World War I Counterintelligence Agents Get Their Man – February 1918

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Decoded Zimmermann Telegram Sets US on Path to War – January 1917

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

“…we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.”

These words are extracted from the now infamous telegram from Arthur Zimmerman, the German Foreign Secretary, to Heinrich von Eckardt, German Minister to Mexico.  The telegram, sent from Berlin on January 16, 1917, directed Eckardt to propose an alliance between Germany and Mexico to the Mexican president in the event the US formally entered World War I.

World War I, or the Great War as it was then known, had been fomenting in Europe for years, but the final catalyst proved to be the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in June 1914.  Shortly thereafter, Germany declared war successively on Russia, France, Belgium, and Portugal, and the United Kingdom and other European nations quickly declared war on Germany. The war eventually embroiled nations worldwide.  The US steadfastly retained its neutrality for two years. President Woodrow Wilson, re-elected in 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war,” resolutely but unsuccessfully pursued a negotiated peace between the two sides.  By early 1917, Germany decided to launch unrestricted U-boat warfare on all ships, neutral or belligerent, in the waters of the war zones. This effort, German planners predicted, would bring England to the brink of economic collapse and thus surrender within months.

Zimmermann knew that the U-boat war would force the US, reluctantly but inexorably, into the war on the side of the Allies.  He believed that if Germany could entice Mexico into a war with the United States, it would divert US attention and ammunition shipments away from the Allies.  On January 18, the telegram reached Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, the German ambassador in Washington, DC, who was then to send it to Eckardt in Mexico.  Zimmermann had audaciously sent the message over the US State Department’s own trans-Atlantic cable, which President Wilson had allowed Germany to use for transmitting communications related to peace negotiations.  Inexplicably, Wilson had allowed those dispatches to be sent in the German code, for which the State Department did not have a codebook.

Unbeknownst to the US, British cryptographers had been intercepting message traffic on the State Department’s telegraph route.  In addition, unbeknownst to both the US and the Germans, those same British code-breakers had cracked the German diplomatic code and immediately set themselves to decoding the Zimmermann Telegram.  Incredulous at its contents, the British debated how best to notify the US, knowing, on one hand, it would bring the US into the war and, on the other, that it would anger the US to know England was reading its dispatches.  To prevent the latter, the British code section waited until Bernstorff sent the message to Eckardt and used that message, slightly altered from the original, to enlighten the US of the brazen German scheme.

The British finally revealed the contents of the telegram to the US on February 23, and a week later, major newspapers around the country published the evidence of the German conspiracy.  Americans reacted with a mix of disbelief and anger.  Rumors that Germany had financed Mexican bandit Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico, in March 1916 had resulted in a comprehensive investigation by the State Department.  The results of that investigation, as well as others into German intrigue in Mexico, were inconclusive, however.  As a result, most Americans initially viewed the telegram as a hoax–surely the Germans were not so foolhardy as to promise to give away part of the United States.

Ultimately, the directives in the Zimmermann Telegram came to naught; the Mexican president chose to remain neutral rather than instigate a war with its northern neighbor.  Undeniably, however, knowledge of the threat of hostile action on American territory shifted public opinion in support of a war most citizens had previously marginalized.  At the same time, Germany had launched the unrestricted submarine warfare it had previously threatened, resulting in the sinking of several US merchant ships in late March.  The Great War, therefore, was no longer just a threat to Europe.  On April 2, 1917, President Wilson requested a declaration of war from Congress, stating, “That [the German government] means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors, the intercepted note to the German Minister at Mexico is eloquent evidence. We accept this challenge of hostile purpose….”  Congress overwhelmingly voted for war and ultimately, American intervention helped turn the tide in favor of the Allies and end the war.

The Zimmermann Telegram (National Archives)

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Operations Security: 1. A systematic, proven process by which a government, organization, or individual can identify, control, and protect generally unclassified information about an operation/activity and, thus, deny or mitigate an adversary’s/competitor’s ability to compromise or interrupt said operation/activity (NSC 1988). 2. OPSEC is a process of identifying critical information and subsequently analyzing friendly actions attendant to military operations and other activities to (a) identify those actions that can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, (b) determine indicators adversary intelligence systems might obtain that could be interpreted or pieced together to derive critical information in time to be useful to adversaries, and select and execute measures that eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the vulnerabilities of friendly actions to adversary exploitation (DOD JP 1994; JCS 1997).

Operations Security process: An analytical process that involves five components: identification of critical information, analysis of threats, analysis of vulnerabilities, assessment of risks, and application of appropriate countermeasures (NSC 1988).



Battleground Berlin: The Second Berlin Crisis

By Andrew Ertl
Summer 2016 Jim & Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship Winner
Third prize, 2016 Cold War Essay Contest, John Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis at the Virginia Military Institute

Many will argue that the Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dangerous event of the Cold War.  However, the 1962 events in Cuba would not have happened if not for those in Berlin in 1961 and thus, were only the second act of a two-part play, the origin of which was Berlin.  This was a performance in which the experienced Soviet Premier tested the young, newly elected American President, a pas de deux in which each expressed the willingness to go to the nuclear brink.  Both found themselves grappling for dominance in an increasingly bipolar world and were pushed in different directions by aids and allies alike.  More famously, the Second Berlin Crisis resulted in the erection and physical representation of the ‘Iron Curtain’: the Berlin Wall.

Following the conclusion of World War II in Europe, the Allies agreed to occupy and divide Germany as well as Berlin into four occupation zones (American, British, French, and Soviet).  The three capitalist zones were in the western two-thirds of occupied Germany and the Soviet one was in the eastern third.  Freedom of movement from the Western zones to and from Berlin and within Berlin itself was guaranteed.  These agreements were codified in the Potsdam Agreement on September 2, 1945.

Lying 110 miles inside the Soviet occupation zone, Berlin offered the Western Allies a potential base from which to undermine communism and advance capitalism. A prison state may have been forming, but in Berlin “there was a prison state with an open door.”[1] Nevertheless, the Soviet government did not consider the provisions of the Potsdam Agreement to be permanent.  Before a group of German communists, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin revealed his plan to undermine the position of the West and within a year or two they would have to withdraw.[2]

Before the hammer and sickle flew over the Reichstag, communist German exile Walter Ulbricht was inserted into Berlin by the Red Army with orders to begin slowly building socialism.  Because of his “unyielding, uncollaborative, Stalinist style of ruling,”[3] even German communists disliked him.  Ulbricht reminded them of another German leader, if not “as murderous or as belligerent as Hitler but certainly as brutal toward his own people.”[4]  In the Eastern zone, Communist red was replacing Nazi brown.

