Ace Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman reports in Sunday's Post that "the Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad."[1]  --  A "new unit" called the Strategic Support Branch "has been operating in secret for two years -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places."  --  "[T]he creation of the espionage branch, the scope of its clandestine operations and the breadth of Rumsfeld's asserted legal authority have not been detailed publicly before," Barton Gellman writes.  --  Even members of the House Intelligence Committee claimed to be ignorant ot he existence of the Strategic Support Branch, and Pentagon officials said that the unit had been created "without explicit congressional authority or appropriation."  --  "Some Pentagon officials refer to the combined units [that Rumsfeld has set up as his heretofore undisclosed intelligence agency] as the 'secret army of Northern Virginia.'"  --  And the "Defense Department is planning for further growth. Among the proposals circulating are the establishment of a Pentagon-controlled espionage school."  --  Rumsfeld's decision to create these units dates from October 2001, Gellman reported, and their formal existence began under the name of "Project Icon on April 25, 2002."  --  A spokesperson for the CIA refused to be interviewed about these matters.  --  A Republican member of Congress involved in national security matters said that the Strategic Support Branch reflected an attitude of "'Let's get around having any oversight by having the military do something that normally the [CIA] does, and not tell anybody.' That immediately raises all kinds of red flags for me. Why aren't they telling us?"  --  In a separate article, published in the Post on the same day, Barton Gellman described "Col. George Waldroup, an Army reserve officer who commands the Defense Intelligence Agency's Strategic Support Branch, is described by associates as a colorful Texan who refers to himself in the third person, as 'GW.'"[2]  --  Col. Waldroup's qualifications have been questioned by "members of two elite special operations," and he has in the past been "embroiled in accusations that he participated in deceiving a congressional delegation about staffing problems at Miami International Airport in June 1995."  --  Barton Gellman is a reporter with extraordinary credentials.[3] ...

1.

Nation

National Security

SECRET UNIT EXPANDS RUMSFELD'S DOMAIN
By Barton Gellman

** New Espionage Branch Delving into CIA Territory **

Washington Post
January 23, 2005
Page A01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29414-2005Jan22.html

[PHOTO CAPTION: The defense secretary has a large responsibility to collect foreign intelligence, Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin said.]

The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad, according to interviews with participants and documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The previously undisclosed organization, called the Strategic Support Branch, arose from Rumsfeld's written order to end his "near total dependence on CIA" for what is known as human intelligence. Designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control, the Strategic Support Branch deploys small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists alongside newly empowered special operations forces.

Military and civilian participants said in interviews that the new unit has been operating in secret for two years -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places they declined to name. According to an early planning memorandum to Rumsfeld from Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the focus of the intelligence initiative is on "emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia." Myers and his staff declined to be interviewed.

The Strategic Support Branch was created to provide Rumsfeld with independent tools for the "full spectrum of humint operations," according to an internal account of its origin and mission. Human intelligence operations, a term used in counterpoint to technical means such as satellite photography, range from interrogation of prisoners and scouting of targets in wartime to the peacetime recruitment of foreign spies. A recent Pentagon memo states that recruited agents may include "notorious figures" whose links to the U.S. government would be embarrassing if disclosed.

Perhaps the most significant shift is the Defense Department's bid to conduct surreptitious missions, in friendly and unfriendly states, when conventional war is a distant or unlikely prospect -- activities that have traditionally been the province of the CIA's Directorate of Operations. Senior Rumsfeld advisers said those missions are central to what they called the department's predominant role in combating terrorist threats.

The Pentagon has a vast bureaucracy devoted to gathering and analyzing intelligence, often in concert with the CIA, and news reports over more than a year have described Rumsfeld's drive for more and better human intelligence. But the creation of the espionage branch, the scope of its clandestine operations and the breadth of Rumsfeld's asserted legal authority have not been detailed publicly before. Two longtime members of the House Intelligence Committee, a Democrat and a Republican, said they knew no details before being interviewed for this article.

Pentagon officials said they established the Strategic Support Branch using "reprogrammed" funds, without explicit congressional authority or appropriation. Defense intelligence missions, they said, are subject to less stringent congressional oversight than comparable operations by the CIA. Rumsfeld's dissatisfaction with the CIA's operations directorate, and his determination to build what amounts in some respects to a rival service, follows struggles with then-CIA Director George J. Tenet over intelligence collection priorities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pentagon officials said the CIA naturally has interests that differ from those of military commanders, but they also criticized its operations directorate as understaffed, slow-moving and risk-averse. A recurring phrase in internal Pentagon documents is the requirement for a human intelligence branch "directly responsive to tasking from SecDef," or Rumsfeld.

