House Judiciary Committee’s request for grand jury materials from the Mueller probe, saying a federal judge was wrong in 1974 in providing Congress materials from the Watergate grand jury. “Wow, okay,” observed Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell. “. . . The department is taking extraordinary positions in this case.”

  • Finally, the White House summarily announced, in a letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), that it would not comply with an impeachment proceeding it termed “constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process.” Cipollone complained that the House had not voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry — no matter that the text of the Constitution mandates no such vote.

To sum up: The king can’t be investigated by law enforcement — nor can the information that law enforcement has gathered about him be turned over to Congress. He can’t be required to disclose evidence to lawmakers conducting oversight because they aren’t impeaching him — but he won’t cooperate with an impeachment inquiry unless the processes comply with his dictates.

L’etat c’est Trump. It will be up to the courts, ultimately the Supreme Court, to tell him otherwise


Trump’s presidency is built on lies. Does he actually believe them?

The president’s efforts in Ukraine break Watergate’s record for presidential stupidity. What was the point?

October 24, 2019

by Walter Shapiro

The Guardian

A puffed-up Donald Trump on Wednesday peddled his latest Syrian retreat as if his ability as a presidential peacemaker eclipsed Teddy Roosevelt, who won the 1906 Nobel prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese war, and Jimmy Carter, who helped broker the lasting Israeli-Egyptian accord.

Trump has probably never heard of the swords-into-plowshares accomplishments of his predecessors. But even if Trump has noticed the Nobel prize in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, he probably would have dismissed it as a minor artifact compared with his strategic genius in bequeathing the Kurds to the tender mercies of Turkey and Russia.

As the president boasted, complete with a dollop of false modesty: “Today’s announcement validates our course of action with Turkey that only a couple of weeks ago were scorned. And now people are saying: ‘Wow, what a great outcome. Congratulations.’ It’s too early [for] me to be congratulated. We’ve done a great job. We’ve saved a lot of lives.”

Wow, indeed.

From the phantom peace in Syria to the phantom wall on the Mexican border, the Trump presidency is based on the theory that reality is created by mere assertion. The scariest interpretation of the torrent of Trump lies is that the president actually believes the words that he is saying each time his lips move.

If truth is this malleable, why did Trump go to such lengths to delve for actual evidence in Ukraine about Hunter Biden’s finances and the 2016 DNC hacking?

Without a shred of proof, Trump has been trumpeting for months such debunked claims as: “When [Joe] Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5bn in a fund … and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing.”

Up until now, the failed 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate held the record for presidential stupidity in the quest for re-election.

As John A Farrell tells it in his acclaimed 2017 Richard Nixon biography, the DNC was a backup site after Gordon Liddy had failed four times to break into the George McGovern campaign. As Farrell recounts: “Bugs planted in the DNC headquarters … could provide ‘a wealth of information’ of all kinds, Liddy believed.’”

By any rational measure, the Watergate break-in was dangerously unnecessary since Nixon would go on to carry 49 states against the hapless McGovern, even without planted microphones at Democratic headquarters.

But at least Watergate, at the beginning, was a tight-lipped conspiracy with the burglars, CIA-trained veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. In contrast, everyone from career diplomats like William Taylor to the government in Kyiv seemed to know about Trump’s plotting in Ukraine.

Taylor’s explosive closed-door testimony on Tuesday captured the dimensions of the shakedown of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Taylor, who temporarily heads the embassy in Kyiv, said that Gordon Sondland – a hotel executive turned ambassador – told him: “President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something … the businessman asks that person pay up.”

The check was $390m in military aid to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated and the White House was withholding to pressure Zelenskiy. What Trump claimed he was owed was dirt on Hunter Biden and some sort of evidence buttressing the bizarre rightwing conspiracy theory that Ukraine had framed Russia for the 2016 hacking.

Imagine, if you will, that the desperate Ukrainian had concocted a paper trail to please Trump. It almost certainly would not have made a difference in an election campaign that will mostly be a referendum on Trump. There is no guarantee that Biden will even win the Democratic nomination – and it seems ludicrous to believe that serious journalists would accept fabricated evidence about Hunter Biden.

Like Watergate, Trump’s Pain in Ukraine threatens to bring down his presidency.

Nothing better illustrates the increasing desperation of Trump’s hardcore defenders on Capitol Hill than the efforts on Wednesday of two dozen Republican congressmen (and, yes, they were all male) to disrupt the impeachment depositions in a secure room of the House intelligence committee.

The Republican protest was nominally over the lack of public hearings on impeachment. But the enduring Washington truth is that when you are arguing process, you are losing.

Taylor’s written statement ended with an earnest plea: “We must support Ukraine in its fight against its bullying neighbor. Russian aggression cannot stand.” Sadly, the same thing can be said about the Kurds, whom Trump also cynically and willfully abandoned.


The Orange Revolution and other games

October 25, 2019

by Christian Jürs

The state of Ukraine during the 2004 presidential election is considered an “ideal condition” for an outburst from the public. During this time Ukrainians were impatient while waiting for economic and political transformation.[1] The results of the election were thought to be fraudulent and considered “a nail in the coffin” of the preceding events.

The U.S. and NATO Have Been Trying to Encircle Russia Militarily Since 1991

The American press portrays Putin as being the bad guy and the aggressor in the Ukraine crisis.

Putin is certainly no saint. A former KGB agent, Putin’s net worth is estimated at some $40 billion dollars … as he has squeezed money out of the Russian economy by treating the country as his own personal fiefdom. And all sides appear to have dirt on their hands in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

But we can only see the bigger picture if we take a step back and gain a little understanding of the history underlying the current tensions.

Indeed, the fact that the U.S. has allegedly paid billions of dollars to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine – and even purportedly picked the Ukrainian president – has to be seen in context.

Veteran New York Times reporter Steven Kinzer notes at the Boston Globe:

From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. [Background here, here and here.] It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. US military power is now directly on Russia’s borders.

“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” warned George Kennan, the renowned diplomat and Russia-watcher, as NATO began expanding eastward. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely, and it will affect their policies.”

Stephen Cohen – professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University who has long focused on Russia – explained this weekend on CNN:

We are witnessing as we talk the making possibly of the worst history of our lifetime. We are watching the descending of a new cold war divide between west and east, only this time, it is not in far away Berlin, it’s right on Russia’s borders through the historical civilization in Ukraine. It’s a crisis of historic magnitude. If you ask how we got in it, how we got into the crisis, and how therefore do we get out, it is time to stop asking why Putin – why Putin is doing this or that, but ask about the American policy, and the European Union policy that led to this moment.


George Kennan was considered [a] great strategic thinker about Russia among American diplomats but he warned when we expanded NATO [under Bill Clinton], that this was the most fateful mistake of American foreign policy and that it would lead to a new Cold War. George lived to his hundreds, died a few years ago, but his truth goes marching on. The decision to move NATO beginning in the 90′s continuing under Bush and continuing under Obama, is right now on Russia’s borders.

If you want to know what the Russian power elite thinks Ukraine is about, it is about bringing it into NATO. One last point, that so-called economic partnership that Yanukovych, the elected president of Ukraine did not sign, and that set off the streets – the protests in the streets in November, which led to this violence in and confrontation today, that so-called economic agreement included military clauses which said that Ukraine by signing this so called civilization agreement had to abide by NATO military policy. This is what this is about from the Russian point of view, the ongoing western march towards post Soviet Russia.

Jonathan Steele writes at the Guardian

Both John Kerry’s threats to expel Russia from the G8 and the Ukrainian government’s plea for Nato aid mark a dangerous escalation of a crisis that can easily be contained if cool heads prevail. Hysteria seems to be the mood in Washington and Kiev, with the new Ukrainian prime minister claiming, “We are on the brink of disaster” as he calls up army reserves in response to Russian military movements in Crimea.

Were he talking about the country’s economic plight he would have a point. Instead, along with much of the US and European media, he was over-dramatising developments in the east, where Russian speakers are understandably alarmed after the new Kiev authorities scrapped a law allowing Russian as an official language in their areas. They see it as proof that the anti-Russian ultra-nationalists from western Ukraine who were the dominant force in last month’s insurrection still control it. Eastern Ukrainians fear similar tactics of storming public buildings could be used against their elected officials.