From the founding of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949 to August 13, 1961, 2.8 million or 1/6 of the population fled,[5] the vast majority through West Berlin’s open door.[6]  Between September 1939 and May 1945, 1/12 of the German population died as a result of the Second World War.[7]  Proportionally then, the East German refugee crisis took away twice as much manpower from the GDR as Nazi Germany lost in World War II.  As one GDR Politburo member put it, the refugee crisis was “a critique with feet.”[8]

Amongst a plethora of ill-advised, socialist-inspired reforms, Ulbricht made heavy industry the backbone of the East German economy.  One repercussion of this decision was that in the ensuing refugee crisis, the GDR suffered more from a lack of manpower than an economy more focused on the production of consumer goods.  Allowed by Berlin’s special status, some 50,000 East Berliners (Grenzgägner) worked in capitalist West Berlin. [9]  The problem for the GDR wasn’t just that the Grenzgägner had better access to higher quality and more diversified consumer goods.  Nor was it that with their higher wages they were emptying out and thereby worsening an already bleak consumer market in the GDR.  Grenzgägner were a physical embodiment of the greater opportunities to be found outside socialism.  East Germans weren’t buying what Ulbricht was selling.

As early as 1952, Ulbricht had been seeking Soviet permission to end freedom of movement between the two Berlins in order to solve the refugee problem.[10]  Each time he was told that the better, more sustainable solution was to improve East German’s quality of life.  But that would have meant curtailing the size and scope of Ulbricht’s plans.  Due to the GDR’s position as the westernmost country of the Soviet bloc, he argued that it needed to be more faithful to the ideals of socialism.[11]

John Lewis Gaddis argues that during the Cold War, the superpowers “attached their own reputations to their respective clients…(and) fell into the habit of letting their German allies determine their German interests, and hence their German policies.”[12]  Despite his troublesome ally, the new Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev did have a card to play: West Berlin and Western access rights.  He intentionally raised tensions to change the political environment in order to rectify the West Berlin problem and in doing, he initiated the Second Berlin Crisis.

Before a group of Polish communists on November 10, 1958, Khrushchev declared:

The time has obviously arrived for the signatories of the Potsdam Agreement to give up the remnants of the occupation regime in Berlin and thereby make it possible to create a normal situation in the capital of the German Democratic Republic.[13]

The Western powers would have six months to negotiate a peace treaty with the GDR.  After six months, whether an agreement was reached or not, the USSR would then sign its own peace treaty with the GDR, granting full sovereign over East German territory—to include access rights into and out of Berlin unless superseded by any previous agreement the West might reach with the GDR—to East Germany.  West Berlin was to become a free city.  It truly was an ultimatum: why would the GDR reaffirm Western access rights it detested knowing it would soon be given sovereignty over them?  Khrushchev’s diktat was designed to get the Western powers out of West Berlin and was received rudely in the West.  US President Dwight Eisenhower didn’t even officially reply until March 1959 but by then the four powers had agreed to meet in Geneva to settle differences.  Khrushchev’s ultimatum had thus, passed without result.

To sooth tensions, Eisenhower invited Khrushchev to visit the United States from September 5-27 where he met everyone from politicians to entertainers.  Such was the spirit of the trip that Khrushchev invited Eisenhower and his family to tour the Soviet Union.  It was agreed that the four powers would meet again, this time in Paris the following May.  A surface-to-air missile, downed spy plane, and a captured American pilot changed that.

On May 1, 1960, American pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over the USSR. On the first day of the Paris conference, Khrushchev warned Eisenhower, “Do not fly over the Soviet Union or the socialist countries.  If you don’t know where our borders are, we will show you.”[14]  He also demanded an apology.  While saying that the shoot down was an unfortunate incident and that he had already suspended all similar flights, Eisenhower would not apologize.  Khrushchev then withdrew from the conference.  He decided it would be better to wait to negotiate with the next American President[15] and Senator John F. Kennedy was leading in the polls.  But for Ulbricht and his fiefdom, “time was running out, along with the refugees.”[16]

On January 20, 1961, the youngest American President took the reins from the then oldest.  In his inaugural address, Kennedy declared the United States was prepared to:

Pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty….let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.[17]

His tough, but measured words were based on a misinterpretation of comments Khrushchev had made at a gathering of old communists on January 10.  Despite the rhetoric, Kennedy hinted at his desire for a meeting with Khrushchev and the Soviet Premier sent him a letter confirming their mutual desire.  Kennedy—thinking it imprudent to meet with Khrushchev before meeting with leaders of allied nations—made the mistake of waiting ten weeks to reply to Khrushchev. Khrushchev, a vain man—expected Kennedy to disregard the intricacies of diplomatic protocol—was insulted and now it was he who was slow to respond to Kennedy.

On April 17, Kennedy’s inexperience was highlighted further by the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.  Although the invasion plans began in the Eisenhower administration, Kennedy did not—at that time—show the backbone to cancel a plan he was uneasy about nor did he make the necessary changes to improve its success.  With disappointment, former Secretary of State and then Kennedy adviser Dean Acheson wrote “The European view was that they were watching a gifted young amateur practice with a boomerang, when they saw, to their horror, that he had knocked himself out.”[18]  Five days earlier, the USSR had received another international relations boon: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth.  For Khrushchev—whose birthday was coincidentally April 17—the events of April 12 and 17 were like birthday presents.  Feeling the momentum of such events,[19] he was now willing to meet with Kennedy and Vienna would host.

Before the Vienna summit, each side was trying to mark its territory through diplomatic shadow boxing.  Khrushchev met with US Ambassador to the USSR Llewellyn Thompson and tried to impress upon him that “Berlin was really of little importance to either America or the Soviet Union, so why should they get so worked up about changing the city’s status?”[20]  Khrushchev was trying out a similar line used by Stalin at Yalta.  And wasn’t it Lenin who said, ‘Whoever has Berlin has Germany?’

Meanwhile, Kennedy briefly consulted allied leaders in London and Paris on how best to deal with Khrushchev.  He shared with longtime aid Kenneth O’Donnell his views on Berlin:

You can’t blame Khrushchev for being sore about that…We didn’t cause the disunity in Germany.  We aren’t really responsible for the four-power occupation of Berlin, a mistake neither the Russians nor we should have agreed to in the first place.[21]

Kennedy was preparing to bend on US policy where every President before him stood firm.  In Paris, Kennedy asked French President Charles de Gaulle when and why he should use force over Berlin:

If Mr. Khrushchev signs a treaty with the GDR, this in itself is no reason for a military retaliation on our part.  If the GDR starts stamping travel documents, this is not, per se, a cause for military action either.  In what way, therefore, at what moment, shall we bring our pressure to bear?[22]

De Gaulle’s advice was to “make sure that Khrushchev believes you are a man who will fight.”[23]  Kennedy was prepared to be pragmatic while Khrushchev was planning to intimidate the “boy in short pants.”[24]  A British diplomat voiced the concern of many, “We hope the lad will be able to get out of the bear cage without being too badly mauled.”[25]

The first day of the summit was unproductive.  Kennedy attempted to explain how previous wars began over miscalculations at which point Khrushchev erupted and accused him of asking the Soviet Union “to sit like a schoolboy with his hands on his desk,”[26] charging that “the United States seems to regard Soviet defense of its vital interests as miscalculation.”[27]

Trying to find common ground, Kennedy stated “We regard the present balance of power between the Sino-Soviet forces and the forces of the United States and Western Europe as being more or less in balance.”[28]  After stroking the Soviet Premier’s ego, he then suggested the West should stay in its sphere of influence and that the Soviet Union do likewise so as to avoid upsetting the balance of power.[29] Having made recent gains in the Third World, Khrushchev was not interested in cutting the USSR off from part of its growing power base.

