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Former Israeli Spy Chief Weighs in on Attacking Iran

Ahmadi_nejad_2012_pakistanOpinions abound on whether the US/Israel/tandem force should or should not strike Iran to prevent them from acquiring the means to develop nuclear weapons. However, in an unprecedented interview with 60 minutes, Mr. Dagan, former Director of Israel’s central intelligence agency, the Mossad, offers a refreshingly prudent perspective regarding the future of Iran’s nuclear programme and a pre-emptive Israeli attack against the obstinate regime (Stahl).

“An attack on Iran before you explore all other approaches is not the right way to do it…” asserts Mr. Dagan.

Dagan develops a nuanced argument that sets aside the polar alarmist and cautious arguments of should or shouldn’t the attack be done. The Israeli spy chief, known for aggressive tactics against his enemies, instead, highlights a few caveats that drive the assertion that not only shouldthe attack not be done now, it should be pursued by the Americans if done at all.

And Prudence Indeed Will Dictate

“I never said there’s a lot of time [to explore other options], but there is moretime.” The interview reports that Dagan’s Mossad spent over a decade dispatching spies and sabotaging Iran’s nuclear efforts with faulty equipment and computer viruses. Dagan, however, an experienced politician with a wry smile, asserts that he will not address or confirm any of these reports.

In a back to International Relations 101, Mr. Dagan also reminds viewers of the nature of leadership and the instincts of leaders to want to stay in power by making rational decisions. The caveat that rational judgment is subjective to a Western vs. non-Western-style of thinking, while referenced by Mr. Dagan, does not change the nature of his argument: Ahmadinejad and company are rational actors. This assertion comes from arguably the most knowledgable source on the nature of Iranian leadership, someone who has the incentive, capability, and expanse of sensitive dossiers on the subject.

“No doubt are they considering all the implications of their direction. They will have to pay dearly and all the consequences of it, and I think the Iranians, in this point in time, are going very carefully in the project. They are not running into it.”

It’s Not Really a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World Anymore

The next question posed by the interviewer addresses a discomfiting point. If the Iranian regime is so rational, then why can’t they be allowed to have nuclear weapons?

The question is not illogical in itself, but speaks to a greater and dangerous misunderstanding of current nuclear weapons and non-proliferation theory, derived from what’s left from a generation groomed on the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) Doctrine.

Mutually Assured Destruction, the doctrine that assumes that two actors will not engage in nuclear weapon’s decisions that will result in the destruction of both of their respective countries, was very applicable to the Cold War and a bi-polar geo-political context. However, it is not a pliable doctrine. It is no longer applicable in the traditional sense. The interviewer’s line of questioning is concerned and educated and not wrong, but rather, working within an outdated frame of reference.

The frame of reference, now, is much more complex. It includes the basic applications of the MAD Doctrine but in an experience derived and layered global context. Meaning, between two countries of equal nuclear power, MAD Doctrine still contributes, not drives, their non-use. However, many other factors also contribute and more heavily weigh in any particular country’s non-use or being a non-receiver of a nuclear attack. These factors include: sitting under the nuclear umbrella of a more powerful official or unofficial nuclear weapons state, perceptiveness to the regional and economic implications of attacking another country, limitations, whether technological or practical on their ability to procure a “successful” attack, and seemingly most delicately, the unwritten taboo of nuclear weapons’ use.

Simply, beginning at the first use of the atomic bomb on Japan and further solidified with the development of global initiatives and treaties against the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon technologies, like the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), nuclear weapons have become a taboo solution to inter-country disagreements.

If one country were to wage a non-nuclear attack on another, whether unprovoked or not, and the second country were to respond in a nuclear fashion, that second country would undoubtedly run a very high risk of being alienated by the international community. This country would become an instant pariah. Among other consequences, the nuclear country would likely incur sanctions that would immediately stifle their economy. Further, they would also likely draw the military ire of an ally or other countries friendly to the country they attacked. This situation is easily played out in a number of inter-country relationships, from Pakistan and India to the United States and North Korea. The situation would be unambiguous. Any provocation short of a nuclear attack cannot be returned with one, not because the two countries would destroy each other but because the nuclear-use country would not be able to exist in a post-attack world.