Kerry’s rush to punish Russia and Nato’s decision to respond to Kiev’s call by holding a meeting of member states’ ambassadors in Brussels today were mistakes. Ukraine is not part of the alliance, so none of the obligations of common defence come into play. Nato should refrain from interfering in Ukraine by word or deed. The fact that it insists on getting engaged reveals the elephant in the room: underlying the crisis in Crimea and Russia’s fierce resistance to potential changes is Nato’s undisguised ambition to continue two decades of expansion into what used to be called “post-Soviet space”, led by Bill Clinton and taken up by successive administrations in Washington. At the back of Pentagon minds, no doubt, is the dream that a US navy will one day replace the Russian Black Sea fleet in the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Balaclava.

Vladimir Putin’s troop movements in Crimea, which are supported by most Russians, are of questionable legality under the terms of the peace and friendship treaty that Russia signed with Ukraine in 1997. But their illegality is considerably less clear-cut than that of the US-led invasion of Iraq, or of Afghanistan, where the UN security council only authorised the intervention several weeks after it had happened. [Indeed, top American leaders admit that the Iraq war was for reasons different than publicly stated. And the U.S. military sticks its nose in other countries’ business all over the world.  And see this.] And Russia’s troop movements can be reversed if the crisis abates. That would require the restoration of the language law in eastern Ukraine and firm action to prevent armed groups of anti-Russian nationalists threatening public buildings there.

Again, we don’t believe that there are angels on any side.  But we do believe that everyone has to take a step back, look at the bigger picture, calm down and reach a negotiated diplomatic resolution.




This section focuses on the intelligence collection activities of five nations that traditionally have been considered hostile to our national interests and have used their intelligence services to harm the interests of the United States. The nations considered in this section are: Russia, the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC), Cuba, North Korea, and Romania. Despite the substantial political changes that have taken place in the world, these nations continue to expend significant resources to conduct intelligence operations against the United States. In the past, these efforts were centered on producing intelligence concerning U.S. military capabilities, other national security activities, and military research and development activities. The nations discussed in this section continue to collect this type of information, however, they have expanded their collection efforts to place additional emphasis on collecting scientific, technical, economic, and proprietary information. These collection efforts are designed to promote the national welfare of these nations and provide technologies required for the acquisition and maintenance of advanced military systems. In general, the national intelligence collection efforts of these nations have diminished little since the end of the Cold War.[1]

Each of the countries discussed in this section has the ability to collect intelligence on targeted U.S. activities using HUMINT, SIGINT, and the analysis of open source material. Intelligence collection activities initiated by these nations have targeted activities within the continental United States, and U.S. facilities and personnel in foreign nations. Some of these nations also have access to imagery products that can be used to produce IMINT. Only the Russian Federation, and the PRC to a very limited extent, however, have the ability to gather intelligence from spaceborne intelligence collection platforms. Russia continues to present the most serious intelligence collection threat to the United States and will be discussed in the next portion of this section.

Russian Intelligence Collection Capabilities–An Overview

The Russian Federation has a significant intelligence capability that it inherited from the former Soviet Union. Much of this intelligence collection infrastructure continues to focus on collecting information concerning the United States. Russia has the ability to use IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT, and open source analysis to develop all source intelligence products for Russian political leaders, military planners, and industrial concerns. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Russian intelligence operations against the United States have increased in sophistication, scope, and number, and are likely to remain at a high level for the foreseeable future.

Russia has three bodies with foreign intelligence functions designated by law: the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU), and the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Committee of State Security (KGB) was broken up into eight different agencies, the majority of which are responsible for internal security matters. The President of the Russian Federation directly controls the activities of the intelligence, law enforcement, and defense activities of the Russian government. Intelligence activities are overseen by the Russian National Security Council and coordinated through the Permanent Interbranch Commissions of the National Security Council and their Chairmen. In addition to the three foreign intelligence agencies, the intelligence community also controls the Federal Customs Service and the newly organized Federal Security Service. The Federal Customs Service can provide the intelligence services with detailed information on the movement of goods and equipment in and out of Russia. Proprietary information such as customer lists could be derived from declarations made to the Customs Service. The Federal Security Service incorporates the functions of the Main Administration for the Protection of the Russian Federation and the Federal Counterintelligence Service. The combination of these functions has returned much of the internal security and counterintelligence functions formerly held by the KGB to a single agency.

Russian Intelligence Organizations

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)

The SVR, the successor to the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, is responsible for collecting foreign intelligence. The SVR was created when the KGB was dismantled in the aftermath of the August 1991 coup against the Gorbachev government. The Chairman of the KGB, Vladimir Kryuchkov, and other senior Officials were involved in the plot to overthrow Gorbachev, and the KGB was broken up in retribution for these actions. The internal security, counterintelligence, border guard, and protection service missions formerly assigned to the KGB were given to newly created organizations. The SVR concentrates on collecting political, economic, scientific, and technical information, and relies on HUMINT, SIGINT, and open source analysis for producing intelligence. The majority of SVR case officers operate under diplomatic cover from Russian embassies and consulates. Although the number of SVR personnel has allegedly been reduced by 30 percent, the agency continues active collection operations. It is also suspected that the SVR continues to be involved in conducting propaganda and influence operations.

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU)

The GRU and the Ministry of Defense supported Gorbachev against the August 1991 coup, and, unlike the KGB, the GRU survived the aftermath of the coup largely intact. The GRU is responsible for providing strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence for the Russian armed forces. Principle missions include the collection of indications and warning intelligence, data on advanced military technologies, and specific information on the intentions and military capabilities of potential adversaries. Collection techniques include gathering open source information, acquiring overt and clandestine HUMINT, conducting satellite and aircraft imagery reconnaissance, and collecting SIGINT from various platforms (ships, aircraft, satellites and ground stations).

Collection activities that threaten U.S. interests are those under the First Deputy Chief and the Space Intelligence Directorate. The Space Intelligence Directorate manages the Russian space reconnaissance program in coordination with the Fleet Intelligence Direction of the Fifth Directorate. The Fleet Intelligence Direction is responsible for space systems that provide intelligence supporting naval forces. The Space Intelligence Directorate is responsible for the development, manufacture, launch, and operation of Russian space-based reconnaissance systems. The directorate is located at Vatutinki, 50 kilometers southwest of Moscow. It operates its own cosmodromes, several research institutes, supporting mission ground centers, and a centralized computer processing facility.

The Chief of Information is responsible for the analysis of information obtained through the intelligence collection operations managed by the First Deputy Chief. Analytical activities are organized into geographical sections and a limited number of functional activities that cut across geographic areas. An example of functional orientation is the Mnth Directorate, which acquires and assesses scientific and technical data for the military design bureaus. Of particular interest to the OPSEC manager is the Institute of Information, which operates separately from the directorates under the Chief of Information and is responsible for developing intelligence products based on the fusion of open source materials and classified information.

The Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI)

The FAPSI was created in October 1991 by Presidential decree. It is the newest of the Russian intelligence agencies, and relatively little information is available on its organizational structure and activities. The FAPSI is responsible for both communications security for the Russian Federation, and SIGINT operations against targeted foreign activities. It has also been given responsibility for the development and maintenance of databases and communications systems to support Russian intelligence and law enforcement activities. FAPSI is chartered to lease government communications lines to private investors, to set up communications activities on the territory of other sovereign states, and to conduct foreign business activities. The access provided through such activities will allow FAPSI the opportunity to monitor communications systems in which it has an interest, and will permit the purchase advanced telecommunications technologies from foreign companies. The former Soviet Union, and now Russia, have been denied the opportunity to purchase advanced communications and information systems from the West. It appears that the Russians hope that the entrance of FAPSI into the commercial telecommunications market will end this isolation.