After further unproductive exchanges, the Soviet Premier took the initiative:

The USSR does not wish any change; it merely wants to formalize the situation which has resulted from World War II…East Germany is an ally of the socialist countries and this should be recognized as a fait accompli.  East Germany has new demarcation lines and these lines should become borders…The position of the GDR should be normalized and her sovereignty ensured.  To do all this it is necessary to eliminate the occupation rights in West Berlin.  No such rights should exist there.[30]

Not mentioning the word, Kennedy was trying to avoid any miscalculation with his response:

The signing of a peace treaty is not a belligerent act…However a peace treaty denying us our contractual rights is a belligerent act.  The matter of a peace treaty with East Germany is a matter for Mr. Khrushchev’s judgment and is not a belligerent act.  What is a belligerent act is transfer of our rights to East Germany.[31]

Khrushchev gave a hypothetical example:

If you insisted on US rights after the signing of a peace treaty and if the borders of the GDR—land, air, or sea borders—were violated, they would be defended…Force would be met with force…If the US wanted war, that was its problem.[32]

Taken aback by Khrushchev’s intransigence and gritting his teeth, Kennedy replied, “It will be a cold winter.”[33]

One member of Kennedy’s entourage compared the mood on the flight back to the United States as “riding with the losing baseball team after the World Series.  Nobody said very much.”[34]  One American diplomat reasoned that the summit had been:

the golden opportunity for him to be charming, to have Jackie charm Khrushchev, and then have Kennedy come in and say, ‘Now look, I want to say this perfectly straight.  Get your bloody hands off Berlin or we’ll destroy you.’[35]

Kennedy later told New York Times writer James Reston that the Vienna summit had been the “roughest thing in my life” and that Khrushchev “just beat the hell out of me.”[36]  He reasoned, “The son of a bitch has got to see me move.”[37]

In East Germany, post-Vienna momentum was making a peace treaty between the USSR and GDR seem more likely.  On June 15, responding to a reporter’s question about where the boundaries in Berlin of a post-peace treaty GDR would be, Ulbricht answered oddly, “No one has the intention of building a wall.”[38]  That he would mention the word wall when the reporter did not ask about one implied that a wall was at least under consideration.  According to historian Hope Harrison, Ulbricht may have:

deliberately made the comments about the wall knowing that this would stimulate panic in the GDR and accelerate the exodus.  Khrushchev would then feel compelled to finally acquiesce in closing the border and signing a separate peace treaty.[39]

Torschlusspanik—the increasing anxiety of East Germans over the decision to leave now before it was too late—was rising.

In an Oval Office address on July 25, Kennedy stated the case for West Berlin:

West Berlin…is more than a showcase of liberty, a symbol, an island of freedom in a communist sea.  It is even more than a link with the Free World, a beacon of hope behind the Iron Curtain, an escape hatch for refugees.  West Berlin is all of that.  But above all it has now become—as never before—the great testing place of Western courage and will, a focal point where our solemn commitments stretching back over the years since 1946, and Soviet ambitions now meet in basic confrontation.  The United States is there; the United Kingdom and France are there; the pledge of NATO is there—and the people of Berlin are there.  It is as secure, in that sense, as the rest of us—for we cannot separate its safety from our own… And if there is one path above all others to war, it is the path of weakness and disunity.[40]

His words weren’t only meant to galvanize American public opinion though.  By mentioning ‘West Berlin’ 17 times, Kennedy was sending a message to Khrushchev: Do what you must in East Berlin in order to stabilize East Germany but don’t touch Western access rights or West Berlin.

This logic had support elsewhere.  On a Sunday television show July 30, Senator William Fulbright and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee offered his opinion:

The truth of the matter is, I think, the Russians have the power to close it in any case.  Next week, if they chose to close their borders, they could, without violating any treaty.  I don’t understand why the East Germans don’t close their border because I think they have a right to close it.[41]

Fulbright misspoke when he said a closure would have been legal.  But he, like Kennedy, was being pragmatic.  Even Khrushchev remarked, “Fulbright is a smart man, he does not want war.”[42]

As Kennedy saw it:

Khrushchev is losing East Germany.  He cannot let that happen.  If East Germany goes, so will Poland and all of Eastern Europe.  He will have to do something to stop the flow of refugees.  Perhaps a wall.  And we won’t be able to prevent it.  I can hold the Alliance together to defend West Berlin, but I cannot act to keep East Berlin open.[43]

We now know that the decision to erect the barrier that became the Berlin Wall was made in July.[44]  However, Ulbricht was told to wait but surreptitiously “prepare everything for a future contingency.”[45]  Ulbricht tasked GDR Party Security Secretary and his protégé, Eric Honecker with acquiring the necessary materials and organizing construction teams.  To avoid suspicion, the building materials were acquired using multiple East German purchasers who in turn ordered from multiple businesses; primarily in West Germany and the UK.  Lenin’s prediction that

‘The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them’ was coming true.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 13, East German police (Volkspolizei, Vopos) formed human chains, blocking all of the East-West Berlin crossing points.  Barbed wire and other entanglements were soon in place.  Freedom of movement inside Berlin ended for East Berliners.  US Chief of Mission of West Berlin, Allan Lightner Jr., cabled an understatement of understatements to Washington, “There seems to be something going on in East Berlin.”[46]  Despite diplomatic protests, the Western powers did nothing of any real significance.  A radio station in East Berlin repeated the joke, “Did you hear that [West Berlin Mayor] Brandt called the allies for help?  Yes, I heard, but the allies didn’t.”[47]

While he couldn’t express it in public, in private, President Kennedy was relieved:[48]

It’s not a very nice solution, but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.  Why would Khrushchev put up a wall if he really intended to seize West Berlin?  There wouldn’t be any need of a wall if he occupied the whole city.  This is his way out of his predicament.[49]

In public, Kennedy needed to reassure the American people and more importantly, his allies.  He decided to send the hero of the Berlin Blockade—and registered Republican—Lucius Clay to Berlin as his personal representative on August 30.  Although Clay had no formal powers, he reported to no one other than the President.

