27 April 2001

From Anonymous:

"James Bamford's new book on the NSA, Body of Secrets, contains some remarkable new material about Bletchley Park, in particular the revelation that at the end of the war, the US-UK sent six TICOM (Target Intelligence Committee) teams to Germany to mop up any crypto-related material they could get. Bamford says they brought back 200 German cryptologists, as well as the info that the Germans had broken the Russian codes and brought back a 'Fish' machine which enabled them to reconstruct encrypted traffic. All of this seems amazing to me and Bamford calls it one of the last great secrets of the 2WW. Simple question: do you know anything about this or do you know a wo/man who does?"

Cryptome welcomes information on TICOM. Send to jya@pipeline.com

Bamford also writes that TEMPEST emanations from Russian crypto machines in Cuba could be picked from 4 miles away by a US surveillance ship. And more astonishing revelations, in particular descriptions of NSA's equipment for cracking codes. See Bamford's Web site: http://www.bodyofsecrets.com

To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Maryland's largest employer
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 22:26:22 +0200 (CEST)

Baltimore Sun, April 24, 2001

Book Sheds Light on NSA Secrets

By Scott Shane and Tom Bowman

WASHINGTON - U.S. military leaders proposed in 1962 a secret plan to
commit terrorist acts against Americans and blame Cuba to create a
pretext for invasion and the ouster of Communist leader Fidel Castro,
according to a new book about the National Security Agency.

"We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area,
in other Florida cities and even in Washington," said one document
reportedly prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We could blow up a
U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," the document says.
"Casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of

The plan is laid out in documents signed by the five Joint Chiefs but
never carried out, according to writer James Bamford in "Body of
Secrets." The new history of the Fort Meade-based eavesdropping agency
is being released today by Doubleday.

NSA regularly picks up the conversations of suspected terrorist
financier Osama bin Laden, says Bamford, and has monitored Chinese and
French companies trying to sell missiles to Iran. He provides new
details about an Israeli attack on a Navy eavesdropping ship in 1967,
suggesting that the sinking was deliberate. And he reveals the loss of
an "entire warehouse" full of secret cryptographic gear to the North
Vietnamese in 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War.

Bamford, a former investigative reporter for ABC News who wrote "The
Puzzle Palace" about the NSA in 1982, said his new book is based mostly
on documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act or found
in government archives. "NSA never handed me any documents," he said.
"It was a question of digging."

He said he was most surprised by the anti-Cuba terror plan, code-named
Operation Northwoods. It "may be the most corrupt plan ever created by
the U.S. government," he writes.

The Northwoods plan also proposed that if the 1962 launch of John Glenn
into orbit were to fail, resulting in the astronaut's death, the U.S.
government would publicize fabricated evidence that Cuba had used
electronic interference to sabotage the flight, the book says.

A previously secret document obtained by Bamford offers further
suggestions for mayhem to be blamed on Cuba.

"We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or
simulated). ... We could foster attempts on lives of Cubans in the
United States, even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely
publicized," the document says. Another idea was to shoot down a CIA
plane designed to replicate a passenger flight and announce that Cuban
forces shot it down.

Citing a White House document, Bamford writes that the idea of creating
a pretext for the invasion of Cuba might have started with President
Dwight D. Eisenhower in the last weeks of his administration, when the
plan for an invasion by Cuban exiles trained in the United States was
hatched. Carried out in April 1961, soon after Kennedy became
president, the Bay of Pigs invasion proved a fiasco. Castro's forces
quickly killed or rounded up the invaders.

Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, presented
the Operation Northwoods plan to Kennedy early in 1962, but the
president rejected it that March because he wanted no overt U.S.
military action against Cuba. Lemnitzer then sought unsuccessfully to
destroy all evidence of the plan, according to Bamford.

Lemnitzer and those who served with him in 1962 as chiefs of the
nation's military branches are dead. But two former top Kennedy
administration officials said yesterday that they were unaware of
Operation Northwoods and questioned whether such a plan was ever

"I've never heard of Operation Northwoods. Never heard of it and don't
believe it," said Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy's White House special
counsel. "Obviously, it would be totally illegal as well as totally

Robert S. McNamara, Kennedy's defense secretary, said: "I never heard
of it. I can't believe the chiefs were talking about or engaged in what
I would call CIA-type operations."

Bamford writes that besides the Joint Chiefs, then-Assistant Secretary
of Defense Paul H. Nitze also favored "provoking a phony war with

"There may be a piece of paper" on Northwoods, said McNamara. "I just
cannot conceive of [Nitze] approving anything like that or doing it
without talking to me."

The book contains many other revelations in its detailed account of
NSA, the biggest U.S. intelligence agency and Maryland's largest
employer, with more than 25,000 personnel at Fort Meade, site of its
global eavesdropping efforts.

Among them:

In recent years, NSA has regularly listened to bin Laden's unencrypted
telephone calls. Agency officials have sometimes played tapes of bin
Laden talking to his mother to impress members of Congress and select
visitors to the agency.

In the late 1990s, NSA tracked efforts by Chinese and French companies
to sell missile technology to Iran, particularly the C-802 anti-ship
missile. The eavesdropping led to U.S. protests to the Chinese and
French governments.

When U.S. troops evacuated Vietnam in 1975, "an entire warehouse
overflowing with NSA's most important cryptographic machines and other
supersensitive code and cipher materials" was left behind. It was the
largest compromise of such equipment in U.S. history, Bamford writes,
but the agency still has not acknowledged it.

When Israeli fighter jets attacked the NSA eavesdropping ship USS
Liberty in the Mediterranean in 1967, killing 34 Americans and wounding
171, an NSA aircraft was listening in and heard Israeli pilots
referring to the American flag on the ship. U.S. officials, including
President Lyndon Baines Johnson, decided to forget the matter, Bamford
writes, because they did not want to embarrass Israel. To this day,
Israeli officials say their forces mistakenly attacked the U.S. ship.

Bamford says the reason for the strike was Israel's desperate effort to
cover up its attacks on the Egyptian town of El Arish in the Sinai. The
Liberty was sitting offshore and the Israelis feared that the ship
would detect the operation, which included the shooting of prisoners.

Yesterday, an NSA spokesperson questioned a point made in the book
about the USS Liberty.

"We do not comment on operational matters, alleged or otherwise;
however, Mr. Bamford's claim that the NSA leadership was 'virtually
unanimous in their belief that the attack was deliberate' is simply not
true," the spokesperson said.

When he wrote "The Puzzle Palace" in 1982, Bamford was attacked by some
NSA officials, who said his revelations gave the Soviet Union and other
U.S. adversaries too much information on the secret agency. One former
director referred to him as "an unconvicted felon."

With the end of the Cold War, the agency has been less guarded. NSA's
current director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, has granted a
number of interviews. Hayden "cracked the door open a tiny bit," said
Bamford, partly to burnish NSA's public image and correct

Sun staff writer Laura Sullivan contributed to this article.