Russian Intelligence Operations


Both the GRU, and the SVR as the successor to the KGB, conduct HUMINT operations that target the United States. The most recent example of a HUMINT operation conducted by Russia is the case of Aldrich Ames. Ames was a Central Intelligence Agency employee in the Directorate of Operations. In his work with the Directorate of Operations, Ames was able to obtain information pertaining to ongoing operations targeting the former Soviet Union and later Russia. Ames volunteered to work for the KGB in April 1985 as a walk-in to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and continued to work for the SVR after the fall of the Soviet Union. His espionage activities continued until his arrest on the morning of February 21, 1994. Upon his arrest, it was determined that Ames had been paid at least $2.5 million for his services and that he had compromised, by his own admission, “virtually all Soviet agents of the CIA and other American and foreign services known to me.” In addition, he stated that he provided the former Soviet Union and Russia with a huge quantity of information on U.S. foreign, defense, and security policies.[12]

It is very likely that the Russians will continue to place a significant emphasis on the development of HUMINT sources because of the quality of information they have received in the past.[13] Since the August 1991 coup, the number of HUMINT operations conducted by the SVR and KGB that target the United States and the West have risen rather than fallen. In March 1993, the FBI and German counterintelligence authorities reported that SVR/GRU activities in their respective countries had grown by over 12 percent from pre-coup levels.[14] This is due to a number of factors. First, as a result of arms control treaties, joint business opportunities, and numerous cultural and economic exchanges, the Russian intelligence services now have greater access to American society, government, and industry. Second, there has been a significant influx of Russian emigres into the United States. The FBI estimates that over 105,000 Russians emigrated to the United States in the late 1980s. The Russians have traditionally used emigres as a means to gather intelligence. Third, there has been a substantial influx of Russian students into the United States; many of these students are studying technical disciplines that are required by the Russians to improve both military and civil industries. Fourth, travel restrictions on Russian diplomatic and consular personnel in the United States have been lifted, making it easier to collect information on U.S. activities.[15]


Russia continues to maintain one of the most sophisticated SIGINT programs in the world. The GRU’s Sixth Directorate uses over 20 different types of aircraft, a fleet of 60 SIGINT collection vessels, satellites, and ground stations to collect signals intelligence. Together with FAPSI, the GRU operates SIG1NT collection facilities in over 60 diplomatically protected facilities throughout the world. These agencies also operate large ground collection facilities within the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States, at Cam Rank Bay, Vietnam, and at Lourdes, Cuba. These activities provide the Russians with worldwide SIGINT collection capabilities.[16]

The SIGINT facility at Lourdes is among the most significant intelligence collection capabilities targeting the United States. This facility, less than 100 miles from Key West, is one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT collection facilities in the world. It is jointly operated by the GRU, FAPSI, and Cuba’s intelligence services. The complex is manned by over 1,000 Russian personnel and is capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe. Lourdes intercepts transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions. It also serves as a mission ground station and analytical facility supporting Russian SIGINT satellites. The facility at Lourdes, together with a sister facility in Russia, allows the Russians to monitor all U. S. military and civilian geosynchronous communications satellites.[17] It has been alleged that the Lourdes facility monitors all White House communications activities, launch control communications and telemetry from NASA and Air Force facilities at Cape Canaveral, financial and commodity wire services, and military communications links. According to one source, Lourdes has a special collection and analysis facility that is responsible for targeting financial and political information. This activity is manned by specially selected personnel and appears to be highly successful in providing Russian leaders with political and economic intelligence.[18]

The former Soviet Union also used a variety of other means to collect signals intelligence. The Soviets operated SIGINT collection sites in over 60 countries from diplomatically protected embassies, consulates, trade legations, and residences. It is possible that these activities are continuing in the United States. The location of a number of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States would provide Russian SIGINT collectors with access to sensitive information. Russian collection activities could derive sensitive information on Government policies from monitoring Government activities in the Washington, DC area, and sensitive financial and trade information using Russian facilities located in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. The location of microwave towers and cellular communication repeaters in the vicinity of Russian diplomatic facilities in these cities increases the potential damage from collection activities. In the past, vans from the Soviet Mission to the United Nations were observed in the vicinity of the GE Americom satellite ground station in Vernon Valley, NJ, and vans from the San Francisco consulate were observed in the vicinity of AT&T microwave towers in Northern California. In both cases, the vans appeared to be conducting SIG1NT monitoring at these facilities.[19]

The Russians have probably also continued the Soviet practice of using covert mobile collection platforms. During the Cold War, the Russians frequently used tractor-trailers, and other vehicles with concealed SIGINT collection equipment to gather intelligence in Western Europe. Western intelligence officials estimate that the Soviets conducted over 7,000 covert vehicular SIGINT operations in NATO countries annually. During these operations, the Soviets gathered electronic order of battle (EOB) data, monitored exercise communications, conducted direction finding operations, and calibrated Soviet SIGINT satellites to determine geolocation accuracies. The Soviets also allegedly used clandestine collection vans located in Mexico to monitor activities at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Vans operating from Tijuana, Mexico reportedly were able to monitor all of Southern California and Western Arizona. There have also been reports that Aeroflot aircraft and clandestine collection vehicles have been used to collect SIGINT data inside the continental United States.[20]

The Russians also use satellites for collecting SIGINT. The first Soviet SIGINT satellite was the Cosmos 189 ELINT satellite, which was launched in 1967. Over the next 24 years, the Soviets placed over 200 SIGINT satellites into orbit. The Russians continue to maintain a robust presence in space. During 1994, the Russians conducted 48 spacecraft launches, 50 percent of which were military missions including advanced imagery systems, ocean reconnaissance, and electronic intelligence collection. In 1995, the Russians have programmed 45 space launches; again approximately 50 percent will be military missions.[21]

The GRU is tasked with operating Russian ELINT satellites. ELINT satellites use active and passive techniques to detect specific targets. They complement the data provided by imaging satellites and assist in developing a more complete picture of an adversary’s forces or intentions. These satellites are designed to track and geolocate radio and radar emanations of ships at sea, mobile air defense radars, fixed strategic early warning radars, and other military emitters for the purpose of identification, location, and signals analysis. The data can then be used for targeting, offensive and defensive engagement planning, and countermeasure development.

Collection activities are managed by the Satellite Intelligence Directorate, and data analysis is performed by the Decrypting Service of the Sixth Directorate. Currently, there is no evidence of the existence of a Russian COMINT satellite, however, it is likely that the Russians could develop such a system if they wished.[22]


The primary IMINT threat posed by Russia is represented by satellite imagery systems. The first Soviet reconnaissance satellite was launched in 1962. Over the next 30 years, the Soviets launched over 850 photoreconnaissance satellites. On average, the Soviets, and now the Russians, have been able to maintain 2 photoreconnaissance satellites in orbit each year with an average of 780 mission days per year. Russian imagery systems are assessed to be able to obtain resolutions of better than one-third of a meter. The Russians currently use three types of imagery satellites depending on the imagery requirement.[23]

The third-generation photoreconnaissance satellite is a medium resolution system (1.5 to 3 meters) that is used for wide area surveillance missions. The satellite flies in low earth orbits at altitudes ranging from 235 to 245 kilometers. It is designed for mission durations of 2 to 3 weeks, and requires that the satellite be deorbited for return of film canisters. During Operation Desert Storm, the former Soviet Union launched three of these spacecraft to fly repetitive ground tracks over the Persian Gulf region. The capability to quickly launch and recover these satellites allowed the Soviets to double their coverage of the area in response to the intelligence requirements of Soviet political and military leaders. The Russians appear to be phasing the third-generation satellite out of operation in favor of follow-on systems.[24]

The fourth-generation photoreconnaissance satellite provides the Russians with increased operational capabilities. The spacecraft flies elliptical orbits at altitudes of 170 kilometers, which improves resolution. The principal improvements in the systems are the ability to return film canisters without deorbiting the spacecraft, and the extension of orbital lifetime. The productive lifetime of the fourthgeneration satellite now averages 60 days per mission. During the last 5 years, the Russians have launched 6 high resolution satellites, and 1 topographic mapper annually. During the Persian Gulf War the former Soviets launched 4 fourth-generation satellites in a period of less than 90 days, illustrating the ability of the Russians to surge reconnaissance systems in times of crisis or international tension. The groundtrack of these satellites was aligned with the Persian Gulf region to provide additional coverage during daylight hours.[25]

The fifth-generation satellite is an electrooptic imaging system that provides the Russians with near real-time imagery. The fifth-generation imagery satellite greatly improves the reconnaissance capabilities of the Russian Federation. It provides quicker return of intelligence data and ends the restrictions posed by the limited amount of film that can be carried by a photoreconnaissance satellite. In general, the fifth-generation satellite is used for global reconnaissance, and the third and fourth generation satellites are used for coverage of particularly sensitive areas.[26]