Though the GDR stopped its refugee crisis, it still had another problem: it was unrecognized by most of the international community.  Volkspolizei began pulling over Western vehicles on the autobahn connecting West Germany to West Berlin demanding to see motorists’ identification.  Complying would lend—at least—a modicum of recognition to the East German state, thereby setting a legal precedent from which to build upon.  The standard operating procedure was, therefore to refuse and request to a Soviet official to intercede.  However, if stopped between West Germany and West Berlin, it often took quite some time before a Soviet official could arrive and thus, these stops were—aside from infringing on Western access rights—a considerable nuisance.  Amongst Clay’s first actions was to send US troops down the autobahn leading to and from West Berlin in random intervals to demonstrate an American presence while simultaneously asserting Western access rights.  If a Western vehicle stopped by Volkspolizei was spotted, the courtesy patrols—as they were known—would escort that vehicle to its intended destination.  Besides helping travelers, the courtesy patrols also served to maintain Western refusal to recognize the GDR.  One State Department cable read, “A problem that had vexed U.S. officials was settled by a simple action, and one can only wonder why it had not been taken before.”[50]

The Berlin Wall wasn’t really a wall on August 13, 1961. On August 17 though, brick and motor began replacing barbed wire section by section.  Walter Ulbricht declared that no one should approach within 100 meters on either side or they risked being shot.  He referred to these 100-meter exclusion zones as Todesstreifen (death strips).  Clay organized American soldiers who would drive along the western Todesstreifen in armored vehicles, again asserting Western rights and resolve.

The Soviets wanted predictable responses.  On August 9—four days before the border closure—a hero from the Battle of Berlin and recently retired Soviet Marshal, Ivan Konev was sent to East Berlin to ensure that nothing unpredictable occurred.  Clay’s modus operandi was to be unpredictable since he reasoned the Soviets would not allow the East Germans to risk an armed confrontation requiring Soviet assistance.  Such a confrontation would have revealed the GDR as a Soviet puppet state, not worthy of international recognition.  While Clay was becoming a local celebrity in West Berlin, in Washington his antics were unpopular, being deemed too provocative.  Following an incident in which he risked another provocation in a West Berlin suburb named Steinstücken, Clay cabled to Kennedy “I am not afraid of escalation.”[51]  Responding to criticism within the Kennedy administration—though not from the President himself—Clay argued “I can be of no real service if it is deemed wise to be extremely cautious in Berlin.”[52]  He offered to resign on October 18.

On October 22, Allan Lightner Jr. and his wife drove up to the Volkspolizei guard post at Checkpoint Charlie (the primary intra-Berlin checkpoint) and were promptly asked for identification.  Lightner refused and demanded to see a Soviet representative.  While waiting, he used his car phone to notify Lucius Clay of the situation.  After 45 minutes and no Soviet representative had appeared, Lightner apologized to the guards and drove off slowly towards East Berlin before being stopped a second time and surrounded by a larger group of Vopos.  By now, two squads of American soldiers were assembled at the American side of Checkpoint Charlie and marched to Lightner’s assistance.  Outgunned, the Vopos watched as Lightner and his escort went into East Berlin.  In order to drive home his point, Lightner went through Checkpoint Charlie two more times before a Soviet representative appeared.  The Soviet official apologized for the East German behavior but also criticized the American response.[53]  The following day, the GDR announced a new regulation whereby every person crossing into and departing East Berlin would have their identification checked except Western military personnel in uniform.

On October 25, Clay sent forward a probe of two American soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and as expected, they were stopped.  American diplomat Howard Trivers was on hand for such a situation and duly summoned a Soviet official.  This time, however, the Soviet official replied that the Americans must comply with GDR regulations.  Clay then ordered ten American tanks to park on the West Berlin side of Checkpoint Charlie while a squad of US soldiers escorted the car through.  The Soviet official looked at Trivers and said, “We have tanks too.”[54]

More than half of the US tanks were equipped with bulldozer blades.  Konev worried that if the Americans decided to knock down the wall, the East Germans might shoot.  He resolved to prevent this and assembled ten Soviet tanks on the East Berlin side of Checkpoint Charlie.  Before they arrived, the order was given for the Soviet tank men to cover their insignias with mud and dress in all black uniforms in order to conceal their identity, though it was hardly in doubt.  East German tanks (or troops of any kind) in East or West Berlin would have violated the Potsdam Agreement. The tanks were now facing one another only 100 meters apart.

A short time later, Kennedy telephoned Clay who reported to his boss:

Clay:        What we’ve done is prove that the Russians are still in charge.

Kennedy: Well, that’s all right.  Don’t lose your nerves.

Clay:        Mr. President, we’re not worried about losing our nerves over here.  What we’re worried about is whether people in Washington are losing theirs.

Kennedy: [Possibly with Clay’s resignation letter in mind—Kennedy had not responded] I’ve got a lot of people here that have, but I haven’t.[55]

After sixteen hours, the Soviet tanks were ordered to pull back.  Shortly thereafter, the Americans matched their Soviet counterparts.  The ‘meeting of the tanks’ was the only time in the Cold War in which American and Soviet armor confronted one another at point-blank range.

We now know that the Soviets were extremely worried by Ulbricht’s escalatory measures and the American responses to those measures.  Khrushchev ordered Konev, who was—although unknown publicly—in charge of all Soviet and East German forces in Berlin, “Not one shot without permission from Moscow.”[56]  The whole purpose of Ulbricht’s escalation was to achieve international recognition for the GDR.  That the Soviets intervened showed that they didn’t fully trust the decision-making apparatus of their East German ally.  Ulbricht’s plans for international recognition would be set back by a decade.

At the heart of the ‘German Question’ was Berlin; a city that during the Cold War became a physical and psychological frontline between two ideologically opposed superpowers.  While the actions taken by the GDR on August 13, 1961 were illegal, it was an illegality that the West could live with; European stability was the common ground upon which Kennedy and Khrushchev stood.  The Berlin Wall ended the East German refugee crisis but, to paraphrase Khrushchev, the game continued.[57]  On September 3, 1971 the four Allied powers signed the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin.  That agreement paved the way for the bilateral Basic Treaty, signed between West and East Germany on December 21, 1972 which allowed for mutual diplomatic recognition of one another and by extension, the rest of the world.  When asked when the wall might be removed, Khrushchev told West German Ambassador to the USSR Hans Kroll, “The wall will disappear again someday, but only when the reasons for its construction disappear.”[58]  No one knew it at the time, but after the signing of the Basic Treaty, the Berlin Wall only had 17 more years to live.  But that is another story.


Works Cited

Békés, Csaba.  Conversation.  3 October 2015.

Brinkley, Douglas. Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years 1953-1971. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1994.

“For West Berlin, lying exposed”: JFKL, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis, President Kennedy, The White House. July 25, 1961.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1959-1963. vol. XIV. U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs. 1991.

Gaddis, John Lewis. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1997.

Harrison, Hope. Driving the Soviets Up the Wall. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2003.

Kempe, Frederick. Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth. New York: Berkley Books. 2011.

Miller, Roger. To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. 2008.

“News Conference Remarks by Chairman Ulbricht Spelling Out the Consequences of Creating a ‘Free City’ of West Berlin, 15 June 1961.” Documents on Germany, 1944-1985. U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs. 1985.

‪“Notes of a Conference among Marshal Zhukov, General Clay, and General Weeks on Surface and Air Access to Berlin.” 29 June 1945.

