Home  > Israel-News Today  > Week in Review
Taliban turning to foreign suicide bombers / Internet posting hints at successful Saudi penetration of Al Qaida (GeoStrategy-Direct) BACKGROUNDER: Compiled by Bill Gertz 12/08/06)Source: http://www.geostrategy-direct.com GEOSTRATEGY-DIRECT GEOSTRATEGY-DIRECT Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Taliban turning to foreign suicide bombers

A key feature of stepped up Taliban operations in Afghanistan is the increased use of foreign Islamists to conduct suicide terrorist bombings, a tactic shunned by the Taliban until recently.

Radio Afghanistan reported last week that the security commander of Kunar Province reported receiving intelligence that three women had come from Pakistan to carry out suicide attacks.

Coalition forces wounded a female suspect in a shooting in the Nari District of Kunar Province shortly after the report. The forces believed she was planning to carry out a suicide attack.

The commander, Abdul Jalal Jalal, said the woman was wounded while passing a coalition convoy. He said the woman was being treated in Asad Abad hospital.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said last week that the threat from Al Qaida had been limited in Afghanistan but that the Taliban has become more dangerous and stronger.

Kasuri also said the Taliban is stepping up subversive activities in Pakistan, sending trained agents disguised as Afghan refugees to engage in subversion.

Internet posting hints at successful Saudi penetration of Al Qaida

Saudi intelligence had successfully penetrated the Al Qaida organization in that country and scored successes by electronic eavesdropping on the group’s communications, an Islamist website in Saudi Arabia stated last week.

The posting mentioned the Nov. 13 capture in Afghanistan of senior Al Qaida leader Abu-Nasir al-Qahtani, who had escaped last year from Bagram prison.

A jihadist wrote to the web site that Al Qaida has failed to use appropriate security measures to avoid infiltration by Saudi intelligence.

He lamented that Al-Qahtani had not taken his advice in a message that he posted in response to earlier news about the Saudi government´s interception of telephone contacts with Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The posting included a copy of an earlier message that called on the terrorists to "re-evaluate and reconfigure their method of communication" and urged them to "replace the cadre in charge of communications."

The posting said the group’s communications had been compromised and that security breaches must be stopped.

The problem is “very serious” because “Al-Qahtani had contacts with mujahadeen in Afghanistan as well." The terrorist stated that "the current Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is nothing but a branch of the Saudi intelligence set up to snare Al Qaida members abroad."

The posting said Saudi security had eliminated all Al Qaida operatives in Saudi Arabia with the help of establishment clerics and their followers.

The posting also said Al Qaida in Saudi Arabia uses the Al Hisbah website and that the site is linked to the Saudi security service.

Canadians score counterintelligence coup with capture of deep-cover Russian spy

Poor intelligence tradecraft helped undo an illegal Russian spy who was caught by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service earlier this month.

The CSIS caught a Russian posing as Canadian Paul William Hampel after he used a birth certificate traced to the original person, U.S. intelligence sources said.

According to an information report on the case submitted in federal court in Canada, the CSIS “confirmed through the Registrar General of Ontario that no birth or death records existed pertaining to a Paul William Hampel with a date of birth of December 11, 1965, and that Hampel’s birth certificate number is legally assigned to another individual.”

Officials said the reference to the birth certificate number was the key to the case.

The court report said "Paul William Hampel" also was tracked down based on operating methods used by an earlier Russian illegal couple that was uncovered and deported back to Russia in 1996.

The recent capture was an intelligence coup for the Canadians, since deep-cover spies are hard to find. "Identifying and subsequently catching an illegal is the crème de la crème of the counterintelligence business," one U.S. official said.

The court report stated that since 2002 Moscow has ordered “a massive stepping up of espionage activities in Europe and North America” following an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin to “radically increase foreign intelligence gathering activities.”

“This looks at first glance to have been very sloppy work by an organization which cannot afford to make even the smallest mistakes in building an operational legend,” the official said.

CSIS apparently failed to “turn” Hampel to work as a double agent.

The report said the Russian SVR, successor to the KGB foreign intelligence branch, was also rapidly stepping up its operations in North America, particularly in cities with sizeable Russian émigré communities such as Toronto. According to the Canadians, as late as January 2006, the SVR was expanding activities in Europe and elsewhere.

U.S. intelligence last identified a Russian illegal in 1989 when a KGB deep cover officer was identified as Reino Gikman, a Finnish official working for the United Nations in Europe. Gikman was tracked to Felix Bloch, a senior State Department official who was identified as a Russian mole. Bloch avoided being arrested after FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen revealed to Russian intelligence that Bloch had been uncovered.

“Illegals are highly trained intelligence officers sent abroad to live without the legal cover of an embassy or other government entity that would give them diplomatic immunity in case of arrest,” the Canadian court report said.

“They are Russian espionage elites, among their nation’s costliest and longest-term undercover agents, who will go to great lengths to spy on their target countries. Illegals seldom report to ‘legal’ intelligence officers at their respective embassies, communicating instead by covert means to their control officers in Moscow.”

Illegals use legends created from false identities, either fabricated or based on the identities of real people. Illegals recruit agents in place and seldom insert themselves in sensitive posts of target governments. Scrutiny by the target countries could limit the ability of illegals to communicate with their control centers.

Lantos worries Russia trending back to the USSR

The incoming chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Rep. Tom Lantos, told a Hungarian newspaper that he is concerned about Russia’s move away from democracy.

“We have been deeply disappointed by the undemocratic trends,” Lantos told the Nepszabadsag newspaper.

“The developments in Russia are highly worrying: the Russian Parliament depends on the Kremlin, the governors are appointed by the Kremlin, and the television is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin.”

Lantos said Russia is using its energy exports to control states in the region “the same way it used the Soviet army a few decades ago.”

The murder of Ana Politskaya, who exposed government corruption, and the poisoning of Russian intelligence defector Alexander Litvenenko, also are worrisome, he said.

“Whether we are Democrats of Republicans, it is our duty to speak about these things,” Lantos said. “Our European friends are also aware of these problems, and they speak about them just as openly.” (Copyright © 2006 East West Services, Inc. 12/08/06)

Return to Top