Status Quo Stability

An understanding of chess-board geo-politics is necessary to truly piece together the mass of the nuclear game (Stahl). Each country is a piece in play, some more powerful, strategic, tactical, and some, who are simply just pawns. Looking at an Iranian working nuclear weapons program through a tactical lens, one that disregards the up ending of every geo-political web, as an antiquated frame of reference does, simplifies an Iranian chess-move on a strategic board. Most clearly, back to Stahl’s question, if nuclear weapons are taboo and Iran knows that it would draw the ire of the entire world if it had them, they stillcan’t have them because it changes the leverages of the game. It gives an M-16 to a country used to handling a .22.

Dagan muses, broaching the subject of sanctions and oil prices, “Do you think that an Iranian regime will bring stability to the region?”

Stability is the sticking point. The status quo, with the “Nuclear Weapon States” (NWS) of the United States, France, China, Britain and Russia, and the nuclear states who have defied part of the established non-proliferation taboo (India, North Korea, Pakistan, and unofficially, Israel), have created a checker-board geo-political stability. Overturning this stability willoccur if Iran is allowed a nuclear weapons capability. An Iranian nuclear capability is a proxy capability to create a new status quo.  Not only would it be the impetus for other countries in the region to develop their own nuclear programs, but it gives Iran an important new choke-point on world oil prices–the Iranian primary industry and source of income.

Whether the claims that an Iran can and will ignite a tinderbox Middle East are overblown, the point that remains is irrefutable. The instability and acquired Iranian geo-political power brings the current context of US, Israeli, and Iranian argumentation into the international fold. Even if MAD doctrine, the nuclear use taboo, and Dagan say that Iran’s leadership is rational, Iran cannot possibly be allowed to have nuclear weapons because it will upset the balance as is.

Go Tel (Aviv) It on the Mountain, Mr. Spymaster

Dagan goes on to say that an attack on Iran will not even destroy its nuclear program. To what effect, then, is any of this information actionable, if nothing can be done at the end? What sort of morassic situation  have we come to?

Dagan asserts, almost lethargically, that, “If I would prefer that somebody would do it (attack Iran), I would prefer that the Americans to do it.” Israel has perhaps the greatest stake in stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons to an Iranian regime; however, again, the greater political context of chess-board politics comes back in to play here, too. Additionally, the complexity of a successful attack is not lost on the former spy chief. En masse, the Iranian nuclear complex is much different than was the Iraqi reactor destroyed by the Israeli “Operation Babylon” or the Syrian nuclear reactor that the Israelis destroyed in a surprise attack in 2007.

The Iranian nuclear developments are fortified, geographically distant, and numerous, and any attack on these complexes, will draw a response different in nature than the Israeli’s attack. Underlying logic says, a unilateral attack by Israel will not destroy the 12 plus sites, and it will draw a “reign of missiles” (possibly 50,000, according to Dagan) upon the small but populated country. Iran’s nuclear complex would be damaged, but Israel would be destroyed.

An attack by the United States has a much higher chance of success with a seemingly fewer impactful responses by Iran. Meaning, the United States has a greater capability to take out not only Iran’s nuclear complex, but the second response capabilities that Iran would be likely to employ. The leap from a directed attack on Iran’s facilities to a full-scale war with Iran derives from their response. Iran will not go quietly into the night, and Dagan, tacitly, understands the dirty work that must be done that the Israelis cannot do alone.

Because, Because, Because, Because. Because (Of the Wonderful Things He Does)

What seems to be the overlooked factor, here, is less the nuts and bolts of do the Iranians, will the Iranians, won’t the Iranians, but the dynamic domestic political context in the United States and Israel and between and between the United States and Israel. The pressures of the geo-political web that the two anchors is only arguably as important as what each country canactually pursue given its domestic political situation and inter-country politics.