Overall, the Russians have continued to maintain a robust space reconnaissance program, despite predictions that the program would wane after the demise of the Soviet Union. The Russians have been able to maintain a constellation of 160 satellites in orbit simultaneously, the same level as under the Soviet Union, despite a 35 percent reduction in launches. The one major problem faced by the Russians is the lack of an all weather/day/night imaging system. Both electro-optic and photographic systems require daylight and clear weather to be able to image an area. In the 1980s, the Soviet attempted to develop a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system to provide all weather and night coverage. This program failed to develop a militarily acceptable product, and the resulting Almaz spacecraft was converted into a commercial mapping system. No comparable SAR system is currently known to be under development.[27]


The Russians have a number of programs that can provide MASINT data. The Russian Prognoz satellite has infrared detection capabilities similar to those provided by the U.S. Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite system. The Prognoz can be used to conduct a variety of missions in support of infrared intelligence (IRINT). Other MASINT-related systems include a wide variety of sophisticated radar systems that can be used for radar intelligence (RADINT), a well-developed acoustic intelligence (ACOUSTINT) program for antisubmarine warfare, and a highly developed nuclear intelligence (NUCINT) program that collects samples from nuclear testing. [28]

Russian Intelligence Collection Trends

Russia is likely to continue to aggressively use its intelligence services to gain information concerning the United States. They will retain the ability to develop all source intelligence and will use the information gained through these efforts to improve their standing in global political, economic, and security matters. Russia will continue to pursue intelligence concerning U.S. military capabilities, foreign policy initiatives, and the development of military technologies. There is likely to be an increased emphasis on obtaining commercial or dual use technology through intelligence operations.[29]

Defectors from the former Soviet and the Russian intelligence services have stated that industrial espionage activities will escalate in the years ahead. Russia requires advanced technology to bolster its economy and foster increased technological progress. Defectors have stated that the SVR will target the increasing number of joint U.S./Russian business ventures in an effort to legally obtain or steal desirable Western technologies. The Russians do not in many cases have the ability to pay for those items they need to improve economic growth so they are willing to steal them or obtain them through other illegitimate means. Additionally, the Russians still must contend with restrictions on certain technologies that they desire. Most of these technologies are dual use technologies that would play a significant role in the development of advanced weapons systems or improved Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) systems. In 1994, the United States denied a request by the Russian government to purchase advanced telecommunications systems from AT&T. The request was denied based on an assessment by the National Security Agency that the technology would be used in C3I systems. Based on past collection patterns, it should be assumed that the Russians are still targeting these technologies.[30]

Another likely trend is that, because of the reported reduction in the number of SVR intelligence officers, the Russians will place increasing emphasis on gaining information through technical intelligence disciplines, and open source analysis.[31] Although the opportunity to collect HUMINT has expanded as a result of the relaxation of security standards in focused on Russia; the reduction in the number of SVR intelligence officers, the closing of diplomatic facilities throughout the world, and the loss of access to former Warsaw Pact intelligence services will lead to a overall reduction in intelligence acquired through HUMINT. HUMINT is likely to be more carefully targeted to gain information not readily available through technical intelligence collection or through open source exploitation. The Russians have always relied on open source information and will continue to obtain intelligence by analyzing public data in comparison with intelligence derived through classified sources. The Soviets used a variety of research and political institutes for the analysis of open source data. The majority of these institutes have been retained by the Russians and are likely performing the same roles as they did under the Soviet Union. The Russians will continue to use information gained through these research institutes and from the collection opportunities provided by joint trade, research, and educational activities.[32]

Chinese Intelligence Collection Capabilities–An Overview

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has a significant intelligence collection capability, much of which is focused on regional adversaries, in particular, Russia. The United States is a primary target of China because of its role as a global superpower, its substantial military, political, and economic presence in the Pacific Rim and Asia, and its role as a developer of advanced technology China requires for its economic growth. Intelligence functions in China are controlled through the Central Committee of the Communist Party and through the General Staff Department of the Central Military Commission. Intelligence operations are coordinated through the General Office of the Central Committee, and all intelligence reports must be reviewed by this office prior to presentation to the Chinese leadership. China has four intelligence organizations that conduct collection activities directed at the United States: the Ministry of State Security, the Military Intelligence Department, the Third or Technical Department of the Central Military Commission, and the New China New] Agency.

Chinese Intelligence Collection Organizations

Ministry of State Security (MSS)

The MSS was created in June 1983 by the Central Committee to centralize foreign intelligence and counterintelligence functions. The MSS is headed by the Minister of State Security, who reports to the Central Committee. It conducts counterespionage operations within China, and HUMINT and limited SIGINT operations both inside and outside of the PRC. The MSS centers its collection operations on regional adversaries with which China has shared borders, including Russia, India, and Vietnam, and on nations that are militarily, politically, or economically important to China. The latter category includes the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Key intelligence collection objectives for the MSS include:

  • Acquiring foreign military and civilian high technology
  • Collecting information on adversary military planning, foreign policy, and foreign trade positions concerning China
  • Monitoring Chinese dissident groups overseas.

HUMINT is the primary discipline used by the MSS for intelligence collection in the United States and other targeted nations. The MSS may also have a limited covert SIGINT capability. The Chinese use both overt and clandestine HUMINT collection to gather information required by their leaders. Additionally, the MSS attempts to gain information on foreign targets through surveillance of foreigners visiting China.[35]

Military Intelligence Department (MID)

The MID is responsible for basic order-of-battle intelligence, studies of foreign weapons systems, and analyses of the capabilities of foreign military organizations. It obtains information through military attaches, review of open source literature, clandestine HUMINT operations, and joint business ventures. The MID is believed to play an integral role in obtaining advanced military technologies to bolster China’s military capabilities and improve weapons systems vital to China’s export arms business. The MID has also played a significant role in the development of clandestine relationships with Israel and other nations to gain expertise in the development of advanced weapons systems. Together with the Commission on Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND), the MID works to obtain military technologies for application to the Chinese military. Much of this technology is obtained through technological diversion and reverse engineering of products purchased from the West. The MID is also responsible, in concert with the COSTIND, for the development of China’s space reconnaissance program

Technical Department

The Technical Department, or Third Department of the General Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, is the national agency responsible for managing China’s strategic SIGINT program. The Department was established in the early 1950s with Soviet assistance to provide the Chinese General Staff with a limited SIGINT capability and strategic communications support.

New China News Agency (NCNA)

The NCNA is the primary domestic and international news agency for the PRC. The NCNA has a staff of over 5,000 employees operating out of over 90 bureaus and 300 offices in China and abroad. NCNA has served as a cover for clandestine Chinese intelligence operations. The NCNA monitors newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts from around the world, and conducts open source analysis for the Chinese leadership.

Chinese Intelligence Operations


The MSS is the primary Chinese HUMINT collection organization, although the MID is also involved in HUMINT collection. The MID is primarily involved in the overt collection of technical information through visits to trade shows, military exchange programs, and through the military attache program. The MSS is responsible for both overt and clandestine collection. It uses students, diplomats, businessmen, and scientists in its attempts to gain information. China has been extremely aggressive in its HUMINT collection activities in the United States. The PRC has more than 2,600 diplomatic and commercial officials in the United States. A substantial percentage of these personnel are actively involved in collecting intelligence. More than 40,000 students from the PRC also attend schools in the United States, and many of these students have been tasked to collect information by the Chinese government. In addition to these personnel, over 25,000 Chinese visit the United States each year as members of official delegations, and an additional 20,000 Chinese emigrate to the United States annually

The MSS has been able to obtain high- and mid-level technologies not cleared for export to the PRC through its activities. It has used three principal means to obtain such technology: first, recruiting agents in China and sending them abroad to acquire technology; second, acquiring American firms that produce a desired technology; and third, the use of MSS operated front companies in Hong Kong. The Chinese have used a number of different methods to gather HUMINT. They have used pressure to gain information from the Chinese immigrant community, especially on those Chinese that have access to high technology or military data. The MSS has also encouraged Chinese students to remain in the United States as long-term penetration agents. MSS personnel have acted as intelligence collectors using cover as NCNA reporters, trade office representatives, and accredited diplomats.

