Category Archives: THE WHITE HOUSE

CONFIDENTIAL – U.S. Army Whistleblower Report: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort

Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan. It has likely cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars Congress might not otherwise have appropriated had it known the truth, and our senior leaders’ behavior has almost certainly extended the duration of this war. The single greatest penalty our Nation has suffered, however, has been that we have lost the blood, limbs and lives of tens of thousands of American Service Members with little to no gain to our country as a consequence of this deception.


These are surely serious charges and anyone who would make such claims had better have considerable and substantive evidence to back it up. Regrettably, far too much evidence does exist and I will here provide key elements of it. As I will explain in the following pages I have personally observed or physically participated in programs for at least the last 15 years in which the Army’s senior leaders have either “stretched the truth” or knowingly deceived the US Congress and American public. What I witnessed in my most recently concluded 12 month deployment to Afghanistan has seen that deception reach an intolerable high. I will provide a very brief summary of the open source information that would allow any American citizen to verify these claims. But if the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes. It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue and thus I will not do so; I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II.

Fortunately, there is a provision that allows me to legally submit a classified report to Members of Congress. In conjunction with this public study I have also submitted classified reports to a number of US Representatives and Senators, both Democrats and Republicans. As the duly elected representatives of our people, they are authorized to see the classified data and empowered to do something about it. For the sake of so many who have paid with their blood – and the sake of those Service Members who have not yet had to pay that price – it is my sincere hope that Congress acts to resolve these issues expeditiously.

In the first section below I will demonstrate how numerous military senior leaders have used omission and outright deception in order to prevent the American public from knowing the truth in regards to the genuine conditions on the ground in Afghanistan. I will explain that there has been a significant volume of information available from numerous and reputable open sources that should have been effective in communicating to the American public the truth of the situation. Owing to numerous factors (the key of which are discussed in detail in subsequent sections of the report), however, the powerful and pervasive personalities of several US general officers have been surprisingly effective at convincing even highly educated Americans to believe what the generals say and not what their eyes and evidence tell them.

In the second section I will help the reader gain a better understanding of how the situation described in Section I came to be. For the most part restricting myself to discussing situations in which I was physically a participant, I will first present a number of facts – many of which will be seen in public for the first time – regarding how Army senior leaders have been deceiving the US Congress and American people on some key modernization programs going back to the 1990s. In this section you will see how despite year after year of Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis done explicitly for the US Congress which showed major and repeating failures in the Future Combat Systems (FCS), the Army’s senior leaders instead told Members of Congress and the US public in press releases that the opposite was true; because Americans have trusted the Army’s leaders more than any other in the country, they accepted the word of the generals and ignored the GAO reports and the physical absence of successful products.

A second major sub-element to this section will be a demonstration – also containing significant new information that has never been seen by the American people – revealing that what virtually the entire country and even a great percentage of our uniformed Service Members believe about how and why the Iraq surge of 2007 was successful, was in fact grossly inaccurate. The version of events that depicted the lion’s share of the causality going to superior US generalship and the adoption of the “protect the population” strategy was created and sustained by a number of key senior US generals. When the full facts are examined, however, it becomes very clear that the surge of troops in 2007 was instrumental at best and according to one senior ground commander who led much of our fight in the Anbar province, “75% to 80% of the credit” for the surge’s success lies elsewhere.

The inaccurate assigning of the reason for the 2007 Iraq surge’s success has profound implications for our current war in Afghanistan and doubly so for the surge forces ordered by the President in late 2009. Had the President known the truth of what really happened in 2007 Iraq it is unlikely he would not have made the decision he did in November/December 2009. In any case, the situation demonstrates a growing and expanding willingness on the part of our country’s senior military leaders to use “Information Operations” even on domestic audiences to manipulate the system in order to get what they want.

The senior military leaders have been remarkably successful in achieving their desires; but as a result, our country has squandered almost a full decade in which it might have made noteworthy advancements in its force structure, has continued pursuing a military strategy that has proven to be an abysmal failure during a time when effective outcomes might have been found, and worst of all, has cost the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of American Service Members – and reportedly deprived hundreds of thousands more of their psychological and emotional well-being.