The relationship between Israel and the United States is deeply embedded in the US domestic political character. American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), America’s pro-Israel Lobby, is one of the most influential groups, en bloc, in the United States. The amount of money and weight behind an AIPAC endorsement in, let’s say, a presidential race, is well-known and well-rooted in reality. President Obama is in a precarious position, as is any president in an election year in his first term. What can he possibly do from now to November? And what can he do (or not do) and still get reelected? Domestic pressure to act aside, the tensions between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are well documented.

So, we approach the all-important question of timeliness-in-intelligence and political action. Here, both Dagan and Obama’s assertions that there is more time yet to discuss military action on Iran and the timetable of Iran’s increasingly aggressive diction is important.

In a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee, DNI Clapper indicated that though Iran has the capacity to eventually produce nuclear-grade materials, it would take years after this capacity is reached to have a fully developed weapon. While the fact that the capability to enrich Uranium to a certain percentage underlies the capability to “go all the way” is lost on many, the idea that the nuclear, able to bomb Israel, Iran, is years away, puts the aggressive rhetoric regarding a pre-emptive strike on Iran in clearer context, especially given Dagan’s assertions that Israel should wait.

The Shadow of a Burning Bush

The summative significance here is not an enlightening one, but a logical one. The domestic political context of the US would not, at this time, allow for a military strike on Iran. It is an election year, and though AIPAC is a hugely influential voting bloc, President Obama is haunted by the specters of the past decade. Trillions of dollars, two wars, two steps back and one forward in a seemingly life-less economy would not allow for it. Dagan, Israeli’s former spy chief, whether to dirty Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s agenda, or in candor, defers action to the United States, citing the inefficacy of an Israeli attack and rational nature of the Iranian regime. Changing the status quo of a region, and the geo-political standing of a country is one issue, but igniting a tinderbox, prematurely, and with every domestic-political reason not to, speaks to a game that’s only in the seventh inning stretch.

 

 

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Authors:

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center for National Security Studies Public & External Affairs Associate.

Timothy W. Coleman serves as the Director of Communications at the Lint Center for National Security Studies.


References:

Stahl, Lesley, Interviewer. “The Spymaster: Meir Dagan on Iran’s Threat.” 60 Minutes. CBS: 11 March 2012. Television. <http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7401688n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBo&xgt;.

“Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance.” Arms Control Association. Arms Control Association, n.d. Web. 12 Apr 2012. <http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat>.

Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Ahmadi_nejad_2012_pakistan.jpg

Facebook Espionage: Why “What’s on Your Mind?” Isn’t Innocuous

“Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.” -Ronald Reagan

Social-networkFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn. The personal information available to the public about the general public is one thing, however, information available about those in national security positions—military personnel, government officials, other high-ranking persons with access, is a completely different situation and concern.

Twenty or thirty years ago building a comprehensive profile of someone of interest, their likes, age, name, address, contact information, was a job for Human Intelligence personnel  (HUMINT) and investigative experts. In an age when twenty-three of twenty-four major federal agencies are on Facebook (Marks, Nextgov) and nearly 700 million computer users and 250 million active smartphone Facebook users exist (howmanyarethere), public profiles become less social networking and more cyber espionage databanks.

State-Sponsored and Suspicious Security

Collating information mined from social networking sites is a profitable business for data brokers. Brokers create social communication databanks that paint a nuanced picture of a person’s personal and social profile to net coveted advertising dollars. In the same vein, state-sponsored spies and hackers can create virtual profiles of important figures with access, figures whose statuses, network of friends, pictures, and comments could supplement a standard intelligence or economic espionage dossier.

Facebook Statuses, Twitter updates, or any number of other seemingly innocuous musings, that relay either the timing, location, or the nature of a certain user are extremely revealing and continue to bear greater scrutiny by security and privacy experts. Often, devices with geo-location capabilities signal the area or city of a user on tagged posts or statuses. This operational security hole has become so prevalent that the US Army has released guides on how to protect against this sort of breach.

BlackhatThe operational security breaches are further intensified with Facebook’s “Timeline” option, where the actions of each user are organized down to the month that the action occurred. To this end, state-sponsored espionage efforts may result in clear pictures of organizational structures within businesses, associates of national security personnel, and ways to infiltrate or blackmail important users or networks.