Scientific exchange programs have proven to be extremely useful means for the Chinese to gather information. The FBI has stated that virtually all Chinese allowed to leave the PRC for the United States are given some type of collection requirement to fulfill. Although the bulk of Chinese operations are not sophisticated operations, the large number of ongoing Chinese operations greatly increases the difficulty of countering their espionage activities. In recent years, the Chinese have been the subject of approximately half of all cases initiated by U.S. law enforcement agencies concerning the illegal diversion of technology from the United States.


The Technical Department provides the PRC with a wide range of SIGINT capabilities. The Chinese maintain, by far, the most extensive SIGINT capability of any nation in the Asia/Pacific region. The Chinese operate several dozen SIGINT ground stations deployed throughout China. They monitor signals from Russia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. Signals from U.S. military units located in the region are of significant interest to these monitoring stations. A large SIGINT facility at Hainan Island is principally concerned with monitoring U.S. naval activities in the South China Sea. The Chinese appear to be developing a spaceborne ELINT system that is mounted on their photoreconnaissance and communications satellites. There is no indication at this point that this capability presents a significant threat to U.S. forces in the region. The Chinese actively monitor international communications satellites from SATCOM intercept facilities on Hainan Island, and outside Beijing. Additionally, the Chinese have developed a series of SIGINT collection vessels that monitor U.S. military operations and exercises in the Asia/Pacific region.


The Chinese currently have a limited spaceborne photoreconnaissance capability that focuses on collecting imagery over the Russian border. The Chinese also use a variety of fixed wing aircraft to collect photographic imagery. None of these systems present a substantial intelligence collection threat to U.S. forces in the region. U.S. intelligence agencies believe that China will likely develop a mid-resolution electro-optic imaging system in the future that will provide the Chinese with improved capabilities.

Chinese Intelligence Collection Trends

The PRC will continue to use its intelligence services to gather information about the United States, and to obtain access to advanced technologies. An integral part of this effort will be the use of open source information gathered by students, scientific researchers, and the NCNA. China will likely improve both its SIGINT and IMINT capabilities, increasing the collection threat to the United States. The Chinese will continue to use intelligence collection to improve their economic position in the global economy.

Cuban Intelligence Collection Capabilities An Overview

The principal intelligence collection arms of the Cuban government are the Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI) of Ministry of the Interior, and the Military Counterintelligence Department of the Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces. Both have been closely associated with the Soviet and Russian intelligence services. The relationship between these services is likely to continue based upon the June 14, 1993 agreement on military cooperation between Russia and Cuba. The DGI is responsible for foreign intelligence collection. The DGI has six divisions divided into two categories of roughly equal size: the Operational Divisions and the Support Divisions. The operational divisions include the Political/Economic Intelligence Division, the External Counterintelligence Division, and the Military Intelligence Division. The support divisions include the Technical Support Division, the Information Division, and the Preparation Division. The Technical Support Division is responsible for production of false documents, communications systems supporting clandestine operations, and development of clandestine message capabilities. The Information and Preparation Divisions are responsible for intelligence analysis functions. The Political Economic Intelligence Division consists of four sections: Eastern Europe, North America, Western Europe, and Africa-Asia-Latin America. The External Counterintelligence Division is responsible for penetrating foreign intelligence services and the surveillance of exiles. The Military Intelligence Department is focused on collecting information on the U.S. Armed Forces and coordinates SIGINT operations with the Russians at Lourdes. The Military Counterintelligence Department is responsible for conducting counterintelligence, SIGINT, and electronic warfare activities against the United States.[44]

Despite the economic failure of the Castro regime, Cuban intelligence, in particular the DGI, remains a viable threat to the United States. The Cuban mission to the United Nations is the third largest UN delegation, and it has been alleged that almost half the personnel assigned to the mission are DGI officers. The DGI actively recruits within the Cuban emigre community and has used refugee flows into the United States to place agents. The DGI collects political, economic, and military information within the United States. More recently, the DGI has started to conduct operations to gain access to technologies required to improve the Cuban economy. Cuba is considered by the United States to be a sponsor of international terrorism and has worked closely with Puerto Rican separatist and Latin American terrorist groups. Much of this activity has been handled through the DGI.[45]

North Korean Intelligence Collection Operations

North Korea’s intelligence organizations are under the supervision of the National Intelligence Committee of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party and are directly responsible to the President. There are several intelligence agencies within the government and the Korean Worker’s Party. The majority of the North Korean intelligence agencies are within the Cabinet General Intelligence Bureau of the Korean Worker’s Party Central Committee. The Liaison Department is responsible for conducting intelligence operations in South Korea and Japan. Its agents are used to undermine the South Korean government by supporting internal subversion and to gather information on U.S. forces in Korea. The Research Department for External Intelligence (RDEI) is the primary agency responsible for foreign intelligence collection. The RDEI is composed of four geographic subsections, one of which is North America. The third agency under the Central Committee is the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chosen Soren).The Chosen Soren supports intelligence operations in Japan, assists in the infiltration of agents into South Korea, collects open source information, and diverts advanced technology for use by North Korea.

Other North Korean intelligence agencies include the Reconnaissance Bureau of the General Staff Department and the State Security Department. The Reconnaissance Bureau is responsible for collecting strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence for the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces. It is also responsible for infiltrating intelligence personnel into South Korea though tunnels under the demilitarized zone and seaborne insertion. The State Security Department is responsible for North Korea’s counter intelligence and offensive counterintelligence programs.

North Korea primarily depends upon HUMINT for intelligence collection in South Korea and other parts of the world. The North Koreans do have a limited SIGINT capability, however, it is largely focused on South Korean activities. The North Koreans have a limited HUMINT capability in the United States and Canada that has been directed at acquiring technologies related to nuclear weapons. The primary threat posed by North Korean intelligence operations is to American forces in South Korea.[47]

Romanian Intelligence Collection Operations

Romania continues to pose a HUMINT and limited SIGINT collection threat to United States Government and commercial activities operating in the Central European region. Additionally, the Romanians have used their intelligence services to collect information on advanced technologies in the United States. The three intelligence agencies that operate against the United States are the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Special Telecommunications Service (STS). The SRI is an autonomous agency responsible to the President of Romania. It is responsible for collecting foreign intelligence and protecting the state. It has approximately 5,000 personnel, many of whom are former members of the Securitate. The Foreign Intelligence Service is responsible for collecting political and economic intelligence. Intelligence officers are located at Romanian embassies and consulates. The STS performs SIGINT functions for the Romania government and actively targets foreign embassies and businesses for collection.[48]

The next section of this handbook examines the intelligence services of terrorist states.



1 – Statement of William S. Sessions, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, contained in United States House of Representatives, The Threat of Foreign Economic Espionage, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, Committee on the Judiciary, April 29 and May 7, 1992, pp. 41, 42, 46, and 47.

2 – U.S. House of Representatives, FBI Oversight and Authorization Request, Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary, 101 Congress, 2d Session, 1990, p. 281.

3 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1986; and U.S. House of Representatives, FBI Oversight and Authorization Request, Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary, 101 Congress, 2d Session. 1990. p. 281.

4 – Sander Thoenes and Alan Cooperman, “Yeltsin’s Eyes and Ears,” U.S. News and World Report, 119:6, August 7, 1995, pp. 36-39; and Victor Yasmann, “Security Services Reorganized: All Power to the Russian President?” RFEXRL Reports, 3:6, February 1 1, 1994, pp. 7-14.

5 – Victor Yasmann “Security Services Reorganized: All Power to the Russian President?” RFE/RL Reports, 3:6, February 11, 1994, pp. 7-14.

6 – James Sherr, “Change and Continuity in the Former KGB,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, March 1993, pp. 110-112; and Adam Zagorin, “Still Spying After All These Years,” Time, June 29, 1992, pp. 58-59.

7 – Carey Schofield, “Interview with the Head of Russian Military Intelligence,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, March 1993, pp. 112-116.

8 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1986, pp. 34-38.

9 – Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, p. 609; and Viktor Suvorov, Inside Soviet Military Intelli~ence, New York: MacMillan, 1984, pp. 60 and 66.

