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By       Message Robert Morton       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 12/17/09

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Stacey walked into security clearance at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Md. She differed from the thousands of other highly-trained and indoctrinated ECHELON signals intelligence analysts. She logged onto her computer terminal and entered a personal code. Her assignment was to hunt down a terrorist, codenamed "radical archer." He had purchased shoulder-firing missiles that were stolen from a British army unit outside London. He reportedly has many friends in Tunisia, including black market arms dealers. If knowledge is power, Stacey was about to become the most powerful person in the world. She revved up a mighty program codenamed "Dictionary" and tapped in 4-digit codes for the Tunis, Tunisia locale; people's names and subject headings; and internet addresses, telex cell phone, and fax numbers used by individuals, businesses, government offices and private organizations associated with "radical archer."
She pressed ENTER and connected to a synergistic, global interception and relay espionage system that pries into private and commercial communications. Stacey's confidential Dictionary program stores the Dictionary lists of other ECHELON agencies from around the world. So, if she intercepts a keyword listed on Britain's Dictionary, her computer would pick out and record the intercept, and send it to Britain's spy headquarters, and vice versa. Ground stations in the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in other nameless locations place their interception systems at each other's disposal. Using a worldwide network of massive ground-based radio antennae, Stacey effortlessly infiltrated the group of Intel satellites encircling the earth used by telephone companies as well, enabling Stacey to pry into maritime communications off the Tunisian coast. Other keywords entered into ECHELON's Dictionary sifted through millions of simultaneous phone calls, fax, and 90% of the world's private e-mail addresses, filtering out information that could lead to the whereabouts of "radical archer." Stacey tapped in other ground station codes, gaining access to Russian, Indonesian, and Latin American satellites. Amazingly, she intercepts thousands of phone calls to and from Tunisia that are transported by cables under the Mediterranean Sea. Navy Seals secretly installed intercept devices on the cables 300 feet down.
Any one and anything that America's intelligence community is concerned about will become an ECHELON target. There is no medium of transporting information that cannot be listened to by Stacey. She operates in a legislation-free environment, above the law, and can effortlessly invade family businesses and personal civilian privacy. She's accountable to no one. Her name, position, and salary remain nameless and traceless, for her funding resources are buried deep within the Pentagon's procurement budget and hide in the stock market under a street name account held by the CIA.
Suddenly, a red light glowed, signaling a "hit" from the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia. The CIA secretly installed sophisticated microwave receivers and processors. A phone call was intercepted from a hotel in la Goulette, a seaside town on the Mediterranean Sea outside Tunis. The complete, two-way phone conversation was printed out in English translation. Then, another hit! Stacey's heartbeat quickened. Dictionary keywords snatched information from an innocent-looking, red brick building at 8 Palmer Street in downtown London, England. Every telex passing in and out of London is intercepted by ECHELON computers operating within the walls of this charming, petite building with Daisy-filled window boxes. Stacey alerted her station chief, who analyzed the intercepts, matching the voice prints and subject matter with intel collected from the Fusion Center in Trenton, NJ. CBIF and CIA counter-intelligence agents were studying a warehouse owner in New Jersey they deemed suspicious. Stacey's new intelligence was passed on to them. A brief meeting at the Trenton Fusion Center was held. It was determined that the time for surveillance and further intelligence gathering by HUMINT agents was over"it was now time to strike. An hour later, surprised passersby watched as a warehouse in New Jersey was raided by 185 local police and FBI agents, along with dozens of other unidentified men wearing hoods to cover their identities. The shoulder-firing missiles were not found. Simultaneously, cargo ships were searched by 180 NYPD officers and FBI in New York Harbor. Dozens of the faceless soldiers wearing hoods accompanied them as well. No missiles found.
The New Jersey warehouse owner and his brother were taken out in handcuffs. A half hour later, halfway around the world, a dozen armed men from the CIA's Operations Division accompanied the local CIA station chief into the lobby of an unknown hotel in La Goulette, Tunisia. They could recognize "radical archer" by sight and would receive $10,000 for interrogating him and an additional $20,000 for finding out where the missiles were. Then, they would receive a $10,000 stipend for murdering him"but only in that order. Unfortunately for "radical archer," he made a poor decision by visiting the hotel. He underestimated the real time, instant communication between ELINT and HUMINT technologies. The period between critical intel info and action was reduced to minutes...worldwide! HUMINT agents escorted him from the hotel, shackled and wearing a hood, into a large van that mysteriously appeared outside. Within a half hour, he told the CIA team where the missiles were. The CIA team, along with Tunis Police officials, raided a home on the city's outskirts. The two dozen British Starstreak missiles, still in their sealed launch tubes were found. All were intact. Each tube was attached to an aiming unit for firing. The terrorists could track the target using the aiming unit's optically stabilized sight. Thus, allowing them to use the aiming unit to compute the right trajectory to bring the missile together with the targets, which would no doubt be commerical airliners full of western tourists. Stacey stared at her computer screen and breathed a sigh of relief when the ordeal was over. As she watched the TV broadcasts of the New Jersey raids behind her computer station, she felt pleased with how Charlie Allen's pioneering concept of Fusion Centers healed the fissure between the two worlds of law enforcement (LE) and counter-intelligence (CI). The CI surveillance way of life now coexisted alongside LE's criminal arrest culture; they knew when to observe"and when to strike. Of course, no broadcast of what happened in Tunis, Tunisia was seen...or heard.

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I write about the 16 agencies comprising the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). I am writing a Spy novel and am a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). The Blog I maintain has daily updated newspaper article about the IC. (more...)

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