Section III will cover a broad range of negative consequences that our country has paid and will continue to pay until changes are made. We’ve lost credibility with our allies and friends in the region; we’ve lost almost all credibility among even the Afghan population and individual government officials; and our word has no value among our enemies. Many may be tempted to believe it unimportant what our enemies think, but it is almost as important as it is for us to have our closest allies believe in us: at some point this war will have to end in a political settlement of some sort. If our enemy isn’t able to believe the word of our country, we may never find a foundation upon which to reach an agreeable accord to end the war on terms acceptable to us.

Finally I will lay out a few recommendations on a way forward to address these deficiencies. There is a bit of good news to be had, however. While there are a number of general officers and senior leaders who have not dealt honorably with the American people, there are a great many others who have. As I note in the body of this report, the vast majority of the Soldiers and Marines I’ve met and personally observed in action are among some of the most remarkable, talented, and dedicated men and women I’ve ever met. Further, there are also some general officers in our Army who are dedicated to the nation and still have their integrity fully intact.

In order for the current crop of excellent junior Army leaders to become the next generations’ senior Army leaders – and continue to demonstrate the same adherence to honor and integrity – changes must be made and made quickly of today’s senior cohort. I’ve lost count of the number of truly promising and intelligent leaders who have gotten out of the service at the mid-level because they could not stomach the mendacity at the top. If we can change the culture at the top, however, the future for our Armed Forces and our country can once again be very bright.






TOP-SECRET – DHS-University of Maryland Study: Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes


While efforts are increasingly aimed at understanding and identifying “hot spots” of ordinary crime, little is known about the geographic concentration of terrorist attacks. What areas are most prone to terrorism? Does the geographic concentration of attacks change over time? Do specific ideologies motivate and concentrate terrorist attacks? Moreover, what factors increase the risk that an attack will occur in a particular area? Using recently released data from the Global Terrorism Database, we address these gaps in our knowledge by examining county-level trends in terrorist attacks in the United States from 1970 through 2008.


The definition of terrorism used by the GTD is: the threatened or actual use of illegal force by non-state actors, in order to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal, through fear, coercion or intimidation. It is important to note that the classification of an event as terrorism depends as much on threats as the actual use of violence. For example, instances in which individuals seize an aircraft and threaten to blow it up unless their demands are met are defined as terrorist events. Note also that by specifying the threatened or actual use of force the definition of terrorism used by the GTD excludes hoaxes. The requirement that these events be limited to the actions of “non-state actors” means that considerable violence and terrorism that is directly attributable to states or their militaries is also excluded. And the requirement that the act have a direct political, economic, religious or social goal means that ordinary criminal violence is excluded. Thus, the GTD excludes state terrorism and many types of crime and genocide, topics that are important and complex enough to warrant their own separate analysis.

The frequency of terrorist acts is recorded for each U.S. county for each year from 1970 through 2008. Counties with no recorded terrorist attacks are coded “zero.” The vast majority of U.S. counties have not experienced any terrorist attacks since 1970. Terrorist acts are also categorized by the ideological motivation of the act and coded as “extreme right-wing”; extreme left-wing; religious; ethno-nationalist/separatist; or single issue. The dominant ideology variable captures the group’s central ideological motivation (e.g., while the Aryan Nations maintained a strong religious conviction to the Christian Identity movement, their raison d’être was to promote a racially homogenous white society).

