Single Issue 060

SKU: ES-060 £4.45
Published 23 January 2009

  • Editors Notes:

    With a new President of the United States, and a likely changing of the intelligence guard at both MI6 and CIA, 2009 promises to be a fascinating year for those interested in the intelligence and espionage world.

    In our first edition of the new year, Eye Spy continues its series of the art and discipline of anti surveillance. Peter Jenkins reveals more tricks of the trade, but relevant to the security services, how its own surveillance teams should act if confronted by a person or persons conducting anti surveillance - an essential guide not to be missed.

    2009 is also marks the 100th birthday of Britains two premier intelligence services - MI6 and MI5, or for those who want to use their correct titles - the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service. Both can trace their origins back to the Secret Service Bureau - a fledgling agency created in 1909 primarily to counter the perceived menace and threats of the Kaisers spies.

    Throughout this year we will be presenting several specially commissioned features which examine the creation, operations, locations, tradecraft and characters associated with MI6 and MI5. In this edition, we step back to the early 1920s and 1930s and the formation of two powerful MI6 spy networks and a plethora of front companies. The Passport Control Office (PCO) and Claude Danseys Z Organisation ran agents across much of the globe, but strangely, their respective operatives and officers were not aware of each others presence. When WWII broke out, the parallel spy networks were ordered to come out and liaise... but the outcome proved disastrous for MI6. Eye Spy retraces the buildings and offices used by the front companies, the men behind so many secret operations, and reveals the two well known London clubs where MI6 often tapped on the shoulders of potential recruits. It is a truly fascinating piece.

    Keeping with the MI6 theme, late last year Eye Spy was given exclusive access into the former MI6 radio communications room at Bletchley Park - Britains wartime codebreaking centre. Code-named Station-X, due to the fact it was the Services tenth such facility, Eye Spy climbed to the top of the famous water tower for a photographic shoot. The structure is somewhat fragile in nature and off-limits to the public, but readers can seen the refurbished room and some of the original equipment donated from all parts of the world, including enthusiasts in the United States.

    For those interested in secret intelligence agencies, they dont get much more shadowy than Israels powerful Unit 8200, an agency akin to GCHQ and the NSA. Eye Spy also reveals why its former employees are the most sought-after in the world.

    On the counter-terrorist front, Eye Spy examines how just a dozen-or-so terrorists can create a firestorm like that witnessed late last year in Mumbai. Anatomy of Mubai is a chilling reminder what can happen when a determined terror cell explodes into a packed, unknowing and unprepared city. The events in India have been made even more pertinent after the CIA quietly advised US officials that al-Qaida may try something similar on the US mainland, this coming after an intelligence assessment said the terror group will attempt to strike with a nuclear or biological device by 2013.

    There are also features on CIA operations against the drug cartels of South America, NSA intercepts, and a special report which focuses on how several intelligence services have joined together to tackle the pirates of Somalia. The latter being of excellent timing as for reasons still unknown, those who hijacked the Liberian-flagged oil tanker MV Serius Star and were paid millions of dollars in ransom money, all died in puzzling circumstances making haste with their newly acquired loot.

    Its another information-packed edition!

    Mark Birdsall - Editor

    A brief overview of Eye Spy 60 follows...


    When Somali pirates seized the massive Saudi Arabia-owned super tanker MV Sirius Star in November, and took 25 crew members hostage, it was clear to all and sundry the situation off the Horn of Africa was totally out of control. Despite it being flanked by warships from NATO and other foreign warships, the helplessness of the authorities to intervene was played out on television screens across the globe. The pirates have organised themselves into a dangerous fully operational and coordinated bunch, with improvised vessels (often hijacked and disguised ships), communications, and heavily protected save havens for storing and distributing their bounty. Like 90 other vessels in 2008, The Sirius Star had become a statistic.

    Eye Spy reports on how several intelligence agencies have agreed to cooperate in an effort to combat the pirates, and how the CIA is tracking some of the loot to al-Qaida terrorists.