The so-what point of the ability to develop profiles via social networks is layered within the context of other telling personal information that a state sponsored entity, general malefactor, or busy-body, may already know. For example, certain career or job fairs, require a stated level of security clearance to be out in the open, readily visible for those in attendance. Being able to connect a security clearance, regardless of the level, with other identifying personal information derived easily from social networks and network applications, from hobbies to network connections, to place of residence, puts that individual, their family and friends, their organization, contacts within that organization, and the entire affiliated mission at a level of risk. There is not a 100% probability of getting approached by hostile HUMINT operatives if the information is out, but this increases the possibility.

Security Not Applicable

The controversy surrounding Facebook’s privacy is not new, and Facebook has implemented numerous privacy measures to combat those weaknesses. However, the wave of for-pay and free applications that users send each other opens up new security holes for both Facebook users and their web of friends. These applications often ask for detailed information that would make for a telling personal profile of the user. Further, these applications not only ask for the requested users information, but also after allowed into that users network, are able to mine information from their friends’ profiles and friends of friends. While Facebook has many technical implementations in place to prevent direct information mining, these applications also allow a backdoor route for data gathering companies, like Google, to collect a user’s information.

Cyber Awareness

The dangers of social networking are ever-present for those who have information to secure. Social networking casts a large shadow and a wide net, one that can haunt irreparably, and now, has seemingly endless breaches: from the known fissures in smartphone security to third-party applications as hidden data-mines to the nature and location of statuses double-crossing their users.

Net security is being aware of what you put on the web. If you are the senior dispatcher for city waste management, you probably are not at a high risk of your data being hunted. However, if you are the calendar scheduler of the President of the United States, you are probably at a high risk of hostile HUMINT operatives attempting to get your information. The game is probability and possibility. We are all targets, the scope is different based on our jobs, actions, and risk.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Authors:

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center’s Public & External Affairs Associate.

Tim Coleman serves as the Center’s Director of Communications.


References:

  1. Marks, Joseph. “All major federal agencies now using Twitter and Youtube.”
  2. HowManyAreThere?
  3. image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Social-network.png
  4. Image Source: Wikimedia, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Blackhat.png

University of Texas at El Paso Covers Lint Center Scholarship Winner

Grad Student in UTEP’s Intelligence and National Security Studies Program Wins Intel Scholarship

UTEP_newsfeedbannerThe University of Texas at El Paso posted a story on Miguel Ibarra, the Winner of the 2012 US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent, Staff SGT. Richard Eaton JR. Memorial Scholarship

We encourage you to check out the full article after the jump: http://newsuc.utep.edu/index.php/news-latest/280-grad-student-wins-intel-scholarship.

Congrats, Miguel!

Why the Titanic was Found: A US Navy Covert Mission

The ship God himself could not sink found tinged in a Cold War tale (Titanic)

TitanicSoon a century will have passed since the April 15th, 1912, sinking of the greatest boat to scarcely float, the RMS Titanic. With a rerelease of the 1997 blockbuster, Titanic100th anniversary postage stamps, memorial cruises (imagine the irony in that), and exhibitions, the legend of the Titanic continues to grow (Brewin). The latest postscript to the tale, however, lays its roots in a supposed covert US Naval Intelligence mission during the Cold War.

All But a Sub-par Search For Titanic

A new National Geographic documentary set to premiere on April 9th, uncovers an alternate mission and larger purpose behind the discovery of the Titanic’s 73-year-old ocean resting place. After four previous attempts to uncover the ship’s remains off the coast of Canada, the ocean’s own Indiana Jones, veteran of more than 125 sea expeditions, Dr. Robert Ballard,set sail (West).

The professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island says, though, that this expedition, was not to uncover the Titanic, but to find the reactors and weapons from two sunken US nuclear submarines, the USS Scorpion and Thresher, who have interesting histories in themselves as the only nuclear submarines the US Navy has ever lost (West).