Detailed information on each category of ideological motivation can be found in the Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism-United States report compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (Miller, Smarick, and Simone, 2011). Briefly, the report describes each category as follows:

Extreme Right-Wing: groups that subscribe to aspects of the following ideals: they are fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty (especially their right to own guns, be free of taxes), believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty and a belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (sometimes such beliefs are amorphous and vague, but for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. (2011: 26)

Extreme Left-Wing: groups that want to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes. This category also includes secular left-wing groups that rely heavily on terrorism to overthrow the capitalist system and either establish “a dictatorship of the proletariat” (Marxist-Leninists) or, much more rarely, a decentralized, non-hierarchical political system (anarchists). (2011: 24)

Religious: groups that seek to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers, impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists), forcibly insert religion into the political sphere (e.g., those who seek to politicize religion, such as Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists), and/or bring about Armageddon (apocalyptic millenarian cults; 2010: 17) For example, Jewish Direct Action, Mormon extremist, Jamaat-al-Fuqra, and Covenant, Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) are included in this category (2011: 18).

Ethno-Nationalist/Separatist: regionally concentrated groups with a history of organized political autonomy with their own state, traditional ruler, or regional government, who have supported political movements for autonomy at some time since 1945 (2011: 18).

Single Issue: groups or individuals that obsessively focus on very specific or narrowly-defined causes (e.g., anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, anti-nuclear, anti-Castro). This category includes groups from all sides of the political spectrum (2010: 28).




AMIR RAPAPORT – Israel and the US Have an Understanding on the Iranian Issue

The repeated declarations are largely a form of psychological warfare; Gal Hirsch returns to the IDF’s top echelons; and the largest tender in IDF history was awarded for the construction of a training base city in the Negev.

All the anonymous statements coming from Israeli and US “senior officials” regarding the question of whether or not Israel will attack Iran (against the US’s advice) should be treated with a measure of suspicion.

It is likely that there is a significant amount of psychological warfare involved in these reports. The goal is clear enough: to increase pressure on Iran, which already exists as a result of more economic sanctions, mysterious explosions, and the assassinations of senior nuclear scientists.

The “senior official” understandings likely emerged from two starting points, which are seemingly contradictory. The first is that Israel cannot commit to the US in any way, especially that the US be notified more than several hours in advance of an air strike. The second is that there is truth to the words recently spoken by US President Barack Obama, claiming that the defense relationship between Israel and the US has never been closer. The issue of the Iranian nuclear program is one of the most central issues discussed in the joint strategic dialogue between Jerusalem and Washington, a dialogue that is the most closely coordinated one ever.

The discussions over this issue began back in the early 1990s, and are now expressed in ongoing intelligence updates regarding the various aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. These updates are conducted by senior officials in the branches of the Israeli defense establishment – the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Mossad, and the Joint Political-Military Group (JPMG). This group, which gathers once every quarter, is comprised of diplomats, military and intelligence personnel, and persons who deal with foreign policy. Essentially, it is a think-tank that handles the various aspects of the Iranian project, with the goal of deepening the level of intelligence cooperation in order to determine a basis for joint policy.

Above all else, the discussions concerning the Iranian issue are being carried out continuously in the political stratum. The bottom line is apparent: even if Israel does not commit to announcing an attack in advance, it won’t act as if the US isn’t in the neighborhood (who is increasing their presence in the Persian Gulf region).

By the way, the huge exercise that was planned for this spring, with the participation of US and Israeli forces, was meant to be another expression of the close cooperation between the countries. The exercise was delayed due to a desire to slightly ease the tension against Iran. It is now planned for October. However, it’s not unreasonable to consider that a war might erupt before then.

Eyes to the north

While global attention is focused on the issue of whether or not Israel will attack Iran, the IDF’s eyes are also observing the north – and are closely monitoring the bloodbath in Syria.

Gantz’s words from a few weeks ago, that the IDF is preparing to receive Alawite (the minority in Syria, among which is President Bashar Assad) refugees, reflects one of several possible scenarios. The questions remains, what will happen the day the Assad regime collapses?

A much more worrisome possibility is that the collapse of the Syrian regime will be accompanied by missile fire at Israel, in the sense of “I’m going down and taking you with me.” Another possibility, equally grave, is the transfer of large amounts of qualitative weapons from the Syrian army warehouses to Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Syria were to transfer very advanced antiaircraft systems to Lebanon, it’s quite possible that Israel would choose to operate in the form of a preemptive strike in this scenario as well – before the S125 systems would enter operational use.