    There is another intelligence organisation that operates in an identical manner to GCHQ and NSA, and though not nearly as big, they are highly regarded and a friendly force. It is Unit 8200, the central intelligence gathering body of Israels Intelligence Corp, and until recently, rarely mentioned. Unit 8200, with an estimated operating budget of $2 billion, provides the Mossad and Israels Defence Force (IDF) with signals intelligence gathered primarily from worldwide intercepts. Unit 8200 do not have ready access to Echelon, so tend to bypass intelligence requests and data mine themselves, though not always. They are part of the IDF and employ and nurture some of the worlds greatest computer geniuses. Once these employees have served enough time in the agency, many decide to spread their wings and venture into the civilian world... certainly there is more money to be found.

    A look at the origins of Unit 8200, their work, and how former employees are creating high-technology companies that not everyone is comfortable with... a fascinating insight into this little-known agency.


    A six-month investigation by US Congress officials examining the threat of weapons of mass destruction, warned al-Qaida or any one of its affiliates will almost certainly attempt to launch a WMD attack before 2013. The report - World At Risk, drawn up before the Mumbai attacks by the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, said that although a Western target was more likely to be hit, an attack could come anywhere in the world, though it would probably be planned by those with an affiliation to Osama bin-Laden.


    Eye Spy has learned the head of MI6 - Sir John Scarlett - is stepping down later in the year. In this fascinating feature we take a brief look at the pertinent career moments of this quiet man of British Intelligence, and reveal the names of the main contenders for what is, after all, one of the most important jobs in the world of intelligence.


    It was one of the most controversial stories to emerge in years - the US Governments interception programme that sometimes traced calls into the USA - an alleged breach of homeland privacy. Following 9/11, the NSA was requested by the White House to enable a programme that data trawled e-mails and telephone numbers acquired by US intelligence from al-Qaida terrorists and suspects. The programme mushroomed as the spiders web was enlarged to take in liaisons and associates across the globe. Undoubtedly many of the numbers had an American flavour and it was only natural to follow them to their conclusion - and this meant going so much closer to home. However, in 2005, a whistleblower inside a government office decided to speak to the media about phone tapping by the NSA conducted without a warrant. Eye Spy provides background to the programme - code-named Stellar Wind, and the deep throat source who spiked the worldwide effort to listen-in

    to terrorist chatter.


    For several years prior to and during WWII, MI6 operated two parallel spy networks - both of which used entirely different methods to conceal their respective officers and agents. MI6 personnel posed as Passport Control Officers at British embassies, while recruits for its Z Organisation used legitimate and front companies to collect intelligence. Remarkably, at least for a time, neither knew of each others existence - despite the fact that in some areas both networks were functioning alongside each other.

    Eye Spy takes a fascinating look at both networks and travels across London to source some of the primary locations used by MI6 for recruitment, operations espionage, meetings, communication and leisure.

    EXTRACT ONE: MI5E originally attached officers to the UKs overseas consulates to monitor the issuing of visas and investigate applicants. The man behind this was to become a legendary figure in British Intelligence - Lieutenant-Colonel Claude Edward Majorbanks Dansey. Twenty years later at the onset of WWII, he would be responsible for running another secret spy network under MI6 control - the Z Organisation - a complete self-contained intelligence gathering service hidden behind front companies and a variety of closed doors. Ironically for Dansey, after one of his Z officers was exposed - it led to the penetration and ultimate collapse of another MI6 spy network known as the Passport Control Office (PCO). Yet remarkably, the Z Organisations existence, at least for some time, was to remain unknown to fellow MI6 officers working as Passport Control Officers in British embassies.

    EXTRACT TWO: The initial idea was to establish the Z Organisations headquarters in Rome, and should war break out, it would be moved to the neutral country of Switzerland - ideal because it would then be in the heart of Europe. Eventually Dansey (pictured left) chose an office on the eighth floor of the north-west wing of Bush House, London, which also housed the Soviet news agency Tass and the radio network of the BBCs overseas concerns. Interestingly, the office was rented under the name of C. E. Moore - the initials C.E.M. were of course Danseys own.


    Few would argue with international efforts to help the Peruvian Air Force target organised drug cartel flights out of the country. Since 1990, the US Southern Command was at the forefront of assisting Peru - supplying AWACS and other surveillance aircraft. As the drug gangs became more professional, the amount of high grade narcotics being produced and smuggled out of the country increased. Other US military organisations were called upon to monitor air space over Peru. But it was not until the CIA got involved did Perus drug gangs sense things were about to get a lot tougher.

    Eye Spy looks at the CIAs Airbridge Denial Programme, the downing of 20 suspected drug-running aircraft, and the tragic last flight of a group of missionaries mistaken for criminals.