“N. S. Khurshchev’s Speech at the Soviet-Polish Friendship Meeting (November 10, 1958).” Embree, ed., The Soviet Union and the German Question.

O’Donnell, Kenneth, Powers, David, and Joe McCarthy. Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. New York: Little Brown & Co. 1972.

Smyser, W. R. Kennedy and the Berlin Wall. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2010.

Sokolowski, John A., and Catherine M. Burns. Modeling and Simulations for Analyzing Global Events. Hoboken: Wiley. 2009.

Taubman, William. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 1994.

Those who had worked: Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Interview with Kempton B. Jenkins, Foreign Affairs OH. Interview conducted February 23, 1995 (copyright 1998 ADST). Box: 1 Fold: 34 Jenkins, Kempton B. (1951-1980).

Wirtschaft und Statistik October 1956, Journal published by Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland. (German government Statistical Office).



[1] Csaba Békés.  Conversation.  3 October 2015.

[2] Roger Miller, To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008), 13.

[3] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 23.

[4] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 40.

[5] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), XIX.

[6] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 99.

[7] Wirtschaft und Statistik October 1956, Journal published by Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland. (German government Statistical Office).

[8] Ibid., 73.

[9] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 100.

[10] Ibid., 169.

[11] Ibid., 76.

[12] John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 150.

[13] “N. S. Khurshchev’s Speech at the Soviet-Polish Friendship Meeting (November 10, 1958),” in Embree, ed., The Soviet Union and the German Question, 18.

[14] John A. Sokolowski and Catherine M. Burns, Modeling and Simulations for Analyzing Global Events (Hoboken: Wiley, 2009), 182.

[15] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 21.

[16] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 172.

[17] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 23.

[18] Douglas Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years 1953-1971 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 127.

[19] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 167.

[20] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 201.

[21] Kenneth O’Donnell, David Powers, and Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (New York: Little Brown & Co., 1972), 299-300.

[22] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 175.

[23] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 62.

[24] William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994), 485.

[25] Kenneth O’Donnell, David Powers, and Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (New York: Little Brown & Co., 1972), 294.

[26] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 65.

[27] Ibid., 66.

[28] Ibid., 66.

[29] Ibid., 67.

[30] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 176.

[31] Ibid.,177.

[32] Ibid., 177.

[33] Ibid., 177.

[34] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 258.

[35] Those who had worked: Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Interview with Kempton B. Jenkins, Foreign Affairs OH. Interview conducted February 23, 1995 (copyright 1998 ADST), Box: 1 Fold: 34 Jenkins, Kempton B. (1951-1980):

[36] William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994), 495.

[37] Ibid., 766.

[38] “News Conference Remarks by Chairman Ulbricht Spelling Out the Consequences of Creating a ‘Free City’ of West Berlin, 15 June 1961,” Documents on Germany, 1944-1985, U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, 1985, 737.

[39] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 180.

[40] “For West Berlin, lying exposed”: JFKL, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis, President Kennedy, The White House, July 25, 1961:

[41] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 315-16.

[42] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 192.

[43] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 294.

[44] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 186.

[45] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 55.

[46] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 351.

[47] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 113.

[48] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 383.

[49] Hope Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 207.

[50] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 132.

[51] Ibid., 131.

[52] Ibid., 133.

[53] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1959-1963, vol. XIV, U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, 1991, 524.

[54] Ibid., 524.

[55] W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, Inc., 2010), 140.

[56] Ibid., 99.

[57] Ibid., 165.

[58] Frederick Kempe, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth: Berlin 1961 (New York: Berkley Books, 2011), 294.

5 Strategies that Transitioning Military Can Use for the Federal Job Hunt

By James R. Lint

Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University

Reposted from

Since I recently retired from federal service, a lot of people ask me how to get a federal job. I have been both a federal job hunter and a federal hiring manager, so it encourages people to frequently ask me how to be more successful in their job hunting.

Before entering civil service, however, I retired from 21 years of active-duty military service. Like others, I used the skills I acquired from my military service to enhance my job performance. I worked at three different agencies/departments both in the U.S. and overseas, eventually became senior management and retired at that level.

Transitioning military service members are a good fit for federal civil service because, like me, they’ve picked up valuable job skills from their time in the military. They are trained to work as a team, solve problems and accomplish goals.

So how can a transitioning military service member find a job with the federal government? Here are five strategies I’d advise:

  1. Think multiple opportunities.

 According to the Office of Personnel and Management, there are 2.6 million employees in the U.S. federal government’s executive branch as of 2014. Many of these employees are working to get hired in different positions or locations, or striving for a promotion, leaving opportunities available to other job seekers.

Do not submit just one application for a career in the federal government. I often told people that if they have not submitted at least 100 applications, I wouldn’t take them seriously because they hadn’t put in the time and effort necessary to secure a preferred position.

To get a promotion or higher-graded job in civil service, you must apply for a new job. I went through the hunt many times to go from a GS-12 to a GG-15. Getting the job takes effort, time and patience.

  1. Go where the jobs are located.

 As a former hiring manager, I can tell you that location makes a difference. I was once hiring for intelligence and security professionals at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and my referral list was short. The reason was simple; there were not a lot of intelligence and security professionals in that state.

Conversely, when I was hiring intelligence and security professionals at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, we had approximately 20,000 personnel on post at APG. But Fort Meade had many more intelligence and security professionals, just an hour’s drive away.

I would often get over 200 qualified resumes from the Civilian Personnel Office per job vacancy. Sometimes, I would receive 110 resumes with clearance, language and technology skills that exceeded the needs of the current job.

  1. Do not over-inflate your worth compared to your experience.

Often, when college students go on their first interviews, they aim too high and over-estimate the value of their recent, hard-won degree. Degrees are great for job seekers, but a degree with experience is even more valuable to employers.

Consider the grade level of the job for which you’re applying, the salary you’re asking and your competition. Be careful to apply for a job at a level that matches your skills and don’t price yourself out of the market.

Think the qualities and previous experience that make you unique, and be prepared to tell stories that illustrate your expertise and successful results. You’ll stand out from the other 50 applicants who have a degree, experience AND a desire for a lower grade than you.

  1. Know which government departments are expanding.

Watch the news and pay attention to which government agencies have expansion plans, so you’ll know where to apply. For example, the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration are currently hiring.

Many people start their civil service by taking one of the less sexy jobs to get their foot into the door. It is much easier to get hired as a current status employee than an outsider.

It’s important to not be the person who thinks the federal government will bring you a tailor-made job just for you or modify everything for a beginner. There are a lot of people applying for these government jobs and willing to take the jobs without modification.

  1. Remember that higher-grade jobs may not be located in your dream location.

Do you care at which location you get hired? If so, you are not really a serious job hunter.

The government does not make a job in your favorite location. For example, if you’re a Department of Defense GG-15 manager looking for a job in Wyoming, you’ll be disappointed because this state may not have many DOD senior management jobs there.

The jobs are where the work is needed and your ultimate goal is to get a job. If you’re fixated on a particular location that doesn’t have the federal job you want, adjust your thinking.