Replacements during a sensitive period

Given the tension surrounding Iran and the north, this is not an ideal time to replace prominent IDF positions, as is expected to take place soon in the defense establishment. (The next IAF commander, Major General Amir Eshel, is expected to enter office in April.)

Another problematic element is the fact that the military secretaries of both the prime minister and the minister of defense are expected to be new (both are highly sensitive positions, and their entry is always accompanied by a measure of dissonance – there is no position in the IDF that prepares senior officers on how to conduct themselves in the tumultuous junction between the political and military sectors).

Brigadier General Itzik Turgeman, the new military secretary to the minister of defense, already took office and is now learning how to handle his position. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will need to select a new military secretary soon, as the current one, Major General Yochanan Locker, announced he would conclude his position and retire should he not be nominated the next Air Force Commander – which, as is known, he wasn’t.

Incidentally, the new Depth Command is increasing its activity in light of the preparations for a possible war on all fronts. The person responsible for the command, Major General Shai Avital, who returned from retirement, has already assembled a working team. Soon, they are expected to receive a surprising reinforcement: Brigadier General (Res.) Gal Hirsch, one of the more prominent figures from the Second Lebanon War.

Hirsch served as the commander of the Galilee Formation (the 91st Division) that was responsible for the Lebanese border. Hirsch became one of the symbols of the war due to his criticism, while on the other hand, the former Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, said (rightfully) that he was wronged. Hirsch, who was not among the bad commanders of the war (rather the opposite), resigned from the IDF after the war, and made money as a senior partner at the Israeli company Defensive Shield. The position which is currently intended for him may return him to the top military echelon, for the first time since the war.

Obama Protectors 45 – Confidential

[Image]President Barack Obama and Orlando, Fla. Mayor Buddy Dyer, right, walk over to greet onlookers after arriving at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (Haraz N. Ghanbari)


[Image]President Barack Obama shakes hands with people waiting to greet him on the tarmac as he steps off of Air Force One at Hickam Air Force Base in Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, in Honolulu. (Carolyn Kaster)


[Image]President Barack Obama visits with patron at PetsMart, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, in Alexandria, Va., where he shopped with his dog Bo. (Carolyn Kaster)
[Image]President Barack Obama, accompanied by his security personnel, walks through a White House gate prior to crossing Pennsylvania Avenue heading to the Blair House to attend a holiday party, Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster)


[Image]President Barack Obama greets people on the tarmac upon his arrival at Kansas City International Airport, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, in Kansas City , Mo. (Carolyn Kaster)
[Image]In this Nov. 30, 2011, file photo, President Barack Obama walks to his motorcade with members of security after visiting with Patrick and Donna Festa in their Scranton, Pa. home.



[Image]President Barack Obama greets members of the Towson University football team during half time as he and first lady Michelle Obama, not seen, attend the Oregon State versus Towson NCAA college basketball game at Towson University Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, in Towson, Md. (Carolyn Kaster)
[Image]As Secret Service agents watch, President Barack Obama embraces a girl following an address where he remarked on the American Jobs Act, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, at Central High School in Manchester, N.H. (Charles Krupa)


[Image]President Barack Obama arrives in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011. President Obama will travel to Manchester High School Central to discuss the American Jobs Act. (Cheryl Senter)
[Image]U.S. President Barack Obama walks as he attends the East Asia Summit at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday Nov. 19, 2011. (Aaron Favila)
[Image]President Barack Obama greets Australian troops during a visit to the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. (Charles Dharapak)
[Image]President Barack Obama talks with Medal of Honor recipient John Baca before the start of the Carrier Classic NCAA basketball game between North Carolina and Michigan State on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson in Coronado, Calif., Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy walk together after arriving at an event outside City Hall in Cannes, France, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The two leaders were at a memorial to World Wars I and II. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama arrives to speak about managing student debt during an event at the University of Colorado Denver Downtown Campus in Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Denver is the final stop on a three-day trip to the West Coast for fundraising and speeches promoting his American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama walks out of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., after ordering a snack. Obama is on a three-day trip to the West Coast. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama greets after exiting Air Force One after arriving at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. (John Gurzinski)
[Image]President Barack Obama talks on the phone as he greets people outside the Reid’s House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Obama is on a three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama poses for a photo after speaking at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, N.C., on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. (Terry Renna)
[Image]President Barack Obama walks to his bus after stopping at the Countryside Barbeque in Marion in N.C., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. Obama is on a three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh)
[Image]President Barack Obama walks around his bus at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, N.C., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, to begin his three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh)