    In some environments, a lack of radio maintenance, or just operator error, communication between surveillance operatives can be poor at best, non-existent at worse. Fieldcraft instructor Mike Armstrong has created a remarkable low-cost radio antenna add-on that cuts down the risk of losing contact with colleagues and missing that vital call...

    EXTRACT: Good communication is vital in surveillance and often the difference between success and failure. Its not uncommon for operatives to have little or no knowledge in radio wave propagation. Having used radio equipment in many surveillance and emergency situations, including mountain and cave rescue, I understand the importance of being able to receive and send messages. However, even basic awareness of technology and correct kit, can make a huge difference. In recent times, I have utilised some of my training to compliment and improve vehicle and rural communications for surveillance providers.


    By any stretch of the imagination, having an official in charge of delegating officers and agents to overseas posts is a deeply responsible position. Imagine then, to the horror of NATOs hierarchy, when they discovered a leading government official inside a member-NATO country was actually a Russian spy. The case of Herman Simm - who communicated with his Moscow spy handlers via an old radio set - is sure to become a classic spy case in years to come. MI5, like their counterparts around the globe, are now assessing what damage Simm, who has already been dubbed the radio man, has caused.



    At the onset of World War Two, Bletchley Park, a Victorian-Tudor mansion housed a thoroughly secret room atop in the attic region in the square water tower. Used as a radio transmitting room, it was part of a network of MI6 stations built to receive communications from its many officers posing as Passport Control Officers in UK embassies across Europe. The tower room, recently renovated and containing much original equipment, is off-limits to the public, but in November, Bletchley Park kindly allowed Eye Spy a unique journey through this cramped, yet fascinating area of the mansion.

    The secret wartime home to an astonishing 10,000 codebreakers and support staff, the great Sir Winston Churchill described it as the geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled...

    Besides the journey to the top of the tower, this splendid feature also covers some other little known secrets of Station X..


    One of the al-Qaida inspired terrorists who planned the outrage at the TigerTiger club in London, and who went on to firebomb Glasgow Airport just hours later, was an MI5 person of interest prior to the attacks. Eye Spy reflects on the outcome of Operation Seagram.

    EXTRACT: Bilal Abdulla, 29, sat in the dock slumped back with his arms outstretched over two adjoining chairs. He listened impassively as a judge jailed him for a minimum of 32 years for his part in a attempt to kill hundreds of people on 29 and 30 June 2007. He was a religious extremist and bigot who had a distorted view of Islam, according to Mr Justice Mackay at Woolwich Crown Court.

    Abdulla, a trained doctor, took part in two bungled terrorist operations in London and Glasgow that resulted only in the death of fellow terrorist and doctor Kafeel Ahmed. Ironically, Ahmed was recruited by Abdullah while they both studied together in the once famous spy-recruiting haunt of Cambridge. Ahmed wasnt in court - he eventually succumbed to the burn injuries he received during the attack and died on 3 August 2007.


    Counter-intelligence officers from New Scotland Yards Royal Protection unit have removed an ornate electric teapot presented to the Royal Family by Russian officials over 20 years ago. The officers ordered the move after an independent security sweep of the Queens Scottish home at Balmoral, Aberdeenshire. Senior protection figures suggested the 2ft diameter red and yellow samovar teapot or urn, and its history, posed a possible threat.

    Eye Spy looks at this fascinating case and other operations where gifts presented to senior officials and dignitaries were not quite what they seem...


    Eye Spy looks at the incredible detailed planning and primary methods used by the Mumbai terrorists to outmanoeuvre India and the Wests intelligence services... the resultant attack proves how a dozen or so persons can create havoc in a major city in just minutes. The lessons of Mumbai are now being meticulously studied by intelligence services across the world

    EXTRACT ONE: In October 2009, both the NSA and GCHQ intercepted satellite telephone calls from suspected terrorists in Pakistan. The data suggested elements from Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) an al-Qaida affiliate would arrive by boat and attack hotels, restaurants and business centres in Mumbai - Indias financial capital.

    EXTRACT TWO: With Indian counter-terrorist forces spread across much of the city, a call was routed to the National Security Group requesting use of a Special Forces unit dubbed the Black Cats. They were ready to act within a few hours, but strangely Indian police decided to hold them in reserve.


Category:Single Issues

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