The new unit's performance in the field -- and its latest commander, reserve Army Col. George Waldroup -- are controversial among those involved in the closely held program. Pentagon officials acknowledged that Waldroup and many of those brought quickly into his service lack the experience and training typical of intelligence officers and special operators. In his civilian career as a federal manager, according to a Justice Department inspector general's report, Waldroup was at the center of a 1996 probe into alleged deception of Congress concerning staffing problems at Miami International Airport. Navy Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, expressed "utmost confidence in Colonel Waldroup's capabilities" and said in an interview that Waldroup's unit has scored "a whole series of successes" that he could not reveal in public. He acknowledged the risks, however, of trying to expand human intelligence too fast: "It's not something you quickly constitute as a capability. It's going to take years to do."

Rumsfeld's ambitious plans rely principally on the Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, and on its clandestine component, the Joint Special Operations Command. Rumsfeld has designated SOCOM's leader, Army Gen. Bryan D. Brown, as the military commander in chief in the war on terrorism. He has also given Brown's subordinates new authority to pay foreign agents. The Strategic Support Branch is intended to add missing capabilities -- such as the skill to establish local spy networks and the technology for direct access to national intelligence databases -- to the military's much larger special operations squadrons. Some Pentagon officials refer to the combined units as the "secret army of Northern Virginia."

Known as "special mission units," Brown's elite forces are not acknowledged publicly. They include two squadrons of an Army unit popularly known as Delta Force, another Army squadron -- formerly code-named Gray Fox -- that specializes in close-in electronic surveillance, an Air Force human intelligence unit and the Navy unit popularly known as SEAL Team Six.

The Defense Department is planning for further growth. Among the proposals circulating are the establishment of a Pentagon-controlled espionage school, largely duplicating the CIA's Field Tradecraft Course at Camp Perry, Va., and of intelligence operations commands for every region overseas.

Rumsfeld's efforts, launched in October 2001, address two widely shared goals. One is to give combat forces, such as those fighting the insurgency in Iraq, more and better information about their immediate enemy. The other is to find new tools to penetrate and destroy the shadowy organizations, such as al Qaeda, that pose global threats to U.S. interests in conflicts with little resemblance to conventional war.

In pursuit of those aims, Rumsfeld is laying claim to greater independence of action as Congress seeks to subordinate the 15 U.S. intelligence departments and agencies -- most under Rumsfeld's control -- to the newly created and still unfilled position of national intelligence director. For months, Rumsfeld opposed the intelligence reorganization bill that created the position. He withdrew his objections late last year after House Republican leaders inserted language that he interprets as preserving much of the department's autonomy.

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, deputy undersecretary for intelligence, acknowledged that Rumsfeld intends to direct some missions previously undertaken by the CIA. He added that it is wrong to make "an assumption that what the secretary is trying to say is, 'Get the CIA out of this business, and we'll take it.' I don't interpret it that way at all."

"The secretary actually has more responsibility to collect intelligence for the national foreign intelligence program . . . than does the CIA director," Boykin said. "That's why you hear all this information being published about the secretary having 80 percent of the [intelligence] budget. Well, yeah, but he has 80 percent of the responsibility for collection, as well."

CIA spokeswoman Anya Guilsher said the agency would grant no interviews for this article.

Pentagon officials emphasized their intention to remain accountable to Congress, but they also asserted that defense intelligence missions are subject to fewer legal constraints than Rumsfeld's predecessors believed. That assertion involves new interpretations of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which governs the armed services, and Title 50, which governs, among other things, foreign intelligence.

Under Title 10, for example, the Defense Department must report to Congress all "deployment orders," or formal instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to position U.S. forces for combat. But guidelines issued this month by Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone state that special operations forces may "conduct clandestine HUMINT operations . . . before publication" of a deployment order, rendering notification unnecessary. Pentagon lawyers also define the "war on terror" as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat.

Under Title 50, all departments of the executive branch are obliged to keep Congress "fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities." The law exempts "traditional . . . military activities" and their "routine support." Advisers said Rumsfeld, after requesting a fresh legal review by the Pentagon's general counsel, interprets "traditional" and "routine" more expansively than his predecessors.