TOP-SECRET – CIA-John and the White during the Killining of Osama Bin Laden – Photos

CIA John 2

[Image]“This is a composite of several images of the President and his national security team during a series of meetings in the Situation Room of the White House discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden on Sunday, May 1. We put this together so in addition to the previous, now iconic image of this day, people might have a better sense of what it’s like in presidential meetings of historic significance.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The top composite photo was uploaded to Flickr by the White House on 30 December 2011. Except for the image at
 center the images have not be previously published. "CIA John" is indicated in red. CIA John was reported to be the head
 of the CIA bin Laden unit and has not been publicly named.
This photo is taken in a secure conference roomin the Situation Room complex. (As an aside, the brigadier general running the show from a laptop, rather than a low-ranked technician from remote console, is highly unusual, and probably indicates the high-level security measures protecting the bin Laden operation. This is also suggested by holding the show in a small conference room rather than the commodious large confedrence room frequently shown in public photographs.)][Image]President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


[Note the unusually tall man at rear with tie pattern which matches the photo above. This photo is taken in the large conference room of the Situation Room complex.] President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is seen on the screen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


[Continuing the AP story] The Associated Press has agreed to the CIA’s request not to publish his full name and withhold certain biographical details so that he would not become a target for retribution. Call him John, his middle name. …

Two days after bin Laden’s death, John accompanied Panetta to Capitol Hill. The Senate Intelligence Committee wanted a full briefing on the successful mission. At one point in the private session, Panetta turned to the man whose counterterrorism resume spanned four CIA directors.

[Note unusually tall man at upper left with a tie not unlike the previous.] In this May 3, 2011 file photo, CIA Director Leon Panetta, right, leaves after briefing members of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Alex Brandon, AP


TOP-SECRET – Obama Called a Moron at Phone Security

From TSCM-220 mail list:


Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 15:40:24 -0500
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: [TSCM-L] {5984} POTUS telephones

There’s a very nice collection of dozens of photos of current POTUS telephones in use on John Young’s Cryptome site.  The trained eye will notice some interesting TSCM-related items.


Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 17:00:07 -0500
From: “James M. Atkinson” <jmatk[at]>
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {5986} POTUS telephones

Most of these are CISCO IP phones, or Avaya telephone sets.

Amazing complex instrument with some simply lovely security holes that an eavesdropper can exploit.

A lot of these phones are also Lucent MLS of Definite phones (all an eavesdroppers paradise).

I really hate to have to mention this, but in the following image. You will notice the moron who is using a cell phone right next to a STE.


Same here. Moron using cell phone in close proximity to a secure telephone:


When you place a concentrated RF signal transmitter in close proximity to a piece of cryptographic gear (like a STU or STE) the RF signals and strong enough to intermix with the RF or magnetic signals and create a third signal.  This is most valuable with cryptographic equipment that used cables that was not in conduit as the cable (seem in these pictures) provides a high threat access point where all kinds of havoc can be caused if a cell phone is brought within 8-12 feet of a STU, or 16+ feet of a STE. You will notice that the moron holding the phone is well within those distances.

The following image just proved what a utter moron this guy is, and remember who is is:


Notice that he is in a STE, in secure mode, and the STE (unencrypted voice path) is draped over a live RF transmitter.

I apologize Mr. President, but you sir are a fscking moron, just an utter moron.

Observers with sharp eyes will also notice the profoundly sloppy jobs of TSCM that is being done on these phones as well, and how the routing requirements for cables are not beign observered, but then that is the least of their probelms… their boss obviously does not care, so why shoudl they.

