31 May 1999
Source: Betrayal, Bill Gertz, Washington, D.C., 1999. ISBN 0-89526-317-3. Thanks to Bill Gertz.
Selections from an Appendix of 59 images of classified government documents, pp. 219-84.
See Betrayal excerpts: http://www.washtimes.com/investiga/gertz1.html. See other secret documents from the book:
Gertz on code words: "UMBRA and GAMMA are code words designating special intelligence obtained from intercepted electronic communications. NOFORN means that 'no foreign' nationals should be permitted to see it, and ORCON is the intelligence marking signaling that material contained is 'originator controlled' and cannot be distributed further without the National Security Agency's permission." (p. 152)
Key findings of a 1996 CIA report show that Russian
control over nuclear weapons is weak. (2 pages)
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Prospects for Unsanctioned Use of
We continue to assess the possibility of unauthorised launch or nuckar blackmail as low, because many of the safeguards built into the old Soviet system are still in place. A severe political crisis, however, could exacerbate existing problems in military-political relations and widen internal fissures in the armed forces, especially is control of the military -- already demoralized and corrupted -- were to break down. Such a crisis could raise concerns about nuclear control:
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This 1997 report to Congress on "detargeting" nuclear warheads reveals
that the symbolic agreement reached by President Clinton and Russian leader
Boris Yeltsin cannot be verified and only slightly reduces missiles' readiness
to fire. (1 page)
Report to Congress on Detargeting (Classified Version)
(U) At the January 1994 Moscow summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin announced that they would direct the detargeting of U.S. and Russian strategic missiles, respectively, so that by May 30, 1994 none of these missiles would be targeted against any country on a day-to-day basis. The United States implemented detargeting by May 30, 1994, and the Russian government notified us that it also implemented detargeting on schedule.
(U) This detargeting initiative was a confidence-building measure that symbolizes the improved relationship between the United States and Russia. In this regard, lt is one of a series of such measures adopted in the aftermath of the Cold War, including discontinuing strategic bomber ground alert and continuous airborne command post operations, and withdrawing and eliminating certain tactical nuclear weapons.
(S) Placing ICBMs in a non-targeted status does not remove them from combat duty and only slightly reduces their readiness. For Russian ICBMs detargeting means that targeting and flight data have been downloaded from the missile's onboard computer and replaced with a zero or null target set. Such data, however, remains stored in the fire-control computer and can be reloaded into the missiles's onboard computer within a few minutes. The impact of detargeting on combat readiness is thus easily reversible and cannot be directly monitored by national technical means. Unless a missile is actually demated from its warheads, defueled, and removed from its launcher, the Intelligence Community is unable to monitor a change in its combat duty status.
(S) Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines on pierside duty or on patrol in peacetime operations do have targeting data stored within the missiles. These data are stored on tapes locked in the commanding officer's safe on board the submarine. These tapes are loaded only when the submarine receives a valid shore command, which activates the fire-control computer and authorizes the ship's commanding officer to remove the tapes from his safe and initiate pre-launch preparations. The detargeting agreement thus required no change to Russian procedures and did not change Russian SLBM readiness (nor that of US SLBMs).
(U) As political commitment, rather than a treaty obligation, there are no procedures to verify detargeting. Effective verification would not appear feasible, nor would attempts at verification make sense, given the fact that the process can be reversed within a short period of time. By the same token, however, since U.S. missile crews could quickly reconfigure equipment to prepare to launch missiles if so directed, detargeting does not in any way reduce U.S. security. The principal purpose of detargeting was to take an additional step which symbolizes the improved strategic relationship between the United States and Russia.
