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Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 00:13:49 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Strategic Assessment: The Internet

>The entire article, from which this excerpt is taken, can be viewed at:
>                                 Prepared by 
>                               Mr. Charles Swett
>                        Assistant for Strategic Assessment 
>      Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and
>                              Low-Intensity Conflict
>                                (Policy Planning) 
>                Room 2B525, the Pentagon 703-693-5208 17 July 1995 
>The political process is moving onto the Internet. Both within the United
>States and internationally, individuals, interest groups, and even nations
>are using the Internet to find each other, discuss the issues, and further
>their political goals. The Inte rnet has also played an important role in
>recent conflicts. As a result, overseas segments of the Internet can be a
>useful tool for DoD, both for
>gathering and for disseminating information. By monitoring public message
>traffic and alternative news sources from around the world, early warning of
>impending significant developments could be developed, in advance of more
>traditional means of indications and warning. Commentary placed on the
>Internet by observers on the scene of low-intensity conflicts overse as
>could be useful to U.S. policymaking. During larger scale conflicts, when
>other conventional channels are disrupted, the Internet can be the only
>available means of communication into and out of the affected areas.
>Internet messages originating within regions under authoritarian control
>could provide other useful intelligence.  Public messages conveying
>information about the intent of overseas groups prone to disrupting U.S.
>military operations can provide important counterintelligence. The Internet
>could also be used offensively as an additional medium in psychological
>operations campaigns and to help achieve
>unconventional warfare objectives. Used creatively as an integral asset, the
>Internet can facilitate many DoD operations and activities. 
>John Anderson's concept for using the Internet to provide early warning of
>impending security threats has a great deal of merit. Internet message
>traffic about developing situations tends to precede news and intelligence
>reporting, since the individuals w ho originate that traffic are not
>constrained by the
>resource limitations to which news and intelligence organizations are
>subject. Those organizations must prioritize their efforts, focusing on what
>appears to be the most important items of the moment. Individual observers
>overseas who have access to the Internet can write about anything that
>interests them. It is likely that routine monitoring of messages originating
>in other countries would help provide strategic warning of developing
>security threats that would be of concern to the United States. 
>At the same time, it should be noted that a great deal of the message
>traffic on the Internet is idle chit-chat with no intelligence value
>whatsoever, a veritable "Tower of Babble." Monitoring of that traffic would
>need to be supported by automated filter s that pass through for human
>analysis only
>those messages that satisfy certain relevance criteria. It is also important
>to note that the accuracy of much of the information on the Internet would
>be suspect: "Information and disinformation about breaking events are pretty
>raw on the Net. That's the point. You don't know what to think of any
>particular bit of information, how to gauge its credibility... You never
>really know how to gauge the credibility of the nightly news or the morning
>paper, either..."
>Thus new means of validating information received in this way would be
>needed. Alteratively, news reports on the Internet could be used to cue
>higher confidence means of U.S. intelligence collection, by alerting us to
>potentially important factors and allowing us to orient and focus our
>collection more
>Beside being used to develop early warning of developing conflicts or the
>beginnings of new global trends or "sea changes," the Internet can be used
>at the opposite end of the spectrum: to obtain pinpoint information about
>specific matters of interest. Networks of human sources with access to the
>Internet could be developed in areas of security concern to the U.S., and
>these sources could be oriented to seek specific needed information. If
>constructed and managed correctly, such a system could be much mor e
>responsive and efficient than the current complex, unwieldy intelligence
>tasking and collection processes we must use. We might even consider
>cultivating the capability to perform strategic reconnaissance "by modem."
>This approach could never replace official DoD intelligence collection
>systems or services, but could be a useful adjunct. 
>The Internet can also serve counterintelligence purposes. For example, a
>message posted recently in an Internet discussion group for left-wing
>political activists repeated for their benefit an Associated Press article
>about an upcoming U.S. Army Special Operations Command training exercise
>at the (empty) St. Moritz Hotel in Miami Beach. 