Dude, WTF… no seriously, WTF?


James M. Atkinson
President and Sr. Engineer
“Leonardo da Vinci of Bug Sweeps and Spy Hunting”
Granite Island Group
(978) 546-3803


Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 17:53:00 -0500
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {5987} POTUS telephones

Are executives at the highest levels expected to be TSCM, COMSEC, and TEMPEST experts who possess detailed technical knowledge and extensive related experience?

If yes, then why would any top executive have any need to hire experts in those fields?  Does JMA call his executive clients (who aren’t as well-versed in those fields as he obviously is) “fucking morons?”  That doesn’t seem like an effective business practice to me.

Perhaps the executive in the photo wasn’t briefed by his experts on the finer points of proper COMSEC–such as not to use a cell phone near a STE.  If he wasn’t, then perhaps those experts are to blame, not the executive.  Or maybe there’s other protections in place which prevent that from being a COMSEC problem.  There is equipment in those photos that probably none of us know the workings of…


Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 18:19:17 -0500
From: “James M. Atkinson” <jmatk[at]>
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {5989} POTUS telephones

Actually yes.

He knows that he can not use a cellphone within X feet of a STU, STE, or security communications media because he can read the white papers on the matter, and has been briefed by the technical advisors until they were blue in the face, but he does not care, he likes his cell phones (because it makes him a more effective leader)

If a customer hires me to tell them about the problem, and I tell them about it, write numerous white papers on the subject for them, demonstrate the risk for them by recovering classified information, and even the CIK form a STU using only a nearby cell phone, and they still refuse to use proper communications security, and abide by stand-off distances (the space between the secure phone and the cell phone), then I will have no problems explain that they are a moron to their face (usually in private, but still).

You need only to watch the video of my testimony before Congress on related matters to see that I tend not to couch my words when it comes to national security matters like this.

The President of the United States is a fucking moron, but given the last pool of candidates he is less of a moron, then the other morons we had running at the time. But still, he is a moron, and an arrogant one at that.



Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 18:42:24 -0500
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {5990} POTUS telephones

So you know this for a fact?  I would think POTUS has more important things to do than “read the white papers” about TSCM.  Arrogant?  Relative to whom?


Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 19:17:28 -0500
From: “James M. Atkinson” <jmatk[at]>
To: tscm-l2006[at]
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {5992} POTUS telephones

I wrote the white paper, and the paper has been repeatedly briefed to him by the DCI in his Daily Presidential Briefing. He has also read the white paper, but it has not dissuaded his cell phone mis-use. Several DCI staffers who prepare the PDB have assured me that the DCI has repeatedly included issue several times in the PDB, and POTUS just does not care.

The threat is known, the threat has been demonstrated, the threat has been replicated by others, it is a known and confirmed weakness, but he does not care, not even slightly.

Some Presidents like to ride around Dallas in open top limos, other are addicted to their cell phones… neither tend to remain in office too long.

He needs to smarten up, as he is risking national security and sabotaging international diplomacy (easily screwed up when secure communications are intercepted).



Date: Sat, 07 Jan 2012 11:44:11 -0500
From: “James M. Atkinson” <jmatk[at]>
Subject: Re: Your Comments on Prez Phones
To: Cryptome

You have my permission to publish anything that you see on the TSCM-L list so long as I am the originator of the post.

You have my permission to publish the information that I published about the Presidents phone, and the comments I made in regards to his being warned not to do it.

Here is something about STU/STE and cell phones

TEMPEST, HIJACK, NONSTOP, and TEAPOT Vulnerabilities A STU-III is a highly sophisticated digital device; however, they suffer from a particular nasty vulnerability to strong RF signals that if not properly addressed can cause the accidental disclosure of classified information, and recovery of the keys by an eavesdropper. While the unit itself is well shielded, the power line feeding the unit may not have a clean ground (thus negating the shielding).

