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Insider Report: Liberal NSA Critic: Spy Agency Has Files on Journalists

Saturday, 14 May 2005 12:00 AM

A liberal critic of the National Security Agency claims staffers are none to happy with General Michael Hayden, the man President Bush selected as deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

A liberal critic of the National Security Agency claims staffers are none to happy with General Michael Hayden, the man President Bush selected as deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

If you believe former NSA staffer Wayne Madsen the NSA is also keeping files on reporters like Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz.

Madsen, now a journalist who has contributed to various liberal publications, writes on a website that Hayden  "has presided over the systematic dismantling and demoralization of America's premier technical intelligence collecting outfit, the National Security Agency.

"According to NSA insiders, Hayden's seven-year tenure at the agency, the longest for any NSA Director, has witnessed the cashiering of experienced analysts, linguists and field personnel and the crippling of America's ability to protect itself."

And he claims that staffers "point to an agency wracked by poor morale, questionable outsourcing contracts and ineffective and corrupt management."

Madsen – who once called Bush presidential adviser Karl Rove "America's Joseph Goebbels" – makes several stunning allegations, among them that the NSA spies on unfriendly journalists.

The NSA maintains a database that tracks negative articles written about the agency, according to Madsen, and "high priority is given to articles written as a result of possible leaks from cleared personnel.

"Bill Gertz of The Washington Times features prominently in the database ...

"During the Clinton administration, Gertz was often leaked classified documents by anti-Clinton intelligence officials."

In addition to Gertz, Madsen says other journalists who feature prominently in the database include Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, James Risen of The New York Times, Vernon Loeb of The Washington Post – and Madsen himself.

Madsen also writes about what he calls President Bush and Dick Cheney's fascination with Russia's "Magic Mountain" – a Soviet-era underground complex embedded within Yamantau Mountain in the Urals.

The $7 billion facility is believed to be an alternate "doomsday" command center for the Russian government and military in the event of a nuclear attack, according to Madsen.

Members of the Bush administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, "have been pressuring the NSA and other intelligence agencies to come up with the goods on Yamantau," Madsen claims.

"Wasting precious resources that could be used to combat terrorism, the intelligence agencies have been ordered to make Yamantau a top priority."

In another article, Madsen – who's seemingly fond of conspiracy theories – alleges that Hayden, Negroponte and John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the U.N., orchestrated the "misuse" of the NSA and other intelligence resources to conduct surveillance of those opposed to plans to invade Iraq.

The three, Madsen writes in Online Journal, "directed an e-mail and telephone surveillance campaign against UN Security Council delegates to determine the voting intentions of wavering countries on the council's resolution authorizing military action against Iraq."

2. Russia  Still A Dangerous Place for Journalists
 
Russia is one of the world's  five most dangerous countries for journalists, a new report reveals.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists,  newsmen face "contract-style killings" which "pose a grave threat" to them. The Committee cited the deaths of at least seven journalists murdered in Russia "in direct reprisal for their work,"  including Forbes Russia editor Paul Klebnikov, who was gunned down on a Moscow street outside his office in July 2004.

The committee added that it is investigating the motives in four other mafia-style contract killings that "may have been related to the victims' journalism."

The other four nations cited as dangerous places for journalists were the Philippines, deemed the "most murderous," followed by Iraq, Colombia, and Bangladesh.

3. Brit Travel Agency Cancels Cuba Bookings

Over 400  British tourists looking forward to a vacation in Cuba were sent scrambling to find alternate sources to fulfill their holiday plans after top travel agency Ebookers cancelled all its bookings to the Communist dictatorship. 

Travelbag, Flightbookers and Bridge the World, all owned by Ebookers, have cancelled every holiday or flight booking to Cuba. According to Britain's  Observer  the group was bought by Cendant, a U.S. corporation, last  February, and has now decided it is obligated to comply with the US trade embargo prohibiting trade with or travel to Cuba.

In a statement, Ebookers told the Observer it had acted quickly as soon its new owner's position regarding Cuba "became clear." The company said it is making refunds to its customers, offering 100 pound vouchers and is "considering all appropriate options for alleviating the inconvenience."

Lawyers at the Association of British Travel Agents have decided this is a case of  "force majeure," an unforeseen circumstance beyond the company's control, even though some bookings were accepted after the takeover by Cendant. In such cases the travel firm is not liable to pay compensation. 

Other American owned agencies  are also subject to the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba.

Travelocity.co.uk, owned by the U.S.'s Travelocity.com, last week continued to list numerous package holidays to Cuba, but when the Observer questioned the agency about the listings it quickly removed them from the site.

4. China's Massive Military Modernization Threatens the Balance of Power in Asia
 
China's plans to field new, sophisticated ballistic missiles as part of a military build-up now underway increasingly threatens to upset the correlation of forces in Asia over the next decade, according to a top U.S. intelligence official.

"Strategic force modernization is a continuing priority, and China will likely field three new strategic missiles - more mobile, survivable and capable - within a decade," said David Gordon, chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council (NIC).

According to a May 4 story by Reuters Gordon,  in a statement to  members of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission the day before, reported that the planned new missile deployments are the product of a massive, multi-year military modernization effort - one that is already "tilting the balance of power in the Taiwan Straits and improving China's capabilities to threaten U.S. forces in the region."
 
5.
Chinese Believed to be Spying on Swedish Universities
 
Chinese spies may be hiring top scientists to engage in espionage and steal unpatented research material from Swedish universities, an agent of the nation's top security service reports.

"Guest researchers [can] have assignments besides their guest research assignment: to come across information coveted in their home country," said Nils Kaerrlander, an inspector for SAEPO, Sweden's intelligence arm. He did not identify China as the offender, however.

"There are also countries that would not hesitate to put pressure on guest researchers, who may have come here with no other ambition but to complete their research assignment," Kaerrlander, added.

Harriet Wallberg Harrisson, director at Sweden's Karolinska told the TMI group that she had been told that SAEPO was investigating one of the guest researchers, but did not mention China in that connection.

Chinese guest researchers were fingered by an anonymous SAEPO detective as the culprits in the espionage efforts, but Jakob Larsson, a SAEPO spokesman said his agency has not gone public naming China as the nation using espionage against the universities.

"There is always a risk of espionage, since research is so expensive to do, but we don't know who this mysterious detective is quoting is," he said, adding that he was later told that the anonymous source had revealed her agency's  suspicions about China to a radio news show and had so informed her SAEPO superiors.

"We have a woman detective at SAEPO on tape, but she did not want her name revealed," a radio station spokesman said.  "We spoke with her several times and she said it was China"  [that was suspected of espionage]. 

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A liberal critic of the National Security Agency claims staffers are none to happy with General Michael Hayden, the man President Bush selected as deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. A liberal critic of the National Security Agency claims staffers are...
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Saturday, 14 May 2005 12:00 AM
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