"Operations the CIA runs have one set of restrictions and oversight, and the military has another," said a Republican member of Congress with a substantial role in national security oversight, declining to speak publicly against political allies. "It sounds like there's an angle here of, 'Let's get around having any oversight by having the military do something that normally the [CIA] does, and not tell anybody.' That immediately raises all kinds of red flags for me. Why aren't they telling us?"

The enumeration by Myers of "emerging target countries" for clandestine intelligence work illustrates the breadth of the Pentagon's new concept. All those named, save Somalia, have allied themselves with the United States -- if unevenly -- against al Qaeda and its jihadist allies.

A high-ranking official with direct responsibility for the initiative, declining to speak on the record about espionage in friendly nations, said the Defense Department sometimes has to work undetected inside "a country that we're not at war with, if you will, a country that maybe has ungoverned spaces, or a country that is tacitly allowing some kind of threatening activity to go on."

Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell, who oversees special operations policy, said Rumsfeld has discarded the "hide-bound way of thinking" and "risk-averse mentalities" of previous Pentagon officials under every president since Gerald R. Ford.

"Many of the restrictions imposed on the Defense Department were imposed by tradition, by legislation, and by interpretations of various leaders and legal advisors," O'Connell said in a written reply to follow-up questions. "The interpretations take on the force of law and may preclude activities that are legal. In my view, many of the authorities inherent to [the Defense Department] . . . were winnowed away over the years."

After reversing the restrictions, Boykin said, Rumsfeld's next question "was, 'Okay, do I have the capability?' And the answer was, 'No you don't have the capability. . . . And then it became a matter of, 'I want to build a capability to be able to do this.' "

Known by several names since its inception as Project Icon on April 25, 2002, the Strategic Support Branch is an arm of the DIA's nine-year-old Defense Human Intelligence Service, which until now has concentrated on managing military attach├ęs assigned openly to U.S. embassies around the world.

Rumsfeld's initiatives are not connected to previously reported negotiations between the Defense Department and the CIA over control of paramilitary operations, such as the capture of individuals or the destruction of facilities.

According to written guidelines made available to the Post, the Defense Department has decided that it will coordinate its human intelligence missions with the CIA but will not, as in the past, await consent. It also reserves the right to bypass the agency's Langley headquarters, consulting CIA officers in the field instead. The Pentagon will deem a mission "coordinated" after giving 72 hours' notice to the CIA.

Four people with firsthand knowledge said defense personnel have already begun operating under "non-official cover" overseas, using false names and nationalities. Those missions, and others contemplated in the Pentagon, skirt the line between clandestine and covert operations. Under U.S. law, "clandestine" refers to actions that are meant to be undetected, and "covert" refers to those for which the U.S. government denies its responsibility. Covert action is subject to stricter legal requirements, including a written "finding" of necessity by the president and prompt notification of senior leaders of both parties in the House and Senate.

O'Connell, asked whether the Pentagon foresees greater involvement in covert action, said "that remains to be determined." He added: "A better answer yet might be, depends upon the situation. But no one I know of is raising their hand and saying at DOD, 'We want control of covert operations.' "

One scenario in which Pentagon operatives might play a role, O'Connell said, is this: "A hostile country close to our borders suddenly changes leadership. . . . We would want to make sure the successor is not hostile."

--Researcher Rob Thomason contributed to this report.

2.

Nation

National Security

SOME QUESTION BACKGROUND OF UNIT'S LEADER
By Barton Gellman

** Inexperienced Personnel Cited as a Risk to Espionage Work **

Washington Post
January 23, 2005
Page A10

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29396-2005Jan22.html

[PHOTO CAPTION: Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, defends the qualifications of leadership in the Strategic Support Branch.]

Col. George Waldroup, an Army reserve officer who commands the Defense Intelligence Agency's Strategic Support Branch, is described by associates as a colorful Texan who refers to himself in the third person, as "GW."

Among skeptics of the Pentagon's intelligence initiatives, including members of two elite special operations units interviewed for this article, Waldroup is controversial. His ascent to a top espionage post from a civilian career at the Immigration and Naturalization Service is a cautionary tale, according to them, about the risks of rapid expansion in the staffing and mission of clandestine units.