If the encryption equipment is located within six to ten wavelengths of a radio transmitter (such as a cellular telephone, beeper, or two way radio) the RF signal can mix with the signals inside the STU and carry information to an eavesdropper. This six to ten wavelengths is referred to as the “near field” or the wave front where the magnetic field of the signal is stronger then the electrical field.

As a rule all COMSEC equipment should be kept out the “near field” by a factor of at least 2.5 to 3 times to get it outside of the field transition point. Simply put, there needs to be a “danger zone” or exclusion zone around any and all COMSEC gear 2.5 to 3 times the near field distance, or 16 to 30 times the longest signal wavelength (the lower the frequency the longer the wavelength).

A “wavelength” is inversely proportional to frequency being used which means that an 800 MHz cellular phone (near a STU) presents a greater direct threat that a higher frequency PCS phone operating in the 1.7 GHz region. On the other hand a PCS or CDMA telephone creates a greater spectral density and far more transitions which allows an eavesdropper to corelate on the signal with more precision.

We also have to consider the amplitude of the signals as well as the “danger zone” created by the transition point or radius of the near field (times 2.5 to 3). When any RF signals inside the “danger zone” exceed -50 dBm (or -77 dBm in some cases) there is still a problem even though the cryptographic equipment is some distance from the actual transmitter, cellular phone, pager, etc. These relatively high signal levels (above -50 dBm or -77 dBm) are actually strong enough that they create secondary fields or signals when they encounter the outside of the equipment case or any other conductive or non-linear element. This is called the “saturation effect”, and if it is not properly addressed can result in the cryptographic equipment put at risk of disclosing secrets. Typically the ambient RF environment near any cryptographic equipment should be well below -80 dBm and in some cases well below -110 dBm. Fields of this strength are common near broadcast facilities such as FM or television transmission towers or cellular/PCS towers. If you have a concern of this nature then you should contact a TSCM professional and schedule an evaluation of the RF in the vicinity of where you will be using your encryption equipment.

The critical thing to remember in all of this is that the ciphering key is where all the magic is at, and that the eavesdropper will typically target the ciphering circuit (or “Scrambler”) to obtain the secret key. Sure they are interested in the material being scrambled by the cryptographic system, and they will also be interested in the inner workings of the phone, but it is obtaining the secret ciphering key that is most important to the spy. An encryption box or cryptographic device may only be classified secret, and yet the keying material is top secret, and the keying material is far more sensitive then the box itself, and must be protected with much greater care.

On a related note, it should be mentioned that the ciphering key is actually of a fairly small length, and that is even if a very small segment of it is compromised the eavesdropper’s may be able to reconstruct it in whole (depending on what segment they get). In some cases even a 200 bit ciphering key can be broken by obtaining a small fragment the cipher which can be “snatched from the airwaves in less a ten millionth of a second” (if the cryptographic ignition key is loaded when in the presence of a cellular phone or strong RF field). Once the key is loaded into the cryptographic device the amount of time required to reconstruct the key is significantly larger, but not at all prohibitive. Remember, the eavesdropper is only looking for a few bits of data (the payload of the key), and that this small number of bits can be “hijacked” by an external RF source like a cellular phone as a highjack requires an absolute minimum of bandwidth.

Since the signal of interest is of extremely narrow bandwidth, and the “illuminating” signal can be easily correlated to the “signal of interest” the eavesdropper can be a considerable distance away from the encryption device and still perform the highjack (called “correlation gain”, which can be well over 40 dB). This assumes that someone using the encryption device has a cell phone or other RF device on their person, that while not on an active call is still checking in with the base station for status updates on a regular basis. Without this “correlation gain” the intercept may only be feasible within a few feet, but with it; the eavesdropper can be 500 and even 1500 feet away.

Remember that the most valuable “item of interest” is not directly the clear text communication itself, but the key used to protect the communication. Once the eavesdropper has the key, then the communication itself would be targeted and exploited. You must protect the key at all times.