Job-hunting is a full-time job, and you must apply for many jobs at the same time. But with the patience and perseverance you learned in the military, you’ll be better prepared to find the fulfilling federal job that you seek.

About the Author

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded their 43rd scholarship for national security students and professionals. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence within the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, contractor and civil service.

James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. In 2016, he was selected to be an associate member of the Military Writers Guild. He has served in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and at the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office. James had an active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”

Protect Yourself from Fraud in the Business World

Reposted from:

By James R. Lint, Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University and Charvet D. Young, HR Manager, The Lint Center for National Security Studies

There are many examples of fraud in the workplace. If you’re moving into the workforce as a recent college graduate or as a service member transitioning out of military service, you must be alert to various scams to avoid becoming a victim.

Two of the best-known scams involve doing legitimate contractor work without receiving compensation and fake businesses. By using common sense and good judgment, you’re less likely to become a victim and lose your money.

Avoid Intellectual Property Theft — Don’t Work for Free

A lot of business owners fall for this one when they begin learning how to start a business. They setup a business, and completely infringe upon other peoples intellectual rights and copyrights. One scam involves independent contractors and recruiters who work for legal staffing firms. In this type of scam, a legal staffing firm that appears reputable requires the contractor to pay for all advertising, candidate screening, background checks and employment verification checks. The contractor must also write detailed submissions for attorneys specializing in very complex areas of the law.

In turn, the staffing firm promises a commission to the contractor, based on a percentage of the attorney’s yearly salary if the contractor is hired. However, the legal staffing firm submits the contractor’s work as its own to the law firm, stealing the contractor’s compensation.

In one particular case, the scamming company had several entities that allowed them to submit the work of others under various business names. The company avoided their contractual obligation with the contractor and excluded the contractor from proper follow-up. Their scam was a clever and despicable method of stealing the work of other people and benefitting from it.

How to Protect Yourself

Counter the original contract with a new contract that allows personal contact or personal submission of your work. Also, make sure that the new contract contains a clause that indicates that your work is your intellectual property. By protecting your work in this way, it cannot be submitted to anyone or by anyone other than what is stated in the original contract — the company where you actually e-mail your work and the law firm indicated on the contract.

Be sure to include an intellectual property disclosure on the bottom of your e-mail. While this may not be full proof of your copyright to the work, the company would have to agree to those terms. You could also seek legal recourse more easily if necessary.

This type of fraud also appears in the writing world when companies sell books across multiple lines. Some companies take your intellectual property and pay you a small price for a small circulation that is not the book’s true circulation. There have been cases in the news media business where advertising circulation and readership circulation is not the same and authors have been underpaid.

The Fake Business Scam

Another method used to create fraud is the use of rented “air space,” which involves creating the appearance of a building’s corporate tenant without that tenant ever physically occupying any office in the building. To start the fraud, a fraudulent company will rent an address from someone else.

When a potential contractor or employee conducts Web research on the company, Google delivers a very impressive company site. The site appears legitimate, prompting the searcher to believe that the corporation is both reputable and successful.

Appearances are deceiving. Sometimes, what appears to be the address of a corporate suite may only be a post office box from a company that rents out mailroom space.

You can determine if a company’s address is legitimate by reviewing the address and looking up the building in Google Street View. For example, if a company address involves a “Wing B” or a “Suite 1203” (implying a large building with multiple stories), but the structure that Google Street View shows at the same place is a tiny building with one story, the address is most likely fraudulent.

Recognizing these discrepancies helps you avoid fraudulent companies. However, some employment scams reach far and beyond these methods and now span across the virtual spectrum.

“Virtual Office Providers” also provide access to conference rooms for an additional fee when it is necessary for the “air space” tenant to meet and impress clients. These fake tenants often use multiple locations across numerous states to broaden their appearance of success and further the illusion of their legitimacy.

How to Protect Yourself

There are several ways to research a company without paying a fee. For example, conduct a search on Corporation Wiki. If the company is registered as doing business within a particular state, this service informs the user of the state where the business was incorporated and generally provides the name of the officer.

Corporation Wiki shows whether or not the business is still registered as active with the Secretary of State and reveals additional businesses registered at the same address. The dates of when the additional businesses were at the location help you determine if the company runs multiple business out of the same address. In addition, Corporation Wiki reveals similar companies, their owners and multiple entities within that group.

Since not all businesses are incorporated, you may not find a particular business on Corporation Wiki. In that case, you can conduct a business search on the Secretary of State’s website to learn whether a company is registered in the state in which it claims to conduct business.

If that search fails, it is important to also check the Delaware, Nevada and Florida Secretary of State websites. These states are popular states in which businesses file, while they conduct their business elsewhere.

Another way to check a company’s legitimacy is to conduct a reverse search using the “WHOIS” website. You’ll be able to access a great deal of information, such as when the company website was created, the location of the business, and the actual owner of the company (unless it is marked “private”).

A third way to research a company is by conducting a court case index search. You can learn if the company has been a party to any type of lawsuit that would indicate fraud. Some court case indexes allow the user to view civil documents associated with any given case, which can reveal a great deal about a company or an individual.

These methods are not always foolproof in finding indicators of fraud, as some companies go to great lengths to portray themselves as legitimate businesses. The renting of “virtual air space,” the ability of unscrupulous people to conduct business using any name they choose and no appearance in a searchable database make actionable legal recourse nearly impossible.

Check for Fraud Before Paying Any Expenses

If you’re paying upfront costs and other people aren’t, that is often an indication of a fraud. When you get guarantees that are too good to believe, they probably are too good to believe.

Fraud knows no age limits. Con artists target the young, people new to a business field or senior citizens. Frauds that initially appeal to consumers may involve franchising opportunities, Medicare and the medical supplies.

Fraud is an equal-opportunity activity. While all businesses aren’t frauds – there are great franchises and great companies – it is wise to be alert and do your research on a company before conducting business with them. By being smart and thorough, you’ll decrease your risk of becoming a victim.

About the Authors

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded the 40th scholarship for national security students and professionals. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence within the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, contractor and civil service.

James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. In 2016, he was selected to be an associate member of the Military Writers Guild. He has served in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and at the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office. James had an active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”

Charvet D. Young is a graduate of Kaplan University, where she earned her associate degree summa cum laude in paralegal studies. Charvet continued her educational journey by earning a bachelor’s degree in legal studies and again graduated summa cum laude. Charvet is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Currently, she is the Human Resources Manager for The Lint Center for National Security Studies.

Happy Independence Day!

May we be forever grateful for the freedom and liberty that we enjoy in this great nation through the hard work of our courageous predecessors. On this day we acknowledge the efforts many brave men and women have put into preserving the principles on which our Nation was founded. 