Scorpion, Stung by Soviets

USS_Thresher__SSN-593__launchingThe USS Scorpion specialized in the development of submarine warfare tactics, participating in exercises that cast her in varying roles, from hunter to the hunted, to intelligence-driven missions (Wikipedia). After 3 months of deployment and what has been unofficially recounted as a mission to spy on a Soviet submarine, the Scorpion was set to arrive at homeport at 1pm on May 29th, but something had gone amiss. A week before, unofficial reports suggest that the USS Scorpion had failed to respond to encrypted messages from headquarters regarding it’s home-coming, the impetus to a the seaboard-wide search-mission redirection of all Navy vessels still unverified by official Navy records (Offley).

Officially, the failure to break radio silence in the early morning of the day of arrival had sent the Atlantic Submarine Force headquarters into a bustling panic. At 3:15, event SUBMISS at 271915Z for USS Scorpion ETA NORVA had been executed (Offley). The USS Scorpion was officially missing.

Official reports never concluded what ended in the deaths of the 99 sailors aboard and a submarine buried in mystique and poignancy. Unofficial reports and interviews with former Soviet and US sailors paint a tale of a Cold War confrontation concealed in an attempt to avoid an escalation and to persist a status quo (Offley). Unofficial reports suggest that the Navy had known all along where the USS Scorpion lay, “officially” being hauled back to harbor five months after it had missed its Norfolk arrival (ibid).

With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic approaching and Dr. Ballard’s claims of a covert mission to uncover the nuclear remnants of the USS Scorpion, the tale of the Titanic and the US Navy’s interweaving mission only becomes more mythical with the story behind the second nuclear submarine, the USS Thresher.

Dasvidanya, USS Thresher Drowns in Atlantic Depths

“Experiencing minor problems…positive up angle…attempting to blow up…” were the last words of a revolutionary “hunter-killer” submarine designed to quietly hunt enemy (Soviet) submarines and dispatch of them at the Empire State building depths (Polner).

The USS Thresher was a nuclear-powered attack submarine, known for its well-trained sailors and revolutionary ability. It sunk during Test Depth exercises off the eastern seaboard in 1963 (Polner). Officially, the cause of the accident is believed to have been a pipe malfunction that led to an electrical malfunction, which quickly turned into a literal crushing of the hull of the nuclear sub as it plunged below maximum safety depth of 1,900 feet (ibid). Though officially reported to be an accident, rumors abounded regarding a second crater near the wreck site, possible evidence, many believed to be of the existence of a previously sunken Soviet submarine that collided with the US war-machine (ibid).

Because the submarine had been off the Atlantic coastal shelf (drawing a maximum depth of 600 feet), it sunk to the sea floor, over 8,000 feet below (Polner). Official reports have the USS Thresher’s remains being found by a deep sea sonar and diving submarine and dredging hooks, with findings that the submarine was not carrying nuclear weapons nor had the nuclear reactor broken up as it fell to the bottom of the ocean (Aerospace).

A Titanic Cover-Up

Of course the official findings, rumors, and now the claims made by Dr. Ballard all point to the discovery of the Titanic in Atlantic coastal waters to be shrouded in the history of the Cold War. The most grandiose vessel of the time laid at the bottom of the ocean, hidden from the world for over seven decades, while two equally grandiose military vessels, met their fates, either by accident or as casualties to the Cold War.

Dr. Ballard’s mission, still during the Cold War, in 1985, may have been much more.

According to Dr. Ballard his “mission was to find those reactors and find those weapons. But we didn’t want the Soviets to know that we were doing that or they’d put a satellite on us and we’d lead them to our submarines…so we needed a cover, and I suggested, naturally, the Titanic, because I wanted to find the Titanic. And so we then went out and did our covert operations and then went and did the Titanic” (West).

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Authors:

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center’s Public & External Affairs Associate.

Tim Coleman serves as the Center’s Director of Communications.