NEXTEL or Motorola iDen phones based on a TDMA or “Time Domain” signal presents a really nasty threat as the cell phone is constantly strobing a specific predictable time slice, and basically illuminates the STU and turns it into a strobing lighthouse that will seriously compromise classified information. If a NEXTEL is present within 12-15 feet of a STU-III (when it goes secure or a CIK is loaded) the phone and information passed though it should be considered compromised. The STU should always be located in an area called an exclusion zone, and cellular phones, pagers, beepers, and other RF devices should be kept outside of a stand-off zone of at least 15-20 feet (30 foot is good practice).

Now if this wasn’t confusing enough; portable Inmarsat stations also present a similar problem, but only if the STU is located in front of the transmitter antenna or within the side lobes of the signal (about 45 degrees off the center axis of the antenna).

The best way to deal with this is to never have a cellular telephone or pager on your person when using a STU, or within a radius of at least thirty feet (in any direction) from an operational STU (even with a good ground). If the STU is being used in a SCIF or secure facility a cell phone is supposed to be an excluded item, but it is simply amazing how many government people (who know better) forget to turn off their phone before entering controlled areas and thus cause classified materials to be compromised.

Spook Hint: If you have a powered up NEXTEL on your belt and you walk within 12 feet of a STU-III in secure mode you have just compromised the classified key.

In the case where the STU is being used on a cell phone or satellite phone your best option is to keep the phone in analog mode (a STU, not a STE) and locate the STU a good 6-12 feet away from the antenna. In the case of an Inmarsat terminal simply keep the STU BEHIND the antenna by at least 10-15 feet (this is why Inmarsat terminals have long cables for the antenna). If you can obtain a digital Inmarsat connection you can get a very high quality connection, but the equipment is fairly costly, the terminal is quite large, and the digital service quite expensive.

At no time should a STU-III be operated in the presence of an RF field that exceeds -105 dBm for any signal with less then 30 kHz of occupied bandwidth. In the case of a signal which the occupied bandwidth exceeds 30 kHz the RF levels should not exceed -138 dBm.

Convenience and Security are Always Inversely Proportional.

– James M. Atkinson, 1982

Here is some further unclassified background on the matter (the data on the matter was in my written testimony).


Between the TEMPEST and TSCM fields of study there is also an area of our field that deals with unmodified or quasi-modified equipment and signals, which interact with each other. This is the case where in effect a classified signal or classified information is accidentally impressed onto an unclassified signal. Thus, the unclassified signal carrying the classified data with it is accidentally transmitted a considerable distance allowing for eavesdropping by those who should not possess the information. This is usually the result of TEMPEST standards not being rigorously followed during equipment design, installation, and maintenance.

The investigation, study, and control of intentional compromising emanations from telecommunications and automated information systems equipment that was created, provoked, or induced by a spy is known by the code name of “TEAPOT”. An example of this would be the positioning of a rack of two way radios need a secure telephone, or by installing RED cable near to a BLACK cable. This can also involve modifications to software, to slight breaches to the configuration of equipment.

An example of this would be a case where a cable, which contains only unclassified radar, navigation, or communications signals, is placed near a cable, which carries highly classified information. On a maritime vessel an example of an unclassified signal would be the VHF marine radios, the unencrypted HF (shortwave) radio communication systems, and sections of the radar and IFF systems. Should any of these cables or equipment be placed near the classified systems an eavesdropper could intercept the classified information that was riding-on-the-back-of the unclassified signals.

Another example of this would be a warship that downloads classified spy satellite imagery through the onboard satellite communication system.

The problem is that the installer of the classified system has not properly installed the system that creates considerable TEMPEST problems causing these signals to leak off the ship a short distance. This is further complicated by several cables which do not carry classified information but which pass in close proximity to the classified cables.

Due to the unclassified cable, perhaps being a high power antenna link the classified information can now leak out of the ship and be monitored by spies from dozens, if not hundreds of miles distant.

Testimony of James M. Atkinson, President and Sr. Engineer, Granite Island Group 9 of 168
Before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. Coast Guard Budget and Oversight Hearing, April 18, 2007

There is other related information in the above PDF file, all of which you have permission to publish on Cryptome as you see fit.

Warmest Regards,