>If it became widely known that DoD were monitoring Internet traffic for
>intelligence or counterintelligence purposes, individuals with personal
>agendas or political purposes in mind, or who enjoy playing pranks, would
>deliberately enter false or misleading messages. Our analysis function would
>need to account for this. 
>Just as the U.S. could be vulnerable to disinformational e-mail, politically
>active groups using the Internet could be vulnerable to deceptive messages
>introduced by hostile persons or groups. Far-right groups and far-left
>groups tend to watch each other, and it is likely that "moles" will obtain
>access to the other camps' networks for the purpose of disrupting their
>operations. This would tend to weaken the protection afforded by coding or
>encrypting messages. 
>Increasingly, officials in national governments, foreign military officers,
>business persons, and journalists, are obtaining access to the Internet and
>establishing individual e-mail addresses. There is even a commercial service
>that will shortly offer ac cess to an online database of the names,
>organizational titles, phone/fax numbers, and Internet e-mail addresses of
>virtually all government officials in all countries. Using this information,
>it would be possible to employ the Internet as an additional medium for
>Psychological Operations (Psyops) campaigns. E-mail conveying the U.S.
>perspective on issues and events could be efficiently and rapidly
>disseminated to a very wide audience. 
>The U.S. might be able to employ the Internet offensively to help achieve
>unconventional warfare objectives. Information could be transmitted over the
>Internet to sympathetic groups operating in areas of concern that allows
>them to conduct operations them selves that we might otherwise have to send
>our own special forces to accomplish. Although such undertakings would have
>their own kinds of risks, they would have the benefit of reducing the
>physical risks to our special forces personnel, and limiting the direct
>political involvement of the United States since the actions we desire would
>be carried out by indigenous groups. 
>NOTE: The recommendations listed below should be carried out only in full
>compliance with the letter and the spirit of the law, and without violating
>the privacy of American citizens 
>    * All DoD professional and support personnel should have an Internet
>e-mail address with  convenient access and a user-friendly interface. 
>    *Individual analysts in DoD intelligence agencies should routinely
>monitor Internet traffic (that is readily accessible to the general public)
>related to their responsibilities. Agencies should establish high volume
>internal outlets to provide them with this traffic, subject to appropriate
>relevance filters. 
>    * DoD intelligence agencies should investigate the role of the Internet
>in helping coordinate the operations of political activists and paramilitary
>groups in regions of interest 
>    * An early warning capability should be established that uses Internet
>messages to help identify developing situations overseas that could lead to
>security threats 
>    * Officials planning and conducting DoD civil affairs programs overseas
>should be informed about any activists working in their vicinity who use the
>    * The OSD Public Affairs site on the Internet should accept feedback
>from callers and should provide responses, using the full potential of the
>Internet for supporting DoD public affairs programs. Although it would be
>impractical to provide an individual reply to every incoming e-mail message,
>statistical profiles of opinions conveyed by large volumes of messages could
>be used to compose periodic DoD bulletins addressing them in general terms.
>This would help
>provide a semi-interactive environment within our resource limitations. 
>    * Subject to appropriate security and propriety precautions, DoD
>officials involved in formulating DoD policy should be given access to the
>advice and thinking of people on the Internet with relevant expertise. 
>    * DoD should continue to monitor the evolution of the Internet and its
>role in national security. 
>    * The Internet should be incorporated in our Psyops planning as an
>additional medium. 
>    * Means of employing the Internet offensively in support of our
>unconventional warfare objectives should be explored. 
>    * Senior DoD officials should be kept aware of domestic U.S. political
>developments on the Internet that relate to DoD interests. 
>Prepared by Mr. Charles Swett
>OASD(SO/LIC) Policy Planning
>17 April 1995 
>                  ~~~Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
>                       Life is but an empty dream!
>                     For the soul is dead that slumbers,
>                       And things are not what they seem.~~~
>====Jilain can be reached via email at jilain@rt66.com
>      or via IRC undernet channel #blackvault====
>-> Send "subscribe   snetnews " to majordomo@world.std.com
>->  Posted by: Jilain <jilain@rt66.com>

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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