References:

  1. Titanic. 1997. Movie.
  2. Brewin, Kester. 5 April, 2012. 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of Titanic, 15 April: A grand Vision and Enduring Tragedy. TES. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6204415&s_cid=tesmagazinehome
  3. West, Erik. 5 April, 2012. New Documentary Claims Mission to Find Titanic ‘was covert US Navy Operation.’ The Australian Eye. http://www.theaustralianeye.com/news/new-documentary-claims-mission-to-find-titanic-was-covert-us-navy-operation-aoi35826650.html
  4. ibid
  5. 5 April 2012. USS Scorpion (SSN-589). Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Scorpion_(SSN-589)
  6. Offley, Ed. 26 August, 2009. Retrieved 5 April, 2012. The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea. http://www.historynet.com/the-uss-scorpion-buried-at-sea.htm
  7. ibid
  8. ibid
  9. ibid
  10. Retrieved on 5 April, 2012. “The Death of the USS Thresher: 129 Men Perished in the 1962 Submarine’s Sinking-Norman Polmar-The Death of the USS Thresher. Epinions.com.
  11. ibid
  12. ibid
  13. ibid
  14. Retrieved on 5 April, 2012. Aerospaceweb.org Ask Us-Broken Arrow Nuclear Weapon Accidents. Aerospaceweb.org.
  15. ibid
  16. West, Erik. 5 April, 2012. New Documentary Claims Mission to Find Titanic ‘was covert US Navy Operation.’ The Australian Eye. http://www.theaustralianeye.com/news/new-documentary-claims-mission-to-find-titanic-was-covert-us-navy-operation-aoi35826650.html

PSYOP WWII – Propagating Carrot Propaganda

“Carrots are divine… You get a dozen for a dime, It’s maaaa-gic!” – Bugs Bunny

Victory_GardensIn classic Bugs Bunny form, moms and dads, and even the British government have touted the advantages of eating carrots. Beta-carotene, the substance in carrots that helps to provide its orange color, does indeed have healthy benefits. The night seeing claims, however, are (unfortunately) inaccurate.

The urban legend of carrots generating super-human sight dates back to the British propaganda machine and an age-old intelligence tradecraft tactic of disinformation to deceive Nazi Germany.

Following Italian air force theorist, General Giulio Douhet’s model of bombing “vital centers,” rather than strategic infrastructure or wartime elements like factories and supply depots, the Germans focused bombing runs on civilian population centers. In the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, carried out incessant nighttime bombing raids intended to break the will of the British populace.

Even under intense and logistical bombardment, the British Royal Air Force was not deterred and kept sending up fighter aircraft to intercept German bombers. RAF pilots were highly trained and skilled professionals, and eventually, with great success, were able to inflict great damage on the Luftwaffe.

The explanation for the almost sudden change in British dogfighting success was attributed to RAF pilots’ superior skill. While RAF pilots were experts at their craft, the explanation of suddenly overwhelming dogfighting skills mismatched the events taking place.

The RAF, in fact, had a tactical advantage which allowed RAF pilots to determine where inbound German aircraft were using a secrete defensive countermeasure – the Airborne Interception Radar.

This technological advancement was so sensitive that British Intelligence created a cover story to parlay German suspicion of a new radar system being deployed. In turn, British Intelligence decided to create a cover story and put out a disinformation campaign.

In one newspaper article, John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham, Royal Air Force Officer, cited his love of carrots as the reason he was able to be so successful against the Germans.  In fact, Cunningham claimed that eating carrots allowed him to see at night. New stories started to appear about RAF pilots and their carrot eating habits. The disinformation campaign and heroics of carrot-eating RAF pilots worked so well that ordinary Brits began to gobble up carrots.

And thus the legacy of carrots and its superhuman imparting qualities began.

To read more about the role of carrots in WWII, please visit the World Carrot Museum: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Authors:

Tim Coleman received his BA from Georgetown, MBA from Barry University, and Master of Public and International Affairs, Security and Intelligence Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and serves as the Center’s Director of Communications.

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center’s Public & External Affairs Associate.


End Notes:

  1. Photo Source: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/dig4victory.html
  2. Snopes.com, Carrots, Accessed on April 3, 2012, http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/carrots.asp
  3. Wikipedia, John Cunningham, Accessed on April 3, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cunningham_(RAF_officer)

Lint Center In the News

newspaper__1_The Public and External Affairs team at the Lint Center had a pretty good week with regards to the most recent scholarship announcement.