In June of 1826, Thomas Jefferson wrote his last letter to Roger C. Weightman, saying:

“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be … the signal of arousing men to burst the chains … and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. …For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

Let us honor the wishes of Thomas Jefferson and strive towards equality and freedom of speech for all. While we gaze upon the fireworks lighting up the night sky, let us continue to look at the accomplishments of the past and our nation’s potential for growth with reverence and wonder. The Lint Center wishes you a happy Independence Day!

This message was prepared by Lint Center volunteer, Juliana Pham.


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Lint Center Scholarship Deadlines 30 Jan & 30 July

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513th MI Bde

513th Military Intelligence Brigade in Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM

Vigilant Knights in the Desert:

On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. Four days later, the Army alerted the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade for eventual deployment as part of Operation DESERT SHIELD. By the end of the month, its first elements arrived in Saudi Arabia. Eventually, the brigade’s deployed strength ballooned to over 2,200 Soldiers. With these Soldiers, the 513th MI provided multidisciplinary collection, all-source analysis, and widespread dissemination of theater-level intelligence to LTG John Yeosock’s US Army Central Command (ARCENT).

Deploying from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, the 513th MI Brigade consisted of four battalions that operated at the echelon above corps level. The 201st MI Battalion conducted signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations. The 202d MI Battalion provided counterintelligence (CI), interrogation, and document exploitation support. The 297th MI Battalion supplied imagery analysis as well as ARCENT’s Intelligence Center. Finally, the Foreign Materiel Intelligence Battalion (FMIB) performed technical intelligence operations. In addition to these four subordinate battalions, the 513th later assumed command responsibilities for elements from six other MI battalions.

To follow its initial deployment, the brigade sent Task Force 174, under LTC Robert Butto, to Saudi Arabia. With elements from each of the 513th MI’s four battalions, the task force laid the ground work for the rest of the brigade’s arrival. Butto’s advanced party landed in Riyadh on 1 September. Within 24 hours of its arrival, it had established an Intelligence Center for ARCENT’s G-2 and begun to provide essential intelligence support. One of the center’s earliest studies provided an analysis of the terrain to the west of the Iraqi forces which stated that the ground could support movement by the Army’s armored forces. Briefed to the Central Command’s senior leadership, this assessment helped shape the eventual American ground campaign.

As TF 174 continued its shoestring operations, the rest of the brigade waited for transportation into theater. The need to build up combat power to counter the Iraqi forces meant that intelligence and other support assets were left behind. As it waited, the brigade received a new commander, COL William M. Robeson, on 12 September. Faced with a painfully slow deployment, Robeson travelled to ARCENT headquarters to provide senior on-the-ground leadership and try to push for the deployment of the rest of his brigade.

When Robeson arrived, the 513th MI had just under 200 Soldiers in theater. Although still constrained by limited transportation, he was able to gain approval to bring much of his brigade’s staff to Saudi Arabia in the fall of 1990. The staff was able to make the most of the brigade’s limited assets, establishing limited collection facilities and planning for integrating new equipment—such as the SANDCRAB jamming system—into brigade operations.

By early November the brigade had deployed 500 Soldiers—about one-third of its assigned strength—allowing it to enlarge its operations including aerial SIGINT operations and increased CI coverage. Moreover, COL Robeson received permission to call forward the balance of his brigade. At the end of 1990, the brigade’s strength was approaching 90 percent and it received important reinforcements to enhance its theater imagery capabilities.

At the same time, BG John Stewart became the ARCENT G-2 and quickly moved to prepare his staff for more active operations. Not only did he enlarge the staff, he infused it with senior MI leaders from throughout the Army. Both actions benefited the 513th MI Brigade. The experienced leaders supplemented the hard work and enthusiasm of younger Soldiers in the ARCENT Intelligence Center with insight and practical knowledge. Within a few weeks, the brigade almost doubled in size as its battalions finished their deployment and readied themselves to support ARCENT’s offensive.

In January 1991, COL Robeson oversaw the development of key theater intelligence organizations. The 201st MI Battalion coordinated the SIGINT efforts of its ground and aerial assets through the Integrated Ground Operating Facility. Shortly afterwards, the 202d MI Battalion established two joint interrogation facilities and later a document exploitation center. Meanwhile, the 297th MI Battalion provided much of the manning for the Joint Imagery Production Center, which garnered tactical support from theater and national imagery systems. Finally, the FMIB organized the Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Center for in-theater technical intelligence. Through these operations, the Soldiers of the 513th MI Brigade provided effective multi-discipline intelligence for Army and theater decision makers, greatly assisting the successful ground campaign.

Despite the challenges of a slow deployment to an undeveloped theater, incorporation of almost one thousand augmentees and the integration of new equipment, the 513th MI effectively linked the corps and divisions to intelligence information from the national agencies. It also produced its own intelligence through its various joint facilities and organic collection assets. As BG Stewart noted in his after action report the 513th MI.

Brigade was “the” key MI capability at the Army level during Operations Desert SHIELD/STORM.

[This article was written by Michael E. Bigelow, Command Historian, US Army Intelligence and Security Command, in February 2016 for the Moments in MI History series.]

History Project

If you are a veteran, contractor, or civilian worker with involvement in US National Security-we need you! The Lint Center for National Security Studies is committed to the preservation of histories of people involved in the shaping and development of US. National Security history as we know it today. The experiences of veterans, contractors, and civil service members involved in US N.S. are needed to not only to help us better understand our own history but to carry that knowledge forward for future generations.

If you would like to add your experiences to the archive, please Submit Your Story!

*If you are interested in conducting an Oral History interview, or have any questions about the program, please contact our historian at

President Truman Quote

Memorial Day is a special time for Americans

Memorial Day is a special time for Americans to honor the legacy of all who died while serving in the Armed Forces. Please join the Lint Center as we reflect on all of the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. May their legacy always be cherished and never be forgotten.

The Lint Center members haves strong feelings about Memorial day, but the best Memorial Day message that we have seen is from LTGen Handy, USAF.  We share the below:

“For some, Memorial Day symbolizes the unofficial start of summer, marked by barbecuing, camping, and weekend getaways.  While I hope you enjoy some extra time with your family and friends, I also urge you to take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day.

The freedoms you and I enjoy were secured by the triumph of brave men and women willing to lay down their lives in the pursuit of liberty.  The ideals set forth in America’s founding documents are held together by valiant Americans who stood together with Allies and partners to preserve them at the highest cost.  Ronald Reagan said it best when he spoke these words, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”  At home and abroad, American cemeteries serve as reminders that generations of Americans dedicated their lives to the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Remember their sacrifice.

Lastly, the threats to America are real.  However, our enemies and potential enemies consistently fail to grasp that there are few things in this world more formidable than the perseverance and resilience you and your families show on a daily basis. I thank each of you for your willingness to devote your lives to duty and country– it does not go unnoticed.  So while you’re enjoying some well-deserved time off this weekend, think about the men and women who aren’t and why.  Think about the families they left behind, the ideals those brave men and women stood for and the morals they upheld.  Remember their commitment to liberty.  Together, we must honor their legacy by moving forward and keeping the torch of liberty held high.  Never let it go.

As always, thank you for your service.”

