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[casi] Pentagon board proposes "prodding" terrorists to terrorism

Scary stuff coming from the terrorist attack may have been
provoked purposely by the Pentagon or CIA. Hmm......
Bill Berkowitz

Hellzapoppin' at the Pentagon
Rumsfeld's Defense Science Board proposes 'prodding' terrorists to terrorism

A new Pentagon strategy aimed at luring terrorists into committing acts of
terrorism has been recommended to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by the
Defense Science Board (DSB). The "DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and
Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism" claims that since the global
war on terrorism "requires new strategies, postures and organization," it was
advocating the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, called the
"Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)."

According to Secrecy News, published by the Federation of American
Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, stories about the DSB briefing
first surfaced on September 26 in a report by Dan Dupont in "Inside the
Pentagon" and by Pamela Hess, UPI's Pentagon correspondent. A month later,
William M. Arkin mentioned P2OG in a column in the Los Angeles Times. And, in
early November, CounterPunch ran a piece on P2OG by Chris Floyd called "Into
the Dark: The Pentagon Plan: to Provoke Terrorist Attacks."

The DSB's recommendation for a Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group appears
to be in line with President Bush's National Security Strategy, which called
for preemptive military strikes. Military Analyst William Arkin writes that
P2OG would "bring together CIA and military covert action, information
warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception." The organization "would
launch secret operations aimed at 'stimulating reactions' among terrorists
and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance,
prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to
'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces."

Arkin's story, titled "The Secret War: Frustrated by intelligence failures,
the Defense Department is dramatically expanding its 'black world' of covert
operations," reports that in what "may well be the largest expansion of
covert action by the armed forces since the Vietnam era, the Bush
administration has turned to what the Pentagon calls the 'black world' to
press the war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction."

In Pamela Hess' piece called "Panel wants $7bn elite counter-terror unit" --
written before the official release of the DSB report -- she claims the
report also advocated "tagging key terrorist figures with special chemicals
so they can be tracked by laser anywhere on Earth; creating a special SWAT
team to surreptitiously find and destroy chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons all over the world; and creating a 'red team' of particularly
diabolical thinkers to plot imaginary terror attacks on the United States so
the government can plan to thwart them."

The team would be made up of 100 counter-terror specialists in information
operations, psychological operations, computer network attack, covert
activities, signal intelligence, human intelligence, special operations
forces and deception operations and have at least $100 million at their

How will the terrorists be "sparked… into action?" asks reporter Chris Floyd.
Will it be done "by killing their family members? Luring them with loot?
Fueling them with drugs? Plying them with jihad propaganda? Messing with
their mamas? Or with agents provocateurs, perhaps, who infiltrate groups then
plan and direct the attacks themselves?" This part of P2OG's strategy seems
eerily reminiscent of the FBI's COINTEL program of the sixties and seventies,
when often the people advocating the most violent acts were the FBI's agents.

By successfully luring terrorists into action the Pentagon, Floyd writes,
"can then take measures against the 'states/sub-state actors accountable' for
'harboring' the Rumsfeld-roused gangs. What kind of measures exactly? Well,
the classified Pentagon program puts it this way: 'Their sovereignty will be
at risk.'"

"Right now, there is a lot more we don't know about the [DSB] proposal than
we do know. The underlying principle of P2OG is not new," Steven Aftergood,
the head of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American
Scientists told me. The idea of trying to trigger a response from an opponent
is basic and has been around since ancient times," he added. The initiatives
advanced by the DSB "may not be a bad idea," but before anything like this is
put into place, "it deserves to be closely scrutinized by Congress."

"There are laws that need to be complied with," Aftergood added, but he
agreed with my characterization that it appears that laws are being
"rewritten" as we speak.

DSB's shopping cart

The Defense Science Board, which reports to the Secretary of Defense, is not
to be confused with the Defense Policy Board -- which also reports to the
Secretary of Defense and is currently chaired by Richard Perle. The DSB has
been advising presidents for more than forty years, and according to its we
bsite, it works "to transform the nation's armed forces to meet the
demands being placed on them by a changing world order."

The board is concerned with "creating the military of the future -- one that
takes full advantage of revolutionary new technologies… [and] moderniz[ing]
and transform[ing] the business of defense, getting the best value for the
taxpayer's money." Currently, the Board's authorized strength is thirty-two
members and seven ex officio members (the chairmen of the Army, Navy, Air
Force, Policy, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and Defense
Intelligence Agency advisory committees). The members serve for terms ranging
from one to four years "and are selected on the basis of their preeminence in
the fields of science, technology and its application to military operations,
research, engineering, manufacturing and acquisition process."

The cost of implementing the entire package of DSB recommendations is

UPI's Hess writes: "…an overhaul of the intelligence community's ability to
penetrate terrorist cells to collect information" has a "price tag" of $1.7
billion over a 5-year period beginning in 2004.

"Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance" capabilities would be
enhanced "with an infusion of $1.6 billion per year over the next six years,
with the emphasis on tying together unmanned aerial vehicles, manned
platforms, space-based sensors and databases into a seamless whole. The money
would also be invested in developing 'a rich set of new ground sensor
capabilities' that would be specially focused on watching small terrorist

Another $1 billion a year is earmarked for research and development in sensor
and "agent defeat" technologies.

It could take as much as $800 million to enhance "counter-terrorism
capabilities" by adding 500 people over the next 18 months who would,
according to the report, "focus on understanding effects of globalization,
radicalism, cultures, religions, economics, etc., to better characterize
potential adversaries."

A team run by the U.S. Special Operations Command consisting "of specially
trained special forces soldiers able to search out and take offensive action
against suspected nuclear, chemical or biological weapons sites, offer force
protection for U.S. soldiers nearby and 'consequence management,’ like
enforcing quarantines" would cost about $500 million a year.

$100 million would fund the establishment of a "force of former intelligence
retirees who could be recalled to duty instantly when a surge capacity of
intelligence workers is needed" and who would meet "at least once a year and
participate in counter-terror intelligence exercises."

In addition, at a cost of $20 million, the DSB recommends bringing together
two dozen "creative, highly respected analysts -- and even people like author
Tom Clancy who show a talent for dreaming up possible scenarios of
destruction -- who would plan 'as terrorists might' ways to attack the U.S.
homeland and forces overseas... [T]he panel would report their detailed plans
to the CIA director. They would also report on what to look for in someone
who is planning such an attack -- what materials are being purchased, what
countries are being visited, and who would be contacted."

According to David Isenberg, writing in the Asia Times, the report recommends
that "responsibility and accountability for the P2OG would be vested in a
'Special Operations Executive' in the National Security Council (NSC). The
NSC would plan operations but not oversee their execution in order to avoid
comparisons to past abuses, such as the Iran-Contra operations run out of the
NSC by Oliver North during the Reagan administration. Under the board's
proposal, NSC plans would be executed by the Pentagon or the CIA."

Will the DSB's proposals be adopted by the Defense Department and forwarded
to Congress for approval? The FAS' Steven Aftergood believes that the "U.S.
needs effective intelligence collection systems in order to anticipate and
respond to threats." However, he tempers this by reiterating his conviction
that intelligence functions need strong and "effective oversight." Unfortuna
tely, he added, "The agency has been allowed to operate in a vacuum for too
long." Invigorated Congressional oversight is what is required to "keep the
agencies on a straight and lawful course" and to keep the public informed.
And unfortunately, Aftergood added, "That is something that appears to
definitely be lacking at this time."

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His
WorkingForChange column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players,
institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.       
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© 2002 Working Assets. All rights reserved.

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