This CIA report exposes how computer glitches in Russia caused nuclear missiles to "spontaneously"go on higher alert. (2 pages)
Office of Russian and Eurasian Analysis
Rodionov's Concerns about Nuclear Command and Control (U)
Russian Defense Minister Rodionov, in disagreeing with Defense Council Secretary Baturin over the need for more defense funding. has claimed repeatedly that financial constraints are eroding the Russian nuclear command and control system. Rodionov's statements probably reflect both frustration and genuine concern over political leaders' perceived unwillingness to address the continued degradation of the military. Raising concern about nuclear control is perhaps the hottest "button" Rodionov can push. He may hope to force the politicians either to increase resource distributions or to acknowledge responsibility for the problem and its potential consequences. (C NF)
Rodionov -- in the mold of past Soviet and Russian military leaders who have worried more about maintaining a robust launch capability than safety or an unauthorized launch -- seems primarily concerned with maintaining the credibility of Russia's nuclear deterrent. Some evidence supports his concerns, such as power cutoffs to Strategic Rocket Forces' command posts, the reported obsolescence of the Cheget nuclear briefcase and Kazbek nuclear warning and retaliation system, financially-strapped command and control equipment-production facilities, and interruptions in SRF communications. In addition to system obsolescence, there is some evidence that he is worried about perceived US capabilities to interrupt a Russian launch. His expressed concern about the reliability of his own officers and other statements suggest that he also may worry about unsanctioned use of Russian nuclear weapons. (S NF)
Nonetheless, we judge that prospects for unauthorized launch of Russian nuclear weapons are very low under normal circumstances because many of the safeguards built into the Soviet system are still in place. However, if that system and its safeguards continue to degrade because of lack of funding and maintenance, our concern will increase, especially if a crisis arose that splintered the armed forces. (C NF)
|ORE IR 97-40067X
TN: DO 97-02512
Launch Capabilities Paramount (U)
Although some of his warnings are probably overstated and their exact meaning is unclear, Rodionov, as the top official charged with maintaining the credibility of Russia's nuclear deterrent forces, probably is most worried about the ability of the command system, including its associated warning functions, to respond quickly in a crisis. Fearing system decapitation, Soviet and Russian military leaders traditionally have been more concerned with maintaining a robust launch capability over negative control (to exclude an accidental or unauthorized launch). Recent reporting indicates that Rodionov also attributes potent counter-command and control capabilities to the United States, according to a reliable source with access. (S NF)
His comments suggest that he is also worried about unauthorized nuclear use,2 but this is probably of lesser concern. Although he thus far has not directly addressed warhead theft, other Russian military officials have, and this is probably an additional source of anxiety.
Concerns About Troop Reliability
Rodionov also is worried about troop morale and reliability. According to recent defense attache reporting, he personally checks, morning and evening, the status of [end Gertz original text]
1 A "spontaneous" transition to combat mode would not necessarily result in an unauthorized missile launch, however. Transferring command and control equipment to combat mode is only one of several steps necessary. Also needed are unblocking codes, which, together with transfer of control equipment to combat mode, unlock the control system and enable targeting data to be passed to the missile, according to emigre reports. Without those additional data, the missile probably could not be launched and reach its target. (S NF)
2 See the DI Research Paper ORE 96-10007CX/WTP 96-10009CX (Top Secret Codeword NF NC OC), September 1996, Prospects for Unsanctioned Use of Russian Nuclear Weapons. The DI Intelligence Memorandum OSE M 94-20095X (Secret NF NC OC), 9 December 1994, How to Steal a Russian Nuclear Warhead: An Insider's View, addresses the danger of nuclear theft. In addition, several ORE reports have addressed aspects of Rodionov's political problems and tenure as Defense Minister. See, for example, the DI Intelligence Report ORE IR 97-4002 (Confidential NF), 12 February 1997, Rodionov: "Spectator" at the Destruction of the Armed Forces, which characterizes the Defense Minister as an embittered an isolated man whose penchant for bluntness increases teh odds that he will be fired or resign. The DI Intelligence Report ORE IR 97-40033 (Confidential NF), 4 March 1997, Rodionov: Will He Survive? concludes that he probably will not. The DI Intelligence Memorandum ORE M 97-20012 (Confidential NF). 27 March 1997, The Two Faces of Igor Rodionov, addresses the inconsistency of his public statements and what they may portend about his behavior in a future crisis. (C)
This excerpt from March 1997 CIA reports on strategic underground construction
shows that Moscow continues to invest in efforts to survive nuclear war.
RUSSIA: More Strategic Underground Construction (S NF)
According to the US defense attache and satellite imagery, work has progressed on extending a deep subway for rapid evacuation of leaders during wartime from Moscow; a Russian press report in 1995 described this project. Recent satellite imagery shows construction is nearly complete on a governmental relocation bunker outside Moscow, although work on the bunker appeared to have stopped some time ago. Several similar sites remain abandoned.
-- Satellite imagery shows continued excavation at the deep, underground complex at Yamantau Mountain and new construction in each of its aboveground support areas.
-- Work continues on a nuclear survivable, strategic command post at Kos'vinskiy Mountain (S NF)
President Yel'tsin and Premier Chernomyrdin apparently have endorsed such projects. In January, authorities barring defense attaches from access to Yamantau cited a decree Yel'tsin issued in November on maintaining the project's security. Press reports have mentioned similar decrees.
-- The federal budget for this year lists a subsidy to the closed city building Yamantau -- the first public reference to funding for the facility.
-- Chernomyrdin in 1995 sent a telegram to thank the tunneling company building the VIP subway and the Yamantau complex. (S NF)
The underground construction appears larger than previously assessed. Two decrees last year on an emergency planning authority under Yel'tsin with oversight of underground facility construction suggest that the purpose of the Moscow-area projects is to maintain continuity of leadership during nuclear war.
-- The command post at Kos'vinskiy appears to provide the Russians with a means to retaliate against a nuclear attack; the rationale for the Yamantau complex is unclear. (S NF) -CIA, DIA, NIMA-
17 March 1997