10 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1986.

11 – Victor Yasmann, “Security Services Reorgamzed: All Power to the Russian Presidentt, RFE/RL Reports, 3:6, February 11, 1994, pp. 7-14; and James Sherr, “Change and Continu ty in the Former KGB,” Jane ‘s Intelligence Review, March 1993, pp.110-112.

12 – United States Senate, An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence: A Report of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: USAGPO, November 1,1994, pp. l9, and 85-86.

13 – U.S. House of Representatives, FBI Oversight and Authorization Request, Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary, 101 Congress, 2d Session, 1990, p. 281-282.

14 – James Sherr, “Change and Continuity in the Former KGB,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, March 1993, pp. 110-112.

15 – Kenneth E. deGraffenreid, “Tighter Security Needed to Protect U.S. Intelligence,” Signal, 45:1, ,Sgptember 1990, pp. 101-104.

16 – Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, p. 609-610; and Desmond Ball, Soviet Signals Intelligence (SIGIN77: Intercepting Satellite Communications, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Canberra: Australian National University, 1989, pp. 62-63.

17 – Department of Defense publication, “Soviet Military Power,,’ 1987, p.128.

18 – William Rosenau, “A Deafening Silence: U.S. Policy and the Sigint Facility at Lourdes,” Intelligence and National Security, 9:4, October 1994, pp. 723-734.

19 – Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, p. 609; and Desmond Ball, “Soviet Signals Intelligence: Vehicular Systems and Operations,” Intelligence and National Security, 4:1, January 1989, pp. 5-23.

20 – Desmond Ball, “Soviet Signals Intelligence: Vehicular Systems and Operations,,’ Intelligence and National Security, 4:1, January 1989, pp. 5-23.

21 – Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, pp. 608-610; and Craig Covault, “Russian Space Program Advances Despite Crisis,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 16, 1995, pp. 22-24.

22 – Desmond Ball, Soviet Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 47, Strategic and Defence Studies Center, Canberra: Australian National University, 1989; and Jeffrey T. Richelson,. “The Future of Space Reconnaissance,” Scientific American, 264:1, January 1991, pp. 38-44.

23 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, “The Future of Space Reconnaissance,” Scientific American, 264:1, January 1991, pp. 38-44.

24 – Nicholas L. Johnson and David M. Rodvold, 19911992 Europe and Asia in Space, Kirtland AFB, NM: USAF Phillips Laboratory, Technical Report DC-TR22191.103-1, 1992, pp. 241-245.

25 – Nicholas L. Johnson and David M. Rodvold, 19911992 Europe and Asia in Space, Kirtland AFB, NM: USAF Phillips Laboratory, Technical Report DC-TR2191.103-1, 1992, pp. 241-245.

26 – Nicholas L. Johnson and David M. Rodvold, 19911992 Europe and Asia in Space, Kirtland AFB, NM: USAF Phillips Laboratory, Technical Report DC-TR2191.103-1, 1992, pp. 241-245; and Craig Covault, “Russian Space Program Advances Despite Crisis,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 16, 27995′ PP 22-24

27 – Nicholas L. Johnson and David M. Rodvold, 19911992 Europe and Asia in Space, Kirtland AFB, NM: USAF Phillips Laboratory, Technical Report DC-TR2191.103-1, 1992, pp. 241-245; and Craig Covault, “Russian Space Program Advances Despite Crisis,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 16, 1995, pp. 22-24.

28 – William B. Scott, “Russian Pitches Common Early Warning Network,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 9, 1995, pp. 46-47; and Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1986, pp. 108-111.

29 – Adam Zagorin, “Still Spying After All These Years,” Time, June 29, 1992, pp. 58-59.

30 – U.S. House of Representatives, The Threat of Foreign Economic Espionage to U.S. Corporations, Testimony of William S. Sessions, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, Committee on the Judiciary, 102:2, Washington, DC: USGPO, 1992, p.42.

31 – Adam Zagonn, “Still Spying After All These Years,” Time, June 29, 1992, pp.58-59.

32 – James Adams, Sellout: Aldrich Ames and the Corruption of the CIA, New York: Viking, 1995, pp. 43-45; and Wayne Madsen, “Intelligence Agency Threats to Computer Security,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Winter 1993, pp. 418, 420, and 422.

33 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, Foreign Intelligence Organiz3ations, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988, p. 295.

34 – Nicholas Eftimiades, “China’s Ministry of State Security: Coming of Age in the International Arena,” Intelligence and National Security, 8:1, January 1993, pp 23-43.

35 – Wendell Minnick, “China Under Cover,” Far Eastern Economic Review, March 2, 1995, p. 38.

36 – Desmond Ball, “Signals Intelligence in China,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 7:8, August 1, 1995, pp.365-368; Jeffrey T. Richelson, Foreign Intelligence Organizations, Cambridge, MA: sallinger’ 1988, p. 287; and Ellis Joffe, The Chinese Army After Mao, pp. 55, 60, and 104.

37 – Desmond Ball, “Signals Intelligence in China,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 7:8, August 1, 1995, pp. 365-368.

38 – Nicholas Eftimiades, Chinks Ministry of State Security: Coming of Age in the International Arena,” intelligence and National Security, 8:1, January 1993, pp. 23~3; and Jeffrey T. Richelson, Foreign Intelligence Organizations, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988, p.293.

39 – U.S. House of Representatives, FBI Oversight and Authorization Request, Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judicialy, 101st Congress, 2d Session, 1sso, p. 282.

40 – Nicholas Eftimiades, “China’s Ministry of State Security: Coming of Age in the International Arena,” Intelligence and National Security, 8:1, pp. 23 43.

41 – Desmond Ball, “Signals Intelligence in China,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 7:8, August 1, 1995, pp. 43265-368.

42 – Jeffrey T. Richelson, “The Future of Space Reconnaissance,” Scientific American, 264:1, January 1991, pp. 38-44.

43 – Nicholas Eftimiades, “China’s Ministry of State Security: Coming of Age in the International Arena,” Intelligence and National Security, 8:1, pp. 23 43: and Jeffrey T. Richelson, Foreign Intelligence Organizations, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988, pp. 297-298.

44 – H.P. Klepak, “The Cuban Armed Forces,” Jane’s Intelligence Review Year Book, December 31, 1994, pp. 136-138; and Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1986, pp. 210-212.

45 – Calvin Sims, “Engineer Says He Stole Secrets of Chip Makers,” The New York Times, ~yr 22, 1995, p.l; and Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, pp. 561-563.

46 – Andrea Mattes Sevada, ed. North Korea: A Country Study, Washington, DC: USGPO, June 1993, pp. 261-262; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. “North Koreans Intelligence Agencies and Infiltration Operations,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, June 1991, pp. 269-271; and Kongdan Oh, North Korea in the 1990s: Implications for the Future of the U.S.-South Korean Security Alliance, RAND Note 3480, Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1992.

47 – Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. “North Korea’s Intelligence Agencies and Infiltration Operations,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, June 1991, pp. 269-271.

48 – Marko Milovojevic, “Romania’s Intelligence Services: Purges and Politics,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 7:1, January 1995, p. 12-13; and Dan Ionescu, “Personnel Changes in the Romanian Intelligence Service,” RFE/RL Report, 3:27, July 8, 1994, pp. 22-23.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 25, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.



Conversation No. 91

Date: Monday, July 21, 1997

Commenced: 8:15 AM CST

Concluded: 8:50 AM CST

RTC: I decided to let the phone ring for awhile, Gregory. I’m glad I got you. You appear to have won some money from me.

GD: Pardon?

RTC: Oh yes, I thought you might like to know that your friend James Atwood is dead.

GD: Ah! Start the week with good news, Robert. How did this totally unexpected thing happen? Shot to death in a Savannah mall by a drug crazed dwarf? Dead elephant fell out of a passing cargo plane and landed on him while he was walking his dog?

RTC: (Laughter) No, nothing so noticeable. One of our people took James out for Sunday brunch and he had a sudden embolism and fell face down into his salad.

GD: An embolism? Into the salad? (Laughter) My, my, such a tragic but somehow expected death. An autopsy?

RTC: I doubt it. He was getting old. Sixty seven by my information. I’ll send you a check.