By Lt. Gen. Russell J. Handy, PACAF Commander, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, / Published May 26, 2016


Original Source:

Prepared by:

Ryan Sofranko
Operations Manager, The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc.
Navy Cryptology

The Future of Cryptology

The Future of Cryptology

Is there anything as futile to write about as the future? We are certainly guaranteed to never reach it. When we attempt to predict the future, history proves that we will mostly be wrong about the outcome. So, why talk about the future?

I believe the answer is because thinking about the future drives our actions in the present. The future is where we set our goals, which then drive our passions, which should drive our labors. There is a responsibility inherent in speaking about the future.
Being a good futurist means a few of your predictions must come true at some point. The conclusions a futurist makes should be grounded in fact, feasible in the long term, and have a course by which to get there.
So, a futurist must study history, specifically, the history of how ideas become inventions, inventions become innovations, and innovations, through entrepreneurship, become the new normal.

A futurist must also study the present. They need to be aware of the challenges of the present day because that will drive the decisions that will shape the future. A futurist however looks at the present and thinks, “what must change to make the future happen.” As a result, the futurist tends to uncover dirty secrets that stand in the way of change.

Many of these secrets are buried under the phrase, “We have always done it this way.” For many, that is the place to stop. For the futurist, that is the first sign you are on the right track. It is also the inherent danger in looking to the future.

My part in the Station HYPO blog is to discuss the future of the Cryptologic Community. I believe I have it easier in some ways than the others because I only have to be right on occasion. Those writing on the past and present of the community’s comments are inherently testable. My comments only need to be plausible at some point in the future.

Is some ways, I have a more serious charge. I will be talking about the future and to do so I will talk about change. I will respect the past, but not be beholden to it. I will always live in the challenges of the present, but I have to remain optimistic enough that I can see through the challenges of the day to the opportunities that may be. I must boldly go forward speaking of what I believe is the best course for the community to steer knowing I may never see the final destination.

I hope to bring some direction to our community’s collective labors and share the passion I have for it. I will be looking for others to share their vision for the future. Hopefully they will choose to share their stories here. Email me here at the blog if you are interested.

In the next few months, I will be writing on what I believe the some of the trends are for the future of the Cryptologic Community. I will spend a moment here to mention the future of the Cryptologic Community includes our Cyber friends. It is easier to see the connection in the enlisted community with the Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) community. On the officer and civilian sides, it is more difficult to define the boundaries. At the very least, our Cryptologic Community includes past, present and future; active, inactive, reserve, and retired; radiomen conducting cryptologic operations; cryptologists; cryptologic technicians; information warfare officers, warrant officers and LDOs; cyber warfare engineers and warrants; and civilians conducting similar functions.

Because of this fine group, the future of the Cryptologic Community is bright. Welcome to Station HYPO.


Republished with permission from Station HYPO 

Tips for Moving While Enrolled in School

Reposted from

By Nichole Ahlstrom
COLL100 Faculty at American Public University

Moving is not a fun topic to discuss, especially when it involves attending college. How would I know? I’m preparing to move from Okinawa, Japan, back to the United States. Mentally and physically preparing for any move is no easy task, especially when you attend college.

I remember the day we received orders to move back to the States. My mind immediately started racing with the million and one things to accomplish. With any major agenda or task, planning and communication are key.

Since I am a college student, an educator, a mother and a military spouse, I knew that my hands would be full. I am an ‘A’-type personality, so organization and structure are part of my daily routine. I get my tasks accomplished in a timely manner. I take notes, notes and more notes. I believe that communication is extremely important, and I don’t like to procrastinate. My mind never shuts off.

Moving while in college has its fair share of challenges. However, to manage a move while you’re a college student, here are a few helpful tips to prepare you for the transition:

  1. Start planning so you can take control of the move and your coursework.
  2. Get ample amounts of rest and maintain a balanced diet to minimize anxiety and stress.
  3. Be positive and think about how moving could benefit your education. Be optimistic, enthusiastic and confident.
  4. Communicate with your instructors about the move ahead of time, so that classwork can be completed before it’s due. Preparation is key.

Moving elicits many emotions. Taking control of the situation, preparing, managing, and communicating will all help to make for a smooth transition with coursework and moving. Once you arrive at your new home and are settled with school, celebrate your efforts. Embrace the move as it can create new opportunities, help you to regain focus, and allow you to set new educational goals.

For more guidance on “How to Manage Your Education During Deployments” please visit our fellow APUS blog, In Military.

About the Author

Nichole Ahlstrom is an adjunct faculty member who teaches COLL100: Foundations of Online Learning at American Public University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She is currently working on her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership degree with the University of Phoenix. Nichole lives in Okinawa, Japan with her husband, who is an active-duty Marine, and they have two boys. Nichole loves being a mother, spending time with her family, volunteering, exercising and traveling.

Six Things You Should Know About Scholarships

Reposted from

By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist,  American Public University System

Scholarships are the most effective and beneficial way to pay for college expenses (everything from tuition to books and fees). Typically, scholarships do not need to be paid back with interest. Instead, you earn money by continually demonstrating your academic prowess.

Most people think scholarships are only reserved for the best athletes and scholars. In reality, many scholarships wait to be claimed by students from all walks of life. Below are a few tips and facts about scholarships.

1. Scholarships come in all monetary amounts. Some scholarships pay your entire tuition for four years, while others are only worth $100 for one semester. It all depends on the criteria for obtaining the scholarship and who funds it. State-funded scholarships are usually large amounts, but also have stricter criteria for obtaining and maintaining that scholarship. For example, the state of West Virginia offers the Promise Scholarship that pays for most of your tuition each semester. Students must attend a school in West Virginia and maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain eligible for the Promise. Other scholarships may only be worth $100, but all that is required is that you are a vegetarian or a fan of reading (yes, seriously!).

2. Small scholarships are worth your time. There is no cap on the number of scholarships for which you can apply, so the smartest practice is applying for all scholarships for which you qualify. Every penny toward your college expenses helps you in the long run. Take the time to fill out as many scholarship applications as possible.

3. Always pay attention to deadlines. Missing a deadline often eliminates you from consideration for certain scholarships.

4. Never pay for scholarships! If a scholarship organization asks you to send money up front or pay an application fee, it is a scam.

5. Scholarships exist for all grade levels, not just first-time students. If you currently attend college, that does not mean you cannot receive scholarships in the future. Always keep an eye out for new scholarships or scholarships you may have overlooked in the past.

6. How do you find scholarships? There are many different outlets. Talk to the school(s) of your choice and ask them about state-funded scholarships. For smaller, private scholarships, do some online searches (make sure the sources are reputable). A great starting point for scholarship information is Student Scholarships.

It may seem easier to just sign up for Federal Student Aid (FSA) loans, but scholarships are your best route for paying for college expenses. They are essentially free money and are maintained through your merit and scholarship.

There are so many scholarships out there waiting to be claimed. Make sure you do your due diligence and search for as many scholarships as you can.