We congratulate Greg on his scholarship award and for helping to generate outstanding saturation as well as coverage!

We encourage you to explore the links and let us know if you saw something we missed.

Here is a quick rundown on where the scholarship announcement was picked up and reposted:

  1. University of New Orleans  
  2. e-Collegiate News
  3. Legal News
  4. American Banking News
  5. Maryland News and Things to Do 
  6. Business Virginia
  7. I4U News
  8. Student Loan Blog
  9. Anatomy and Physiology Revealed
  10. Jags Report 
  11. Silobreaker 
  12. Virginia LLP
  13. Connect Madison County 
  14. Mimes In Motion
  15. PR.com 
  16. TMC.net
  17. i-NewsWire
  18. PR-USA
  19. One News Page 
  20. PR Log
  21. Online PR
  22. 24-7 Press Release 
  23. Free Press Index 
  24. Melodika 
  25. Topix

NSA: No Such Agency

NSA_LogoWhat you see here, what you do here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”[i]

An old adage of little town Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the Manhattan Project laid its roots, this time, pays homage to a project by a different government agency. In this town, outside of Knoxville and the University of Tennessee, the supercomputer of all supercomputers is being born.

Nearly a decade in the works, this supercomputer is only part of the greater puzzle that the National Security Agency, formerly known in national security circles as “No Such Agency” or the “National Softball Association” when the full title was classified, is putting together to uncover maleficent foreign actors.

The other piece, what’s known as the “Utah Data Center,” has been under construction for 2 months, and is set to be finished in the fall of 2013.[ii]

NSA_Pic_1This estimated 2 billion dollar facility, for the member of the Intelligence Community with the largest budget, will be the information center to its processing counterpart in Tennessee.

Quietly and ironically becoming known as the most covert and robust spy agency in the United States, NSA has been at the forefront of information technology and cryptoanalysis since after Pearl Harbor, reinvented in the wake of 9/11.[iii]

NSA_Pic_2Regardless of the mystique and controversy surrounding NSA, it stands as the first line of defense in an increasingly disconcerting cyber evolution in the US and abroad.

With that, the Lint Center encourages you to learn more about the NSA: its history, role in national security, and awe-inspiring projects. Additionally, in the context of our NSA profile, we remind you that the free online Stanford Cryptography Course is now open for enrollment.

The Lint Center Team

***NOTICE: The information included in this post is from open-source media outlets and documents. It is intended for informational purposes and to encourage individuals to learn more about exciting employment opportunities within the U.S. Government.***


References:

  1. Bamford, James. The NSA is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center. Retrieved on 16 March 2012 from Wired. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/.
  2. NSA website. Welcome to the National Security Agency – NSA/CSS.
  3. Photos Retrieved on 16 March 2012 from Public Intelligence. Public Intelligence.

End Notes:

[i] Bamford, James. The NSA is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center. Retrieved on 16 March 2012 from Wired, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

[ii]ibid

[iii]ibid

Toward the Sounds of Chaos: Which Way Would You Run?

We saw this new video and found it very inspiring so we thought we should share it with you.

“And when the time comes, they are the first to move towards the sounds of tyranny, injustice and despair. They are forged in the crucible of training.”

Here is another one we thought was worth revisiting:

Symbol of Strength – More Than a Uniform

Do you have a favorite video? What other’s do you find particularly inspiring? Let us know.

Enjoy!

The Lint Center Team

Interested in Learning About Cryptography?

Better Yourself, Better Your Country

Free Online Security-Relevant Courses

CyrptoBenjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” and it is hard to disagree. The highest dividends come from experience and knowledge. So, we want to highlight some great opportunities to invest in yourself, for free.

Cybercrime has been named as one of the leading threats to National Security by security and policy expert. Even if you aren’t a techie or colored hat, you should be informed about the powers and importance of the cyber spectra.