GD: I will honor it. Will they bury him in Arlington with full military honors?

RTC: Probably not.

GD: Well, at least he didn’t shoot himself in the back of the head and fall off his boat.

RTC: Yes. The Paisley syndrome. Well, they both had mouth problems.

GD: And just think, if I hadn’t filled Critchfield in about James that time, Jimmy might still be operating down there; spreading joy wherever he went.

RTC: Do I know her?

GD: Know who?

RTC: Joy.

GD: (Laughter) Oh yes, that must be Joy Kobinski. We call her the Mattress Queen. Do you  know what Jimmy said when Joy had a runny nose?

RTC: Please tell me, Gregory.

GD: Why, she was full.

RTC: (Laughter) My God, have you no compassion?

GD: Very little. I save it for my dogs, Robert. Why waste compassion on those who do not deserve it? Jimmy tried to use me and to rip me off once. Perhaps he even planned a salad drop for me, who knows? And don’t pity the dead, Robert, they are at peace. You know, in retrospect, I can comfort myself by considering the number of people I have brought peace to.

RTC: I share your sentiments.

GD: That’s why we talk to each other, Robert. Wonderful shared memories of those departed for a better land. Still, unless their silence is beneficial to me, I prefer to keep them alive so I can poke them up once in awhile. Small pleasures to contemplate when one is depressed.

RTC: Have you always been so brutal, Gregory? Subtle and creative  but brutal I must say.

GD: No, not always. Why would you believe it, Robert, when I was young, I was loving and kind.

RTC: When you were three?

GD: No, up until high school. I was essentially a private person, disliked by most of the teachers and some of the student body because I always said what I thought,, but only if asked. And I knew a good deal about people; their sins of commission and omission. People are afraid of this sort of thing so I was generally avoided. So when a very attractive and intelligent girl in one of my classes became very friendly with me, I was, to be sure, very pleasantly surprised. No, my hormones were not raging, Robert, and it was what I believed was a very warm and friendly relationship. In fact, this began to occupy my thoughts more and more and each time I talked with her, I became more and more interested and, I might add, very happy.

RTC: These things happen.

GD: Oh, they do but not very often to me, I assure you. So, I began to explore the means to widen the relationship outside of school. She had what we would call very correct parents but that did not bother me because my own family was the same way. Then, as the Christmas season was approaching, I thought in my innocence we might go to San Francisco and attend a performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ I love the work and in fact, when my grandfather died, I inherited an autograph copy of the conductor’s text for this back when King George II attended a London performance and stood for the ‘Hallelujah chorus.’ When the King stood, so also did the entire house and that’s why today everyone stands. Well, so much for that. Anyway, I prepared my scenario and got up the nerve to ask her. A couple of days later, I came to school late after a dentist’s appointment and when I was walking down the empty halls to my classroom, I ran into her so I very politely chatted with her for a few minutes and then invited her. She looked right at me, over my shoulder and then walked towards me and past me away down the hall. At first, I thought she had seen someone but when I turned, there was no one.

RTC: What was the reason for that? Did you ask her?

GD: No, I watched her walk away and then just stood there. I was so stunned that I told the school nurse I had just had a tooth extraction and was having some pain so she sent me home. There was no one there so I just went to my apartment and sat in the armchair for a long time. I wondered what it was that I had said to cause her to just walk away. I went over my very short conversation a dozen times…a hundred times is more like it…but could find nothing.

RTC: I assume from this that you were of an unsettled mind.

GD: Yes, very. And no, I did not call her or try to visit her. She did what she did and there was no point in bothering with it any further. This was on a Friday and Monday, I went to school early and had my class changed so I didn’t have to see her any more. I did see her from time to time in the halls but we never made eye contact at all. Devastation, Robert, total devastation but I would not chase after anyone, believe me. Anyway, about six months or later, give or take, I was talking with a girl and she mentioned that everyone knew I was very friendly with this girl but didn’t appear to be around her anymore. Before I could concoct some story, she told me that my friend was a member of a very aggressive young Christian group that met every week at the school and that this girl was what my communicant told me was a ‘seeker.’ That is, she was chosen by the group to single out what were essentially social misfits, befriend them and bring them into the group. Once they did this, the mark would be passed off to another handler. And, she added, they were not permitted to get too close to their victims and had to break off contact if the relationship heated up. I personally don’t think going to see a sacred oratorio at Christmas is particularly intimate but who knows what evil lurks in the minds of women? I later came to the conclusion that the evil lay in their pants. Robert, I was polite with her but got away as fast as I could because I got very, very angry. I was nothing but some poor sucker to be lured into some Jesus freak group and I was so mad I started to shake.

RTC: Well, I don’t blame you.

GD: Yes, well, I walked around the football field for about an hour until I calmed down. Then, of course, I did remember her little comments about her circle of worthy friends and so on. And I noticed that she was now walking and talking with some other social misfit and learned that she had a very serious boyfriend in the Jesus group. This did not go over too well with me, Robert, not at all. So I decided to teach all of them a lesson in manners.

RTC: Not with a gun I assume.

GD: No. If you kill a person, they are immune from ongoing payback. I thought about it for some time and then I made up a letter from her to a fictional Miguel Ramirez. As I created him, Miguel was an illegal who worked in the local animal shelter, euthanizing unwanted cats. He got tired of giving them fatal shots because they would fight and scratch him so he took them by the tails and slammed them into the wall of his work area. Sometimes, Miguel had to slam them several times….

RTC: Jesus….

GD: No, cats. And no one who worked there wanted to go into the room so the walls were a smeared mess. Anyway, this girl was enamored, very enamored, of Miguel and her letter to him was full of grossly explicit discussions of their sexual writhings amidst the cat remains. Oh yes, very graphic indeed. So I had her letterhead copied in a San Francisco print shop, envelopes too, and wrote, or rather typed this grossly pornographic and sadistic letter out. I took one of the envelopes with her name printed on the back flap, just like the original, and wrote my name is pencil on the front. Into the mail and when it came, erased my address and typed in Miguel’s at the local Humane Society. So, I put the terrible letter into the envelope and later, I was sitting next to a school gossip in the library and slipped it into her bulging notebook. You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you, Robert? And then I waited, and waited. About a week later, she found it and proclaimed its contents throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof. Oh, my God, what an uproar! We didn’t have the Xerox then but we did have Thermofax and within a week, that evil missive was all over the school and the town. My gossip mongering sister had two copies and someone in my mother’s bridge club had give her a copy. Of course I got a ragging for having the bad taste to associate with such a vile monster but I took my ass chewing peacefully.

RTC: And the result?

GD: Well, her Christian parents were horrified but not at her. No, they believed she did not write it and they found out there was no Miguel at the cat killing emporium but no one would listen to them and the letter was copied and recopied for months afterwards. My former friend? Her family sent her off to a Christian academy in southern California. It’s location was supposed to be a secret but a friend who worked after school filing in the principal’s office found out where her school transcripts had been forwarded so I sent them copies of the Miguel screed along with a fictional letter from an outraged local parent, warning them of the foul beast they had taken unto themselves. I understand that she left the place a month later and I never heard about her again. Of course her truly Christian real boyfriend had dumped her very quickly, the image of her nude writhings amid the decaying cats must have sickened him. But then I dealt with the religious freaks. They had a student office in the school and I broke into it one night and planted a number of bad things around. First off, I had bought a box of rubbers from a friend, filled the ends with liquid starch and draped and threw them all over the little room. There was a picture of an Aryan Jesus on the wall and I tossed one on top of the frame. And several large uncooked and shelled prawns under the couch and I scattered a few truly awful porn pictures here and there. The shrimp started to rot and I dropped a note in the school snitch box about the wild sex orgies going on right under the nose of Jesus. The smell got very bad very quickly and when the assistant principal and a janitor went into the room, one of them threw up. Of course the group was at once banned from the campus and many students expressed outrage and the Miguel letter was dragged into the situation as a typical example of these sick people.

RTC: My oh my, Gregory. You really must have been angry to do all that.

GD: Oh, very angry, Robert, very, but also eventually very satisfied.