Waldroup, according to two people who have worked with him, refers loosely to previous secret assignments but is not a graduate of the Army's Special Warfare Center or the CIA's Field Tradecraft Course for intelligence officers. Until last year, colleagues said, Waldroup managed the transportation and security of search teams seeking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, arranging the convoys that took them in and out of their base near Baghdad International Airport.

Waldroup and his subordinates are central to Rumsfeld's plan to empower the U.S. Special Operations Command for intelligence missions it has not performed before.

The Strategic Support Branch's human intelligence "augmentation teams" have deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq with a commando unit -- most recently called Task Force 626 -- that drew the most demanding intelligence missions, including the hunt for weapons of mass destruction and the recruitment of informants in Iraq's insurgency. Task force members, in interviews, complained that some of Waldroup's personnel were unprepared for the assignment.

Waldroup did not respond to telephone calls and detailed written inquiries sent by e-mail.

Internal Pentagon briefings describe Strategic Support Branch members as experienced intelligence professionals with specialized skills, "military operations backgrounds," and the training to "function in all environments under adverse conditions." But four special operations soldiers who provided information for this article, directly or through intermediaries, said those assigned to work with them included out-of-shape men in their fifties and recent college graduates on their first assignments.

"They arrived with shiny black kneepads and elbow pads, shiny black helmets," said one special forces officer who served with Waldroup's men in Iraq. "They brought M-4 rifles with all the accoutrements, scopes and high-end [satellite equipment] they didn't know how to use." An older member of Waldroup's staff "became an anchor because of his physical conditioning and his lack of knowledge of our tactics, techniques and procedures. The guy actually put us in danger."

Another special forces officer, who served with the augmentation team members in Afghanistan, said some of the intelligence officers deployed with his unit were reluctant to leave their base and spoke only to local residents who ventured inside. "These guys can't set up networks and run agents and recruit tribal elders," he said.

Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, the DIA director, declined to describe the qualifications or backgrounds of Waldroup or his men but bristled at the suggestion that "they're not up to the task."

"Frankly, what we're trying to do is put the absolute best intelligence capabilities forward to operate with, but not to operate as, special operations forces," he said. "I can point to successes where the intel folk are 50 years old, and I can point to successes where the intel folk are in their first tour, married up with operators who could act on the information that was generated."

Waldroup spent most of his working life as a midlevel manager at the INS, where he became embroiled in accusations that he participated in deceiving a congressional delegation about staffing problems at Miami International Airport in June 1995. The Justice Department inspector general's office, which concluded its probe the following year, quoted in its report sworn statements from subordinates that Waldroup, then assistant district director for external affairs, helped orchestrate a temporary doubling of immigration screeners on the day of the visit, instructed subordinates not to discuss staff shortages and physically confronted a union leader to prevent him from reaching members of Congress. Waldroup told the investigators that he was following an order from a superior in Washington to withhold information.

During the investigation, according to the inspector general's final report, Waldroup refused to disclose the password to his e-mail files, refused to sign an affidavit summarizing his testimony and, in a subsequent interview, "stated that he would not answer any questions" because "he wished to protect himself from exposure to criminal sanctions." The authors of the Justice Department report found insufficient evidence to file charges but said they were troubled by "recurrent failures to provide documents."

Jacoby, in an interview, said he knew nothing about the episode. He added: "I would offer to you that Colonel Waldroup continues to have access to very sensitive information based on appropriate security investigations, and if there were issues that would have come up, they would have been known to those investigators and been brought to my attention. So I continue to have the utmost confidence in Colonel Waldroup's capabilities."

3.

[Note on Barton Gellman, compiled from web sources]

Barton Gellman is a special projects reporter for the Washington Post, based in the New York bureau. He previously served as diplomatic correspondent, Jerusalem bureau chief, Pentagon correspondent and local courthouse reporter. He has won a variety of professional awards, including the 1998 Overseas Press Club award for best coverage of foreign affairs and the 1998 Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi) award for best non-deadline reporting. Gellman graduated with highest honors from Princeton University in 1982, and earned a masters degree in politics at University College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Gellman has won the 1998 Overseas Press Club award for best coverage of foreign affairs, the 1998 Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi) award for best non-deadline reporting, and the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former Rhodes Scholar. Notes on a number of his articles are archived on a Muskingum College site devoted to intelligence. Barton Gellman is also the author of Contending with Kennan: Toward a Philosophy of American Power (Praeger, 1984).