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September 21, 2007
Notes from the Pentagon

China talks delayed
Chinese military foot-dragging this month led the Pentagon to postpone the next round of high-level talks that would have included discussion of Beijing's promise to create a military hot line to the U.S.

The Defense Consultative Talks were to be followed by detailed discussions on an offer from Chinese President Hu Jintao to President Bush in Australia to set up the military communications link between the Pentagon and China's military, something the Chinese military has refused to do for the past several years, defense officials said.

"The PRC was unable to confirm the September 6 to 7 dates within a reasonable time, and as such the undersecretary of defense for policy [Eric Edelman] chose to postpone the meeting," one official said.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Stu Upton confirmed the talks are on hold "until a mutually agreeable date can be agreed upon."

"We are encouraged by the Chinese leaders' willingness to consider a hot line between the Pentagon and the PLA so we can get on the phone quickly between governments to make sure that misunderstandings are taken care of," Maj. Upton said, referring to the People's Liberation Army.

During the April 2001 crisis with China over the midair collision between a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft and a Chinese military jet, no U.S. military officials could communicate with Chinese military officials despite years of military exchanges aimed at improving ties.

White House officials said Mr. Bush and Mr. Hu discussed ways to increase military ties during their meeting but did not discuss specific visits. "President Hu responded by saying he was willing to establish a defense telephone link between our two militaries," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Defense officials said Mr. Hu's credibility on such promises is suspect, since he also promised at an April 2006 summit in Washington to send Gen. Jing Zhiyuan, the strategic nuclear forces commander, to visit the U.S. Gen. Jing has not yet traveled to the U.S., despite having visited South America in December.

Mr. Hu, as chairman of the Communist Party Central Military Commission, wields ultimate power over the military. However, his control since becoming chairman appears incomplete, according to observers of Chinese affairs.

China's secretive military fears that any discussion of its nuclear forces will provide its main enemy, the U.S., with valuable information that could be used in a future conflict.

The Chinese also have opposed the military communications link, fearing it will be used by the Pentagon for electronic spying or targeting key command centers by U.S. forces in such a conflict.

Insurgent threat
A former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst says documents recently made public during a terrorism trial in Texas reveal that radical Islamist groups in the U.S. linked to the Muslim Brotherhood represent both a security and military threat to the country.

Army Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers, former chief of DIA's South America division and senior military analyst for Colombia, stated in a recent article that the Muslim Brotherhood meets the new U.S. Army counterinsurgency manual threshold of "an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict."

Since the Muslim Brotherhood conducts military training for jihadists around the world, its U.S. front groups should be considered as having "latent military capabilities," he stated in the American Thinker.

Col. Myers was elaborating on an analysis of the Muslim domestic security threat by Joint Staff analyst Stephen Coughlin. Mr. Coughlin wrote that a document made public in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas identified more than 29 front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood that are engaged in "grand jihad" aimed at "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within."

Col. Myers stated that the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots should be viewed as a single entity and that its information warfare goal is to attack U.S. foundations and support global jihadists who are working to create an Islamist caliphate, a goal supported by al Qaeda terrorists.

Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood meets the threshold of a Pentagon directive allowing defense and military intelligence agencies to spy on the group and its affiliates, he said.

"The Muslim Brotherhood in America is part of the radicalization infrastructure that supports the 'phases of radicalization' described in the recently published New York Police Department report, 'Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,' " Col. Myers stated.

Red Cross agenda
Bush administration officials say that Congress for years has been quietly funding the leftist agenda of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its efforts to ban so-called cluster munitions.

The ICRC has been a leading advocate of banning cluster munitions, a position rejected by both the State Department and the Pentagon.

"Cluster munitions are a critical component in the inventory of the U.S. military and many other nations," one defense official said.

The initial call for banning cluster bombs, which dispense smaller bomblets, came from North Vietnam during the Vietnam War and was a propaganda ploy aimed at getting rid of the weapons that were very effective against North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns, as well as surface-to-air missile sites and radar guidance systems.

Since then, the drive to ban anti-cluster munitions has been a major theme of far-left organizations.

The ICRC has funded anti-cluster munitions campaigns around the world, using U.S. taxpayers' money to the tune of about $40 million since 1999.

Congress annually provides more than 50 percent of the ICRC budget, and there is no accountability in Congress on how the money is spent.

"All this is done through an anonymous earmark to the State Department budget by U.S. senators who the ICRC clandestinely lobbied, two of whom sit on the Armed Services Committee," the official said, without identifying the lawmakers.

"The Defense Department and the military services have no opportunity to comment on this expenditure and its deleterious effects on national security, nor the potential risk to U.S. military lives were this munition banned," the official said.

Moving on
Robert Andrews, the deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence and security, resigned this week and is taking a position with Army Secretary Pete Green. In a message to counterintelligence and security officials (CS&I), members of the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) and the Defense Security Service (DSS), Mr. Andrews stated, "I leave proud of you."

"CI&S, CIFA and DSS have met and surmounted considerable challenges in the past 18 months," he stated. "DSS, which failed spectacularly two days after I took over CI&S, is well on the way toward institutional sanity, and is serving as a jump-off point for a new, government-wide security clearance process. CIFA will soon be half its former size while at the same time, operating more effectively as a unifier of the counterintelligence community."

However, another intelligence official said CIFA remains in the gunsights of its critics within the CIA, especially in the Directorate of Operations, where some are quietly working to disband the counterintelligence unit because of CIFA's role in questioning the validity of recruited sources.

  • Bill Gertz covers the Pentagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274.

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