RTC: You know, what she did may have seemed to be terrible to you but that is standard recruitment procedure with most intelligence agencies. We do the same thing. Pick out targets, befriend them and when we have gained their friendship and confidence, pass them along to their new handlers. I can understand why this upset you but she was obviously doing what she thought was right.

GD: Well, she might have thought it was right but I certainly didn’t, did I?

RTC: No, you obviously did not. You wreaked absolute havoc, Gregory and took no prisoners.

GD: I do not ask for quarter, Robert and I never give it. And I recognize that all societies must have a moral core or they collapse. The Christians have their examples and the Muslims and other have theirs. All well and good. Frederick the Great said once that all men in his kingdom were free to find Heaven in their own way. And I agree, but by God, I will not tolerate any religious group stepping outside their church, mosque or synagogue and taking their particular nonsense out aggressively to the public. The Muslims and the Jews don’t do this but the lunatic Christians are a worst pest than an invasion of mice. First of all, from a purely historical point of view, I personally doubt if Jesus ever existed. Jesus was a very common name in Roman Judea. I do not accept the nonsense about the manger, the wise men, the star or other myths and legends. There is no contemporary mention of Jesus or his gang anywhere other than a patently forged reference in Flavius Josephus. The Gospels are full of misinformation and were written long after the event and then rewritten to suit various current political themes. No, if Jesus did exist, Jesus was an Essene. Most theological scholars agree with this by the way. But I go a little further. There exists a considerable body of information on the Essenes of the period. They were put out of business after this, by the way. No, the Essenes, were an all male agricultural community who practiced a communistic way of life and hated women. In short, like the Spartans or Zulus, they were a homosexual community.

RTC: Not nice, Gregory.

GD: I can easily prove this. Oh yes, let the little children come unto me but only the boys. Anyway, I want nothing to do with such Easter Bunny- type myths and legends and as long as these people keep to themselves, all well and good but of course they think they have the only game in town and act accordingly. In earlier times, I would have been burnt at the stake. Say, do you know what St. Dismas the Thief said to Jesus while both of them were up on their crosses?

RTC: I’m afraid to ask you, Gregory.

GD: Dismas said, ‘Say, Jesus, I can see your house from up here.’

RTC: (Laughter) Well, assuming you are right….

GD: And I am….

RTC: Well, I rather pity this poor girl who was only trying to get you to share her joy in Jesus.

GD: Well, she was sharing her pudenda with Miguel the Cat Basher as well.

RTC: (Laughter) Perhaps she went into other work after you finished with her. By the way, did anyone ever suspect you?

GD: No. I never said a word to anyone. I just sat back and savored my revenge. Revenge is a tasty dish, Robert, but always far better if eaten cold.


(Concluded at 8:50 AM CST)



Encyclopedia of American Loons

Joe Morecraft

The Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS) is a small Presbyterian denomination established in 1983. It subscribes to Biblical inerrancy and is firmly theocratic, even self-identifying as theonomic; that is, subscribing to the idea society should be ruled by divine law and that the judicial laws of the Old Testament should be observed by modern societies – politically and theologically closer to Boko Haram than to comparatively moderate groups like mainstream DAESH and the Taliban, in other words. The RPCUS was initially led by Joe Morecraft, but is currently pastored by one Tim Price – it appears that Morecraft might have been kicked out, and is now with another extremist group, the Hanover Presbytery; he also has a fan page on facebook.

Morecraft has actually opposed the murder of non-Christians, advocating instead that in a Biblical society – which the US ought to be – non-Christians should rather be turned into slaves for Christians: the godly must own “the fool who despises God’s wisdom,” because it’s the only way to keep those with a “slave mentality” (non-Christians) from ruining other people’s families. Morecraft makes his case for Biblically justified enslavement of those who do not “trust in Christ” based on Proverbs 11:29, which suggests that slavery is the only way to “keep a fool under wraps.” In a just society, an unbeliever should therefore “lose his family, his property, and his freedom,” and “his energies, talents and life will not be used as he himself pleases, but in the service of wise people who work hard to benefit the community.” Methinks a policy that just stated that “fools” should be made into slaves for the “wise”, as Morecraft suggests, would not turn out the way Morecraft apparently expects.

Morecraft’s other views include advocating stoning for gay people and women who aren’t virgins on their wedding day. Lots of his sermons apparently also concern how to deal with demons.

Diagnosis: No, seriously: The Boko Haram comparison is not an exaggeration. These people exist, and they have followers.


Greg Morgan


Greg Morgan is an Arizona-based creationist who claims that Arizona sandstones are proof of Noah’s flood. They are not. Morgan, who is a nuclear safety engineer and not a geologist (BA in mechanical engineering), bases his conclusion on the fact that some swirly sandstone formations look, to an untrained eye, like they were formed in water.

Non-scientists making stupid claims about science based entirely on disregarding science is nothing new. That Answers in Genesis ran with Morgan’s nonsense is not particularly surprising either. But Morgan also got a long article in Seattle’s KOMO news as well – a long article that, conspicuously, failed to consult any real geologist to assess Morgan’s claims. A possible PR win for creationism, in other words, but – as always – without a shred of scientific credibility to back it up. Of course, the journalist KOMO used was John Trumbo, who is himself a creationist, so it is hardly surprising that no real scientist was consulted. Still.

According to himself, Morgan used to be an atheist who believed in evolution, but was later saved and came to see the overwhelming evidence for the Biblical story of Genesis. This – the “I used to be like you, but now I know better”-gambit – is a very common claim among fundies and creationists. It is safe to assume that most fundies telling this kind of story are lying, since lies don’t count as sins if they are told for the purpose of bringing souls to Jesus. Morgan also promotes the Paluxy footprints. It is safe to say that Morgan never had the faintest clue about what the theory of evolution could possibly be.

Diagnosis: Pseudoscientist, crackpot, and fundie. A common combination, but no more attractive for that.

James Simpson

Accuracy in Media is a wingnut “media watchdog” run by Don Irvine. It was founded with the expressed purpose of combatting “liberal media bias” but actually – and predictably – ended up combatting accuracy instead, in favor of promoting wingnut conspiracy theories. It’s a perfect fit for wild-eyed conspiracy theorists like Jim Simpson, who for instance opposed the Obama administration’s comprehensive immigration reform plan because he believed it to be part of a Marxist push to destroy America and potentially make President Obama a dictator. He also accused the “illegal immigration lobby” of using the tactics of Nazis and Communists in promoting “ideas that are self-evidently destructive,” and asserted that there would be no room for compromise because reform proponents are Marxists and Marxists will only be “emboldened” by attempts to compromise: “When dealing with Marxists, the ‘moderates’ compromise away our rights, our livelihoods and our country to people and agendas that are inherently destructive to our society,” said Simpson and warned that immigration reform would mean the end of America, for instance because immigrants want to “destroy the culture” and ultimately “create a huge pool of voters” that they can use to institute “despotic governments.” “Accuracy” is not an apt term to describe any part of Simpson’s rant.

Immigrants destroying America – as part of some liberal plot to “dilute” America with “not nice people” – is of course a recurring theme in Simpson’s, uh, thinking. For instance, Mexican immigrants are often “child rapists” who are coming to the US because they will ostensibly get off easier in the justice system. Another common topic is of course voter fraud, something that Simpson is very concerned about, based on little evidence beyond what his paranoid imagination can dream up: In a 2014 rant, for instance, Simpson argued that  voter fraud is a massive, “existential threat to our American Republic,” but the only “proof” of voter fraud happening he managed to list was college students voting in the state where they attend school, which is legal (not counting his references to Kris Kobach’s infamously dishonest and silly voter roll “crosscheck” system, which was carefully designed to yield false positives that weren’t controlled for). Of course, in Simpson’s mind, campaigns to replace the electoral college with a national popular vote and efforts to restore felons’ right to vote also count as conscious efforts to increase voter fraud. So there is that. “Democrats’ attitude toward voter fraud is the voting version of reparations for slavery,” complained Simpson.

Simpson thinks boycotts of companies by people he disagrees with are “economic terrorism”; it’s different when his side engages in boycotts, of course, since his side only engages in boycotts when they “are attacked first”.

Diagnosis: Yes, he is a fairly typical specimen, but that doesn’t make the delusional, paranoid garbage that passes for thought in Simpson’s head any less garbage. And people do listen to him, it seems.



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