Course Highlight: Stanford University Online Cryptography Class:

LockCryptography, an indispensable tool for protecting information in security systems, is at the forefront of National Security relevance. According to the official course description, this free, watch-at-your-convenience, course “explains the inner workings of cryptographic primitives, cryptographic constructions, and how to correctly use them in real-world applications. The course begins with a discussion of how two parties can communicate securely and continues with an examination of deployed and authentication protocols, mistakes in existing systems, public-key and encryption techniques, relevant number theory, digital signatures, ending in more advanced topics.”[i]

If you didn’t understand anything that was just described, the course officially begins on March 12. Sign up for free at Stanford University Online Cryptography Class.

Other Tech Courses and Informational Sites (Free):

Security/International Affairs-Related Sites (Free):

Other Good Sites to Invest in You (Free):

We encourage you to take advantage of them, and to please engage us if you would like to: 1) comment on a Security-related topic you’ve found as a result of these sites or 2) let us know if you know of any more that we should add!

Happy Investing,

The Lint Center for National Security Studies Team


*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.

About the Authors:

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center’s Public & External Affairs Associate.

Tim Coleman serves as the Center’s Director of Communications.


References:

  1. About the course. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.coursera.org/crypto/auth/welcome
  2. Graphic Source: Kennedy, J. (Photographer). (2010). Information security. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Information_security_components_JMK.png
  3. 12 Dozen Places to Educate Yourself. Marc. Marc and Angel Hack Life. Retrieved on 7 March 2012. Retrieved from 12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free

End Notes:

[i] About the course. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.coursera.org/crypto/auth/welcome

Cyber Vulnerabilities – It’s Not Microsoft’s Fault: Blame Third-Party Programs for Security Vulnerabilities

A newly released annual report by Secunia, an IT security solutions provider specializing in vulnerability management, found that Microsoft may be more secure than commonly perceived. In fact, third-party programs are responsible for the vast majority of security vulnerabilities the report claims.

Secunia’s Blog explains, “78% of vulnerabilities in 2011 affected third-party programs, by far outnumbering the 12% of vulnerabilities found in operating systems or the 10% of vulnerabilities discovered in Microsoft programs.”[i] The trend continues to look gloomy, though, because vulnerabilities are reported to be, “tripling within only a few years.”[ii]

The full report is available on Secunia’s Website.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Authors:

Tim Coleman received his BA from Georgetown, MBA from Barry University, and Master of Public and International Affairs, Security and Intelligence Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and serves as the Center’s Director of Communications.

Brittany Minder received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and she serves as the Lint Center’s Public & External Affairs Associate.


References:

  1. 1. Danchev, Dancho, “Report: Third Party Programs Rather Than Microsoft Programs Responsible for Most Vulnerabilities,” ZDNet.com, February 17, 2012, Retrieved on February 21, 2012, http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/report-third-party-programs-rather-than-microsoft-programs-responsible-for-most-vulnerabilities/10383
  2. 2. Official Secunia Blog, “Internet Users At Risk from Serious Software Security Flaws Claims Secunia,” February 14, 2012, Retrieved on February 21, 2012, http://secunia.com/company/blog_news/blog/298/
  3. 3. Secunia, Report: Yearly Vulnerability Research Report 2011, February 14, 2012, Retrieved on February 21, 2012, http://secunia.com/company/2011_yearly_report

End Notes:

[i] Official Secunia Blog, “Internet Users At Risk from Serious Software Security Flaws Claims Secunia,” February 14, 2012, Retrieved on February 21, 2012, http://secunia.com/company/blog_news/blog/298/

[ii] ibid

Center’s Vice Chairwoman Receives Doctorate in Educational Leadership

All:

On behalf of the Lint Center team, I am delighted to share some outstanding news with you – Anna Hyonjoo Lint was awarded her PhD this week!

Gary Scher said it best, “We are enormously proud of the hard work and dedication Anna has demonstrated by completing her Doctoral studies. Doctor Lint’s accomplishment of achieving the highest academic recognition in her field is an impressive standalone triumph. However, her achievement is even greater when one realizes it was attained in a second language. Dr. Lint’s success clearly demonstrates that language need not be a barrier and her example further illustrates the character of persistence as well as steadfast commitment to education that we all share.”

A hearty congratulation for a job well done is duly in order for Dr. Lint!

Full Press Release: Lint Center Vice Chairwoman Receives Doctorate in Educational Leadership